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September 12, 2020

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I regularly point out that if the Dems win the Senate come January, it is probable that 15-16 members of their majority will be from the 11 western states currently on fire. (See today's Inciweb page for just how much this is a western problem. The only fires outside those 11 are in Nebraska and Texas, are tiny, and are 100% contained.) The rest of the Party may not believe it's a crisis; I can guarantee those 15-16 do, and no Democratic legislation passes the Senate without their votes.

The federal government has shortchanged its spending for fire fighting and fire mitigation on the western public lands for decades. I will be writing to my Senators (likely two Dems) in December demanding that they don't vote for anything until Congress addresses that in a serious way. There's no reason the bills can't be ready on day one.

The federal government has shortchanged its spending for fire fighting and fire mitigation on the western public lands for decades.

And what costs more - that or out-of-control fires? My guess is it doesn’t even make sense from a purely fiscal point of view.

The federal government has shortchanged its spending for fire fighting and fire mitigation on the western public lands a wide array of urgent needs for decades.

Where to start?

Seattle AQI is well north of 200. Not good.

So what do I see on FB? A winger absolutely losing it because Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan had the 'effing nerve to close the city owned golf courses for a couple days.

It is to cry.

The GOP base has taken over their party. They have weaponized just about every political issue there is, and a few they just made up (Benghazi, war on Christmas).

If we fear to 'weaponize' global climate change then we might as well throw in the towel.

Pelosi and Feinstein notwithstanding, there are glimmers of political common sense amongst some of our better institutional Democrats.

Seattle AQI is well north of 200. Not good.

Here (a couple dozen miles, and a couple of ridges, east of San Francisco) we've only had one day above 200. Mostly, we're in the 170s**. Even though you can't see anything more than a mile through the smoke, and stuff a lot closer is fuzzy like thru fog.

** But note, that's the average across the whole day. Typically there are a couple hours in the early afternoon where we're above 210.

My assumption is that talking it up when it isn't an issue in the Midwest and the East is concern that it will be weaponized as an issue for the election.

There may be a trade-off. If next year brings more of the same (which is probably the smart money bet), we could see Montana, Utah, and even Idaho getting a lot less red. Wildfires, you see, don't much care about the virtue of your politics.

It also occurs to me that the winds in the US blow west to east. All this smoke may end up in the Midwest. Diminished somewhat, but enough to be a problem. Albeit, I suppose, not before Election Day.

Just as an additional note, the evening weather forecast has been including AQI lately. I've seen several places in the Bay Area reporting Hazardous (i.e. AQI above 300!).

If we fear to 'weaponize' global climate change then we might as well throw in the towel

Sure, but in the context of winning the election, does that make this an issue for after the election or should people bash the Dems for not doing something now. Michael's point about the number of members from the West and how it is confined to the West has me ask this.

Good news is this
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/democratic-insiders-set-war-room-quickly-kill-filibuster-n1239920#anchor-NoforgivingfromDemocraticvoters

and it looks like a lot of western Dems are a part of that. Honestly, after seeing the way this admin has dealt with other disasters, I'm thinking the folks in the west realize that until there is a non-insane president, they are bascially on their own...

Friends in Portland tell me that although the fires aren't that near to them, the smoke is so bad they're having to wear masks in the house.

I see a similar approach by Labour to the Tory admission that they are planning on breaking international law, albeit "in a very specific and limited way".

Given the vociferous objection to this proposal from many diehard rightwingers, and others on the Tory side, I'm guessing that Starmer is following the (disputed) Napoleonic advice: Never interfere when your enemy is making a mistake

Tactics:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/9/12/1976880/-QAnon-cultists-spreading-false-claims-that-are-consuming-resources-needed-to-fight-wildfires

We have vast technological resources to find these QAnon republican conservative movement villains and apprehend and execute them.

Calling in false arson reports is a felony, is it not?

From the article:

"Claims that antifa was igniting fires were also sent by former Republican Senate candidate Paul Romero, whose tweet that Douglas County police had arrested “six antifa arsonists” has been repeated tens of thousands of times. Romero has repeated these claims to local radio and television stations, claiming that they are true, even as the county policy have repeatedly tried to explain that this is a sick fantasy with no truth behind it."

Arrest Romero. Shoot him in the back if he runs like a black kid.

We are in a civil war already.

I believe many of the Yellowstone fires and elsewhere in 1988 were set by Republican operatives connected to Newt Gingrich to consolidate his power in the Republican Party.

Fact of the matter is there is no fact of the matter in America anymore.

Assert and conquer.

We've had good teachers in the subhuman conservative movement.

https://www.mediamatters.org/tucker-carlson/tucker-carlson-mockingly-calls-climate-change-systemic-racism-sky

Carlson has a black cloud over his head.

I'm in a decent place for Southern California as far as fires are concerned. We're on higher ground about five miles from the Pacific and that makes a huge difference. The fires are well East of us and the marine layer is helping a lot with the air. Still, we have had a week of cloud cover and orange sunbeams and we and the cats are all coughing a bit from the air. The sun is just a sepia disk surrounded by haze, and everything from the laundry that dries outside smells of woodsmoke.

The threat of fire, though, has been on our minds for years. We've had a hike planned since 2016, but the threat of fire in the San Gabriels has been too high every time the weather and the calendar has aligned.

Climate has always been hostile to humans. Species, including humans, are not shaped by gentle nudges from their environment. Climate change just means that the nature of that hostility is changing somewhat.

Here is a review of three books that provide counter-arguments to the current climate change messaging.

"In the shadow of this summer’s coronavirus conflicts, the warring climate fronts keep sieging. The very same media outlets that are doing a tremendous job of exaggerating the coronavirus threat are keen to push a terrifying narrative that climate change constitutes a societal decline of civilizational proportions. The societal decline, which we urgently need to do something about.

Three major books released this summer by well-known climate writers push back against this narrative:

• Bjørn Lomborg’s False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet

• Michael Shellenberger’s Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All

• Christopher Barnard and Kai Weiss’ edited book Green Market Revolution: How Market Environmentalism Can Protect Nature and Save the World (“GMR”)

These are not “climate deniers,” though writers for both The Guardian and the New York Times tried hard to brand them as such. All authors accept that climate change is real, man-made, and presents a net harm to the world. Many of them support proposals like carbon taxes and increased R&D for batteries and renewable energy – others even favor governments building infrastructure or financially assisting those most negatively affected by a harsher climate. "
Let’s Cancel Environmentalism: A Triple Review of Environmentalism’s Opponents

"The very same media outlets that are doing a tremendous job of exaggerating the coronavirus threat .....

I stopped reading right there.

On the other hand, Herman Cain is still tweeting, so something funky is up.

Market environmentalism I have absolutely no problem with.

But the market for such will be forbidden:

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-06-25/the-government-wants-esg-out-of-pensions

I take little solace that Milton Friedman is now doing his part finally by pushing up daisies.

"Many of them support proposals like carbon taxes and increased R&D for batteries and renewable energy – others even favor governments building infrastructure or financially assisting those most negatively affected by a harsher climate."

No one here that I know of is standing in the way of any of those measures.

I can't think who is.


Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All

aka: I'm a lazy greedy fuck and don't want anything to change, especially my bottom line. so suck it, future. IGMFY.

i don't get the point of complaining that the out-of-power party hasn't done enough.

want climate change action? elect more and better Democrats and quit complaining that today's Dems haven't solved everything yesterday with the unstoppable power of DOA legislation.

The extent to which media exaggerates nearly everything is a capitalist market phenomenon.

The government and the media never claim that a hamburger is world-famous and the largest west of the Mississippi.

No, they leave that to the private sector advertisers who pay the bills.

The government does not determine headline fonts.

The government does not mandate that every broadcast news item is led with the words "This may shock you ..."

I agree though that much of American endeavor rests on a huge cloud of bullshit.

I bought a woman with large breasts, bleach blonde hair, and wearing a short skirt at a car show one year.

The car she was sitting on still runs pretty good too.

Climate has always been hostile to humans.

This is staight up nuts.

Humans have benefited from 10,000 years of stable, moderate climate. It has allowed us to change from scattered bands of hunter gatherers, to settled communities.

We'll adapt to whatever the climate is in 100 or 1,000 years. But what that ends up looking like is anybody's guess.

Climate change just means that the nature of that hostility is changing somewhat.

also, there's the small matter of : we caused it.

This is staight up nuts.

Imagine your comfort level in a New England winter without fossil fuels and the technologies they enabled.

Even though the past 10,000 years were more accommodating to humans than the preceding thousands of years, they were still brutal to the people who lived them. Just a hundred years ago deaths from weather and climate were 20 times greater than they are today in spite of the world population quadrupling during that time.

Imagine your comfort level in a New England winter without fossil fuels and the technologies they enabled.

therefore we should use fossil fuels forever and always.

People lived in New England, in the winter, for thousands of years before widespread use of fossil fuels.

I think perhaps we need some calibration about what a "hostile climate" means.

"Nothing grows there because there's no water" would be a hostile climate. A consistent temperature above about 120 Fahrenheit is a hostile climate. Regular catastrophic storm activity is a hostile climate. There used to be land here, but now it's underwater, is hostile, if you plan to stay in the place that's now underwater.

Humans are actually better equipped to deal with temperatures below their body temperature, than above. "Snows in the winter" is not necessarily a hostile climate. "You'll get heat stroke if you go outside for more than half an hour" is a hostile climate.

We're already starting to see temperatures above 120 F in some places. Densely populated places. If that continues, those places are going to become hard places for humans to live in.

That's a hostile climate.

I'm reading Joan Dideon's essays in "The White Album" at the moment and this one touches on things topical at the moment, including a subject of special interest to Michael Cain:

http://archive.pov.org/thirst/holy-water/

Written 43 years ago.

Nuclear or some other energy sources could take their place, but fossil fuels got us to where we are today. Otherwise, we would be living at best some kind of steampunk existence.

Even with rising temperatures, there are about 16 times as many cold-related deaths as heat-related ones. So far much of the increased temperatures have been at night, in winter, and the higher latitudes.

fossil fuels got us to where we are today

and now we know they can't get us much farther.

libertarians' need to defend the economic status quo is mighty puzzling.

just kidding. it's not.

I’m willing to listen to arguments for nuclear power, Charles, but not denialism that claims it isn’t denialism.

Also, wrs.

Good job, fossil fuels! And thank you!

Now, it's time to stop using them, certainly at the rate we currently use them.

120+ F in the Middle East and American southwest.

110+ F in northern and southern CA.

Australia.

The overall global temperature is, if I understand correctly, about 1 degree C warmer than it was before the Industrial Revolution. Also if I understand correctly, current projections call for another 1 to 4 degrees increase C, most likely about 3 degrees.

Someone will correct me on the details, I'm sure.

Net/net, there are going to be places where a lot of people live now, which will simply be too damned hot for people to live in, going forward. And not all that long from now.

And that's leaving out places that are likely to be underwater. Like, for instance, a lot of Bangladesh, where many millions of people live. And were many millions of people will have to leave.

We'll adapt to it, however it's going to be profoundly disruptive.

Nobody here is contesting the idea that our use of fossil fuels have made our lives much more comfortable. The claim is that continuing to use them at anything like the rates we do now will make significantly parts of the world uninhabitable. And will also disrupt established patterns for growing and distributing food. And will make water increasingly scarce in some places.

"Adapt" just means all of that will find some new point of balance. We'll all achieve some new homeostasis.

Nobody knows quite what that will look like. It probably won't be great, for a lot of people, without careful thought, planning, and co-operation.

Which is to say, it's likely to be a mess, and a source of profound misery for a lot of people.

If you have a great free market solution, fine with me. I suspect it's a problem that is not likely to be solved at anything like the necessary scale by purely free market mechanisms.

You and I will probably be dead before it gets really critical. Lucky us.

Sure, but in the context of winning the election, does that make this an issue for after the election or should people bash the Dems for not doing something now.

Given the existential importance of this issue, viewing in in the context of some kind of minor tactical political matter strikes me as not a good way to look at it.

But it is an age old question. Some here seem to argue that any criticism of any Dem for just about any reason is akin to some kind of political treason....well, except for the Dems they don't like. Funny how that works.

I would posit that the push for better public policy comes from below, and that politicians are always looking for a parade to jump to the head of the line in. That is why some push...always.

Take, for example, the push to eliminate the filibuster as soon as the opportunity may arise (we both cited the same article-I'm crossing my fingers). This didn't get traction due to the efforts of Diane Feinstein. But maybe now that there has been some pressure from activists, progressives, the unruly mob on the left, etc., perhaps she has rethought the matter. One can hope.

I fail to see how this can be so easily dismissed, and strikes me as fairly obvious. But whatever.....

Do you have a few moments to talk about Our Lord and Savior The Invisible Hand?

"Adapt" just means all of that will find some new point of balance. We'll all achieve some new homeostasis.

Just to be clear, "adapt" for us as a species can also mean having half the total population of the planet die off. Hey, it's an adaption to the new climate, so no need to worry about it, right?

I'd bet big bucks that Charles is confident that he, at least, will be among the elite who will manage to survive the die-off. Tough on those who aren't rich, however. If it was him, his perspective would likely undergo an abrupt change. (No offense. The same could be said of pretty much devout libertarian.)

At my age, I may be lucky to survive COVID-19 and impending age-related maladies for another 10-20 years. We're the same age by the way.

Some of the first places that will become uninhabitable for stretches of time appear to be parts of Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. Not the heat alone, but the combination of heat and humidity. Sustained wet bulb temperature of 95 °F (~35 °C) is fatal even for fit people. A certain amount of that appears to be baked-in already, perhaps starting as soon as 2050.

When I was young and stupid, I once played golf (walking) when the temperature peaked at 114 °F, in sunshine. But the relative humidity was in the teens and I could drink a quart of water every couple of holes. Also, I was doing outside manual labor that summer and was acclimated. After the round it took a largish bag of potato chips to get over the craving for salt. I suspect that at my present age it would be a fatal exercise.

"adapt" for us as a species can also mean having half the total population of the planet die off.

Or, kill each other, fighting over access to things like water and arable land. Or, just a place to live.

Systems find balance. How they find balance is neither here nor there, to them. They have no intentions or preferences.

We have the gifts of agency and sufficient intelligence to reckon likelihoods. Whether things play out to our harm, and/or to whose harm, is to some degree up to us to choose.

the generation-spanning aspect of GCC is one of the big reasons politicians (all over the world) aren't treating it like an imminent danger.

but, then, all you have to do is look at COVID responses around the world - both from politicians, and from the people they lead - to see just how terrible people are at reacting to crises when there are financial incentives to ignore them. even as the US adds another couple of 9/11s to the death toll every week, the government essentially does nothing and countless citizens think it's all a big hoax.

far too many people simply aren't willing to make even the slightest sacrifice if they think it will cost them something.

Some of the first places that will become uninhabitable for stretches of time appear to be parts of Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. Not the heat alone, but the combination of heat and humidity.

For Bangladesh, the critical "humidity" is likely to be the fact that most of the country will be under water, thanks to rising sea levels. Nowhere to live; nowhere to farm. And it's not like India is able to handle, in any sense, the resultant refugees.

With regard to a virus, keep in mind that Mother Nature thinks killing off 98% of the human species, then repopulating with some nasty side effects while mutation and culling restore genetic diversity, is a fine strategy. Mother Nature has no interest in whether civilization survives or not. I, OTOH, have a serious interest in the survival of something that looks like contemporary civilization at least through my granddaughters' lives.

As a point of reference, about 2% of the human species is inherently immune to HIV.

And it's not like India is able to handle, in any sense, the resultant refugees.

When I want to depress myself, one of the things I think about is the likely response of the remnants of the US Navy when 50M Bangladeshis (over a period of years) in rusty sinking ships that have been refused permission to land elsewhere, get within a few hundred miles of the California/Oregon/Washington coast.

Assuming the expected deepening of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, the Army and Air Force may have already been practicing on Central American climate refuges.

I don't really get the "bash the Dems" instinct among some, but everyone knowns that already.

michael, i hiked shadow canyon, perhaps you know it, just north on 93 of eldorado canyon, and just south of boulder, last week, three miles straight up and then down, 95 degrees, it kicked my butt, but it seemed routine once i got back to the car.

there’s a 6 and recently a 9 in my age.

Everyone, the few on the trail, was wearing a mask, because colorado is cool.

"I don't really get the 'bash the Dems' instinct..."

You mean stuff like this: "It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive. The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they're for it, right?"

That was Pelosi doing a little number on AOC back in 2017. So only certain Dems can criticize certain Dems in certain ways? The only legitimate left criticism is hippie punching?

I am sure you are aware that her tune, and Joe Biden's as well (as shown by your cite) has walked back a good deal of this criticism since then.

This is a good thing. Would you not agree?

Thank you.

Remember Michael Flynn? When Barr's Justice Department tried to drop charges (after a guilty plea), the judge appointed someone else to make the prosecution case. Now he's done so.

former New York federal judge John Gleeson called Attorney General William P. Barr’s request to drop Flynn’s case a “corrupt and politically motivated favor unworthy of our justice system.”

“In the United States, Presidents do not orchestrate pressure campaigns to get the Justice Department to drop charges against defendants who have pleaded guilty — twice, before two different judges — and whose guilt is obvious,” said Gleeson, who was appointed by the court to argue against the government’s request to dismiss the case.

With that in hand, I expect the jydge will rule against Barr. Then we'll see appeals, of course. But it's one more negative for Trump to fill the news. Unless, that is, Trump decides to skip the appeals process and just issue a pardon. Bad choice, but so Trump.

And it's not like India is able to handle, in any sense, the resultant refugees.

Well, it's not for lack of trying.

This is a genocidal nightmare in the making.

Everyone, the few on the trail, was wearing a mask, because colorado is cool.

Yeah, maybe 15 miles as the grackle flies from where I live. I repeat an oft-heard line from down at the state capital: "The eastern third of Colorado is Kansas, the western third is Utah, and the rest is California." In particular, urban/suburban California. In 2018, CO-6 in the eastern Denver suburbs hit the tipping point and the Republican incumbent went from a (roughly) +10% win to a -10% loss. This year, in CO-3 on the western slope the Republican primary voters rejected the Tea Party incumbent for a QAnon owner of a bar/grill where all of the staff are required to open carry handguns.

A couple months ago now I went to my Mom's funeral in Omaha. Damn, they've got twice as much air and three times as much humidity as anyone needs. At some point my sister was watching me and asked what my respiration rate was. "At this altitude?" I responded. "Occasionally."

Well, it's not for lack of trying.

Even if Bangladeshis aren't Pakistanis, just being Muslims is doubtless enough for the current Indian regime.

I'm not sure Hinduism has an overall structured clergy (feel free to correct me on that), like Iran or Saudi Arabia have to work with. But Modi seems determined to rise above that handicap in developing, if not quite a theocracy, something rather similar. Maybe Netanyahu's Israel is his model....

That was Pelosi doing a little number on AOC back in 2017.

And I care about Pelosi in 2017 why?

AOC has also made nice with Pelosi, walking it back a bit. And, yes, both are good things. They are learning!

The eastern third of Colorado is Kansas, the western third is Utah, and the rest is California

I sometimes think the Pacific Northwest is Vermont, with a longer growing season.

Could also be the other way around, I guess.

I sometimes think the Pacific Northwest is Vermont, with a longer growing season.

Interesting comment, since I live in Washington State, and Vermont is on my list of Possible Places to Retire to.

Vermont is a good bit colder, and considerably less populated. Those attributes are looking pretty good these days, as my state burns down, and the summers get hotter. (I hate heat. I'm not gonna be one of those oldsters who moves South for the warmth and sunshine!)

I haunt real estate websites, looking at houses all over the country. Another big difference between the PNW and New England is, in New England it seems most homes use oil to power their furnaces. The PNW uses electricity, mostly. Also, Vermont being more rural, more homes are on individual wells. It's all very strange to me, and would take some getting used to if I move there!

I think that Johnson's government is really not understanding how it is playing with fire. The open, wilful breaking of the Withdrawal Agreement is not only going to cause a no-deal end to the transition. If the British don't follow the Northern Ireland Protocol in good faith, there will be a hard border, because EU can't allow Northern Ireland to become a route for smuggling into EU market. This will mean an Irish civil war.

If such happens, Great Britain can be quite assured that the European Union will support the government of Ireland. We will not be talking about trade on WTO terms, but about trade sanctions. Personally, I would be quite happy with a reinstitution of the Continental System. This time, we could make it work.

Of course Hungary and Poland could combine again to torpedo all unified EU actions. And, despite their own touted Roman Catholicism, they will rather side with BJ's 'who cares about treaties and obligations?' than with their increasingly liberal co-religionists on the other island.

I'm often on sapient's case so I should say here that I agree with the point about not worrying about previous spats, which are ancient history, as much as I think ancient history informs current situations. Not saying this about bobbyp, but too many people have used (and continue to use) this narcissism of small differences to undercut the progressive left.

I also think this is the Guardian laying a template for the UK left on top of the US left and it often leads them to misunderstand the situation.

I agree with Lurker that these seems like a huge miscalculation and I wonder if they are doing it to divert attention from the shitty job they are doing with COVID. As the commentary on this video of the Taoiseach pointed out, for Johnson and the Tories, everything is just tactics and they have no goal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk9-nAgIFyw

Tactics:

https://digbysblog.net/2020/09/pulling-out-all-the-cops/

Counter-Tactics:

Joe Biden has Roger Stone arrested and executed.

@CaseyL --

I haunt real estate sites too, episodically at least, mostly looking at places in Maine since both my kids are here and I doubt I'd move away. (But Ohio is a second, if remote, possibility since most of my siblings and their offspring are still there.)

Anyhow, this is a very recent article about things to think about when buying a house in Maine. Most of it won't be new to you, and most of it applies to a lot of places, especially rural ones, including Vermont.

But the one I would highlight is snow removal, the level of need for which would probably shock anyone who doesn't live in snow country. I had always lived in towns before I moved to rural Maine, so it took some education for me to realize how much of an issue getting the driveway plowed is. (Pro tip: preferably don't buy a house where the snow slides off the roof right into the path of doors and garage doors! ;-)

As to private wells -- I don't really know about Vermont, but I think it would be similar to Maine, where towns do have public water and sewer systems. Certainly all the places within my reach that have more than maybe 5-6K population do. But in rural places, if you have a private well, you probably also have private septic, which needs a bit of annual maintenance and should be checked as part of disclosures on a house that's being sold.

There's also the radon problem, which you can google. Very common in New England, but remediable. At a cost. Also arsenic in well water. I drink only bottled water, but I use the well water for everything else.

This latter kind of stuff doesn't tend to show up on real estate websites unless you have a login to MLS or something that lets you see disclosures. (One of my kids has just been through the house-buying process.....)

And because I've just watched the effects in real time with my daughter, I'll say: in Maine the housing market here is beyond insane right now, at least in the southern, more populated part of the state, but northerly is not immune. Pandemic effects apparently, and I won't go on and on about it. But if it doesn't break at some point, I can't imagine I'll ever be able to buy a place on my budget. I suspect Vermont is similar, but I don't know that for a fact.

I would love to email with you about this if you're interested, just for fun.

Consider Maine! It's closer to the ocean!

P.S. Heating costs in Maine. Most people use oil here, for sure, but there's a lot of variety, especially in newer homes. Some young friends of mine who built a house a couple of years ago have a woodstove and a heat pump (which of course uses electricity). I don't know if they have a back-up generator, but a lot of people do.

Part of me wants to think that Boris is working to convince enough voters in Northern Ireland that they would be better off in the long term outside the UK than inside.

Charlie Stross, who recently and reluctantly became a supporter of Scottish independence, has been muttering about Boris planning no-deal exit, then the SNP winning an even more massive majority in the Scottish elections in May, then Boris calling for a snap election on independence that he wants to lose.

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/09/12/the-gop-is-staging-chaos-on-the-way-to-a-coup/

Fuller Frum Atlantic piece on the Woodward-Trump deal.

As recorded, that reads like a cold-blooded confession that Trump intentionally concealed deadly knowledge at a time—February and March—when that knowledge could have saved lives. But you can reach that conclusion only if you believe that Trump knows things the way fully rational people know them: as statements about reality that exist independently from the speaker. Trump’s mind does not work that way. He does not observe the world and then use words to describe it. He speaks the words he wishes you to believe, and then trusts the world to conform to his wishes.

***

But despite the hashtag #TrumpKnew, Trump did not actually know anything. He said things to meet the need of the fleeting moment. In February, the need of the moment was to levitate the stock market. By mid-March, the need of the moment was to sound smart, aware, in the know. Two days before Trump’s headline-grabbing quote to Woodward, on March 17, Trump said virtually the same thing at a televised press conference. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” Woodward did not unearth some big scoop. Trump simply repeated for Woodward the same I knew all about it better than anybody message that Trump had already placed on the public record.

Of course I realise that not everybody agrees with this, or even is interested in the workings of what is laughingly called Trump's mind. But I must say, I am interested. Trump is a scammer of such stupendous scale, that I can't help being interested in how the grift to end all grifts (we must hope) comes to be.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/09/how-read-woodward-book/616318/

https://crookedtimber.org/2020/09/09/budapest-or-should-that-be-beijing-on-thames/

A hard Brexit isn't all they want.

There is only one thing I want entering Trump's brain.

i wonder if many of Trump's base knows that he's about to kill Social Security?

Interesting comment, since I live in Washington State, and Vermont is on my list of Possible Places to Retire to.

The similarity I see between the PacNW and VT is the weird combination of libertarian hippie sensibility with a basic level of social consciousness and solidarity.

Vermont is really freaking cold in the winter, so if you want cold, they have it. Vermont is also really small, and very mountainous (although the small east-coast style of mountains).

Maine is pretty similar, but with probably a somewhat higher Trump factor, for lack of a better term. And Maine has a really beautiful seacoast to go along with really beautiful mountains, and large areas that are truly wild.

Maine also has actual cities, if access to some kind of city life is appealing. Vermont has... Burlington, which is basically a college town.

NH is right in between the two, but is more or less a different world from both.

As far as tactics:

There are two goals for anyone who is not in the Trump cult:

1. Remove Trump from office
2. Flip the Senate

Every other goal pales in comparison. Whether the (D)'s are sufficiently vocal about fires in the West, whether Nancy Pelosi and AOC are besties, whether Joe Biden is a political weather vane policy-wise, are all pretty much irrelevant, when compared to the urgency of the above two goals.

They are irrelevant, because they *will not matter* if the two goals named above are not achieved.

Biden is ahead in the polls, but the betting odds put the race for POTUS as a coin toss. Money talks louder than polls, so I am going with coin toss. Almost everyone who is likely to vote already knows who they are going to vote for, so the POTUS race is going to come down to:

1. GOTV effort
2. Preventing Trump and the (R)'s from FUBARing the vote

Getting people to actually cast their vote, and making sure the votes get counted, are the tactics that are going to matter.

The (D)'s have a reasonable chance of taking the Senate. The relevant tactic there is probably going to be $$$$ to the degree you have it to spare, and whatever you can do to help with ground game if you live in a state with a seat in play.

And don't sleep on Doug Jones, his seat is at risk and he needs your help. Not enough to flip (R) seats, we need to keep the (D) seats we have.

Trump is going to do everything he can to fuck with the electoral process, and there is not always much folks can do about it. Lawsuits alone aren't going to get it done. So there needs to be an *overwhelming* (D) turnout to kick his ass the hell out, beyond his ability to steal cheat and lie his way to a 2nd term.

And put whatever resources you can bring to bear on flipping every vulnerable (R) seat in the Senate.

Those are the tactics.

Every other thing is a second order priority at this point. We can, and no doubt will, worry about it all after November.

there's a lot of open space in and around the mountains of upstate NY, too.

JanieM and russell - thanks so much for your views and comments on New England!

JanieM: Yes, yes, YES! I would love to email with you about this! I'm not sure how serious I am - a move cross-country is a huge thing to consider - but I am very seriously considering an exploratory visit sometime next Spring, FSM willing.

Maine is indeed also on my list, though I have been warned that the biting bugs (black flies, skeeters, ticks) in Maine would drive me bonkers. (Not sure if living near water would ameliorate that.)

My email is celeichter AT gmail DOT com. Love to hear form you!

Getting people to actually cast their vote, and making sure the votes get counted, are the tactics that are going to matter.

The (D)'s have a reasonable chance of taking the Senate. The relevant tactic there is probably going to be $$$$ to the degree you have it to spare, and whatever you can do to help with ground game if you live in a state with a seat in play.

My father used to say that everybody in the world ought to be able to vote in US elections, since the result affects the whole world. If there was a way for foreigners to legally contribute to individual races (as opposed to clandestinely and illegally, like Russia to Trump), you can be sure that many (including me) would. Any suggestions gratefully received.

There are two goals for anyone who is not in the Trump cult:

1. Remove Trump from office
2. Flip the Senate

Every other goal pales in comparison. Whether the (D)'s are sufficiently vocal about fires in the West, whether Nancy Pelosi and AOC are besties, whether Joe Biden is a political weather vane policy-wise, are all pretty much irrelevant, when compared to the urgency of the above two goals.

That statement should be sent (email, US Mail, whatever) to
a) every Democratic voter,
b) every independent / "no party preference" voter,
c) every thinking Republican voter**

The worst-case scenario this fall is a bunch of liberals taking the Trump-style petulant toddler approach of sitting out the election (or voting third party). I wish I was sure it won't happen. But I consider that it was part of the problem in 2016.

** There are some of us. Far fewer, percentage-wise, than one would wish. But enough that they could make a difference for someone like Doug Jones. And the bigger the landslide, across the country, the better the chances that the Republican Party fights to make damn sure not to put up another Trump. Even getting the results in Wyoming down from 67% to, say, 60% could matter for that.

[CaseyL -- just saw your 12:37 and will send an email later; I'm going out shortly.]

I could write about this all day, if only as light relief from the other stuff, but as to the connection between Vermont and the PNW, Colin Woodard writes about it in American Nations. The book overall is a bit too slick, but if you take it with a grain of salt it's fascinating and fun.

For one brief relevant factoid, note that Portland, Oregon, was named after Portland, Maine.

wrs, more or less, except the part about cities. If you think of a city as an entity like Seattle, SF, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Houston...never mind London or New York or Paris, then Maine does most emphatically not have cities. ;-)

It has Portland, population < 70,000. But in fairness:

1) the metro area is more like half a million if you take in most of southern Maine and bits of NH; and

2) even if Portland is just a "toy city" (which is how I think of it ), it's a wonderful one. I don't know what the aftermath of the pandemic will be, but before this year Portland was foodie and microbrewery heaven, set in a stunning spot on the ocean, with mountains and seacoast within easy reach, and a vibrant, diverse community that passed its own gay rights ordinance ~1992 and has welcomed immigrants to the point where I once heard that there were over 90 native languages in the Portland public school system. On the other hand, housing is hideously expensive and getting worse....and the town is almost not navigable by car during tourist season in the summer. (Then again, I'm kind of cranky, so I'm not the best judge.)

*****

Bugs: black flies are awful, but only for a few weeks in the spring. I think of them as something God made to remind us that nothing (even the month of May) is perfect. I live in a breezy spot, which nullifies them to some extent. But if someone told you only Maine has these critters ... they were misinformed or pulling your leg:

Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tickborne disease in Vermont, and in 2017, Vermont had the highest rate of reported confirmed and probable Lyme disease cases in the U.S....

Some of my worst experiences with bugs were on hikes in the Olympics and Cascades, so ... I'm not sure Maine is any worse than anywhere else, on balance.

Visiting and traveling around is a good idea. I agree with russell that NH is its own thing and with cleek that there's a lot of open -- and lovely -- space in upstate NY. I drive across far northern NE and then northern NY (either Adirondacks or near the St. Lawrence) on my slow trek to Ohio once or twice a year. Or at least I did pre-pandemic. Even just driving through these states and exploring back roads can give you an idea of how different they all are from each other.

the Republican Party loves Trump, top to bottom. polling is absolutely consistent about it. he gives voice to their collective id. he says what they think. if he loses, they'll blame everyone but him.

it's going to take more than one loss to get them to turn around. look at what happened when they lost in 2008 - the Party did its big post-mortem and learned that it was alienating everyone but racist white men. and what did it do as soon as it got the chance? it went all in on the worst piece of shit racist white man it could scrape up, and stood by him for four years.

it's going to take more than one loss to get them to turn around. look at what happened when they lost in 2008

Sadly, probably true. But note two things. First, if it takes more than one loss, the initial step still has to be that loss. Second, the Democrats will then have to make damn sure that, in 2022, they don't repeat the mistake of 2010. Don't assume the victory in the presidential election means you can coast; it has to be a foundation to build on.

It has Portland, population < 70,000.

Yeah, but Portland has pretty much everything you'd probably want from a city.

NH is its own thing

People in NH are very, very determined that Nobody Is Going To Tell Them What To Do Or How To Live, Dammit!!

People in VT and ME just mostly live however they like, without all the fuss about making big points.

Very different vibes. Mostly the same weather, though.

AQI in Portland today has apparently been measured at 560, in one location. It’s amazingly bad over a large area.

AQI in Portland today has apparently been measured at 560, in one location. It’s amazingly bad over a large area.

I have friends on the West Coast, and am so anxious on their behalf.

One person I know - relative by marriage - is a Trump supporter, supposedly on the basis of opposing abortion. I'm sad for her that she's going through this. I'm sad for expectant mothers (and their potential children) who are going through this. Everyone who is going through this - I can't even imagine. It's heartbreaking.

I just wish people who have certain priorities with regard to "life" would open their minds a bit. l

Sorry for that extra letter at the end of my previous comment. Perhaps some will be happy to know that I'm trying to self edit, and failed to delete everything!

Have relatives by marriage in a rural midwestern state that shall remain unnamed. One of them developed serious respiratory problems but refused to get tested until he was hospitalized. They both, of course, tested positive for Covid, though she remained asymptomatic. Neither one is telling anyone what the illness was and the asymptomatic one is carrying on as normal because, by her reasoning, she doesn't have anything wrong with her.

The same reasoning involved here carries over for thinking about climate change.

------

I've been idly looking at the UP of MI on the chance that the pandemic damage to the economy gets bad enough to scupper even our employment at a major university (still only a remote possibility as they need us badly, but an ebb tide could ground all our boats). We'd have a decent cushion there even after buying a home, but finding employment would be a challenge and the culture shock would be profound after 30 years in the West and 15 in Southern California.

After a week of AQIs in the 170s, I'm really looking forward to starting the weel in the 30s. Now I'll have breath to pray aloud for rain. Too bad it'll likely be another month before that happens.

I've been idly looking at the UP of MI on the chance that the pandemic damage to the economy gets bad enough to scupper even our employment at a major university (still only a remote possibility as they need us badly, but an ebb tide could ground all our boats).

I know a couple (somewhat second hand - have met them, but a close friend of mine really knows them well) who lives in the UP. One of the couple is quite content. The other is lonely as hell. Maybe they'll have a lot of company soon!

I wonder.

The cult that is screwing us over: why can't they have beautiful dances like this? Or anything beautiful at all?

why can't they have beautiful dances like this? Or anything beautiful at all?

Because, if you are ugly enough inside, it pervades everything you touch. See, for example: Trump, Donald J.

Because, if you are ugly enough inside, it pervades everything you touch.

Hmmm. Good point.

Seattle AQI still above 200.

So, Casey, where in the 48th soviet of WA do you reside?

The extent to which media exaggerates nearly everything is a capitalist market phenomenon.

The government and the media never claim that a hamburger is world-famous and the largest west of the Mississippi.

Our government claims on a regular basis that their interventions are 'world beating'.

Question for Michael Cain (or anyone else with more knowledge than me)...

It's been a refrain for a number of years (that I can recall) that one of the problems with fire management is a seriously low level of controlled burning.
To what extent is this true - and to what extent is this a consequence of lack of government funding/action ?

slightly related is this, the use of the indigenous Australians and their knowledge about 'cultural burning', I read several articles about it, here's one

https://www.pri.org/stories/2020-02-24/reviving-traditional-fire-knowledge-australia-fire-something-we-live

Unfortunately, I think the US base of indigenous knowledge has suffered a much greater reduction than it has in Australia because of historical timing.

"The cult that is screwing us over: why can't they have beautiful dances like this? Or anything beautiful at all?"

Pardon me?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H59xSI3d4Vk

"Our government claims on a regular basis that their interventions are 'world beating'."

Yes, but the humans our government murders have eternal life .... like Herman Cain. So there.

Yet, the "beatings" will continue.

Fire:

https://www.propublica.org/article/they-know-how-to-prevent-megafires-why-wont-anybody-listen

But:

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/why-prescribed-burns-don-t-stop-wildfires-20200122-p53tl9.html

Then, there are controlled burns by state and federal entities which occasionally get out of control and burn more than intended, including private property ... and then all Hell breaks loose as government gets blamed even though it may well have been the fault of private contractors hired on the cheap, but that's too subtle for gummint-hating Americans .... and then the conservative movement, not conservationists, or even very good conversationalists, by any means, despite ironic word similarity ... goes after government with the same vociferous bullshit rhetoric they just got done using to condemn the LACK of fire suppression efforts ... you know .. arson by the Deep State, or some such.

That's in their spare time when they aren't taking torches to Social Security.

We need an out-of-control infernal of the conservative movement first, and not even try to put it out with raw sewage, before anything can be done about anything.

And then, and I can no longer find the link, sorry, you have the phenomenon of private land owners surrounded by forests in the American West greeting fire crews and inspectors with guns drawn if the latter even merely request that the property owners try to protect THEMSELVES by mitigating fire hazard on their properties.

The Malheur debacle started years before with two cases of arson on federal land by the Bundy-related conservative movement:

https://www.hcn.org/articles/oregon-occupation-at-wildlife-refuge

I'm sure the tough guys aren't wearing masks either.

And then there is the more general conundrum of folks with innocent faces moving closer to the inferno and demanding government services like fire fighting, while of course not wanting to pay the taxes incurred to do so:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2018/10/fire-western-mentality


https://www.hcn.org/articles/oregon-occupation-at-wildlife-refuge

I would mention global climate change too but we're not permitted to because shut up money under Citizens United talks.

"Unfortunately, I think the US base of indigenous knowledge has suffered a much greater reduction than it has in Australia because of historical timing."

As bad as the Brits have been to indigenous peoples, the US has been far worse.

In fact, one of the "list of grievances" in the Declaration of Independence was basically that the Brits kept their agreements with Indian tribes, and didn't let the colonists run roughshod over them.

Genocidal from the beginning; you can look it up.

Unfortunately, I think the US base of indigenous knowledge has suffered a much greater reduction than it has in Australia because of historical timing.

Controlled burning under the conditions that prevailed before the Europeans arrived isn't complicated. You just have to either let it happen or keep after it in areas where it didn't occur naturally. Certainly in the West, those conditions largely no longer hold. You simply can't do a controlled burn in an area that has ten times the natural stem density, and 80% of those dying or dead. Here's an extreme case.

If you hike through the forested parts, you find a ton of downed limbs and trunks, brush, dead grass, etc. The fuel load is enormous. BLM and the USFS can only thin/clean so much land per year and make it suitable for ground fires again -- tens of thousands of acres. Big fires are taking millions of acres per year. It's not much of a plan, but burn it all down and hope for the best is about all we've got left.

leaving this here as part of ObWi's ongoing coverage of ... systemic racism

Oh, cleek. That can all be waived away with a few personal anecdotes. Pointy-headed Harvard academics and their "research" won't cut it.

This guy's Palantir Corp is a about to go public in one of the largest public offerings in history:

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/rosiegray/peter-thiel-donald-trump-white-nationalist-support

Palantir does very sophisticated data tracking and analysis and has a growing US government clientele, thanks to Trump and Citizens' United.

I wonder what color the people are whose data will be gathered and made even more systemic.

He's a gay-conservative.

You can tell he hates some group or other, actually several, led by the Chinese, only by his identity politics to the right of the hyphen.

Just as many black-conservatives hate gay folks and some Jews.

Jewish-conservatives hate Palestinians and blacks.

Female-conservatives generally follow their conservative husbands' leads regarding who they hate and now in some cases, they beat them to it.

Chinese-conservatives are being trained to hate themselves.

White male-conservatives hate everyone, especially hyphens.

It's been a refrain for a number of years (that I can recall) that one of the problems with fire management is a seriously low level of controlled burning.
To what extent is this true - and to what extent is this a consequence of lack of government funding/action ?

Definitely. Controlled burns, when they happen, at minimum make it easier to control those fires which do break out. Think of them as semi-completed firebreaks; far less work to establish than on unburned ground. And typically wider, too, which makes them more effective.

As a general rule, it is expected that the government will be responsible for doing control burns. Not least because huge sections of the West are National Forests, state or national parks, or otherwise government owned. Plus, to do a deliberate burn on private property frequently requires a government (usually local fire district) permit. Generally only available when the vegetation is still wet enough that it won't run wild -- which is to say, when it's hard to get it to burn at all, unless you use an accelerant which is also not allowed.

Plus, as Michael Cain notes, there are liability issues if it gets away. And those weigh even more heavily on private owners.

Tactics:

https://www.mediamatters.org/mark-levin/mark-levin-trump-will-have-use-insurrection-act-put-down-enemy

https://www.mediamatters.org/sinclair-broadcast-group/sinclair-program-suggests-vigilantes-are-needed-segment-promoted-warnings

The smaller government gets, the more guns we need.

so much Marxism

I worked in public information in the federal government a long time ago for a group of weather scientists.

I don't recall staging a coup from my desk and telling THEM what to communicate to the public.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a34014443/trump-appoint-climate-denier-noaa/

There will be savage violence.

I don't recall staging a coup from my desk and telling THEM what to communicate to the public.

I'm really hoping that the scientific (and other) expertise which is still left in the Federal agencies will hunker down and hang on until we see whether Trump is going. Because replacing them would be a nightmare. Actually, just replacing those who have already left will be a nightmare.

bobbyp So, Casey, where in the 48th soviet of WA do you reside?

I'm in the north end of town, a few blocks west of Northgate Mall.

LJ, regarding the narcissism of small differences, sorry, but no. That is a very dismissive attitude to take.

I want Trump out. There is a coalition, hopefully large enough, to get him out. It is unstable and will collapse five minutes after Trump is dragged out of the WH. It will collapse because a lot of people who don’t agree on much very much agree that Trump has to go.


Here is a link to a difference of opinion between “ progressives”

https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/1305019586354479108

A lot of people don’t like Max Blumenthal, but fortunately I don’t care since the argument stands on its own

Richard Nephew, the subject of criticism, popped up and posted this link—

https://www.energypolicy.columbia.edu/sanctions-blog-columbia-s-center-global-energy-policy-post-six

To me his argument is sociopathic. This is not a small difference. Neither was Yemen. In 2015- 2016 Democrats were split. This is what they were split on—

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/14/us/politics/us-war-crimes-yemen-saudi-arabia.html


After it became Trump’s war they eventually united against it, but it took people arguing and denouncing and Khashoggi’s murder to get to that point and currently the death toll ( cited in a recent Brown University study on refugees) is 250,000.

Trump has to be removed because while this 280 lb toddler is in office the country spirals down the drain, but once things get back to “normal” people will still disagree on countless issues. These are not minor issues. I hope Biden becomes the next FDR on domestic policy. I doubt it, but maybe he will surprise me. On foreign policy I am not optimistic.

An interesting discussion to have might be to compare Florida's relatively successful use of controlled burns with much less successful programs in the West. If I were handing it out as a class assignment, I might suggest that differences worth looking at should include:

(1) Florida's burns are largely on private land with local decisions about the value; the West's burns would largely be on public lands, with distant decisions (ie, Washington, DC).

(2) The general scale of the problem. The USFS manages ~190,000,000 acres of national forest land, the very large majority of it somewhere in the West. This is approximately 4.5 times the entire area of Florida, most of which is not at risk of wildfire.

(3) Terrain. The highest point in Florida is 345 feet above sea level. My not-particularly-rugged county in Colorado has a min-to-max elevation difference of a bit over 6,500 feet. The county we're moving to next month is about 8,500 feet. LA County in California is about 10,000 feet.

(4) Climate. Florida averages 54 inches of precipitation per year. Colorado averages 17. Arizona, which typically burns more than Colorado, averages 14.

Climate. Florida averages 54 inches of precipitation per year. Colorado averages 17. Arizona, which typically burns more than Colorado, averages 14.

And those averages are trending downward.

I'm not as far from Donald, policy wise, as one might otherwise believe. It's why, no matter what the mainstream Democrats I know may say otherwise, I really cannot stomach the Clintons. Their accomplishments, large as they were, came with a huge cost to a lot of people on the margins of survival both here and around the world, and I don't like the way that they wore those decisions like personal policy triumphs.

I mostly want what Donald wants for outcomes. I'm just not sure how to get there with the institutions we have, and I'm not sure how to transform our institutions quickly without risking a collapse or a backlash that takes the whole thing down and leaves us worse off on every matter of consequence.

So I'm stuck on the slow and low while a lot of those big problems, like ecological collapse, race on ahead, hoping that mitigation might do some small good.

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