Sunday, September 29, 2019

Considering Nancy Pelosi as Whip and Speaker

I think she's an excellent whip, good at getting members to vote for a proposal and knowing when to bring a proposal into action, and a poor Speaker, unwilling to lead. We have seen this in the passage of the PPACA and the impeachment investigation. Once the Obama administration proposed the PPACA, and it ran into trouble in the Senate, it was Nancy Pelosi who whipped the votes in the House and got it passed. On the other hand, she did not act against W. Bush despite all his offenses, and she waited and waited and waited until atrocities had been committed and the Trump administration had had time to cement itself in power.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Impeachment Momentum

Now that seven conservative House freshman have called for impeachment, Nancy Pelosi is willing to lead the House in impeachment proceedings. I don't know whether to be horrified, amused, or admiring of Pelosi's political acumen. Now that she has both wings of her caucus on board, she is willing to act.

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Spiritual Transformation of Environmental Consciousness and the Gaslighting of the Public

We need a spiritual transformation that will make the necessary changes acceptable and how to achieve that I have no idea; globally we are in such a horrible state of paralysis that it is hard to get many of us to accept even minor change.
The spiritual transformation is under way.

People are being publicly shamed, told to scourge themselves and advised to undertake solutions that will not work. Veganism, not flying – these things will not stop climate change, they are not major parts of the problem. Relying exclusively on wind and solar power will not work; this alone will not be enough, unless we are willing to accept poverty as a norm.

It is not necessary to create an egalitarian socialist paradise to prevent the world from roasting or drowning under the risen seas.

Shaming people is popular. People listen to the fire and brimstone sermons. It brings them catharsis. Then they go home and keep on sinning.

No amount of blaming ourselves, no amount of hurting ourselves will change physical law. The seas will rise regardless of how much we scourge ourselves or pray or beg the Almighty.

Human civilization must stop using fossil fuels, the sooner the better. There will be privation, but no one individual will be able to escape or choose this privation. It will be imposed. Doing it willingly, proactively, reluctantly, or forced will not make a jot of difference.

People will have their bonfire of the vanities and, in the end, go home and wait for the storms and the rising seas.

Humans are clearly preparing for this transformation. Good. But we are also lost and wondering what to do and which way to go. And there are all these people ready to offer solutions which place the blame on the people in the street, in the factories, in the fields. The blame belongs on the people who are striving to squeeze the last few dollars or riyals out of their fossil fuel holdings before it all becomes worthless.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

In Which the House Democratic Coalition Begins to Tear Apart

At this point, the bigger national scandal isn’t the president’s lawbreaking behavior - it is the Democratic Party’s refusal to impeach him for it.” – @AOC

Our leaders have abandoned us

The wealthy are pursing fantasies, rather than addressing real problems, or trying to squeeze the last few dollars out of the coal and oil reserves.

Our religious leaders focus on the minutae of sexual behavior, or on nationalism, rather than on the vast crimes being committed worldwide.

Our political leaders vie to see how many people they can throw out of the too few lifeboats.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Tweets: On the Election and General Political Attitudes

A coalition of women, people of color, and young people could swing the election. – link

I'm not even sure [Biden would win.] If it's old rich white guy vs old rich white guy, would people vote for Biden? – link

We have suddenly had a great deal of reality weighed in on us on a very short period of time. Denial is the natural stubborn reaction. There is, unfortunately, no guarantee that acceptance will eventually follow.  – link

Monday, September 9, 2019

Fascist Disaster Planning

I think most major world leaders have decided that planetary disaster is inevitable and that there isn’t enough space in the lifeboats, and so are starting to throw people into the ocean.


Me, writing in 2017:
2020. Look to 2020. The country will be a shambles by then, but with luck, organization, and leadership an opposition can win in 2020. We can try things in 2018, but by 2020 I hope we are ready.
Well, we did try something in 2018 and it worked – the Democrats took back the House … and then starting slow-walking action against Trump and the Republicans.

The USA certainly is a shambles and I see no signs the opposition is going to be ready for the 2020 elections.

… and what will we do if Trump and the Republicans lose, yet refuse to leave office? What will we do about the outbreak of right-wing terrorism likely to follow the election, regardless of which side loses?

Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Cost of Clean Power

It is a commonplace on that we are building no more nuclear plants and shutting down existing plants because they are too expensive. But…

They are more expensive than wind and solar – variable renewable energy (VRE.) Good, fine. But VRE has its limits, and somewhere between 60% and 90% of grid power, and something more reliable is needed for the balance, either fossil energy, large-scale long-term storage, large-scale hydro, or nuclear. Right now, that something is fossil energy, derived from natural gas and coal, both environmental problems. Natural gas plants is what we currently building and we have to stop burning natural gas. Not only is it a fossil fuel, and therefore a contributor to carbon emissions, it is itself a potent greenhouse gas, though a less persistent one than CO₂.

So, a bit of qualitative economic modeling. While we are building the smart grid, everything is fine for a while. VRE is ramping up and fossil fuel plants are shutting down. But when we arrive the limit of VRE (60%? 90%?) we have to either keep the fossil fuel plants going, driving the warming of the world, turn out the lights (or life-support) somewhere, or find something else to fill in the gap. By that time it will be very late and the necessary work will be very expensive. It would be wiser to start investing and researching now.

Friday, September 6, 2019

What We Now Are Building Instead of Nuclear Plants

Natural gas plants. Burning natural gas creates CO₂, a greenhouse gas. Natural gas production leaks methane which is itself a greenhouse gas, more potent but less persistent than CO₂. This is all crazy and this is what we are doing.