Monday, October 31, 2016

What's Even Scarier Than A Kid In A Trump Halloween Mask?

Image result for kid in Trump Halloween mask
The word is out that a lot of kids this Halloween will be sporting Trump masks of one kind or another.  Why a kid would choose such a mask instead of a zombie or demon, is beyond me. But maybe the kid knows something I don't, or perhaps believes Donald Trump's visage is scarier than any 'Walking Dead" zombie's or a Satan mask.

Of course, Trump himself is already trying to scare the hell out of Colorado voters. Just this past Saturday, at a rally in a swing county,  this imp called into question Colorado's mail ballots. (This is the first election in the state which is - this year- all mal ballot. Though people can still choose to vote in person if they choose).  At the rally Trump bellowed:

"I have real problems with ballots being sent. Like people say, ‘Oh here’s a ballot. Here’s another ballot, throw it away. Oh, here’s one I like. We’ll keep that one.’ I have real problems.”

I have zero idea what he's babbling about, but this state's mail oversight is among the toughest. As Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett put it, quoted in The Boulder Daily Camera :

Local governments and county clerks do a really good job regulating the integrity of elections, and I’ll stand by that record any day of the week.

The Denver Post explained in an article earlier this month, vote rigging would be practically impossible in Colorado. “Pack a lunch . . .  and a dinner . . .  and a snack and a breakfast and a second lunch and four more weeks of food,” the article joked, “because you’re going to be at it for at least a month in dozens of counties and will have to evade hundreds of people from across the political spectrum trying to stop you.”
There is no single hackable election system in Colorado.  Each of the state’s 64 counties have their own set of systems which are overseen by independent local officials, use as many as five different brands of voting machines, and have to have their results reconciled and verified by bipartisan canvas boards. To effectively rig the entire state, one would need to bypass several layers of checks-and-balances in 64 geographically disparate locations

As I also noted in a previous post, each mail ballot such as we recently sent in, must be signed and dated. The original validation must have been done in previous actual voting at the polls via use of Colorado ID cards (before the mail balloting law was passed).  Btw, you can't just "pick up" a mail ballot, like on the sidewalk, erase all the voter marks (which must be rendered in blue or black INK  - not pencil) then re-do and mail it. As I said it has to be signed and any such ballot found would already have been - else it's disqualified.

Does Trump believe the various county election clerks are too dumb or blind to notice when a ballot's marks have been erased and re-done, or when a false signature has been inserted?  Give me a break. Besides, who the hell would go to all that trouble anyway? This year's ballot covers - in most counties - more than 35 choices, including voting for Propositions (e.g. 106 for medically assisted death) and state amendments to the Constitution (e.g. 69, 70, 71 and 72) not to mention choices for all the lesser offices. Who is daft enough to go to all that work, or would fill in only the presidential picks and leave all other ovals blank, raising definite suspicion.

It makes no sense, but this is what happens when unhinged paranoia runs amuck.  As for the insinuation that clerks at election offices would just pick certain ballots and toss them away, why? There is no way to tell if one ballot is voting a certain way because all are sealed in security sleeves then in regular envelopes. There is no way in hell to see through the outer envelope to determine what any voter choices are, say as a putative basis to chuck a ballot.

Trump even added a warning to county election officials: “We have a lot of people watching you people that collect the ballots.”

Yeppers, and I suppose we will spot them with their little plastic badges and Trump masks!

Then there's the brainwashed Trump harpy, Terri Lynn Rote,
Image for the news result

who actually - get this - voted twice, because she believed the election is rigged. She told an Iowa  public radio station she cast one vote for Trump at an early voting station in Polk County, IA, then another at a satellite station, before being busted and is now out on $5,000 bond. Rote's arrest appears to have escaped the notice of Trumpies that this single event elevated Iowa's current voter fraud stats in this election into the stratosphere. Alas for them, it is owing to an obsessed Trumpie, not immigrants or "dead people".

Anyway, what is far scarier than kids wandering through neighborhoods begging for candy in Trump masks, or Trump fear mongering about Colorado mail ballots, is the latest report by Project Censored. This concerns all the prime news stories that "didn't make the news", in other words, were shelved by the mainstream media. 

Some of these scary stories are:

1. U.S. military now deployed in 70 percent of the nations of the world.

If that doesn't scare the bejeezus out of you, and you don't believe that's military overstretch, I don't know what else to tell you. Maybe you are living in a parallel universe.

2. Much of the evidence to do with medical science may be untrue.

This pretty well speaks for itself. If we can't trust what our doctors tell us, re: diagnoses, treatments, side effects, then we are for the high jump.

3. Rising CO2 levels threaten to permanently disrupt vital ocean bacteria.

Deniers may shrug and say "meh", but all sentient beings on the planet ought to be shaking in their boots given the role of these bacteria.

4. Electronic Voting machines and search algorithms cold swing the election.

This is the REAL voting fraud specter, not writing dead people's names on ballots, or dumping mail ballots in dumpsters as Trump suggested on Saturday.

5. Neolberals offering  "humanitarian solutions" to refugee crisis.

Whenever you read or hear of the Neoliberal domain offering solutions for the refugee crisis, in the guise of humanitarianism, be afraid, be very afraid.

6. Over 1.5 million American families live on $2 per person per day.

A genuinely scary economic fact if ever there was one.

7. CISA - The Internet Surveillance Act No One Is Discussing

If this doesn't make you paranoid about the Neoliberal security  state I don't know what will.

Yes, Trump and his deluded minions - and perhaps even kids masquerading as them - do inspire a bit of fear. But not as much as the sheer volume of serious news the corporate media has kept from us - as revealed by Project Censored. Arguably even scarier is how this missing knowledge could assist poltroons and political misfits to manipulate consent.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Americans Lost Faith In Democratic Institutions Traced To The Kennedy Assassination

One of thousands of 'Wanted for Treason' posters retrieved from Dallas streets on the day of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Our civic decline and mistrust in government commenced almost from the instant of Kennedy's killing.

More and more articles, op-eds have been shedding light on the retreat of American voters from embracing democracy and democratic institutions and many even distrusting the voting process entirely. For reference, a Pew Research Center Poll barely a month ago showed the "trust in government" at 19 percent, compared to 89 percent in 1959.  Meanwhile, Gallup's research  has: Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low.

One article kept from The International New York Times, from when we traveled eastern Europe last September, stated that not only have citizens liked democracy less than they once did but also "the democratic game itself"  has been eroded. The level of discourse citizen to citizen has coarsened as well as the discourse within and between branches of the government itself.  We now see, for example, procedures like the filibuster - once reserved for extraordinary circumstances -  employed with regularity.

Most astounding to me was the observation (ibid.)

"When asked by the World Values Survey to rate how democratically their country is being governed on a 10 point scale, a third of Americans responded at the low end - 'not at all democratic"

Even more astounding and veering into the appalling - a recent public opinion poll showed that 43 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of independents would support a military coup against the United States government under certain circumstances.

What has happened between 1959 and the present to degrade civility and political civic space to this extent? Writing as one who has lived those years and observed carefully the nation's political arc, I can put the down slide almost from the time of the Kennedy assassination, on Nov. 22, 1963. 

Most savvy and politically aware people, paying any attention at all, knew from the instant LBJ was sworn in (later on the 22nd) that he had had a hand in at least accepting a plan for the kill.  When he set up the phony Warren Commission,, everyone with  politically savvy eyes and ears could smell a rat, a ruse to cover up the bastard's tracks. With the  cover up's assistance of Operation Mockingbird, the metastasizing cancer of government distrust had begun its long and sordid track. As Steve Kornacki reported in his ‘UP’ journal on MSNBC, the morning of Nov. 23, 2013, the "fix" was in even before JFK arrived in Big D. Using tapes and media documents, Kornacki showed that Johnson was about to be exposed as an influence peddler in conjunction with the Bobby Baker scandal by LIFE magazine in its upcoming issue. Johnson knew this months in advance and also he had no choice other than to place his future fortunes with the several interests that wanted Kennedy dead, especially the CIA.

A paper trail of bank statements and payments was to have been included in the LIFE expose, and as Kornacki pointed out a Senate investigation would have ensured LBJ being dumped from Kennedy’s 1964 ticket.  In other words, LBJ had by far the most to gain from JFK’s assassination, since he’d then be next in line as President, and not have to face justice in the Baker scandal. What most don't say is that many of us were already aware of Johnson's nefarious background at the time and we didn't trust him.   Philip Nelson, whose book ‘LBJ – The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination’ – was even cited by former British intelligent agent and author John Hughes-Wilson,  observed (Chapter 6: The Conspirators, p. 317):

“The crime could only have been accomplished with at least the acquiescence and foreknowledge of the only man capable of choreographing the massive cover-up which was immediately launched. It is axiomatic that since the cover-up started before the shots were fired, the order for JFK’s assassination could only have come from his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson.”

By 1984, LBJ's propensity to remove obstacles by murder was finally uncovered in a Dallas Morning News headline article, e.g.

Image may contain: 3 people
Billie Sol Estes reported that Johnson had Henry Harvey Marshall, a USDA official in charge of the federal cotton allotment detail,  killed because he had attempted to link Estes’ nefarious dealings to the then Vice-President.  While Estes ended up doing prison time, he did have his say before a grand jury (which subpoenaed him)  In the follow-up grand jury investigation, Johnson, his one-time aide Cliff Carter, and ‘Mac’ Wallace were all deemed “co-conspirators in the murder” of Marshall.

But Johnson was only one sordid piece - or cog-   in the whole undermining tapestry that has ultimately led to the massive citizen distrust in government and the democratic process we behold today. It is part of the cancer I refer to as erosion of the nation's civility and civic space.  The fact is that enormous external forces were already afoot and wary of Kennedy's policies and genuinely liberal stances on multifold issues.  Stances which, if continued, would very well threaten those interests.

For example, we now understand today that much of the rancor and sense of rebellion has been initiated with global trade pacts like NAFTA.   We now also know that the hype used by the elites to pump up support has been more a matter of manipulation of citizen consent, e.g.

But this incentive to spread a misshapen plan for global trade didn't just commence in the past 25 years. Nor did the aspiration for a genuinely fair trade system originate recently. In fact,
the original importance of preserving a global trade network without sacrifice to private monopoly or multi-national power was first recognized by  John F. Kennedy in late 1962 and 1963. He made enormous efforts to stave off incipient private control of the globalization process. As Donald Gibson observes in his must-read monograph(‘Battling Wall Street – The Kennedy Presidency’, Sheridan Square Press, 1994, p. 113):

"John Kennedy declared the 1960s the decade of development. The Alliance for Progress, development aid, low interest loans, nation-to-nation cooperation, and some measure of government planning were some of the ingredients of that policy. Within a few years of Kennedy's death most of this had been abandoned. By the early 1970s, this type of effort and the optimism associated with it had vanished altogether."

The effect was that the task of implementing and governing economic adjustment was assumed by private markets. Power which has grown exponentially since the extirpation of the Bretton Woods agreement in 1973. The causal undercurrents and ideology of corporate-state global domination have been well articulated by Gibson, even from before its emergence within ten years of the Kennedy assassination (which many astute observers tie in with financial elite interests) (op. cit. P. 75):

"Kennedy's ideas.. .his view of foreign aid and foreign policy, and his recommendations and actions in a variety of specific areas disrupted or threatened to disrupt an established order. In that established order, in place for most of the century, major government decisions were to serve or at least not disrupt the privately organized hierarchy."

Gibson goes on to point out that the vested interests within this hierarchy were similar to, "if not direct imitations of those of that older British elite rooted in inherited wealth and titles, and organized in the modern world around control of finance and raw materials." (ibid.)

It seems very plausible then, that the slaying of John F. Kennedy set the stage for a global Corporatocracy in which these same elite imperatives would be allowed to subordinate and dominate the interests and welfare of the masses. Imaginary? Take a gander at columnist Jay Bookman's view from his article "New World Disorder - Evident Here and Abroad", in The Baltimore Sun, 1998):

"The global economy has been constructed on the premise that government guarantees of security and protection must be avoided at all costs, because they discourage personal initiative. In times of crisis, however, that premise cannot be sustained politically. In times of trouble it is human nature to seek security and protection and to be drawn toward those who promise to provide it. That is how men such as Adolf Hitler, and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin came to power, with disastrous consequences. "

Let's be reminded here that Hitler's ascension, in particular, was spurred on by increasing dissatisfaction of Germans with the democratic processes of the Weimar Republic. A lot of insights have been gleaned by talks with my German sister-in-law, Krimhilde, e.g.

When I saw her earlier this year in Barbados we again talked about conditions before Hitler came to power.  Mostly, people were fed up. Fed up with the scarcity of key food items and also with the inflation.

"When a loaf of bread cost more than a week's wages it is serious" she said.

Hitler was viewed with suspicion, as Trump is now, but offered a plan, a way out, "Lebensraum"  - and Germans jumped at the chance to improve their lot. But it would mean trashing the Versailles Treaty which had been a millstone around Germans' necks.

With Hitler's invasion of the Sudetenland, in 1938, the incineration of Versailles was finalized and Hitler and the Third Reich were well on the way to their ideal of expanded living space and resources.

After this diversion let's return to the global trade issue, and again, Kennedy's will to insist it be equitable. Gibson notes that the elite banking and financial interests at the time  (ibid.) "would have little tolerance for a president who interfered with their decisions or made their interests secondary to the needs of nations or of people in general."

One could say that by the time of JFK's assassination, the global tableaux had been set for eventual market domination of the world. With no other fearless national leaders to stand in the way (the last ones assassinated) the goal of worldwide subjugation of national interests to speculative capital, trans-national corporate control and personal debt could proceed apace. One merely had to await the right constellation of pro-market interests,  military consolidation and interjection, e.g.
and this was incepted in the Reagan years - reaching its culmination in the early 1990s via bi-partisan support of "Neoliberalism". 

The global trade plan was long range to be sure, but the elites had always been patient. Now they would exercise that patience and sense of noblesse oblige. Again, the payoff being a world of serfs delivered to them by their own governments. These governments themselves hamstrung by the unequal power of differing accords (i.e. GATT, NAFTA) over which they had little option other than to 'sign on'. Accords which could disembowel labor, its pensions and benefits, and lay waste to all social safety nets to protect the more vulnerable citizens. At the same time reckoning hard-won environmental laws as 'trade impediments' to be challenged in a world trade court (WTO).
Perhaps no more eloquent condemnation of this travesty arrived than from an op-ed by Ian McDonald, appearing in The Barbados NATION (Aug. 14, 1998):

Do we really believe for one moment that those who preach free trade and the inevitable triumph of market forces have anything other than their own increased wealth and aggrandizement in mind? Do we honestly believe they think the system they espouse is fundamentally a good one for all concerned? Are we so naïve as to think if, by any chance, the system were to operate against their interests, that they would not make sure it was changed or abridged to suit them? Are we so innocent and trusting that we cannot recognize bullying and crude self-interest when our noses are being rubbed in it constantly?"


"We should cease making speech after speech accepting that our fate and the fate of the world, will inevitably be decided by impersonal, market controlled forces and the sooner we accept this the better off we will be. Instead we should be denying most strongly, in every forum available to us, that such a fate is inevitable... That instead the world deserves a better future than the one on offer from the ruthless money men and sleaze-ridden free trade marketeers, who are making this terrible bid to dominate the world."

 McDonald's writing flair exactly channeled the building rage against governments themselves for siding with elite interests to render them pawns. It prefigures today's rage and massive distrust in democratic institutions.  William Greider, in his masterful work One World Ready Or Not - The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism, is blunt that the overall imperative is  ultimate abolition of all governmental, national social insurance systems - whether these be Medicare or Social Security in the United States, or the analogous systems in Germany or Barbados. In each case, the particular system to be replaced by a privatized entity able to generate individual debt, corporate profit and further income inequality.

Were there significant citizen efforts to thwart the march toward global corporate fiefdom?  Yes, and the most recent were by the young (mainly) protestors behind Occupy Wall Street.  However, once the Neoliberal security state had them in their sights, e.g.

The movement basically was neutralized.  Factored into this was how OWS protestors - exercising their first amendment rights- were targeted by rifles in Houston, in 2013, e.g.
Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what the document obtained from the Houston FBI, said as received by David Lindorff (see also: )

"An identified [DELETED] as of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protestors (sic) in Houston, Texas if deemed necessary. An identified [DELETED] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [DELETED] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles."

By now, with the justified citizen efforts pummeled, rage began to mount, and malignant distrust of all government institutions as well as the Constitution itself began to take hold. They only needed a spark, and that was delivered by Edward Snowden in 2013 when the first NSA files disclosing massive overreach were released. Among the findings:

" The following information was deemed  fair game for collection without a warrant: the e-mail addresses you send to and receive from, and the subject lines of those messages; the phone numbers you dial, the numbers that dial in to your line, and the durations of the calls; the Internet sites you visit and the keywords in your Web searches; the destinations of the airline tickets you buy; the amounts and locations of your ATM withdrawals; and the goods and services you purchase on credit cards."

There existed a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, were considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database in question could identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.” He and other sources note the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.

The tragedy of the 20th (and now 21st ) century is the tragedy of the civic commons. The gradual erosion of civil society is largely fueled by the removal of civic space (as well as civic protest)  and hence the reality that citizen interests are eclipsed by corporate and market interests, either in pursuit of state (or corporate) power, profits or both. Thus, political influence is purchased via the power of the purse, for example in lobbying, or in the current cycle via Koch brothers infusion of money to defeat policies, candidates they don't want. These vermin then write the laws subsequently enacted to favor their special interests, whether bloated defense contracts, or absurd prescription drug bills that are really corporate welfare.

Again, this isn't occurring just in the U.S. (though it has been most rapid here) but all over the world, as the Globalists clear out public space to make room for their corporate power enclaves.

If you don't know why there's such anti-government (anti-establishment) rage as well as loss of faith in the democratic process then you haven't been paying enough attention. Thus, no surprise we've seen the dominance of corporate space over civic space, paving the way for citizens to emerge as corporate serfs and pawns.

The latest blow to citizen trust in the process and in government didn't arrive by way of the TPP, NAFTA or any other global trade pact but by FBI Director James Comey's announcement yesterday to revisit Hillary Clinton's emails, this now barely ten days from the general election. As Jennifer Granholm put it last night on Chris Hayes' show:

"You can't put something out eleven days before a presidential election that has an impact on the election...I'm a former federal prosecutor and the rules related to how a prosecutor or investigator is to act in the face of an election are really quite clear. You are to limit the impact on the election. But in this case there is no evidence of any wrongdoing on her part."

Indeed, the case was only re-opened because files were found on sex pervert Anthony Weiner's computer which was shared by Huma Abedin, a Hillary aide while at State.   In an interview on 'Smerconish' (CNN) this morning, Matt Miller - another former prosecutor - agreed that  yes, Comey was probably worried about the Rs using it to criticize him if he waited until post-election, but added "You know, that's too bad, but you suck it up!"

On Chris Hayes 'All In' Mr. Miller also noted:

"When the FBI conducts investigations like this they're not supposed to comment on them anyway and especially not so close to an election. There's a long standing practice at DOJ that they go out of their way not to say anything close to election day, usually defined within 60 days."

Alas, the damage may already have been done, we just don't know how much. What we do know is this latest episode isn't likely to elevate citizen trust in the democratic process - even as it fuels the furor of Trumpies now convinced he was right all along in his wild accusations about election "rigging". They would be well advised to worry more about how his election would spur this country further into the global corporatocracy and render them - and the rest of us - even more abject serfs.

See also:


Solar Wind Finally Observed As It Forms

Image at left shows faint solar wind before computer processing, and right after processing. To obtain the latter image a computer algorithm was used to dim the background star field.

Since the solar wind was discovered in the 1960s, solar and space physicists have yearned for  way to access it visually as it first forms from the solar corona. The task hasn't been easy because of the low density of the wind and lack of luminance in relation to the corona and background stellar field,  making any discriminant observation almost impossible.

Now a team led by Craig DeForest of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, CO has published a paper in The Astrophysical Journal describing a novel technique they've used to image it more prominently. The comparison of images above shows the differences in contrast before and after the computer processing.

For those interested the gist of the paper can be found at:

Why was this image separation so important? Well, though space and solar physicists knew the solar wind was physically connected to the corona they weren't sure how the one transitioned into the other.  This is important because, as DeForest put it (quoted in Eos: Earth & Space Science News, p. 3, ):

"We're trying to understand, among other things, why the solar wind near the Earth is variable and gusty."

This "gustiness" can affect the trajectory of CMEs, coronal mass ejections which, if they strike Earth, can knock out telecommunications and damage electrical transmission lines. In effect, our ability to accurately forecast solar wind phenomena, i.e. the occurrence of magnetic substorms at Earth's magnetosphere, depends on knowing as much about it as possible.

This algorithmically enhanced imagery helps because the transition between corona and colar wind is extremely difficult to ascertain - given the faintness of the wind - against a background full of stars and interplanetary dust. Reducing the intensity of the latter therefore enhances the imagery of the solar wind.  As DeForest summed up the problem: "When scientists looked at previous images seeing the corona fade it was difficult to tell whether it was fading in an absolute sense or just dropping below the stellar background".

What changed? Well, the availability of NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) with its ability to render computer processed imagery. STEREO's algorithm -based processing removed all objects of "fixed" brightness, e.g. like that emanating from the dust cloud that fills the inner solar system, as well as the background stars.  When these were removed it left only the moving and variable features of the solar wind itself.

Already, one major new finding revealed from the STEREO  imagery is that once the solar material travels about a third of the distance from the Sun to the Earth, the magnetic fields weaken enough so that solar wind particles can disperse from the field lines. That means they can then "fan out" analogous to what an Earthly wind might do.

According to NASA, the solar wind transforms from rays to dispersed particles in a manner analogous to the way water from a water gun or hose breaks up into a spray. Closer to the nozzle, the water is one mass, but it disperses into droplets as it moves away.  Similarly, the solar plasma is basically visible as one contiguous mass closer to the corona then disperses into particles further away.

Solar and space physicists are excited by this new work because it will help us to predict the arrival and strength of solar outbursts, including Earth bound CMEs.

See also:



Friday, October 28, 2016

Separating Paranoid Balderdash From Rational Conspiracy Thinking

It is no secret that in certain nations governed by the Neoliberal security meme,  any conspiracy thinking is regarded as - if not a specific pathology - at least a minor mental aberration ("tin foil hat" syndrome). This actually makes eminent logical sense given the leaders of a Neoliberal,  security -based government must - by definition- be on the lookout for anyone who might inveigh against their hard-earned agenda for which any disclosures are  unwelcome.  This is especially so with the JFK assassination, superbly exposed in Col. John Hughes-Wilson's recent book, JFK - An American Coup d'Etat.

No surprise then that a long time Neoliberal columnist, David Brooks, wrote in a recent NY Times Op-Ed ('The Epidemic Of Worry'):

"It is a well-established fact that people who experience social exclusion have a tendency to slide toward superstitious and conspiratorial thinking"

But is this really so?

To a degree, yes, but it must be clarified. By "social exclusion" Brooks doesn't necessarily mean the affected people live like hermits or outright recluses. He means, rather, they are outside the loop of the elite political class, outside the knowledge -based enterprises. He means, in general: i) those with the least advanced education, ii) those without the economic freedom to enable choices to enhance their knowledge of the system (taken to mean the Neoliberal system), and iii) those whose employment is not knowledge, information based but rather tied to muscle, hence again divorced from the knowledge loop. Often in two ways, first because their work precludes admission, and second because their work leaves them too taxed to investigate on their own.

For this lot, one of the few options is to hitch their fortunes and futures to a person - a de facto "voice" - who apparently has all the answers.  In this case, he may suggest the whole system is "rigged" including the media, without giving particulars. Never mind, it saves the "excluded" from having to put forth individual efforts of their own. So they adopt his way of thinking, which often also entails conspiracies, i.e. the opposition campaign is the beneficiary of a "global network of elites".

In other words, the conspiracies latched onto translate to a sense of powerlessness.  This would fit into the template Dr. Pat Bannister once invoked to describe a "conspiracy culture", thereby to distinguish it from "conspiracy research community". The latter she envisaged as the province of mature, rational, educated adults. The former was the realm of the semi-literate or poorly educated who fancied themselves adults but really weren't.   They were more like overgrown children playing elaborate paranoid games. Irrationalists like the indiscriminate conspiracy monger, Alex Jones, e.g.

Image result for alex jones

Jones is notorious for whacky conspiracy ideation such as confecting the off the wall bunkum that the Sandy Hook/Newtown massacre was a federal "false flag" operation. Those twenty  kids weren't really slain, they were merely actors- as well as the teachers- in an elaborate script to befuddle the public and make them demand gun confiscation across the land.

In one of his more recent outbursts, Jones fulminated on Tuesday about a crypto Jewish conspiracy afoot in the country:

I mean it’s not that Jews are bad; it’s just they are the head of the Jewish Mafia in the United States. They run Uber. They run the health care. They’re going to scam you. They’re going to hurt you.” 

Really, Alex? And where is the hard data, documents for that claim? Or is it merely the brain fart from a ruptured psychotic embolism in your amygdala?  The word "tin foil" had not yet achieved wide currency by the time of Dr. Pat Bannister's work, but I've no doubt she would have applied it to the spurious neural eruptions of crazy loons like Alex Jones.

Donald Trump is roughly in the same balmy,  nutso camp as Jones with his "rigged election" conspiracy balderdash. Like many loons he believes that merely repeating unsupported claims makes them so. Thus his incessant references to this election being "rigged", or "stolen" as through "voter fraud".  But how is that happening if states control the electoral process and 31 of the 50 states are run by Republican governors. Is Trump saying that even the governors of his own party are rigging the election? (John Kasich, of Ohio, dismissed that notion last Thursday morning on CBS as total idiotic nonsense.)

Now, what about a different perspective, such as advanced by Wikileaks' Julian Assange (a former physicist) , who in one 6-page  blog article ('Conspiracy as Governance')  advanced a meta-theory of conspiracy, i.e. as inherent to the very nature and workings of Neoliberal governance.

The essay tied together authoritarian governments, corporations, certain terrorist organizations and even political parties as fundamentally organizational  "conspiracies"- defined as groups that conceal and hoard secret information to win a competitive advantage over the general public. This advantage would seek to either: a) keep them in the dark as to deals or laws that would be to the public's detriment, or b) activities that over time undermine democracy, privacy and liberty - though on the surface the media assists in a continuing whitewash.

The classic historical case is the JFK assassination, which saw a nascent, genuinely liberal Presidency removed by force in a coup d'état to make way for a Neoliberal security state able to gradually foreclose citizen knowledge of its workings while eroding civil liberties. See e.g.

But given we already exist within the security state germinated since that critical event, it behooves us to examine what that state has managed to hide from us, but which by diligent effort has been exposed.  A lot of this arrived in 2013 with Edward Snowden's whistle blowing on NSA programs like MUSCULAR, Xkeyscore, etc, that trampled on citizens' 4th amendment rights.

Years before Snowden's release of files showing NSA mass spying, Assange in his treatise argued that leaks cut the "conspiracies" open like a double-edged knife, empowering the public with privileged information while spreading confusion among the conspirators themselves ("Who let that cat out of the bag?", "Who released that FOIA document?", "Who leaked that info!?")

Further, if constant leakage was the rule, as opposed to the exception, Assange argued that conspiratorial organizations would be gripped by destructive, internecine paranoia leaving only transparent groups and governments to flourish.

While at first blush Assange's treatise sounds as cracked as one of Jones' radio rants, one must take care not to jump to conclusions and instead investigate history for such a basis. If one is intelligent and diligent enough he will find that in the early operations of Edward Bernays.

Bernays began his career in Woodrow Wilson's Committee on Public Information. The objective was to drumbeat millions of recalcitrants into seeing the need for War. War to 'make the world safe for democracy' - in the words forged by Bernays first PR hacks. Later, much later - PR firms and sales-marketing departments would use the CPI as a template for their own efforts to mold the American mass mind.

Bernays left much more of a foundation for manipulative deceit than merely the CPI. For example, in 1923 he published what became the official manifesto of all future public relations 'Crystallizing Public Opinion'. As the title implies, the basic goal was to drumbeat the maximum number of 'the masses' into a homogeneous and consistent consent. But do it without their awareness.

By now the groundwork for control of the public mind, as well as hoarding secret information to enable its facile manipulation, was well underway. Five years later came Bernays' definitive work 'Propaganda' - whose principles were to be later adopted wholesale by Goebbels and Reifenstahl. It was in this book that the master betrayed his intents - if ever there was any doubt before:

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government, which is the true ruling power of our country."

And here we see for the first time the term 'invisible government'. This Bernays equated to 'the true ruling power of the country'. In effect, he had taken the Bill of Rights and smashed it into a thousand pieces, giving authority for governance to a presumed intellectual and political elite.

So we see the seeds for the governance that Assange postulated had actually arrived by 1923, and had been consolidated by 1928.  Fast forward now to the present, if Assange's arguments have any heft then we'd need to see some kind further evidence, beyond Snowden's file releases, unearthed by careful, assiduous sleuthing in the real world. As it turns out a number of findngs have manifested in recent weeks from different sources including:

- That the Trans Pacific Partnership deal is a "Trojan Horse" with a provisions written in for "Investor-State Dispute Settlement" suits.  This basically means foreign corporations and investors can trump U.S. appellate courts and instead bring lawsuits via private tribunals against citizens or communities deemed guilty of blocking say...their fracking operations, oil pipelines or food processing methods. (Cf. 'Free Trade's Trojan Horse' in Sierra magazine, Nov-Dec., p. 45)

Also, see:

- Project Censored's number one censored story for the year that US. military forces are now in 147 of the world's 195 nations, an 80 percent increase since 2010.  In 135 nations a secret war is being conducted. See e.g.

-  Another Project Censored hitherto concealed story: A Cybersecurity Sharing Act or CISA,  which had originally been blocked by the Senate through a 56-40 vote, has since been signed into law by Obama as part of a revised 2,000 - page Omnibus spending bill - with total media silence.  The Act:

"Authorizes the creation of a system for corporate informants to provide customers' data to the Department of Homeland Security which - in turn - can share this information with other federal agencies, including: the NSA, the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and others - without privacy protecting safeguards or special warrants. "

As one of the few alert media sources (The UK Guardian) reported,  civil liberties experts were dismayed with the passage of the bill whose most invasive components "made a mockery of the democratic process".

From all these perspectives it appears, therefore, that Assange's "conspiracy as governance" postulate carries vastly more weight than any of Alex Jones' off the cuff paranoid  ideations, and certainly Trump's rigged election nonsense . We have no concrete evidence to support such nutso blather, but we do have evidence of hoarding information - often to citizens' detriment - by the Neoliberal security statists (and their media apparatchiks - see the Project Censored link at the very end of this post.)

We may conclude from this, and I am sure Pat Bannister (if she were alive) would agree, that Assange's 6-page discourse comes closest to actual,  rational conspiracy thinking - and serious research- while Alex Jones demonstrates more paranoid balderdash: useless spoutings that serve no point or purpose other than to fill Jones' air time on his 'Infowars'.

Are the Neoliberals  ensconced in our government really out to get us? I believe it would be more accurate to say they want to keep us in the dark as much as possible concerning critical matters that affect our future welfare.  If they can do so then they can advance their bid for consolidating power. The "conspiracy" then, isn't so much a single coherent plan carried out via meetings in secret enclaves but more a zeitgeist or central conviction shared by all, which unifies their goals. Hence provides a means by which they can ultimately expedite disparate actions all oriented to attainment of a defined agenda - in this case a worldwide Neoliberal economy. Of course, to assure such a vision, military force must often be used, and that is implemented under a pretext that the "governance" agrees upon.

See also:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Did You Know The Poor Have Gained The Most Wealth In The Past 200 Years?

Image result for brane space, political elite

"You might think the rich have become richer and the poor even poorer. But by the standard of basic comfort in essentials the poorest people on the planet have gained the most....Inequality of financial wealth goes up and down but over the long term it has been the more important standard of basic comfort in consumption, inequality within and between countries has fallen nearly continuously."

- Deirdre N. McCloskey, 'Equality, Liberty, Justice and Wealth', The NY Times,, BU-6, Sept. 4

McCloskey puts forward an interesting premise, but once one reads two thirds through her piece it becomes clear it is yet more Neoliberal propaganda based on precious little evidence.  Start with the nonsense of a "basic comfort" gauge - i.e. comparing the downtrodden masses today with those in the early 1800s living in "tents and mud huts". Are you kidding me? Is THAT really the standard for economic elevation we're going to adopt? For a professor of economics it is incredible McCloskey wouldn't appreciate fully that one must use the living standards of the time - not how the lowest were 200 years ago. Else, one ends up comparing apples and oranges, chalk with cheese.

Indeed, if the poor masses have it so great today why are they flooding Europe en masse trying every which way to escape from their lousy economic environs - whether in South Sudan, Bangladesh, Mexico, Cuba, Honduras or wherever, e.g.
calais, migrant, britain, welfare, economic, immigration, population ...
African migrants congregate near Calais to try to make a break through the "Chunnel" to get to Great Britain

Make no mistake that most of these people are economic migrants, which they will admit  to if pressed. They want to get to nations where they perceive increased opportunity, never mind that may well turn out to be a mirage.  Though most attention has focused on fleeing Syrians, in fact the biggest wave is from Africa and this is no surprise because it is experiencing the biggest population explosion.

As noted in the 2015 WSJ piece, 'Humans, Lions Struggle to Co-Exist', Aug. 8-9, p. A7:

"Africa's human population is the fastest growing in the world. In roughly the same period as the lion decline (42 percent over 21 years), the number of Africans has doubled to nearly 1.2 billion people. The population will double again to 2.5 billion by 2050 according to the United Nations."

In fact, short of a global catastrophe (Avian flu, new Ebola outbreak?) , it is projected to reach 5.8 billion by 2100. That means nearly 1 of every 2 people on Earth will be African. Where will the resources be to support them? The jobs? The water? The life quality? Fact is, that population growth is unsustainable and means either vast numbers will perish, likely of disease, war or famine - or they will do everything they can to go to places with greater opportunity and resources- like Europe and the U.S.

Thomas Malthus grasped that an increasing population was unsupportable unless it had access to resources: food, minerals, materials for building, etc., beyond subsistence. He also observed this must be the case given that population grows geometrically (2, 4, 8, 16 etc.) and food production only arithmetically (2, 4, 6, 8). In effect, at some point the population growth becomes so great that the available foodstuffs can no longer support it and one has a crash or dieout.  This is a primary reason for the mass migration movement today, which is also a symptom of endemic poverty.. People understand that they have only one of two choices: starve over the long run or try to get to a place where they might have work, economic security...enough food to eat.

Already, as the preceding image shows, European locations are being swarmed by desperate Africans, from Eritrea, Uganda, Somalia, Nigeria and other countries - as well as by Syrians seeking to escape their civil war. And this doesn't include the tens of thousands also headed for the southern U.S. border, often crossing the Atlantic to Brazil then  going through to Central America. (See the recent TIME on the new migrant influx).

At the core of these human floods is one condition: overpopulation. The population of African nations, for example, is vastly outpacing the ability of those nations to provide jobs or even basic resources. And because these populations consume the scarce resources there are, it means that for their subsistence they are creating ecologic havoc.

That Niger person may not have a Chevy Grand Cherokee belching out 6 tons of CO2 a year but he or she is raiding forests (e.g. for wood to render charcoal for fuel) and thereby decimating the primary carbon "sink". All totaled, between 1990 and 2005 Niger lost 34.9% of its forest cover or around 679,000 hectares. Meanwhile, the total rate of animal habitat conversion for the same interval amounted to 25. 7 percent.

I bring population up because McCloskey as part of her Neolib PR tract  writes:

"Look at the astonishing improvements in China since 1978 and in India since 1991"

But does she seriously believe these economic improvements would have materialized without severe policies to cut back on population?  Take the case of China, for example. It rejected  the world's opprobrium  to implement  a "one child only"  policy.  It opted to do this to contain its numbers so as to strive for higher life quality for all its people. The proof 'is in the pudding' as they say, and if anyone doubts it they merely have to look at the size of China's middle class which now is vastly greater than the U.S. And when you travel to Europe, If you do, you will see Chinese tourists all over- from Jungfraujoch in Switzerland, to Bratislava, Slovakia, to Vienna, Austria and Prague.  There is NO way that many well off Chinese would be turned into globe trotters had the population policy not been changed to provide a more favorable resources to population ratio.

And let's get it straight that lower fertility rates in correlation with greater material abundance and financial status is not peculiar to China.  India by virtue of its mass sterilization policy (attributed to reducing its population by at least a half billion over 30 years)  is also such a success story. It made possible  at least a significant Indian middle class roughly on a par with China's.

McCloskey asks: "What then caused the Great Enrichment?"

And like a true believer, a true Neoliberal acolyte, she writes:

"Not exploitation of the poor but investment, not existing institutions but a mere idea, which the philosopher and economist Adam Smith called 'the liberal plan of equality, liberty and justice.' In a word, it was liberalism, in the free market European sense."

Just give them "equality before the law and equality in social justice and leave them alone", and magical things will happen. 

Which, of course, is codswallop. Because what she is referring to isn't anything other than Neoliberalism and even Adam Smith recognized the need to keep it under control lest resources get out of balance. Smith wrote in his superb book, 'An Inquiry Into The Wealth Of Nations':,

"There are needs in a civilized society that a barbaric one refuses to address" and "What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconvenience to the whole". If one reads his 2-volume work carefully, it is clear Smith is not at all exalting or proposing the distorted Neoliberal system at work in the world today. That system disavows economic security provided by the state-  and extols "free" markets ex machina, which are really coercive markets. What Smith advocated was but something more in line with Rhine capitalism.  As the authors of Capitalism vs. Capitalism have noted, the Rhine economies in the 1970s-80s (with large doses of socialist behavior) actually exceeded American cowboy capitalism in productivity for most of the 70s, 80s. Evidently, some ethic of redistributive sharing works, as even Adam Smith acknowledged in his quote above.

Thus the Rhine model of capitalism built in redistribution to benefit those left behind (say the victims of today's trade pacts)  via higher taxation, which U.S. Neoliberals disavowed. Meanwhile, Matt Miller in his book,  The Tyranny of Bad Ideas, has pointed out that all the so-called European "welfare state" economies (e.g. Denmark, Norway, Sweden etc.) fared much better than the neo-liberal, market dominated U.S. during the great recession. They provided the resources for their citizens to be more resilient, and also their higher formal tax structures prevented the sort of macro-scale deficiencies we still see in the U.S. where infrastructure is crumbling, public pensions are under-funded.

In the U.S. capitalist system, it is more rank commercialized competition that prevails - and that engenders a perpetual destruction that ravages precious resources.  These resources include higher quality (i.e. higher EROEI, or energy returned on energy invested) energy sources. Because of population beyond the bio-capacity limit, and especially higher consumption in the Neoliberal economic West, we are headed to a state of degraded energy assets, massive debt and poverty. See e.g.

In  a small nation like Barbados, with few natural resources, each must be maximized. There isn't the quantity to allow duplication or other squandering in wasteful competition. In the U.S., the exact opposite holds. Huge amounts of resources are yearly squandered in competitive games- that have only one or a few 'winners'. In effect, the 400-odd  billionaires counted in this country have emerged at the expense of vast finite resources being destroyed forever.

McCloskey also insists we can "improve the conditions of the working class" by "raising low productivity". She claims "enabling human creativity" is what has mainly worked.  In a sense, this is true, but that enabling hasn't been consistent or equally distributed for a number of reasons. One of them is the variability of productivity owing to the variability in the energy sources to drive it.

Thus, McCloskey ignores the history of productivity advances, and what's really  been behind them. Northwestern University's Robert Gordon has posited that the Industrial  Revolution (at the turn of the 19th century) had a vastly bigger effect on productivity, economic growth than the so-called "PC revolution" in the 20th. Think about it! The former meant transition from the impossibly laughable energy of whale oil to kerosene, coal etc., a mammoth jump in the EROEI of available energy sources. The latter transpired over a period of roughly 20 years over which the EROEI of oil actually decreased from 16:1 to roughly 10:1.

So no wonder even millions of computers were not able to match the sheer change in productive output that accompanied the Industrial Revolution- and within the scope of the latter's purview we include the internal combustion engine, electricity, and indoor plumbing.  How can we attain the corresponding drivers of productivity today? We can't without new sources of energy.

Gordon  argued, and he's correct, that by the time the digital revolution got under way- say in the 80s- the big payoff in productivity began shrinking.  In this context no amount of "creativity" would matter because ultimately creativity also is contingent on energy capacity to make the new creative concepts work. Meanwhile, the PC-computing payoff basically has "come and gone" dissipating by 2004, when EROEI reached below 10:1 and fracking began as a last desperate effort to snare the vestigial ""riches" of oil - along with deep sea drilling.

What might change the equation? Well, nuclear fusion power, but don't look for it anytime soon. See, e.g.

 The mistake the Neoliberal species called "homo economicus"  continues to make, then, is confusing advancing technology with adequate, high quality energy supply needed to actually leverage creative processes into widespread use for the benefit of all.
The Neoliberal cornucopians like McCloskey get it wrong because they don't take such factors into account nor do they see population growth for the toxin it is, and can't put 2 plus 2 together to see how it leads to the Malthusian nightmare (not necessarily on Paul Ehrlich's timetable).  All of this comes back to net energy which is that energy humans need to survive. If the oil taken from the ground, say by fracking, only has a ratio of 1:1 (for energy produced to energy consumed) then it is useless to extract it. The same amount of oil-energy you are using up to get it, is basically what it carries. There is no net gain.

It is the periodic net gains made possible by higher grade energy sources  that have allowed humans to reproduce and thrive in many places around the globe.  But there has always been a critical balance between the given energy capital and the rate of human consumption. Too little, productivity languishes, too much and existing energy sources become scarce or degraded and productivity still languishes.

It is currently the erosion of net gain (reflected in ever lower GDP)  that will eliminate a majority of  humans. Right now, with humans consuming nearly the equivalent of 1.6 Earths per year there is no way even a population of 7.3 billion can be sustained - far less squeezed into an area the size of Texas as the dimwit Bret Stephens once claimed. (WSJ, 'The Tyranny of a Big Idea', Nov. 3, 2015).
The Neoliberalism McCloskey worships only succeeds because it basically rigs itself against the citizens with fewer assets. This increases inequality, and worse, consolidates the power of the richest on the political system, especially in the U.S. This is why one can have laws which protect profiteers, such as corporations in Denver who refuse to build affordable housing because it doesn't redound to their profit demands or benefit. This leads to deplorable conditions like that shown below:
Michael Lee, 38, looks at a water bottle his daughter Kayah Lee, 6, brought back as her mom, Cristal Olko, 32, and sister, Kemani Lee, 3, look on at the A homeless family crowds into a corner of an Aurora, CO shelter. A food shortage at the shelter meant it had to seek outside assistance. How is Neoliberalism benefiting them?

The affordable  housing situation is so dire in the Denver area (as it is in others, e. g. Miami, San Francisco), that the city must hold a lottery every fall to award 700 to 1000. Section 8 vouchers.  Without such vouchers, a Denver resident would need an income five times the median existing one just to own a home at the median price. He or she would need three times the income to rent - given a median rent in the area of $1700/ month. Do the math for a Walmart clerk or Starbucks barista and see how that works out. And what of the 1.5 million Americans who live on only $2 per day, as reported in Project Censored's No. 5 most concealed story?  (Colorado Springs Independent, Oct. 26- Nov. 1, p. 24)

Here in Colorado Springs the  affordable housing situation isn't much better. The median home price at $262,500 - while less than Denver's ($345,000)  - is still beyond the reach of service sector workers. The mean apartment rent has spiked to $991/ month,  leaving many others in the cold.

What is Neoliberalism doing to rectify this situation? Well, nothing, because as McCloskey writes it's premise is "to leave people alone once laws for social dignity" are in place, oh as well as "equality under the law" (as I've shown, a total farce, given it doesn't exist in practice).  If the laws themselves are predicated on coercive markets instead of genuine free markets, this is a myth. To quote Charles Reich, Opposing the System, Crown Books, 1995, p. 22:

"A free market produces results that favor the health of society as a whole, because an essential balance is maintained. But in a coercive market, the balance is destroyed, the earning power of work and the standard of living of workers declines, and society as a whole is devastated while those with economic power gain an ever more unbalanced share of the nation's economic wealth."

Adam Smith, if he saw McCloskey's paean to the Neoliberal idiom would be turning over in his freaking grave.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Yes, Ocean Life Is Headed To Extinction - Perhaps Even In Millennials' Life Time

Image may contain: plant, sky, outdoor, nature and water

Image may contain: ocean, sky, plant, outdoor, nature and water
Top: Healthy tropical coral reef supporting tabletop and staghorn corals. Bottom: A degraded tropical coral reef, affected by ocean acidification and higher ocean temperatures from global warming.

In a previous post (October 3rd) skewering the cockeyed global warming narrative of a putative high IQ member of Intertel, I noted how Janice and I had taken a tourist cruise sub across Carlisle Bay in Barbados e.g.
Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, water and nature

This tour sub enabled us to see not only healthy coral reefs but also decimated ones, bleached out from higher water temperatures. These degraded reefs very much resembled those shown in the graphic above. It is now clear that this phenomenon is not localized by any means, but occurring worldwide, from the Caribbean to the Pacific to the Indian Ocean.

As recently as 2012 scientists from Columbia University, which led the research. have found surging levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that forced down the pH of the ocean by overall 0.1 mean unit in the last century. This is 10 times faster than the closest historical comparison from 56 million years ago. It's deadly serious because - like the margins for ushering in a runaway greenhouse effect, the margins of safety for acidic oceans are extremely low. Hence, one can't tell by the small magnitude of numerical pH that the increment change is nothing to fret over.

As noted in earlier blogs: the seas absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, forming carbonic acid. The particular chemical reaction is:

H2O + CO2 -> H2 CO3

The lower the pH level of the seawater ('7' is neutral pH), the more acidic. This is also worrisome because mass extinctions of marine creatures in the past have been linked to instances of increased ocean acidification. Thus,  the current incremental change could also threaten important species. This according to Baerbel Hoenisch, the paleoceanographer at Columbia who was lead author of a  2012  paper that appeared in the journal Science. As he noted:

If industrial carbon emissions continue at the current pace, we may lose organisms we care about — coral reefs, oysters, salmon,”

Meanwhile, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said ocean pH may fall another 0.3 units this century. Even before the dawning of the year 2100 that means the generation of millennials could behold an ocean devoid of accessible sea life, leaving only jellyfish.  Anyone think or believe we'd see surfing contests in such waters?

According to ocean research scientist Carles Pelejero, depending on how we humans respond - whether we take action or continue fouling our waters- the pH could reach a low of 7.7 by 2100.  (Note that while technically not in the "acid scale"  i.e. pH  less than 7, we are talking about the direction of the pH change, toward higher acidity.) For reference, Pelejro leads a section of the Institut di Ciencies del Mar but his specific field is marine paleo reconstruction. Some have called it "seabed archaeology - as it uses drills to take samples from deep in the sediment at the bottom of the oceans. Using such samples, marine scientists can assess how the geochemistry of sea creatures has altered.

One of the most horrific findings was associated with the     PETM or Palo-Eocene Thermal Maximum, 55 million years ago. Over a 100ky period the evidence of samples showed a massive die off of shell -based life. If projections hold the same will occur by the end of this century.

An associated worry is that a stable, solid form of methane (clathrates) may be disrupted by current ocean chemical changes in what is called the "clathrate gun hypothesis". Should disruption occur, by changes in the ocean water chemistry and higher temperatures, it would mean the release of a greenhouse gas vastly more damaging than CO2.

For comparison, in the PETM phase referenced above, - which conditions we may now be headed for again  -  sea levels were as much as 330 feet higher than they are today.  Such a rise in sea levels would be enough to obliterate Europe, Florida and the northeast U.S. as well as Argentina.

Pelejero, for his part, is most concerned about the rapidity of the changes taking place now. He has noted that the same shifts that happened over the course of a few thousand years during the PETM era are now due to happen over a few centuries. - counting from the onset of the Industrial Revolution. That means their culmination by the year 2100, barely 83 years away.

Already a number of precursor effects have been observed, including:

- Around the world the shells of some animals are thinner than they were 300 years ago.

- An acidification spike off the coast of British Columbia in February, 2014 wiped out 10 million scallops.

- Foraminfera, the tiniest shelled plankton in the ocean are having trouble growing as they did in the PETM era

Could the seas of the world be filled with only jellyfish within 50 to 100 years? There is every possibility, indeed probability, if we continue our deplorable ways, pumping out ever more CO2 and turning the oceans into a giant waste pit.

Will the climate deniers finally come to their senses when they or their families are no longer able to get fresh fish to eat?   One assumes with all the marine resources, food potential devastated they will finally see the folly of upholding a world view based on Neoliberal, capitalist economics. But I wouldn't put money on it!

See also: