Here are the highlights from yesterday’s news.

  • Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton is GONE. Bolton claims he resigned, Trump claims Bolton was fired.  Bolton was Trump’s third NatSec Adviser and a neo-con who enthusiastically supported George W. Bush’s Iraq war debacle.  This was just the latest departure in the most tumultuous, revolving-door cabinet in presidential history.
  • The North Carolina special Congressional election was held yesterday and while Democrat Dan McCready didn’t win, he lost by a very slender margin in a district that Trump won by 12 points and should have been an easy win for the Republicans.  The final numbers suggest that unless something big changes in North Carolina, Trump may not win the state in 2020, a state he won easily in 2016.  This result must have Trump’s election crew alarmed.
  • New polling from CNN show Trump’s national disapproval rating has risen to 60%, a new high.  Other poll results show that Trump is losing to all of the major Democratic challengers in the state of Texas!  Yes, you read that right.  Trump may have to devote a ton of time and treasure to win the state of Texas in 2020.  If he can’t, he will lose the election.
  • For the first time in ten years, the number of uninsured Americans rose.  The uninsured rate went from 7.9% in 2017 to 8.5% in 2018–a change roughly equal to 2 million people.  This is bad news for the most vulnerable among us, and is partly due to the sabotage of the ACA (Obamacare) by the Trump regime and the corrupt GOP.  Republicans have become the party that lies to your face about protecting health insurance.

Climate change is one of the top issues heading into 2020, so it’s no surprise that an article on climate in The New Yorker by novelist Jonathan Franzen is getting a ton of attention and criticism.  Franzen’s dark article is titled “What if We Stopped Pretending?” with the sub-heading, “The climate apocalypse is coming. To prepare for it, we need to admit that we can’t prevent it.”  Franzen paints a grim picture of the near future and gives his own non-scientific rationale for expecting that humans won’t be able to respond to the crisis in a remotely effective or timely way.  Franzen makes this claim:

If you’re younger than sixty, you have a good chance of witnessing the radical destabilization of life on earth—massive crop failures, apocalyptic fires, imploding economies, epic flooding, hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing regions made uninhabitable by extreme heat or permanent drought. If you’re under thirty, you’re all but guaranteed to witness it.

He goes on to suggest how we should proceed if we accept this claim.  Here is a link:

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/what-if-we-stopped-pretending

Climate scientists and journalists quickly piled onto Franzen, some saying it was the worst article written on climate in the last 20 years, criticizing both his pessimism and conclusions. And I can understand their dismay.  Franzen isn’t a scientist and his tone was off-putting, to put it mildly.  But I’ve yet to see anyone refute his initial claim.

We are already on the verge of climate spiraling lethally out of control.  We are already seeing horrifying feedback loops that cannot be stopped: permafrost melting and releasing methane that then makes the climate warmer; forests getting hotter and drier, then burning and releasing massive amounts of carbon into the air, which makes the climate hotter and certain areas drier; glaciers darkening while melting (because of pollutants trapped in the ice), which only makes them melt faster.  Etc, etc.

Humans continue to transfer massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and we have yet to implement any wide-scale mitigation to slow down our rapid alteration of the composition of our air.  We are already on the verge of a 1-degree Celsius rise in global temperature–halfway to the 2-degree rise that scientists consider the point of no return–and we break temperature records almost every month now.  This isn’t fear mongering.  This is fact.  The house is on fire.  Anyone who doesn’t think so hasn’t been paying attention to the science.  And even if humans somehow scaled back our emissions today, the amount of carbon already in the air won’t decrease for decades.  I urge you to read Franzen’s article and the responses of climate scientists–they can be Googled easily.  His conclusions may be severe, but his dire description of the current state of the climate seems sadly accurate.

Whatever climate mitigation remains possible, it won’t happen unless we beat Trump in 2020 and flip the Senate.  Keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

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