I regularly consult with various branches of our “protector caste”... from the military services and homeland security to several unnamed “agencies.” Naturally, I am encouraged by the fact that some of the most serious-minded men and women on the planet are very interested in well-grounded projections of diverse possible futures - not only mine, but those of several other "science & sci-fi guys."
I can’t tell you about some of these “future studies.” But I am free to share this one observation:
Absolutely all of the top-elite officers of these services appear to be convinced, without a shadow of a doubt, about Human Generated Climate Change (HGCC). All of those I have met consider it to be both real and one of the greatest challenges of our time.
the US Navy is striving with great intensity to prepare for an Arctic
Ocean that is nearly ice-free for large parts of the year. Canada is
shifting most of its military budget northward.
have moved an entire division to the Siberian northern coast. And dig
this. The Russian Navy’s top priority? Their pride-and-joy? SIX brand
new, double-hulled, nuclear powered icebreakers they recently put in
service. (The U.S. has one large, single-hulled, obsolete oil-powered breaker,
soon to be retired. The U.S. Coast Guard operates three smaller, conventional ice breakers out of Seattle.)
year or so ago, the Northwest passage opened so wide that a flood of
cargo vessels raced through it from China to Europe. And prospectors are
sifting for treasures on the sea floor, where Peary once spent a summer
dragging sledges over ice-continents in search of the Pole.
do all of these groups share in common? They cannot afford to let their
view of reality be warped by willful delusion, just-so stories, Beckian
rants and dogma, They don't have the time for denialism. Want another
== Insurers Confirm Growing Risks, Costs ==
from the insurance industry met with members of the U.S. Senate to
acknowledge the role global warming plays in extreme weather-related
losses, and to issue a call for action. "At a Capital Hill a press
conference on the cost of climate change, debate was not on the agenda.
Pointing to a year of history-making, $1 billion-plus natural disasters,
representatives of Tier 1 insurance companies took a definitive stance
with members of the U.S. Senate to confirm that costs to taxpayers and
businesses from extreme weather will continue to soar because of climate
our industry's perspective, the footprints of climate change are around
us and the trend of increasing damage to property and threat to lives
is clear," said Franklin Nutter, president of the Reinsurance
Association of America. "We need a national policy related to climate
and weather." Perhaps no industry better understands the impact of
global warming than the insurance industry whose job it is to analyze
risk. See the video of the March 1st press conference. Marsh & McLennan, one of the world’s largest insurance brokers, called climate change "one of the most significant emerging risks facing the world today.” As Jules Boykoff put it in The Guardian,
"Let's be clear: insurance firms aren't altruists; they're capitalists.
A rise in extreme weather means a fall in their profits. This is
hardball economics based on risk analysis, not save-the-polar-bears
Read more in: What Insurance Companies already know about Climate Change.
if all the men and women who must combine brains, education and
professionalism with harsh practicality can see the desperate need to
prepare, how do 40% of the citizens of a great nation enter denial so
severe they'll demean and ignore not only scientists and the insurance
industry... but even the U.S. Navy?
all of these groups (and a myriad more) absolutely convinced that
absolutely every single aspect of current climate theory is absolutely
proved in all levels, in all ways? Of course not. There is always room
for sincere skepticism that aims at finding flaws and improving our models of the world.
they can’t afford is prim dogmatism. They have to pragmatically prepare
for the world that appears 95% likely (by preponderance of evidence and
expert calculations) to be coming.
On the other hand, there is a
word for people who refuse to take reasonable precautions, or even
negotiate in good faith the cheapest and most efficient just-in-case
precautions, demanding instead (at the behest of a couple of
coal-billionaire brothers) that climate theory be absolutely proved in
all levels, in all ways, before we take prudent, moderate measures to
That word is imbeciles.
== Consistency: A Litmus of Madness ==
is a distilled essence showing just how bad it's gotten. How
thoroughly Murdoch-Limbaugh-Norquist-Waleed, the four horsemen of
America's collapse, control the Republican Party. Two years ago, 100% of
the GOP Senators voted the party line 100% of the time, all votes, for every issue, all year long.
a single dumb light switch could have done that job. What's the point
in being a "statesman" or delegate of the people to the world's greatest
deliberative body? As Mark Anderson put it: "This is the opposite of
informed, rational decision-making. If that's all they are going to do,
why not save a few billion dollars and just put hats in their empty
seats, and let them stay home? In other words, Newt's party discipline
has poisoned American politics.
== Moral Decline? ==
All right, I am almost done with this political blog-trilogy. So let me just add a couple more thoughts.
- even most - "red" voters proclaim they are motivated in large part by
anger over America's "moral decline." Rick Santorum says it is Satan's
work, undermining the moral foundations of the nation that is his
biggest obstacle on Earth. But is this assertion subject to any kind of test or comparison with facts?
In a fascinating article,
The Economist explores measurable things like divorce rates, abortion,
violent crime, high school dropout rates and teen pregnancy... all of
which have declined... most of them steeply... in the last
couple of decades. (Unmentioned by the article: rates for these things,
as well as domestic violence, STDs and teen sex, have all declined much less in purportedly "more moral" Red America than they have in Blue states and cities.)
Teen pregnancy is at its lowest level in 40 years. Shouldn't that indicate something?
is one contrary statistic, so read the original article. But this would
seem to be yet another case of looking for a mythical reason to
rationalize a fuming, volcanic anger that has other, much more
psychological causes. The truth is often bitterly inconvenient to
(And you lefties... you have some of your own!)
== Political Miscellany ==
Here is a quickie interview
on my local NPR station in which I did some rapid blather about taxes
and pyramids and diamonds and oligarchy and historical perspective.
Stuff you’ve all heard from me before, but redolent and relevant this
An interesting piece of film-polemic. Biased but very telling. Asking anti-abortion demonstrators if making it illegal should then send women to jail.
A fascinating story about re-shoring or in-sourcing of manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. - claimed to be a growing and significant trend.
Courts ruled that GPS trackers on cars require a warrant.
FBI turned off 3000 GPS trackers currently in use, and now has to apply
for permission to turn them back on, in order to find them, in order to
AND FINALLY: More on high frequency trading (HFT). In recent postings I gave five
different reasons why they infernal mutation of capitalism threatens to
destroy the very same capital markets that brought it into being. Now
here’s another: "Sometimes high-frequency traders don't even profit
from the trade itself. They buy and sell shares at the same price and
make money by sending large orders through the exchanges. NYSE, Nasdaq
and others want to attract the most traders. So they offer rebates of 20
to 32 cents per 100 shares to traders who send in large orders. On the
electronic exchange NYSE Arca, traders who can move 35 million shares
pocket a quick $112,000".
Yeesh. If there were one tax we desperately need, it is this one.