Donald Trump

Donald Trump is completely right about mail-in ballots

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/05/2020 - 9:10am in

Kit Knightly It’s an artefact of the peculiar world in which we live that we are sometimes forced to agree with, fight alongside or even defend people with whom we would never wish to be associated. Donald Trump is right at the top of that list. And his “feud” with twitter over tweets concerning postal …

The Great Depression, Coronavirus Style

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/05/2020 - 2:57am in

Many economists believe that a recession is already underway. So do millions of Americans struggling with bills and job losses. While the world has certainly experienced its share of staggering jolts in the past, this cycle of events is likely to prove unparalleled. Continue reading

The post The Great Depression, Coronavirus Style appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

COVID-19 vs. The Flu: The Facts

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/05/2020 - 4:26am in

Trump has persistently minimized the seriousness of COVID-19 by falsely comparing it to the seasonal flu. Initially, he used the tactic to downplay the virus as it threatened the stock market. This denial and obfuscation squandered precious time, worsened the crisis, and may have cost a number of lives. Continue reading

The post COVID-19 vs. The Flu: The Facts appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

We Are All in This Together. But Some of Us Are More in It Than Others

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 25/05/2020 - 4:36pm in

Even liberal Democrats are unwilling to provide real relief to distressed homeowners and renters. All they want to offer is a temporary moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. In that respect, they are exactly the same as the Republicans. After all, they have a common class interest.

There’s No Longer Any Question: Biden Carried Out a Cover-Up in Ukraine

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 23/05/2020 - 7:00am in

Trump stands vindicated for accusing Biden of trying to cover up his son's corruption in Ukraine after one of that country's lawmakers released audio recordings of the former Vice President's numerous conversations with former President Poroshenko to that effect, proving that the real Ukrainegate scandal has been about the Democrat front-runner all along.

While We Were Social Distancing

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 23/05/2020 - 3:01am in

With mounting deaths and unemployment at Depression-era highs there’s even more news flying under the radar. The team at BillMoyers.com brings you the news you need to know — some of it good, some of it outrageous, all of it important — that’s been covered up by COVID-19. Continue reading

The post While We Were Social Distancing appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Trump Foils Plot To Assassinate Him With Malaria Bearing Mosquitoes

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/05/2020 - 7:00am in

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Donald Trump has foiled a Chinese Secret Service plan to assassinate him with a squadron of highly trained malaria bearing mosquitoes by craftily swallowing an entire bottle of hydroxy-chloroquine.

“Curses, we spent months training a crack team of anopheles mosquitoes to attack a shop dummy we’d baked in a tandoori oven,” said a distraught Bert Kwouk, head of the Red Army Assassination Squadron. “We’d smuggled them into the USA disguised as a very tiny acrobatics troupe. He’s foiled us yet again.”

The failed mosquito based murder plot follows on from several other attempts on Trump’s life that went awry for the hapless Chinese.

“We’d rigged his laptop to explode when he typed the word “coverage” into it but the damn fool goes and types “covfefe” instead,” recalled a furious Kwouk. “Then there was that time we spread a toxic bacillus on his contact lenses only for the doofus to destroy it by looking straight into the solar eclipse and exposing it to UV radiation.”

It is believed the Chinese disguised one of their female agents as a prostitute with a 240 volt electrical charge wired through her breasts. Unfortunately Trump grabbed her by a different part of her anatomy.

“The guy is harder to kill then Rasputin.”

Peter Green

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The Second Cold War?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/05/2020 - 1:56am in

By Brian Snyder

Over the past two months, there has been a great deal of talk about the environmental implications of the pandemic. Some have looked for glimmers of hope, others have predicted that we will shortly return to the status quo. I fear that the biggest outcome of the pandemic will not be its death toll nor its effects on the climate, but its impacts on geopolitics. Specifically, the deteriorating relationship between China and the USA may lead to a Second Cold War. If this cold war leads to an all-out GDP race as the original one did, the consequences for humanity will far outweigh the direct human health impacts of the pandemic.

A Second Cold War

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world may have already been spiraling toward another cold war between the USA and China. The rivalry between the USA and China for economic control of Asia far predates the Trump administration, and the reasons for it are both complex and poorly defined, much as they were as when the iron curtain fell over Eastern Europe. And as in the Cold War between the USA and Soviet Union, historians will eventually find reason to blame both sides for the Second Cold War. Despite these complexities, I fear that future historians looking back at the Second Cold War will note the COVID-19 pandemic as the turning point from economic rivalry to enmity. That is, COVID-19 or, more accurately, Chinese and American leaders’ willingness to blame each other for the pandemic to deflect their own mismanagement, may be the last straw.

Trump and China

A downward spiral: Tensions between the USA and China have significantly increased since the emergence of COVID-19. Could these tensions lead to a full-on Second Cold War, with the score kept in GDP? (Image: CC0, Credit: The White House)

Since the emergence of the pandemic, tensions between China and the USA have increased significantly. Members of the Chinese government have alleged that U.S. service members brought the virus to Wuhan. Simultaneously, the president of the USA has called the virus “Chinese,” refused to accept the academic consensus that the virus likely spread from a wild animal at the wet market in Wuhan, dispatched American intelligence apparatus to prove the unprovable accusation that COVID-19 began in a Chinese lab, and blamed the Chinese government’s secrecy for the severity of the U.S. pandemic.

The original Cold War nearly ended with nuclear annihilation, yet that is not what concerns me about the Second Cold War. The first Cold War ended only after decades of historically unprecedented economic growth in the West was leveraged toward military and technological superiority. This Western growth was nearly matched by the Soviets. If this coming Cold War involves the same growth race, there will be dire consequences for the future of human life on Earth. China and the USA are the two largest economies on Earth, closely followed by the U.S.’s NATO allies, and neither country has anything approaching a sustainable energy supply. If their rivalry ends in the continuing growth of their economies, especially via fossil fuels, the effects will be catastrophic.

This Isn’t (Entirely) Trump’s Fault

While it may be tempting to blame Trump for the looming Cold War with China, it is not entirely Trump’s fault. While Trump’s recent China policy has not helped, tensions with China have been rising for a decade or more. Trump’s confrontational attitude toward China—as seen through the trade war and the pandemic blame—is a product of these tensions, either as a cynical appeal to his base or heartfelt xenophobia.

China industry jobs

Many politicians have been claiming for decades that China has been our economic rival. Yet, these same politicians were promoting the globalization of the manufacturing industry for the sake of economic growth. (Image: CC BY 2.0, Robert Scoble)

Trump may indeed be biased against China, and his lack of strategic thinking may be the ultimate blunder that leads us into another Cold War, but there is a reason for his attitude toward China: us. Over the past seven decades, Americans became accustomed to thinking of Beijing as “The Other.” They may not have been the enemy, but Americans have been comfortable viewing them warily, as well as comfortable with politicians telling us the Chinese are an economic rival and a threat to our jobs.

Of course, we were too dim to notice that the movement of manufacturing jobs to Asia could only occur via a globalized world, or that our politicians had built that globalized world to foster domestic economic growth. Thus, politicians have told us out of one side of their mouths that globalization is good for the economy and will make us all the more prosperous, while telling us from the other side of their mouths that our jobs are all moving to China. Remarkably, neither is correct. Globalization will make us poorer in the long term because it leads to unsustainable economic growth, and, until recently, we had more jobs than at any time in our history. The fact that we were near full employment prior to the pandemic somehow failed to alert people of the lie that the Chinese were stealing our livelihoods.

Note that this is not to imply that the blame for this new Cold War, if it develops, is one sided. Certainly, the Chinese government will share in the fault. However, something about logs in eyes should encourage us to focus on our own culpability.

The Cost of a Cold War

But why does it matter if we enter another Cold War? Why would a Cold War with China, if it results from this pandemic, be the most consequential result of COVID-19?

Between 1950 and the Soviet Union’s economic peak in 1989, U.S. real per capita GDP more than doubled, while the Soviet Union’s per capita GDP nearly tripled, according to data from the Maddison Project. If similar growth occurs again over the next 40 years, by 2060 the U.S. GDP would exceed $100,000 per person (in 2011 dollars), while China’s per capita GDP might be $40,000, approaching contemporary U.S. standards.

Such economic growth would require similar increases in energy demand, and this demand would occur both in the USA and China, as well as in their trading partners. These trading partners would export goods to the USA and China and would require increased energy consumption to produce these goods. In some cases, this increased global energy demand may be met with renewables, while in others it may be met with fossil fuels. In either case, it would not be sustainable for two main reasons.

First, renewables, while far less damaging to the earth’s systems than fossil fuels, have environmental impacts. Those impacts may be mitigated with future technology and should not dissuade us from moving away from fossil fuels, but nor should we pretend that they are environmentally benign.

Second, if increased energy demand occurs, it will slow the transition away from fossil fuels. If the USA and China feel the need to grow their economy, they may delay the decommissioning of coal and natural gas-fired power. They may also defer investment in carbon-negative systems, which will be required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In addition to these changes in energy demand, a second cold war might also lead to rapid technological development which would further stimulate the economy and lead to further energy use. Consider the technologies that emerged largely from investments in the U.S. military industrial complex of the first Cold War: the internet, satellites, GPS, cell phones, computers, and robotics. Consider how much of our economic growth over the last five decades is the result of these technologies. Consider how much of our energy growth and climate emissions result from that economic growth. And consider what will happen if we use our considerable ability to innovate in the service of more economic and energy growth.

Figure 1. Real Per Capita GDP Growth in the US and USSR, 1950-1989

Graph

(Credit: Brian Snyder)

Systems Theory   

One of the underappreciated advancements of mid-20th century science was systems theory. Applied in numerous disciplines, including in H.T. Odum’s ecology, systems theory rejected the reductionist approaches foundational to then-modern science and argued that the system as a whole had to be understood. Because complex systems are non-linear and emergent, they tend to have properties and behaviors that can’t be anticipated from a view of one isolated sub-system.

Today we are confronted with an extraordinarily complex system. A pandemic presents health and economic challenges; politicians use disinformation to escape blame; and long-simmering rivalries begin to boil. These geopolitical changes incentivize economic growth, and through a bit of chemistry and the second law of thermodynamics, a long-warming planet begins to swelter.

As in the mid-20th century, it should be clear that understanding this system requires a transdisciplinary approach. Issues of climate and energy are also economic, sociological, and geopolitical issues, and we will not avoid our slide toward cold war unless we view all ecological and economic components as a system. Reductionism and retreating into disciplinary silos will lead nowhere.

Figure 2. A systems diagram of the earth’s economy, one of the many concepts that developed indirectly from systems theory. 

Herman Daly Figure

(Image: CC0, Credit: Herman Daly)

How to Dismantle a Cold War

What is especially concerning about this new Cold War is that it will occur in a post-fact, social media-dominated world. Of course, the Soviets in the first Cold War lived in a propaganda-driven, post-fact world, but the West largely did not. Certainly, Western news media in the mid-20th century had a Westernized view of the world, and American politicians tried to spin the news to their advantage, but, in general, Western leaders did not actively and purposefully spread disinformation.

Today information is very different. Like the Soviets, China controls its citizens’ access to information, although their methods are not as effective. But the major difference is in the West, where leaders actively spread disinformation and conspiracy theories. These are then amplified on Twitter and other social media. We have already seen this occur in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in which alt-right voices on Twitter have spread a variety of false and/or anti-Chinese messages.

This disinformation system—i.e., social media, talk radio, and cable news—is the ultimate cause of our slide toward the Second Cold War. In a circular, symbiotic relationship, American politicians manipulate their traditional and social media followers to spread anti-Chinese messages and conspiracy theories. This makes a significant segment of the public believe that China is a threat to Americans, and it also makes these voters more likely to support leaders who are “tough” on China. Of course, the tough-on-China leaders are the same ones spreading the anti-Chinese messages in the first place. The same sort of relationship occurs with other topics (e.g., climate change), but it is a particular problem in the case of China because nationalism and xenophobia motivate and scare people in a way that climate policy does not.

Thus, to avoid cold war we need to return to a system in which factual journalism is created and disseminated and replaces the current system of disinformation and propaganda. Until that occurs, a change in political leadership will not halt our slide toward the Second Cold War nor prevent destructive economic growth.

Brian F. Snyder is an assistant professor of environmental science at Louisiana State University and CASSE’s LSU Chapter director.

The post The Second Cold War? appeared first on Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.


Hanson Follows Trump’s Advice And Starts Taking Hydro Electric Power

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 19/05/2020 - 11:02am in

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Pauline Hanson has issued a statement in support of American President Donald Trump, who today reveled that he was taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxycholorquine to prevent contracting the dreaded Covid-19 virus.

“President Trump is a great man and someone we should listen to when it comes to scientific matters.” said Senator Hanson. ”So, if taking hydro electric power is good enough for the President then it is good enough for Myself.”

“I call on all my fellow Australian patriots to join me in getting on to the hydro electric.”

When asked if she was meant to be taking hydroxycholorquine instead of hydro electric power, Senator Hanson said: ”Now you’re just making up words. Don’t be silly, the President said hydro electric power so that’s what I shall be taking.”

“Besides, I’ve consulted with One Nation’s leading mind (sic) Malcolm Roberts and he confirmed that the dark web was in full support of President Trump.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I saw a hornet’s nest on the way to this interview, I might go back and poke it with a stick.”

Mark Williamson

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It’s Not MY Fault — The Governors Did It

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 19/05/2020 - 8:05am in

When the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control drafted detailed guidelines for reopening businesses in ways that prioritized public health, Trump rejected them. Instead, Trump issued broad suggestions for loosening state restrictions safely. Continue reading

The post It’s Not MY Fault — The Governors Did It appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

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