Cool and nice (relatively-speaking) this Friday morning here in California’s Central Valley as we once again head into the weekend — seems like just Monday yesterday, time flies whether you’re having fun or not.
During my scrolling earlier, I came across a pair of interviews already from today at Democracy Now! that seemed to zero-in on our current disaster-prone life — and both interviewees also have books on the subjects. One issue was the pure-horror of the T-Rump, and the other, pure-horror of climate change. A couple of way-current affairs topics near the top of the news cycle, Friday dump and all.
The first one is about the T-Rump, especially how terrible he actually is as a person (h/t Raw Story)
Author @MichaelWolffNYC says there is no doubt that Donald Trump still runs the Republican Party, even though many recognize that as a problem. "Everybody knows that there’s something wrong with Donald Trump,” he says. https://t.co/QOvPW7SrRg pic.twitter.com/N9TEHlHkvD
— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) July 16, 2021
Michael Wolff, the ‘insider’ of all T-Rump insiders, discussed his newest, last in his best-selling trilogy of the T-Rump’s shit stay in the Oval Office, “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump White House” (the others, “Fire and Fury,” and “Siege“). The last few days ‘Landslide‘ has gotten a lot of press.
Go read the whole interview (transcript post), worth the time, though, a bit frightening in context.
Best couple of blurbs overall: First, concerning that Jan. 6 incitement speech:
Well, you know, it was at that moment — to just set the background here, this was a speech that he was largely reading off the teleprompter, which is unusual for Trump.
Certainly, when he’s in the moment, enthusiastic, he’s departing from his speech. So he wasn’t really thinking about this. His mind was wholly on Mike Pence and what — and he believed that Mike Pence had the power and the willingness to throw out the electoral votes and install him as the president. That was on his mind. So he was sort of reading through this speech.
But at one point he did depart from the speech and said, “We will walk to the Capitol.”
And that was the moment at which all of his aides kind of looked up and said, “What did he say? We’re going to walk to the Capitol?”
And all of them had the same response: “What is he talking about? Donald Trump doesn’t walk anywhere.”
So, that’s what they all thought at that point.
And then, when he came down after the speech, they said, “You know we can’t do that. You know, there’s no security for that.” And Trump responded, “What are you talking about?”
And they said, “You said you’re going to walk.”
And he said, “Oh, oh, I didn’t mean that literally.”
So, again, we’re in the world of Donald Trump, which is mostly a world of what’s coming out of his mouth and of — and I would say that for a good part of the time, he’s not even aware of what’s coming out of his mouth.
And second, the Republican Party knows T-Rump is unhinged:
But, you know, I want to make another point, and I think it’s an interesting point, that even though Donald Trump has a kind of lockstep control over the Republican Party, one of the things that’s also always going on is every — while every Republican acknowledges that, every Republican is also trying to walk that back or mitigate that or slow walk whatever the president wants.
So we have two realities here: the reality of Donald Trump in charge, and the other reality which is that everybody knows that there’s something wrong with Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is crazy. Donald Trump, you know, I mean, essentially, can’t put two sequential thoughts together.
You know, so Kevin McCarthy is going down there, and he’s perfectly well aware this is an aberrant situation. And, in fact, Trump himself is always kind of saying bad things about McCarthy out of the side of his mouth.
So, you know, it’s this incredibly unusual situation, of which — I mean, it’s essentially an emperor’s new clothes situation. Everybody recognizes the completely unusual nature of what’s going on here, but nobody can do anything about it.
Some frightening shit. And we’re stuck with it for the long-time being.
And the second interview/subject is climate change, even beyond the frightful, ugly shit of the T-Rump, what’s happening with our environment is a terror alarm:
Floods, Fires & Heat Waves: Michael Mann on “The New Climate War” & the Fight to Take Back the Planet https://t.co/8iyZuH9syX
— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) July 16, 2021
A long-time, highly-recognized expert on climate change, Michael Mann is a distinguished professor and director of the Earth System Science Center, Penn State University, and author of a shitload of books on climate and science, his latest, “The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet,” published last January.
Another read-the-whole-thing piece (transcript post here), but here’s a couple of high-point snips:
It’s unfortunate what we’re witnessing play out. This is what we climate scientists predicted decades ago. We said that if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels and elevating the levels carbon pollution in the atmosphere and we continue to warm up the planet, we will see unprecedented heat waves and wildfires and floods and droughts and superstorms. And guess what. That’s what we’re seeing. And it’s playing out in a profound way right now.
I was, you know, really — I was impressed by the way it came up in this press conference, this joint press conference between Joe Biden and Angela Merkel yesterday, where she was talking about these unprecedented floods that are impacting Germany. And, of course, Joe Biden is the president of a country that is witnessing unprecedented heat extremes and extreme weather events, as well. And so, the fact that both of these countries right now are witnessing the devastating impacts of climate change really drove home the point that she made, that we have to act now. Dangerous climate change is here. Catastrophic climate change is here. And at this point, it’s a matter of how bad we’re willing to let it get.
And what those estimates suggest, it was a 50,000-year event. You wouldn’t expect to see an event like this once in 50,000 years in the absence of the warming of the planet. Here’s the kicker. What they found is that you wouldn’t expect to see this event even once in a thousand years, given what the models say the impact of climate change has been. And we and other scientists have argued that’s because the models actually aren’t capturing some of the processes, like the way these weather systems become stalled as the jet stream slows down as a result of the warming of the planet. The models don’t take that into account, so they’re still underestimating the impact that we are having on these extreme weather events.
And on the newest, maybe-most dangerous climate news — the Amazon rainforest gone from a sink to a source for CO2 (I posted about it here). Mann is beyond concerned:
Yeah, I can’t overstate the significance of this. Look, we’ve relied upon the fact that there are these natural sinks in the climate system. The oceans take up some of the carbon dioxide. What we call the terrestrial biosphere, the rainforests of the world, in particular, take up some of that carbon dioxide.
And because of that, those carbon pollution levels haven’t been rising as fast as they should have, given how much carbon pollution we’re putting into the atmosphere. About half of that carbon pollution was being taken up by these natural carbon sinks.
Though the fact that some of these sinks are now turning into sources — not only aren’t they absorbing CO2, taking it out of the atmosphere, they’re actually adding CO2 to the atmosphere — is a real worry.
And it reminds us that there are some surprises in store, and they’re not pleasant surprises. This is one of them.
And it suggests that we may see even higher levels of carbon pollution than most of the models have predicted. That’s a problem.
Yeah, Mann remains an optimist despite the reality:
There is still time. Don’t let the doomers convince you it’s too late to do anything about climate change. That leads us down the same path of inaction as outright denial.
And the inactivists, the forces of inaction, would love nothing more than for environmental progressives to remain on the sidelines because they’re convinced it’s too late to do anything.
It isn’t too late, but we have to act, and we have to act now.
What does the word, ‘now,’ actually mean? Three choices — ‘at the present time or moment; in the time immediately before the present; and, in the time immediately to follow.’
Not tomorrow, or next week, or next year … now!
(Illustration out front: Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Old Man in Sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity)‘ found here).