Friday November 3, 2017 the USGCRP issued a scathing report (“Highlights of the Findings of the U.S. Global Change Research Program Climate Science Special Report“) analyzing the runaway train effect of global climate change, and pinning the “blame” on human activities since the industrial revolution. Of course, this publication goes against everything that Donald Trump has said to mollify his own base.
Vox has a detailed commentary by Umair Irfan, pretty standard for mainstream and progressive media companies.
And this brings me to my next big point. The mainstream media has done a pretty good job of presenting the case that we need to take climate change very seriously, particularly if we take our responsibility to future (unconceived as well as unborn) generations as a moral issue (Point 5 of “DADT IV”)
Trump has played the denial game to his base with shocking effect, most of all when he announced June 1 that he was pulling out of the Paris accords on the day I was looking at the recovery from wildfires in Shenandoah.
The more mainstream conservative media (Fox, OANN) have demurred a bit but still covered the bases. Yet, we aren’t to the point that there is a bipartisan political will to face the problem with federal action, but there is obviously a lot incentive in private American hands.
On other issues that I view as “hidden in plain sight”, I could say that the major media have covered issues of fiscal sustainability (social security, population demographics, debt ceiling) with some consistency but again without the result of a political will to face the issue squarely, partly because the demographic component (longer life spans, fewer kids) seems so intractable.
So I come to the starkest issues that give me an incentive to “stay in the game” as a blogger. Notable, it’s hard for me to “join the movement” for an “oppressed group” when I think there are big issues that could blow our entire civilization (and make my whole life’s Akashic record pretty irrelevant and forgettable). And the biggest of these is the stability of the three major US power grids.
Part of the controversy concerns whether there really exist relatively inexpensive fixes (like neutral ground circuits) that (for maybe $10 or so per American, that is, a few billion dollars) make the grid far more resistant to terrorist or enemy attacks (especially E3 level) as well as to big “Carrington” solar storms. I’ve read that utilities in Virginia and Maine in particular have a head start on this issue.
Another part of the controversy really concerns the likelihood that an enemy (most recently in view, North Korea, as well as radical Islam) could credibly carry out an EMP attack (which doesn’t necessarily have to be nuclear) instead of a conventional thermonuclear strike. Again, the mainstream press has demurred on this somewhat.
So part of my own personal mission is to try to encourage the mainstream press, maybe starting with some of the more conservative news companies (Fox, OANN, Sinclair – which has reported on this as reported on this blog already) to give the public an objective assessment on the problem. Yes, I’m ready to get on planes and go interview people.
There are other problems that need this kind of approach. One is filial responsibility laws, part of the whole population demographics problem mentioned above. Another is, of course, the threats to our permissive atmosphere of user generated content on the web – ranging from Section 230 (the Backpage controversy) to fake news and enemy (especially by ISIS) recruitment, as just reported last night on AB 20-20 on a scathing report by Diane Sawyer (“ISIS in America”).
I have a particular take on the whole Russia fake-news and social media trolling thing. I have long been personally concerned that foreign enemies could target individual people (and those connected to these people, like family or business associates), such as what we saw from North Korea at the end of 2014 with the Sony Pictures hack. What I did not see was that enemies would try to goad “oppressed minorities” (BLM) or reactionaries to these minorities (less educated white males connecting back to white supremacist groups) into forming movements and fighting each other internally.
Diane Sawyer’s report (just mentioned) makes the good point that the asymmetry of the Internet (and user-generated content) makes young men who feel “powerless” or “left behind” individually dangerous in a way we haven’t seen before. That is part of the old inequality paradox: you need to accept inequality and ego to have innovation that benefits everyone, but then people need to somehow “pay their dues” or you get instability (the “Epilogue” or Chapter 6 of my DADT III book in 2014).
I write all this today by using other funds (some inherited, but mostly my own) to support my own news commentary activities. At some point, I need to partner up with someone to tackle some of the bigger problems I mentioned here (no, I really want to do better things with my life than scream in demonstrations for mass movements, but even my saying that is provocative). It’s true I am a globalist and somewhat “elitist’ but I call myself conservative (but in the libertarian sense, not Trump-ian). But I wanted to note that billionaire Joe Ricketts just shut down some local news sites he owns because they couldn’t pay their own way. His own WordPress blog post on unionization is interesting.
(Posted: Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 1 PM EDT)
Update: Friday, Nov. 10 (12 noon EST)
I have to note this article in Vox on the effect of “tribal elites” especially on the climate change debate. Sorry, I really do try to investigate the world’s woes (like the power grid exposure) “hands separately”. I could say, “tribalism is for losers”, ha ha. And I’d get executed or beheaded quickly and there would be no funeral.