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Hello Widdershins!

The January 6 Committee continues to make serious headway in their investigation. The most recent brouhaha was the revelation in the press that the Secret Service erased text messages among its members from January 5 and 6 after the Inspector General looking into their actions requested it. To clarify: Secret Service deleted those text messages after the IG asked for them. They argued these were routine actions. The 1/6 Committee sent a subpoena for the text messages. The Secret Service has said they found them (!) and will supply them to the Committee on Tuesday. Let’s keep an eye on that. We can not forget that on 1/6 Mike Pence refused to get into a car with the SS. Trump promoted some SS people to political positions in his administrations. And when Joe Biden won the election he asked some agents who protected him when he was VP – and who had already retired – to return to service to protect him. Because Biden knew SS was corrupt. It’s also being reported that a number of agents were cheering on the insurrection on their personal social media accounts.

Joe Bloody Manchin is at it again. After a year of negotiating a climate change bill – Manchin has pulled the rug out and said “LOL No.” I suppose the most frustrating thing – besides the obvious – is that Manchin keeps lying to colleagues in the Senate by dangling the belief that he can reach an agreement, and then publicly humiliating them. Time and again he has done this. Meanwhile in the UK military runways are melting because of the heat there. But it’s fine. Manchin is worried about how we’ll pay for the climate bill. Of course, coming from West Virginia, there is no other Democrat who can win there. But Democrats need more seats in the Senate.

This is an open thread.

Happy Weekend Widdershins!

How’s the heat where you are? NYC has been sizzling for a few weeks. Just brutal out there. But we also had torrential rains that flooded the subways. Meanwhile Canadian villages are literally burning to the ground these days from the heat. What I find interesting about these weather phenomenons is that they are becoming more extreme at an extremely fast pace. Just within a span of a couple of years unthinkable things have been happening (Texas freezes!) It’s not as if scientists didn’t warn us about climate change… And they even warned us about how rapidly these things would start happening. And we are watching it in real time…

This is an open thread!

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Remember this guy? Why, it’s Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry, one of the many Democratic candidates for President (starting with Al Gore in 2000) who lost to a Republican under extremely questionable circumstances. He’s back, Botoxed and ready for action. In fact, he’s ready for war.

World War Zero, Kerry’s new organization for climate activism, has as its goal a world with zero carbon emissions by 2050. Many people you’ll recognize are members, including President Bill Clinton. Unlike many other organizations, however, Secretary Kerry frames it through a military lens. Here’s the call to action:

We’re uniting unlikely allies with one common mission: making the world respond to the climate crisis the same way we mobilized to win World War II.

Join the movement to achieve net zero carbon emissions and create millions of new jobs in the process.

Together, we’ll win this war.

Join us and enlist today.

I am both intrigued and a bit scared by this, but you know what? It will take a LOT of people mobilizing to force corrupt governments (like ours now, unfortunately) to take the unprecedented action needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

So let’s welcome JK back to the public eye, and I hope in his new incarnation he, and his new group, can make a dent in the world’s determined obduracy on this topic.

Oh by the way, the House Intelligence Committee releases its report today. So yeah, it’s going to be a big week.

This is an open thread.

 

 

Do you remember this article from a couple of years back? It was big in the media for a few days. Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children.

Having a child contributes some thirty times as much to warming the planet as the next closest action an individual can take: living without a car.

 

Climate change impact of having a child: each one adds 58.6 tons of CO2 equivalents per year. Using a car adds 2.4 tCO2e per year.

 

 

And yet, amidst all the discussion of air travel and bicycling and electric vehicles, there’s a ban on mentioning population control.

Another example I came across recently was in a very encouraging article about greening the Sahel in Africa.

… {Farmers had a] cheap, effective way to regreen the Sahel. They did so by using simple water harvesting techniques and protecting trees that emerged naturally on their farms.

Garrity recalls walking through farms in Niger, fields of grains like millet and sorghum stretching to the sun planted around trees, anywhere from a handful to 80 per acre. “In most cases, the trees are in random locations because they sprouted and the farmer protected them and let them grow,” he says. [Depending on species] [t]he trees can be cut for fuel… They can be pruned for livestock fodder. Their leaves and fruit are nutritious.

One tree, Faidherbia albida, goes dormant during the wet season when most trees grow. When the rains begin, the trees defoliate, dropping leaves that fertilize the soil. Because they have dropped their leaves, the trees do not shade crops during the growing season. Their value had long been recognized by farmers….

[But] “He laments that work is moving too slowly. With the Sahel’s population doubling in 20 years, Reij says regreening needs to be finished within 10 to 15 years.”

He makes it sound as if this doubling is a great force beyond human influence, like a solar storm or a meteor strike. It’s not. It’s merely human reproduction. We’re helpless only because the subject is so untouchable it can’t even be said out loud.

What’s up with that?

I think the answer lies in the two possible trajectories to control births.

One is coercive. China’s one child policy is perhaps the most famous recent example. Since women are the ones giving birth, you have to control women. You punish them if they have too many children. You enforce abortions on mothers. Or, if you’re a Nazi in the 1930s who wants lots of blond babies and no browner ones, you try to enforce a eugenics program on women. You sterilize gypsies or the disabled or Jews while giving “your” women the option to be incubators or nothing.

All those methods involve hideously totalitarian pre-emption of individual choice and body autonomy (like the supporters of forced pregnancy, but we’re more used to them so it doesn’t feel as outlandish). But on the bright side, they don’t require any changes to misogynist and patriarchal social systems.

The other trajectory is to give women control over their own reproduction. Wherever that is done, birth rates drop dramatically. They may not fall all the way to replacement levels, but they get much closer than any other method. Giving women control works, it works sustainably and long term.

But.

But it deprives society of its main tool to control all aspects of women’s lives. Your reliable producers of the next generation, your unpaid domestic servants and nannies and handholders and caregivers, gradually find other things to do with their lives. Members of the upper caste might have to do their own dishes. Your whole system falls apart.

And therein lies the rub. All our current problems are made much worse by overpopulation. Dealing with that requires treating women like human beings. Which gives the patriarchy the vapors.

So suddenly respect for medieval religions and medieval cultures make it impossible to promote birth control. They might be offended!

There’s not the same action-limiting respect when it comes to things that serve the caste system. Porn is all over the place even though the Pope disapproves. But breastfeeding is too avantgarde for the delicate sensibilities of men on Facebook. Nor is there ever equivalent concern that women object to being erased.

The discrepancy has a name. Sady Doyle wrote about it almost three years ago, Trump, Putin, Assange, and the politics of sexism. Supposedly all three are exponents of radically different systems, and yet they have a lizard brain-level understanding that they’re on the same side. Her focus is social and political effects, but the same allergy to anything kind or well-meaning is everywhere.

Recently, reactionaries have made The Misogyny of Climate Deniers obvious by their revolting comments against a 16 year old who’s done nothing except use the full weight of all the evidence to disagree with them.

The connection has to do with a sense of group identity under threat, … both by developing gender equality—Hultman pointed specifically to the shock some men felt at the #MeToo movement—and now climate activism’s challenge to their way of life, male reactionaries motivated by right-wing nationalism, anti-feminism, and climate denialism increasingly overlap, the three reactions feeding off of one another. … Climate change used to be a bipartisan concern, the first Bush senior presidency famously promising to tackle global warming. But as conservative male mockery of Thunberg and others shows, climate politics has quickly become the next big battle in the culture war—on a global scale.

Misogyny isn’t the only motivation of reactionaries. There’s greed and garden variety hatred in there, too, but misogyny is the core. It’s misogyny, not greed or racism or ordinary hatred, that makes men fear weakness more than anything. And fear of weakness is what ties together the worst of what they do.

They think strong man governments are a good idea. They like guns and “defence” — war, really, so long as somebody else dies in it. Peace is only tolerable “through strength.” The reactionaries are against anything that doesn’t shout big power. They like nukes because gigawatts! dangerous! The truth is that even building a new gigawatt nuke every two months from 2010 till 2050 would solve only a small part of climate change and energy needs. Meanwhile renewables could provide all our energy by 2050 for a fraction of the cost and without radioactive waste. But distributed power, whether that’s rooftop solar or real democracy, strikes reactionaries as la-la limp-wristed hippie crap. Likewise, restraint against environmental destruction is pathetic weakness in the face of hard choices.

And weakness is the worst thing you can show. They (“They”) come and take your man card away. It’s the only thing that gave you any standing and it’s gone.

That is a future so horrible it’s worth burning the world down to avoid it. It must never be spoken lest saying its name calls it forth.

Crossposted from Acid Test.


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