Links, Notes, Bookmarks and Briefs for November 16, 2016

Death Pump, DJ Lu / Bob Ramsak

An open thread and occasional daily notes to myself; feel free to eavesdrop, join in or start a conversation, or drop a relevant link in the comments. Updated throughout the day.

Trump Aftermath

As regular visitors here know, I’m hardly a fan of the next US president. But that dislike doesn’t stem from the somewhat simplistic and traditional Republican-Democrat party divide that largely defines, at least on the surface, political debate in the US. The problems lie much deeper, are primarily driven by global economics and have been crossing national boundaries for more than a generation. That’s the direction I’d like any debate that might unfold here to be focused and then directed towards actual systemic solutions.

I only bring this up because I just deleted about a dozen comments from pro-Trump factions that somehow found their way here which had nothing to offer any productive discussion. I welcome and encourage a variety of viewpoints and I encourage discussion or debate should readers wish that. I’m not interested in rants. I have no tolerance for racist ravings. And I don’t want to read conspiracy theories about, for example, how the Clinton Foundation helped create ISIS and how George Soros is funding anti-Trump protesters with profits from him involvement in the narcotics trade. Claims like those have all been debunked. If you don’t think so, there are plenty of other places for you to troll or hang out.

As always, thanks for reading.

Onwards.

I think it is pretty common ground that we are seeing a reaction against the political class by the dispossessed former industrial working and middle class. That is scarcely remarkable. Given the vast increase in wealth inequality, against which this blog has been railing since its inception, a reaction is inevitable.

There are two ways the establishment has sought to divert this anger.

The first, and highly successful method is to convince people that it is not the massive appropriation of resources by the ultra-wealthy which causes their poverty, it is rather competition for the scraps with outsiders. This approach employs pandering to racism and xenophobia, and is characteristic of UKIP and Trump.

The second approach employs the antithesis to the same end. It is to co-opt the forces marginalised by the first approach and rally them behind an “alternative” approach which is still neo-liberalism. This is identity politics which reached its apotheosis in the Clinton campaign. The Wikileaks releases of DNC and Podesta emails revealed the extreme cynicism of Clinton manipulation of ethnic group votes. Still more blatant was the promotion of the idea that Hillary being a corrupt neo-con warmonger was outweighed by the fact she was female. The notion that elevating extremely rich and privileged women already within the 1% to top positions, breaks a glass ceiling and benefits all women, is the precise feminist equivalent of trickledown theory.

It’s probably not high on the transition team’s reading list, but the report winding up there is on many wish lists.

It may well end up in the paper shredder, but a bipartisan group of defense experts and former military leaders sent Donald Trump’s transition team a briefing book urging the president-elect to consider climate change as a grave threat to national security.

The Center for Climate & Security in its briefing book argues that climate change presents a risk to U.S. national security and international security, and that the United States should advance a comprehensive policy for addressing the risk. The recommendations, released earlier this year, were developed by the Climate and Security Advisory Group, a voluntary, nonpartisan group of 43 U.S.-based senior military, national security, homeland security and intelligence experts, including the former commanders of the U.S. Pacific and Central commands.

The briefing book argues that climate change presents a significant and direct risk to U.S. military readiness, operations and strategy, and military leaders say it should transcend politics. It goes beyond protecting military bases from sea-level rise, the military advisers say. They urge Trump to order the Pentagon to game out catastrophic climate scenarios, track trends in climate impacts and collaborate with civilian communities. Stresses from climate change can increase the likelihood of international or civil conflict, state failure, mass migration and instability in strategically significant areas around the world, the defense experts argue.

Trump hasn’t weighed in on climate change as a national security threat, although he has called climate change a “hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese.

Many military leaders say that considering climate change and renewable energy has made their branches more resilient fighting forces and bureaucracies, starting with reducing emissions and creating a nimble fighting culture that is less dependent on fossil fuels. By reducing their carbon footprint, they become a combatant in the war on rising global temperatures, military leaders say.

Climate Change

More than 600 mosques in Morocco have been retrofitted to use renewable energy. The plan is to finish all 15,000 by early 2019.

“Mosques are not a big consumer of electricity: there is some lighting, some water heating. What we want to do is inform people,” Said Mouline, director of the National Agency for the Development of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, told CNN.

“Energy efficiency is not only a matter of technology, it’s also a matter of behavior.”

And

“In 2011, Morocco integrated sustainable development in its constitution, around three pillars: protection of the environment, economical policy, and considering climate change as a structural threat to Morocco,” Hakima El Haité, Minister of Energy, Mining, Water and Environment of Morocco, told CNN.

One of the government’s targets is to power all state buildings via renewable energy by 2030.

Marrakech is currently hosting COP 22, the annual UN Climate Summit.

As the United States neared election day, Secretary of State John Kerry announced he would take a historic trip to the massive, frozen seventh continent: Antarctica. The goal was to see firsthand the place that perhaps more than any other has climate scientists worried about melting ice and rising sea levels.

The idea was that the secretary, being the highest ranking U.S. official ever to visit Antarctica, would then take that experience back to the international climate meetings now underway in Marrakech, Morocco, where he is slated to speak this week on the dangers of a warming planet.

Somewhere along the way, though, the election of Donald Trump sort of shattered that thought glacier — leaving Kerry with a more complicated message, by any stretch. It would now appear that when he arrives in Marrakech, the associated delegates and leaders will be much more immediately worried about Trump’s plans to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. (The melting glaciers can wait a while.)

Related to my post earlier today about photographer Vlad Sokhin’s work on climate refugees in the Pacific.

Syria was already in the grip of a long, devastating drought when the conflict began in 2011, which some scientists think was made worse by climate change and contributed to the outbreak of war.

In September, hydrologists and humanitarian groups warned that Syria’s water supplies were deteriorating fast, triggering more migration and disease and stoking a pollution crisis in neighbouring Lebanon.

Refugees and Migration

About 240 people are suspected to have drowned this week in four separate incidents in the Mediterranean, raising the total annual death toll to an unprecedented 4,500.

Deaths in the Mediterranean are now nearly 20% higher than last year’s total of 3,771, which was the previous annual record.

RIP

Defying categorization, his works were covered by artists as diverse as The Clash, The Who, Elvis Costello, the Gories, Van Morrison, Robert Palmer, Bonnie Raitt, Roy Rogers, Leon Russell, Hot Tuna, the Yardbirds and the Bangles.

 

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Today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 1,048th straight, is ‘Rain’, a stencil by Bogota-based artist DJ Lu, snapped in July 2015.

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