Well, it's happening...
‘Enemy of the people’: Almost half of Republicans say Trump should be allowed to close media outlets
President Trump’s attacks on the media, whom he dubbed “enemies of the people,” have struck a chord with supporters. A new poll found that 43 percent of Republicans want to give him the power to shut down certain news outlets.
Only 29 percent of Republicans believe in the honesty of the media, and 80 percent believe the press treats President Trump unfairly.
We the people are a test bed for a fascist experiment. "Like hounds, people have to be blooded. They have to be given the taste for savagery", says Anis Shivani in this article by Henry Giroux.
Neoliberal Fascism and the Echoes of History. Hat tip to eb.
...neoliberalism and fascism conjoin and advance in a comfortable and mutually compatible movement that connects the worst excesses of capitalism with authoritarian “strongman” ideals.
In a thoughtful analysis, Irish journalist O’Toole asserts neoliberalism creates the conditions for enabling what he calls a trial run for a full-blown state of contemporary fascism:
"To grasp what is going on in the world right now, we need to reflect on two things. One is that we are in a phase of trial runs. The other is that what is being trialed is fascism—a word that should be used carefully but not shirked when it is so clearly on the horizon. Forget ‘post-fascist’—what we are living with is pre-fascism. Rather than overthrow democracy in one full swipe, it has to be undermined through rigged elections, the creation of tribal identities, and legitimated through a ‘propaganda machine so effective that it creates for its followers a universe of “alternative facts” impervious to unwanted realities.’ … Fascism doesn’t arise suddenly in an existing democracy. It is not easy to get people to give up their ideas of freedom and civility. You have to do trial runs that, if they are done well, serve two purposes. They get people used to something they may initially recoil from, and they allow you to refine and calibrate. This is what is happening now and we would be fools not to see it. … Trump’s Ministry of Fake News works incessantly to set limits on what is thinkable, claiming that reason, evidence, consistency, and logic no longer serve the truth, because the latter are crooked ideological devices used by enemies of the state. ‘Thought crimes’ are now labeled as ‘fake news.’"
It has been slowly happening all along...
the White House press shop has systematically attempted to warp the truth. Public visitor logs have been made private. The president won’t stop ripping up documents, forcing staffers to meticulously tape them back together to avoid violating the Presidential Records Act. The White House will no longer publicize Trump’s calls with foreign leaders, nor will it release summaries of what was discussed. White House stenographers, who are tasked with recording what the president says, have found their access restricted. Trump recently claimed that an aide who gave an official White House briefing does not actually exist. And when Sanders does face off with the press pool, she does things like publicly argue with reporters over the meaning of the word “no.”
At a mid-July news conference at the Pentagon this question was asked:
Gen. Milley, have you reached out to your counterparts in Europe after the NATO summit to reassure them that the U.S. forces are staying?”
Again, the press officer cut off the question before Milley could answer.
The incident, which left Pentagon reporters furious, was the latest flash point in what has become an increasingly adversarial relationship between Defense Secretary James Mattis’ Cabinet department and the reporters who cover it. Chief among the complaints, according to defense reporters who spoke to POLITICO, are declining access to Mattis and other military officials, as well as a sense that reporters are not receiving the information they need to keep the public informed about America’s military activities.
… Some briefings with other officials still happen, but people who used to chat or provide background information more informally are no longer engaging, reporters say. Some reporters told POLITICO that fewer of their colleagues are going to the Pentagon these days, finding it increasingly pointless.
This organized re-storying has left its mark on the Climate Change narrative.
How Did the End of the World Become Old News?
it has been a month of historic, even unprecedented, climate horrors. But you may not have noticed, if you are anything but the most discriminating consumer of news. The major networks aired 127 segments on the unprecedented July heat wave, Media Matters usefully tabulated, and only one so much as mentioned climate change. The New York Times has done admirable work on global warming over the last year, launching a new climate desk and devoting tremendous resources to high-production-value special climate “features.” But even their original story on the wildfires in Greece made no mention of climate change — after some criticism on Twitter, they added a reference.
HOT AIR NEWS ROUNDUP
This new study bubbled all the way up to mainstream CNN. More on that study further down...
Earth is at risk of entering 'hothouse' state, study says
• Temperatures could stabilize at 4 to 5 degrees C ( 9 degree F) above pre-industrial levels.
• Rise in sea levels of 65 meters (213 ft)
• "Feedbacks" could drive temperatures up further
Yosemite Closed Indefinitely As California Fires Grow To Largest In History: Map And Update
The scope of California's fires is unprecedented and has resulted in the closure of Yosemite National Park as firefighters battle 17 large fires, one of which is the largest fire in California's history.
To help give perspective, we'll cover both updates and maps of where the fires currently are and what actions the thousands of firefighters are taking to contain the fires. In total, over 14,000 firefighters are battling fires across the state,
The Mendocino Complex Fire doubled in size in the past few days, making it the largest fire in California's recorded history. The Mendocino Complex Fire is the result of both the Ranch and River Fires combining near Clear Lake to form the largest fire in history.
Arctic carbon cycle is speeding up
A new NASA-led study using data from the Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABOVE) shows that carbon in Alaska's North Slope tundra ecosystems spends about 13 percent less time locked in frozen soil than it did 40 years ago… The team combined data from more than 40 years of carbon dioxide surface measurements from NOAA's Barrow, Alaska Observatory with a standard ecosystem carbon balance model to determine the rate at which carbon is moving in and out of Alaska's North Slope.
China could face deadly heat waves due to climate change
A region that holds one of the biggest concentrations of people on Earth could be pushing against the boundaries of habitability by the latter part of this century, a new study shows.
Research has shown that beyond a certain threshold of temperature and humidity, a person cannot survive unprotected in the open for extended periods — as, for example, farmers must do. Now, a new MIT study shows that unless drastic measures are taken to limit climate-changing emissions, China’s most populous and agriculturally important region could face such deadly conditions repeatedly, suffering the most damaging heat effects, at least as far as human life is concerned, of any place on the planet.
The study shows that the risk of deadly heat waves is significantly increased because of intensive irrigation in this relatively dry but highly fertile region
Fire Scientists Are Sure of Only One Thing: This Will Get Worse
Fire researcher have seen this coming for years. The fires here in CA have burned an enormous area – the Carr fire has now burned over 150K acres, The Ranch fire in Mendocino, over 200K acres, the River fire over 45K, and the Western fire, now contained, over 100K acres. These fires leave canopy holes which will take years to fill.
As of July 31, more than 25,000 firefighters are committed to 140 wildfires across the United States—over a million acres aflame. Eight people are dead in California, tens of thousands evacuated, smoke and pyroclastic clouds are visible from space. And all any fire scientist knows for sure is, it only gets worse from here. How much worse? Where? For whom? Experience can’t tell them. The scientists actually are uncertain.
“We can no longer use the observed past as a guide. There’s no stable system that generates a measurable probability of events to use the past record to plan for the future,” says LeRoy Westerling, a management professor who studies wildfires at UC Merced.
“On top of that is interaction between the climate system, the ecosystem, and how we manage our land use,” Westerling says. “That intersection is very complex, and even more difficult to predict. When I say there’s no new normal, I mean it. The climate will be changing with probably an accelerating pace for the rest of the lives of everyone who is alive today.”
Climate change: melting mountains
Ice on the glacier-capped southern top of Kebnekaise mountain has melted so much this summer that it is no longer Sweden's highest point. It has lost four meters making it only the second highest peak.
Democracy Now: Interview with Rob Nixon
Gov’t Inaction on Climate Change Is “Slow Violence” That Hits World’s Poor the Hardest
Rob Nixon, I just want to turn to a couple of the statistics, which are so remarkable, that you’ve cited in terms of the massive disparities of countries that are responsible for—principally responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions and effects. You say California residents burn more gasoline than the 900 million inhabitants of all of Africa. That’s 54 countries combined. Meanwhile, a one-way flight from Los Angeles to New York produces more carbon emissions than the average Nigerian does in a whole year. So, could you elaborate on that and to what extent you think that’s being taken into account at all in discussions of climate change?
ROB NIXON: Right. I think there is an increasing acknowledgment that we need a concerted global effort, but within that concerted global effort we need to accommodate unequal histories of who has contributed to the greenhouse gases historically and who contribute in the present. And so, that is an absolutely critical component of what is an existential crisis for the species.
The Climate Science Special Report: This is the study referred to in the CNN video above. It is a comprehensive summary, published June 2017, and well worth the read.
Findings of the U.S. Global Change Research Program Climate Science Special Report:
As a key part of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) oversaw the production of this stand-alone report of the state of science relating to climate change and its physical impacts.
The Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) is designed to be an authoritative assessment of the science of climate change, with a focus on the United States, to serve as the foundation for efforts to assess climate-related risks and inform decision-making about responses
In addition to warming, many other aspects of global climate are changing, primarily in response to human activities. Thousands of studies conducted by researchers around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; diminishing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea levels; ocean acidification; and increasing atmospheric water vapor.
For example, global average sea level has risen by about 7–8 inches since 1900, with almost half (about 3 inches) of that rise occurring since 1993. Human-caused climate change has made a substantial contribution to this rise since 1900, contributing to a rate of rise that is greater than during any preceding century in at least 2,800 years. Global sea level rise has already affected the United States; the incidence of daily tidal flooding is accelerating in more than 25 Atlantic and Gulf Coast cities.
Global average sea levels are expected to continue to rise—by at least several inches in the next 15 years and by 1–4 feet by 2100. A rise of as much as 8 feet by 2100 cannot be ruled out. Sea level rise will be higher than the global average on the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States.
• Annual average temperature over the contiguous United States has increased by 1.2°F (0.7°C) for the period 1986–2016 relative to 1901–1960 and by 1.8°F (1.0°C) based on a linear regression for the period 1901–2016 (very high confidence). Surface and satellite data are consistent in their depiction of rapid warming since 1979 (high confidence). Paleo-temperature evidence shows that recent decades are the warmest of the past 1,500 years (medium confidence).
• Annual average temperature over the contiguous United States is projected to rise (very high confidence). Increases of about 2.5°F (1.4°C) are projected for the period 2021–2050 relative to the average from 1976–2005 in all RCP scenarios, implying recent record-setting years may be “common” in the next few decades (high confidence). Much larger rises are projected by late century (2071–2100): 2.8°–7.3°F (1.6°–4.1°C) in a lower scenario (RCP4.5) and 5.8°–11.9°F (3.2°–6.6°C) in a higher scenario (RCP8.5) (high confidence).
• In the United States, the urban heat island effect results in daytime temperatures 0.9°–7.2°F (0.5°–4.0°C) higher and nighttime temperatures 1.8°– 4.5°F (1.0°–2.5°C) higher in urban areas than in rural areas, with larger temperature differences in humid regions (primarily in the eastern United States) and in cities with larger and denser populations. The urban heat island effect will strengthen in the future as the structure and spatial extent as well as population density of urban areas change and grow (high confidence).
Most of the feedbacks can show both continuous responses and tipping point behavior in which the feedback process becomes self-perpetuating after a critical threshold is crossed; … Many feedbacks will show some gradual change before the tipping point is reached.
A few of the changes associated with the feedbacks are reversible on short timeframes of 50–100 years (e.g., change in Arctic sea ice extent with a warming or cooling of the climate; Antarctic sea ice may be less reversible because of heat accumulation in the Southern Ocean), but most changes are largely irreversible on timeframes that matter to contemporary societies … For some of the tipping elements, crossing the tipping point could trigger an abrupt, nonlinear response (e.g., conversion of large areas of the Amazon rainforest to a savanna or seasonally dry forest), while for others, crossing the tipping point would lead to a more gradual but self-perpetuating response (large-scale loss of permafrost).
While this may seem to be an extreme scenario, it illustrates that a warming into the range of even the lower-temperature cluster (i.e., the Paris targets) could lead to tipping in the mid- and higher-temperature clusters via cascade effects. Based on this analysis of tipping cascades and taking a risk-averse approach, we suggest that a potential planetary threshold could occur at a temperature rise as low as ∼2.0 °C above preindustrial
In essence, the Stabilized Earth pathway could be conceptualized as a regime of the Earth System in which humanity plays an active planetary stewardship role in maintaining a state intermediate between the glacial–interglacial limit cycle of the Late Quaternary and a Hothouse Earth. We emphasize that Stabilized Earth is not an intrinsic state of the Earth System but rather, one in which humanity commits to a pathway of ongoing management of its relationship with the rest of the Earth System.