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Climate change & its impacts, rippling out across all our futures, 2

Friday, August 30th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — part 1 was Climate change & its impacts, rippling out across all our futures, 1, and dealt with the impact of climate change on the Hajj and other pilgrimage sites ]
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Climate change, of course, has ripples in many other areas of geo-political, national security and intelligence interest besides Islam, Mecca, and the Hajj.

I’m by no means the first person to foresee what’s now called climate migration — nor that it will involve massive migrations across national borders as well as within sovereign nations.

So that’s another version of the issue variously addressed in a recent NYT op-ed, a New York Intelligencer piece, and a Franklin Foer piece in The Atlantic — the impact of climate change on the nation-state system:

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  • Quinta Jurecic, Who Owns the Amazon?
  • Quinta Jurecic is the managing editor of the highly regarded Lawfare blog, and the subtitle of his piece reads:

    The raging fires are straining the usefulness of the concept of sovereignty.

    That’s quite a whammy, coming from an impeccable — ha, unimpeachable — source: sovereignty, the self-determination of the nation state, comes into question, and thus the nation state itself. Because fires in the Amazon rain-forest aka the lungs of our planet are too dangerous to be left to the actions of autonomous nations — and the same goes for climate change more generally:

    The Amazon fires are a test case of sorts for how the climate crisis will strain the usefulness of seemingly simple concepts — like national sovereignty. Before calling up the military, Mr. Bolsonaro accused countries donating money to preserve the rain-forest of wanting to “interfere with our sovereignty.” He also declared that the international condemnation he faced spoke to a “colonialist mentality,” criticizing what he saw as Mr. Macron’s encouragement for the G7, which does not include Brazil, to grapple with the problem on its own.

    Question: what happens to national sovereignty when global interest supervenes?

  • David Wallace-Wells, The Glimmer of a Climate New World Order
  • Wallace-Wells is the author of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. That may be a book I shall have to review. In this article, however, he makes a point about our academic and technical readiness for climate change, which I’d see as expanding on Jurecic‘s point about sovereignty:

    If climate change does transform life on this planet at anything like the scale and speed scientists promise it will, our politics will change with it — and probably quite dramatically. One question this raises is: In what ways? Another is: Will we like what warming does to us? The answers to both are very much open, and we’ve barely begun to develop a political science around climate change that might help us think through the possibilities.

    we’ve barely begun to develop a political science around climate change. Not as political science theory, but as diplomatic reality, required to avoid politics turning into warfare — in a nuclear-tipped age.

    Question: What might a planetary political science adequate to climate change look like?

  • Franklin Foer, The Amazon Fires Are More Dangerous Than WMDs
  • Franklin Foer‘s piece in the Atlantic is subtitled:

    One person shouldn’t have the power to set policies that doom the rest of humanity’s shot at mitigating rising

    Man, nation, planet — Planet, nation, man?

    Arguably, a nation has the right to impose its rule or rules on a man, and analogously, a planet has the right to impose its rule or rules on a nation — but note that the planet’s rules are none other than the laws of nature, so we’ve shifted register from what is humanly imposed tpo what is imposed on humans. And if humans try to emulate those laws, via the UN, or the International Criminal Court in The Hague, some nations may not be exactly happy..

    Question: when planetary needs collide with national interfests, rich or poor, who wins, and who needs to win?

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    Okay, those are the three main pieces I wanted to draw your attention to. These are also of possible interest:

  • Laura Parker, 143 Million People May Soon Become Climate Migrants

    Climate change will transform more than 143 million people into “climate migrants” escaping crop failure, water scarcity, and sea-level rise, a new World Bank report concludes. Most of this population shift will take place in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America—three “hot spots” that represent 55 percent of the developing world’s populations.

    This worst-case scenario is part of a ground-breaking study focused on the impacts of slow-onset climate, as opposed to more visibly dramatic events such as extreme storms and flooding.

  • Sujatha Byravan & Sudhir Chella Rajan, Before the Flood

    Conservative climate and hydrological models suggest that the average sea level will rise by about a foot by 2050, regardless of what new actions we take to reduce greenhouse gases. In some cases, entire nations will disappear; a harbinger of this is Tuvalu in the Pacific, whose government has asked Australia and New Zealand to accept its citizens as the sea swallows their island.

  • Brian Kahn, How Climate Change Is Becoming a Deadly Part of White Nationalism

    Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old suspect police took into custody after the shooting, is believed to have uploaded a four-page white nationalist document to the message board 8chan … outlining his motives for killing at least 22 people at Walmart on Saturday. Included among its racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric are ideas central to the mainstream environmental movement. “[O]ur lifestyle is destroying the environment of our country. The decimation of the environment is creating a massive burden for future generations. Corporations are heading the destruction of our environment by shamelessly overharvesting resources,” it reads.

  • **

    Is that last quote surprising?

    It is if, and only if, one’s basic assumption is of the left / right divide, with the left being ecologically conscious and the right (see Trump) being blind to, and thus potentially blindsided by, climate change. If your significant divisor, on the other hand, is extremist / moderate, then it’s not so surprising after all.

    Too good to miss, recent miscellanea

    Thursday, August 29th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — i don’t know about you, but wondrous strange stuff passes before my eyes daily, as in a dream — here’s a sampler ]
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    First off, two graphics too good to miss:

    From my friend Rabbi Lobel:

    and via David Metcalfe:

    I should probably stop there — the two of them are so stunning. But I need someplace to park some other recent items that caught my attention..

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    Then, a chyron ouroboros so brief as to be stunning:

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    And here are a couple of other tweeted ouroboroi

    And this one with the added distinction of coming from a Q-source:

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    Best game as metaphor for politics meme:

    Best folk religion image — Holy Child, Patron Saint of Gas Thieves

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    BTW, does QAnon get it’s Q from Quelle, German for source and popularly abbreviated Q in New Testament studies, where it is the “hypothetical written collection of primarily Jesus’ sayings” (Wiki) on which Matthew and Luke draw for materials not found in Mark?

    Or as I suggested to Ali Minai a day or two ago:

    the letter Q is what you get when you try to construct a Moebius strip on a plane surface.

    Don’t get me started on Borromean rings..

    And is there a Q in that initial snake graphic, at the head of this post? Thus I bite my own tail..

    Okay, Covington Scissoring the Overton Window?

    Sunday, June 30th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — different people have different insights, and if they’re any good, they may be worth bringing together to see how they intersect, overlap, intertwine, refute one another, or pass each other by unscathed ]
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    Two concepts from political science that deserve to be interlaced:

    The Overton Window:

    The Overton Window is a model for understanding how ideas in society change over time and influence politics. The core concept is that politicians are limited in what policy ideas they can support — they generally only pursue policies that are widely accepted throughout society as legitimate policy options. These policies lie inside the Overton Window. Other policy ideas exist, but politicians risk losing popular support if they champion these ideas. These policies lie outside the Overton Window.

    But the Overton Window can both shift and expand, either increasing or shrinking the number of ideas politicians can support without unduly risking their electoral support. Sometimes politicians can move the Overton Window themselves by courageously endorsing a policy lying outside the window, but this is rare. More often, the window moves based on a much more complex and dynamic phenomenon, one that is not easily controlled from on high: the slow evolution of societal values and norms.

    Source:

  • Mackinac Center, A brief explanation of the Overton Window
  • **

    And The Covington Scissor:

    In a short story published last October, “Sort by ntroversial,” Scott Alexander imagines a Silicon Valley company that accidentally comes up with an algorithm to generate what it calls a “Scissor.” The scissor is a statement, an idea or a scenario that’s somehow perfectly calibrated to tear people apart — not just by generating disagreement, but by generating total incredulity that somebody could possibly disagree with your interpretation of the controversy, followed by escalating fury and paranoia and polarization, until the debate seems like a completely existential, win-or-perish fight.

    When you start arguing with someone over a Scissor statement, “at first you just think they’re an imbecile. Then they call you an imbecile, and you want to defend yourself. … You notice all the little ways they’re lying to you and themselves and their audience every time they open their mouth to defend their imbecilic opinion. Then you notice how all the lies are connected, that in order to keep getting the little things like the Scissor statement wrong, they have to drag in everything else. Eventually even that doesn’t work; they’ve just got to make everybody hate you so that nobody will even listen to your argument no matter how obviously true it is.”

    Source:

  • Ross Douthat, The Covington Scissor
  • **

    What happens when you Covington Scissor the Overton Window all the way open?

    One half of the answer can be found in this title and sub-title by Amy Davidson Sorkin:

    The Democratic Primary’s Moving Margins:
    In the first debates, radical ideas were as much at the center of the action as at the fringes.

    The other half is even more obvious, IMO — the Republican margin has been shifting to the further and far right, or at least that’s the view of political scientist Keith Poole of the University of Georgia:

    The short version would be since the late 1970s starting with the 1976 election in the House the Republican caucus has steadily moved to the right ever since. It’s been a little more uneven in the Senate. The Senate caucuses have also moved to the right. Republicans are now furtherest to the right that they’ve been in 100 years

    And the result, Overton-Window-wise?

    Getting there..

    Achtung!

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    To weaponize metaphors.. thoughts as clothes, clothes as thoughts

    Monday, May 13th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — if i may be a bit presumptuous, language is a topic for the wise — in this case, how language can be used as a knife ]
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    I was reading a Vice News piece, Leaked chats show white nationalist group’s plot to infiltrate Turning Point, and was struck by the phrase “weaponize metaphors” in the paragraph:

    Part of Identity Evropa’s strategy now relies on its ability to weaponize metaphors to make their white nationalism seem more acceptable, like referring to “European heritage” — which white nationalist often use as a euphemism to mean “white” — or seizing on mainstream conservative issues like immigration.

    I frankly don’t see”metaphor” and “euphemism” as equivalents, but at least we’re looking at the language used to convey a political stance, albeit an abhorrent one.

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    Semioticians won’t be surprised to see that clothes can also be a mode of signalling — of conveying meaning — every bit as much as verbal language. In fact, to paraphrase my title, we can see here that thoughts can be viewed as clothes, clothes as thoughts.. Indeed, in the paragraph immediately before the one I just quoted, we read:

    According to the leaked Slack chats, about 200 members were expected to attend a secret Identity Evropa conference in Kentucky last weekend. Consistent with their brand overall, the event had a fairly strict dress code: Attendees were urged to wear “dress slacks or chinos” — no jeans. Some attendees fretted about whether they had enough time to get their suits dry-cleaned.

    Clothes as thoughts, thoughts as clothes..

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    Speaking of semioticians — Charles Sanders Peirce, the father of semiotics, coined the phrase “the play of musement” which I’ve been toying with recently. Here’s a play, a musement of my own:

  • There’s the music of the spheres, around and within us.

  • Then there’s the boundary layer, the troposphere, the ozone layer, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the thermosphere, the exosphere and so forth, space, deep space, and deep deep space —

  • or if you’ll believe the brilliant jazz comedian Lord Buckley riffing on Albert Einstein — we should also add “the zonesphere, and the vautisphere, and the routesphere, and the hippisphere, and the flippisphere, and the zippisphere, and the gonesphere, and the way-gonesphere” — hey, the “way-gonesphere” has a distinctly Prajnaparamita feel to it, no? —

  • or better yet, there’s the atmosphere, which includes equally both the sphere of weather out the window and the realm of emotional tensions within a room, group or event..

  • and what Dylan Thomas calls “the weather of the heart”..
  • **

    But really, listen to the whole Hip Einie thing, Buckley gets into the 1905 Annalen der Physik and more:

    And consider the profound beauties of the Heart Sutra with its mantra, and Dylan Thomas marvelous poem:

  • Prajñaparamita, Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone utterly beyond, Enlightenment hail!
  • Dylan Thomas, A Process In The Weather Of The Heart
  • Next, 25

    Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — a quarter century of chyron and metaphor posts — Booker, 81 at Stanford, is now a legit sports metaphor for politics — finishing up with Beto and the Cult of the Dead Cow !! ]
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    Ari Melber, the Beat 3/18/2019:

    My notes on what happened which day are seriously confused at this point. I hope I can go back and rescue a chyron “Trumped” from the very start of this show, ami I right?

    Quotes:

    he sits at the center of a crime syndicate ..
    John Flannery: to pin the tail on the donkey, the [ .. ] in the West Wing ..

    Hardball 3/18/2019:

    Cory Booker:

    just another example of his moral vandalism ..

    Ron Reagan:

    What is it about John McCan that sets him off? John McCain was everything Donald Trump isn’t. John McCain wasa man ofn integrity and a man of great courage.

    Meghan McCain:

    My father waas his kryptonite in life, and is his kryptonite in death..

    We now need, more than ever after this President, more than ever we need a revival of grace in our country, a revival of civic grace in our civic spaces..

    I suppose this image is now a sports metaphor for politics

    I got into Stanford because of a 4.0, 1600 — 4.0 yards per carry, 1,600 receiving yards..

    at 27, not on my download to verify: I see this as whiffle-ball ..
    at 38/9, sonny liston vs muhammad ali
    40, we want to see some white smoke, some hope
    40, the goose-eggs add up
    59 steve king?

    **

    Uncertain sources &c:

    The house is just going to be a bear-pit ..
    kasie:it’s a home game for him, not an away game
    does he have what it takes to go the distance ..
    i wasn’t born to run, but i am running ..
    we are not trying to hide the ball here at all ..

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    Three that I may have posted before, forgive me:

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    And saving the best [??!!] for last:

    As “PsychedelicWarlord,” O’Rourke spent most of his time posting thought-provoking essays, song lyrics from punk albums, and the occasional poem. At one point, he and another member interviewed a neo-Nazi. And in one post, he gave “The True Story of Cult of the Dead Cow,” in which he claimed authorship of the name..

    Header for a Beto poem:

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