Tag Archives: ice

I’m 100% certain this is the way Trump’s presidency will end

The Crisis We Await

The exact way the Trump presidency ends is not clear. Anything could happen.

Trump had zero idea of what he was getting into with this president thing, and the stresses must be amazing. Clearly, he is being driven over the edge by relatively minor day to day events. Nothing has yet actually happened in this administration. If you ignore self inflicted wounds and self generated drama, and all the protesting against Trump, the world has been pretty quiet. It is as though all the bad guys, all the individuals who do the things that become major international issues or domestic crises, have stocked up on popcorn and are just watching Donald Trump in awe. Normally, things happen now and then that become major issues that need to be addressed by the President of the United States. For the last six weeks, since the inauguration of Donald Trump as the Republican President, we’ve seen nothing.

Remember this scene? Everything is fine in the beginning. Then, "Let her roll!!!"
Remember this scene? Everything is fine in the beginning. Then, “Let her roll!!!”
Here is a list I compiled, with help from my Facebook friends, of exemplars of things past, and ideas for things future, that could happen and that did or would demand attention and proper response from a United States president.

  • 911
  • a military coup takes over a neighboring or allied government
  • a smaller country such as Iraq invades another country such as Kuwait
  • arkstorm hits western states
  • attack on the US power grid
  • collapse of a major fishery
  • crop failure; multiple simultaneous crop failurs
  • debilitating cyber attack
  • Deepwater Horizon explosion
  • dirty bomb goes off somewhere
  • embassy attack
  • global financial crisis
  • hostage taking at a US embassy
  • India and Pakistan have a military confongration
  • Iran: US embassy hostage taking
  • Israel and Iran exchange missles
  • Katrina
  • large earthquake or tsunami in the United states
  • major river flooding
  • major spill
  • major tropical storm strikes major metropolitan area
  • major volcanic event
  • massive earthquake or tsunami somewhere
  • North Korea actually attacks someone
  • possible epidemic threat
  • Russia invades another country
  • Sandy
  • solar flare damaged US power grid
  • terrorist attack, large
  • terrorist attack, small
  • terroristic disease or chemical attack
  • unprecedented killer heat wave
  • Death of a world leader in a sensitive region
  • Crash of a US airliner
  • Korea or Iran takes a US naval ship
  • Outbreak of a major famine

The point of this list, to which any student of American History can add many more items, is to make clear that crises are sufficiently numerous that large ones are bound to happen in any given span of a few months time.

Something is going to happen soon, and when it does, how will Trump react, what will he do? What will he tweet? Will the chaos that ensues, the pressure that mounts, the overall intensity of of the situation, put him over the edge?

He doesn’t know what to do, no one around him really knows what to do. He will be exploited and the will of the United States twisted and used, if possible. We will lose in any confrontation or competition that arises as the result of any crisis, and that will compound the badness.

All that has to happen is for history as it is being born to run its normal course, for Trump and his presidency to collapse under the weight of reality.

Ultimately, this may kill him. He may simply die of a heart attack or stroke because of the stress. Or, he may take steps that are so outrageous that someone else kills him. In fact, he is currently courting that sort of attack every day, as his immigration policies ruin the lives of thousands of people. Listen to the weeping of innocent children as their parents, also innocent, are being taken away by the ICE jack-booted thugs. Then put yourself in the position of a father or grandfather who happens to be mentally and emotionally capable, and physically ready, to act in an entirely inappropriate, violent way. That small list of crazy people that seemed to follow around Gerald Ford, or that supplies the assassins of the like that shot at Reagan or killed Lennon, has got to be very small indeed compared to the number of people who wish to end the life of a despot like Trump. It may only be a matter of time before someone on that list gets through.

Or, there is the 25th Amendment. It is possible for various government officials to simply remove an off the rails president from office. Such a thing could happen if anything like the above list of crises starts to materialize, as it will, and Trump’s reactions are so dangerous that even the selfish, politics-only, non-governing yahoos who reside in the Executive Branch actually do something to preserve our democracy.

Or it could be impeachment. Impeachment requires that the Know Nothing and Do Nothing Republican Congress grows a spine and learns something and does something. That is very unlikely to happen, but around the country right now, people are showing up by the thousands, daily, demanding that they do something, so … maybe.

A Congressional turnover, followed by impeachment, is a possibility. Maybe the American Citizenry, who usually vote against their own self interest, will grow a brain and throw the actual bums out, and a new Democratic House will impeach and a Democratic Senate will hold a trial, and Trump will be ended that way.

But none of that matters until this other thing happens, which maybe, or maybe not, is currently underway.

How Trump Can Stay In Power Forever

Donald trump is likely to stay in power as long as he wants to, even after his presidency ends, because Chuck Todd will make sure it happens. Andrea Mitchel will work to keep Trump in the White House. All the CNN reporters, and all the TV reporters in general, will work on this on a daily basis, tweaking the news, affecting public perception, in such a way as to make sure Trump is not removed by virtue of the 25th, or impeached, or even stressed out too much.

Why? This is why and how that happens. Go read that post if you want to understand how the news media fails us all, every day, and why they may not be able to stop themselves.

There is another possibility, though.

Last Tuesday, Trump gave his “joint address” (a form of State of the Union with a different name). During the address, he said all the things we expect if we assume he is not changing his policies. He also introduced an alarming new thing, a fund to increase the level of national hate against immigrants. All in all, any intelligent watcher of politics would have come away from that address knowing that Trump is still Trump, and nothing has changed.

The astute observer would also note this: Trump’s address was a carefully written speech that Trump clearly did not compose, but that he did work hard to read correctly off the teleprompter. That is actually bad news. It means that Trump’s handlers are on board with keeping him in the groove he is already in, and are helping him do that by constructing a speech with no change in direction, but that is less shocking in its messaging qualities.

Soon after Trump’s speech, I pulled the shotgun I keep under the couch out, pumped five rounds into the TV, and threw the smoldering wreckage right through the big glass window onto the street.

OK, I didn’t really do that. I don’t actually have a shot gun under the couch. But if I did…..

What actually happened was this: Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchel and the talking heads on PBS, and all the other reporters got all titilated about how Trump finally sounded presidential, about how everything would be fine now, about how the “presidential pivot” had finally happened.

They failed to notice that all that really happened was that Trump read the speech off the teleprompter and that the speech was a little more carefully written than usual — well, not for an address to the joint session, but for a Trump speech. They failed to notice that nothing had changed except a couple of things that went bad. They went on and on about how great the speech was and failed to mention the 18 or so bald faced lies, or the exploitation of a war widow to justify a failed military action, or, once again, the initiation of a hate-the-immigrant program.

They failed to save Democracy from Trump. For that, they should all be fired. For that, I get the shotgun out from under the couch and blast the TV to smithereens. Or, really, imagine myself doing it.

100% certain to end Trump: Reinforcements are always welcome!

But then something else happened. Trump did two things over the following few days, neither unexpected but both critically important.

1) He kept being Donald Trump; and

2) He actually got worse.

Believe it or not, and I’m still not quite believing it, this may have caused the press that fall in love with him on Tuesday to step back and realize they had been duped. They will never admit this because, frankly, only a stupid child could have been duped this way. But Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchel and the rest of them are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. They were all fooled, badly fooled, on Tuesday, then later in the week, made to appear as the embodiment of foolishness itself as the reality of Trump re-tweeted, er, re-emerged.

I was mulling this over this morning while checking over some of the previous day’s news reports and commentaries, when I came across this piece by Lawrence O’Donnell on his show “The Last Word.”

Watch it. Then, for fun, and a good cry, watch the next piece as well.

O’Donnell seems to believe that the press can snap itself out of its own stupidity if Trump is so blatantly bad as he was last weekend. I don’t. But it is quite possible that I am wrong and O’Donnell is right. And in hopes that this is the case, I’m going to unload the shells from my imaginary shotgun. For now.

So, yes. Trump’s presidency ends when Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell say it ends.

Now, watch this to the end. THE END. Just do it.

The end end, not the part you will think is the end. Just wait until the “tape” runs out. Past 4:20

Imagine that child crying is your own.

To hell with it, I’m putting the imaginary shells back in the damn gun.

PS, I know someone is going to complain about the shotgun, because some people are just that way and can’t help themselves. The shotgun is to shoot the TV because the news, and the way it is handled, and reported, is so frustrating. It is not to shoot a person. I would never do that, you should never do that.

Arctic Ice and the Polar Vortex, #SochiSlush (Updated)

Everything is about ice these days, what with the Winter Olympics in full swing. Concerns that the temperatures at the mountain venue of Sochi would be problematically high have panned out; the lower parts of the downhill slopes are slushy and the bottom of the half-pipe is all bumbly wumply. Injuries and lost medal opportunities are mounting up every day, in part caused by the unusual “Spring” conditions.

We all know the Arctic Vortex has been sitting on the middle of North America, and this has caused near zero F temperatures, often as low as -20F, here in central Minnesota. The same weather pattern has been bringing interesting storms across the American South, including, apparently, a nasty ice storm for Georgia (the state, not the Republic) tonight. Meanwhile we hear of very warm weather in Alaska and Eurasia.

So, if the Polar Vortex is here in the Twin Cities (plus or minus some 1,500 miles or so), what is going on in the Arctic? Is the sea ice at a relatively low level at this time of year when it should be reaching a maximum? How have the temperatures been, say, in Greenland?

Before I show you, I have to warn you of two important things. First, this time of year, early February, is a bad time to predict the next summer’s sea ice melt. Likely, there will be plenty of melting, and we can say that simply because for the last decade that has been the new norm. But looking at the current and recent data on sea ice extent does not accurately predict the minimum sea ice extent in September, when it will likely be at its lowest. (Well, to be honest, I don’t actually know this prediction can’t be made but I’m pretty sure that’s right). The second, countervailing issue is this: Climate scientists who look at these things seem to be about evenly divided between those who think we may have some sort of El Nino late this year, vs. not. This would determine in part warmer vs. cooler conditions generally. So, this post has to be regarded as highly speculative.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center has a nice “Interactive Sea Ice Graph” that you can play with to look at past years’ march of ice melting and re-freezing on the surface of the Arctic Ocean. Here, I’ve selected the base graph which has the average from 1981-2010 plus or minus 2 standard deviations (in gray) and the data so far for 2014. As you can see, we are at the lower end of the 2SD range.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 8.39.15 PM

Meanwhile, the Dark Snow Project blog has a post by Jason Box with this interesting graph:


Those are temperature anomalies in the Arctic region over the first 30-something days of this year. This shows unusual warmth. Now, compare that to a different graph from the same site:


That is “…the US for the region bounded by 70 to 105 longitude west and 38 to 55 latitude north.” In other words, that’s where the Arctic Vortex has been hanging out. So, yes, as I’ve mentioned before, the Arctic cold is here, not up in the Arctic. Up in the Arctic it is relatively warm. Jason also has this map showing the pattern using a different graphical technique. Remember, these are anomalies, departures from a 1981-2010 baseline, not absolute temperatures.

Temperature_2014_33-37_anom-1024x951 (1)

Go to the original post to get huge giant versions of these graphics.

The Arctic Sea Ice Blog has a lot more on the current situation. Also, Jason Box has this video released a few days ago and written up at Climate Denial Crock of the Week:

I repeat, it is too early to say what is going to happen during this year’s melt in the Arctic. But, this is a good time to start observing, as we will be passing typical peak sea ice in just under a month.

If Earth was your mother, she’d hold you under water in one rocky hand until you no longer bubbled

A collection of videos … that you will enjoy.

BBC Wonders of Life Trailer:

Climate 2013: Perspectives of 8 Scientists:

Chasing Ice movie reveals largest iceberg break-up ever filmed:

Kathleen Dean Moore at Nobel Conference 48 on the greatest violation of human rights ever seen:

With all due respect to the introducers, the talk actually starts at 8 minutes. Also, the best line delivered in any talk this year starts just after 42 minutes and 50 seconds (but really, start at 40:40 for best effect). It would be interesting to hear comments about the religious vs. secular approaches both suggested by Moore.