Monday, October 8, 2018

(#2)Fruits of our Failures to Engage, Sen. McConnell thanks "women clowns" - Kavanaugh debacle

At the previously mentioned dialogue over at ATTP the following article was introduced with: 
Can better communication move people from a state of apathy to action on man-made climate change, or will it take a catastrophic Black Swan climate event* to do so?  For more about the apathy problem, read…
It struck me as ironic coming on the heels of yet another profoundly damaging Democratic Party failure.  That is their inability to stop the GOP Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination atrocity against democracy.  It serves as yet another example of avoiding the real issue and talking past each other.  So I selected the following quotes before trying to enunciate what’s missing. 

"Climate change apathy, not denial, is the biggest threat to our planet”
By Leo Barasi, Oct 5, 2018, The Guardian

The easy way to cut emissions – closing coal power stations – is exhausted. Now the public has to be convinced to make sacrifices

“Partisanship is a problem, too. Arguments about climate change are often polarised between left and right, and the public widely see it as a left issue. This is a problem because people are more likely to believe what they hear from those they identify with, and to reject what they hear from others. …”
“And there are more psychological barriers. Cutting emissions requires people to trust authorities to be competent, honest and fair – a tall order at a time when only a third of people say they trust government. …”
“Yet, daunting though these barriers are, they can be beaten with political leadership and honesty. …” (nice, a wave in the general direction of the need for truthfulness, but it still misses the boat)
Begs the question how many ‘Black Swan’ events do we want.  Have you checked in on the running tally over at the Understanding Climate Change channel lately?  *

Regarding Senator McConnell gloating: “Mitch McConnell thanks ‘these clowns’ (aka rape victims) for protesting Kavanaugh”  by Kaiser,  October 08, 2018

*Okay, that's just a tally of significantly destructive weather events, "black swan event" is of another order of intensity (see Chris Mooney's article, ).  The bad joke there, by the time we get to the truly hyper-storm stage, you can be sure society will have already been knocked resoundingly on its pins.  Consider the tempo of extended droughts, torrential rains, destructive winds, rising sea levels and cyclone intensity storm driven waves - that's not slowing down baby.

Personally I have a weather/climate baseline set in the 1960s and '70s, I remember getting dismissed (in the '70s, '80s, and since) for being into Earth sciences and climate science and concerned about stuff like increasing our atmospheric insulation and the fearful cascading consequences of the resulting global warming.  We first learned about the obvious, melting ice caps, shifting climate zones, weather disruption, worse storms based on commonsense physics.  

Still the fundamental physics driving all this was thoroughly understood that's to US Air Force scientists.  Its true that specific mechanisms were far from well understood.  But, please we knew about the fundamentals physics driving the show.  Warm a closed system, it's going to increase activity.  

Any fundamental appreciation for our biosphere and society's complexities makes it obvious that this is a lose lose situation for humanity and our individual lives, no matter where on the economic scale you stand.

But tragically back then society was too busy learning how to dance to the new Reaganomics' siren song, Greed Is Good, Too Much Is Never Enough, Maximize Profits-Minimize Expenditures and Externalities.  Endless economic growth was the promise most everyone bought into.  Encourage corporations to gobble up each other in a ruthless drive for personal enrichment, until they are big enough to buy up and privatize our US government.  

What's most galling is how little appreciation people have for the complexities of society and business and transportation and communication.  Everyone seems to be taking it all for granted as they run around chasing entertainment.  and so on and so forth. (10/22/2018)


My response:
I read Barasi’s article, can’t disagree with a thing. Although lets be honest that article was simply a repackaging of what’s been written many times, for decades now. It’s as ‘right on’ now as it was in the 90s, the problem is with its omissions.

I could not find a thing addressing the influence of lavishly funded and very methodical, strategic attacks based on deliberately dishonest media campaigns, intent on sowing confusion rather than constructive debate and learning.

You know, all those deliberate campaigns to lie about the facts, all intended to confuse an under-informed and rather apathetic public.  Instead, I’m told to look on the bright side.

I’m told that it would be impolite and only a jerk would dare actually talk right into contrarian faces and directly at their lies. 

Only a jerk would make a point of explaining God is in our minds and hearts and is profoundly personal; that no human has a one on one relationship with god, not now, not ever! That what we have is ego and personal drive to do better and have more. That what we need is each other to keep ourselves honest and moral.

Nope instead I’m told keep it polite, don’t ruffle any feathers. I’m wondering should my example be those old white men/women sitting on the Judiciary Committee who keep within everyone’s comfort zone. 

Even if it meant being incapable of exposing Kavanaugh’s rabid partisanship, which was on full display, threatening promises and all. Then standing up to demand that we recognize that in America, such behavior disqualified a person from judgeship, before anything else is even considered!! But no, our Democrat leaders fold yet again.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Fruits of our Failures to Engage, Kavanaugh drama.

I had an interesting exchange today.  Related to my constant agitating climate science communicators about the need to directly engage contrarians, and just as repeatedly, being rebuffed by the big boys.  See, I've been repeatedly reassured: Climate science contrarians, or for that matter these days die-hard Trump supporters, are a “lost cause” and a distinct minority of the US population.  There’s not much point in interacting with them on social media or elsewhere.    

Seems to me simply looking at the degeneration of our public discourse, and the current attack our governmental agencies makes the folly of that smugness self evident, but evidently not.  Be clear this is about the dialogue on the street, and in media outlets, outside of the scientific community.  

We NEED to DIRECTLY ENGAGE contrarian characters and their arguments and misinformation for many reasons.

How else can we understand our own positions and arguments, if we can’t enunciate them in challenging circumstances?

How can we understand what’s going on within their heads and hearts, if we never actually listen to them?

How can we convince onlookers if we’re afraid to confront and expose the deliberate dishonestly of science's critics?

and so on.

In any event, in an ongoing dialogue at ATTP I responded to a pal's sidestepping non sequitur with the following:

I wrote: "Guess I’ll never get you to discuss my actual content –  blithe dismissal is as far as your interest goes. But, than it seems we’ve turned into a society that rather talk past each other. {Have you checked political polls lately, looks to me like the fruits of our general apathy and that god-awful laziness when it come to actually confronting what the other is trying to express.}"

This prompted his angry complaint: “… your propensity to falsely define me, for example. cc wrote:
"Have you checked political polls lately, looks to me like the fruits of our general apathy and that god-awful laziness when it come to actually confronting what the other is trying to express."
Implicit in your statement is the belief that I am not paying attention to what is going on in US politics. …   
I'm sharing my response mainly because it drifts into the current Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination which serves as a perfect example of the fruits of intellectual's benign neglect of the lower classes, and which has been weighing heavy on my heart these past days.  

Oh please STOP already!  It’s not all about you! Excuse the sloppy rhetorical device. 

I’m trying to discuss the need for more direction citizen dialogue, engagement, motivation, networking - you know a healthy Democracy demands an informed and engaged citizenry and all that.

Please, I was asking about the fact and not poking at you.   

Consider what we have witnessed in America this past week.  You know the Kavanaugh hearing and the voter opinion polls that look like they’ve gone though a wild 15/20 point swing.  Republicans have suddenly been justified and energized and Democratic momentum seems to have evaporated.  What happened?  How can that be understood, what does that portent for the coming election?

Then my point:
Kavanaugh was a very passionate partisan, even belligerent and threatening.  A man who felt free dropping conspiracy theories without offering a shred of evidence, in order to distract from the actual issue at hand. 

Kavanaugh delivered an emotionalized, personalized, angry, even threatening diatribe.  He showed himself to be the great white American male playing the victim card like a consummate performer.  He used anger and indignation to evade all questions and America ate it up because of, …  Why?