Posts from our progressive community

It's Blogger Leprosy

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 07/18/2015 - 17:20
Write a post about Greece or Harper, the NDP or the F-35, just about anything and readers will post comments.  Sometimes just a couple, sometimes a lot.

But there's one topic that seems to always turn readers mute - climate change. That logging thingee shows that plenty read it but nobody wants to get into a discussion or a debate or even just tell me to shove off.  It's like they read it, jump into some hole and pull the lid tightly down.

As the science keeps pouring in it's obvious that this is the most important issue to us as a country, a people or as family members and individuals.  It just could be what takes down our global civilization.  In fact there's quite a good chance of that, a real probability.

What perplexes me most is that this is Canada!  We still have options, mainly adaptation strategies, that have long been foreclosed in most other nations. If we chose not to act those options will slip through our fingers too. Is that what we want not just for us but also for our kids?

Most of the people who read this self-identify as progressives and are politically engaged even as they jostle to champion parties and leaders for whom this is nowhere near the top of their political agenda.

I'm not saying we can turn this off or roll it back. Those illusions left me a long time ago. That said there are things that can be done to bolster our society, to improve our vital social cohesion, to reinforce our essential infrastructure to meet these changing and demanding conditions if we can overcome the inertia, this miasma that now blocks any effective action.

It's going to take energy to overcome that inertia and to build that energy we need engagement and discussion, debate and, if possible, consensus on what we all must demand from our political caste.  Yet even that modest beginning seems to elude us.  I can't understand why.

Missed It Completely. The 2015 State of the States Report.

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 07/18/2015 - 17:02

The United States of America's Ecological Deficit Day arrived this year with little fanare on July 14th.

That is the date on which it is estimated that the Americans have consumed an entire year's worth of their nation's renewable resources.  Six and a half months to use up twelve months worth of renewables.  That means five and a half months of running on empty, draining the steadily dwindling reserves (i.e. groundwater) and importing goods, mainly foodstuffs, from abroad.  It also means a build up of various forms of pollution normally cleansed by nature.

You can read the State of the States Report here.  It's a well-illustrated, easy to comprehend study of how the US and individual states are doing and where they're heading.  It's full of little gems such as how it would take eight Californias to support California residents' ecological footprint.

Hottest Year Ever? Apparently So.

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 07/18/2015 - 15:30
I know, you folks in the east had a miserable, seemingly endless winter but for the rest of the world it was pretty toasty.  In fact 2015 is shaping up to be the hottest year in recorded history and by a good margin at that.

Brace yourself.  The science types say there's a good chance that 2016 will be hotter yet.  From Think Progress:

NASA reported Wednesday that this was the hottest June on record (tied with 1998). And it’s now all but certain 2015 will be the hottest year on record, probably by a wide margin — as what increasingly appears to be one of the strongest El Niños in 50 years boosts the underlying global warming trend.

The gap between 2015 and all other years... is likely to grow because the El Niño that NOAA announced a few months ago has been growing stronger — and it is projected to grow even stronger and last the entire year. The rising ocean temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, which are characteristic of an El Niño, just keep rising.

“Confidence continues to grow that this El Niño will be one of the stronger El Niños over the past 50 years,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said Thursday.

El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) junkies should be following the Twitter feed of the International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate & Society, where you will learn “Last week’s NINO3.4 temps were ~+1.5. If that level holds for the month of July, the #ElNino will be considered a strong event” and “#ElNino forecast is off the charts! Both dynam & stats models calling for stronger event than last month.”

There is a greater than 85 percent chance that the current El Niño lasts through May. As AccuWeather’s Anderson explains, “El Niño typically reaches its peak during the December through February period.”

If this pattern plays out, then 2016 would likely top whatever temperature record 2015 sets — again, possibly by a wide margin. After all, the blowout temperature year in the 1997/1998 super El Niño was 1998.

If you look at the NASA temperature chart closely, you may notice that they have updated a lot of their temperatures going back for decades. NASA explains what they did here — essentially they started using better sea surface temperature data from NOAA. As a result of this update to higher quality and “substantially more complete input data,” the ongoing human-caused global warming has become even clearer to see.

Bottom Line: The warming trend that made 2014 the hottest calendar year on record is continuing. As some climate scientists have said, it’s increasingly likely we’re witnessing the start of the long-awaited jump in global temperatures.


accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 07/18/2015 - 14:01
The current Liberal leader, who apparently saw no reason to think his actions in the present might result in the loss of his party's self-proclaimed brand:

Trudeau said he finds Canadians he talks with when he travels are open to the idea of balancing security and rights. But he conceded that he may have underestimated the backlash, partly because he thought that as a Liberal he wasn’t vulnerable to being seen as lax on defending the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (The Charter was, of course, introduced as part of the constitutional reforms ushered in by his late father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, in 1982.)

“I quite frankly—and this is maybe where I made a strategic or a calculation error—I didn’t think that people would be so divisive and so aggressive as to somehow make it seem like the Liberal party doesn’t care about the Charter,” he said.
The fate of the previous Liberal leader, in whose caucus that current leader served (via Paul Wells, The Longer I'm Prime Minister at p. 253-254):
(T)he truly striking gap was on the response to the question about which leader respondents regarded as "a patriotic Canadian". Harper's advantage there was thirty-four points, nearly double his next-widest margin.

Shortly before EKOS released that poll, I received an e-mail from a Harper advisor:
The simple fact that we are debating the "Canadianness" of the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada is a victory for Conservatives. Iggy is now playing defence on the #1 brand attribute of the Liberal Party of Canada. Even after the sponsorship scandal the Liberals still owned being the "Canada Party." The party with the pan-Canadian vision. The party best able to keep the country together...Attacks on Iggy related to "arrogance and elitism" (e.g. the "arrogance spot") and/or "tax and spend" (e.g. the "economy" spot) are standard operating procedure - the personalization of negative brand attributes associated with the party itself. But the attacks on Ignatieff's long-term commitment to the country are much deeper and much more problematic for a Liberal.

The F-35 Does Win in Air Combat. A Game Says So.

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 07/18/2015 - 13:11
Over at War is Boring there's a new item about how Lockheed's immensely flawed F-35 will handily trounce an opposing force of Russia's pretty amazing Su-35s.

Apparently there's a computer game you can buy to run this simulation yourself and you can expect consistent results, time after time.  Lockheed's wunder plane - overdue, overpriced and underperforming - can wax those Russkie's tales every time.

Unfortunately the fellow who wrote the piece, Tim Robinson, overlooked how contrived the scenario had to be to achieve this remarkable turnaround.

For starters, the American force outnumbered the Russians.  It was four Su-35 Sukhois versus four F-35 strike fighters plus supporting electronic warfare aircraft such as AWACS, RC-135 Rivet Joint and, of course, the small armada of tankers that would be needed to support that force.

Folks, it only gets better.  It turns out those four F-35s are loaded for bear and nothing else.  Each has its two weapon bays stuffed with a pair of British MDMB Meteor air to air missiles, leaving room for nothing else.

In other words, you take the hours required to assemble this package of fighters, tankers and electronic warfare aircraft, launch them from several air bases, get them all formed up somehow knowing that you'll arrive at this time and point in space where you'll find four Russian Su-35s just waiting for you to shoot them down.

This might be plausible if it was the Russians entering our airspace to attack and giving us all the time in the world to assemble and coordinate that defensive armada but that is, of itself, implausible.

It's just as implausible if it is an American aerial armada going into Russian airspace.  That's because those tankers and support aircraft are slow and anything but stealthy.  They would easily be detected at very long ranges by even basic Russian air defence radars.  And, while those American F-35s are supposedly engaged in defeating those Russian Su-35s, the Russians would have a very nice greeting party en route for those big, lumbering converted 60s jetliners in the form of even more fighters and Russia's world-beating long range surface to air missiles.

Which would put those American F-35s in a bind. Do they proceed toward the Russian Su-35s, hoping their giant electronic warfare planes survive long enough for them to launch those Meteor missiles or do they turn and hightail it back to defend their defenceless flying lifelines?  Of course once those F-35s begin turning they're no longer stealthy and can be easily picked off by the Russian fighters, each armed with 10-long range and effective missiles.  Decisions, decisions.

And even if, for the sake of argument, those F-35s expended their missile loads to successfully take out those Russian fighters, how do they and their tankers and electronic warfare aircraft get out?  That's what you could call the "dead meat" segment of the F-35's mission profile.  It doesn't have much fuel.  It doesn't have supercruise (way too much drag for that).  So it can't go fast without fuel-guzzling afterburner which means it can't go very fast very far.  Those are limitations the Russians don't have.  Their Su-35 carries loads of fuel.  It has supercruise.  It can go very fast for very long distances, long enough to run down a bunch of fleeing American F-35s fresh out of missiles and fast running out of fuel.

This simulation reminds me of one of those American anti-ballistic missile missle tests where the target flies a predetermined course and all the parameters are preloaded into the test missile.  Miracle of miracles, every now and then one of them actually intercepts the target.

Reminds me of what my beloved, late Uncle Shy used to say: "Don't eat that, Charlie, it's horse shit."


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