Friday, July 21, 2017

When Accountability Is A Plague - 4

"Mack The Finger said to Louie the king"
A bit more than seven years ago, Dredd Blog began this series that is focused on a fundamental characteristic of democracies, which is also a characteristic missing in non-democracies.

So, as despots know, remove accountability and you have removed democracy ... and replaced it with demockracy.

The shocking news today is about whether or not the president can pardon himself, his family, and his staff, but not only that, an associated discussion to that news is "when will the president fire the Special Investigator Mueller" (Washington Post: Can Trump pardon anyone? Himself? Can he fire Mueller? Your questions, answered).

The essence of this discussion was portrayed, in the first post of this series, as:
Most any academician will have a rap for this subject of accountability, which will go something like:
Accountability is the missing conceptual link in the current debate over how best to advance democracy. Democracy affirms the need to justify decisions made by citizens and their representatives: it is a system that connects the values of the individual with the decisions of the collective. The preferences of citizens revealed by fair elections (representation) or organized and definitive discussion (deliberation) are the starting points of democratic legitimacy.
A clearly defined accountability system is crucial to any system of representative democracy because citizens, through their vote, legitimize or give authority to leaders to act.
(The Accountability Ladder, PDF, emphasis added). As it turns out, accountability is an important, required, and essential ingredient for U.S. Democracy.
(When Accountability Is A Plague). There is a parallel concept that goes along with the notion of accountability, in the sense of the other side of that coin, which is called immunity:
This is offered to replace the more difficult way, which is "follow the money", because that way has become very difficult, what with all the secret offshore banking systems that are now operational:
The mantra for such investigations used to be "follow the money", but (since that requires looking into offshore banking systems) for we amateurs there is an easier mantra: "follow the immunity."

Ask "who has committed these crimes against the American people and their Constitution?"

Then list their names, and then finally ask: "have they been held accountable?"

If not, follow their dealings and their associates through the shadows, because since they are immune from prosecution for their crimes they have committed with impunity, they are in with those who have pulled off the coup (A Tale of Coup Cities - 4).
(ACLU vs. Clapper, Alexander, Hagel, Holder, and Mueller - 3). Take for example, Dick Cheney, who still brags about torture in public, but fears no prosecution.
(Follow The Immunity). The mantra "follow the money" leads to a place on Highway 61 that is not the end of the road.

Assume that following the money leads to  a criminal indictment of friends, family, and officials of the president, and that he pardons them.

They are then immune from accountability.

If any administration gets too cozy with pardons, which extinguish accountability, the next stop on Highway 61 is the land of impunity:
"Impunity arises from a failure by States to meet their obligations to investigate violations; to take appropriate measures in respect of the perpetrators, particularly in the area of justice, by ensuring that those suspected of criminal responsibility are prosecuted, tried and duly punished; to provide victims with effective remedies and to ensure that they receive reparation for the injuries suffered; to ensure the inalienable right to know the truth about violations; and to take other necessary steps to prevent a recurrence of violations."
(Wikipedia). Think of the dictator of North Korea as a matured form of impunity, and think of the current president of the Philippines as a sprouting example.

It all starts with a decline in accountability, and accelerates when impeachment is off the table (Duterte impeachment attempt fails) due to gerrymandering (Gerrymandering - Geological Deceit?, 2, 3, 4).

The previous post in this series is here.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The World According To Measurements - 7

Fig. 1 Climate Central
Since the Thermodynamic Equation Of Seawater - 2010 (TEOS-10) became available some have wondered about it.

The freely available toolkit comes in several programming languages and can be easily downloaded (TEOS-10 Software).

As to relevant changes brought about by TEOS-10, nothing has changed with regard to taking measurements, a point that the scientists involved emphasize:
"Importantly, while Absolute Salinity (g/kg) is the salinity variable that is needed in order to calculate density and other seawater properties, the
Fig. 2 Sea level change measurements
salinity which should be archived in national data bases continues to be the measured salinity variable, Practical Salinity (PSS-78). To avoid confusion while the use of Practical Salinity in scientific publications is phased out, published values of salinity should be specifically identified as being either Practical Salinity with the symbol SP or Absolute Salinity with the symbol SA."
(TEOS). In other words, keep on measuring in situ, but analyze those measurements with the new techniques that will result in more accurate and coherent discussions.

The heat being stored in the oceans takes exacting measurements and processes in order to track and study it:
"Roemmich estimates that at depths from 500 to 2000 meters, oceans are warming by .002 degrees Celsius every year, and in the top 500 meters, they’re gaining .005 degrees C. annually. While that may not seem like a
Fig. 3 Sea level impacts compared
big temperature jump, it amounts to a staggering load of heat when multiplied throughout the depths of this immense system that covers 70 percent of the planet.

Temperature gains are larger at the sea surface, which heats faster than the ocean as a whole. The top 75 meters have warmed an average of .01 degrees C per year since 1971."
(Yale, cf Fig. 1). The ".002" and ".005" values are tiny because the ocean is so voluminous that it can take a truly vast amount of heat, but it can also distribute that heat widely enough that detecting it in the deeps is a science in itself.
Fig. 4 Practical and Absolute Salinity

That said, I prepared some graphs to show how I distinguish between the "practical salinity" (measured in the ocean "in situ") and "absolute salinity" so as to keep the two concepts clean.

As the TEOS site suggested ("the salinity which should be archived in national data bases continues to be the measured salinity variable") I store the in situ data that I download from the World Ocean Database (WOD) in an SQL database in the original values (except the ~1% that are out of bounds, as noted here).

Fig. 5 Conservative and In Situ Temperatures
I like to be transparent so I prepared some graphs using a software module that processes both SA ("Absolute Salinity") and SP ("Practical Salinity" or in situ or measured salinity) separately.

The graph at Fig. 4 compares Absolute Salinity with Practical Salinity, and the graph at  Fig. 5 compares the TEOS-10 concept "Conservative Temperature" with the in situ or in place measurements stored in the WOD database.
Fig. 6 Volume Change Comparison

I even did a graph that compares thermosteric volume change using Absolute Salinity and Conservative Temperature (TEOS concepts) with thermosteric volume change using measured temperature and salinity (Fig. 6).

These graphs use different colors for each type, and use a granularity that makes it easier to see the differences than panel graphs do (Fig. 3).

That said, it is still obvious that the relevant "thermal" condition is not expansion (it is contraction) no matter which type of graph is used for comparison.

The previous post in this series is here.

Lyrics to All Along The Watchtower available here ...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Don't Worry, Be Happy - 3

Reality is too real for comfort
I. Introduction

In the first post of this series, I wrote about a call a mayor received from our climate denier president (Don't Worry, Be Happy).

He was a mayor who supported climate denialism.

He was a mayor on a sinking ship, or to be more exact, an island a la Atlantis, yes, an island slowly becoming submerged below the waters of the Chesapeake Bay (66% gone).

Right now.

Like thirteen or so islands that have already done so in that area (The Extinction of Chesapeake Bay Islands).

II. Consistency

Some seven years ago I posted "Global Climate & Homeland Insecurity" which quoted military officials who indicated clearly that the greatest threat to national security was climate change caused by global warming caused by the promiscuous use of fossil fuels (cf. Don't Worry, Be Happy - 2).

Regular readers know that here at Dredd Blog we are not deniers, we just report what is happening, what is real, and that with no apologies (we didn't make this reality, but it is here: You Are Here).

III. It Is Now Cosmopolitan

The president I mentioned above, who called the mayor, is not cosmopolitan, even being the odd man out at the climate change agreement in Paris recently.

But, when it comes to posts or articles in a well known and cosmopolitan magazine, some degree of doomerism has now become Americana.

Not long after the first post in this series, a blockbuster of a piece, published in a well known magazine, caused an eruption of discourse:
"We published “The Uninhabitable Earth” on Sunday night, and the response since has been extraordinary — both in volume (it is already the most-read article in New York Magazine’s history) and in kind."
(The Uninhabitable Earth, Annotated Edition, emphasis added). The reactions were in accord with the cultural amygdala realm of fear generators (Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala).

Fear brings on the need for the product called "security" on a scale called "national security" or cultural security.

Anyway, the impact of climate change discussed in the article is not socially acceptable to those who have a world view expressed by the phrase "don't worry, be happy," thus, the inevitable uproar of fear engendered denial ensued.

It was caused by group-think fear, which is an essence I have mentioned in the past here on Dredd Blog:
One of the most destructive and perplexing problems facing contemporary society is the pervasive tendency of people to respond with hostility and disdain toward those who are different from themselves. This tendency to reject those who are different is well-documented in the literature on prejudice (e.g., Tajfel, 1982), the similarity-attraction relationship (for a review, see Byrne, 1971), and reactions to deviance (e.g., Miller & Anderson, 1979; Schachter, 1951). A common notion in much of the theorizing concerning these effects is that people prefer similar others over dissimilar others because of the consensual validation of one's own beliefs and attitudes provided by similar others (e.g., Byrne, 1971;Festinger, 1954; Tajfel, 1982). The research reported in this article was concerned with the psychological basis of this need for consensual validation.
Put simply, people's beliefs about reality provide a buffer against the anxiety that results from living in a largely uncontrollable, perilous universe, where the only certainty is death.
Thus, as Byrne (1971) and others have suggested, attraction to similar others can be explained as resulting from the consensual validation of beliefs that such others provide. From a terror management perspective, then, positive reactions to similar others and negative reactions to dissimilar others occur partly because of the impact such individuals have on faith in one's worldview.

A recent paper by the biologist Janis L Dickinson, published in the journal Ecology and Society, proposes that constant news and discussion about global warming makes it difficult for people to repress thoughts of death, and that they might respond to the terrifying prospect of climate breakdown in ways that strengthen their character armour but diminish our chances of survival. There is already experimental evidence suggesting that some people respond to reminders of death by increasing consumption. Dickinson proposes that growing evidence of climate change might boost this tendency, as well as raising antagonism towards scientists and environmentalists. Our message, after all, presents a lethal threat to the central immortality project of Western society: perpetual economic growth, supported by an ideology of entitlement and exceptionalism.
(Convergence - Fear of Death Syndrome). The dynamics are well understood by those who study the phenomenon, however, it is generally not a treatable fear.

IV. The Clamor

The author of the New Yorker piece soon experienced the dynamic, and wrote of it in his follow-up piece:
Within hours, the article spawned a fleet of commentary across newspapers, magazines, blogs, and Twitter, much of which came from climate scientists and the journalists who cover them.
What are the risks of terrifying or depressing readers so much they disengage from the issue, and what should a journalist make of those risks?

I hope, in the annotations and commentary below, I have added some context. But I also believe very firmly in the set of propositions that animated the project from the start: that the public does not appreciate the scale of climate risk; that this is in part because we have not spent enough time contemplating the scarier half of the distribution curve of possibilities, especially its brutal long tail, or the risks beyond sea-level rise; that there is journalistic and public-interest value in spreading the news from the scientific community, no matter how unnerving it may be; and that, when it comes to the challenge of climate change, public complacency is a far, far bigger problem than widespread fatalism — that many, many more people are not scared enough than are already “too scared.” In fact, I don’t even understand what “too scared” would mean.
(ibid, The Uninhabitable Earth, Annotated Edition, emphasis added). And so, the cosmopolitan climate change green world meets the doomer world as clamor clouds the cognitive skies.

V. The Missing Groopie Psychoanalysis

Dr. Freud recognized the societal need to develop a treatment of groups, but also realized it would not be as easy as individual psychoanalysis and treatment:
If the evolution of civilization has such a far reaching similarity with the development of an individual, and if the same methods are employed in both, would not the diagnosis be justified that many systems of civilization——or epochs of it——possibly even the whole of humanity——have become neurotic under the pressure of the civilizing trends? To analytic dissection of these neuroses, therapeutic recommendations might follow which could claim a great practical interest. I would not say that such an attempt to apply psychoanalysis to civilized society would be fanciful or doomed to fruitlessness. But it behooves us to be very careful, not to forget that after all we are dealing only with analogies, and that it is dangerous, not only with men but also with concepts, to drag them out of the region where they originated and have matured. The diagnosis of collective neuroses, moreover, will be confronted by a special difficulty. In the neurosis of an individual we can use as a starting point the contrast presented to us between the patient and his environment which we assume to be normal. No such background as this would be available for any society similarly affected; it would have to be supplied in some other way. And with regard to any therapeutic application of our knowledge, what would be the use of the most acute analysis of social neuroses, since no one possesses power to compel the community to adopt the therapy? In spite of all these difficulties, we may expect that one day someone will venture upon this research into the pathology of civilized communities. [p. 39]
Men have brought their powers of subduing the forces of nature
to such a pitch that by using them they could now very easily exterminate one another to the last man. They know this——hence arises a great part of their current unrest, their dejection, their mood of apprehension. [p. 40]
(The Authoritarianism of Climate Change). Indeed, the dementia caused by paranoid fear has resulted in the U.S. Government being currently changed from gung-ho "climate change is real" into gung-ho denialism.

VI. Conclusion

Americans have been conditioned to accept climate change as a cool thing, something chic and a way into the in crowd, but when the discussion gets too real the progressives become hostile along with the deniers.

This is real and serious right now (When Rising Seas Hit Home: Hard Choices Ahead for Hundreds of US Coastal Communities (2017), Union of Concerned Scientists).

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Germ Warfare Comes To America

American Hospitals are in the enemy's cross-hairs

I. Destroying Americans With Depravity Bombs

Some seven years ago, in a Dredd Blog series (Your Health Is Their Number 1 Enemy?! , 2). I quoted people who were no doubt trained at the War College.

I quoted people who wrote that your health care is the biggest threat to the Pentagon.

That anti-health care diatribe was posted at National Defense Magazine, a well-known site.

After reading it, I posted:
Pentagonia, capitol of Bullshitistan, well aware of the current political climate, has declared who its greatest enemy is, believing it is health care:
The U.S. military keeps searching the horizon for a peer competitor, the challenger that must be taken seriously. Is it China? What about an oil rich and resurgent Russia?

But the threat that is most likely to hobble U.S. military capabilities is not a peer competitor, rather it is health care.
(The Enemy the Pentagon Should Fear Most: Health Care, National Defense Magazine, emphasis added). We have been pointing out this very strange ideology for a while now, using "MOMCOM" symbolism to isolate the militant energy fighting against the middle class and poor in the United States.
(Deja Vu - Guns v. Butter Election Looms, March 22, 2010). That post I quoted from was subsequently deleted by National Defense Magazine (the link in the quote above is to The Wayback Machine copy).

The sicko sycophant who wrote the National Defense Magazine article is an enemy of the welfare of the people of the United States, whom the military took an oath to protect by, among other things,  protecting the U.S. Constitution.

II. Target Number One: The Helpless

Americans are known historically for lending a helping hand to their neighbor, as is written at the Statue of Liberty:
"Give me

Is this a fake?
your tired,

your poor,

Your huddled masses

yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse

of your teeming shore.

Send these,

the homeless,


to me,

I lift my lamp

beside the golden door!"
(Wikipedia). Who are the enemies of these American sentiments, who are the enemies of rural hospitals, who are these enemies of the American people who need health and other care at times during their journey to a better life?

III. "Let's Seriously Hurt and Harm
Twenty or Thirty Million American People"

That is something that enemies of the American People want to do, and would do if they could.

But they can't.


They need people in powerful places inside America to lose their minds and turn on "tired ... poor ... huddled masses yearning to breathe free ... wretched refuse ... homeless ... tempest-tost" people in rural America, in American cities, and anywhere sickness and disease attack us.

These moles in "a despotic minority" are feverishly and fiendishly working to remove health care in order to "make America great again."

IV. What "Can't Happen Here" Is Happening Here

I recently quoted an Encyclopedia Britannica article concerning the once-most-quoted historian:
"In the Study Toynbee examined the rise and fall of 26 civilizations in the course of human history, and he concluded that they rose by responding successfully to challenges under the leadership of creative minorities composed of elite leaders. Civilizations declined when their leaders stopped responding creatively, and the civilizations then sank owing to the sins of nationalism, militarism, and the tyranny of a despotic minority. Unlike Spengler in his The Decline of the West, Toynbee did not regard the death of a civilization as inevitable, for it may or may not continue to respond to successive challenges. Unlike Karl Marx, he saw history as shaped by spiritual, not economic forces."
(Stockholm Syndrome: The Declaration of Intellectual Dependence). That description is way too close for comfort.

V. Conclusion

Those Americans who came and went, before we were born or became Americans, knew history well enough to use the phrase "I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" (Supreme Court).

Those who want to do the harm to Americans (harm that hostile foreign enemies would want to do), and who took that oath not to harm Americans, are in fact domestic enemies.

Defend her from them!

Trump (R-RU) has a friend named Jim: