Shock and Awe: The Anthropocene in the Age of Trump

Shock and Awe: The Anthropocene in the Age of Trump

The Anthropocene is a proposed geological time period that marks the effects of human activity on the planet Earth.  According to one concept, the Anthropocene means relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.

A recent book, The Shock of the Anthropocene: The Earth, History and Us by Christophe Boneuil & Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, the authors explore the environmental crises, but also a new geological period caused by human activity over the past two centuries.

The Trump administrated should be feared in the context of the environmental crisis, global warming, and climate change.  Although the current crisis pre-dates the Trump era, their policies, and plans for the environment, energy, transportation will re-create the shock and awe military doctrine that has destroyed many places on the earth.  Unfortunately, Trump and his associates are the Great Denialists, and have promised to cut back on much of the progress that has been made in the last decade.

Yet, we must admit that the “progress” cited above is meager given the disregard to scientific evidence that the planet is changing in accelerating ways including temperature change, increased air pollution, polar ice melting, glacial retreat, sea level rise, species extinction, changes in the migration patterns of animals, effects of water changes and extreme temperatures on plants.

Planetary conditions have not improved substantially, even with the emphasis by the Obama administration on energy alternatives and environmental protection.

Continue reading “Shock and Awe: The Anthropocene in the Age of Trump”

Why Does POTUS Make the Office of President a Laughing Stock?

Why Does POTUS Make the Office of President a Laughing Stock?

I received a letter from a friend and colleague who lives in Australia.  Back in the day, we were colleagues in the field of science education research and worked together on many projects.

We’ve kept up with each other over the years via email.  Last night I received the following email letter from him in which he asked why the president (the Authoritarian) is making a laughing-stock of the Office.

Here is his letter, followed by my response.


Hello Jack,

Trust all is well with you both and you are enjoying life.

I’m wondering (as are many Australians) whether we shouldn’t transfer our allegiance to China (the Chinese President would never behave like Trump does in Public!) as your President seems intent on damaging America’s good  name. Why does he make the Office of President a laughing-stock?  I wish I knew what is going on.

Anyway – we potter along in the deep countryside of South Australia so I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

Best wishes mate.

Roger


Hi Roger,

I don’t have a simple answer to the Trump debacle.
Right now chaos is the White House. Trump is acting like wounded (self & family inflicted) tiger. He’s made no public appearances since returning from the G-20.  He’s outraged at his staff.  He’s miffed that the Russian “thing” remains front and center of his presidency.
Why is he acting like this now. If he looks back at the G-20 he realizes (in private) that he’s been isolated and, he fell for Putin, hook, line and sinker. Even his own party is slowly disavowing themselves.
But the actions of his son may have been what breaks the camels back. It was just revealed that Donald Jr. received an invite to meet with a Russian government lawyer. She said she had information that could incriminate Hillary. Trump Jr. said that was good. He loved it. They met in Trump Tower, one floor under Trump’s office. Also attending was Jared Kitchener, Trumps son-in-law, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager at the time. Trump Jr. released emails admitting there was a meeting. He did so because the New York Times was set to release them.
If this meeting did happen it could be the smoking gun in the Russian investigation. A special prosecutor was appointed about 2 months ago to investigate possible connections or collusion between the Trump campaign staff and Russia. All along Trump & associates have denied ANY connection with Russia. But many have been caught cheating–even the attorney general lied in his senate hearing about Russian meetings. He had several meetings
So this meeting that Trump jr had with the Russian attorney is big.  It’s another concrete example of Trump’s associates (now family) have indeed been involved and met with Russians, and their meetings were directly tied to the campaign for the Presidency.  Trump Jr. has denied any involvement with Russia, and now, in July, it turns out that he not only met with a Russian official, but relished the idea because there was dirt on Hillary Clinton.
America is divided. Those who voted for Trump still support him although some are leaving his ranks. Those that didn’t, like us, are outraged. Families are divided.
It’s hard for me, Roger, to understand how people can see any good in this man. He’s a serial liar. A serial denier. He’s gotten away with this his entire life. Unfortunately for him, a democracy is not a business. He will eventually be contained, removed from office via the 25th amendment, impeached, or resign.
His administration is on course to do damage to the environment, energy infrastructure, education, transportation and mostly morality.
I liked what the Pope had to say about America and Russia. To the Pope it’s  dangerous for these two nations to collaborate on anything because they have a distorted view of the world. They (we) have no interest in the serous problems facing the world today– the poor, immigration, and migrant workers.
There is much more to this.
Best regards,
Jack

Trump’s Moral World-View

Strict Father Morality (SFM) (based on the research of Dr. George Lakoff, UC Berkley): Results in Moral Strength which requires one to stand up to evil, and have self-discipline to engage evil; MS sees the world in terms of a war of good against the forces of evil & must be fought ruthlessly.  In the SFM, moral strength is of the highest order.  Moral weakness leads to welfare, teenage sex, and illegal drugs. We all start morally weak, and we need a strong parent to discipline us, so we won’t become immoral.  SFM subsumes moral authority, retribution, moral order, moral boundaries, moral essence, moral purity, & self-defense. Reward and punishment. Competition.
Nurturant Parent Morality (NPM) (based on Dr. George Lakoff’s research): Essence of NPM is caring, being cared for, caring about, and deriving meaning from mutual interaction and care. Open, two-way communication is key to NPM. Protection is a form of caring. Children are respected, nurtured and communicated with from birth on.  Empathy, happiness, and learning to take of care of themselves, creative and fair–essential elements of NPM.  Morality as empathy.  Learning to experience what it is to be in someone else’s shoes.  I feel for you. Morality as nurturance, compassion, self-nurturance, social nurturance, happiness, fair distribution, moral growth, moral strength to nurture, restitution, evolution as nuturance. 

Trump’s Moral World-View

Trump does have a moral world view, and using the research of George Lakoff, retired Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, we will explore moral world view of Trump.

We start with two of his favorite conspiracy theories.

  • Global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to serve their economic interests.
  • President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

We’ve  heard Donald Trump repeat these ideas for nearly a decade. Trump’s world-view allows these beliefs to hold true (to him). Even with contravening evidence that the Chinese didn’t invent the idea of global warming or that President Obama was born in Hawaii, which is in the United States, Trump still believes in these two ideas.  He holds on to these ideas because his brain is planned to resist new ideas.  He infuriates many around him with his lies and proclivity for conspiracy theories to “back up” his ideas.  Although many people deal with the world in a similar way, no Oval Office Occupant comes close to living in the world of denial, misrepresentation of facts, and fantasies that he is the only one that can solve “our” problems.

Some would say he is the archetype  science denier.  I am not just speaking about climate change, but nearly all the policy decisions that should rely on logic, science research, and wisdom.  These are missing from Trump’s brain.

So, this question should not surprise you: Why would he reject the facts that have been agreed up by scientist and citizens in all but two counties (3 now that the US pulled out of Paris Agreement).   He is boxed in to the racist and isolationist concept of “America First,” as are all of his cabinet appointees.  Sometimes when I hear them speak, the I am amazed at how they are able to join the selfish and unrealistic policy that under scores the “America First” notion.  Yesterday, Niki Halley was a master explaining why global climate change was not an American issue, and that getting out of the Paris Accord was to protect the American people. America didn’t get a good deal.

This is such a f****** lie.

For nearly a decade Trump promoted the “birther” falsehood, even with photos and documents proving Obama is a citizen of the US. Obama actually showed a video of his birth at a Washington Correspondents Dinner.

Trump flew around the US in his airplane, landing in places like New Hampshire, announcing once again that he knows that President Obama is an illegal immigrant and was not born in this country and he shouldn’t be the President.  His “birther” notion was racist, and appealed to a sizable part of the electorate, and Trump, for more than five years, “fanned this racist conspiracy theory.” Even when he was forced to say that Obama was born in America, he turned and blamed the idea on Hillary Clinton—which is not true.  But it’s another clear example of how this guy operates by twisting and turning, and as he walks away with a smirk on his face, he’s giving you the finger.

Trump is like a wounded tiger.  He knows he lost the election to Hillary Clinton.  More people voted for her than him and he is pissed.

Indeed, he’s a loser.  He lost by more than 3 million votes.  He doesn’t like to be a loser.  Remember, in Trump’s world, we are either winners or losers, good or bad, virtuous or evil.  So, now he’s in the loser category.  In fact, not as many people showed up at his inauguration as for Obama’s first one, a fact he fought, even to today by creating a crack committee to investigate election fraud.

Trump’s insisted that 3 million illegal immigrants votes fraudulently in the election, and that’s why lost the popular vote. Thus the need for the crack committee.

Continue reading “Trump’s Moral World-View”

Letter to Senator Purdue: Please Do Not Support Trump’s Bullying & the Paris Cancelation

Letter to Senator Purdue: Please Do Not Support Trump’s Bullying & the Paris Cancelation

I received a reply to my recent letter to Georgia Senator David Purdue regarding the firing of James Comey from his position as F.B.I. Director.  I was impressed with the specific detail that was included in the letter from Senator Purdue.  It was not a form letter reply.

I followed up with this letter, and urged him to continue to press on with investigating the Trump administration’s connections with the Russian government.

However, my main concern in my reply was the decision of Trump to cancel the US participation in the Paris Climate Agreement.  I described my collaboration with teachers and students across the globe on ecological issues, and urged the Senator to reach out to researchers at Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, or Georgia State University.  Each of these universities has schools or departments that do research on climate science, and the researchers could be very instrumental in helping Senator Purdue develop the rationale to oppose the Trump decision.

Dear Senator Purdue,

I appreciate your responding to my concerns about the firing of James Comey. I agree with you that who ever is president can remove the head of the FBI. However, in this case, there is evidence that Mr. Trump was “bullying” Comey, and trying to get Comey to go light on the investigation into Russian. There have been reports that Trump asked Comey to lessen or stop investigating Gen. Flynn. If these are true, then its possible that Trump was trying to influence the investigation into Russian meddling with our election, and trying to establish lines of communication with the future Trump administration. A backchannel was possibly being arranged by his son-in-law, Mr. Kushner, from within a Russian facility located in the United States.

Now, Mr. Trump’s decision to drop out or cancel US participation in the Paris Agreement. I hope that you do not support this idea. It’s a bad idea to drop out of this important agreement that will affect not only those of us in the later stages of our lives, but our children and grandchildren. The US joins Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations not signing to the agreement.

Continue reading “Letter to Senator Purdue: Please Do Not Support Trump’s Bullying & the Paris Cancelation”

Trump in England

Trump in England

You’re probably wondering if Trump made a secret trip across the Channel while in Brussels.  He did not.

However, he is on the mind of many British people, and certainly the mind of the British Prime Minister after Trump’s administration leaked information about the Manchester Bombing before information was released by the British police, or Home Office.  And the British Parliament doesn’t want the man speaking at the Palace of Westminster when he does show up in London next year for an official visit.

What do the British people think of Trump?  As the Guardian puts it, if Trump is not a popular president in his own country, the opinion of him in Britain is even worse.  To give you an idea how British people feel about Trump, take a look at these numbers:

  • 50%: Dangerous: The most popular word associated with Trump
  • 39%: Unstable: Second most popular word associated with Trump
  • 35%: Bigot: Third most popular word associated with Trump
  • 54%: Percentage of People polled who expect Trump to be below average or awful as a president
  • 55%: Percentage of people polled who say Britain’s Prime Minister (Teresa May) is strong enough to stand up for Britain’s interest when dealing with Trump.

Continue reading “Trump in England”