Welcome to the
Hypercritical Mode News Feed
“As authoritarianism spreads, as emergency laws proliferate, as we sacrifice our rights, we also sacrifice our capability to arrest the slide into a less liberal and less free world,” NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said in a recent interview. “Do you truly believe that when the first wave, this second wave, the 16th wave of the coronavirus is a long-forgotten memory, that these capabilities will not be kept? That these datasets will not be kept? No matter how it is being used, what is being built is the architecture of oppression.”
“Apple Inc. and Google unveiled a rare partnership to add technology to their smartphone platforms that will alert users if they have come into contact with a person with Covid-19,” reads a new report from Bloomberg. “People must opt in to the system, but it has the potential to monitor about a third of the world’s population.”
“World Health Organization executive director Dr. Michael Ryan said surveillance is part of what’s required for life to return to normal in a world without a vaccine. However, civil liberties experts warn that the public has little recourse to challenge these digital exercises of power once the immediate threat has passed,” reads a recent VentureBeat article titled “After coronavirus, AI could be central to our new normal“. bit.ly/3eiAqBw
He is not wrong!
"Snowden Warns Governments Are Using Coronavirus to Build 'the Architecture of Oppression'"https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/bvge5q/snowden-warns-governments-are-using-coronavirus-to-build-the-architecture-of-oppression …
Snowden Warns Governments Are Using Coronavirus to Build 'the Architecture of Oppression'
VICE co-founder Shane Smith interviews famed whistleblower Edward Snowden in "Shelter in Place," a new series on VICE TV.
“White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s task force has reached out to a range of health technology companies about creating a national coronavirus surveillance system to give the government a near real-time view of where patients are seeking treatment and for what, and whether hospitals can accommodate them, according to four people with knowledge of the discussions,” reads a recent article by Politico, adding, “But the prospect of compiling a national database of potentially sensitive health information has prompted concerns about its impact on civil liberties well after the coronavirus threat recedes, with some critics comparing it to the Patriot Act enacted after the 9/11 attacks.”
“Mass surveillance methods could save lives around the world, permitting authorities to track and curb the spread of the novel coronavirus with speed and accuracy not possible during prior pandemics,” The Intercept‘s Sam Biddle wrote last week, adding, “There’s a glaring problem: We’ve heard all this before. After the September 11 attacks, Americans were told that greater monitoring and data sharing would allow the state to stop terrorism before it started, leading Congress to grant unprecedented surveillance powers that often failed to preempt much of anything. The persistence and expansion of this spying in the nearly two decades since, and the abuses exposed by Snowden and others, remind us that emergency powers can outlive their emergencies.”
As we discussed recently, it’s an established fact that power structures will seize upon opportunities to roll out oppressive authoritarian agendas under the pretense of protecting ordinary people, when in reality they’d been working on advancing those agendas since long before the crisis being offered as the reason for them. It happened with 9/11, and we may be certain that it is happening now.
The reason for this is simple: the powerful are afraid of the public. They always have been. For as long as there has been government power, there has been the fear that the people will realize the power of their numbers and overthrow the government that is in power. And understandably so; it has happened many times throughout history.
28 Minute Video Show - On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to constitutional scholar Bruce Fein about the death of our US Constitution. Ralph Nader, with constitutional scholars Louis Fisher and Bruce Fein, wrote to the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, on November 22 urging her to focus on 12 Articles of Impeachment President Donald Trump had allegedly violated during his administration. Among them: flouting the emoluments clause, expanding presidential wars, and spending billions of dollars on projects not appropriated by the US Congress.
On Contact: Death of the US Constitution
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to constitutional scholar Bruce Fein about the death of our US Constitution ...
26 Minute Show - Jimmy Dore: 'You're only as healthy as the least insured person around you'
Jimmy Dore: 'You're only as healthy as the least insured person around you'
Jimmy Dore fills in for Jesse Ventura Jimmy and Brigida Santos discuss updates from the World Health Organization about the global coronavirus outbreak ...
30 Minute News Show with Gov. Jesse Ventura
Jesse Ventura and Brigida Santos share tips for staying healthy in a pandemic from health professionals and reveal why the World Economic Fund says the global economy is officially in a recession. Professor Richard Wolff talks about the economic fallout from the Covid-19 outbreak.
Jesse Ventura sounds off on economic fallout from coronavirus outbreak
Jesse Ventura and Brigida Santos share tips for staying healthy in a pandemic from health professionals and reveal why the World Economic Fund says the global economy is officially in a recession ...
30 Minute News Show ~286~ The Shock Doctrine Is Here, Joe Biden Disaster, Let’s Fight Back
"Pollution is okay now. The EPA has suspended its rules on pollution for the foreseeable future."
The president is taking away the land belonging to an indian tribe because some of his friends don't like the Indians' plan to build a Casino.
"The parasites at the top are making renewed efforts to turn public school into for profit business..." ...which means paying much more for less combined with their ability to program children into good little, ignorant, worker bees.
60% of the population now sees that the government is designed to serve the rich. Human rights are threatened more than ever.
More on the pandemic......
19.25 Minutes Video | Max Igan
Trump & US Gov. vs. Hitler and Fascism -- 28 Minutes Video Program - ||| Chris Hedges talks to Professor Benjamin Hett about the collapse of democracy in Germany’s Weimar Republic and its descent into fascism – and which features of the collapse may be applicable to the democratic experiment in America. Hett is professor of history at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York; his new book is ‘The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic’.
On Contact: Collapse of Weimar Germany with Benjamin Hett
Chris Hedges talks to Professor Benjamin Hett about the collapse of democracy in Germany’s Weimar Republic and its descent into fascism – and which features of the collapse may be applicable to the democratic experiment in America ...
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2020
Arctic Ocean February 2020
On February 20, 2020, 09Z, surface temperature anomalies reached both ends of the scale over North America, while the Arctic was 3.7°C or 6.7°F warmer than in 1979-2000. On that day, the average 2 m temperature anomaly for the Arctic was 3.5°C or 6.3°F.
These high temperature anomalies at 2 meters in the left panel go hand in hand with the wind patterns at 250 hPa (jet stream) as shown in the center panel and the wind patterns at 10 meters shown in the right panel. Closer to sea level, circular winds around low pressure areas bring warm air into the Arctic, from Russia and from the Pacific Ocean.
Above image shows winds at 250 hPa (jet stream) with speeds as high as 317 km/h or 197 mph (green circle) in the left panel, while the right panel shows circular winds at 850 hPa reaching speeds as high as 176 km/h or 109 mph (green circle).
These wind patterns have caused much warm air to enter the Arctic, while relatively little cold air has moved out of the Arctic. Furthermore, stronger winds cool the sea surface. As a result, Arctic sea ice extent on February 24, 2020, was 14.1 million km², slightly more than the 2010s average of 14 million km².
Arctic sea ice, however, is very thin. Stronger winds can also accelerate the speed at which ever warmer water is flowing into the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean, as discussed in a previous post. The overall result is that sea ice volume is at a record low for the time of the year.
This is further illustrated by the sea ice thickness (in meters) comparison below between February 28, 2015 and February 28, 2020, i.e. forecasts for February 28, run on February 27.
Rise in greenhouse gas levels is accelerating
Temperatures are rising at ever faster speed as the rise in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere is accelerating. As illustrated by the image below, the daily average CO₂ level at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, was 416.08 ppm on February 10, 2020, higher than it has been for millions of years. Since the annual peak is typically reached in May, even higher levels can be expected soon.
From the way emissions are rising now, it looks like we could soon reach even higher CO₂e forcing than during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) mass extinction event, some 55.5 million years ago, as discussed in a previous post. Very worrying also is the recent rise in methane levels recorded at Barrow, Alaska, as illustrated by the image below.
The buffer is gone
As the sea ice is getting thinner, there is little or no buffer left to consume the influx of ever warmer and salty water from the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean. As illustrated by the image below, there is a tipping point at 1°C above the 20th century average, i.e. there are indications that a rise of 1°C will result in most of the sea ice underneath the surface to disappear.
[ from earlier post ]
As long as there is sea ice in the water, this sea ice will keep absorbing heat as it melts, so the temperature will not rise at the sea surface. But there is ever less sea ice volume left to absorb ocean heat, and the amount of energy absorbed by melting ice is as much as it takes to heat an equivalent mass of water from zero to 80°C.
Meanwhile, temperatures keep rising globally and more than 90% of global warming is going into oceans.
As the temperature of the oceans keeps rising, the danger increases that heat will reach the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean and will destabilize hydrates contained in sediments at the seafloor, resulting in huge releases of methane.
Are humans functionally extinct?
For more background as to when temperatures
could cross 2°C, see also this discussion on trends
Species can be regarded to be ‘functionally extinct’ when their numbers have declined below levels needed for them to reproduce healthy offspring. This can occur due to causes such as loss of habitat and disappearance of other species that they depend on.
Species can also be declared to be ‘functionally extinct’ when they are threatened to be wiped out by a catastrophe that appears to be both imminent and inescapable, which would cause their numbers to dwindle below a critical threshold required for survival of the species.
Rising temperatures now threaten most, if not all, species to go extinct in a matter of years. In 2020, the global temperature rise could cross the critical guardrail of 2°C above preindustrial that politicians at the Paris Agreement promised would not be crossed. In fact, they pledged to take efforts to avoid a 1.5°C rise. Their failure to do so constitutes a de facto declaration that humans are now functionally extinct and that the looming temperature rise will drive most, if not all species on Earth into extinction.
See also the 2015 post: WARNING -
Planetary Omnicide between 2023 and 2031
The situation is dire, in many respects. Current laws punish people for the most trivial things, while leaving the largest crime one can imagine unpunished: planetary omnicide!
In the video below, Guy McPherson warns that a rapid decline in industrial activity could result in an abrupt rise in temperature of 1°C, as much of the aerosol masking effect falls away.
27 Minutes Video Program: bit.ly/38nClRW
The deep rot of American journalism w/Matt Taibbi
Chris Hedges discusses the deep rot that infects American journalism with reporter Matt Taibbi Follow us on Facebook: Facebook ...
28 Minutes Video Program: bit.ly/39dOw3U
On Contact: Poisoned drinking water with Seth Siegel
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to author Seth Siegel about his new book Troubled Water: What’s Wrong with What We Drink ...
All of a sudden, events are looking a bit fluxy out there, as though the world is shuddering through some spooky ch-ch-ch-changes, like a monster waiting to be born, with strange convergences of ecology, politics and economy, and there’s only so much you can do to prepare, really. Criticality is in the air!
The horses are out of the barn on the Wuhan Coronavirus. Air travel was curtailed too late in the game — and still only partially — with asymptomatic-but-infectious human carriers winging to every corner of the world and probably contaminating airports all along the way. There’s plenty of thought and counter-thought on what exactly is going on behind the scenes in China. The ruling party has knocked itself out demonstrating its earnestness in the crisis, performing great feats like the construction of a one-thousand-bed hospital in ten days, shutting down the lunar new year festivities (like cancelling Christmas here), and locking down a hundred million citizens in quarantine. Pretty impressive.
But there’s also a theory that the Coronavirus affords a cover for cascading failures in China’s corrupt and shifty banking system. The country had already stepped across some frontiers in demographics, energy consumption, and industrial growth that were shoving it toward contraction for the first time in two generations. Coronavirus has shut down a lot of production in big things like cars and big-little things like cell phones, and supply lines are shutting down to world markets. This amounts to the first big test of the integrated global economy, as well as the world’s debt-saturated business model.
When a lot of parties and counterparties can’t pay each other because their revenue flows are cut off, the securities, currencies, equities, and other abstract representations of wealth go south. The US and Europe are no better positioned for a crisis in their banking arrangements, and confidence is starting to crack. Both economic mega-regions have relied on central banking hocus-pocus to prop up stock markets and maintain the illusion that the logic of bonds still applies. The first thing to go moneywise in a contracting financial system is the magic of compound interest.
The US Federal Reserve has been massively gaming the Repo markets — overnight lending that uses bonds as collateral — since September, raising suspicions that more than one of its “primary dealer” banks are insolvent. Juicing them with “liquidity” is like painting over sheetrock infested with black mold. Looks good for a week or so, and then you’re in intensive care. Nobody knows yet what the effect of Britain’s escape from the EU will do to the Union’s remainers, but Europe’s bonded debt arrangements are even dodgier than America’s, since there is absolutely no EU central control of each member’s fiscal affairs. Anyway, the meta-trend now is the devolution of governance from giant-and-central to smaller-and-local, so the real question is how much disorder and damage do these nations endure as that happens. It’s been manifesting vividly in France for a year in the yellow vest protests.
Here in the USA, the knock-on effects of converging crises begin to look like a game of four-dimensional eight-ball. The oil markets are getting slammed around the $51 hashmark, making it more difficult for the shale oil producers to meet their onerous debt repayments (in an industry that just doesn’t make a profit). Lower gasoline prices may seem like a boon for US motorists, but it comes at the expense of bankrupting more oil companies and punishing lenders like pension funds that invested in shale securities in the desperate search for “yield.” Shale never was a rational business model despite its fabulous production surge in a very short span of years. Don’t be surprised if there’s an attempt to nationalize it, which will induce new problems of capital allocation and sheer incompetence in a world where central planning of anything is more and more a bad bet.
Looming and converging multiple crises are also behind the gross disorder in US politics, though the connections may not be so discernably visible. President Trump foolishly took credit for financial markets that he had correctly described as being “one big, fat, ugly bubble,” back in the febrile days of the last election. Now it threatens to leave him holding a big fat ugly bag of trouble. That booby trap is surely more hazardous to his reelection chances than the frenetic efforts of pissants like Adam Schiff running Wile E. Coyote ambuscades in the DC Swamp. Mr. Trump spent three years working, jawboning, and bluffing over global trade arrangements that are now suddenly falling apart. How much of that will turn out to be a temporary effect of the Coronavirus, nobody knows. Or maybe it’s an inflection point in the workings of our over-hyper-complexified human ecosystem.
These shifting quandaries leave the Democratic Party between that ol’ rock and a hard place. All of their bad faith ploys against Mr. Trump have failed so far. I speak to supposedly educated people every day upon whom the failure of the Mueller Investigation, the fiasco of impeachment, and the revelations of IG Michael Horowitz have made no impression at all. The Golden Golem of Greatness is still Putin’s Puppet to them. It’s a wonder of the age that they can’t cut their losses. And now Bernie Sanders suddenly looks poised to win the Iowa caucus and inflame the not-quite-so-socialist factions of the party, who appear to be ratcheting up some Wile E. Coyote traps against him. If that works, it’ll blow the party apart, 1860 style, into rump factions. But if Bernie somehow perseveres and gets the nomination… and the Potemkin financial markets tank… and Coronavirus turns out to be a very big deal for upsetting global trade… then, America may get its first zealous socialist president.
Yes, history repeats and rhymes and all that, but I don’t see Bernie replicating the triumphs of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Great Depression 2.0. Rather, by attempting to overlay command-and-control policies on a zeitgeist that wants to take us smaller and local, Bernie Sanders will only be bucking reality. The net effect of Bernie Sanders in the White House will be to finish off the economy… and imagine where that will take us.
James Howard Kunstler | kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/ ...