Government, State and climate foot-dragging

This popped up on facebook, when someone had asked if the elite politicians “get” climate change threats, how come there is so little action.  It’s only a partial answer, I think…

I think the key thing is that “the government” and “the state” are not the same thing. The state is much broader – made up of functionaries, bureaucrats and, yes, scientists. They have their own blinkers and ideologies too, but they are not (so much) in the pockets of the rich. The government is simply the politicians of the party that managed to get power (either by absolute majority of seats won in parliament, or coalition as now, or occasionally a minority government). As politicians they are a) usually power-obsessed/narcissistic/greedy (NOT always!!) and b) worried about what they will do when they are out of government or out of parliament (five year election cycles etc etc). And c) monumentally scientifically illiterate. Very very few of them have anything other than a law degree or PPE at Oxford or Cambridge. And they are easy pickings (both Labour or Tory) for lobbyists from powerful/rich companies. And they love the idea of technological progress – most of the people in charge today grew up in the 60s and 70s, before all the shine had been taken off our sense of power…

Posted in apocalypse, climate | Leave a comment

Doooomed I tell you, all dooooooooooooomed

In response to something about needing to cut emissions by 40 to 70 per cent by 2050…

Whoever wrote that doesn’t know their facts.  The probable level for  emissions reductions to have even a rough chance of avoiding 2 degrees has been – even the most conservative reading – 60 to 80% cuts by 2050, with 40% by 2020, since the problem is cumulative (a bit like compound interest on a loan, the longer you leave it without making payments, the more trouble you have. The analogy is not perfect).  Look, basically, barring some amazing technological solution out of nowhere, we are toast.  And if we DID get the technological miracle for climate, we still face a dozen other gnarly problems.  The species has never really sorted out the problems in its wiring that made it pretty well adapted (via its cultures) for savannahs.  Our opposable thumbs and thin sliver of prefrontal cortex (a 2mm film of neurons) and our related ability to communicate and co-ordinate have meant that we have swept all before us for millennia, in a relentless search for protein.  Every niche we exhausted meant we innovated to exploit new niches.  Our current – unprecedented – problem is not just of niche exhaustion for exploitation (fossil water in California etc), but of waste disposal.  Just because we’ve ducked and weaved and killed through all the others, doesn’t mean any of us should expect success this time round.  It’s an order of magnitude (at least) more wicked.

Posted in apocalypse, climate, death | Leave a comment

Capitalism cartoon. Comments from various facebookers. #aboutsumsitup

From Facebook -

capitalismThis is obviously wrong. Top hat guy would never perform labor. He’d have the government seize the tree, hire cheap labor to build a substandard building, charge a ridiculous price and then dissolve his company before he could be sued.

He’d make the guy sitting under the tree do the work and then charge him for the house

really . he’d convince the guy under the tree to invest his own money in building the shed then turn around and sell it out from under him .

He’d also push the do more with less ethic. The house should be built faster and cheaper, but the price of it goes up. The worker doesn’t get a raise, nor the consumer gets a break. Top hat makes double gains while the worker and consumer are starving.

And the building would fall apart in the first breeze, but since the company was dissolved there’s nothing the guy can do about it. And then his insurance company drops him for making a claim.

No no no. He would tell the guy sitting that the tree kills babies and supports gay marriage. He’d get mad and cut the tree.

he’d rip him off on a mortgage too and then the banks would repossess it

Posted in economics, politics | Leave a comment

Annie get your gun, so you don’t get raped. Cos it’s never a rapist’s fault, now, is it?

From here

Recently, writer and political analyst Zerlina Maxwell appeared on the Sean Hannity show on FOX News. The main argument of this segment was that all women should have the right to own a gun in order to defend themselves against rape.

It was here that Maxwell explained that putting the responsibility of owning a gun on the woman just adds more blame to the victim. She explained that she had been raped by someone she knew and did not want to be told that having a gun may have prevented it. [emphasis added]

Isn’t it time that some 21st century Nina Simone wrote and sang “Patriarchy goddam”?

More about Zerlina Maxwell.

Posted in feminism | 3 Comments

facts about domestic violence

Hmm, scribbled notes from some work-related course I did on 25th April 2006.
It’s mostly men hitting women (but obviously not entirely!)

Women doing it respond to anger management course

Men doing it for control and therefore (often) don’t respond to anger management

Often first physical incident is during pregnancy

A quarter of women experience violence from a man they know

Every week two women are killed by a present or former partner

On average a woman suffers 35 assaults before reporting to police

“Get them pregnant” (once older kids at school the woman starts talking about going back to work etc.)

In 90% of cases child(ren) are in the same or next room.

Posted in fear, feminism | Leave a comment

The opposite of synergy…

Recently a friend reported that someone he knew was surprised that not everyone loved [group x, removed on lawyer's advice], and wondered if there was a DT post I could recommend on this particular subject.

Probably there is, but my back catalogue bewilders and depresses me.  So little changes…

So I either write or re-write this -

It’s rarely if ever about the individuals. On the whole they are admirable, well-meaning (road to hell etc etc) and talented.  This weird thing happens though, that is the opposite of synergy (the whole being greater than the sum of the parts).

They sort of dumb each other down, proceeding at the pace of the slowest ship. [In computer games the computer apparently sinks its own slowest ship, to speed shit up. But I digress.]

Perhaps it comes back to the (quite high) costs of social innovation – even successful ones. I know from bitter personal experience that if you make too much noise about how your patch of the universe isn’t meeting the needs of its – for the sake of argument let’s say -”patients” – then you will suffer from the cool wrath of your boss.  There is that Keynes quote about it being better for your reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.  Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline (updated edition, which I am reading now) goes on about this too.

So, I shouldn’t be surprised that there appears to be no word for the opposite of synergy!

My offerings – “smugergy” or “complacergy” don’t capture ALL the reasons for a lack of synergy.  Afer all, it isn’t just groups of people who are lazy because they think they are Right who don’t synergise (is that even a word?)

Dinergy (lots of noise – or “din”)?  Weak.  Thinergy?  Thin. Spinergy?  No.

More reasons for lack of synergy

Absence of shared goals
Absence of trust/too much internal competition
Lack of sanctions for free riders
Communications breakdown
Goals not reached
Goals reached (and then squabbling over the spoils)


Update – from a reader…

- fiefdoms – “this bit is mine”

- niceness – trust the others, don’t examine their efforts

Posted in a little self-knowledge, activism | 2 Comments

F.A.T. Liberation Front #activism

FAT stands for Fuck All Trotskyists
Fuck Actual Trotskyists, whatever brand they are (and honestly, who can keep up with all the different splintering splinters of them? Splinters that serve no useful purpose, just irritate and cause pain if you let them under your skin.

Fuck Academic Trotskyists, who think that they can use real people as the academic version of ego-fodder. Who organise “engagement and reporting” events for their poorly-thought-out and even more poorly executed “cultural values of whatever” projects. Who talk at the assembled masses (about 10 people) sat in rows for over an hour, and then feed them, and then tell them “talk to each other” in a patronising and genuinely unhelpful way. Before ending the session with NO feedback forms so as to learn from.

Fuck “Activist” Trotksyists. Fuck people whose idea of an “informational assembly” is having a boring middle-class white guy talk at (see a pattern yet?) people sat in rows (how about now?) for an hour plus, including an achingly boring Q and A. And then tell people that they then have the opportunity to think creatively.  And who later talk about the “quite good feedback” that they got from their polite mates.

Fuck “Anarchist/Autonomous/”Anti-hierarchical” Trotskyists who keep calling rallies, marches, camps and other assorted opportunities to gather in leks and be patronised, bored rigid and used as photo-opportunity fodder or ego-fodder.  Fuck them. Fuck them. Fuck them.

I refuse to be a pawn in their games.

Fuck them.

Posted in activism | 1 Comment