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Perhaps It’s Later Than We Think

Perhaps It’s Later Than We Think

Ted Folkert – June 17, 2019

“High Likelihood of Human Civilization Coming to an End Starting in 2050.” a report published by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, a think-tank in Melbourne, Australia, describes climate change as – “a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization” – and sets out a plausible scenario of where ignoring the warnings could lead over the next several decades.

The paper argues that the potentially “extremely serious outcomes” of climate-related security threats are often far more probable than many assume, but difficult to verify because they are beyond human experience of the last thousand years.

The report warns that on our current path, “planetary and human systems are reaching a point of no return by mid-century, which increases the prospect of a largely uninhabitable planet. It warns that our current trajectory will likely lock in at least 3 degrees Celsius of global heating, which in turn could trigger the unleashing of further warming.”

“The results would be devastating. Some one billion people would be forced to attempt to relocate from unlivable conditions, and two billion would face scarcity of water supplies. Agriculture would collapse in the sub-tropics, and food production would suffer dramatically worldwide.”

Admiral Chris Barrie, former Chief of the Australian Defence Force, calls it the unvarnished truth about the desperate situation humans, and our planet, are in, with a disturbing picture of the real possibility that human life on Earth may be on the way to extinction.

A new report commissioned by a group of scientists appointed by the UN Secretary-General states that “capitalism as we know it is over. The main reason? We’re transitioning rapidly to a radically different global economy, due to our increasingly unsustainable exploitation of the planet’s environmental resources. And that economies have used up the capacity of planetary ecosystems to handle the waste generated by energy and material use.”

Words to which all of us should take heed, predicting likely threats which could be devastating for sustainability of human life on Planet Earth within the next few generations.

Kind of reminds one of the old song – “Enjoy Yourself, It’s Later Than You Think.”


The Ultimate Debacle?

The Ultimate Debacle?

Ted Folkert – May 17, 2019

Consider this series of events and functions of society:

Prosperity for all of Earth’s inhabitants requires a thriving economy everywhere continuously. Without such, the provision of food, shelter and clothing for 7.7 billion people would not be possible. It would not be feasible or possible for every man, woman and child on the planet to grow their own food and provide the other necessities of life.

A functioning economy requires continuous production of goods and services and continuous consumption of Earth’s finite resources of raw materials and the continuous generation of energy to sustain the production required.

Our primary method of providing the required energy is the burning of fossil fuels which envelops the planet in a layer of carbon dioxide which alters the atmosphere and interferes with natural weather patterns, causing continuous warming of the planet. This warming further exacerbates weather patterns which will continue to limit the ability to provide adequate production of food and shelter for our 7.7 billion people. Furthermore, this carbon dioxide envelope, if not controlled, as many of our leading scientists tell us, will eventually render the planet unable to support human life.

Some of our leading economists tell us that capitalism, the system by which such resources are currently distributed, requires continuous growth to function properly. This requires continuous and increasing consumption of our finite resources, which causes a continuous and increasing impact on Earth’s ability to support human life.

Consequently, to provide food, shelter and clothing for 7.7 billion people it seems that we must eventually destroy the ability of the planet to support human life.

So, the question is, can we invent, discover, create, or engineer our way through this debacle? Or does every potential solution seem impossible to achieve?

What are the obvious considerations?

  • We now have 1.2 billion automobiles on the planet
  • Most of them burn fossil fuels, emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere
  • It took 200,000 years for the population of the planet to reach 1 billion
  • It then took only 200 hundred years to reach 7 billion
  • The population is now 7.7 billion
  • The population is projected to be between 8 billion and 17 billion by 2100
  • There is said to be 333 cubic miles of water on Earth, of which only 2.5% is fresh water and only .3% is on the surface and available for consumption. Desalination is a possible solution but the cost is enormous and it would require an additional impact on the consumption of natural resources and the pollution of the atmosphere.
  • If everyone on Earth were to adopt the average diet of the United States, we would need to convert all our habitable land to agriculture, and we’d still be 38 percent short. For a New Zealand diet, we’d need almost twice as much habitable land as we now have.

These statements of fact are perhaps disputable, however, if they prove to be true, what does the ultimate ability of the planet to support life look like for future generations?

Could this be the ultimate debacle?


Save the Planet

George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian, shares this compelling article with us. It should be a must read for all of our climate scientists and officials who can help to placate the eventual dilemma for all Earth inhabitants.

Excerpts from:

Rewild the World

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 3rd April 2019

Natural climate solutions draw carbon from the air through the restoration of living systems. They could help to solve two existential problems at once: climate breakdown and ecological breakdown. Their likely contribution is enormous – bigger than almost anyone guessed a few years ago – and it is still scarcely explored.

The greatest potential identified so far – as so much land can be used this way – is in protecting and restoring natural forests and allowing native trees to repopulate deforested land. The greatest drawdown potential per hectare (though the total area is smaller) is the restoration of coastal habitats such as mangroves, saltmarsh and seagrass beds. They stash carbon 40 times faster than tropical forests can. Peaty soils are also vital carbon stores. They’re currently being oxidised by deforestation, drainage, drying, burning, farming and mining for gardening and fuel. Restoring peat, by blocking drainage channels and allowing natural vegetation to recover, can suck back much of what has been lost.

These are the best-studied natural climate solutions. Others have scarcely been explored. For example, we currently have little idea of what the impact of industrial fishing might be on the seabed’s vast carbon store. By disturbing the sediments and lifting the carbon they contain into the water column, trawlers and dredgers are likely to expose it to oxygen, turning it into carbon dioxide. One study suggests that repeated trawling in the north-western Mediterranean has caused a reduction in carbon storage in the top 10 centimetres of sediments of up to 52%. Given the vast area trawled every year (most of the seabed on the world’s continental shelves), the climate impact could be enormous. Closing large parts of the seas to trawling could turn out to be a crucial climate strategy.

Scientists have only recently begun to explore how the recovery of certain animal populations could radically change the carbon balance. For example, forest elephants and rhinos in Africa and Asia and tapirs in Brazil are natural foresters, maintaining and extending their habitats as they swallow the seeds of trees and spread them, sometimes across many miles, in their dung. White rhinos can play a major role in preventing runaway wildfires in African savannahs. If wolves were allowed to reach their natural populations in North America, one paper suggests, their suppression of herbivore populations would store as much carbon every year as between 30 and 70 million cars produce. Healthy populations of predatory crabs and fish protect the carbon in salt marshes, as they prevent herbivorous crabs and snails from wiping out the plants that hold the marshes together.

What I love about natural climate solutions is that we should be doing all these things anyway. Instead of making painful choices and deploying miserable means to a desirable end, we can defend ourselves from disaster by enhancing our world of wonders. However, nothing should be done without the involvement and consent of indigenous people and other local communities. Nor should damaging projects, such as monocultural plantations, be passed off as natural climate

Read the entire article:


Donny and Daddy

Donny and Daddy

Ted Folkert, February 22, 2019

It is always hard to understand why some people seem to thrive on controversy while most of us find it unpleasant and try to avoid it if possible. Our president brings this to mind since it seems that everything he says or does is related either directly or indirectly to controversy. If it isn’t controversial, he seems to make it so. Perhaps he is addicted to controversy. Perhaps it is his negotiating strategy. Perhaps he makes it controversial so he can relent of unimportant issues and press the big ones. Strategic negotiation can employ many elements, some of which can be emotional, such as anger or fear – or controversy.

It is easier to inject controversy if you are a bully like Trump. He probably would not be able to sustain physical threats if he was on his own, however, he surrounds himself with bodyguards when in public. Not just as president, he always did. If the truth were known, he is probably a coward. Of course, while growing up he had his daddy to protect him. He probably had body guards then. If you step on people and defraud people like Trump does you have to have bodyguards. Either that or you must be very brave and very tough. He had bodyguards.

If you spend any time in courts of law, you will recognize controversy as a technique used by some attorneys to entice people into anger or defensiveness as a ploy to induce damaging statements or distract attention from the heart of the matter. Controversy can be used to gain a small advantage by yielding on unimportant or unrelated controversial issues which distract or divert the thought process regarding the outcome of a negotiation.

Just consider Trump’s mode of operation. He starts out with people by lauding about how great they are and embellishes their character and ability. Then if things don’t go so well, he criticizes them harshly and publicly. Then if he doesn’t get his way, he blasts them with slander by criticizing their looks, their integrity, or their capability. The next step is calling them derogatory names, like kids on the playground. His daddy probably protected him on the playground as well. He wouldn’t have wanted little Donny to get hurt by big bullies.

And his daddy’s role of protector didn’t end with adulthood. He was always available to sign a bank loan or kick in a few million to cover Donny’s bad business decisions. His daddy contributed more that $500 million to the cause of making Donny rich and famous, maybe much more. And the funny part of it all is that he is unable to show us how much wealth he now has. Some light may be shone on the subject soon, since Donny has $340 million in loans coming due at Deutsche Bank. His son tells us that the Trump empire is one of the least leveraged companies around. He also tells us that most of their loans come from Russian connections, a situation that Donny has vehemently denied on many occasions.

Perhaps his properties are comfortably under leveraged by loan balances, but, is so, why does Donny find it necessary to play footsies with murderous dictators like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jon Un and Mohamed bin Salmon? Any of these guys would have him disappear if he ever crossed them, regardless of how many bodyguards he has, and his daddy isn’t around now to bail him out.

This could be fun to watch, or I guess we should say that we are “proud” to watch the outcome – you know, like he was “proud” to shut down the government and withhold paychecks of 800,000 loyal government employees – just because he didn’t get his way in building a worthless wall for $50 billion, so he could placate his base of ultra-conservative voters. This strategy was an effort to enhance his chances of reelection to enable him to continue to violate the emoluments clause of the Constitution and fill his pockets with money inspired by his actions as president.

Controversy prevails as a business strategy and integrity can’t seem to find its way into the equation. Who says that crime doesn’t pay? It always has for Donny.

Comments of Jordan Smirl

Jordan Smirl
19 hrs ·

I don’t care how high a person has climbed on the corporate ladder to earn the 7+ figure salary that they’ve got now. Not a single millionaire or billionaire works as hard as those of us who are stuck in the lower and middle classes, busting our asses for 40+ hours a week, sometimes working multiple jobs, just to earn a negligible fraction of what they earn. Nobody deserves that much money. Nobody. Hardly anybody can even spend that much money in a lifetime, let alone multiple billions of dollars. We have these human dragons like Donald Trump, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos, sitting on massive hoards of gold while there are people right here in the United States dying because they can’t afford food or medicine or a simple roof over their heads. You have to be an absolutely abhorrent human being to absorb so much wealth and not feel like you owe anyone else a dime, when that wealth is being produced for you by the mininum wage employees miles below. You have to be incorrigibly immoral to watch your countrymen struggle just to stay alive and say, “well that’s just too bad, isn’t it?” when you absolutely have the means to end that suffering. I don’t think a single one of the lower or middle class people I know would be so stingy with their money if someone they knew was so desperately in need. Yet our government right now is being run by people who are owned by multi-billion dollar companies, who are only interested in what makes them richer and satisfies us enough to keep us quiet–not what actually solves the problems of our everyday lives, or the greater issues of our species’ fate and our planet’s longevity. Our system in this country is completely broken. We are living in a nation that is no longer for the people, but for the rich, thanks to the rest of us. There are enormous and dramatic changes that need to happen if we have any hope of surviving this century, let alone sustaining humanity for the forseeable future.

Responsibility Shirked – Disaster Delivered

Responsibility Shirked – Disaster Delivered

Ted Folkert – February 4, 2019

“Don’t blame me – I didn’t vote for him, or her, or it” – blah, blah, blah, blah! How often do we hear all this from disgruntled citizens with 20-20 hindsight?

Not many of us participate in the electoral process as much as we could or as much as we should feel compelled to if we wish to fulfill our responsibility to attract, support and elect responsible and qualified candidates for public office who exude integrity and competence. If there is ever a time when we need to get involved in the electoral process in a big way, this is it. Although we probably cannot undo much of the damage done in the last couple of years, we can at least end it with a favorable election of competent leaders in upcoming elections.

It isn’t necessary to reiterate all the missteps we have encountered by the current administration, such as: dishonesty, ignorance of the law, misunderstanding of governmental processes, incompetence, impracticality, inappropriate appointments, dismal leadership, abusive interactions with national leaders, abusive interactions with world leaders, bungling of programs, narcissism, sex discrimination, racial discrimination and last but not least personal dealing with foreign governments for financial gain. This administration gives the term “emoluments clause” a whole new meaning.

We all have excuses which we believe relieves us of our responsibility to get involved in the electoral process and can reel them off in a flash: I was too busy at work, I had to take care of my family, I didn’t have transportation, my vote would just have been cancelled by someone else, I was out of town, I thought all the candidates were just as bad, I didn’t have a candidate that I wished to support, I had to work that day and couldn’t make it to the polls, I forgot to register, I moved and didn’t receive the notice to vote. If we did research for the reasons incompetent governments get control, one would think that all these reasons would be repeated throughout the dialogue explaining why we ended up with corrupt leaders in office. It wasn’t my fault. It was someone else’s fault.
Did this work out well? Does having an excuse make the damage done any less painful? Does it change anything? Do we get a do over? Can we cancel the election outcome and take a revote? The answers are no, no, no, no, and no. We are stuck with it. We can just sit by in disgust and take it right in the chops. We just blame those who voted for the corrupt and incompetent leader, not admitting the fact that we didn’t vote, or didn’t express an adverse opinion, or didn’t get involved in the selection process.

This must be a wake up call if there ever was one. We have no other sane choice now. We must educate ourselves more thoroughly about government process, government programs, observe government hearings, review the positions of our leaders and the fallacies of our leaders. We must get active in selection and support for qualified candidates who have the interests of all the American people in mind, candidates who understand the ramifications of there actions, candidates who have backgrounds and credentials to support their qualification for holding elective office.

The result of our decisions or perhaps indecisions of the past should be evidence enough that lack of involvement is not acceptable if we wish a representative government elected from responsible leaders with integrity, intelligence, and who exhibit dedication to the common good of all the people.

Selecting and electing competent leaders isn’t the end-all responsibility, it is just for starters. We must show interest. We must let our voices be heard. We must make our leaders aware of how we feel about their decisions. Government should involve everyone, not just those we elect. If we don’t let them know how we feel, how can they represent us? After all, they are not supposed to represent themselves, they are supposed to represent us – we the people. That’s what a representative government is supposed to be – leaders who represent the people, not according to what the elected leader wants, but what the people that she or he represents want.
So, like some of those who offer their sage advice are telling us, “fasten your seat belts, this ride isn’t over yet.”

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to recover from the damage done and being done to our economy, our respect among world leaders, the welfare of the workers in this country, the equality of opportunity which all the would-be leaders talk about, the educational system, the healthcare system, and last but possibly worst, the protection of our environment in the face of climate change and the planet’s ability to support human life for future generations.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin

Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?

Abraham, Martin and John

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?

He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young

But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend John,

Can you tell me where he’s gone?

He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young

But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,

Can you tell me where he’s gone?

He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young

But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Didn’t you love the things they stood for?

Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?

And we’ll be free,

Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,

Can you tell me where he’s gone?

I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill

With Abraham, Martin and John.

Leonard Cohen’s Trumpisms

Leonard Cohen’s Trumpisms

Ted Folkert – December 5, 2018

Listening to some of the famous hits of the inimitable, late, great, Leonard Cohen, is a habit that is hard to break for some of us true fans of his soulful lyrics and musical poetry, as he offers them to us with his “golden voice.” Listening to them now really rings some bells as they tend to remind us of tyrannical tendencies of our mindless leader, Donald John Trump.

And, for some of us who are increasingly annoyed by our president, who was elected by the Electoral College but lost the popular vote despite the helping hand he enjoyed from one of our most troubling adversaries, Russia, we can relate lingering messages in some of Cohen’s poetry. Cohen probably wasn’t talking about Trump in his songs, but he sure could have been.

Trump started out, and of course still is, focused on Cohen’s words: “Give me control of every living soul.” This is obvious in nearly all his actions and specifically in his comment after the snake from North Korea, Kim Jong Un, made a pitiful fool out of him by convincing him that he was going to cooperate in banning nuclear weapons. And, when he visited dictator Un, he was enthralled by the reverence displayed by the North Korean people for this murderous dictator and remarked that when Un spoke everyone sat up and listened, stating that is what he wanted from the American people. In other words, he wants to be a dictator and thinks he is a dictator.

Trump sidles up and admires murderous dictators, such as Kim Jong Un of North Kores, Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Mohamad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. Not necessarily because he wants to be a murderous dictator, but because, in the case of bin Salmon and Putin, he either has or desires financial involvement in the form of massive loans for his business enterprises. That’s it, pure and simple. The evidence is hidden everywhere in plain sight.

To this thirst for power Cohen sings: ”Democracy Is coming to the USA.” However, democracy is experiencing a drastic setback at the present time.

And now after the miserable failure of his ridiculous ploy about the massive invasion coming at our southern border and his wasteful expenditure of many millions of dollars by sending thousands of troops there, a ploy attempting to put all the voters in a defense-of-our-country mindset, throwing red meat to his pit bull base, he is reported to be sullen and despondent. What a shame. I guess he has never listened to Cohen’s lyrics: “there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Light is something crooks always like to avoid, before, during, and after their crimes.

And now that the Democrats have solid control in the House of Representatives, wherein lies the finance and Intelligence committees, he may become extremely dismayed when his tax returns and other secrets we wonder about show some “cracks” and let some “light get in.”

Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Russian invasion onto our electoral process is spreading its tentacles like an octopus and has Trump squirming like a fish on the line. He poo-poos the investigation as a “witch hunt” as his staff and former staff fall like dominos almost daily. The list of charges, convictions, pleas and confessions seems unprecedented and is rapidly painting Trump’s administration into a picture of widespread corruption which may culminate in dozens of criminal charges before it is all said and done. It is hard to remember a time when so many witches were caught in such a short time.

Too bad Leonard Cohen laid down his pen, may he rest in peace. He would have enjoyed great material for many new songs as the Trump presidency evolves – like a song writer’s dream come true, a gift that just keeps on giving.

And for the viewing audience, it is getting better all the time. We just can’t wait for “Closing Time,” of this criminal enterprise, another great Cohen song which he could likely rewrite with this avalanche of new material being provided by our Idiot-in-chief.

Letter to the President

To the Esteemed and Revered, Donald J. Trump – President of the United States and Leader of the Free World – Brilliant Business Man and Extremely Intelligent Person – Best Dealmaker in the History of Mankind

Dear Mr. President:

Aware as I am of the enormous burden of ruling the country and keeping all the other countries in the world in line with our best interest, I feel compelled to write you regarding some very important matters of which I feel you should be aware.

Some of our citizens are ungrateful for the sacrifices you make each day in ignoring your enormous empire of business enterprises while so graciously dedicating your entire attention and diligence to assuring that we 300 million people are receiving the best life experience that one can desire or ever even imagine.

They even accuse you of violating the emoluments clause in the constitution, just because you direct so many millions of dollars of business to hotels and resorts bearing your name. Pure jealousy on the part of these misinformed accusers. They fail to acknowledge that these paying guests are anxious to be a part of your entourage and are grateful that you deny other would-be guests the privilege of lodging within these luscious establishments.

In displaying their ingratitude for your sacrifices, they choose to make salacious remarks about your character, declaring that you are narcissistic, ignorant, idiotic, imbecilic, moronic, hedonistic, egotistical, self-centered, dishonest, unintelligent, dictatorial, rude, demeaning, fraudulent, untruthful, braggadocious, pretentious, pompous, and other characteristics not suitable for publication.

It has even been suggested that some of your cabinet members have been responsible for some of these remarks, which are even more outrageously demeaning of your benevolent and personable nature and damaging to your valued and highly-regarded personal esteem.

We are all aware of your overwhelming success as the world’s greatest businessman, totally self-made except for a few hundred million dollars of inheritance. Along with running your vast business enterprise and your busy schedule of campaigning, tweeting and golfing, as well as the troubling annoyance of that ridiculous Mueller investigation, I doubt that you have time to search for the meaning of all these big words which so unkindly refer to your character. So, to sort of simplify the process so that you get the essence of the attitude of these ungrateful people, we should discuss a more common term, “sausage.” You know, not the stuff made by our elected officials, but the stuff made by the hog farmers.

I imagine, considering your “healthy” appearance, that you may know about sausage, however, it could be assumed that, considering your privileged upbringing, you would be more familiar with parts “higher on the hog,” such as pork chops, pork ribs or pork shoulder, rather than parts like pigs feet, sow belly, bacon and such.

You know, hog processors take all the parts of the hog that look bad, smell bad and taste bad and grind them up with stuff that make them look good, smell good and taste good, and then sell it to us for healthy and nutritious food. They call it “sausage.” So, if someone accuses you of making sausage out of our legislation, law enforcement and social programs, as well as our relationship with all the other nations in the world, now you have an idea of what they mean and the serious nature of these accusations which they phrase with such salacious-sounding words.

And, I might mention, like all your other enterprises, you would have been a great hog farmer and meat processor,  not only in your ability for making sausage, but in your ability of attracting attention to yourself and your sausage and convincing us that your sausage is the best that money can buy, just like we feel that you are the best president that money can buy. Besides, your pal, Putin, could make head roads for your products in Russia. He knows about making sausage himself. This could be an international enterprise funded by Russia, such as other enterprises you have been accused of funding there.

But don’t be deterred – like the old-timers used to say, “a little sausage never hurt anybody.”





What a difference a day makes!

What a difference a day makes!

Ted Folkert – November 12, 2018

Yesterday was Veterans Day. Today is the day we honor it with bank, school, and government office closures. Most of us probably didn’t reflect much on the meaning of all the sacrifices of minds, lives and limbs damaged or lost by those who became our veterans.

Remember the song: “What a difference a day makes” and the line: “Only twenty-four little hours?” Our veterans probably understand that more than most of us. I suppose if we had spent 24 little hours on the battlefields of WWI, or WWII, or the Korean War, or the Vietnam War, or the Iraqi Invasion, or Afghanistan Invasion, we might really have an understanding of “what a difference a day makes” and a true appreciation for the bravery, diligence, and sacrifices demonstrated by those who either willingly or unwillingly represented our country and our freedom and survival.

We can read the history books and get many varied opinions about the causes of these conflicts and the propriety or rationality of decisions to involve our women and men in those battles. Which authors were right doesn’t matter now, especially to those who participated in the battles and their loved ones who remain.

Perhaps we can honor these fallen heroes by thinking more astutely and more unselfishly about who our chosen leaders should be in the future. We are somewhat stuck with what we have now, but many of wish we could have a do-over. Unfortunately, we usually choose not to take such action as would be required for a do-over. It gets ugly and divisive, two conditions we don’t want or need.

To show the utmost respect and appreciation for our veterans, maybe in future elections we could just ask ourselves questions like: which candidate will do the right thing, which candidate will make rational decisions, which candidate shows concern for all citizens, which candidate displays compassion for those who are less fortunate, which candidate understands the world we live in and the political ramifications of actions taken and importance of alliances with world powers, which candidate has an astute understanding of the concerns of others and the maturity to negotiate in a mutually cooperative manner, and which candidate reacts in such a manner as to reduce the likelihood of having additional war veterans in the future while maintaining our beliefs and standards for equality and fairness.

It is becoming more obvious day by day that we have been remiss in our electoral decision-making, which many of us still deny, and that like Ronald Reagan said about trading arms for hostages back in the 1980s when he made some rash decisions: “we didn’t do it and we’re not going to do it again.”