…don’t panic [DOT 8/11/22]

well...try not to...

…it would feel disingenuous to say things are going ok

Most of the media attention has gone to a group of radical outsiders, endorsed by Trump, who unexpectedly won their primaries but have struggled in the polls for the coming US Senate elections. The most important are former Georgia running back Herschel Walker, whose campaign consists of cosplaying as a law enforcement officer and dodging debates with his opponents; New Jersey resident and quack TV doctor Mehmet Oz, running for a seat in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania, whose social media team seems to hate him so much that his opponent, John Fetterman, simply has to retweet his tweets; and “venture capitalist” JD Vance, in Ohio, whose campaign is as entertaining as the movie based on his autobiography and is barely kept afloat by the largesse of Silicon Valley’s resident Trumpist, Peter Thiel.

To be fair, these three are just the tip of the iceberg. There are several extremists contending for governor races, such as former news anchor Kari Lake, in Arizona, a Sarah Palin 2.0, or Christian nationalist Doug Mastriano, in Pennsylvania, who cosplayed as a Confederate soldier and is surrounded by a team of antisemites and self-proclaimed prophets.

This is to say nothing of the House races, in which a host of candidates are trying to make Marjorie “Jewish space lasers” Taylor Greene look normal. There is a host of conspiracy thinkers running, including a large number of QAnon supporters, such as Sam Peters in Nevada and Ron Watkins in Arizona. And I am not even touching on Republicans running for legislative positions at the state level.

To be clear, it is not even certain that most of these people will actually lose their election. Many are polling close to or even ahead of their actually normal Democratic opponents. But even should they lose – preventing Republican control of the Senate, and losing the party some governorships – there is no indication that this will substantially change the direction of the party.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/nov/07/midterm-elections-republican-radicals-trump

…but…they could be a whole lot worse?

Confidants spent much of Monday putting it about that former US president Donald Trump was on the brink of announcing his intention to become a future president at a campaign rally in Dayton, Ohio.

An announcement would have come as no great surprise to any of them as “Trump 2024” has been in the works for months now. But in the end it didn’t come at all.
[…]
As the crowd listened expectantly, Trump rambled through anecdotes about getting soaked by tropical rains in Florida, the life span of windshield wipers, and how he is not allowed to call women beautiful any more before asking a group of them if their “marriages are intact”.

The former president also revealed he knew the difference between socialism and communism as he claimed that under president Joe Biden the US has skipped the first and gone straight to the second.

“This country has gone crazy. There’s only one choice to end this madness. If you support the decline for all of America, then you must absolutely vote for the radical left crazy people, the radical left Democrats. And if you want to stop the destruction of our country and save the American dream, then tomorrow you must vote Republican in a giant red wave that we’ve all been hearing about,” he said.
[…]
All day Trump’s aides and allies had whispered that he wanted to use the rally to announce another run for president. It had the intended effect.
[…]
Attention was drawn.
[…]
The announcement didn’t come but it was clear Trump was laying the ground for when it does.

“They say Trump was right about everything. And I don’t want to brag, but I was right about everything,” he said.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/08/big-announcement-donald-trump-holds-back-decision-on-2024-presidential-run

…but…as damaging as his unending bullshit undoubtedly is…there’s a good chance one way or another he’s overplayed his hand

The RNC’s executive committee last year confirmed it was paying for certain legal fees “that relate to politically motivated legal proceedings waged against President Trump,” and in recent months the committee has funded Trump’s defense against probes launched by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D).

McDaniel told CNN’s Dana Bash that the committee “cannot pay legal bills for any candidate that’s announced” after Bash asked her if the RNC would stop paying Trump’s legal bills if he makes another run for the White House.

“We cannot pay legal bills for any candidate that’s announced. So these are bills that came from the Letitia James lawsuit that started while he was president,” McDaniel said. “It was voted on by our executive committee for our former president, that this was a politically motivated investigation and that’s what it’s been.”

“But we cannot do in kind contributions to any candidate right now. He’s the former president being attacked from every which way with lawsuits, and he’s certainly raised more under the RNC than we’ve spent on these bills,” she added.
https://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/3721990-rnc-chair-says-committee-cant-pay-trumps-legal-bills-if-he-announces-2024-run/

…I know…I just got through quoting a piece about how arguably what would be left of the hydra would be a lot of shades of worse than this particular head…but…I lack the words to express how much I still think it begs for lopping off…& while he may have “raised more […] than we’ve spent on th[o]se bills”…the balance of payments is interesting

Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America, has blitzed supporters in recent days with fundraising solicitations that focus on next month’s high-stakes contest for control of Congress. “It is IMPERATIVE that we win BIG in November,” blared an email last week.

The group has contributed about $8.4 million so far directly to Republican campaigns and committees, while devoting $7 million to Trump’s lawyers and another $2 million to the nonprofits, which employ former members of his administration, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Legal fees are expected to climb, Trump advisers say, as he employs a growing retinue of lawyers to fend off federal, state and county-level investigations.

Available filings, which disclose payments only through the end of August, show Save America sent its single biggest check in the last 20 months not to a Trump-backed candidate or to advertising aimed at swing-state voters. Instead, the $3-million payment went to a Florida law firm representing the former president in the Justice Department’s investigation of his handling of government documents at Mar-a-Lago and its probe of the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, aimed at keeping Trump in power. Trump attorney Christopher Kise demanded the fee up front before he accepted the role. (A series of payments to multiple groups working unsuccessfully to oust Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) surpassed $3 million.)

Legal expenses incurred by Save America exploded this summer, as multiple probes of Trump’s conduct intensified, from the capital, where lawmakers and prosecutors are investigating possible wrongdoing, to New York and Georgia, where authorities are scrutinizing the former president, his political associates and members of his family.
[…]
In response to questions about the use of donor money to cover the former president’s legal bills, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich accused Democrats of “weaponizing taxpayer dollars with fake investigations and meritless cases in an attempt to intimidate and silence Republicans.”

State-level Republicans have also used party resources to defray legal costs related to Trump’s attempts to stay in power. The Georgia GOP paid more than $20,000 this summer to the firm representing party officials, including the chairman, David Shafer, before the House panel probing the Jan. 6 attack. Another $25,000 went to the firm representing Shafer and other members of a slate of alternate electors backing Trump despite his loss in the state. Shafer declined to comment.

In Arizona, the state GOP has paid more than $127,000 to a pair of law firms representing the party’s chairwoman, Kelli Ward, in her lawsuit seeking to block the House’s Jan. 6 committee from obtaining her phone records and in the party’s litigation against Maricopa County over the hiring of poll workers, according to state and federal filings. It was unclear how much of those expenses were related to those two legal battles; a spokeswoman for the state party did not respond to requests for comment.
[…]
Republican officials and fundraisers, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to address the dynamic candidly, said Trump has raised vast sums for the party, whether directly or via use of his name or likeness in campaign solicitations. Aides at other committees, including the RNC, say their pitches secure more small-dollar money when they invoke Trump, which often angers him. His political team has asked the committees to send his team every ad that features him for approval.

But these people also said his PAC’s incessant appeals over email and text message have contributed to burnout among small-dollar donors who might otherwise send more of their disposable income to competitive races. Those donors, said one GOP fundraiser, are being “told they’re pitching in for a fight against Democrats” but are instead “helping Trump fight off his legal problems.” Some Trump small-dollar donors have reached out to the former president’s office to say they’d like to give more but cannot afford it after receiving so many requests.
[…]
But his advisers have told him if he slows down the appeals, the money will slow down, so he has approved more. His small-dollar fundraising has declined some in recent months, Trump advisers say, but picked up after FBI agents searched his Mar-a-Lago Club for classified documents.

…given what we know about his legal exposure on that front…& the extent to which the rogue-judge-based fig leaf being given to his parody of a defense is an absurdly piss-poor affair that holds less water than a sieve according to any number of lawyers & judicial precedent…not to mention…you know…the law…& the considerable form the man has in bankruptcy-bound business acumen…I’d like to consider that depriving himself of the ability to contest that shit with the DoJ on the down low by volunteering to keep shoving bits of it into the public domain is what I believe is called a loss-making proposition…AKA a bad bet

A new Trump-backed super PAC promising to up the former president’s financial commitment in the midterms may assuage some concerns within the party about his use of donor money. Its forerunner, Make America Great Again, Again!, was essentially disbanded, partially because of Trump’s frustration with the money some of his advisers were making from it. The new super PAC, called simply Make America Great Again Inc., put about $5 million behind advertising in five states as of the end of last week, according to the tracking firm AdImpact.

…I mean…maybe I’m scraping the barrel…but…”again, again!”…that seems like it ought to be laughable?

Trump’s leadership PAC has shied from such commitments. Among Save America’s expenditures totaling $500,000 or more, just seven have gone to groups devoted primarily to spending in races this cycle. Meanwhile, 10 such payments have gone to a wide range of other recipients, including law firms and vendors that stage Trump’s events throughout the country. The Smithsonian Institution was sent $650,000 to fund portraits of Trump and former first lady Melania Trump for the National Portrait Gallery.

…the man is at his most consistent when it comes to venality and vanity…so…call me crazy…but…he set up PACs & other precursors to full-blown campaign finance violations the day he took office…& that shit is at its most lax when you’re a full-blown candidate engaged in an active campaign…so the fact that leaving him with the tab for his legal fees seems to have been enough to put him off declaring a couple of times now…I dunno…but I like to think his attempts to stay ahead of the collapse of the sinkhole of debt at the heart of his much-touted wealth are just possibly circling the drain

These payments are permitted because Save America is a leadership PAC with few restrictions on the use of funds. Such committees, in addition to boosting like-minded candidates, can be used to pay advisers, cover travel expenses and defray legal bills, among other costs.
[…]
Some of the committee’s spending has benefited Trump’s business — or people close to the former first family. Save America has directed about $245,000 to Trump properties for lodging and meals, as well as facility rental, since he left office, according to a review of the PAC’s filings. Hervé Pierre, the French American fashion designer who served as Melania Trump’s stylist when she was in the White House, has been paid $78,000 by the PAC in five installments since April. The payments were marked as “strategy consulting.”
[…]
Save America’s funds have also helped support nonprofits employing former White House staff, including $1 million to the Conservative Partnership Institute — Meadows’s new employer — and $1 million to the America First Policy Institute, whose board chair is Linda McMahon, formerly Trump’s director of the Small Business Administration.

…& that’s with the RNC picking up its share of his tab…& with a bunch of his lawyers complaining they haven’t been paid…just sayin’

…admittedly it does all start to sound like it might be the courts that decide

In addition to counsel for Trump, the RNC’s broader legal expenses have been extensive, mostly coming from a special account that can’t be used for other purposes. The payments, totaling more than $20 million, have covered everything from ordinary compliance consulting to wide-ranging efforts to force changes to the way local officials conduct elections. Thomas Galvin, a member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, responded to recent lawsuits by the Arizona GOP and the national party accusing the county of favoring Democratic poll workers by saying party leaders were “wasting GOP donor money.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/10/11/trump-legal-fees-donor-funds-rnc/

…but there are decent lawyers out there

…meanwhile…over in another blazing dumpster fire of the vanities

Twitter’s new owner announced an immediate ban on accounts pretending to be someone else without flagging them as parodies. The move resulted in the removal of an “Elon Musk” account held by the comedian Kathy Griffin, who had changed her account name to match that of the Tesla chief executive.
[…]
Despite Musk promising that users would be able to parody other accounts if they were clearly marked as such – a restatement of Twitter’s existing policy – some received bans despite explicitly labelling their new accounts as mockeries of the company’s owner: one user, who changed his verified account’s name to “Elon Musk (Parody)”, was automatically locked out until he changed it back.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that Twitter has delayed rolling out the new verification process until after the midterm elections on Tuesday, amid fears that bogus “verified” accounts could appear posing as Joe Biden, politicians or news organisations. The NYT story quoted an internal message from one Twitter employee asking why the company was “making such a risky change before elections, which has the potential of causing election interference”.
[…]
The actor Valerie Bertinelli had similarly appropriated Musk’s screen name and posted a series of tweets in support of Democratic candidates on Saturday before switching back to her true name. “Okey-dokey. I’ve had fun and I think I made my point,” she tweeted afterwards.

Bertinelli noted the original purpose of the blue verification tick. It was granted free of charge to people whose identity Twitter had confirmed; with journalists accounting for a big portion of recipients. “It simply meant your identity was verified. Scammers would have a harder time impersonating you,” Bertinelli said. “That no longer applies. Good luck out there!”

…if it’s a bigger lie than the one about these assholes being smart…which it transparently isn’t…it’d have to be a very big lie indeed

The chaotic changes to the social network have come so fast that some are now being reversed: after sacking thousands of staff members on Friday, Twitter has started to ask “dozens” to return to work, according to a report in Bloomberg, with managers realising that they were responsible for crucial features.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/nov/07/twitter-will-ban-permanently-suspend-impersonator-accounts-elon-musk-says-as-users-take-his-name

…does make an outstanding metaphor, though…or is it just me that sees a parallel between firing essential people out of blind arrogance & what passes for the modern day GOP “platform”?

In his first days at the helm of Twitter, Musk has installed a group of loyalists and friends that includes his personal lawyer, as well as the tech investors David Sacks and Jason Calacanis, two Silicon Valley veterans who regularly mix it up with supporters and critics alike on their podcast and on social media.
[…]
They are joined in Musk’s orbit by Alex Spiro, a trial attorney with a roster of celebrity clients who reportedly led the first round of Twitter layoffs. Musk’s “war room” also includes the investor and podcaster Sriram Krishnan, a former Twitter product leader and partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, and Jared Birchall, a wealth manager who heads up Musk’s family office.
[…]
The new crowd replaced a C-suite with a long tenure at Twitter, and the company’s most prominent women are now gone, including chief marketing officer Leslie Berland and Vijaya Gadde, who had been its longtime chief of legal and policy issues. Ex-CEO Parag Agrawal had worked at Twitter for more than a decade.
[…]
The hiring of Spiro, a partner at the New York firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, indicates Musk wants a street fighter by his side. Spiro, 39, is said to be a tough-as-nails litigator who does not shy away from publicized battles. He successfully represented hip-hop king Jay-Z in a breach-of-contract case last year, for example.
[…]
Sacks was an early PayPal employee along with Musk, part of a group later known as the “PayPal Mafia” because of how many companies the group started. The group also included Peter Thiel, the billionaire entrepreneur and conservative activist who co-wrote a book with Sacks called “The Diversity Myth.” (Sacks has since sought to distance himself from the book, which criticized multiculturalism in higher education.) Sacks went on to co-found Yammer, a workplace social network that Microsoft bought for $1.2 billion in 2012.
[…]
Beyond their investing, Calacanis and Sacks have built a loyal following with their “All-In” podcast with two other co-hosts, investors David Friedberg and Chamath Palihapitiya. The four, who call themselves “the besties,” talk about economics, tech, politics and their lives as wealthy middle-aged men in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sacks and Calacanis were heavily involved in the successful campaign to recall former San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, a rising hero of the left who clashed with the police and came to be the center of a local debate over crime policy.

…in the words of oscar wilde

Sacks’ belief that the major Silicon Valley technology firms censor speech will likely draw greater attention as Musk works to formulate content-moderation policies and try to tackle what some users see as an epidemic of misinformation, disinformation and offensive content.
https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/are-elon-musks-right-hand-men-twitter-s-lot-men

Here’s a running list of other folks from the overlapping worlds of television, movies, music and sports who say they plan to leave [Twitter].
https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/celebrity/twitter-celebrities-leaving-elon-musk

…meanwhile the NYT is, predictably enough, covering both sides

Democrats, Don’t Despair. There Are Bright Spots for Our Party. [NYT]

Republicans Are Doubling Down on Trumpism. It’s Going to Work. [NYT]

…just remember…a lot of this stuff is straight up bullshit

“If I choose to run, I will only use Truth” to post his thoughts, Trump told Fox News on the day after Musk’s takeover of Twitter became official. “When I put out a Truth, it is all over the place.” The platform feels “like home,” he said, and he likes “the way it works.” In a Truth Social post, he added, “I LOVE TRUTH!”

But Trump’s 4 million followers on the platform are a small fraction of the 88 million he once had on Twitter, and his dozens of posts — called “truths” — there in recent weeks have received none of the broad engagement and traction he counted on during his presidency.

Trump has asserted in recent Truth Social posts and TV interviews that Truth Social has performed better than the biggest apps on the internet, including Twitter and TikTok. The app debuted at the top of the Google app-store rankings last month when Google added it, but it has plunged in the days since, and it remains outranked by mainstream social networks in every measure.

In September, Truth Social had fewer than 1.7 million monthly unique visitors in the United States, according to the traffic analysis group Similarweb — lower than the websites for the crypto news source CoinDesk, the drugstore chain CVS Health and the internal job-listing page for Walmart. That month, Twitter had more than 184 million monthly unique visitors in the United States, Similarweb estimates show.
[…]
When Trump had considered jumping to Gettr, the co-founders at Trump Media felt confident he’d stick by their side. In February 2021, shortly after his supporters stormed the Capitol, Trump signed a document with a “mutual noncompete” clause pledging not to work with anyone else in exchange for 90 percent of the company’s shares, Wilkerson, the former Trump Media executive, told The Post. He was fired last month after that interview.
[…]
The document envisioned a pro-Trump umbrella organization, including technology start-ups and a publishing house; it even laid out guidelines for how company employees could be reimbursed for corporate expenses. For his part, Trump agreed to give the co-founders a “perpetual … royalty-free, irrevocable right” to use Trump’s name, photos and likeness “in any format and medium” they wanted, according to the agreement. Trump also offered up access to email databases compiled by Trump and his family company, the Trump Organization.
[…]
But, all the while, Trump continued to negotiate with Miller about a jump to Gettr. On July 1, when Gettr was officially launched, Bradford Cohen, another former “Apprentice” contestant who’d become a lawyer in south Florida and helped arrange the co-founders’ first pitch with Trump, exploded on Miller, telling him he was engaging in “tortious interference” because the site had an account — named “ReaIDonaldTrump,” using an uppercase ‘I’ instead of a lowercase ‘l’ — that they’d believed was a placeholder for Trump, one of these people said. A person involved with Gettr told Politico that day that the site had “an account reserved for [Trump] and waiting for him but that’s a decision for him to make.”

Miller’s final offer to Trump included $100 million — and potentially more — over five years to post on Gettr, the people said. The deal would have even included a payout for Trump if he were elected president again, one of these people said, and much of the money would have been paid near the end of the agreement, before Trump retook office.
[…]
Even as the Gettr deal loomed, the Trump Media co-founders faced troubles on another front, from Trump’s family members and business associates, who were livid over the original services agreement and argued that Trump had given away too much, Wilkerson said.

In one email exchange Wilkerson provided to The Post, lawyers for Trump’s older business and his new start-up grappled over a new license agreement, proposed by Trump’s family representatives, that would have greatly diminished the company’s standing and made Trump’s involvement “nonexclusive.”

“The elimination of DJT’s ‘exclusive’ commitment to [Trump Media group’s] product offering essentially renders the TMG initiative ‘un-bankable,’ ” a lawyer for the co-founders wrote in an early-August email. The new agreement “essentially ‘guts’ the key commercial commitments by DJT to TMG’s product offering.”

Trump Media ultimately agreed to the new agreement, which restricted how the company could use Trump’s name and brand and offered more carve-outs for Trump political activities and business ventures that only he could profit from or control, according to a copy of the document Wilkerson shared with The Post.
[…]
After a delayed start on his own platform, Trump has begun using it actively, posting memes and sharing messages from accounts promoting QAnon, the jumbled set of conspiracy theories that herald him as the ultimate warrior against a “deep state” cabal of satanic elite. Truth Social, however, has failed to gain the kind of mainstream base of users or advertisers on which most major social networks rely. Gettr is doing no better: Its audience of 400,000 unique monthly visitors in September, according to Similarweb estimates, was a quarter of Truth Social’s size.

Truth Social’s financial standing also remains in doubt. Trump Media committed last year to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, named Digital World Acquisition, to which investors have given roughly $300 million in operating funds.

But Trump Media cannot unlock that money without a merger that has been frozen by ongoing federal investigations. The announcement of a shareholder vote to extend the company’s merger deadline has been postponed six times in the past two months, most recently on Thursday, an indication that the SPAC still does not have the votes it needs to seal the deal. Liquidation of the SPAC is scheduled for Dec. 8 if the extension still has not been passed, zeroing out Trump Media’s biggest financial base.

Digital World’s sponsor paid $2.8 million in September to give itself three more months to pass the vote. But as the vote effort has doddered on, the company has lost money from investors leery of the ongoing legal morass, the possibility of Trump’s return to Twitter and Truth Social’s questionable performance. Investors have pulled at least $138 million out of what was once a $1 billion deal, Digital World said in filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Digital World also recently changed its address from an office in Miami’s financial district to a box in a UPS store, securities filings show. Its share price has plunged from around $100 earlier this year to $17.48 on Friday.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/07/trump-once-reconsidered-sticking-with-truth-social-now-hes-stuck/

…well…that & the part where the SPAC never paid out…you know…that one

Will Wilkerson, a former Trump Media and Technology Group executive, has told the US government’s financial watchdog that the company’s bid to raise more than $1bn via an investment vehicle known as a special purpose acquisition company (Spac) relied on “fraudulent misrepresentations … in violation of federal securities laws”.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/oct/16/trump-media-truth-social-whistleblower-sec-complaint

…which it turns out can happen when your “special purposes” overlap with things like the “crime/fraud exception”…but that just swings back around to the lawyers making bank…&…well…while some things might not be against the law…it’s not just shitty lawyers who find a problem getting money where the mouth is

The assessment, by Carbon Brief, compares the share of international climate finance provided by rich countries with their share of carbon emissions to date, a measure of their responsibility for the climate crisis.

Rich countries pledged to provide US$100bn a year by 2020, although this target has been missed. The US share of this, based on its past emissions, would be $40bn yet it provided only $7.6bn in 2020, the latest year for which data is available. Australia and Canada gave only about a third of the funding indicated by the analysis, while the UK supplied three-quarters but still fell $1.4bn short.
[…]
The new analysis covers the 24 “Annex II” countries that account for 40% of historical emissions and are obliged to give climate finance under the UN climate treaty, including all of the G7 large economies. It shows some countries gave more than the share of the $100bn indicated by their past emissions.

Switzerland’s funding was more than four times higher, and France and Norway’s was more than three times the amount. Japan, one of the largest providers of funding, supplied $13bn, more than double the amount indicated. However, the funding from Japan and France was largely in loans, whereas that from the US, Canada, Australia and the UK were mostly grants. Grants are strongly preferred by developing countries, which often already carry high levels of debt.
[…]
“Our analysis for the V20 group of most climate-vulnerable nations finds that our countries have already suffered $500bn in losses because of climate impacts,” [Mohamed] Nasheed [the former president of the Maldives] told the Guardian.

“Currently we face a debt crisis because so many of the assets that we took loans to pay for are being destroyed by climate change. Ease the debt burden and we can all play our part.” The V20 represents 1.5 billion people in 58 vulnerable countries.
[…]
A progress report on delivery of the $100bn was published in the run-up to Cop27 by the governments of Germany and Canada. “It is abundantly clear that the global investments needed to respond to the climate change threat are much larger than $100bn and that we need to turn our attention to setting an effective post-2025 climate finance goal,” say Germany’s special envoy for international climate action, Jennifer Morgan, and Canada’s climate change minister, Steven Guilbeault, in the foreword.
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/nov/07/us-uk-fall-billions-short-climate-funding-cop27

…but…it’s voting day…& there’s only so much existential angst I can cope with at once

It’s grim stuff. But science tells us there’s still room for hope. “I am cautiously optimistic — that is to say … objectively hopeful — about prospects for tackling the climate crisis in the years ahead,” climate scientist Michael Mann writes in his new book, “The New Climate War.”
[…]
The “new” climate war in his book’s title is not against climate change deniers; by now, they have largely been vanquished. It is against hopelessness — the voices that claim that it’s too late to make the big changes needed to stave off calamity, so why make any sacrifices at all? “What is the antidote to irrational, disabling, doom-and-gloom ‘futility messaging’?” Mann writes. “Motivating hope that is grounded in entirely legitimate and defensible reasons for cautious optimism that the worst can still be averted.”
[…]
The scientists validate that hope is a rational, even necessary, attitude despite the unremittingly depressing bulletins from the front lines of the climate war. But a sense of hope alone is not the victory we’re going for. It must be channeled into significant efforts to decarbonize the economy, which will require a society-wide sense of resolve. And yet, how can enough of us transform our perspective to build a critical mass in favor of systemic solutions? For an answer, I turned to a variety of nature philosophers, folks who have come at the climate crisis as writers and artists. To many of them, hope lies in attacking the root problem of our lost reverence for nature — by finding ways to repair our severed connection with the wild.
[…]
“The biggest mistake we all make is in trying to jam hope down each other’s throats without giving the space and time for us to feel the full embodied response of what is happening,” says Varshini Prakash, co-founder and executive director of the Sunrise Movement, the four-year-old juggernaut of young people organized in 400 hubs across the country to protest the fossil fuel economy and push for the Green New Deal. The first step for her, Prakash says, is to pause, to “notice what’s going on in my body” and to allow those feelings of stress, or “the sense of shame that we haven’t been able to do enough, or the sense of failure, or whatever it is,” to flow. Then, “the hope honestly comes from the action that I both see myself and those around me taking on a daily basis,” Prakash continues. “Hope lies in action. … If I were just sitting at home doing nothing all day and then reading the barrage of news and being on social media, I think I would be extremely depressed and extremely anxious and in constant fear.”
[…]
When hope is redefined as action, I realized, it can be uncoupled from the need for a guarantee of success. The doing is its own justification and reward — and it just might lead to success. In the meantime, we will be less deterred by temporary setbacks and bleak headlines. I think of a line by the late Czech dissident and former president Václav Havel: “Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/magazine/2021/04/12/climate-news-is-relentlessly-objectively-grim-should-we-ever-allow-ourselves-feel-optimism/

…so…I guess where I’m going with this is…stay hopeful…it may not seem like it sometimes…but it really does make sense?

[…whether or not this post does, on the other hand…that’s another question altogether…as is when I’ll manage to come up with some tunes…but…stranger things have happened?]

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30 Comments

    • Already voted and will take my daughter out to make sure she does it today.

      And I’ll say it one last time: All the polling and coverage focuses on Republicans vs. Democrats. One-quarter (some estimates say one-third or even 42%) of this country’s registered voters are “no party affiliation.” Any polling or other information that overlooks that fact is suspect and probably invalid. When you see all this crap about one party leading in early voting over the other, they’re just looking at the two parties. Nobody knows how (or if) these people will vote, but they skew younger which makes Republicans very nervous.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2022/10/24/rise-of-independent-voters/

      Ron DeSantis was straight-up begging people to vote a few days ago. The Republican disinformation campaign can backfire with the elderly, who will read all this crap and assume they’ve got it in the bag.

  1. I also feel that despair that (not that) Michael Mann writes about.  I know all about it during the last days of Nortel.  Those dark feelings grabs me and won’t let go, but I still fought/worked like hell at Nortel despite it blowing up (that’s when the black dog really got me.) BUT I STILL FOUGHT till the bitter end.

    Same with climate change. I will still do what I can however small… going electric wasn’t cheap at all but I don’t feel guilty driving around. Yes, I know about the pitfalls but I’m not generating CO2/NOx/SOx wherever I go.

    • “A drunken Chicken CFO in every bed! A smashed Mercedes in every garage!”

      And… maybe putting your more than likely underqualified untalented idiot son as CFO was probably a greater mistake.

    • haha came here to post this. Also I get why the CFO is only 32 (cuz NEPOTISM) but jesus make him work in the accounting department for a minute or two at least.

      I had a client who’s kid was going to take over their business. They ‘made’ him work at other companies first, then do every job at their company and he’s still not in charge. He’s probably about the same age, maybe a couple of years older.

      • I grew up with the counterpoint to that. A friend’s family owned a chain of nursing homes (like 13) which are a license to print money in Florida. The parents insisted the children work in the business, but mostly they just didn’t bother to show up. And the rank and file were too scared to complain about it.

        Eventually the parents got too old to effectively run the business and they sold almost all of it off and just split the money between the kids. One still “runs” one facility, but the other two just took the money and, near as I can tell, do absolutely nothing. I mean, travel and whatnot and buying and flying planes, but no actual “job.”

      • Ages ago (yikes, decades) I worked for a family owned business that also made the sons work elsewhere and reach a certain level in other companies. Then they too worked in each department within the business. It was a healthy company. I also worked for a company where children, grandchildren, miscellaneous relatives were hired, in some cases, right out of high school. Payroll ballooned as each family member required a paid friend to keep them from being bored/disruptive and two paid assistants to do the actual work. Not even exaggerating here. . . not a healthy company.

    • …I sincerely hope you & yours…& not least sheldon…are safely ensconced somewhere safe & comfortable should any storms (literal or metaphorical) accost your part of the world

      …mea culpa on the omission…but I didn’t want to pile on the angst any thicker than I had?

      …there was also a thing about how that $100billion promised-but-not-paid was a drop in a potentially $2trillion annual bucket

      …plus…much as I’d rather you got to avoid anything inclement…there’s people who seem to think the weather keeping people from the polls might hurt the GOP more…& I wouldn’t want to risk sounding like I’m rooting for disaster…the way some people root for the asteroid?

      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/07/california-meteor-house-destroyed

      • Category 1 which is “carry an umbrella” in Florida terms. And it developed fast, so I’d have had to get started early this morning to board up. It should be a fairly limited event.

        The biggest problem is rain. We still have flooding from Ian, and the lakes, rivers, and ponds are overflowing their banks. Now I don’t live near any of those, so no big deal for me. But the richy riches with their lakefront homes are about to get smacked again.

        Plus DeSantis was too busy persecuting trans kids to do anything about our housing insurance crisis, so THAT will be interesting. Crist was already slamming him about that. Lots of folks (me included) got their housing insurance cancelled and had to find new insurance for lots more money. I’m not sure they all have the cognitive ability to connect those dots with DeSantis, but yeah, the legislature was busy taking bribes from insurance companies and screwing over homeowners instead of trying to fix it.

    • …it says something that one of the embeds with that tik tok clip is from a twitter account that changed its name to “I am not the woman in the video”

      …given the clueless answers offered by the guys in the clip I’m pretty much concluding that what it says isn’t pretty?

      …in keeping with the part where the alleged ex-president cites policy ideas practiced by duterte…which amnesty estimates resulted in several thousand deaths…& given the demographic breakdown of drug-related incarceration…is a profoundly unsubtle bit of dog-whistling

    • …not helping with the blood pressure…but I thank you all the same?

      [ETA: …I already watched the film…& I’m not sure it’ll ease anyone’s mind in the midst of today…but if kemp has literally cooked his own electoral books & looks to have won I hope he winds up as a cautionary tale of one sort or another…along the lines of the hindenburg, perhaps?]

  2. Twitter has started to ask “dozens” to return to work, according to a report in Bloomberg, with managers realising that they were responsible for crucial features.

    see now thats the kind of thing i always assumed management was supposed to be aware of and manage before it becomes a problem

    also the kind of thing thats completely unsurprising to me nowadays

    not sure what managers manage really….but it doesnt seem to have much to do with the workforce

    • I also think the issue with asking people to come back is that they violated labor laws by firing so many people in one day with no advance notice.  So they’re trying to get people back to negate the chance of a lawsuit for that.

  3. A slight bit of brighter/happier news, which crossed my timeline today;

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kris-jenner-kim-kardashian-cfda-awards_n_636a68c4e4b024c301985209

    not the Kardashian bit–the Law Roach win!!!

    And I will refuse to believe anyone & everyone who tries to claim Law’s fabulous outfit last night *wasn’t* at least a *slight* hat tip to the late international fashion icon André Leon Talley!!! 😉😃🤗💖

    Law Roach is *too* impeccable a stylist, and too fabulously detail-oriented, for me to believe that gorgeous opera coat was *just* a gorgeous statement piece, and not *also* a nod & way of honoring a beloved fashion icon and trailblazer💖

    This article is just AWESOME, and that mention of wanting to be “the next Isabella (Issie) Blow” made me teary, ngl! Fashion NEEDS more folks like him…

    Hell, the whole world needs more “look out, see the talent behind you, reach back, and lift them up, too! folks in it, right now!💖

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