“I feel a great disturbance in the Force”–2017 so far

stormtrooper-unemployed

Star Wars is fast becoming our go-to trove of bromides about our present and future. I’m sure that the Empire justified keeping the storm troopers employed in order to keep the economy vibrant.

I’ve never tried to predict things on the eve of a new year. This is not some bit of humility on my part. It’s because I’ve been perennially depressed by the whole Xmas season and I have no ambition by the time New Years’ rolls into sight. This year is no exception. Plans to get away have fallen through, the job front has been horribly depressing, and friends who are not employed are getting desperate, and the worst predictions about a President Trump administration don’t begin to cover the fights we’ll need to fight in the months ahead to keep even, never mind improve our circumstances. 

Several years back, I had poked the idea that we are looking at permanent unemployment rates in the high two figures. Technically, we’re there already: if you read Shadowstats and the non-headline parts of the BLS monthly report, you’ll know that we’ve crossed 95 MILLION adults unattached to the labor force in a meaningful fulltime way. It’s in this chart; please note that the number of unattached (as in unattacthed to a fulltime job) ‘Muricans went up about 400K between Jan 2016 and Jan 2017.

Then there’s this. A complete collapse of arctic ice. see the way the red line is not incrementally different than the others.We’re on the way to an ice-free Arctic, something that hasn’t happened in 100,000 years.

sea-ice-end-of-december

This is the latest chart of arctic ice. Notice how it never recovered. It’s 2 Million square kilometers less that it has been in the 38 years it has been since measurements started.

Trump has made it clear that he doesn’t believe in AGW and doesn’t plan to spend money on fixing the climate. Anybody who reads this blog on a regular basis (I know there’s enough of you  to fill a small minivan, with room for a few kegs as well) knows that I have profound doubts about the continued survival of our species–in fact any species– on the planet. But knowing that we’re probably on the downward slope of human extinction does not relieve us of the responsibility of trying to salvage whatever we can. 

And speaking of which–Trump and friends are also unwinding all current regulations on controlling methane leakage. If you put ‘methane’ in the search block for this blog, you’ll know that methane is our big issue going down due to its power as a greenhouse gas. American dependence on natural gas (another way of saying ‘methane’) has lead to the fossil fuel companies piping billions of cubic feet of it through pipes that are old and leaking. Now, the GOP  is in charge of all branches of government, and that means the regulations designed to control the leaks are going to be rolled back. It’s explained here in a documentary from Showtime:

So even if we could stop the methane gas from leaking into the atmosphere from our broken infrastructure, we’re not going to. There’s too much money in not doing it. 

Which brings me to this. Many of the people in the NTHE movement (if you can call it that), think that we don’t have ten years left before human extinction is the reality. Dr. Guy McPherson explains in this excerpt from a very recent interview with Gary Null. I’ve jumped to the seventeen minute mark of their interview in this link. Guy is  talking about revising his ten year prediction based on assessments recently made by the Naval Post-Graduate College. If he’s correct, predictions past 2017 are moot.

By the way, none of this addresses the ever-louder sound of sabers being rattled. In the China Sea, in the borders around Russia, in Iran and other corners, the chance of moving up into a point where nuclear isotopes start being rearranged is closer now than at any point since the 1950’s. The saber sounds are bad enough–but humanity’s clock has ticked down to two and a half minutes away from nuclear doomsday. The ticking is unbearably loud by now. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists says so

As Obi Wan Kenobi said in the first-ever Star Wars film, I feel a great disturbance in the force. I’ve always ended these sorts of articles with the hope that all the prognosticators (myself included) are wrong. But 2017 ushers in the Age of Trump. It’s pretty clear he’d have no idea what to do if this information were brought to him–if he’d even bother to listen. We’re on our own in 2017 in a way we weren’t until Inauguration Day. 

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