The Witness Chronicles November 1, 2023
Climate bombs, Dean Phillips for President, and Elon, get your hands off my money
November, sigh. Next weekend we turn the clocks back which means darkness at an ungodly afternoon hour and I start getting up at least an hour earlier to see the sunrise (those few days that you can see it).
The good news is that the winter solstice isn’t that far away and then the days start gaining a few seconds more daylight each day and I breathe a sigh of relief, instead of resignation.
This week it was a news story that was largely buried in the US that caught my attention. Acapulco, that Mexican west coast resort that old blue eyes sang about and is now a city of 1.5 million, was hit with a category 5 hurricane with no warning. We are just beginning to find out how bad the damage is and the death toll is mounting past 100, though it has been days since it hit.
This represents a whole new level of climate driven weather disasters.
I did not write about Israel this week, because things are so polarized here right now that even an innocent question on social media can draw outrage. And this time it is the liberals who are being rabidly intolerant. This is not a black and white situation and I won’t pretend otherwise.
Some guy named Dean Phillips is running against Biden for President. The only difference I can see between him and Biden is age (he is 54) and the 35 years of experience Biden has that this guy will never match.
He has the right to run, but he has not earned the right to stand with a man like Biden. I have written about my reservations about Joe but the Israel war has shown his foreign policy leadership at a time when it is desperately needed.
And Mr Musk wants all of our money to manage with his X thingy. He has informed his minions, er, employees, that they must all transfer their personal savings to his new do everything app called X, which as far as I can tell, is non-existent. Elon, Elon, how can you be so tone deaf?
The Climate Bombs Have Arrived. Are You Ready?
Acapulco was decimated by a storm that barely existed hours earlier
“Meteorologists define rapid intensification as a 35 mph increase in a tropical cyclone’s maximum sustained winds within 24 hours. Compared to a string of storms that rapidly intensified before striking the United States in recent years, Otis was almost in another category — its wind speeds increased by 110 mph within 24 hours.”
~ The Washington Post October 27, 2023, How hot seas may have fueled Hurricane Otis’s sudden intensification
We’re in hot water, literally. If you pay any attention to weather stories, you know that ocean surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and on the southern Florida Atlantic coast hit record-breaking numbers this year, far beyond any predicted rise.
Over on the western Pacific side those temps have accelerated and they go much deeper into normally cold waters, 150’ deep or more, cold waters that when stirred up by storms, usually serve to stabilize and limit growth of hurricanes.
No longer. Being an east coaster I tend to focus my Hurricane obsession on the Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Gulf, but storms on the western side have been getting weirder and weirder these past few years. Those deeper, warmer waters may be a part of the reason.
But think about the consequences for any coastal city when the surrounding waters get too warm for swimming. Acapulco is a large, modern city with a population of over a million. It has been two days, as I write this, since they were hit by a Category 5 hurricane with virtually no warning.
We still don’t know how bad it is because the storm took out all the communications systems, almost instantaneously, as soon as it hit. Otis was a tropical storm, typically bringing wind and torrential rains, but not cosmically destructive winds of over 165 mph.
And then, in a few hours, it turned into a monster storm carrying nuclear bomb levels of destructive power. To put it into perspective, those winds can throw railroad cars around like toys and blow modern buildings to pieces.
The climate crisis just hit a new threshold of death and destruction and this one is not something you can easily escape from. Those people in Acapulco had virtually no warning and no time to escape.
Try and imagine Miami, or any of the continuous coastal cities that ring Florida, facing a storm like Otis.
All of the coasts in the south half of the continental US and Mexico are vulnerable and this is not a one-off, not a ‘thousand year storm’ as our quaint measurement system once called them. This is the new reality.
The news cycle this week has been mind boggling. The terrible terror war in Israel and Gaza, the absurdly dangerous comedy in the US House of Representatives, the mass shooting in Maine…a major news week by any standards.
So the possible destruction of a major tourist destination in hours in Mexico likely got buried in your news feed. There’s only so much we can take. But, historically, this may be seen as a turning point, the time when the question of living in these regions might no longer be an option.
Btw, no politician wants you to hear this. They don’t like wake up calls which require action and tough choices. Neither do the special interests that control much of the news you receive.
This stuff is damn inconvenient for them. And for the citizens of Acapulco who were living in a piece of paradise until this week. Early reports had the death toll at 27 but that is almost certainly too low.
I live in a similar size city in the northeast and an overnight death toll of 27 with untold destruction would throw my city into an apocalyptic nightmare. A nightmare currently taking place on the western coast of Mexico.
And maybe next year, Florida? Texas? Louisiana? LA?
This is not some dystopian sci-fi drama, this is real life, right now.
And it is the very near future for millions worldwide.
Dean Phillips? That’s the Best We Can Do?
At least he makes Biden look more Presidential
We have an actual non-crackpot Democrat running against Biden for the Democratic primary next year, a guy from Minnesota named Dean Phillips, apparently a congressperson, though his name recognition seems to be non-existent outside of his district.
But he is not anti-vax or some kind of New Age wacko like the other competition, just an exceptionally normal looking white guy whose major claim to fame is his age, the just right 54 years old.
This guy’s timing is ridiculously terrible. We’re in a generally insane news climate involving horrible wars, the House of Representatives in the US choosing a religious fanatic fascist as their Speaker, and, somewhere below the radar, an entire city in Mexico devastated by a killer hurricane unlike any we have seen before.
I’m on the record for saying what a lot of Democrats think, which is that Joe Biden should gracefully resign at the end of a fantastic political career. But that is predicated on the availability of a leading and charismatic, and yes, younger, Democratic candidate to appear.
They’re out there, but wisely sitting this one out till the next time around when the skies are clearer. And Biden, who is most definitely not senile or feeble, is managing a global situation with many moving parts, and doing a great job.
And, btw, our US economy grew by 4.9% in recent numbers, almost unheard of growth when countries like China and Russia are veering towards long term recessions.
If Americans would stop measuring the economy by the price of eggs and gas, maybe we would realize what an amazing achievement a number like 4.9% GDP growth is. It’s off the charts.
I don’t like bullet lists, but I could easily write one listing Biden’s remarkable record, a record unmatched in recent decades going back to the 1950s. Yes, interest rates are high, but they take time to track downwards.
Which gets me to the mysterious Mr. Phillips. His policy preferences mirror those of Mr. Biden on most topics. He’s a white middle-aged guy from a state that straddles Midwestern values and culture, with a liberal streak not marred by Ivy League pseudo-outrage, which isn’t doing too well with this Palestine war.
A normal guy whose main talking point is that he is 54 years old as opposed to Biden at 80 or 81, I forget which, not that it seems to matter to him.
To be blunt, Dean Phillips is wasting his time and ours when we have to deal with an opponent who makes comic book villains look like pussycats. A thrice-indicted, crook and shyster who lies with impunity and runs his candidacy like a mob operation complete with cement overshoes.
Ask Representative Tom Emmer about that (Emmer, Bremmer? I forget). He got kneecapped as Speaker nominee within hours because he didn’t kiss Don’s royal ring* fast enough.
This is called being out of your league Mr. Phillips, aka Mr Blip on the pundit radar. Maybe next time.
Elon, There’s No Way You Get Your Hands On My Money
He wants us to trust our financial lives to X? What’s he smoking?
Genius Elon Musk, in his ultimate wisdom, thinks all Americans should trust our lives, a specifically, our money to X, the former Twitter which is now a do all, be all software app for running our lives.
He will require all X employees to transfer their personal accounts over to his empire within the next year. I suspect a lot of X employees are planning to become ex-employees very soon, because their boss is obviously a megalomaniac.
Think about this. Musk buys Twitter for $44 billion and then methodically and idiotically drives it into the ground, blowing it up like one of his Falcon rockets. He has personally lost tens of billions with bone-headed moves like rebranding it to X, which literally means nothing, zero, nada.
And we are going to give him control over our money?
The connection between the ultimate old school tech bro and reality, never very strong, is now in complete lalaland. It’s hard to overstate the arrogance of this ‘plan’ to centralize the world’s finance in Mr Musk’s (in)competent hands.
This is just stupid and there doesn’t seem to be anyone around him who can tell him that.
I’m trying to imagine employee morale at X being any lower. They have been abused regularly by their boss in every way possible. Now he will dictate their financial future, tying it to the future of his failing business by requiring them to move their money to the company store.
If you don’t know your labor history the company store was a general store in places like coal town where there was no other place to buy necessities. The coal companies would extend credit to spend at the store, with high interest, and take the money out of paychecks.
Employees would end up so indebted to the company store that they could not quit. It was a form of indentured servitude and a way to keep employees in poverty.
It took an Elon Musk to revive this business model in modern garb. And now he would extend this privilege to all the rest of us in his imperial generosity.
I don’t know about you but I sure as hell would not give the richest guy in the world my money. How do you think he got that way?
Stick to rockets and shoddy cars, big guy. And stay away from my life.
I predict more outrage this November with this Trump lackey running the House already running the MAGA playbook of giving to the rich and taking from the poor.
Same old shit, pardon me.
My writing these days is covering a lot of territory from the intensely personal to venting at various political crap. And, as I put this together it is Halloween, which doesn’t affect me much as I don’t have kids or grandkids and live in an urban building, so no trick or treaters.
But right on time we might get snow flurries tonight. Winter is coming.
Did you write today?
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