The premise of representative democracy is that we have leaders who are tracking the issues that are important to their constitutents, and making the best decisions for them because those constituents don’t have time or inclination to understand those issues and make their own decisions.
What a heaping shovel-load of crap.
Dismissing representative democracy as fundamentally anti-democratic, and therefore a contradiction in terms, is easy, given that the best case representative democracy does not happen. In fact, the best-case representative democracy would make exactly the same decisions as a direct democracy which, “are you kidding me?” comes to mind. In the US, when Joe Manchin (who takes huge amounts of money from fossil fuel lobbyists and owns stock in coal and fracking companies) poses self-importantly about the importance of democracy, he’s talking about the thing he’s wiping his ass with. If representative democracy was anything but a sham, we wouldn’t need lobbyists, after all.
This week the IPCC is releasing another report that is, frankly, horrifying. It’s similar to their last one: “we are on track for hell on earth if we don’t change our stupid ways” except that now there’s some “no matter what, we’re going to get a bit of that hell for maybe 1,000 years or more.” And, like the last IPCC report, there are worst case scenarios and best case scenarios and the worst of the worst is probably not where we’re headed; we’re headed toward the second-worst, which is not necessarily extinction but implies the collapse of civilization as we know it. For example, we’ll have 140 million Americans relocating within the boundaries of the USA. How’s that going to fit with the neo-fascists’ anti-migrant attitude? Just great. Because they’ll be migrants, too – they’ll be trying to come up to the beautiful Appalachian mountains (where I live, well back from the coast) [No, that was not an accident] and they will become wage-slaves, because the land up here will be the new agricultural heartland. That’s not Permian extinction-level fuckedness but for all intents and purposes it’s fuckedness enough for everyone. We’re seeing, with the pandemic, that our pseudo-democratic leaders are not capable of an effective response to a global crisis, and all we can expect is more of that incompetence. Witness: [guard]
We’re on the brink of catastrophe, warns Tory climate chief
Well, look at that; a tory who is not utterly stupid. Right? Not really. This is the first paragraph:
Alok Sharma, the UK minister in charge of the Cop26 talks to be held in Glasgow this November, told the Observer that the consequences of failure would be “catastrophic”: “I don’t think there’s any other word for it. You’re seeing on a daily basis what is happening across the world. Last year was the hottest on record, the last decade the hottest decade on record.”
Never mind that the consequences are not just “catastrophic” but are “now inevitable.” The current sham is that the warming will be held to +1.5C, when, in fact, every government’s actions point toward +4C to +6C (Permian-level extinction event) increase. +2C would be “incredibly good” but it still means a billion or more humans die and 2-3 billion are displaced. That is what will “affect the economy of the future” not $15/hr wage increases or even a bit of inflation. In the US the representative jackasses are arguing over the table’s place-setting while the building burns down around them. And the pretense remains that something can be done.
It’s just that none of them are going to do it. Second paragraph:
But Sharma also insisted the UK could carry on with fossil-fuel projects, in the face of mounting criticism of plans to license new oil and gas fields. He defended the government’s record on plans to reach net zero emissions by 2050, which have been heavily criticised by the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change, and dismissed controversies over his travel schedule.
They’re taking climate change seriously, all right, at least they’re talking about it. But that’s all that is going to happen, while we charge forward to +4C – +6C or even worse.
Meanwhile, as California burns, Gavin Newsom says that he’s going to stop oil and gas extraction permits by 2024. [kqed] But he’s fucking lying. What he really said is he’s going to stop new oil and gas extraction permits, i.e.: “get ’em while you can” – and under his governorship [apnews] permits being issued have jumped up considerably:
The agency that oversees oil and gas drilling in California issued 2,691 permits to drill new wells or rework existing ones the first half of this year, according to an analysis of state data by Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance.
That’s what’s going on everywhere: “get ’em while you can” – let me make you a prediction: what we are seeing is the prep-work for an industry consolidation. There are companies, right now, that exist only to get permits, which then become valuable assets, and the company expects to sell itself to the next Enron energy roll-up which will do the dirty work. The permitting process is establishing a market for permits and these assholes know it, because – like Joe Manchin in Virginia – they’re going to cash out on the backend when the energy companies take care of them, personally, for representing them so well and democratically.
I just felt like I had to share that amazing juxtaposition. How can Tory asshole say in one paragraph, “this is a real problem” and in the next, “but there’s money to be made so we have to do it.” The KQED article about Newsom also pointed out that the fossil fuels industry in California is worth $132bn/year. Well, what’s the “gigantic fucking fire and drought” industry worth, Newsom?
If these people were serious, and they are not, they would be talking about shutting down existing permitted extraction operations. “Sorry, but you’re out of business.” But that’s not how any of this is going to work. They’re all thinking they’ll be safely dead and in their graves, or relocated to their millionaire bunkers in New Zealand, while everyone else pays the price.