Is Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Promoting Technocracy With Her ‘Green New Deal’?

Ocasio-Cortez appears to be reading directly from United Nations policy documents, proposing universal Smart Grid, eliminating ‘greenhouse gas emissions, total oversight for American industry, spreading her Green New Deal to the whole world, etc. Don’t fall into the trap of calling this “democratic socialism”; it’s Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy. ⁃ TN Editor

Incoming New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brings with her a massive online following, influence she says she’ll deploy only in support of candidates and politicians who support her plan for a “Green New Deal.”

“The Green New Deal” is something Ocasio-Cortez invokes frequently in media appearances and rallies.

So what’s actually in it?

Her office recently released the text [full text produced below] of a proposed House rules change outlining the plan.

The proposed rule change for the upcoming 116th Congress would require the creation of a “Select Committee for a Green Deal” that would be responsible for creating the plan by January 1, 2020, with corresponding draft legislation soon after. The text of the rule change lays out the committee’s jurisdiction and required areas of action.

Its scope and mandate for legislative authority amounts to a radical grant of power to Washington over Americans’ lives, homes, businesses, travel, banking, and more.

Early on, under “Jurisdiction,” the document makes clear its grandiose philosophical vision: “The select committee shall have authority to develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan for the transition of the United States economy to become greenhouse gas emissions neutral and to significantly draw down greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality.”

In addition to achieving its goal of “meeting 100% of national power demand through renewable sources,” the document also repeatedly states the Green New Deal will advance non-environmental projects, such as, “social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s plan further claims it will (virtually) eliminate poverty: “The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that a national, industrial, economic mobilization of this scope and scale is a historic opportunity to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone participating in the transformation.”

More specifically, Ocasio-Cortez’s plan calls for, within 10 years, a series of lofty overhauls of American life [emphasis added]:

  • The installation of a “national, energy-efficient, “smart grid.”
  • Upgrading every residential and industrial buildingfor state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety”
  • Eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries” as well as from America’s transportation and infrastructure network
  • Funding “massive investment” in reducing existing greenhouse gasses

Between its calls for “upgrading” homes and overhauling travel, public infrastructure, and even the way Americans consume electricity, the plan leaves virtually no facet of everyday life untouched. Think of how often you don’tuse electricity to imagine how much of your average day the plan wouldn’t impact.

The proposed committee would also have seemingly total oversight of American industry, with a mandate for pushing union membership. Under “Scope of the Plan,” a section on labor states the committee’s final plan shall: “Require strong enforcement of labor, workplace safety, and wage standards that recognize the rights of workers to organize and unionize free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment, and creation of meaningful, quality, career employment.”

Later in the document, Ocasio Cortez’s plan imagines creating a national jobs force to help people participate in this “transition.” The Green New Deal, it says, shall “provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one.”

The plan also imagines creating governmental support for “transitioning” minority communities. The deal shall: “ensure a ‘just transition’ for all workers, low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous communities, rural and urban communities and the front-line communities most affected by climate change, pollution and other environmental harm including by ensuring that local implementation of the transition is led from the community level.”

More, Ocasio-Cortez sees this plan is being a vehicle through which social equality might finally realized through the use of reparations to right historical injustices. The final Green New Deal will “mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth (including, without limitation, ensuring that federal and other investment will be equitably distributed to historically impoverished, low income, deindustrialized or other marginalized communities in such a way that builds wealth and ownership at the community level).”

Read full story here…

Full Text of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ Green legislation (Link)

DRAFT TEXT FOR PROPOSED ADDENDUM TO HOUSE RULES FOR 116TH CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
SEC. [_____]. COMMITTEES, COMMISSIONS, AND HOUSE OFFICES.

(a) Establishment of the Select Committee For A Green New Deal.—

(1) ESTABLISHMENT; COMPOSITION.—

(A) ESTABLISHMENT.—There is hereby established a Select Committee For A Green New Deal (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “select committee”).

(B) COMPOSITION.—The select committee shall be composed of 15 members appointed by the Speaker, of whom 6 may be appointed on the recommendation of the Minority Leader. The Speaker shall designate one member of the select committee as its chair. A vacancy in the membership of the select committee shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(2) JURISDICTION; FUNCTIONS.—

(A) LEGISLATIVE JURISDICTION.—

(i) The select committee shall have authority to develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “Plan for a Green New Deal” or the “Plan”) for the transition of the United States economy to become greenhouse gas emissions neutral and to significantly draw down greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality. In furtherance of the foregoing, the Plan shall: (a) be prepared in consultation with experts and leaders from business, labor, state and local governments, tribal nations, academia and broadly representative civil society groups and communities; (b) be driven by the federal government, in collaboration, co-creation and partnership with business, labor, state and local governments, tribal nations, research institutions and civil society groups and communities; (c) be executed in no longer than 10 years from the start of execution of such Plan; (d) provide opportunities for high income work, entrepreneurship and cooperative and public ownership; and (e) additionally, be responsive to, and in accordance with, the goals and guidelines relating to social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality set forth in paragraph (6).

(ii) In addition to preparing the Plan as set forth in paragraph (2)(A)(i), the select committee shall prepare draft legislation for the enactment of the Plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “draft legislation”), in accordance with this section. Such draft legislation may be prepared concurrently with the development of the Plan, or as the select committee may otherwise deem appropriate, provided that such finalized draft legislation shall be completed in accordance with the timing set forth in paragraph (5)(B)(ii).

(iii) The select committee shall not have legislative jurisdiction and shall have no authority to take legislative action on any bill or resolution, provided that the foregoing shall not affect the select committee’s ability to prepare draft legislation in accordance with paragraph (2)(A)(i) and (2)(A)(ii).

(B) INVESTIGATIVE JURISDICTION.—In  furtherance of the mandate set forth in paragraph (2)(A), the select committee shall have the authority to investigate, study, make findings, convene experts and leaders from industry, academia, local communities, labor, finance, technology and any other industry or group that the select committee deems to be a relevant resource. The select committee may, at its discretion and as its members may deem appropriate, hold public hearings in connection with any aspect of its investigative functions.

(3) PROCEDURE.—

(A) Except as specified in paragraph (2), the select committee shall have the authorities and responsibilities of, and shall be subject to the same limitations and restrictions as, a standing committee of the House, and shall be deemed a committee of the House for all purposes of law or rule.

(B)(i) Rules [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Organization of Committees) and [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Procedures of Committees and Unfinished Business) shall apply to the select committee where not inconsistent with this resolution.

(ii) Service on the select committee shall not count against the limitations on committee or subcommittee service in Rule [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Organization of Committees).

(4) FUNDING.—To enable the select committee to carry out the purposes of this section—

(A) The select committee may use the services of staff of the House and may, at its discretion and as its members may deem appropriate, use the services of external consultants or experts in furtherance of its mandate;

(B) The select committee shall be eligible for interim funding pursuant to clause [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] of Rule [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Interim Funding – Organization of Committees); and

(C) Without limiting the foregoing, the select committee may, at any time and from time to time during the course of its mandate, apply to the House for an additional, dedicated budget to carry out its mandate.

(5) INTERIM REPORTING; SUBMISSION OF THE PLAN FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL; SUBMISSION OF DRAFT LEGISLATION—

(A) The select committee may report to the House  or any House Committee it deems appropriate from time to time the results of its investigations and studies, together with such detailed findings and interim recommendations or proposed Plan or draft legislation (or portion thereof) as it may deem advisable.

(B) (i) The select committee shall complete the Plan for a Green New Deal by a date no later than January 1, 2020.

(ii) The select committee shall complete the finalized draft legislation by a date no later than the date that is 90 calendar days after the select committee has completed the Plan in accordance with paragraph (5)(B)(i) and, in any event, no later than March 1, 2020.

(iii) The select committee shall ensure and procure that the Plan and the draft legislation prepared in accordance with this section shall, upon completion in accordance with paragraphs (5)(B)(i) and (ii), be made available to the general public in widely accessible formats (including, without limitation, via at least one dedicated website and a print publication) by a date no later than 30 calendar days following the respective dates for completion set forth in paragraphs (5)(B)(i) and (ii).

(6) SCOPE OF THE PLAN FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL AND THE DRAFT LEGISLATION.—

(A) The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall be developed with the objective of reaching the following outcomes within the target window of 10 years from the start of execution of the Plan:

  1. Dramatically expand existing renewable power sources and deploy new production capacity with the goal of meeting 100% of national power demand through renewable sources;
  2. building a national, energy-efficient, “smart” grid;
  3. upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety;
  4. eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from  the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries, including by investing in local-scale agriculture in communities across the country;
  5. eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure, and upgrading water infrastructure to ensure universal access to clean water;
  6. funding massive investment in the drawdown of greenhouse gases;
  7. making “green” technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries transition to completely greenhouse gas neutral economies and bringing about a global Green New Deal.

(B) The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that a national, industrial, economic mobilization of this scope and scale is a historic opportunity to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone participating in the transformation. In furtherance of the foregoing, the Plan (and the draft legislation) shall:

  1. provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one;
  2. diversify local and regional economies, with a particular focus on communities where the fossil fuel industry holds significant control over the labor market, to ensure workers have the necessary tools, opportunities, and economic assistance to succeed during the energy transition;
  3. require strong enforcement of labor, workplace safety, and wage standards that recognize the rights of workers to organize and unionize free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment, and creation of meaningful, quality, career employment;
  4. ensure a ‘just transition’ for all workers, low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous communities, rural and urban communities and the front-line communities most affected by climate change, pollution and other environmental harm including by ensuring that local implementation of the transition is led from the community level and by prioritizing solutions that end the harms faced by front-line communities from climate change and environmental pollution;
  5. protect and enforce sovereign rights and land rights of tribal nations;
  6. mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth (including, without limitation, ensuring that federal and other investment will be equitably distributed to historically impoverished, low income, deindustrialized or other marginalized communities in such a way that builds wealth and ownership at the community level);
  7. include additional measures such as basic income programs, universal health care programs and any others as the select committee may deem appropriate to promote economic security, labor market flexibility and entrepreneurism; and
  8. deeply involve national and local labor unions to take a leadership role in the process of job training and worker deployment.

(C) The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that innovative public and other financing structures are a crucial component in achieving and furthering the goals and guidelines relating to social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality and cooperative and public ownership set forth in paragraphs (2)(A)(i) and (6)(B). The Plan (and the draft legislation) shall, accordingly, ensure that the majority of financing of the Plan shall be accomplished by the federal government, using a combination of the Federal Reserve, a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks, public venture funds and such other vehicles or structures that the select committee deems appropriate, in order to ensure that interest and other investment returns generated from public investments  made in connection with the Plan will be returned to the treasury, reduce taxpayer burden and allow for more investment.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why do we need a sweeping Green New Deal investment program? Why can’t we just rely on regulations and taxes alone, such as a carbon tax or an eventual ban on fossil fuels?

  • Regulations and taxes can, indeed, change some behavior. It’s certainly possible to  argue that, if we had put in place targeted regulations and progressively increasing carbon and similar taxes several decades ago, the economy could have transformed itself by now. But whether or not that is true, we did not do that, and now time has run out.
  • Given the magnitude of the current challenge, the tools of regulation and taxation, used in isolation, will not be enough to quickly and smoothly accomplish the transformation that we need to see.
  • Simply put, we don’t need to just stop doing some things we are doing (like using fossil fuels for energy needs); we also need to start doing new things (like overhauling whole industries or retrofitting all buildings to be energy efficient). Starting to do new things requires some upfront investment. In the same way that a company that is trying to change how it does business may need to make big upfront capital investments today in order to reap future benefits (for e.g., building a new factory to increase production or buying new hardware and software to totally modernize its IT system), a country that is trying to change how its economy works will need to make big investments today to jump-start and develop new projects and sectors to power the new economy.
  • The draft resolution sets out a (non-exhaustive) list of several major projects that need to be completed fast. These include upgrading virtually every home and building for energy efficiency, building a 100% greenhouse gas neutral power generation system, decarbonizing industry and agriculture and more. These projects will all require investment.
  • We’re not saying that there is no place for regulation and taxes (and these will continue to be important tools); we’re saying we need to add some new tools to the toolkit.

Why should the government have a big role in driving and making any required investments? Why not just incentivize the private sector to invest through, for e.g., tax subsidies and such?

  • Two main reasons: (1) scale and (2) time.
  • First – scale. The level of investment required will be massive. Even if all the billionaires and companies came together and were willing to pour all the resources at their disposal into this investment, the aggregate value of the investments they could make would not be sufficient.  For example, the “$1 trillion over 10 years” plan for investment in the green economy that has been floated by some policy makers has been criticized by climate experts as a wholly inadequate level of investment – $1 trillion is the entire market cap of Amazon, one of the biggest companies of all time (and it is far ahead of its closest competitors in terms of market size).
  • Second – time. The speed of investment required will be massive. Even if all the billionaires and companies could make the investments required, they would not be able to pull together a coordinated response in the narrow window of time required to jump-start major new projects and major new sectors.
  • Time-horizons matter in another way – by their nature, private companies are wary of making massive investments in unproven research and technologies; the government, however, has the time horizon to be able to patiently make investments in new tech and R&D, without necessarily having a commercial outcome or application in mind at the time the investment is made. Major examples of government investments in “new” tech that subsequently spurred a boom in the private section include DARPA-projects, the creation of the internet – and, perhaps most recently, the government’s investment in Tesla.
  • We’ve also seen that merely incentivizing the private sector doesn’t work – e.g. the tax incentives and subsidies given to wind and solar projects have been a valuable spur to growth in the US renewables industry but, even with such investment-promotion subsidies, the present level of such projects is simply inadequate to transition to a fully greenhouse gas neutral economy as quickly as needed.
  • Once again, we’re not saying that there isn’t a role for private sector investments; we’re just saying that the level of investment required will need every actor to pitch in and that the government is best placed to be the prime driver.

How will the government pay for these investments?

  • Many will say, “Massive government investment! How in the world can we pay for this?” The answer is: in the same ways that we paid for the 2008 bank bailout and extended quantitative easing programs, the same ways we paid for World War II and many other wars. The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments, new public banks can be created (as in WWII) to extend credit and a combination of various taxation tools (including taxes on carbon and other emissions and progressive wealth taxes) can be employed.
  • In addition to traditional debt tools, there is also a space for the government to take an equity role in projects, as several government and government-affiliated institutions already do.

Why do we need a select committee? We already have committees with jurisdiction over the subject matter e.g. Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources and Science, Space and Technology.  Just creating another committee seems unnecessary.

  • This is a big problem with lots of parts to it. The very fact that multiple committees have jurisdiction over parts of the problem means that it’s hard for any one of those existing committees to generate a comprehensive and coherent plan that will actually work to transform America’s economy to become greenhouse gas neutral in the time we have left.
  • Not having a full 360° view of, and approach to, the issue (and only having authority over a part of the issue) means that standing committee solutions would be piecemeal, given the size and scope of the problem. A Democratic administration and Congress in 2020 will not have the time to sort through and combine all those solutions in the brief window of opportunity they will have to act.
  • Select committees, in the Congressional Research Services’ own words, serve the specific function of “examin[ing] emerging issues that do not fit clearly within existing standing committee jurisdictions or cut across jurisdictional boundaries. ”(see: https://www.senate.gov/CRSpubs/312b4df4-9797-41bf-b623-a8087cc91d74.pdf)
  • The challenges that the Select Committee For A Green New Deal is mandated to meet fit squarely within this space.
  • This does not need to be a zero sum proposition between committees. Just as Markey-Waxman was collaborative between the head of the Select Committee and standing Energy & Commerce committee, this can also be collaborative. More is more. A select committee ensures constant focus on climate change as the standing committee deals with that and many other issues of the day — such as wild fires in California, Infrastructure, clean water issues, etc.

Why should we not be satisfied with the same approach the  previous select committee used (i.e. the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming)? Why do we need a new approach?

  • The previous select committee did not have a mandate to develop a plan for the transformation of our economy to become carbon neutral. It mainly held hearings to draw attention to the problem of climate change. That was already too little too late in 2007-11 when the committee was active.
  • The previous select committee’s work can be summarized as follows (see: https://www.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/house-resolution/5/text, the old select committee is established in Section 4 ):
  • The “sole authority” it did have was to “investigate, study, make findings, and develop recommendations on policies, strategies, technologies and other innovations, intended to reduce the dependence of the United States on foreign sources of energy and achieve substantial and permanent reductions in emissions and other activities that contribute to climate change and global warming.”
  • From March 2007 to December 2010 – a full 3.5 years – they did the job that they were tasked to do and held hearings and prepared reports (see: https://www.congress.gov/committee/house-energy-independence-and-global/hlgw00 and https://www.markey.senate.gov/GlobalWarming/index.html (in fact, they held 80 hearings and briefings)
  • Per their website, they “engage[d] in oversight and educational activities through hearings, reports, briefings and other means intended to highlight the importance of adopting policies which reduce our dependence on foreign oil and our emissions of global warming pollution.”
  • So there has already been a select committee that did the investigating to highlight that it was important to have some action on this issue – it’s now time to move on from investigating and reporting to action.
  • The old select committee also had (even within its limited investigative mandate) the limitation that it focused on strategies for reducing foreign energy dependence and reducing emissions – rather than treating climate issues as the integrated social, economic, scientific challenge that it is.

Why does this new select committee need to prepare draft legislation?  Isn’t investigation, hearings, briefings and reporting enough?

  • The old select committee was mandated merely to investigate and  prepare reports for other people and House Committees to read and act on.
  • The idea was that (as per the old select committees website) “each Member of the Select Committee sits on legislative committees which process legislation and amendments affecting energy independence and global warming issues in other committees” and presumably, that those members would take the work of the select committee and come up with legislation in their own committees.
  • However, this approach did not make a big impact relative to the scale of the problem we face. The one piece of legislation that eventually came out of the old select committees work – the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) https://www.markey.senate.gov/GlobalWarming/legislation/index.html) was a cap-and-trade bill that was wholly insufficient for the scale of the problem.
  • The House had a chance (from 2007 to 2010) to try a version of a select committee that investigated an issue and then passed along preparation of legislation to other committees – the result of that process doesn’t inspire any confidence that the same process should be followed again if we wish to draft a plan to tackle the scale of the problem we face.
  • The new select committee will also continue to have investigative jurisdiction, so the new proposal isn’t taking anything away from the old one – it is adding things on to make the select committee more effective.

What’s an example of a select committee with abilities to prepare legislation? Does the new Select Committee For A Green New Deal seem to fit on that list?

  • Recent examples for select committees in the House include: Ad Hoc Select Committee on the Outer Continental Shelf (94th-95th Congresses), Ad Hoc Select Committee on Energy (95th Congress), Select Committee on Homeland Security (107th Congress), and Select Committee on Homeland Security (108th Congress).
  • The Congressional Research Service notes (in discussing these four recent select committees with legislative jurisdiction) that “The principal explanation offered in creating each of the four select committees with legislative authority was that their creation solved jurisdictional problems. The proponents in each case indicated that multiple committees claimed jurisdiction over a subject and that the House would be unable to legislate, or at least to legislate efficiently, in the absence of a select committee.” (see: https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/R40233.html#_Toc228679963)
  • The proposed subject matter and mandate for the Select Committee For A Green New Deal sits squarely within this general description for a select committee with the ability and mandate to prepare legislation.

Doesn’t this select committee take away jurisdictional power from the other (standing i.e. permanent) committees that have jurisdiction over at least part of the issue?

  • All of the relevant standing committees will be able to provide input to and make their wishes known to the select committee during the creation of both the plan as well as the draft legislation, and then in a future Congress, when it comes to crafting and passing the final legislation, that Congress can take a decision on the best mechanism for bringing that final legislation to a floor vote and passage.
  • Allowing the select committee to draft legislation doesn’t take any jurisdiction away from current standing committees, it is entirely additive.
  • The legislation developed by the select committee would still need to be referred to and pass through the permanent House Committees that have jurisdiction over parts of the subject matter.
  • For example, the legislation drafted by the Select Committee on Homeland Security needed to pass through the permanent committees on Agriculture; Appropriations; Armed Services; Energy and Commerce; Financial Services; Government Reform; Intelligence (Permanent Select); International Relations; Judiciary; Science; Transportation and Infrastructure; Ways and Means (see: https://www.congress.gov/bill/107th-congress/house-bill/5005/committees)
  • The benefit of a select committee in this case would also be that there would be a single forum that could act as a quarterback in working through and resolving any comments or issues brought up by the other House Committees, which would streamline the process of drafting this legislation.

But a select committee only exists for the congressional session that created it! So even if this select committee prepares legislation, it likely won’t get passed in this session by a Republican-held Senate and White House, so why does having a select committee now even matter?

  • The proposed new select committee would work in two stages (which wouldn’t necessarily have to be sequential):
  • First, they would put together the overall plan for a Green New Deal – they would have a year to get the plan together, with the plan to be completed by January 1, 2020. The plan itself could be in the form of a report or several reports.
  • Second, they would also put together the draft legislation that actually implements the plan – they could work on the draft legislation concurrently with the plan (after they get an initial outline of the plan going) and would need to complete the draft legislation within 90 days of completing the plan (i.e. by March 1, 2020 at the latest)
  • The select committee is also required to make the plan and the draft legislation publicly accessible within 30 days of completing each part
  • The plan and the draft legislation won’t be developed in secret – they are specifically required to be developed with wide and broad consultation and input and the select committee can share drafts or any portions of their work with the other House Committees at any time and from time to time, so their work will be conducted in the open, with lots of opportunities to give input along the way.
  • The idea is that between (a) developing the plan and the draft legislation (and holding public hearings and briefings along the way as needed), (b) the plan coming out in Jan 2020 and (c) the draft legislation coming out in March 2020, the relevant permanent House Committees, House members, experts and public will have time to engage with, discuss, revise the draft legislation between March 2020 and the end of the 116th Congress so that, by the end of this congressional term, there is a comprehensive plan and enacting legislation all lined up as soon as the new (Democratic) Congress convenes in January 2021.

What’s wrong with the other proposed legislation on climate change? Can’t we just pass one of the other climate bills that have been introduced in the past? Why prepare a whole new one?

  • The shortest and most accurate response is that (1) none of them recognize the extent to which climate and other social and economic issues are deeply interrelated and (2) even if looking at climate as a stand-alone issue, none of them are scaled to the magnitude of the problem.
  • Of the other proposed legislation, the OFF Act could be a good starting point



How UN Scientists Are Preparing For The End Of Capitalism

I have warned for years that the UN intends to deep-six Capitalism in favor of Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy. Now, the UN is coming out in the open as the global economy turns downward. Cries that “Capitalism is dead” will soon be heard while Technocracy will be offered as the only possible solution to save the world. ⁃ TN Editor

Capitalism as we know it is over. So suggests a new report commissioned by a group of scientists appointed by the UN secretary general. 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 the shift to less efficient energy sources.

Climate change and species extinctions are accelerating even as societies are experiencing rising inequality, unemployment, slow economic growth, rising debt levels, and impotent governments. Contrary to the way policymakers usually think about these problems these are not really separate crises at all.

These crises are part of the same fundamental transition. The new era is characterised by inefficient fossil fuel production and escalating costs of climate change. Conventional capitalist economic thinking can no longer explain, predict or solve the workings of the global economy in this new age.

Energy shift

Those are the implications of a new background paper prepared by a team of Finnish biophysicists who were asked to provide research that would feed into the drafting of the UN Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), which will be released in 2019.

For the “first time in human history”, the paper says, capitalist economies are “shifting to energy sources that are less energy efficient.” Producing usable energy (“exergy”) to keep powering “both basic and non-basic human activities” in industrial civilisation “will require more, not less, effort”.

At the same time, our hunger for energy is driving what the paper refers to as “sink costs.” The greater our energy and material use, the more waste we generate, and so the greater the environmental costs. Though they can be ignored for a while, eventually those environmental costs translate directly into economic costs as it becomes more and more difficult to ignore their impacts on our societies.

And the biggest “sink cost”, of course, is climate change: “Sink costs are also rising; economies have used up the capacity of planetary ecosystems to handle the waste generated by energy and material use. Climate change is the most pronounced sink cost.”

Overall, the amount of energy we can extract, compared to the energy we are using to extract it, is decreasing “across the spectrum – unconventional oils, nuclear and renewables return less energy in generation than conventional oils, whose production has peaked – and societies need to abandon fossil fuels because of their impact on the climate.”

The UN

A copy of the paper, available on the website of the BIOS Research Unit in Finland, was sent to me by lead author Dr Paavo Järvensivu, a ‘biophysical economist’ – a rare, but emerging breed of economist exploring the role of energy and materials in fuelling economic activity.

I met Dr Järvensivu last year when I spoke at the BIOS Research Unit about the findings of my own book, Failing States, Collapsing Systems: BioPhysical Triggers of Political Violence.

The UN’s GSDR is being drafted by an independent group of scientists (IGS) appointed by the UN Secretary general. The IGS is supported by a range of UN agencies including the UN Secretariat, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the UN Environment Programme, the UN Development Programme, the UN Conference on Trade and Development and the World Bank

The paper, co-authored by Dr Järvensivu with the rest of the BIOS team, was commissioned by the UN’s IGS specifically to feed into the chapter on ‘Transformation: the Economy’. Invited background documents are used as the basis of the GSDR, but what ends up in the final report will not be known until it is released next year.

The BIOS paper suggests that much of the political and economic volatility we have seen in recent years has a root cause in this creeping ecological crisis. As the ecological and economic costs of industrial overconsumption continue to rise, the constant economic growth we have become accustomed to is now in jeopardy. That, in turn, has exerted massive strain on our politics.

But the underlying issues are still unacknowledged and unrecognised by policymakers.

More in, less out

“We live in an era of turmoil and profound change in the energetic and material underpinnings of economies. The era of cheap energy is coming to an end,” says the paper.

Conventional economic models, the Finnish scientists note, “almost completely disregard the energetic and material dimensions of the economy.”

The scientists refer to the pioneering work of systems ecologist Professor Charles Hall of the State University of New York with economist Professor Kent Klitgaard from Wells College. This year, Hall and Klitgaard released an updated edition of their seminal book, Energy and the Wealth of Nations: An Introduction to BioPhysical Economics.

Hall and Klitgaard are highly critical of mainstream capitalist economic theory, which they say has become divorced from some of the most fundamental principles of science. They refer to the concept of “energy return on investment” (EROI) as a key indicator of the shift into a new age of difficult energy. EROI is a simple ratio that measures how much energy we use to extract more energy.

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Trilateral Commission Member Gro Brundtland Pushes Hard On Sustainable Development

Gro Harlem Brundtland is the mother of Sustainable Development, having created the policies that led to the creation of Agenda 21 in 1992. She is also a member of the Trilateral Commission and a fanatical supporter of the UN and Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy. ⁃ TN Editor

The Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen once wrote, “A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” With our global ship being tossed by the stormy and dangerous waters of climate change, each of us must be ready to display appropriate and realistic leadership.

The late Kofi Annan once said that climate change is the “existential issue of our time.” A wave of extreme weather events this past summer – from wildfires in California and Sweden to floods in India and drought in Australia – show just how right he was. And, as Annan also understood, addressing this crisis does not mean only protecting the economy or even the environment; it also means defending justice, preserving human rights, and committing to social solidarity.

For more than four decades, these values have motivated my work to advance sustainable development at both the national and international levels. In the 1980s, while serving as Norway’s prime minister, I chaired the World Commission on Environment and Development, at the invitation of then-United Nations Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. The Commission’s 1987 report, “Our Common Future,” became a landmark document that brought sustainable development to the attention of presidents, prime ministers, and finance ministers worldwide. It spurred the 1992 Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, and it continues to influence global discussions.

Today, I write as a member of The Elders, a group of independent leaders founded by Nelson Mandela to work for peace, justice, and human rights. Climate action is integral to progress in all of these areas.

We know what needs to be done. Carbon dioxide emissions must be taxed and reduced. Fossil-fuel industries must have their subsidies cut off. And financial support must be delivered to the least-developed countries that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, despite having contributed almost nothing to the problem.

Why aren’t these steps being taken? With a few regrettable and conspicuous exceptions, world leaders recognize the reality of climate change. They see the damage extreme weather events can inflict on homes, infrastructure, and livelihoods, and they hear climate scientists’ warnings that conditions will only deteriorate.

But a sufficiently bold climate strategy demands courage and political commitment from leaders. Moreover, such strategies must be continuously updated to reflect changing socioeconomic realities – from globalization and artificial intelligence to greater awareness of gender and race discrimination – in order to secure the support of citizens, especially younger people.

Of course, ordinary citizens – again, especially young people – also have a responsibility to help bring about effective climate action. The challenges the world faces may appear overwhelming, but the job of its citizens is simple: engage. This means changing their own behaviors, including by voting, demanding more action from leaders, and even stepping up to lead themselves.

In his searing study of human courage and cowardice, “An Enemy of the People,” the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen wrote, “A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” With our global ship being tossed by stormy and dangerous waters, each of us must be ready to display leadership in an appropriate and realistic way, whether within our local community or at the national or international level.

We already have charts that can guide us toward safety. The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, agreed by all 193 UN member states in 2015, cover all of the interconnected elements of human life and development, from health, education, and the environment to peace, justice, security, and equality.

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The UN Wants To Be Our World Government By 2030

The U.N. is the solo driver for planetary Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy. As a totally managed economic system run by science and engineering, it will be a Scientific Dictatorship and that will be the governance. Government as we know it will not be necessary. ⁃ TN Editor

In the 1960s, an informed but naïve undergraduate, I was walking across the campus of the University of Pennsylvania with the Chairman of the Chemistry Department, Prof. Charles C. Price. He told me that he was president of the United World Federalists, and asked if I knew what that organization was. When I said that I did not, he replied that they believed in a one-world government that would grow out of the United Nations. I was nonplussed as I had never heard anyone suggest that idea before. To me, the United Nations was a benevolent organization dedicated to pressuring the world community in the direction of peace, and to operating charitable programs to help the struggling, impoverished peoples of the world. I imagined the UN as a kind of United Way on a worldwide scale.

How would Prof. Price’s vision of a new world government emerge? Although there was a socialistic thread in its founding document, the United Nations was formed based on a vision of human rights presented in the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (UDHR) which placed the concept of rights at the forefront for the progress of the world body. And rights are the mainstay for uplifting human freedom and the dignity of the individual. The UDHR document followed many amazing documents that presented rights as the central concept of the post-feudal world: the English Declaration (or Bill) of Rights of 1689, the U.S. Declaration of Independence with its important and forceful assertion of inalienable natural rights, the powerful U.S. Bill of Rights enacted in 1791, and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789).

The word “rights” appears in almost every sentence of the 1869-word UN document. The document is literally obsessed with rights, and one must assume they are likewise obsessed with the rights successes as manifested in the United Kingdom, the U.S., and France. However, there are some deviations from the rights usage we are all familiar with. In Article 3, Instead of the inalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” found in our Declaration of Independence, the UN declares everyone’s right to “life, liberty and security of person.” Are they implying that security will bring happiness? Or are they implying that happiness is too ephemeral a value, and too Western? Perhaps more mundane survival goals are needed by most of the world.

We see a reprise of items from our Bill of Rights such as condemnation of cruel and unusual punishment (Article 5), due process (Articles 6,7,8,9, 10, 11, 14, 17), illegal search and seizure (Article 12), and freedom of speech and assembly (Articles 19,20). But there are new rights introduced which, as early as 1945, were pointing the way towards intervention by the UN in the daily lives of people throughout the world. Throughout the document, they assert the right to food, clothing, medical care, social services, unemployment and disability benefits, child care, and free education, plus the right to “full development of the personality,” (imagine, the UN says I have the right to be me) and the “right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community… and to enjoy the arts” (we each have the right to enjoy a painting or a movie). However, they do not state the right to appear on the “Tonight Show” or “Saturday Night Live”, so there were limits to their largesse.

In 2015, seventy years after their original rights-based document, the UN took a giant step towards the global government that was only hinted at in their first organizing document. They issued a document entitled “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” This document has 91 numbered sections of the UN’s program for world government. The UDHR is only referenced once in the entire document in Article 19. Unlike the original “mother document” that was under 1900 words, this document is 14,883 words. The 91 items are addressing issues under the five headings of People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership. Additionally, the document provides 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to improve life on the planet.

What is meant by the term “sustainable?” The most often quoted definition comes from the UN World Commission on Environment and Development: “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The earlier ideas and ideals of rights, freedom, equality, and justice are subsumed under meeting of needs and an explicit environmentalism which emphasizes preventing the depletion of scarce planetary resources. Of course, the takeoff is the Marxist axiom that society should be organized around the idea of “from each according to his ability to each according to his needs.” Thus, Marxism is implicit in sustainability, but is nuanced by its alliance with seemingly scientific adjustments and goals related to environmentalism. A technical jargon is welded to Marxist intentionality to produce a sense of fittingness and modern progress.

The entire “Transforming Our World” document is cast in a stream of consciousness of pious platitudes for a utopian future. It is an outsize utopian dream. Five of the 17 items pertain to the environment. There are goals for the cities, for women, for the poor, and even for life under the water. Absolutely no sphere of human activity is exempt from control by the UN. The key word of course is no longer “rights” except the oblique reference in Article 19. In fact, this writer did not see the word rights even once in this document even though that word appeared in practically every sentence of the original UN document.

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China Fleshes Out Technocracy By Building 19 ‘Supercity Clusters’

As the world’s leading Technocracy, China is leading the way in creating so-called ‘supercity clusters’ that are a model for the entire world. City-states are deemed to be the future of Sustainable Development and its attendant supply chain. This World Economic article spreads the propaganda. ⁃ TN Editor

The world has a demand problem, and it is dealing with it all wrong. Rather than allowing itself to be harmed by other countries’ problematic policies, China must work to create its own demand by making full use of its capacity for policy experimentation, long-term planning, and pragmatic decision-making.

In the decade since the 2008 global economic crisis, advanced economies have leaned heavily on easy monetary policy, hoping that large amounts of liquidity and ultra-low interest rates would generate enough demand to eliminate excess capacity. But this has undermined productivity, encouraged speculative activity, fueled asset bubbles, and exacerbated income and wealth inequality.

As developed-country citizens have become increasingly frustrated with this state of affairs, politicians – in particular, US President Donald Trump – have attempted to appease them with immigration restrictions and protectionist trade measures. But while this might temporarily satisfy some segments of these countries’ populations, it will ultimately make matters worse, by curbing global demand, exacerbating structural imbalances (including trade imbalances), and eventually leading to recession for all.

All of this has significant implications for China, which has become the primary target of the Trump administration’s tariffs, amid accusations that it is responsible for global excess production capacity. In this context, it is more urgent than ever that China curbs its reliance on foreign demand and high levels of investment, by fostering sustainable domestic consumption. Success will hinge on China’s continued use of what we call the “BREEP methodology,” whereby policymakers browse, research, experiment, evaluate, and push forward what works, continually refining and adapting their tools and tactics.

Since 2000, China’s long-term plan for boosting incomes, reducing inequality, and protecting the environment has depended on the harmonious progression of innovation and urbanization. Specifically, China hopes to create green and efficient urban clusters populated by increasingly educated workers who can consume in a sustainable manner.

Current economic theory gives little guidance on how to achieve the virtuous circle of rising income and rising productivity that is vital to dynamic and prosperous cities. But, using its BREEP methodology, China has learned that rejecting one-size-fits-all approaches and promoting competition among cities is a valuable means of achieving breakthroughs in development strategies.

In 2010, China’s State Council identified three major urban clusters as launch-pads for smart urbanization: the Yangtze River Delta (YRD), the Pearl River Delta (PRD), and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster (BTH). By 2014, the PRD had morphed into the Greater Bay Area (GBA), covering nine cities around the PRD in Southern Guangdong, plus Hong Kong and Macau.

As a recent HSBC report notes, each of China’s top three urban clusters has a GDP greater than that of Spain; together, they will account for 45% of China’s total GDP by 2025. Of these, the GBA is the smallest by population, with 70 million inhabitants, compared with 120 million in the YRD and 112 million in the BTH. Yet the GBA contributes $1.5 trillion to China’s GDP – a total of 12% – and accounts for 37% of the country’s total exports. And the cluster’s GDP growth is significantly higher than the rest of China.

The GBA is home to a high concentration of dynamic private businesses, such as Tencent, Midea, and Huawei. It is also China’s most innovative urban cluster, generating more than 50% of the country’s international patent applications. And, according to HSBC, the GBA is the least burdened by inefficient state-owned enterprises and excess capacity.




Global Renewable Power Spending Falling Far Short Of Green Expectations

The Technocrat vision is 100% renewable energy for the whole planet, replacing fossil fuels completely. Actual spending patterns for renewable energy lag far behind what they claim they need to get it done. The stupidity of throwing away a perfectly good energy model for the sake of virtually bankrupting civic institutions that adopt alternative energy schemes, is stunning. ⁃ TN Editor

Global investment in renewable energy (Solar, Wind, Hydro and biofuel) edged up 2% in 2017 to $279.8 billion, taking cumulative investment since 2010 to $2.2 trillion. The level of global renewable power spending has been virtually flat for seven years. There has been an increase in overall installed renewable power each year because of the dropping prices. A 2% increase in spending has resulted in 10% increase in global installations from 2016 to 2017.

A record 157 gigawatts of renewable power capacity was commissioned in 2017, up from 143GW in 2016. This was more than the 70GW of net fossil fuel generating capacity added last year. However, the installed fossil fuel power generates more kilowatt hours because of the low capacity factors of solar and wind power.

Solar alone accounted for 98GW, or 38% of the net new power capacity coming on stream during 2017.

China spent $126.6 billion on renewable power. This was the highest figure ever and more than 45% of the global total. China 53GW installed with solar investment of $86.5 billion, up 58%. Renewable energy investment in the U.S. was down 6% at $40.5 billion. Europe had a decline of 36% to $40.9 billion. The biggest reason was a fall of 65% in U.K. Investment to $7.6 billion, reflecting an end to subsidies for onshore wind and utility-scale solar. Germany also saw a drop in investment, of 35% to $10.4 billion.

Within five years most countries will need expensive energy grid investment to handle more solar and wind.

In some European countries (Ireland, Germany and the United Kingdom), the share of wind and solar in total generation will exceed 25%. In China, India and Brazil, the share of variable generation is expected to double to over 10% in just five years. The increased share of solar and wind means the energy grids will require upgrades, reinforcement and interconnections, storage, demand-side response and other flexible supply to accommodate the higher levels of solar and wind.

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Bono Warns On Threats To Existence Of UN, EU And NATO

Bono is an outspoken apologist for the European Union, the United Nations and Sustainable Development and he is worried about threats to their very existence. He views the UN as “the conscience of our humanity.” ⁃ TN Editor

Irish rock star Bono warned Monday that the United Nations and other international institutions including the European Union and NATO are under threat — and nations must work together to ensure their continued existence.

The Dublin-born U2 singer and activist gave a sobering speech to several hundred U.N. diplomats and staff at an event launching Ireland’s candidacy for a seat on the powerful Security Council in 2021-22 saying “you can count on Ireland to do its part in that work.”

While Bono didn’t name any countries responsible for threatening global institutions during these “troubled times,” his words appeared clearly aimed at U.S. President Donald Trump, who has criticized the EU and NATO. The American leader has also pulled out of the Paris climate agreement which the singer cited, and taken aim at the World Trade Organization with new U.S. tariffs, an institution Bono said is also under threat.

Speaking of the United Nations, Bono said, “I love that it exists, and I’ll tell you, I don’t take for granted that it exists, or that it will continue to exist because let’s be honest, we live in a time when institutions as vital to human progress as the United Nations are under attack.”

He then said the EU, NATO and the Group of Seven major industrialized nations have also been threatened.

“And not just these institutions but what they stand for — an international order based on shared values and shared rules, an international order that is facing the greatest test in its 70-year history,” Bono said. “Not just these institutions but what they’ve achieved is at risk.”

On Sunday night, the Irish government invited ambassadors from the 192 other U.N. member nations to Bono’s concert at Madison Square Garden as part of its launch for a council seat.

Bono, who is also a human rights and humanitarian activist and philanthropist, joked Monday evening that it was “unusual having a load of ambassadors jumping up and down at a rock and roll show.” He told the diplomats: “at least you weren’t shouting at each other, so that was good.”

But his speech was both his sobering assessment of the state of the world and an appeal to the diplomats to back Ireland for a council seat.

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Flashback: Democracy Is Dying As Technocrats Watch

Discussing political philosophy, values, ethics and morality leave Technocrats out in the cold because all they can talk about is 10-point solutions to definable problems. Even global Technocracy, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, is a list of 17 goals and 169 targets. ⁃ TN Editor

On Nov. 29, three weeks after Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election, the following chart, showing a precipitous decline in support for democracy around the world, went viral after appearing in the New York Times:

Plenty of public argument ensued about the validity of the underlying data. But there was hardly any comprehension among experts about why moral support for democracy might be eroding — in part, because there’s good reason to think that experts are themselves to blame.

This is most obvious in the case of Trump, who devoted a large share of his presidential campaign not just to attacking democratic norms but also to attacking the technocratic experts who have come to symbolize democracy in the United States.

I have no sympathy for Trump’s repulsive disregard for facts, truth, and legitimate expertise. Yet he was canny in identifying how both parties’ technocratic mindset — their approaching every problem with a five-point plan designed to produce evidence-based deliverables — had left democracy vulnerable. Trump knew that if he waged a war on democratic values, the technocrats who now monopolize the country’s political elite would be incapable of fighting back.

Technocrats have always shown little interest in fights over fundamental values. Their work proceeds from the assumption that everyone — or at least all the people who truly matter — already share the same enlightened commitment to democratic values. The only debate they are concerned about is over evidence on “what works” among policy inputs to produce the desired measurable outputs, like higher wages and GDP, less poverty, less crime and terrorism, or less war.

The problem occurs when some people turn out not to share those enlightened values and insist on challenging them. Technocrats, in these situations, don’t know what to say because they can’t rely on evidence to make their case. So when technocrats are all we have to defend democracy, fights over fundamental values become embarrassingly one-sided.

Hillary Clinton was the perfect case in point, a politician so technocratic that she even embarrassed other technocrats. Her campaign website listed bullet-point plans to solve 41 different measurable problems, each one containing multiple sub-plans to solve multiple sub-problems. There was even a plan to protect the interests of dogs, cats, and horses. She almost reached the level of that reductio ad absurdum of global technocracy, the widely ridiculed United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with their 17 goals and 169 targets.

Maybe Clinton’s website shouldn’t matter that much, but her speeches often read off the same long list of planned solutions to many different problems. Mario Cuomo’s dictum was to campaign in poetry and to govern in prose. Clinton’s campaign wonkiness didn’t even reach prose.

So Clinton was not the best candidate possible to answer Trump’s terrifying frontal assault on the core enlightenment value that all are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Trump called Mexicans rapists and demanded a ban on Muslims entering the country. Clinton countered with plans for a “comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to full and equal citizenship,” including measures to “fix the family visa backlog,” to “end the three- and 10-year bars,” and have “targeted” immigration enforcement.

Trump bragged about grabbing women by the “pussy.” Clinton planned to address “issues that affect women’s lives,” such as “family issues, economic issues” that affect “our future competitiveness,” promoting “pay transparency across the economy,” granting “paid leave,” and ensuring “quality, affordable child care.”

Trump threatened to put more black people in jail with “law and order.” Clinton’s plan for racial justice was to “[r]eform our broken criminal justice system by reforming sentencing laws and policies” — thereby “strengthening the bonds of trust between communities and police, and more” — and to “develop greener and more resilient infrastructure,” as well as to “double America’s investment in Early Head Start.”

If Americans listening to the yearlong debate between Trump and Clinton felt less moral devotion to democracy, could you blame them? Clinton’s answer to Trump’s assault on democratic values had about as much moral grandeur as the rhetoric of the ethanol lobby. And Clinton’s constant targeted appeals to women, gays, blacks, and Hispanics sounded more like an alliance of interest groups rather than a defense of equality for all and was thus vulnerable to Trump’s insinuations to white audiences that Democrats didn’t care about them. The Clinton campaign’s rhetoric was a long way from “all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing … ‘Free at Last!’”

Technocrats do not even have a good answer for technocratic-sounding attacks on democracy. Technocrats’ defense of democracy on the basis of “what works” was always vulnerable because the anti-democratic side was not going to be maximally scrupulous about the evidence in any case. It also makes liberal values hostages to fortune. Whether because of the incompetence of experts or just a string of bad luck, democracies haven’t been performing very well lately. The foreign-policy experts guided wars on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq that seemingly made terrorism worse. Domestic economists gave us the 2008 financial crisis — and a response afterward that bailed out banks too big to fail but treated families losing homes as too small to care about. Dictator-run China is taking over ever larger chunks of the world economy while U.S. wages stagnate.

Experts often cannot agree on “what works” or even what already happened. Some experts could still credibly argue that in the long run democracies worldwide outperform dictatorships on average, but there is disagreement, and few have the patience to wait for long-run world averages to reassert themselves. Which is why the principal defense of democratic values must be that they are desirable in themselves as values — something technocrats are not trained to do.

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The Gnarly, Twisted Logic Of Environmental Zealots

The Technocrat’s slight of hand has twisted reality and logic in ways that could not have been anticipated, but it has molded the post-modern world into what we see today. It is time to start thinking clearly again! ⁃ TN Editor

You Need to Understand Twisted but Clever Logic Used to Drive Political Exploitation of Climate and Environment.

In 2003, the late Michael Crichton gave one of the most germane speeches about the challenges we face today. His opening explains the issue.

I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer. The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance. 

We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we’re told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears.

Crichton’s observations were a result of a diverse modern career. He trained as a medical doctor at Harvard with post-doctoral work at Oxford, England. He became famous as a writer of science fiction including Jurassic Park. His most perceptive book about sorting truth from fiction was about the environment and global warming titled the State of Fear. He understood how environmentalists exploited human-caused global warming (AGW) and lay out the method with accurate climate science.     Notice that his phrase “the disinformation age” anticipated the term for ‘fake news.’

Ironically and sadly, two parallel changes occurred to aggravate what Crichton identifies, both making people more vulnerable to exploitation. 1. Most governments decided to reduce and downplay the importance of reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. The word ‘discriminate’ changed from the ability to make positive, logical judgments, to only making negative ones, so the skill was virtually eliminated.  2. The Internet that caused the remarkable increase in the amount of information and disinformation, created another effect.  People who are readers, not writers are unaware of the range of ways of communicating ideas. Electronic communication and the need for brevity dramatically reduces the clarity express an idea or a message; witness the pressures and change of Twitter. This is a classic example of what Marshall McLuhan meant when he said, the medium is the message. I became fully aware of what he meant when a TV producer asked for ideas to illustrate a program on climate environment. She rejected almost half from the list of 20 as, “not lending themselves to television.” This means that your view and understanding is the result of the distorted and limited information. For example, how would you illustrate pollution on television? You are usually reduced to the standard video image of ‘pollution’ belching from smokestacks (Figure 1). In fact, today, in almost all cases across the developed world, what they omit is water in the form of steam.

Figure 1

The result of all these changes is the proliferation of Public Relations (PR) people and companies. In my opinion, they are professional liars, hired to mislead and misdirect.  Their goal is premeditated to make people think and act in ways they wouldn’t normally do. The term ‘spin doctors’ is very appropriate, although somewhat forgiving. Their goal is to deceive, all that varies is the depth and skill of the deception.

Most people required to communicate with the public use professional spin doctors to write their speeches. The degree of dependence that is sticking to the script is a measure of ability, credibility, and flexibility. Barack Obama was absolutely tied to the prompter. Trump began to use one after he was elected, but what gives him credibility with the public are the frequent asides and personal commentary that make it ‘his’ speech.

The spin doctors create plausibility that masks what they want to achieve. Let me give you examples of the exploitation of energy and environment. Most of the environmental scares, promulgated since the new paradigm of environmentalism appeared in the 1960s, were false. That is, there was no scientific proof, it was merely speculation creating what scientists call a hypothesis. When proponents of the false story realized they were losing ground, they resorted to what became the standard argument known as the Precautionary Principle. I confronted it on many occasions but few more important than when appearing before the Canadian Parliamentary Committee investigating the false claim of a “hole in the ozone.” One of the politicians eventually played this card when she said, “But shouldn’t we act anyway?”

I abandoned my prepared remarks and explained to the politicians how science proceeds. A scientist creates an hypothesis (an academic term for speculation) based on assumptions to try and explain a phenomenon. Other scientists, acting in their proper role as skeptics, try to disprove the hypothesis by attacking the assumptions. Environmental and climate hypotheses were not challenged.  As MIT professor of atmospheric physics, Richard Lindzen, said about the ‘global warming due to human CO2’ (AGW) hypothesis, that the consensus was reached before the research even began.

The most significant, deliberate exploitation of environment and climate for a political objective was Agenda 21. Maurice Strong introduced the entire plan at the Rio conference in 1992. He knew that the ideas and science would be challenged. He also knew it would fail the challenge, so he built into the scheme a series of Principles to allow it to continue regardless of any evidence to the contrary. Here is the one that sweeps any challenge aside because of the wording. This is precisely why you need to understand how to parse and dissect what they are really saying. On the surface, it appears innocuous but let me explain.

Principle 15. In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.

 The first sentence is a setup. It explains that they are acting to save the planet, so their intentions are purely honorable. They add to their good intentions by saying only those who can afford it will pay. It sounds magnanimous when it is really a socialist ‘make the rich and successful’ pay. In the second sentence they say they will only act when necessary, but who makes that decision. They do! Who defines what is “lack of full scientific certainty”? They do! Who determines what are “cost effective measures”? They do! Then, they wrap it all up as they opened. We are doing this to save the planet from environmental degradation. But who decides what is environmental degradation? They do!

Principle 15 allows them to do whatever they want whenever they want all without any need for evidence and no accountability. It is all cleverly presented to make it sound like they are working for the people, when they are actually taking total control.

Just to illustrate that this is a standard method of justifying the unjustifiable, consider how John Holdren, who later became Obama’s Senior Science Advisor, used it. He and Paul Ehrlich, the author in 1971 of The Population Bomb, believed the world was overpopulated and using up resources at an unsustainable rate. They were completely wrong, the world is not overpopulated by any stretch and 50 years on the Ehrlich predictions prove it. In a joint 1977 publication titled Ecoscience: Population, Resources, and Environment, Ehrlich and Holdren blended all their false ideas into the justification for genuinely frightening government control and intrusion into people’s lives. Here is how they try to justify the outrageous and usually unacceptable idea of compulsory abortion.

Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.

The overall theme is to deflect any personal responsibility for making such a drastic proposal. They are saying we know this is drastic, and we wouldn’t usually make such proposals, but we are forced to do it to save society and the planet. They write, “it has been concluded” as if somebody else did it, but in truth, they concluded it. Notice they don’t say the idea is part of the Constitution, just that it could be sustained. This would require the crisis becomes severe enough to “endanger” society. But who determines that? They do! They also hide another potential option in the word, “existing.” This means they can also change the Constitution to achieve their goal if it becomes necessary. Of course, they will make that decision.

I used to think H. L. Mencken’s comment tha “Democracy is the worship of jackals by jackasses” was too cynical but the more I study civilizations, societies, and democracies the more I have to admit it is a reality. The choice of animals is revealing. It promotes the idea that the dumb majority are exploited by the agile minority. It underscores and severely complicates the challenge Crichton believes we face. The first thing to learn is how the jackals create and disseminate the disinformation. The fact that jackasses asked Crichton to identify the biggest problem is a turning point. Problems are only problems if you are unaware of them. Identification of them is halfway to dealing with them. Besides, if the jackass becomes too irritated it will kick out and crush the skull of the jackal. The good news is the jackass will decide when that happens.




WEF: What The World Might Look Like In 2118

The elitist World Economic Forum is spinning futuristic and speculative visions of the future including “Earth is in the midst of a climate crisis that will not improve without deliberate and sustained action.” This is not the future we are going to see, but trillions will change hands in trying to create it. ⁃ TN Editor

Humans are naturally inclined to think towards the future. We find ourselves wondering about the next steps in our lives, imaging the potential consequences of advances today, even fictionalizing them to their most extreme forms as a sort of sandbox for possible futures.

Scientists might be one of the few groups to actively suppress that desire to predict the future. Conservative and data-driven by nature, they might be uncomfortable making guesses about the future because that requires a leap of faith. Even if there’s a lot of data to support a prediction, there are also infinite variables that can change the ultimate outcome in the interim. Trying to predict what the world will be like in a century doesn’t do much to improve it today; if scientists are going to be wrong, they’d rather do it constructively.

Indeed, the world has changed a lot in the past 100 years. In 1918, much of the world was embroiled in the first World War. 1918 was also the year the influenza pandemic began to rage, ultimately claiming somewhere between 20-40 million lives — more than the war during which it took place. Congress established time zones, including Daylight Saving Time, and the first stamp for U.S. airmail was issued.

Looking back, it’s clear that we’ve made remarkable strides. Today, it’s rare to die from the flu, or from a slew of other communicable diseases that were once fatal (such as smallpox, which was eradicated in 1977). That’s mostly due to the advent of prevention tactics such as vaccines, and treatments like antibiotics.

The pace at which technology is evolving can feel dizzying at times, but it’s not likely to slow down anytime soon. Here are some of the ways we suspect the technology of today will shape the world in the century to come.

Quantum Computing Will Come Of Age

As the internet transformed society over the past few decades, quantum computing will forever alter our view of the world and our place in it. It will give us the capacity to process more data about ourselves, the planet we live on, and the universe than has ever before been possible.

No one is totally sure yet what we’ll do with that data. We’ll likely find some answers to longstanding questions about physics and the universe, but it’s also likely there are answers to be found that we don’t even have the ability to fathom.

We’ll Hack Our Brains

We may not even have to wait a century to have our brains fully integrated with our devices, as research into brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) is now firmly out of the realm of science fiction. Early prototypes have already helped patients recover from strokes and given amputees the ability to experience touch againwith the help of a sensor-covered prosthesis. If and when they become commonplace, the human-machine mashup could irrevocably alter the course of human evolution. Prototypes for non-invasive BCIs in which electrode arrays pick up brain signals through the skull are already in development, and may serve as stepping stones toward the full-on “brain mesh” proposed by Elon Musk.

We’ll Zoom Around Our Revamped Cities in Autonomous Cars

The world of 2118 will have improved infrastructure and better ways of getting around. Our automobiles are becoming smarter and greener; by 2118, there’s a good chance that electric cars will be able to drive themselves, along with those most in need. The current consensus in the automotive industry is that fully autonomous vehicles are still theoretical at best (and may not be possible at all), but Tesla alone aims to achieve so-called level 5 autonomy — a world in which our cars would drive us — by about 2019.

In some parts of the world, cities themselves are also becoming more sophisticated. In China, a solar-powered highway could one day charge electric cars as they drive. Cities of the future could also fix themselves — engineers today are busy designing self-healing concrete structures and potholes that fill themselves.

AI Will Change How Humans Work

In the decades to come, technology that’s changing our homesour devices, and our vehicles is also going to change our lives in other major ways. Artificial intelligence (AI) will almost certainly automate some jobs, particularly those that rely on assembly lines or data collection. To offset the unemployment of human workers that would result from automation, some nations may adopt a universal basic income (UBI), a system which regularly pays citizens a small stipend with no requirement to work.

Indeed, some places have already begun small-scale experiments with UBI, and a report from the Roosevelt Institute in November 2017 predicted the U.S. could see a $2.48 trillion increase in the nation’s GDP within just eight years if it implemented UBI.

In some fields, such as medicine, robots probably won’t completely replace humans. The more likely scenario, some experts predict, is that AI will continue to augment the work experience for humans — even augmenting us physically. AI technology has already been paired with wearable exoskeletons, giving factory workers superhuman strength — perfect for those whose jobs require heavy lifting, which could increase their risk of job-related accident or injury.

3D Printing the World

3D printers are already being used in labs around the world and, increasingly, by consumers. While the printers may be costly up front, they are often seen as a long-term investment, since they can often print their own replacement parts.

As 3D printers become capable of printing everything from viable organs to buildings, we’ll likely find use for them in different aspects of our lives, as well as many different fields of industry.

Medicine Gets a High-Tech Upgrade

New procedures, aided by technological advances, are poised to transform medicine. Using a precision medicine approach (which uses a patient’s genetic data, lifestyle, and environmental surroundings to inform treatment), scientists are developing treatments for cancer that are tailored to an individual patient’s genes.

Oncology is not the only area with potentially life-saving (or in some cases, life-giving) applications; the evolution of reproductive medicine has already begun right before our very eyes. In 2017, researchers grew lamb fetuses in what could be the first prototype of an artificial womb, one woman gave birth after a uterus transplant for the first time, and another to a baby that began as an embryo frozen 24 years ago. The much-hyped gene editing technology CRISPR could mean that by 2118, many genetic diseases could become a thing of the past: scientists used CRISPR to edit the gene for a fatal blood disorder out of human embryos. Stem cells continue to prove useful for developing novel treatments, even for conditions that were once believed to be untreatable.

A century from now, major diseases such as cancer, immune and inflammatory disorders, and genetic conditions “will very likely be long gone by either prevention or effective therapy,” Phil Gold, a professor at the McGill University Clinical Research Centre, told Futurism.

But that’s not to say we’ll live in a future of perfect health — external factors, from global warming to infectious diseases and even warfare, could depress the life expectancy of people in 2118.

The good news is, diagnostic technology is also dramatically improving. Shu Chien, bioengineer and winner of National Medal of Science at the University of California, San Diego, told the San Diego Tribune that he predicted that scientists would invent Star Trek‘s famous medical tricorder, capable of “non-invasive early detection of cancer,” in the next century. He’s not the first to make the prediction over the last few decades, but this time could be different: Science and technology have delivered on some other sci-fi tech, such as super-materials and object replicators.

The Planet Will Get a Lot Hotter

Climate change is already transforming our world. One 2015 study predicted that Greenland’s usually cold summers could become completely ice-free by 2050. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and fatal. The world’s sea levels are on track to rise 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters) by 2100, which could displace up to 4 million people worldwide.

Earth is in the midst of a climate crisis that will not improve without deliberate and sustained action.

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