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Friday night owls open thread. McKibben: Australia is burning down its own house

LAKE TABOURIE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 04: Residents look on as flames burn through bush on January 04, 2020 in Lake Tabourie, Australia. A state of emergency has been declared across NSW with dangerous fire conditions forecast for Saturday, as more than 140 bushfires continue to burn. There have been eight confirmed deaths in NSW since Monday 30 December. 1365 homes have been lost, while 3.6 million hectares have been burnt this fire season. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)
Residents watch as flames roar through the bush at Lake Tabourie, New South Wales, Australia, on Jan. 4, 2020.

Bill McKibben at The Nation writes—What if Australia Were Its Own Planet? As the world’s leading coal exporter, Australia is burning down its own house:

[…] As the earth gets hotter, droughts grow deeper and more prolonged. We’ve seen this in California (whose climate is close enough to Australia’s that millions of highly flammable eucalyptus trees thrive in the Golden State as well), and now we see it in the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales, where record temperatures and record aridity have set the stage for firestorms so intense that they generate their own weather. Last weekend the suburb west of Sydney was the hottest spot on earth, with the mercury near 120 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity in the single digits. This is a precise recipe for an inferno, one that will be repeated across the globe in similar terrain.

Australia is also a microcosm in its economy and attitudes. Most of the early victims of climate change—low-lying Pacific islands or far northern indigenous communities—had done little, if anything, to cause the problem. But Australia is different. Its citizens vie with Canadians and Americans to emit the most carbon per capita in the world. And far more damagingly, Australia exports more coal than any nation on earth. Yet the majority of Australians have chosen not to do much about that. In their last national election, they gave power to one Scott Morrison, who made his bones as a political figure when, in 2017, he carried a lump of coal into Parliament to pass around to his mates. “Don’t be scared of it,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.

In other words, if Australia really were a planet it would be quickly, all by itself, destroying its climate. It can’t blame the destruction on others; in any moral calculation, Australia has done this to itself. Which is not to say individual Australians themselves are to blame. As elsewhere, the fossil fuel industry has done all it can to manipulate political systems: The election that brought Morrison to power saw one coal baron spend more money on campaign ads than the country’s major political parties combined. (The same coal baron, Clive Palmer, is also building a full-size working replica of the Titanic, if you like metaphor overload). And of course, the Australian political discussion is poisoned by its native son Rupert Murdoch, who owns most of the country’s newspapers and uses them to—well, you’ve seen Fox News. […]

Some late-breaking news: 
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“Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent.”  ~~Miles Davis, Miles: The Autobiography (1990)




At Daily Kos on this date in 2005—Armstrong Williams: ‘There are others’:

The Nation’s David Corn got the backstage scoop:

“This happens all the time,” he told me. “There are others.” Really? I said. Other conservative commentators accept money from the Bush administration? I asked Williams for names. “I’m not going to defend myself that way,” he said. The issue right now, he explained, was his own mistake. Well, I said, what if I call you up in a few weeks, after this blows over, and then ask you? No, he said

Until names are named, we can assume every conservative pundit is on the White House’s payola rolls.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Trump’s rhetoric grows more deplorable. Gaetz savaged over war powers dissent; Mike Lee is cowed into submission. McConnell would go nuclear to rig Trump’s trial. DoJ abuses redactions in failed coverup. Was “The Apprentice” Russian propaganda?

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Source: Daily Kos NewsColony: Politics

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