Letters Oct. 22, 2020

Destructive feedback climate change

Find the documentary “David Attenborough A LIFE ON OUR PLANET” where ever you can. This 2020 film says it all better than I. But in short: self-reinforcing destructive feedback loops are a characteristic of climate change. Carbon emissions lead to climate warming; leads to drought; leads to wild fires; leads to more carbon release into the atmosphere; leads to loss of forests and their ability to reabsorb carbon from the atmosphere; leads to more trapping of heat in the atmosphere; leads to more climate warming; leads to more drought; leads to more, and more intense, wild fires; and so on and on and on.

Another example: the climate warms; polar ice sheets melt; the melting of the ice absorbs some of the excess heat in the short term, but once the ice is gone this climate shock-absorber will be gone and the warming of oceans and atmosphere will be accelerated. At the same time the loss of ice means less of the sun’s light is reflected out into space and so more of its intensity is converted into trapped heat. This leads to the melting of more ice and the self-reinforcing destructive cycle repeats over and over with ever more devastating effect.

Another example: emissions into the atmosphere of carbon and methane from modern human activities cause more of the sun’s energy to be trapped within the Earth’s atmosphere. This leads to increased warming of the planet. This leads to melting of the permafrost across Earth’s northern latitudes (Siberia, Scandinavia, Greenland, Canada and Alaska) leading to the release of more methane. This leads to more warming, leading to the further release of more methane, and on and on and on.

Earth’s climate is running along an increasingly destructive tend line of an ever higher average global temperature. Weather and climate do experience cyclical effects oscillating back and forth across the trend line. So El Nino years will be different from La Nina years. Some years will be cooler in some places and then warmer maybe several years later, and then cooler, and then warmer. But the trend is not our friend. The peak temperatures and droughts of the warm years will become ever more extreme. This is because the long term trend driven by increased carbon in the atmosphere is trapping more and more of the sun’s energy so as to help us cook ourselves.

If 20 years ago we had begun a war against climate change rather than against imaginary weapons of mass destruction in Iraq we could have accomplished a lot. But we didn’t. Elections really do have consequences, in this case tragic. Let us pray that we don’t make the same mistake this time.

George Einar Busséy

Duct tape, the handyman’s secret

The leader of the pack is coming unglued before our eyes with his gibberish. His paranoid imagination has run amok with foolhardy accusations. World leaders are aghast and are more than willing to provide the duct tape to muffle the bellowing.

Gerald Norrgard

Debate No. 1: The month after

As we all wait for the toxic dust to settle on that fiasco called a debate (Sept. 29) we collectively wonder: What the Holy Hell just happened?

Did we all witness a verbal boxing match minus the gloves? Have we not had a bellyful of Trump’s vicious and ruthless personal attacks? Does he not deserve the moniker “clown” and “the worst president we’ve ever had?” And will not two additional meetings between these two men be counterproductive at best? I think we know the answers to these questions.

As baby boomer and a student of politics, I get a sense of what pre-war Germany must have been like during the ‘30s and ‘40s when a certain authoritarian abomination rose to power.

America will simply not survive another four years of this unmerciful Bozo in thousand-dollar suits!
Like Biden said when not getting unceremoniously interrupted, “Get to the polls and vote” as if your lives depend on it, because they truly do!

Ken Bracken
St. Paul
(Vietnam-era Navy vet ... not a loser!)

Liar, liar!

Donald Trump lied to us. He knew what was coming. He knew in January of this year, and he lied to us.
In recorded interviews with Bob Woodward, Trump said that he knew the coronavirus was coming, that he knew it could be spread through the air, and that it was more serious even than “the severe flus.”
Instead of warning us, instead of ensuring we were ready, instead of seeing to it that our frontline health care workers had adequate PPE, the president, by his own admission, “downplayed” the seriousness of what was coming, comparing it at one point to “a cold.” When called out on this, Trump said he didn’t want the American people to panic.

This is utter nonsense. The best antidote to panic is the truth. The virus was coming anyway, and we were going to find out one way or another. The reality is, in his facile mind, Trump believed that the virus would make him look bad, and he was hoping that somehow, he could sweep it under the rug.
As a result of Trump’s failure to tell the truth to the American people, our country has been hit harder than any nation on earth by covid-19.

At the time of this writing, approximately 215,000 Americans have died. This is nearly four times the number of Americans who died in the entire Vietnam War, and these deaths occurred in the space of approximately seven months!

This is an unmitigated and totally preventable catastrophe. Trump has failed the most basic test of leadership. He failed to warn and protect the American people. Rather than tell us the truth and help us prepare, he lied, and 215,000 Americans died.
Vote him out.

Brian Vroman
Grand Rapids

Who’s the racist?

The actual racist in this year’s presidential race is Joe Biden. I offer as evidence:
1) Biden’s political mentor was Robert C. Byrd, the Exalted Cyclops of the Klu Klux Klan.
2) Biden opposed busing, which purpose was to desegregate schools.
3) Biden expressed concern regarding his children growing up in “a racial jungle.”
4) Biden says he’s from a slave state, Delaware, and he could work easily in the U.S. Senate with southern U.S. senators Talmadge and Eastland, both segregationists.
5) Biden voted against a Black man for the Supreme Court.
6) When Obama was elected to the U.S. Supreme Senate, Biden said he’s “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”
And finally:
7) Biden promoted and voted for the 1994 Crime Bill in the U.S. Senate. It was unfavorable to many Blacks. The prison sentences given out to Blacks were excessive. President Trump is remediating their excessive sentences.
So you can see who the true racist is in this race. It is not Trump, it is Joe Biden.

Gregg Schweiger