Illustration: DonkeyHotey / Flickr
A demagogue, a press secretary and a counselor walked into the White House and said: “Ignore what Trump says and see what he actually does.” “Climate change is a hoax.” “The science of climate change is unsettled and up for debate.” “The inauguration crowd was the biggest ever.” “Three to five million illegals voted for Hillary or I’d have won the popular vote too.”
Are you laughing yet? Probably not.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN ALTERNATIVE FACT, according to Blacks Law Dictionary.
America waited to see if Trump’s celebrity bravado would be different after he won the primary. Now he is the POTUS.
President Trump does not recognize normal standards of behavior. Nearly all of Trump’s secretarial positions have a conflict of interest by ethical norms. American exceptionalism has become Trump exceptionalism.
Many Americans feel ignored and left behind in this richest nation in the world. The answer of course is distribution of wealth. President Trump claims to be the only one capable of protecting the masses. Social Darwinism is a myth, while the uber-right claims it is an indicator of superiority. A party that claims to be the most Christian seems to ignore that Jesus threw out the money changers; or, that Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven.”
The contrast between political behavior and rhetoric is a classic example of situational ethics and moral convenience. Once ideology compromises democracy’s moral compass, facts become the ultimate “inconvenient truth.”
President Trump says he cares about the environment. Censorship of climate science is a clear example of this political double speak. His actions tell a different story. On Whitehouse.gov, any reference to climate change, global warming or Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and the Waters of the U.S. Rule have been eliminated as “unnecessary.”
A “gag order” has also been issued to federal organizations responsible for determining the truth of global warming and climate change. The scientific branches of these organizations must now submit their official findings for review by political appointees.
The 1 percent have taken the wealth and kept it. We have allowed an economic aristocracy and political oligarchy.
President Trump has pledged to resurrect coal and deport 12 million illegal residents as the solution to unemployment and low wages. Labor research indicates unemployment isn’t the problem. The current unemployment rate is 4.7 percent. Most economists consider this nearly full employment. Middle class jobs haven’t been lost to immigrants; legal or illegal. Living wage jobs have been lost to technology, lack of competition by monopolies, loss of collective bargaining rights, and increased manufacturing efficiency.
Many jobs are lost when corporations go off-shore. Well-negotiated trade agreements would help. Good jobs are also lost because we don’t have enough qualified workers here. Evolving technology requires funding to support education and retraining. Lowering taxes on corporations that reward CEOs at the expense of labor and consumers is a red herring.
Billionaire Warren Buffett said he paid a lower tax rate than his secretary. This only illustrates the paradox. GE, Boeing, Verizon and 23 other Fortune 500 firms paid NO federal tax from 2008 to 2012. Why would the bottom 99 percent believe taxes on highly profitable corporations and CEOs should be lower? Where will the revenue for national infrastructure, education, health or the environment come from?
There has been a trend toward monopolization. Corporations are aggregating like beads of mercury. Small- and medium-sized businesses cannot compete for raw materials or at the retail level with these mega-corporations. Banks are less interested in financing the start-up when monopolies, by their very size, block the probability of success.
All this brings us to the significance of the women’s revolution. The women’s rights movement is ultimately about more than bigotry and misogyny. It is also about justice, the environment and a sustainable civilization worth having. Men may take credit for taming the wilderness, but women make it worth living in. More testosterone and thumb measuring is not what is needed now.
The science of global warming and resulting climate change is rock solid. Science tells us there is no time left for ignorant, corrupt or deceitful politics. Climate change is already threatening the global water supply, food and security. Around the world water scarcity affects the health of women and children first and hardest.
The evidence is clear — federal agencies around the world and respected scientific journals from 2012 to 2014 have defined a dangerous trajectory. That trajectory is only getting worse. To keep global temperatures from rising above 2℃ (3.6℉), developed nations must reduce emissions at least 30 percent by 2020. It now looks like global emissions must be reduced 80 percent by 2030. We are at a point of rapidly diminishing returns. The longer we wait, the greater the cost.
When heat and acidification kills life in the oceans it will also kill life on land. There is NO GOING BACK from that. We are beginning to see the precursors of ocean sickness today.
This is the last remaining tick of the clock. The basic science is the easy part. The hard part is factoring the hubris and greed of those with power and the frustrating ideology of politics that is willing to compromise truth for personal gain.
The cost of mitigation in 1977 would have been less than 2 percent of GDP. In 2017, the last glimmer of promise dims. While the band plays “Hail to the Chief,” the last bulkhead of resilience is about to collapse. Fascistic ears are deaf to the creaking door of a closing crypt. We must pull out all stops by 2020. Further delay and there is little chance we will steer the ship-of-state to safety by 2030.
By inaction, the best-case scenario is social chaos and environmental and economic disaster. The worst-case scenario is a planetary extinction event. Soon, reducing emissions, building resilience and adapting to climate change will be beyond our ability to finance without compromising U.S. economic integrity.
Women are on march to make a wilderness livable again. I’m an environmental scientist, may I join you?