Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Lions and tigers and bears, Oh my!  Lions and tigers and bears, Oh my!  After the tornado lifted Dorothy’s Kansas home from its foundation and dropped it in the Merry Ole Land of Oz, one of her first fears was that of lions and tigers and bears.  In two decades or so, children of the next generation of “Wizard of Oz” viewers will be asking their mothers “What are lions and tigers and bears?”  Surely these creatures will all be extinct by then as an early casualty of our neglect to aggressively combat climate change. Instead, we will be chanting, “Hurricanes, tornadoes and fires, Oh my!  Famines, droughts and floods, Oh my!” 

Last night as category 5 hurricane Dorian ploughed its way up the eastern coast of the United States towards Charleston, it left in its wake a totally decimated group of small islands known as the Bahamas, a British Commonwealth Realm since 1973.  While not a US territory, our neighbor shares the misery of the American citizens of Puerto Rico, still reeling from the savagery of September 2017 hurricane Maria, another category 5 hurricane, at almost the exact same time of year.  Coincidence?

Now as much as we must feel compassion and a desire to aid both our citizens and our neighbors, we must still ask ourselves “What the hell are we doing?  What’s the plan here?” Do we spend the trillions of dollars that are required to rebuild these small nations, islands and territories, our coastal cities and ravaged states and to what end?  They remain in the path of an ever-escalating wrecking crane of destruction, only to be repeated again and again with more frequency and intensity. In twelve years, the rising oceans will begin to engulf our coastal boundaries and cities like New York and Miami will be forever changed, abandoned and forgotten. On our current path, this is more than probable but more likely certain.  So, do we spend our resources on remedial actions that will surely be undone sooner or later, or do we devote our resources to repairing the problem not the consequences? 

Just think where we would be today had Bush not cheated the Florida voters and Gore had been elected. We would be a full nineteen years ahead of this descent into the irreparable consequence of neglect and denial. Ah, but there is a glimmer of good news. We can level off and begin to repair our damaged ecosystem if we act aggressively now.

Last night CNN hosted a 7-hour series of town halls devoted to climate change. Consisting of 10 forty-minute individual segments, each of the top Democratic Presidential Primary Candidates offered their observations and a variety of solutions to ameliorate the problem. Now you may say, that lacking Republican representation, this is simply a partisan issue, but I would counter that it is neither partisan or bipartisan but a global human issue.  To that end,  we should support whatever faction deals with the issue head on and if the Republicans fail to do as much, then that is on them, not us.

A lot of good ideas surfaced in the meetings, but many were never addressed or presented.   The flaw of the town hall format is that it centers on answering questions and that alone limits the conversation.  For example, there was no discussion of technologies that remove CO2 from the atmosphere or putting carbon back in the earth. Why not?  They exist!

No, the emphasis was on delineating the candidates and to that end, it was successful.  While everyone brought much to the party with great proposals and astute reflection, we still left bewildered with the central question… “whose solution is best?”  For certain Bernie’s was the most aggressive and Biden’s was the most tepid. As Biden Flub-a-dubbed his way through the questions, he left several unanswered and was caught flat-footed unaware that his following evening campaign finance dinner was hosted by a prominent oil industry figure.  CNN knew it. The student who uttered the question knew it, but Biden with all his resources feigned ignorance, blaming it on the information he received from his campaign staff.  Now it may be benign, but it is nonetheless more of the same and Joe has got to go.

We cannot follow Joe on the path of doing the minimum, all the while trying to avoid upsetting the applecart of his support, big money finance and scared voters worried about the cost of saving all those “others” who chose unwisely to live in disaster zones. Trouble is, with fires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, these disaster zones are everywhere these days.  HOW MUCH PAIN MUST WE ENDURE BEFORE WE COMMIT TO THE MOST AGGRESSIVE TREATMENT?

That’s why Bernie makes the most sense.  I would love to see the next ticket as Warren/Buttigieg but on the issues Bernie has always been right and he wisely knows that this is not a time for the faint of heart.  Climate change has metastasized and requires an aggressive treatment plan.  It’s life or death and the cost can be of no consequence in this battle.

The Biden Factor Part 3, The Barometer Rises

Photo by Jeff Roberson

The first polls are in on Biden’s effect on the Democratic lineup since he announced his candidacy. Not unexpected, he has risen to a whopping 39%.  Impressive, but as I said in my previous blog, this should be taken only as a barometer of the electorate’s thirst for Trump blood.

 

Oh sure, there are other factors pro and con to consider: a positive association with all that is good about the Obama administration, against a voting record in the senate that Bernie has rightly highlighted as being on the wrong side of history, but neither accounts for the 39% popularity poll in the face of the wave of progressive candidates with exciting policy proposals.

 

Over time we will see this polling blip fade away, as Biden draws fire away from the other candidates and weathers the full assault of Trump’s wrath. Speaking on Bill Maher’s Realtime HBO show, John Avlon aptly quoted an old Joke… “what’s the difference between a liberal and a cannibal? Cannibals don’t eat their own.”  Obama highlights one dimension to this potential problem referring to the “circular firing squad,”  but he’s referring to the candidates themselves not the electorate who easily tires and shifts allegiance. To be sure Democrats will rally around whoever emerges the winner, but Biden poses a problem for the voters, who while they have a strong taste for Trump blood have moved away from middle-of-the-road, tepid policies and demand substantial progressive change, bold action,  not just a new figurehead.  Got’ta love Biden, but we may find him to be a divider like Hillary was. Progressives don’t want a corporatist and Biden’s support of the credit card companies located in Delaware, home of his Senatorial seat, will not bode well in the end for him while his limp, half-hearted telephone apology to Anita hill still rings like a cracked bell for women and minorities.

 

Bernie supporters will not give up.  We all wanted a woman president in 2016, but Hillary was a flawed candidate and Elizabeth Warren knew better than to divide the vote by tossing herself in the ring. Bernie could have won, should have won, so if not now, when?  A Bernie/Warren ticket or a Warren/Bernie ticket is a show stopper. Think about it.

 

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