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August 9, 2018


We hear without letup of the historic corruption and incompetence of the Trump administration as well we should as America prepares for Judgment Day, the day when America finally decides enough is enough, but all is not bullying, lying, Putin loving, tariff idiocies, witch hunts, and trials that are now penetrating Trump’s inner circle as the noose tightens; other under the radar wrongdoing is proceeding at an accelerated pace while our attention is diverted to the more politically glamorous. This essay will discuss one such wrongdoing – an existential one.

We have just had an expert climatologist tell us that his research shows that our planet is rapidly approaching a point to where human habitation will not be possible what with “boiling oceans” etc.  If so, it won’t make any difference whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, black or white, rich or poor, communist or capitalist, or whether Hillary is responsible for Benghazi, or that Trump is an adulterer etc. As an old songwriter wrote in another existential context (an atomic war): “We will all go together when we go, every Hottentot and every Eskimo; When the air becomes urainous, we will all go simultaneous; Yes, we’ll all go together when we go.”

Unlike such a sudden catastrophe as predicted by this imaginative songwriter, we have the luxury of notice – maybe. We may have a short window in time to change our ways and survive as a race but we don’t know that. We haven’t had such a burning and boiling planet before, or at least not one in human history, though we do know of an asteroid hit some 65 million years ago that wiped out dinosaurs and the biblical tale of Noah’s flood in disaster lore. So what is the Trump administration doing about this existential threat to human survival? Trump is HELPING the climatologist’s prediction come true!

Evidence of the Republican sellout to the fossil fuel industry and its deep pockets oblivious to the result? As the July-August Sierra Club edition magazine reports > Remember the Trump-Ryan $1.5 trillion dollar tax bill where they gave away the store to their friendly (and rich) campaign contributors (including themselves)? It was a Christmas Tree bill; the Republicans quietly added a provision to the bill that provided for leasing of land to Big Oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as an additional giveaway to the fossil fuel corporations.

Republicans claimed that revenue from drilling in the refuge would defray the costs for some of the tax cuts while boosting U.S. energy independence, an utterly false claim, because to make a dent in the budget deficit, oil and gas companies would need to lease every single available acre of the coastal plain at prices 10 times higher than what they are paying anywhere else on Alaska’s North Slope.

As for increasing energy independence, simply having kept in place the Obama administration’s fuel economy standards would have saved almost twice as much oil than is estimated to exist beneath the entire coastal plain! Trump’s EPA has now rolled back such fuel economy standards, which will add more toxic gases to the atmosphere, increase our consumption (and thus costs) of gasoline – and add to the profits of the fossil fuel industry.

Fortunately, some institutional investors have announced their opposition to any development within the refuge, noting that “Making any capital investments to pursue Arctic Refuge oil would be an irresponsible business decision, at the very time when we are transitioning away from fossil fuels.” They are right, though I note that there is no mention of environmental damage in their statement, a worrisome omission, and one that suggests they are still open to investments that make money as latter day capitalists continue to prize profits over people, or even survival.

It appears that Trump and his oblivious followers in the Republican Party (if it is a party) prefer profits for their contributors over the potential for the end of the human race and they cast decisions such as opening the Refuge to be political and not existential. Terminal greed writes its own definitions of economics to favor accumulation of assets to a favored few, but such assessment may well be wrong in more ways than one given the evidence of accelerating environmental damage, and if so, after our global suicide, there will be no one around to record their mistake, thanks to present-day “Greed is Good” apostles who are more interested in corporate balance sheets than survival of the race.

To do > change apostles this November 6 since our lives may depend upon it.      GERALD        E


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