Friday, March 17, 2017

Climate Change and the Trump Presidency: two months old and already a tragedy ... by gimleteye

This is not a matter of honest people having an honest disagreement about the facts. The utterly dishonest Trump administration, including U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions from Alabama and EPA chief Scott Pruitt, former attorney general of Oklahoma, refuse to acknowledge the fact of climate change. Trump, himself, just proudly admitted to Tucker Carlson of Fox: "I don't even read books".

This willful anti-science, anti-intellectualism has been a slow burning fire in the Republican Party for decades. It was sparked by the perception of the party's leadership that its base comprised of Christian conservatives whose faith was more powerful than reason.

Trump, a marketing genius, pulled the niceties off the Christian program because he intuited that the underlying fabric of the religious right was not strictly religion. It was more a sense of grievance against intellectualism and the Hollywood crowd and economic benefits concentrated on the coasts and away from the geographic center of the nation: faded rural and industrial America.

The extremism embraced by Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, CATO, and the Heritage Foundation, and funders like the Koch Brothers and Robert Mercer, always pointed in the direction of locking down the privileges of an extraordinarily wealthy elite; primarily fossil fuel producers and its supply chain that organized consumer behaviors. When Donald Trump climbed atop his primary challengers, the horse he rode to the White House had been weaponized against science and reason.

The consequences to the rest of America -- to the majority of American voters -- are already dire. The Trump presidency is scarcely two months old.

The biggest threat to the United States is climate change and collateral damage. If you just woke up, here is the bad news: the Trump/ GOP budget eliminates all federal money for climate change research and science.

News that Donald Trump lied when he accused his predecessor of wiretapping is distracting reporters from the disastrous blow to federal agencies charged with providing taxpayers with the science of climate change. Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe praised the Trump cuts to EPA and to NASA: saying American children will no longer be "brainwashed".

On Twitter, Peter Gleick posted, "Climate change is a car racing for a brick wall. Trump's budget disables the air bag, takes the foot off the brake and closes our eyes."

Meanwhile, the climate is clearly wobbling off center, like a spinning top losing its centrifugal force.

In South Florida, excessive, hot temperatures cut at least a month from the growing season that depends on seasonal cooling.  Even Republicans in Utah watched temperatures soar into the fifties in the mountains in February.

There is a strain of thought that weaponizing American society underlies the Trump agenda. "America, First!" means building a police state and military for the event the climate -- on which our food supply depends -- spins out of control. That is what "dismantling the administrative state" is for: it is not about empowering a military whose total budget is already bigger than the next seven competitors combined. It is about eviscerating the science and reason that could reanimate a democracy that addresses itself to the public interest in health, safety and welfare.

That brutalism finds its match in Russia, where Putin's only safety net is the carbon footprint. Scientific evidence points in the direction that climate disruption will not save the oligarchs or the billionaires.

The failure to put measures in place to mitigate the damage from climate change and to protect creation is a dismal refutation of faith. It should also be an impeachable offense.

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