Sunday, June 5, 2016

Zombie Trump Channels "The Sting," Seeks to Bring Back Keystone XL

Cody Cain writes about the movie “The Sting” in Salon.

As the movie shows, at the heart of a con lies a deception. In the movie, the victim of the con, the “mark,” was a mob boss, and Newman and Redford assured the mark they had a secret connection in horse races, which gave them a sure way to pick the winners. They told the mark that if he bet on their tips, he was certain to win.

So the mark attends Newman’s betting parlor to test it out for himself, first on a small scale, and if it worked, he would make a bet to strike it big. The mark places his bet at the betting parlor following the tip, and sits down at a table to await the race. The betting parlor is quite nice with big-boards on the walls displaying the status of various races and loud speaker broadcasting live coverage.

The bell rings and the horses are off. The announcer relays the action as the horses gallop around the track. This one is in the lead, now that one overtakes. And here they come approaching the finish line, it’s going to be close, they’re neck-and-neck, and, the winner is… the horse that was predicted in the tip! It worked.

Except that it turns out that everything is fake. And Trump’s energy policy, in which he promises us unheard of prosperity if we would only embrace his notion of ditching climate change, is fake. Suppose he is right when he said in his energy speech in North Dakota recently that we have 1.5 times as much potential reserves as Saudi Arabia. Suppose we could leverage that into prosperity. It would be like a devil’s bargain — prosperity now for pain later. More likely, it would not even get off the ground as demand for fossil fuels like coal and oil plummet.

This is because manmade climate change is real and the fact that oceans are rising is real. If we do not act and we operate in the cavalier manner that Donald Trumpsuggests, our coastal cities and the whole state of Florida will be inundated. Water farther inland would be undrinkable because it would have salt in it. If you are concerned about foreign refugees flooding into this country, the refugee crisis that this would entail would dwarf either the Mexican immigrants or the refugee crisis taking place in Europe. Anyone who has read Grapes of Wrath will know what I am talking about. If we do not act, not only will extreme weather events happen more often, there will be dozens, hundreds, or thousands of refugees from right here inside this country coming to a town near you.

Ken Ilgunas, writing in Salon, says:

It’s difficult to determine what Trump actually believes and what he’s saying merely to pander to his audience of the day. (This time, it was to an audience of oil executives at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in North Dakota, where he wanted to pick up unpledged delegates to secure the nomination, which he did.) The sincerity of Trump’s climate denial is brought into question by the fact that he is applying for permission to build a seawall in Ireland to protect one of his golf courses from rising sea levels.

But as confused as Trump may be over climate change, he more than most politicians understands the usefulness of symbols in an election campaign, whether it’s his Reagan-era “Make America Great Again” slogan or his Mexican-American wall. Trump’s call to build the pipeline is a symbol to fossil fuel interests and free market ideologues that he won’t be a pushover to environmentalists.

I have heard certain Bernie or Bust types suggest that he doesn’t mean what he says most of the time. But given what he has said, we cannot afford the risk of electing him and realizing that he meant what he said. Keystone XL would not only be a threat to the environment, it would be a massive threat to property rights; it was being tied up in massive litigation in Nebraska by the time President Obama pulled it. Donald Trump, in a GOP debate earlier this year, said that he was for eminent domain, meaning that a Trump administration would seize millions of acres of property if that’s what it took to “make America great again.”

We have a moral obligation to make the planet better for our children and our grandchildren, not get as much as we can in the mistaken belief that the world is about to end anyway. Neither Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton would match Franklin Roosevelt’s commitment to the environment, but they are both light years better than Trump. Roosevelt created millions of new jobs through the Civilian Conservation Corps; they did numerous projects to protect the environment:

The workers of the CCC were paid to do tasks such as planting millions of trees, protecting forests from wildfires, opening summer camps, improving national and state parks, and combating soil erosion.

I submit that we must go father than what Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton offer. Everyone who wants work should have work, and we should have a work-based economy where everyone is paid a living wage. Courts could order defendants to get employment to pay fines and restitution and child support. People who have student debt could work to pay off their student loans. The government could pay for one year of college for every year you served.

Here is Bernie Sanders’ plan:

Bernie’s comprehensive plan to combat climate change and make sure our planet is habitable and safe for our kids and grandkids will:
Cut U.S. carbon pollution by 40 percent by 2030 and by over 80 percent by 2050 by putting a tax on carbon pollution, repealing fossil fuel subsidies and making massive investments in energy efficiency and clean, sustainable energy such as wind and solar power.
Create a Clean-Energy Workforce of 10 million good-paying jobs by creating a 100% clean energy system. Transitioning toward a completely nuclear-free clean energy system for electricity, heating, and transportation is not only possible and affordable it will create millions of good jobs, clean up our air and water, and decrease our dependence on foreign oil.
Return billions of dollars to consumers impacted by the transformation of our energy system and protect the most vulnerable communities in the country suffering the ravages of climate change. Bernie will tax polluters causing the climate crisis, and return billions of dollars to working families to ensure the fossil fuel companies don’t subject us to unfair rate hikes. Bernie knows that climate change will not affect everyone equally – disenfranchised minority communities and the working poor will be hardest hit. The carbon tax will also protect those most impacted by the transformation of our energy system and protect the most vulnerable communities in the country suffering the ravages of climate change.

Most significantly, he would do a better job of transitioning people working in carbon-based industries to green energy such as wind and solar. The people working in coal mines are not fooled; they realize that theirs is a dying industry. The people of West Virginia voted for Bernie Sanders because he offered a strong plan for transitioning people. Now, I am not sure how well working in a coal mine would translate into working in solar or wind, but the fact that he would create 10 million new jobs means that there would be a lot of people impacted from everywhere in the county.

Furthermore, Bernie Sanders ties in climate change to Citizens United. He rightly says that too many politicians are too beholden to big money interests like big oil and big coal and big fracking. He has shown that running a campaign based on small donations can still be competitive.

Hillary Clinton takes a different approach to fighting climate change, but one that is also very ambitious.

Create good-paying jobs by making the United States the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.

Set national goals to have 500 million solar panels installed; generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America; cut energy waste in homes, schools, and hospitals by a third; and reduce American oil consumption by a third.

Lead the world in the fight against climate change by bringing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below what they were in 2005 within the next decade—and keep going.

And one of her initiatives could directly benefit the local economy.

Launch a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with states, cities, and rural communities and give them the tools and resources they need to go beyond federal standards in cutting carbon pollution and expanding clean energy. The Clean Energy Challenge will also help ensure all Americans share in the benefits of a clean energy economy by encouraging solar and energy efficiency investments in low-income communities.

All the communities where I live are low-income communities (meaning they qualify for Community Development Block Grants), meaning that they would qualify for this program and could get a lot of money. There is local interest by certain landowners in hosting wind farms; towns or our country or a wind company could pay the landowners to host the windmills, and then turn around and sell the electricity to utilities, which are seeking to comply with requirements to produce cleaner and cleaner energy. I don’t know all the details of this program yet, but it would be something to look into. If that’s what we have to do to revive the area economy and keep people on the farm, that’s what we have to do.

Neither plan is perfect because I feel we can’t do enough to get people who want work employment, but both plans are light years better than anything Donald Trump offers. His energy plans would not benefit our local economy to our knowledge, but they could bring economic refugees from other parts of the country in a few decades’ time.

No comments: