Today’s climate crisis dwarfs the 1940s threat of Nazism, the 9/11 attack, or the massive bank robberies that took place during the Reagan & Bush administrations. It threatens all life on earth…
I have imagined countries fighting over oil to be like heroin junkies battling for a needle of the poison that kills them. But this heartlessness by the oil companies is nothing new. To make engines run better in 1923 lead was added to gasoline. Even then many people realized that putting a heavy metal in the air could (and did) cause nerve and brain damage, particularly in children. The companies lied, doing urine tests on workers to show no buildup…while knowing full well that lead doesn’t concentrate there, it does in the blood. It took a brave geologist, Clair Patterson, who accidentally discovered high lead levels in soil samples, to stand up to these big companies, which for 40 years disparaged his findings. They even tried to pay off his school to fire him. It wasn’t until 1995 that lead was finally taken out of gasoline. Similar stories can be told about tobacco asbestos, DDT and many other toxic products that give their makes good profits at the cost of their souls.
The problem is connecting the dots. A homeowner in Ohio who is now paying higher insurance rates isn’t going to think that is because of stronger hurricanes in Florida, ones caused by climate change. In fact, a good scientist is not going to claim a 1:1 relationship exists; we’re looking at long term trends over a timeline that includes natural variations. For example, my mother (1913-2012) said that she saw NY City winters getting milder. She was right, mean annual temperatures increased 0.3 F per decade, and that rate is increasing. But given the annual swings in hot and cold over a few years there one won’t notice that.
So getting the science across to people, even explaining “climate change” to those whose education on the topic ended in the 10th grade, isn’t going to be easy. And as the shifting information on COVID showed, Americans often don’t get it that science is a process of testing and building on observations. They want simple answers now, so that lack of a 1:1 relationship will confuse them, as will any talk about statistics. Also, as a country we are far better at dealing with effects than causes. We’ll spend billions on health care or chasing alleged terrorists, but so much less on keeping people from getting sick or becoming violent in the first place. Environmental concerns are no less unbalanced, maybe because there's more money and good press to be made in addressing problems rather than avoiding them.
Eventually the situation could get so bad that most citizens will recognize, if not completely understand, what is happening to our environment. Then there will be panic and demands for self-sacrifice, largely from those who have the most to lose. But one thing is clear, unless we have a smarter, stronger and braver government, big corporations will profit off this too, laughing all the way to the bank. And this is all for what, how much can a person have and spend? I hope their executives enjoy counting their money in the grave.
Dream on! We are out of time. No legislation will be passed, no Amendments invoked, Biden is just as 'up in it' as McCarthy, Trump et al. The private sector has to save its children. The A-holes (and they really are physiologically just that) in government are worthless. I just moved back to CO. The smoke from the Alberta fires is choking us. All the way from CANADA! Jesus!! When are we going to wake up? Want to read the exact prediction of what's happening now? Read Nature's End by Whitley Strieber. Within just a few years, Strieber predicts exactly what is happening now. Oh, and Nature's End was written in 1986. He also wrote Warday in 1984 - maybe as a retrograde, that's next.
There is also Art II, which gives Biden the authority to declare a National Emergency, like Trump did on the border. He could use that authority to raise the debt ceiling without giving away the store to the Republicans (but he want he has either a weak spine and/or, is corrupted by megadonors and his post presidency security and needs, He could also declare a national emergency to prohibit the oil cartel from selling their oil abroad, that would cut down emissions, especially from ocean going tankers,and lower inflation, but he knows all of this. So there is no excuse except for cowardice, corruption or collusion.
We are headed towards the anthropogene some predict in 16 years others by the 22nd century.
So these oil executives and the Boards of Directors who hire and fire executives and who reward them with raises and benefits, also know it, there is the 1974 Exxon report that predicts the event, but they don't care, not even for the future of their children and grandchildren. All that matters is today and their own social status, toys and mansions.
When the dry bulb temp reaches 95% that is the end of all life on earth, and it hit 95 % in some parts of Saudi Arabia last year.
With the melting of the Greenland glaciers,the Atlantic conveyor is desalinated and that is what keeps Europe and our East Coast warm, with that disruption, the Polar jet stream,, now sweeps south into the Red states, where it never has dipped before, and yet the idiots in the Red states, don't care, becauuse it is more important to own the libs, so what if their pipes burst, people freeze to death, they are owning the libs.
Lenin was so right when he said "If I announce that I am going to hang all of the capitalists, they will line up to sell me the rope. Not just capitalists, but humans live in a world of immediate gratification,I want it all, and I want it now. In 16 years I will be 100 or scattered ashes, so not my problem.
What is my problem is the attack on Social Security and Medicare that Biden will assent to, to raise the debt limit, when he could use his constitutional powers to do it by executive order, but won't, he is either a coward or beholden to the investment bankers that have been trying to privatize them for years.
With all of this terror engineered by Oil companies and propped up by Republicans , the Supreme Court has joined these terrorists by striking down protection for waterways recently.
This, while Biden proposed real protections to these areas.
The winners are the Oil and gas companies and builders of homes eager to ruin whatever they can in their pursuit of the almighty dollar. The Supreme Court also recently handcuffed the
EPA ,they are fine working to cut down any protection of people by the EPA checking on poisoned air from (you guessed it oil and gasoline. )
So many of those Justices make it clear about their Christianity being superior to other religions .
Im going to bet Christ would not be very happy with the total destruction of the world that they are blissfully supporting by supporting far right causes. They are all
causes that fit under the Big Money umbrella .
Anything that Nature has provided they are happy to destroy for money.
The Native Americans ,
Who have been marginalized for as long as this country has existed. They were right. Remember the commercial with the depiction of the Chief with a tear running down his face at the bludgeoning of Nature.
How very prescient that commercial was.
Once again Mr. Hartman has done a deep Dive into our history and produced a Great summary showing voters of the Baby Boomer Generation, and their now adult children, that, indeed, many historical economical near-disastrous economic situations were solved by US presidents from either party by simply nationalizing certain industries until appropriate legislation had been addressed, or the market place was ready to re-purchase the temporary government assets.
Anno 2023 the US economy is facing significant economic disruption simply due to the monopolies legislators of both parties have been purchased to deliver over the last five decades. The inflation and doubling of most of consumers' basic needs appear solely to be price gauging by huge corporate families of corporations. Lumber did not double due to a shortage. Hospital costs did not double without he collaboration of industry controlled public health boards such as WHO and the CDC. Food costs did not increase 20-30% due to shortages during the 2020-22-it was engineered during the Covid distraction. Housing did not move from $2-300,000 upwards to $5-700,000 in many areas but were driven there as huge hedge funds were allowed to start a wave of buying up a majority of US housing and rentals.
The Climate Challenge has been building since global markets and benevolent health improvements increased the global population from 3-8 Billion, primarily in under-developing countries, China and India; the International Oil & Gas industries was a part of this development-and the Baby Boomer Generation was the co-dependent addict. We are jointly responsible, ethically and financially; there is no lasting learning to be derived from suing the Oil & Gas Industries moving forward. However, should enough individual Baby Boomers be willing to ask their stock brokers to transfer a substantial portion of their retirement funds into Oil & Gas stocks to become a massive voting block compelling the industry to keep their assets in the ground and transfer their production capabilities to Green Industries that would be a significant ethical move - one that might also lower the value of their assets, of course.
The move to nationalize some industries in the US appear, historically, only to have happened at the point in time where a majority of voters, legislators and industry realized that a significant collapse of a major portion of the US economy was imminent. The collapse of the Huge Gulf Stream with the accompanying rise in oceans will be incremental, and not enough public outcry will present until underwriters stop completely writing insurance for housing on either coast.
In the meantime, perhaps young voters need to realize that during their parents' guardianship almost all US legislators have been passively re-elected year after year (https://www.opensecrets.org/elections-overview/reelection-rates). and term limits for legislators have not been permitted by the US Constitution (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Term_limits_in_the_United_States)
However, a wave of US voters NEVER VOTING FOR AN INCUMBENT at local, state and federal levels will deliver generational representation changes in less than 10 years.
What is done, historically, is done; we need to move on, and it is certainly timely to consider nationalizing the US Pharmaceutical industries, The Oil & Gas Industries and the Hospital Industries. One should, perhaps, also consider nationalizing temporarily the giant food conglomerates in order to convert our food supply to smaller farms with families willing to do more organic food production.
It will, indeed, be interesting to see the percentage of younger voters who show up during the 2023-24 elections in America. They, and they alone, can determine their generation's circumstances, financially and economically. The few baby boomers who will risk their retirement funds and peace, will, of course, be the ones who can tell their grand children: We did what we should have done, finally.
Famed climate scientist James Hansen is working on a paper outlining the dimensions of the disaster facing humanity at the hands of the fossil fuel industry, and it’s shocking. My friend and colleague Thomas Neuburger did a deep dive into it this week in his excellent God’s Spies Substack newsletter that’s well worth the read.
In essence, Hansen is proposing that the world will soon see both a collapse of the Gulf Stream that keeps Europe’s climate capable of growing crops and a worldwide 60-meter rise in sea levels. Possibly in our children’s or grandchildren’s lifetimes. As Thomas dryly notes in God’s Spies: “For Americans, 60 meters is about 200 feet.”
Deaths worldwide both directly from such an outcome — and from the wars that will result in the destruction of entire civilizations — will be measured in billions; here in America it’ll certainly be in the millions, and probably the tens of millions. Not to mention it speeding up the ongoing species collapse often referred as the Sixth Mass Extinction.
This is what the fossil fuel industry has brought to us, and to this day is aggressively trying to continue to sell to us. Fully aware of what they are doing.
So, what can we do?
I see two possibilities, the first involving the law, and the second using the marketplace and, if that doesn’t work fast enough, the Fifth Amendment’s eminent domain provision.
The Hansen 'In the Pipeline' work is critical to understanding the ante to state in the game of Human Life. I came to the same qualitative conclusion a few years. The corruption of the UN modeling was apparent in several particulars. As to your post today, concur as to urgency - diverge widely as to methodology. (Shahid Buttar had a very similar privatization scheme; I discussed with him why I was diametrically opposed.) I will reserve further climate discussion till the manufactured illusion of a Debt Ceiling Crisis is disposed.
If not finessed by 14A, it has the potential to both blow Biden out-of-the-2024 election and dramatically circumscribe US ability Climate at scale. Unlike any commentator I've seen, I argue below that Biden is Constitutionally compelled to direct Treasury to borrow enough to pay the public debt. I have not time to edit - must bike in the daylight; so you get the extended version:
My friend Angel Montalvo introduced me to your circle. I've been an infrequent Zoomer but avid follower of LAProgressive. I'm hopeful that you will consider publication of the following. Please advise if there is a better channel (I'm sure there is) for submission.
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Tom Wells <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, May 25, 2023 at 12:10 PM
Subject: Argument: Biden is Constitutionally required to authorize Treasury to borrow enough to pay the Public Debt authorized by law
To: S Damera03 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Debt Ceiling is both the most critical and the simplest problem immediately before us.
Bernie, and many others, are asking 'Why doesn't Biden just invoke 14A and authorize the Treasury to borrow the money to pay the debt already incurred?'
I argue below that 14A, in conjunction with the clear Article 2 language defining the power and obligations of the President compel him to do so.
The salient bit of 14A referenced by this question is in Section 3: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."
What does that command "shall not be questioned" have to do with the President? The powers and obligations of the President are defined in Article 2 of the Constitution. The very 1st words of Article 2 Section 1 define the President's power over the executive branch: "The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." The Treasury is part of the Executive Branch - so that's good.
The obligations of the President, per Article 2 Section 3, include that "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed..."
Note as well that the laws that the President is required to faithfully execute include, per Article 6, the Constitution. Hence Biden is required to authorize the Department of Treasury to borrow money sufficient to pay the public debt authorized by law.
The President of the United States has both the power and the obligation to continue uninterrupted payments of the public debts of the United States as authorized by law.
Reiterating: Not only can President Biden finesse the Debt Ceiling boogeyman, he is required to do so by his oath to the Constitution. Furthermore, by their own oaths to the Constitution, neither Congress nor the Supreme Court can legitimately act to oppose this. And if there are Precedents, or Laws, offended by this clear reading of the Constitution; then the fault lies in them.
As this impasse is the 1st occasion that demands that 14A "validity of the public debt... shall not be questioned" be invoked; relevant precedents are unlikely. As to the debt ceiling Law, it cannot override 14A. That would require a Constitutional Amendment.
Understanding that Bernie and others have been petitioning Biden to finesse the Debt problem as above. That he yet persists in negotiations with an implacable enemy is hauntingly reminiscent of 2010 Obama ACA. With large House & Senate majorities Obama figuratively walked the halls of Congress holding aloft a smoldering copy of the ACA looking for one flipping Republican. Hopefully Diogenes had better luck finding an honest man in the Agora of Athens. When the donor-owners were satisfied that the reduced ACA was profitable to them, it was allowed to pass. And it provided real benefits to 10's of millions of people - but even greater benefits for the already healthy Wealthcare sector.
What has changed? The choice offered by the friendly fascists is between horrific and worse.
The Republican donor-owners see Debt Default as a massive winner. A global economic collapse with austerity imposed on debtor countries, mass migration, mass starvation, stock devaluation, new wars... The uber-wealthy will be competing to become the 1st Trillionaire.
And on the home front Biden would be almost certainly be defeated in 2024.
OTOH The 'negotiated' Debt Ceiling has a certain charm. With 3 to 5 T$ of payola, near complete cancellation of Biden's first 2 years in office, plus starvation of non-productive elders, etc - all of it (correctly) blamed on Biden; it avoids the uncertainty inherent in scrambling the whole world's economy.
And Biden would be almost certainly be defeated in 2024.
Meanwhile negotiations continue. Which suggests that the D donor-owners, same as the R donor-owners, conspire to surround Biden with voices that shun 'creating a Constitutional Crisis'. If D donors intended to win with Biden they'd most certainly be pushing the 14A solution.
My hope of course is in the above argument. That Biden is Constitutionally required to authorize the Treasury to borrow the money already spent. The probability thereof is enhanced by every Congressperson, Nobel Laureate in Economics, Constitutional Law scholar, and every person that endorses it.
And this is an opportunity for Biden to score points - electoral points - by playing the Constitutional solution thusly:
'I have negotiated in good faith with my Republican colleagues. We are now at the point where further delay brings into question the validity of the public debt of the United States. Therefore to assure our trading partners and the stock markets of the integrity of the US dollar I am announcing today that, when Ms Yellen tells me it is time, I will, as required by the Constitution, authorize the Treasury to borrow the funds needed to honor the public debt of the United States authorized by law without interruption. Until that day, in keeping with the tradition of voting in Congress to raise the debt ceiling - as every previous Congress has done - I will continue the good faith negotiations with Republican leadership. I hold that tradition to be valuable reminder that, despite our stark differences, both Parties support the democratic republic that our Constitution creates'
That take-away from this clean resolution of the Debt Ceiling is that every Republican in Congress has shown that themselves to be no more than brutish tax collectors for the Billionaires that run this country; that they will slander the working poor while taking from them food, shelter, healthcare, et.al; all to feed the insatiable greed of the Billionaires who selected them, who financed their elections, and for whom they work.
Excellent journalism in this article; those opening two paragraphs say it all so well. So this Hansen fellow says "soon" sea levels will rise by 60 m. (200 feet) - I'd say that's being conservative. Edgar Cayce saw himself, in a dream, in Nebraska circa 2140, and it was the coastline! All the west coast cities will be under water, not to mention NYC and the east coast cities. That's in just over a hundred years.
What boggles my mind is that most people, unlike most of us that read your blog, don't care. Maybe while they're busy at work it might gain a mention, but as soon as spring break comes, or vacation time, they want that pollution-spewing jet to be there to take them wherever. We just saw, during Covid, what a difference to our environment shutting down the travel industry can have, but as soon as the regulations were lifted, all most folks wanted to do was get back to their polluting ways again.
On top of that, a large part of what's driving the fossil fuel industry now is war, and of course the munitions needed to carry on war. Those tanks and planes are consuming tons of fuel, and that's not even counting the environmental damage all those fires and explosions are doing.
Humans are driving us to extinction by the choices they're making. City folks no longer know or care where their food comes from, and we've long said goodbye to the family farm. Stay well, because you're not going to easily turn this behavior around; all you can do is lessen your misery as much as possible.
Thanks again Thom for such in-depth coverage of a topic that many find very helpful. I've shared it on twitter with the President and Democratic leaders referring to Presidential "Bold, planet-saving, action."
I consider your nationalization of abusive corporation proposal part of Grand New Deal, which I proposed in 2020 after reading Heather Cox Richardson's book, How the South Won the Civil War:
Another potential channel for "accountability" resides in the sec rulemaking proceedings concerning "ESG" investing.
"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."-Aldous Huxley
The opposition thinks we are a bunch of socialists anyway, so why not? That history is a real eye-opener. As you said,Thom, it truly is the end of the world as we know it. We should go after them for damages and get the stock.
Some seem to think there will be winners and losers concerning the climate crisis. A recent article from Bloomberg (Northwest Heat Wave Shows Climate Change Has No Winners) talks about that being wishful thinking.
The biggest loser stateside is eventually going to be Florida. Miami is already seeing what the water rise is doing there. They are also getting saltwater incursion into their freshwater wells. This is what Google says DeSantis's position is: "DeSantis has piloted a new Republican approach to climate change by spending money on climate adaption but not on mitigation. In other words, he has sought to pay for his state to adapt to a changing climate but not to address its greenhouse gas emissions, the root causes of climate change." Ignore the facts, and your kids and grand-kids will have no state to inherit, and they won't be speaking to you in your old age.