Cassandra Rising

Cassandra is rising, folks, and she’s waking me up with her. I’ve been napping for a couple of days, in the bliss of Summer Silly Season, also known as the Oregon Country Fair. But Cassandra’s got me back to work. She tells me in no uncertain terms— This is the time. She’s says it’s time to rise or to fall. She says, “Nancy Pelosi get out of the way! Impeachment can’t wait another day!” Cassandra has an annoying habit of talking in rhymes.

But, whoa, look here. I see Democratic Representative Al Green is going to force another vote on impeachment in the House. Cassandra says he’s gonna get a lot more votes than the last time. And she doesn’t even bother to rhyme.

Yes, this is the time, all right. This is the moment of pride or shame for America, and for all the Congresswomen and Congressmen who have sworn to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States. That Constitution, and the very fabric of our nation, is under a grave threat from the current occupant of the Oval Office. It’s time to kick him out. Or give in to the boot heel of a racist and power-hungry president. This is the time to rise or fall. And for some strange reason, when I say that, Cassandra gives me a little smile. Between her tears.

Yes, folks, it’s time. Because today in P.R. Burn-em’s Two Party Circus, the Dinosaur Democrat Clowns are battling their own evolving new generation, instead of the Orange Tyrannosaur who threatens us all. The Dino Dems are trying to beat their own high-flying children back to the ground. Don’t fly, they say, walk with us in the middle. Because Nancy Pelosi knows the path. You know, the path toward that cliff over there.

Who wins this struggle inside the Democratic Party will determine the future of our world. Because Pelosi’s path is the losing one for us all.

Common Dreams seems to see it my way. And check out the Yeats reference. Cool, dude.

Something like 80 percent of Americans understand that the system is rigged against them and they’re either mad as hell, cynical about politics and politicians, or both.
The angry are full of passionate intensity, and they show up to vote, and they vote for Trump. Many of the cynical and disaffected—most of whom come from the progressive majority—don’t.
Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Steny Hoyer, Joe Biden and the rest of the neoliberal corporatists who are running the Party are feeding this cynicism when they attack progressives, reject ideas like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, and accept money from folks like Goldman Sachs. This same-ol’, same-ol’ business-as-usual approach to politics is likely to lead to a lower turnout in 2020, which is the only scenario that would give Republicans a victory.

And even The Hill’s “Team Rising” thinks Pelosi’s path is failing. (um, really bad name, dudes. How about ‘Cassandra Rising’ to go along with Krystal’s name?) But despite the name thingy I find myself agreeing with Krystal Ball most of the time through this segment. And she even says, “Frickin'” once. That’s fookin’ cool, man. This short segment takes an interesting look at the internecine war within the Dems. Worth a glance.

Yes, Krystal Ball and Team Rising think Pelosi’s way is failing. And, by golly, so do I. Say it with me now, “Dinosaur thinkin’ leads to extinction!” Enough of that path. It’s time to rise.

This next article also makes the key point that it’s the next generation of voters that the Democrats need. Nancy’s Way inspires no one. And Dino Dem thinking is losing those young voters. And some old ones, too! Don’t forget us oldsters! But the younger voters are more important in the long run.

But that’s enough of the Clown Show for today. Let’s turn to the state of the real world, that is to say, the world we humans live inside of, the living world we sometimes label “the environment.”

This is a very interesting look at environmental activism in Europe. “The Coal Mine That Ate Hambacher Forest.”

More than a third of Germany’s electricity is still produced by burning coal – mostly dirty brown lignite – and environmental activists are fighting to change this. A small area of forest not far from the Dutch border has become the focal point of their campaign. …

…They’re here because the Hambi is threatened with total destruction. There’s not much of it left now. The forest sits atop one of the largest coalfields in Europe and since mining started in 1978 the trees have been gradually stripped away to allow the excavators access to the riches that lie beneath – millions of tons of coal, coal that keeps industry running in this part of Germany and provides thousands of people with a living.
To add insult to injury, the coal that is extracted here is brown coal, also known as lignite, which emits particularly high levels of carbon dioxide.

And this study makes a weirdly economic analysis about preventing elephant extinction, but it does show the complexly interlinked nature of the environmental issues facing the world. Extinctions are accelerated by climate change, and extinctions can accelerate climate change. It’s one of them Paradoxes, I suppose.

The extinction of forest elephants could lead to a 7 per cent drop in “aboveground biomass” – the weight of trees including branches and foliage – in western and central African rainforests.

This would mean an extra 3 billion tonnes of harmful carbon entering the atmosphere, Fabio Berzaghi, the lead researcher, told The Independent.

But I want to say, um, what about the elephants themselves? They’re worth something on their own, aren’t they? The whole ‘ecosystem services’ meme about natural systems carries a lot of baggage from the same human-centric machine-thinking that has led to the destruction of natural systems. We can’t save the world with the same thinking that has led us to destroy it. The elephants aren’t here to serve us. It’s the other way around. And if we honor the natural world for itself, preserving it won’t have to be calculated to the percentage. This science just serves to support what is self-evident by observation. Re-wilding leads to diversity and abundance and survival.

But the economic angle is one way to see it. And it is worth looking at things from all sides. You know there’s a financial downside to the climate crisis, don’t you? It’s not that solving it will cause the economic problems. It’s that not responding will cause the financial crisis.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, in a policy statement on June 24, became the latest 2020 candidate to call on the Fed to join the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), a global coalition of 34 central banks and supervisors who are already mobilizing against what they call the systemic financial risk of climate change.
“Without proper incentives and appropriate market structures, corporations could fail to shift their own investments with the scale, speed and awareness which is necessary,” the 30-page document said. “And improperly managed, these climate change damages and the economic shifts they will entail could portend major shocks to financial systems, resulting in economic harm to Americans and others around the globe.”

So, here’s a theoretical question. Would you rather change an addiction, say smoking cigarettes, for example, or would you rather live in an iron lung so that you could continue smoking? How we deal with the inevitable changes in our environment will decide whether we survive them or not.

If we try to “adapt” to the climate crisis only by creating temporary solutions without deep change to the structure of our society and our way of living, we won’t be able to keep up with the coming changes, and they will eventually overwhelm us. Because shallow adaptation won’t slow down the exponential rate of the changing climate, the changes will overwhelm us. We have to make deep change, deep adaptation, real social and philosophical changes in how we live in relation to nature. I hate to break it to Truthout, which I admire greatly. But “clean air spaces” ain’t gonna do the trick, folks. That’s not adaptation. That’s just a band-aid on a deadly wound. And it’s not going to help.

What they’re doing is called “climate adaptation,” says Nate Matthews-Trigg, a health researcher with Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Climate adaptation in the climate change and health field,” he says, “are ways people can change their behavior or their local environment to reduce the impacts of climate change.”
Research shows creating clean air spaces is an adaptation people should take if they can, says Matthews-Trigg. It can be as simple as setting up a room in the house with an air purifier to reduce airborne particulate pollution, as the Stahre family is doing.

I fail to understand why building “clean air spaces” is better than keeping the air clean in the first place. The priority should be stopping the damage we are doing to the world, not just building hiding places from the effects of our ongoing actions. This is what I call “iron-lung smoker’s syndrome”. Where you would rather live in an iron lung in order to keep smoking the cigarettes you are addicted to, rather than just quitting the damn things.

An especially important point in this article is that this type of adaptation favors the privileged classes. The poor can’t afford these “clean air spaces”. And we could never build enough for everybody. Maybe, after the Juliana lawsuit against, the government and fossil fuel industry will have to pay for clean air spaces for everyone….

Environmental and forest sciences professor at the University of Washington, Phillip S. Levin, told Truthout that Black, Latino and Native American communities nationwide face 60 percent greater vulnerability during wildfires compared to other communities.

On Friday, June 21, youth climate strikers stood outside Seattle City Hall, chanting, “When the air we breathe is under attack, what we do? Stand up. Fight back!” They held signs that read, “Our Planet Is on Fire. Smoke Knows No Borders.”

So, why won’t we listen to these Climate Kids, our own evolving, younger generation. Why don’t we act on the climate crisis? Why do we think band-aids will save us from a coming tsunami of change? Why do we refuse to rise? What lies behind Climate Denial Syndrome? This article from Grist digs in to why we believe what we believe about climate. Turns out, for most people, it’s not the science or the government’s stance on the issue that makes up our minds. It’s our friends who shape our climate beliefs. The main take away here? If you love the earth and think humans are causing a climate catastrophe, then talk to your friends about it. That’s the most effective way to spread the word, even though it can be awkward.

Most people aren’t talking about climate change at all, so they’re not part of this feedback cycle. According to the latest surveys from the Yale program, some 37 percent of Americans say they discuss the subject, despite 67 percent saying it’s important to them.

That’s partly because of a sinister phenomenon called the “spiral of silence” — when everyone is quiet, it’s harder to speak up. We fear airing our unpopular ideas would mean losing friends and social status.

But since most people do care about climate change, these concerns may be “misguided,” Goldberg said. Americans estimate that 54 percent of the country accepts the reality of climate change, but in reality, 69 percent does, the Yale surveys show.

Talking about global warming could help close that gap. That task is tougher than it sounds — the science is complicated, and so is the ideological war it’s part of in the United States. But you don’t have to be fluent in the science to discuss climate change, says Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist, in her TED talk about the subject.

Yes, it can be tough to rise, especially from a comfortable sleep. But I’m glad to be back up from my nap, and talking to my friends again about the climate crisis and the two-party circus, from the Side. Thanks for listening, and let me know what you’re thinking about in the comments.

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