3 Things

Moving above the headlines...

The government shutdown (for now) is over.  Roger Stone is under indictment for obstruction, proving (at least to a grand jury) that collusion with Russia did, indeed, exist.  New candidates declaring for the presidency in 2020 are struggling for air time amidst
a runaway news flow. 

This morning, I’m thinking on a higher level…

(1) Warfare.  While we continue to waste obscene amounts of tax dollars on weapons that will never be used, the battlefield has conclusively moved online—and so far, Russia is winning.  The Stone indictment lays out a legal case that suggests the Soviet government worked with the Trump campaign via Wikileaks to sink Hillary.  But that’s hardly news to most people, since Trump had publicly invited it.  Russia also conducted similar electoral mischief to the original Brexit vote in the UK.  Was Merkel’s departure in Germany…and Macron’s current problems in France…also spurred by the Soviets? 

While America should be confronting, we are cowering.  Sanctions against Russia are being softened…or eliminated.  Are we still the home of the brave?
 
(2) Wealth.  In the 2016 campaign season, people who favored Trump had a clear second choice.  Obviously, it wasn’t Hillary.  But neither was it another Republican.  The guy they liked second-best was Bernie Sanders.  Which raises the question: what is it that combines the appeal of the corrupt-est capitalist and the scruffiest socialist?  The answer wasn’t hard to find.  Pollsters just asked them.  It was resentment over how the very wealthiest of Americans were violating the lower class…and exterminating the middle class.  Income equality was the name of the game back then, and it still is now

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Kardashia) is annoying on several levels—but she’s also often right.  A 70% tax on the very wealthiest in our country (as long as it taxes wealth, and not just income) is exactly the kind of argument the Democrats, and the rest of the county, should be having.  Right answer?  Maybe, maybe not.  Right question?  Absolutely.
 
 
(3) Climate.  As I write this, the forecast today for us in the dreary Northwest is pure sunshine, and temperatures in the 50’s.  In January.  Dallas is also supposed to stay in the 50’s.  And so is Orlando, along with a 100% chance of rain.  I know all of this is meaningless if you’re in Boston or Chicago, bracing for another “life-threatening” frostbite blast later this week. 

To this point, it’s been possible to dismiss all this as just an anomaly, or a small sample size.  But this time it’s different.  There are pictures; there is evidence.  Thermal imaging shows the polar vortex—that cyclone of air that revolves high up in the atmosphere above the North Pole—has broken apart, with a section of it headed south over the U.S. 

One hundred and ninety-five nations signed the Paris Accord in 2015, a first step in trying to save Earth's climate.  Of those, only one—the U.S., the world’s second largest polluter—refused to sign.  Trump said it put too many onerous regulations on business.  And he continues to mock “global warming” when things are so cold. 

Maybe he should check the weather in Australia.Record breaking heat this month has killed at least 40 wild horses. Fruit on the vine is “burning from the inside." Temperatures have reached 121 degrees.
 
This is the right-wing horror show—maybe Al Gore was right.