Crimes and Misdemeanors

There are crimes, and then there are crimes.

Americans are currently fixated on the antics of a deranged President and the (almost daily) revelations of his closest associates’ corrupt and criminal behaviors. I’m certainly not immune, as anyone who regularly reads this blog can tell.

The problem is, while we are all distracted by the grade-B gangster movie taking place in and around the Oval Office, we’ve lost focus on what is surely the most egregious and damaging crime of all: the administration’s war on science and its sabotage of the fight against climate change, subjects I touched on yesterday.

We are already seeing the effects of our warming planet, but an irrational administration (populated with ex-lobbyists for fossil fuels and religious extremists who reject not only climate science but the theory of evolution) is intent upon rolling back even modest efforts  to move America away from greenhouse-gas-producing energy sources.

A consortium of scientists and environmental organizations is trying to re-focus our attention on the urgent need to move to clean energy–and the imperative of addressing what is clearly the largest challenge we face. 350.org, the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Jobs for Justice and several other organizations are sponsoring nationwide “Rising for Climate” demonstrations on September 8th.

Indiana’s march will begin at the Statehouse at 10:00 a.m. The announcement points up Indiana’s “contribution” to the problem.

We, the people, are running out of time. Join us on September 8, 2018 to demand our elected officials take urgent action on human-driven climate change, protecting our health, moving to 100% renewable energy and creating local, equitable jobs for our city, state, country and planet.

Indiana is home to five of the top 22 worst greenhouse gas and toxic super polluter coal plants in the nation. Indiana is the second largest source of industrial greenhouse-gas emissions in the United States and exceed those from 187 countries (more info at www.superpolluters.com). The time to act is now.

We rise in solidarity on Sept. 8 with communities across the globe. We march in advance and in support of the Global Climate Summit in San Francisco. Elected officials in Indiana, hear our message: take action now.

The time for empty declarations of intent and unreasonable transition timelines has closed. It is time to make Indiana fossil-free and create sustainable, equitable jobs!

The march will end at Christ Church Cathedral, and will be followed by a Community Forum beginning at 11:30 AM.

Will these marches change the retrograde policies being pursued by people in the pockets of fossil fuel interests? Of course not. What they will do, however, is what the Women’s March(es) did: focus voters’ attention on important issues, and send lawmakers the message that millions of Americans care deeply about the environment and will vote to punish a criminal unwillingness to protect it. Marches will encourage further activism. They will encourage people who care about the environment to run for office.

And they will promote solidarity, and encourage people who may feel that they are lonely voices for sanity, by providing evidence that they are not alone.

What’s the old saying? A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step?

If you can, take a step. Rise for Climate on September 8th.

 

14 thoughts on “Crimes and Misdemeanors

  1. I’ll be there in spirit.

    This: “Indiana is home to five of the top 22 worst greenhouse gas and toxic super polluter coal plants in the nation. Indiana is the second largest source of industrial greenhouse-gas emissions in the United States and exceeds those from 187 countries (more info at http://www.superpolluters.com). ”

    I’ve written numerous articles about our pollution problem in Indiana making IDEM and our GOP majority statehouse the most corrupt group to ever serve Hoosiers.

    It’s not just the environment suffering, Hoosiers are experiencing a lower quality of life and in many cases, premature deaths.

    I hope these groups address the public health crisis our pollution creates. And toss in our poor yet expensive healthcare system and it appears that someone has decided that Hoosiers are expendable.

    Any idea how much a lifetime of inhalers cost families whose kids become asthmatic because of our air pollution?

    We’re killing off Hoosiers and/or bankrupting them in the process. The time for honorable discourse has long since passed. Our problems aren’t some randomly created issues. They are being done intentionally for corporate profits.

    These corporations are killing Hoosiers for profit.

  2. I have thought for many years now that violations of environmental regulations should be criminalized. I think back to that day when chemical sewage was dumped into the White River killing everything in the river from Muncie to downstream of Indy. No one went to prison. How different would things be today if we had pushed our government to take a different course back then?

  3. Almost daily we read reports from other countries and cities of goals proposed AND achieved designed to alleviate the effects of burning fossil fuels. China has mobilized its army to plant trees. Japan for over a century has increased its forests: 74% of its land mass is forested. Increasing numbers of cities in Europe rely solely on clean energy. Readers of this blog know this. We are still a minority. Show up on Sept. 8.

  4. I hope the weather is wonderful on the day of the march for those who are able to attend.

    For those who may be interested in contacting the most vile defender of pollution at our state house his name is Dave Wolkins and the phone numbers for his office are: 317-234-9028 | 1-800-382-9841.

    He is the Indiana State Chair for ALEC and is against any type of regulations that would ensure clean air and water. He works very hard for the Koch brothers.

    However, I believe he just might listen to citizens if enough of them call his office to voice their opposition to his attempts to deregulate our environment.

  5. Science is one thing I never take my eyes off of. I’m not a scientist and I don’t play one on TV, but I’ve had the privilege of working with scientists for many years. It would be nice if those institutions granting degrees could take them back from those who are embarrassments to their reputations, like those few scientist who deny climate change. It should be noted that most of those few actually work for the fossil fuel industries and they cherry pick their data to keep their paychecks.

  6. Theresa @ 7:52 am, very good observation.

    It is all about Externalization of Corporate Costs and laying them on the greater society. The word Externalities had to be invented to recognize this activity as defined as a side effect or consequence of an industrial or commercial activity that affects other parties without this being reflected in the cost of the goods or services involved.

    A good example of Externalities, not being recognized in it’s cost is coal. Coal Miners can and develop Black Lung, which carries with it medical costs, disability, probably welfare for the families of these miners. The mineral and chemical waste is diverted into our rivers and streams. Toxic chemicals are released into the atmosphere during the combustion process and finally the coal ash must be buried. The interests and the profits from coal depend upon lax regulations.

    Solar and wind power do not have these Externalities that coal has.

    If for some reason the law in those rare cases catches up with the Corporation, the stock-holders and CEO’s are insulated, they took the profits, but now the corporation can declare bankruptcy. See the Pence Family >> Cleanup of Pence family gas stations cost Indiana more than $20 million http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-pence-family-gas-stations-indiana-20180713-story.html

    The Moody Blues song from 1970 or so – How is we are Here, laid it out:
    Men’s mighty mine-machines digging in the ground,
    Stealing rare minerals where they can be found.
    Concrete caves with iron doors, bury it again,

    For roughly 150 years Corporations had their way with the environment from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution until 1970 or so when the EPA came into being. We are still cleaning their mess up, or burying it.

  7. Todd > “And toss in our poor yet expensive healthcare system and it appears that someone has decided that Hoosiers are expendable.

    Any idea how much a lifetime of inhalers cost families whose kids become asthmatic because of our air pollution?

    We’re killing off Hoosiers and/or bankrupting them in the process.”
    ***
    Todd, our military has developed a name for this “Collateral Damage”. “Collateral Damage” is when we bomb some place and there are civilian casualties – Too Bad, So Sad.

    Corporate “Collateral Damage” is not so blatant as bodies torn apart. That Cancer Cluster, oh blame it on the Proles Life Styles, if you you can even get a timely government response.

    Good article in the Guardian today:
    French environment minister quits live on radio with anti-Macron broadside.
    Nicolas Hulot announced his departure after the government said it would relax hunting laws, a measure aimed at boosting Macron’s appeal in rural areas, but seen by environmentalists as caving in to the powerful hunting lobby.

    Under the changes, hunting licences would be cheaper and more species could be shot, sparking outrage among campaigners for the protection of birds. Hulot said lobbies had too much power over the French government.

    Hulot had also sought a legal ban on the controversial weedkiller glyphosate but was overruled by the agriculture ministry, which preferred negotiating directly with farmers and industry.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/28/french-environment-minister-quits-live-on-radio-with-anti-macron-broadside
    =========================

    On one hand it is disappointing to read about the World Wide reach of yahoos and yo-yo’s but it is encouraging to read about a courageous person standing up.

  8. Todd and Monotonous – Ditto! Corporate America seems to think “the commons” belong to them and don’t mind killing people for profit. GRRR! Yes to Sheila’s plea for a public outcry to save what is left of our environment and, as for me, I am ready to impose those (per Republican talk) burdensome rules and regulations on polluters. These “commons” belong to all the people and to just keep spewing out poison while labeling such acts as mere externalities has passed. It is time to stop the externalities – past time.

  9. Agent Orange even put a name on his vision for America. He would like to turn our country into a “shithole” to compete with other ”shithole countries” for better serving oligarchs like he and his boss Putin.

    What better way than appoint a cabinet of oligarch servers as corrupt, incompetent and incorrigible as himself.

    Putin loves stupidity. It’s so easy to mold.

    On the other hand reality is so inflexible. It holds humans accountable with almost imaginable consequences.

    What the oligarchy team is hoping is that a quick strike will let them get in and out with all the loot before reality retaliates leaving behind a shithole world that oligarchs, the new aristocracy, can isolate themselves in palaces built by slaves.

  10. We cannot just criticize the current administrations’ of Indiana and the federal government for their poor policies.

    Somehow we have to create a green economy that allows corporations to make a healthy profit and yet sustains both the earth’s ecosystems and the middle class.

    What we need are policies in our state and federal government that will make it economically viable for corporations to go green. We need to make it attractive to them.

    I now have to pay 50 dollars more to the BMV just because I purchased a hybrid car. That’s not a policy that encourages people to go green. We have a 24 million dollar surplus in the Indiana budget. I suggest the state find ways to encourage people to get hybrid cars and invite manufacturers into the state who make them! And how do we do that? Well the corporations can get a tax break and maybe people who buy hybrids should get some kind of tax deduction since we have such a huge surplus. In the mean time, I’m trying to drive LESS to offset the additional 50 dollar charge since I had to enroll in social security this year instead of waiting till I am 70. That means I am shopping less as well. Maybe all of us could offset their bad policies by driving less and consuming less as best as we can.

    I recycle and my lawn power tools use batteries or electricity, not gas or oil. I cannot in good conscience point my finger at those who deny climate change if I am not changing what I do to be more green.

    I hope to go the the march on Sept 8th.

    Anyone else have some positive ideas for policies that support the economy and sustaining the earth? Anyone else want to share how they are practicing conservation of the earth?

  11. Another article from the Guardian:
    Air pollution causes ‘huge’ reduction in intelligence, study reveals
    Impact of high levels of toxic air ‘is equivalent to having lost a year of education’

    Air pollution causes a “huge” reduction in intelligence, according to new research, indicating that the damage to society of toxic air is far deeper than the well-known impacts on physical health.

    The research was conducted in China but is relevant across the world, with 95% of the global population breathing unsafe air. It found that high pollution levels led to significant drops in test scores in language and arithmetic, with the average impact equivalent to having lost a year of the person’s education.

    “Polluted air can cause everyone to reduce their level of education by one year, which is huge,” said Xi Chen at Yale School of Public Health in the US, a member of the research team. “But we know the effect is worse for the elderly, especially those over 64, and for men, and for those with low education. If we calculate [the loss] for those, it may be a few years of education.”

    Previous research has found that air pollution harms cognitive performance in students, but this is the first to examine people of all ages and the difference between men and women.

    The damage in intelligence was worst for those over 64 years old, with serious consequences, said Chen. They found the longer people were exposed to dirty air, the bigger the damage to intelligence, with language ability more harmed than mathematical ability and men more harmed than women.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/aug/27/air-pollution-causes-huge-reduction-in-intelligence-study-reveals
    ======================================================
    This is Science, so it would have no place in the policies of President Agent Orange or Pastor Pence. For President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence this could be a great piece of news – more pollution means intelligence is harmed and probably cogitative abilities, which is precisely what they would want.

    Maybe this is why we keep sending empty suits like Dan Quayle and Pastor Pence to Washington as Indiana is known for it’s pollution.

  12. Below I copied and pasted two paragraphs I just received from my best friend, Ruth Priest, since 1953 at Tech High School. The paragraphs are about The Nation cruise to Alaska she just returned from, her 3rd or 4th Nation cruise. She has been a political activist for almost 60 years in the San Francisco area; her comment that she didn’t learn much from Mr. Klare about climate change is no reflection on him; that is one area of her political expertise. She has studied, written about and fought nuclear deployment for many years. Eleven years ago she was arrested and jailed briefly for Civil Disobedience/Trespass for refusing to leave Rep. Honda’s office after an anti-war protest with other member of “Raging Grannies”. She also spent time on this cruise with Joan Walsh of CNN and John Fuglesang who, in addition to being a top rate comedian, is also an expert on religion and shared his knowledge regarding the current dilemma in our evangelical ruling party. Just wanted to share because I thought you would be interested in hearing from someone who heard it directly from a few of those who have the facts.

    “One panel was on gun violence. We got all the statistics, of course. But Ruth Messinger, a politician from New York, said manufacturers could make guns that won’t fire unless it detects the owner’s fingerprints. But since there is no demand for them, they don’t make ’em. She suggested that we create the demand by asking our city councils to require the police department to buy those safe guns. If cities do that, it creates sufficient demand that the gun companies will start making them. Then when the democrats come into power they can outlaw any gun that isn’t safe.

    We also had one expert, Michael Klare, talk about climate change. I didn’t learn much, but he did confirm my fears about the melting of the permafrost and release of methane. He said that’s a huge threat. That’s what I thought, but I was at a party talking about this when the person I was talking to said cows release more methane than the permafrost. However, this is not true. Yes, beef cattle do release a huge amount but the permafrost will release much more.”

  13. Pusillanimous: Showing ignoble cowardice, or contemptible timidity.
    Bobble-Headed Mike Pence, one of Trump’s Best People.
    Vote BLUE to oust the disgraceful GOP Congress November 6th.

  14. JoAnn Green. Im frustrated with arguments that point to other polluters with the unstated leitmotif “why should we manage our pollution when others continue to pollute?” And that reining in the US polluters will be ineffective because “China” or some other polluter will continue to pollute. But the US is a major polluter and we are running out of time. The world is already looking at 2.5 temperature increase. What to do?

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