Sunday, June 4, 2017

Disgruntled Dictators And The Assholes Who Love Them

For decades experts have explained, over and over, that the science of climate change is incontrovertible, the consequences of blindly sticking with fossil fuels is catastrophic while the costs of inaction are far higher than switching to a low-emissions economy.
But these facts have had no impact on assholes, who cling to a worldview where they find “alternative facts”, where fossil fuels are erroneously believed to be the only path to prosperity. In this fantasy, the mounting environmental and economic evidence to the contrary is merely a kind of dastardly plot.

In Australia,  former PM, Tony Abbott’s economic adviser Maurice Newman believed climate change was invented by the United Nations to hook unsuspecting nations into some 'new world order' which would end  “capitalism and freedom”.
In the US, Donald Trump claims climate science is a “hoax” propagated by the Chinese to undermine the US while the rest of the world rolls around laughing. Trump's idiotic decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord is a major victory for assholes. If anything of a positive nature can be associated with this moronic event, it may just push the politicians, scientists, business leaders and economists; who have grown weary from all these years of talking to the hand to unite and double the efforts before a point of no return is reached. It may galvanize activists and voters to respond. Let's hope so, because now it is clearer than ever that the economic interests Trump claims to defend can only be served by acting on global warming. It is way past time to speak some more loud, blunt truth to arguments this stupid.

To make the ridiculous case that abandoning Paris was good for the US economy, Trump didn’t just have to ignore science, but also the pleading of the US business community he pretends to defend – the 630 business leaders who wrote to him in January demanding that he keep Barack Obama’s climate plan and stick with the Paris deal, and the long list of businesses and business leaders who have attacked his decision, including the chief executives of Tesla, Goldman Sachs and Disney and companies including Nike, BP, IBM, Apple, Google, Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe, Morgan Stanley, Unilever and Mars. The sad truth is, he has clear evidence that renewable energy jobs in the US are booming and  his ill-considered campaign promises on coal industry jobs are absurd and impossible. The contentious job figures he advanced to make his case for abandoning Paris came from one study by NERA, an economic consulting firm ranked 37th which made some highly questionable assumptions to reach its conclusions, including that it admits it did “not take into account potential benefits from avoided emissions or economic gains from green energy industies”. This is like suggesting one shouldn't get an education because it costs money, while not revealing the economic benefit of having an education.

In the real-world, evidence is very different.  In the past 3 years alone, in the U.S. the increase in employment in solar energy companies is more than double the total jobs in the coal industry, which inevitably will decline even further as demand continues to diminish. Fewer and fewer communities condone coal burning power plants regardless of what Trump says or does. He may as well promise to get people jobs as steam train drivers...there's not realistically much demand, and if you ARE going to invest in trains, (actually a great idea) why wouldn't you utilize the most efficient modern designs that are available as opposed to designs from the 1800s? Why wouldn't you use the frictionless magnetic tracks? Why opt for a 35 mph inefficient engine over one that can travel 200 mph and uses little energy? Answer: No sane person would.  With this act, Trump absolutely cemented his place in history as the absolute worst president of the US ever. No one else even comes within miles of this chicanery.

If you searched for "asshole" on Twitter, @realDonaldTrump is the first thing that popped up. In fact, Donald Trump's account was the first thing that displayed when you searched the word fascist, bigot, racist, or asshole on Twitter until recently.  Those results were driven by a search algorithm. Twitter responded to complaints from the White House by manually removing those links. But face it, one would have to be a Grade-A Jumbo asshole if even a computer algorithm can see it.
All joking aside, you only have to watch Trump for a minute or so to understand he's a master A-hole. No surprise, as all totalitarians are masters of assholery. It's in the DNA of all autocrats.

But how does such a major-league asshole like Trump actually become president? There's only one answer, and it should worry all decent people. Nearly half the voting public are assholes too.This is the problem that truly vexes me and decent people everywhere. While it's unlikely Trump will finish his term, (but even if he does, he WILL be gone), the people who voted for him will not be.
Without exception, all of Trump’s hard-core supporters are real assholes because they admire a major asshole. Die-hard Trump supporters are almost all identity Republicans, who are assholes because intransigent adherence to a "philosophy" of government based on greed, selfishness, belligerence, and winning power at any cost is certainly something only an asshole would like.
That's about 35% of voters.
Those who made up the difference that got Trump to 47% of the vote—barely enough to win the electoral college on technicality—are also assholes. There is no way they could miss the fact that Trump was a flaming asshole throughout the election process—but they voted for him anyway.
It doesn't matter what the reason was—whether it was despair, misogyny, or anarchism that drove them to make the mark near Trump's name. The point is that they were willing to put the lives of their fellow citizens, and indeed the fate of the world in the hands of an unstable, vicious, ignoramus.
That is a complete asshole move, whatever the motive.
So the vexing question is: Can America survive with so many assholes among its citizens?
The short answer is No.

Asshole-Americans tend to be selfish, arrogant, devoid of introspection, belligerent, tyrannical, grievance-filled, bullying, self-justifying, boorish, angry, incapable of self criticism , vulgar, fearful, and ultimately delusional people.
Watch any film of a Trump campaign rally and you'll see them acting out these traits.
(If you voted for Trump and don’t see yourself as having those tendencies, look in the mirror more closely. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll find at least one.)
If you were to sum up that list of attributes in one word that relates to politics, it would be anti-social. Assholes hate government because they are anti-social. They don't care about anyone but themselves.
They have no desire to work together to solve problems.
They dislike anyone who isn't like them, and that's a death-wish for any civil society.

Is there any cause for hope to exist? I wish I could tell you yes, but the truth is it's only a "maybe".
It may not be possible to reach these assholes before they remove the last means of affecting public policy. How might we turn the horrendous situation we are now facing around?
This situation in which assholes, even though they are still a minority, hold all the reins of power?
Time is running out,  they are working to remove entirely civilization's last means of controlling them—the vote. Assholes have already made great strides in preventing decent and disadvantaged people from voting. They will go even further now that there is no force to stop them from closing polling places, passing extremely restrictive voting hurdles into law, and pumping money into disinformation campaigns.

The window is closing. The last remaining chance to escape from becoming a totalitarian neo-fascist state is the 2018 midterm elections. There were about 24 million young people who didn't vote in 2016. If only half of them would come out in 2018 to vote against assholes—especially those who live in red counties that went for Trump—their votes would swamp even the most robust Asshole-American turnout. Keep in mind, these assholes only got to 47% with the help of people who are not die-hard assholes—people who, for some reason, imagined that electing a major asshole wouldn't destroy us all. If some of them realize their error of judgment and vote like the decent citizens they probably are at heart, perhaps...maybe—despite all odds—we can put a stop to Trump's assholery by removing asshole control of the House of Representatives. Having one check on Trump's powers would be enough.
This is about the only hope there is for the US as we have known it. Maybe humankind itself.