Thursday, July 26, 2012

The New Law of Nature

The truth is palpable, overwhelming, scorching, toxic and virulent.

In the 2006 documentary, Al Gore, in a calculated understatement, called it “inconvenient.”

Today is it undeniable to the vast majority. Tomorrow it will be undeniable even to today’s deniers.

Chief among the deniers are our two major presidential candidates, both of whom depend on contributors addicted to carbon-fuel-derived profit and greed. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, coupled with Congress and the majority of congressional candidates, lack any political incentive to act. They are focused on November and money.

They need to be focused on NOW and muster the will to speak and act now. Imagine them standing together on the same podium, united in word and action.

It would take courage; it won’t happen.

The political problem goes beyond money and greed. To bring about needed change, the political establishments (here AND abroad) must demand that each of us change radically. The laws required would be draconian. Forget “personal freedom,” at least as we know it.

Here in America, we don’t do draconian, at least not on ourselves. We do draconian in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Africa — any place the oil or coal or uranium is. Sometimes— because the resources are hidden away — our draconian measures are done here at home, in the aquifers of the Great Plains or the watersheds of Appalachia or the Gulf Coast or the Alaska wilderness.

The victims are the poor and nature.

The Climate Change we are coming to know results from another, countervailing draconian law — a New Law of Nature. It can’t be ruled unconstitutional. It can't be amended. There will be no filibusters or cloture.

It will force change on us whether we or our leaders like it or not.

Many are already thirsty and starving. Soon the effects will hit and further shrink the middle class. Eventually it will strike even the plutocrats and oligarchs. It will burst their bubbles of isolation and privilege.  It will breach their security gates and go undetected by their surveillance cameras. There will be no new mansions to flee to. The greedy will be stranded on a dying planet of dust, drought and desolation.

Is there nothing we can do? Elections won’t help (see above.) There are changes that each of us can make as individuals, and many are. Most of us aren’t doing enough, not nearly enough. And the hour is late.

We have in our Quaker congregation a group that calls itself “The Global Coolers.” Others rightly can call themselves by that name, but the large majority of us are “Global Warmers,” or, worse, “Global Kool-Aiders.”

The Coolers, and others, try to raise our awareness. Some ride bikes. Some eat less. Their food  comes from nearby. They switch off lights and appliances. They install solar panels.

They are too few in number. But they may be the saved among the human species, for the survivors will be those willing and able to live with the least.

It all sounds vaguely, and profoundly, biblical.

NEXT: Cracking the political nut....

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mitt Romney's "born in Kenya" problem

Psssst! Pass the word: It is widely rumored that for eight years during the ‘80s and ‘90s, Mitt Romney paid no taxes.

Not a dime.

When he did pay, his tab was miniscule, thanks to accounts in the Cayman Islands and Swiss banks.


I don’t know, but pass the word, unfounded as it is — at least so far. It might force the Romney campaign to reveal a very different Mitt Romney from the one concocted for public consumption.

Remember how the Right-wing "Birthers" spread the rumor that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and hence ineligible to be President? It took the President’s Hawaiian birth certificate to put an end to the guilty-until-proven-innocent campaign.

Since The Right seems to accept the tactic as legitimate, could it be time to use it  to smoke out Romney’s tax returns?

Ethical  question: Do the ends justify the means?

There are a couple of key differences: the Birthers knew their claim was false. That's not so with the speculation regarding Romney. Moreover, the Birthers sole aim was to spread the rumor and get people to believe it. Here the aim is to get Romney to make his tax returns public in order to get at a truth.

My guess — and it is only a guess — is that the tax returns could well support the allegation.  That’s why Romney has that deer-in-the-headlights look when asked to lay out his tax filings.

Why the reluctance to go public with the returns?

Could it be that if Romney’s returns are ever made available, his pursuit of the presidency will be over?

PS There’s something about all this reminiscent of Leona Helmsley, the billionaire convicted of tax evasion in 1989. She infamously said, “"We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes...."

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