Thursday, June 01, 2017

"Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." On Trump And Climate.

That (from the Bible, of all things) is the proper interpretation of Trump's decision to drag the US out of the Paris climate accord.  It's the refusal to consider the lives of future generations, even the lives of Trump's own grandchildren or their children, perhaps because Trump agrees with Louis XV (or Madame Pompadour) that whatever happens after his death is of no consequence:  Après nous le déluge.

It's a big fuck-you gesture to those who worry about the giant refugee floods which will follow when parts of the world become uninhabitable or incapable of feeding their populations.  And it's a humongous fuck-you to the "elites", the experts (i.e., those who have actually studied something), and anyone who didn't vote for Trump.

Coal will not return to Pittsburgh, even though Trump uttered this inanity:

“It is time to put Youngstown, Ohio, Detroit, Mich., and Pittsburgh, Pa., along with many, many other locations within our great country before Paris, France,” he said. “It is time to make America great again.”

It is an inanity because the Paris climate accord is not about the city of Paris at all.  It is about this planet, and Trump pretends to put the towns of Youngstown, Detroit and Pittsburgh ahead of all humankind. 

And it is also an inanity, because many more jobs are lost for other reasons than the climate accord,  in other industries, such as retail.  But those jobs are not the types of manly-man jobs the Republicans like to use as political bait.

So let's eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.  At least the capitalists can make money by selling us our last dinners, on styrofoam plates.

Trump's stupidity is a scourge in itself, but the implications of his behavior, including this most recent travesty, are much more serious:

Those who used to be the allies of the United States now receive Trump's wrath, those who do not have the best interests of Western liberalism* in mind now receive his praise and his submission.  The risks in international politics are rising, and the principles of democracy are losing.

It is that possibly terminal illness of the basic values of democracies that still horrifies me:  The world has turned its face toward fascism, religious extremism and radical klepto-capitalism, and enough people in the world like what they see there.

Stephen Bannon, a white male supremacists who is now the main strategist of this country and who wishes to destroy the administrative state (to replace it with what? anarchy?) is one of those people.  The linked New York Times article notes that it's his sweaty fingerprints we can see in Trump's climate decision:

The president’s decision was a victory for Stephen K. Bannon, his chief strategist, and Scott Pruitt, his Environmental Protection Agency administrator, both of whom had argued forcefully to abandon the global agreement in favor of a clean break that would clear the way for a new environmental approach.
But let's not just demonize Bannon (though he hardly needs external help in that).  Let's also note that most Republicans applauded Trump's decision.  It is, of course, a victory, if one's goals are only about oneself and only about short-term selfish satisfactions.


* By that term in this post I mean countries which are, at least in theory,  built on basic concepts of fairness and equality: universal suffrage, freedom of speech and the media, equal treatment of the sexes and the races, full protection for sexual minorities and legal systems which provide citizens with basic safety nets and rein in the worst aspects of capitalism.