Friday, June 2, 2017

In the News: Trump Decision to Exit Paris Accord "One of the Most Ignorant and Dangerous Actions Ever Taken by Any President"

David Roberts

To put it as bluntly as possible: The cosmopolitan progress of the late 20th century is threatened by a tribalist backlash, and if cosmopolitanism doesn't win — if it doesn't regroup, adjust, and reconstitute — we are all screwed. . . . 
The hallmark of tribalism (a term I prefer to "nationalism," as it gets at the deeper roots) is that it views the world in zero-sum terms — if one tribe benefits, it is at another tribe's expense. As has been much remarked (see my post on Trump's mindset), this describes Trump to a tee. He views all interactions, both personal and international, in terms of dominance and submission. 
Tribalism has also entirely subsumed the US conservative movement. The intellectual core has all but rotted; what remains are older, rural and suburban white men and their wives, angry that their tribe is being demoted from its hegemonic position. At a barely beneath-the-surface level, Trumpism is about restoring old hierarchies: the powerful over the powerless, whites over minorities, men over women.

Almost everything Donald Trump and his acolytes do is fueled by the desire to uproot or undo Barack Obama's legacy. . . Trump and his acolytes are primarily motivated by a desire to uproot Obama's legacy however and wherever they can, and can't be bothered to care about the disastrous consequences of doing so. It's the legacy of a destructive loathing being spewed all over the planet by people who have been consuming hate for so long they have nothing else to offer.

As I said, however, these days the fight against climate action is largely driven by sheer spite. 
Pay any attention to modern right-wing discourse — including op-ed articles by top Trump officials — and you find deep hostility to any notion that some problems require collective action beyond shooting people and blowing things up. 
Beyond this, much of today's right seems driven above all by animus toward liberals rather than specific issues. If liberals are for it, they're against it. If liberals hate it, it's good. Add to this the anti-intellectualism of the G.O.P. base, for whom scientific consensus on an issue is a minus, not a plus, with extra bonus points for undermining anything associated with President Barack Obama. 
And if all this sounds too petty and vindictive to be the basis for momentous policy decisions, consider the character of the man in the White House. Need I say more?

"Crimes against humanity" is a phrase to use with caution, but it fits Trump's repudiation of the Paris Accord and indeed his entire climate policy. Timothy Wirth, who as the under secretary of state in the Bill Clinton administration negotiated the Kyoto Protocol that sought to limit global warming, has said that those who deny the well-established science of climate change "ought to be tried for crimes against humanity." Wirth told The Nation after Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Accord that he stood by his remark, adding that the president's action was "a stunning moral abdication of responsibility to future generations." To refuse to act against global warming is to condemn thousands of people to death and suffering today and millions more tomorrow. This is murder, even if Trump’s willful ignorance of climate science prevents him from seeing it. History will not be so blind.

When I say there's nothing in the world like the contemporary Republican Party, I'm being quite literal. . . . 
Our contemporary GOP is only major party in any advanced democracy on the planet to oppose health care coverage as a core benefit of citizenship. It’s the only major party that believes citizens should have largely unfettered access to firearms. 
And it's the only major party to reject the science of climate change and show indifference to the escalating crisis. 
Sure, there are fringe parties in other countries with extremist and regressive agendas, but they tend to be dismissed as cranks and charlatans. In the United States, however, Republicans are ostensibly a governing party – which happens to control the White House, Congress, most of the nation's gubernatorial offices, and most of the nation's state legislatures.

Abby Zimet at Common Dreams

Generations from now, Americans will look back at Donald Trump's decision to leave the Paris Agreement as one of the most ignorant and dangerous actions ever taken by any President. Trump's decision to ignore the vast majority of the American public and the scientific community will harm our country, costing us lives, jobs and our role as a world leader. Trump has isolated our country on the world stage, ceding our leadership position and our economic advantage on clean energy to India and China, and justifying it all by chanting a slogan from a baseball hat.

The Rose Garden's dumbest moment on record.  
It used to be the young bucks and their T-bones, or the welfare queen with her Cadillac, who were leeching off good, hard-working Real Americans. It turns out Ronald Reagan was modest. On Thursday, in a speech that was such a towering pile of complete horseshit that it may well reach the moon, President* Donald Trump told the country that the rest of the world is now the craftiest welfare queen of them all. 
I didn't think he could top his ghastly American Carnage inaugural address for sheer fact-free and paranoiac mendacity, but he managed to do it on Thursday. By announcing that the United States was withdrawing from the groundbreaking Paris Accords regarding the world climate crisis, the president* wallowed in rank, xenophobic victimhood while basking in the scattered applause of the otherwise unemployable yahoos whose self-respect is sufficiently low that they still work for him. Any doubt that Steve Bannon is running this White House now, either personally or through his finger-puppet, obvious anagram Reince Priebus, now has evaporated. The transformation of the American government into a Breitbart comments thread is complete. 
It was appalling. It was condescending. It was awful content delivered by a dolt who wouldn't know the Paris Accords from a baguette without the shoddy talking points that someone put in front of him.

Donald Trump is making a death bet on climate change. The president is 70 years old and he just doesn't care about what the world will be like three decades from now. By 2050 he, personally, will be gone, so why should he care about anyone or anything in a future that he will not, personally, live to see? 
The idea of a death bet is as vile as it is simple. Live large and indulge yourself, free of all responsibility, paying for it all with debt that won’t come due until after you, personally, are dead. This screws over your heirs, and your creditors, and everyone else who is not you. But, hey, what do you care? You'll be dead. 
Most non-sociopaths find such reasoning reprehensible because most non-sociopaths find "screw everybody else" to be an ugly, ignoble and immoral principle to live by. Even many otherwise self-centered and self-absorbed people tend to avoid the solipsistic monstrosity of a death bet because they retain some measure of concern for their own, personal children. 
Donald Trump apparently doesn't.

And as Fred adds, it's not merely Trump who's making this death bet and mortgaging the future for the world's children: his white evangelical base is right there with him, throwing pseudo-biblical fuel on the fire of ecological conflagration and jubilating that the sooner the end comes, the sooner Jesus will return to "rapture" them.

Once again: older white Americans who managed to convince yourselves due to your appetite for a steady stream of fake news that Hillary Clinton was evil and Donald Trump was "pro-life": your vote for Donald Trump has mortgaged your children's future, and the future of your children's children. Are you happy that you made this choice and claimed you were acting in God's name and demonstrating "pro-life" values by making it?

If so, you seem to have a remarkable ability to deceive yourselves about who you are and what you stand for — and who Mr. Trump is and what he stands for.

*For some reason, this article is now returning an "access denied" message when I click on it. It was up and running earlier today, and I'm including it now in the hope that whatever glitch is creating the error message will be resolved.

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