Pardon Me, Which Way is Backward?”

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Been quiet on the Jersey shorefront lately. As a faithful fighter for the progressive cause, I’m witness to the same unfolding madness as all of you. We’ve now arrived at, and in relatively short order, an incredible confluence of events. Let’s unpack the largest calamities while also highlighting the noisemakers that distract.

The man in the White House, dis-affectionately Mr. Drumpf, carnival barks to his loyal followers. All unfavorable news is a sham, climate science is a Chinese head fake and he, Drumpf, is victim of such hatred because he’s so damn rich, famous, and well-endowed (hands check, please).

Hillary haters, stay united! Who cares the election was 4-months ago? That campaign was fun! And while we’re at it, all you faithful GOP-ers line up & shut up. Your chance to kiss the ring awaits, but first, show me your obedience. Start with a Fox News interview.

Nearly forgotten are the 2 attempts at legalized discrimination disguised as Executive Orders, a.k.a. The Muslim Ban. Cheers to our federal courts, the one leg of the governmental trilogy that seems firm. The “America first” fakery is called out for its blatant truth: RACISM. So far, we’ve dodged a bullet to the heart of what it means to be the United States of America. Sadly and angrily, we cannot say the same for the plight of individuals, heroes and families trying to escape violence. To music I turn. TY RZA.

The AHCA, also known as TrumpCare or Ryan’s ticket to hell, crashed and burned. From this legislative embarrassment squeaks a hint of good news. America is unwilling to sign up for a plan that blatantly injures the weak while enriching the wealthy. Good on you, America, even the ignorant Drumpf voter gave this idea the heave-ho. TY Jared Bernstein for your take on this trump-ian failure.

Russia, say what? Ignore the blaring signals of collusion. Please, pay no attention to Sauron’s soldiers – names like Flynn, Manafort, Page, Sessions, and now, Kushner – who ploy direct links (and recorded conversations) to various and sundry oligarchs, spies, and ambassadors of Russian borscht. Drumpf leaks now a running stream, pee-like. Turncoats line up at Rep Adam Schiff’s door; take a number.

Drumpf family hubris in a single thought: One by one, they have each confirmed their first-class seat on the speedboat that’s soon to crash on the shores of Guantanamo.

But these are NOT the reasons I write. Nearly sixty days since my last post, my fingers alight over Drumpf’s shamelessly titled, “Energy Independence” executive order. This EO takes direct aim at President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). EPA chief and chief knuckle-dragger Scott Pruitt is now in charge of dismantling, withdrawing, and rewriting the policies of CPP.

From the largest ISS (that’s International Space Station…) peripheral overview, climate is intrinsically linked with the animal and plant world. And for millennia, species-human ruled the land, sea and air. We, collectively, extracted as we pleased. Mama Nature periodically bit back, but never enough to curtail our taking trends.

Over the past few decades, the scales have tipped toward Her. She’s had enough, wants to kick our whiny little asses out to pasture, into extinction. And she can, as she persists.

Drumpf continues to hoodwink the GOP base, while the top 5% of our country (who voted red) are “all-in” on the con. UNDERSTAND THAT HE, AND HIS PROFIT-PIGS AND NIHILISTS, care not a lick about you, me, or the climate. Money and power are their ONLY goal: take more, give less. Your health, wealth, fresh air & clean water get the wink & nod. All the world, and the majority of Americans, know this.

So, what are we – Progressive USA – gonna do about it? Thanks to a number of leaders in Washington D.C., shout-outs to Representative Adam Schiff, my new heroine Sally Yates, and the stalwart media voice of Rachel Maddow, the underpinnings of redirecting our country are taking hold.

And for a serious environmental and climate shout-out, look no further than EnviroNews. They have got our backs, with investigative reporting that calls out the killers and polluters embedded in politics and business.

With each passing day, things are going to get exponentially more difficult before the ship is righted, or “left-ed.” Ya, I’m not looking to give a lick of literal credit to any red-sniveling fool.

Let’s get to work.

‘Nuff said.

Photo credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration

High Tide and High Time

The beach in winter is solitude perfect, an opportunity to discover and recognize one’s immense smallness. My largest thoughts will never hold a candle to the Atlantic’s majesty. And I’m a man who knows big thinking – my life goals – which, like the oceans, both humble and sustain me as I forever forge ahead.

My best big thinking pales in comparison to the ideals of another great one – a man like few we’ve ever known. Today we celebrate the limitless legacy of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. I was only 8 years old on the day of his assassination. Yet his message of empowerment, hope, fairness and the relentless pursuit of justice will forever ring true. I am honored to bow to his greatness.

This off-season, my fourth on Jersey’s coast, I time my beach sojourn with low tide. An additional 40 yards of firm sand delivers my imagination beyond the break, where I, too, walk on water. Oftentimes a long lake forms, moat-like, on the shoreline. In Fall and Spring, I wade through, chilling my toes and calves. But Winter is thick-socked and booted, so I must stay ashore until I come upon a narrow rise in the sandy bottom. My entry to the beyond deepens my oceanic bond. Intentions and exaltations rejuvenate, it’s impossible to stay low.

Reality returns quickly, though. My dreams intact, my heart strong, I do battle with the human detritus that relentlessly assaults our oceans. Plastic bag at the ready which, of course, I find on the beach, I walk the high tide mark – mama nature’s rampart. I collect plastic shreds and Styrofoam wedges wind-blown from a thousand garbage cans. I gather bottles and cans that somehow missed the recycle bin, wave-strewn and rejected by the tides. Within a mile of walking, my two arms and ten fingers are weighed down. It’s a solo endeavor, one I take pride in, to actively participate in protecting Her from us.

It’s high time that we devote our mindsets to cleanup and conservation. Land and sea has given our species much, yet we continually strive to take more. We collectively suck her dry, and the day will come when Mother Nature says, “ENOUGH!” Until we reverse the leveraging of earth’s resources, and become protectors all, our species’ survival is on a countdown. Earth will live on and thrive without us, after She swats us away like an annoying cluster of gnats.

‘Nuff said.

 

2017: Sink or Swim

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My dear friends, I believe our forward path is that simple. We either sink into oblivion, or swim together to safe, smart, progressive shores. I believe #theDTs and #climatechange are the two most significant issues we face. Many others I hold dear, but they wither away, as do we, if we don’t STOP #PEOTUS and START addressing global warming.

My trump-lover acquaintances will bloviate, “c’mon dude, give the guy a chance.” Sorry, can’t. Not after learning his nominations for the U.S. Board of Directors. At EVERY level – Education, Environment, Energy, Health, Justice, Labor, State, Treasury, to name eight – the trump-ian kleptocracy can and will take hold, and we lose.

To quadruple down on the bad news, our climate has been screaming at us for years. The national consciousness has collectively responded with a sigh (and snowballs in Congress) to the severity and consistency of catastrophic storms. Our new normal is to wonder “how bad is it gonna be this year?” Let’s query the folks of the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, or Toms River, NJ, or Fort McMurray in Alberta, or Joplin, MO. And guaranteed that many from these neighborhoods voted red. It’s more important to believe a frothing hair monster that “he alone…blah, blah, blah.” Makes me sick.

Exhale. Reboot to #hope and #change. I strongly suggest learning about our climate, it’s more than the 5-day weather forecast. And I vehemently recommend this interview posted today in Scientific American. Annie Sneed (@aisneed) asks incisive questions of Friederike Otto (@FrediOtto) about the growing field of “attribution science.” Until about 2-hours ago, I hadn’t heard of this discipline. Doesn’t make me a loser, and now I’m more informed.

Another doozy of a wakeup call comes from the mouth of Noam Chomsky. Have a read or a listen to his speech and the discussion with the unshakeable Amy Goodman of @democracynow.

I guess my biggest suggestions, no, I’m begging you, to please learn something today, then do something about what you’ve learned.  I do this all the time, and it feels good. And yes, I will continue to pick up other people’s garbage on my beach walks. It’s no longer gross; in fact, it’s gross to not keep manmade crap out of the ocean. Better in my hands than in the Atlantic, or a seagull’s gullet.

I’ll close today’s post with the prophetic 1964 lyrics of Bob Dylan:

“…and admit that the waters around you have grown / And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone / If your time to you is worth savin’ / then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone…”

‘Nuff said.

Photo Credit: Gillfoto, “Mendenhall Glacier Melting,” March 3, 2014 https://www.flickr.com/photos/gillfoto/

Problem? I Don’t See a Problem

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A photo like this says, “What problem? Water is everywhere.” And that’s part of the problem. We don’t see the 100+ year-old pipes leaking billions of tap water each day. Until a water main bursts in the neighborhood, we’re all good.

The city of Boston, MA had their water wake up in March 2010. Today, residents pay more for their bright & shiny NEW water works. On average, the monthly bill is $90 per single family household, if said family can survive on 180 GPD (gal per day). This is nearly double the cost prior to March 2010. And interestingly, water consumption went DOWN as costs went up. Funny how that works.

Imagine what would happen with a tax on carbon?

There are similar results in California during the recent (and ongoing) mega-drought. As awareness, monthly bills, and the threat of hefty fines rose, water consumption dropped 23% in one year. The 6th largest global economy also has enough wiggle room and common decency to offer low income rate assistance. Score a subsidy win for the actual need!

Speaking of need, the HPR article highlights some key numbers regarding our national water infrastructure:

  1.  The collective total length of municipal water and sewer pipes approximates 1.5 million miles.
  2. The ASCE* estimates an annual waste of 2 trillion gallons, 15% of treated water, due to seepage and breaks of pipes that are beyond useful capacity.
  3. The bigly dollars needed (yeah, I trumped you) for infrastructure investment is estimated to range from $30 to $50 billion annually over 20 years. Current Federal expenditures do not come close.
  4. Sorry to say, water safety monitoring is also inadequate. Let’s ban the EPA altogether, shall we? Somehow, 60-million people might agree.

And the cost of doing nothing will increase over time. This problem isn’t going away. Yet most people, and I highlight politicians, don’t see it that way. Water isn’t sexy, and will not score PAC dollars for an upcoming campaign like chatter on terrorism or taxes. So the problem stays buried, like the pipes that are bursting. Hope it doesn’t happen in your neighborhood any time soon.

‘Nuff said.

*ASCE = American Society of Civil Engineers

Photo Credit: Wout Daenen, “DSC_0234,” taken December 25, 2008 at Croton Dam https://www.flickr.com/photos/woutster/