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

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Trump Inaugurates the End of W.M.D.

img_1972Say it with me people, the end of White Male Dominance is nigh. To me, this is our goal. Thanks to #theDTs 60+ million voters – the minority electorate – we ignited a trumpster fire at high noon on the Capitol steps today. Only one way to go from here. Tomorrow, we flip the switch, march and resist, turn the lights on to a new beginning.

It’s going to take some work, and will include a few interim steps backward. Genuine progress is a long-term struggle. Make no mistake, the fight before us is the 21st Century’s version of the Civil Rights movement. Make no mistake, a majority of that trump minority will awaken to their horrendous choice. I’m thinking by the 4th of July 2017. No one can ever state that progress is easy. We just made it exponentially more difficult.

I’ve quietly understood for many years that, between the male and female sexes, the true dominant force is woman. The giver of life, there is no ‘he’ without the ‘she.’ Sure, men deliver seed. Yet, having witnessed the delivery of my children onto this planet, I will forever stand in awe. Sorry, fellas, we need to hand over the keys.

I’ve also studied a few history books, enjoyed a wide range of fiction, non-fiction, and biography, where the narrative and inflection scream patriarchy. At some point, we must close that chapter on our human story. The male sex needs to accept their notch-down status and take a backseat. Trump and his pending board of directors only reinforce my belief. Their billions will be no match for what’s coming. Mother Nature is our ultimate creditor. And we ignore this empirical truth at the peril of our species.

Specifically, the white male dominance (again, W.M.D.) that propagates our American culture must be shrunk from power. For 350 years “they” have had their chance, and they blew it, bigly, ravenously, and murderously. I’m comfortable stating the obvious, because I am begotten of them. I’m holding up the mirror of responsibility. We blew it. Behind the whitewashed story of our nation’s history are whole populations eviscerated, women and children subjugated, and fellow humans of black, red, brown and yellow skin enslaved. Just follow the money, and one will find white male as the power source of suffering.

This. Must. End. And the first step to change is awareness. So, here I am, raising the white flag, for both the woke men ready to yield and the knuckle-draggers clinging to their final false vestiges of power.

It is time for our female warriors to step up, step into, the reign of power. Imagine intuition, smarts and savvy, empathy, fairness and wellbeing as our modus operandi. Imagine conversation and negotiation supplanting guns and the flexing of military braggadocio. Imagine sunlight and relentless wind as our Energy provider. Imagine broccoli over burgers.

And finally, imagine “real men” supporting this new paradigm. Imagine us dudes standing tall, en masse, with our feminine leaders. “Yes, we can” are words of infamy, only recently unfurled upon the American saga. I say we carry them forward and make them ours. Guys, this is our opportunity to truly be great.

‘Nuff said.

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/

Water Wins Every Time

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I guarantee you that someday, we as the top dog of the planetary populace, will get it right. We will ultimately make the needed adjustments to address global warming. Ignorance will finally lose when reality finally sets in.

Because water wins every time.

Large urban areas like Houston, TX or Norfolk, VA are up against a tidal wave of flood mitigation vs. expanded residential and commercial development. The migration to metropolitan areas continues its rapid pace. Yes, plenty of young ‘uns are choosing Nashville or Columbus, but the bigger draws continue to be our coastal cities. And for now, tax revenue dollars-in far outweighs flood water washouts.

Consider that the Pentagon is incorporating “climate change into virtually everything they do.” Meanwhile, back on the flood plain, or in the halls of Congress, both city planners and sitting U.S. senators deny the problem needs addressing.

First step might involve recalibrating the 100-year or 500-year flood occurrence probabilities. Because the frequency of a 1,000-year storm is on the rise, bigly. Just ask Baton Rouge, LA.

You see, properties in the 100-year floodplain (measured as 1% risk of flood in that area in any given year) are required to buy flood insurance. That certainly makes sense. But homeowners and businesses in the 500-year floodplain (measured as .2% risk of flood in any given year) are not required to have flood insurance. A change in calibration could scare the shit out a lot of people, and potentially reduce tax dollars into city coffers. Better leave that one alone, for now. So goes the big thinking.

Unfortunately, this revenue-centric model is not sustainable. And the larger, future costs of doing nothing will overwhelm the short-term revenue stream.

What about the periodic convincers that shake millions of people to their foundations? I immediately think of super-storm Sandy, since I witnessed the devastation and rebuild, ongoing to this day. Take a glance at this 1-minute video from Long Branch, NJ. In my opinion, Mama Nature is telling us that a new coastline is coming, and soon. But seaside development continues. Ya gotta like the views, and the revenues.

So we have a way to go before climate and water reality lands on the minds and pocketbooks of the decision-makers. By then, they won’t be able to blame Obama.

‘Nuff said.

Photo Credits:

Top: Liga Eglite, “Guaja_flooding_27.04.13, Citroen fight against River Gauja 0:1” https://www.flickr.com/photos/amada_stream/

Bottom: go_greener_oz, “Rising Sea Levels” 2008. https://www.flickr.com/photos/go_greener_oz/

Enjoy It While You Can

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“At or below sea level.” For most of my life, this geographic measurement held euphemistic value when hiking the mountains. Kind of cool to consider while roaming the red rocks of Sedona, AZ or Highpoint State Park in NJ.

But up and down the U.S. coasts, from the Florida Keys to Fulton Market, sea level impact is a daily occurrence, an immediate reality that effects millions of people.

So what are we as a nation doing about it?

The Paris Agreement is a good start, albeit without teeth. Market pressures and President Obama’s executive efforts are shrinking our coal footprint. But fracking is king, which basically nullifies any net reduction in carbon dioxide output (side note: natural gas production is the primary “killer” of coal jobs, not President Obama. check the stats here).

For a genuine wakeup call, I highly recommend watching “Before The Flood.” And for a polar opposite view, search “James Inhofe snowball” or “Myron Ebell,” our president-elect’s senior advisor for selecting the next EPA chief.

I conclude with a little ditty, from back in the days when America was great and controlling the climate was a dial on your Frigidaire.

“Oh, we got trouble, right here in river city, with a capital T…” Anyone feel like singing along?

‘Nuff said.

photo credit: go_greener_oz, 2008.

Woke Up Thinking Wa.S.H.

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It’s how my mind works. Thought immersion will do that to an active brain. I often awaken with a song in my head. YES, I wake up singing! No wonder I’m single…;-)

I awoke this morning thinking Wa.S.H., the acronym for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.

I want everyone to know about it, memorize it, and DO SOMETHING about it. Every time you splash your face, brush your teeth, run the shower for 20-minutes, THINK about the 2+ billion people without a toilet, let alone a faucet or enclosed bathroom.

Rather than watching clips of Rachel’s quips or Hannity’s insanities, spend a few minutes researching solutions that uplift others. A few suggestions: water.org / @water, charity:water / cwtr.org/2bR1hWV / @charitywater, and worldtoilet.org  / @worldtoilet.

Now that we’ve arrived in the freak-zone of U.S. history, I recommit to the issues that move my heart & soul. In order to stay POSITIVE and engaged, I must turn off the noisy news (OK, a PBS News peek, periodically!), and focus on uplifting my fellow beings.

I ask you to join me. ‘Nuff said.

Attribution: photo by Ron Mader