Fiddling While the Planet Burns

We are about to inaugurate Emperor Orange Nero (which sounds like a good drink, but isn’t).  It would be very easy here to diary about the incredible, laughable inadequacy of Trump or his Suicide Squad of cabinet nominees.

Trump’s  approval ratings are already historically low, but it hardly seems to matter. Maybe it’ll matter when it comes to a real struggle against the Democrats, or even the Republicans, when he goes to the well to try to intimidate an opponent and they laugh at him. Or maybe they won’t, because nobody likes death threats.

His insane attacks on John Lewis.

The dangerous Trump administration Ministry of Propaganda threats to the press.

The ongoing debate  on how all the lies and incompetence diminish him terribly or strengthen him in that asymmetrical warfare kind of way. Because we keep thinking of it as being a Trump problem when the election showed us it’s an American problem. Americans looked at Trump and an alarming number of them did not see through his phony gilded veneer to the rotten shoddy human he is.  But why is that a surprise? Americans made Walmart by buying cheap crap that they’ll have to throw out in a year. Cost matters more than quality and if a product promises way, way, way more than it could possibly deliver it will make its seller very rich.  P.T. Barnum was, of course, right. (Although he couldn’t keep his circus going more than 146 years. Sad!)

BUT IN THE MEANTIME 2016 was again, the hottest year on record.

Even as China has cancelled 100 coal fired plants.  Renewable energy is growing by leaps and bounds and the price of the energy produced keeps falling.

But maybe the most interesting piece in today’s NY Times, whether they understand it or not is this:  Museum Trustee, a Trump Donor, Supports Groups That deny Climate Change.

Because the person in question is Rebekah Mercer, daughter of Bob and Diana Mercer who are maybe the most important financiers of Trump’s presidency.  The Mercers are massively influential in conservative circles and yet nobody seems to know them. Kind of like the way 10 years ago nobody knew who the Koch Brothers were.

The American Museum of Natural History has long been on the front lines of the climate change discussion, as its scientists study the potential damage and its educators try to alert new generations to the dangers of global warming…

But one of the museum’s leaders, a trustee who is also an important donor to the institution, Rebekah Mercer, has been using her family’s millions to fund organizations that question climate change, a cornerstone of the conservative agenda she is advancing as an influential member of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition team.

The article is mostly about how someone who is so intellectually antithetical to the mission of the Museum is allowed to be on the board and whether they should be.  But hopefully it’s an entry point to the greater purpose of exposing the Mercers and their politics and agenda to the public as people people should know just like the Koch Brothers. Bob Mercer is also a major financier of Breitbart, to connect some dots.  The Mercers are the reason Trump and Bannon know each other.

Among the biggest Mercer beneficiaries is the Heartland Institute, to which their foundation has given nearly $5 million. In 2011, Joseph Bast, president and chief executive of the institute, wrote that liberals accept global warming as true because stopping it “requires higher taxes, more income redistribution” and other “policies already on the liberal political agenda.”

Heartland is maybe the most prominent anti-science think tank, coming up with the talking points and papers that industry and Republicans use to argue against climate change.  And make no mistake they do it because, as Naomi Klein argues, the reality of the situation is that humans do have to reconsider capitalism in order to fully combat climate-change and other issues of future human survival.

You cannot have 8 people with the same wealth as half the planet and have a functioning planet, economically, ecologically, politically, etc.  Heartland gets that and has come down firmly on the side of the wealthy against the resat of the planet.

The planet has to wake up to this reality and get in the fight.  Instead of watching Emperor Orange Nero fiddle while the planet burns, we need to get out the hoses.

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