As the world burns, complacency rules

Posted by Tom Camfield

Fighting back on behalf of the American Press, I’m going to attempt here to tie some of the ends together in world affairs and workings of the devious mind of Donald Trump. The world is burning both literally and figuratively. Before moving on, however, I’ll include here a couple of my favorite quotes by Alfred E. Neuman, who makes more sense than Donald Trump: "Most people are so lazy, they don't even exercise good judgement!” and "How come we choose from just two people for President, and fifty for Miss America?"

“I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, with includes the wall. Must get rid of Lottery, Catch &  Release etc and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country.”—Donald Trump tweet

It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to get the message from this particular tweet to see how he really feels about the working class, the “great unwashed,” the

general populace, commoners—despite his continuous verbal pandering of one segment or another. The small bones he tosses off to the masses on his way to the golf course are just plain disgusting.

Those desiring merely to work, to survive as average Americans, must be turned back at our borders. It’s frightening to consider what he means by “merit.” Possibly an occasional millionaire who might finance a Trump golf resort—or some pseudo-scientist who rants against the reality of global warming. Or a fashion model from Slovenia.

“Merit” definitely is in the eye of the beholder. I find a mother who trekked to our border from Honduras to give her young child a life more meritorious than a fashion model imported by a vain and wealthy man to serve as his third wife.

However, this all continues to be a major distraction reinforced by early-morning tweets, a form of “fiddling while Rome burns” as attributed to the Emperor Nero. In July of 64 A.D., a great fire ravaged Rome for six days, destroying 70 percent of the city and leaving half its population homeless. According to a well-known expression, the decadent and unpopular Nero, “fiddled while Rome burned.” The expression has a double meaning: Not only did Nero play music while his people suffered, but he was an ineffectual leader in a time of crisis. 

Details of history show that the expression itself is a metaphor describing the nature of Nero. Much like saying that Trump is watching the world burn as he stands before a TV camera proclaiming his individual greatness in protecting our borders from non-whites. 

Some selected lines from Isaiah 24 (one of the modernized versions): “The earth will dry up completely. The world will dry up and waste away . . . The earth is polluted by its people. They haven’t obeyed the laws of the Lord. . . So the Lord will send a curse on the earth. Its people will pay for what they’ve done. They will be burned up. Very few of them will be left. . . That’s how it will be on the earth And that’s how it will be among the nations. It will be as when workers knock all but a few olives off the trees. It will be like a vine that has only a few grapes left after the harvest. . .” 

As Donald champions coal-fired power plants and other forms of industrial pollution, panders Big Oil and squanders finite fossil fuels over renewable energy sources—such as wind, solar, tidal hydro-electric, all more suitable for world health and survival—the world is beginning to burn around us. He has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Accords on Global Warming and Climate Change. He has declared himself more mentally competent than the world’s scientists.

I pick up the morning paper the other day and read of wildfires in Norway and Sweden—and all over the state of California, the country’s bread-basket. And the scientific consensus that portions of India will be totally unsuitable for human habitation in the near future because of the heat. Our own state had its share last fire season, that burned area now serving as sort of a fire break. I’m sure new areas will be torching up soon (God spare us from lightning and numbskull campers). 

But human nature in large part is self-serving and short-sighted, and alarm will not be represented at the polls, apparently, until the winter snow packs disappear and fire ravages Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Then will come wailing of “Why didn’t somebody do something about this?

We, today, are that “somebody.” 

I wish I could vote in Mississippi, Michigan, Georgia or other states come the November mid-terms, but I’ll have to just send off a few modest campaign contributions instead. In our own state, I’d like to live temporarily in the 8th Congressional District to vote against Republican Dino Rossi.

While our own state is well ahead of the norm on the matter of social conscience, at this level we still could use a decent boost in the direction of human survival on a number of fronts. We could start by getting our public education out of the constrictive grip of conservatism. Seattle already seems to be making a move on homelessness.

The reality of global warming was illustrated in a July 31 story in what Donald Trump sneeringly refers to as the “failing New York Times.” The real-news report also was headlined on page 1 of The Seattle Times: “86 degrees in Norway, 108 in L. A.: Heat wave wreaks global havoc.” 

“Expect more,” the story began; “That’s the verdict of climate scientists to the record-high temperatures this spring and summer in vastly different climate zones . . . Scientists with the World Weather Attribution project concluded in a study released Friday that the likelihood of the heat wave currently baking Northern Europe is ‘more than two times higher than if human activities had not altered climate’.”

Some recent hot-spot highlights: on July 5, a town in Algeria recorded 124 degrees. In Hong Kong, it was over 91 degrees for 16 straight days in the last half of May. A Pakistan record of 122 degrees was recorded April 30. Oslo, Norway (Norway?!) was over 86 degrees for 16 straight days in June; May was the hottest in 100 years. By mid-July, a town south of Oslo had recorded 19 days over 86 degrees. 

By July 19, forest fires in Norway had totaled more than the past two years combined, and 22 helicopters were fighting fires. In Sweden, a town above the Arctic Circle recorded a high temperature of 90 degrees. Los Angeles hit 108 on July 6. As I write this, 17 fires are sweeping California, which is experiencing the worst wildfire season in its history. A peak of 113 degrees and months of above-average temperatures ushered in the historic destructive blaze in the Redding area.

Looking out the window here in P.T., everything is so fine, weather-wise, even for those souls sleeping overnight in the woods, some of them brothers in arms. Thankfully, they don't need campfires to stay warm rigjht now.

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.MORE REAL NEWS from the thriving New York Times—Donald Trump’s goal it seems is to burn up more gasoline in support of Big Oil, thus justify eventual drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, off the Washington coast, etc. Aug. 3 headline: “Trump moves to roll back mileage standards; automakers, states among opponents; Obama-era rules were meant to curb global warming.”

The story began:“WASHINGTON—The Trump administration on Thursday put forth its long-awaited proposal to freeze anti-pollution and fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, significantly weakening one of Barack Obama’s signature policies to combat global warming . . .”  The entire story is easily found by Googling “Trump moves to roll back mileage.”

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