The Age of Inaction

Once upon a time, leaders were people who would lead. What a quaint idea. Now leaders just seem to clutter up the place.

Today 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg addressed the UN. This is a brilliant speech. Just a bit:

“My message is that we’ll be watching you.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”

Yeah, pretty much. Here’s the transcript, and it’s worth reading all the way through. Science has been predicting global warming for a lot longer than 30 years, but a consensus formed about 30 years ago that human activity was changing the earth’s weather patterns and would eventually have a significant global impact. More recently scientists have been warning that the rates of change are happening faster than they predicted.

And, after all this time, our moronic politicians and media bobbleheads like Laura Ingraham are whining about beef, light bulbs and plastic straws.

Americans want their leaders to do something. Amber Phillips in WaPo:

An April Pew survey found a majority of Americans, 56 percent, say protecting the environment should be the top priority of Congress and the White House and that Republican millennial voters are twice as likely to say humans are causing the Earth’s accelerated warming as their older party members. (Though that high is just 36 percent.)

“Not enough conservative constituents are reaching out,” Backer said, “and not enough lawmakers are willing to extend their hand and say: ‘This is an issue I’m going to prioritize.’ ”

Some Democrats have made climate change a priority (thank you, Jay Inslee). Other Democrats are still in “let’s take our sweet time and just tweak a few things” mode (see Dianne Feinstein). Last May, Joe Biden made some remarks about a “middle ground” on climate change and got so slammed for it that he came out with a more comprehensive plan, largly patched together from other plans. But this is not what we call “leading.” Leaders should not have to be nagged to lead. If Joe becomes president, will he still have to be nagged?

But speaking of Democrats, what’s up with Nancy Pelosi? At the moment, I understand 137 out of 235 House Democrats support impeachment, or at least support beginning a formal impeachment inquiry. Plus since the whistleblower scandal broke, even much of the bobblehead class is climbing on the impeachment train.


Michelle Goldbert, Nancy Pelosi’s Failure to Launch

The House speaker is a master legislator, and by all accounts incomparable at corralling votes. But right now, Democrats need a brawler willing to use every tool at her disposal to stop America’s descent into autocracy, and Pelosi has so far refused to rise to the occasion. As Representative Jared Huffman tweeted, “We are verging on tragic fecklessness.”

James Downie, Begin Impeachment Hearings Now

Rank-and-file Democratic representatives like such as Steve Cohen (Tenn.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), as well as the party’s presidential candidates, recognize that impeachment hearings are overdue. Yet House Democratic leaders remain passive. There are no GOP votes for it, goes one excuse. By that standard, Democrats might as well never do anything at all. …

…This is bigger than politics. It’s about upholding the Constitution and the rule of law. “Without consequence” sums up too much of recent American history, as the powerful flout the law and face at most a slap on the wrist. The torturers under the Bush administration. The bankers who broke the economy. The opioid manufacturers who fueled millions’ addictions. And now the ultimate example: A president whose list of high crimes and misdemeanors gets longer by the week.

Start the hearings. Put the fear of God in this president.

Greg Sargent, It’s Time, Speaker Pelosi

Given all this, what happens if Democrats don’t try to use all the tools of accountability at their disposal, and Trump wins reelection? Democrats should seriously ask themselves what would be left of our democracy at that point — and whether they want such an outcome to be part of their legacy.

Yet there stands Nancy like a stone wall. Last week she slammed the Judiciary Committee for daring to use the “I” word without her permission.

Pelosi criticized the panel’s handling of impeachment in harsh terms, complaining committee aides have advanced the push for ousting President Donald Trump far beyond where the House Democratic Caucus stands. Democrats simply don’t have the votes on the floor to impeach Trump, Pelosi said.

Um, isn’t getting the votes kind of your job, Nancy? And here’s another view:

Washington — and most of our state capitals — have turned into places where leadership goes to die.