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.

17 thoughts on “The Age of Inaction

  1. Nicolle Wallace's show on "liberal" MSNBC was enlightening this afternoon. Chastened Republican Wallace, who worked for Bush The Lesser, probably the third worst president in modern history behind Nixon and Trump, but arguably the most destructive, has changed her story line. For months she and her talking heads were outraged that Pelosi and Democrats hadn't started impeachment hearings after the Mueller report and its clear evidence!

    This afternoon they agreed Mueller had shafted them at his hearing by not making clear a crime had been committed. But now we got 'im red handed they agreed! Bless their hearts. Hope they're right.

  2. There will be no substantive action on climate change without a wall – a big beautiful wall. Not that one, not one of steel or concrete. A wall of separation between big money and OUR government. The idea is that simple. 

    No I'm NOT off-topic any more than mentioning a paddle is off-topic to a post on going upstream. We're to the point of only hoping we can mitigate the disaster(s) that will accompany climate change that's accelerating.

    BTW, let's talk about what we're trying to save. It's not the planet. The sphere isn't going anywhere. It's not mankind – we're proven to be adaptable from the Sahara to Alaska long before man started burning coal. It's civilization that will collapse, and with it the infrastructure most of us rely on to survive.

    When I was born the World Population was 2.5 billion. Today it's closing on 8 billion. That gives me a hint how far we may fall on the way to equilibrium when lack of clean water, lack of food (when we can't transport food), lack of shelter (notice what a Cat 5 did to housing in the Atlantic?)  lack of sanitation when the local government infrastructure completely collapses. Water/sewer systems will collapse when the power grid fails because the economic system fails and we're reduced to a barter system and there's no way for power companies to barter to collect fees or buy fuel for the power plants. 

    What's tragically just is that 3rd world countries are the best equipped to survive when our vaunted civilization goes to hell. They know how to grow food, hunt, live on very little and cooperate in groups. Libertarians will discover the fallacy of every man for himself on the way to their demise. 

    And I am by nature an optimist. 

    Exactly when the wheels come off is anybody's guess. We might be able to mitigate climate change without the extermination of three-quarters of the global population. And that's an optimistic guess by the anus-extractus method. IF we build the wall between big money and OUR government, and if the reform spread globally. We will still have climate change and huge loss of life but we might save civilization. Only if governments serve people and government uses their power to saddle business and demand they function for the benefit of people. That means pull the corporate charter of any company who proves irresponsible.  What about shareholders? They lose it all and if they don't like that risk, select corporate leaders who put people and the planet first.

    (Yes, you can make a profit and serve your customers. But Wells Fargo should be gone already!)  

    I'm not happy. It was a beautiful planet I was born to and I shudder at the volume of human misery which Greta's generation will witness. 

    Mitigating the catastrophy starts with ending big money in politics. Nothing happens before that happens. Not addressing climate change, not addressing income inequality, not addressing the ruin of war, or the potential benefits of better education, the opportunities of rehabilitation in prison reform, health reform, senior care, veterans care, preserving the natural wonders of the country and the planet.

    The planet will come back – it may take a thousand years or ten thousand for the pendulum to swing the other way. Maybe someone will preserve the knowledge and secrets of technology.  Maybe the survivors of the climate holocaust will enshrine non-commercial social values and be ready to use technology to become what this iteration of civilization failed at.

    We were so close. 

    For now, I must hope we can mitigate the fall, not lose what benefits civilization has provided, not fully crash and burn. What else can we do but hope and try?

  3. 20 years ago we tried to elect a non climate denier

     Scouts stopped it.

    Then scotus approved citizens united. The wheels fell off the bus of democracy. We are barely better than USSR. Turning into a complete oligarchy. There is no governance now.

    It is amusing to watch the wall street males getting nervous about Warren. A female FDR scares them

     They should be afraid of what the real world will do to their economic fantasyland. Greta is right about endless growth. You can only externalize the cost so long.

  4. If a modern JFK were to try to write a new "Profiles in Courage," the publisher would insist it be sold as a work of fiction.

    The Democratic House right now is a study in fecklessness.  It appears SotH Pelosi cares less about the US Constitution, and America's standing in the world, as well as our future as a democracy, and more about keeping the HoR in Democratic hands.

    In other words, her fecklessness about impeachment seems to be because she give a "fuckmoreness" to staying in power. 

    I'm sorry to write that about her, because I respect her skills as a politician – but I've lost a lot of respect for her as a leader.  If not all respect!!

    Regarding tRUMP's recent corrupt dealings with Ukraine, and his admissions over the last few days, you have a clear path to his impeachment.  So, let me ask you Madam Speaker, "if not now, when?

     tRUMP is getting bolder every day.

    What will he do next if the sword of impeahment isn't hanging over his head?

    ACT NOW!!!!


    If you don't act now, tRUMP may try to directly cancel 2020's election!  

    And then where will we be, because you wanted "to keep your powder dry?"

     IMPEACH THE MOFU!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    • Agree about Pelosi. I recognize her political skills, navigating the intricacies of Congressional rules. But she's lost any connection to WHY she's supposed to be doing it. She's tolerating the intolerable because she's convinced there's more power to be squeezed out of replacing Trump in the election than failing in an impeachment.

      How about some sincere outrage and confronting Trump with the power you have in opposition to the evil that he's done. She and McConnel are perfect counterbalances to each other – all ambition and calculation with no connection to the humanity affected by their actions. 

      •  She's tolerating the intolerable because she's convinced there's more power to be squeezed out of replacing Trump in the election than failing in an impeachment.

        Seems to me that she'd squeeze more power out of putting the GOP Senators in the hot seat by having them defend Trump's lawlessness.Trump's base isn't going to grow through a failed impeachment attempt. My belief is that Trump has had his time in the sun, and the American public has grown tired of his bullshit. I also believe that when the dam breaks there will be a rush of repug congress critters scrambling to distance themselves from Trump. Sorta like all the people who are still proud and bold enough to claim they supported the invasion of Iraq.

        When things go south for Trump, which they will, it will be a replay for the GOP of Peter denying Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. " I don't know the guy, I'm not one of his followers" " I love the Constitution, rule of law.. and God bless America"

  5. That picture of Laura Ingraham looks more like she's try to suck the methane out of a cow patty to generate electricity.

  6. Looking at the timeline with Ukraine, Rudy, pence Pompeo Mulvaney Bolton, all the president's men knew what this was. The hold on the aid and canceled trip to Poland and various meetings. This whole deal has been in the works for months. They were aware or part of. Will Bolton bolt? Will he talk?

    • That's an interesting point and a delightful thought..Bolton did say that he'd speak his piece when the time was right. Et tu, Bolton?

      How does that expression go?…Revenge is a dish best served cold.

  7. The orange lowlife mockingturd took a peck at Greta Thunberg via his tweet-weapon   according to Newsweek. He was countered with the twitter  reaction "She has more class in her little finger".  She who speaks truth to power gets due respect.

  8. Maybe Bolton will get a show on MSNBC.

    On the topic of sensationalized, manipulative newz, it seems counter-productive to blame Pelosi for failure to impeach. There's still a large minority of House Democrats putting pressure on her. Since it looks like there was a quid pro quo involved in Trump's dealings with Ukraine, about a dozen swing state Democrats have joined the pro-impeachment side. Things are going our way. Why not leave the lady to do her job as she sees fit and consider a united front for once?


  9. Winston – Pelosi would not opt for impeachment if Trump raped Greta in front of the General Assembly of the UN. I'm pleased the candidates for president are calling for impeachment. (Warren was the first.)

    There's politics – I respect that, There's also principle. Not everyone has a moral compass. Pelosi seems to only be political. What Trump is doing means nothing to her unless she can succeed w/ impeachment all the way to removal. What about taking a stand on principle?

    I'm no longer enabling Pelosi. I despise McConnell for his lack of principle and in order to be consistent with principle, I have to lump Pelosi as a bookend to McConnell – a match in pure political ambition uncoupled with any sense of ethics.

    • I'm getting the sense that Trump has pushed beyond the limits and that Pelosi is going to pull the plug on him in spite of her reservations to go down the impeachment road. Things seem to be playing out according to my fantasy, minus a few of the details. That's the beauty of fantasy though..the overall theme is still intact where Pelosi reaches a breaking point and calls for articles of impeachment because Trump has left her no other options with his in your face lawlessness.

       Not only have the calls for impeachment reached a crescendo, but the point where Pelosi will be destroyed politically for failure to act has arrived. I truly believe that the public and the political establishment understands the dynamics of Trump's code talking well enough to understand what Trump has done. Giuliani is going to be Trump's undoing because he fractured the shield of ambiguity that Trump so often hides behind.

    • Doug,

      " Pelosi would not opt for impeachment if Trump raped Greta in front of the General Assembly of the UN."

      Seems a bit hyperbolic to me. What evidence do you have?

      I get it that the Democratic leadership sold us out with Clintonism, and there's no good reason to trust them. However, at this point Clintonian radical centrism is largely a dead issue, and I'm fairly sure everyone except Joe Biden and maybe Kamala Harris, who hired a lot of Hillary's campaign staff, knows it. Pelosi's job is to count votes and determine what's politically possible. And politics is the art of the possible. You're just shooting the messenger.

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