02 June, 2017

Letter from a Patriotic Pittsburgher


“If at length it becomes undoubted that an inveterate resolution is formed to annihilate the liberties of the governed, the English history affords frequent examples of resistance by force. What particular circumstances will in any future case justify such resistance can never be ascertained till they happen. Perhaps it may be allowable to say generally, that it never can be justifiable until the people are fully convinced that any further submission will be destructive to their happiness.”    Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania III, John Dickinson

Once again, American citizens are confronted with an “inveterate resolution” that seems likely to “be destructive to their happiness.” Now, however, this resolution comes not from a far-off parliament, but from a major political party and an occupant of the Oval Office. The American Constitutional Republic has been taken over by a horde of Neoconfederate Reactionaries and an ignorant, arrogant scoundrel.

After losing the election by 2.8 million votes the dastard in the White House has done much to destabilize crucial alliances, he has curried favor with our primary geopolitical adversary, he has sought relentlessly to enrich further the fabulously wealthy and facilitate ravenously avaricious corporations. Such actions make it plausible, if not probable, that this party and this person are working deliberately “to annihilate the liberties of the governed” rather than to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Republic it ordained and established.

Although ignorance and arrogance are hallmarks of the Neoconfederate Reactionaries and the illegitimate occupant of the Oval Office, malice is the driving force and binding theme of all they do. The Statue of Liberty says: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Nonetheless, the reactionaries in control of the Federal government want to prey upon the tired, the poor, the huddled masses for the benefit of themselves and their wealthy donors and corporate cronies.

Due to the bigotry, misogyny, resentment, and gullibility of too many Americans, this horde of horribles has gained power at the national level. Throughout the nation, many governorships and state legislators are also in their hands. Despite being politically successful in the short-run, these developments bode ill for the long-term and the common good.

On 1 June 2017, Number 45 revealed his vast ignorance and complete deceitfulness in the most glaring terms. “In a speech from the Rose Garden, Mr. Trump said the landmark 2015 pact imposed wildly unfair environmental standards on American businesses and workers. He vowed to stand with the people of the United States against what he called a “draconian” international deal.” Such statements reveal his complete lack of comprehension regarding the Paris Accord. In his deplorable speech announcing the decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord on climate change, Trump frequently relied on dubious facts and unbalanced claims. “Each country set its own commitments under the Paris Accord.” Every nation that signed the agreement to help lower emissions did so on the basis of plans they submitted. The Obama administration set the U.S. targets. This arrangement is not a violation of sovereignty, but an exercise of it. The Paris Accord is a voluntary agreement! Claiming it violates American sovereignty is not merely erroneous, it is blatantly dishonest.

In the same vein, these buffoon in the Oval Office has discounted and disregarded the considered opinions of seventeen American Intelligence agencies that Russia sought to intrude in America’s 2016 election. These actions are not a matter of speculation; those who acted are not a mystery to any American with the willingness to acknowledge what our intelligence agencies know. Foreigners are not eve allowed to donate to campaigns, but the reactionaries in power are unconcerned with “active measures” deployed against us. The Russians have a documented and lengthy history of doing such things. The occupant of the Oval Office speaks and acts as though this demonstrated practice exemplifies a mere hypothesis, rather than a proven pattern. Such willful ignorance is not what the American citizenry needs from their political leadership.

“Trump cited some negative statistics about the predicted economic impact from the climate deal, including a $3 trillion drop in gross domestic product, 6.5 million industrial sector jobs lost and 86 percent reduction in coal production, all by 2040.” These statistics come from a March 2017 study by NERA Economic Consulting. This study estimates the potential impact of hypothetical regulatory actions necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. The assumptions made give several economic and environmental professors pause who reacted to the NERA study for ClimateFeedback.org. For example, Yale professor Kenneth Gillingham said the NERA model tends to result in higher costs than other economic models because it assumes certain hypothetical regulations, but "one could easily model other actions with much lower costs." Also, it ignores the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, like avoiding the adverse effects of climate change.  Gillingham also said, "The NERA model provides useful information, but it is important for it to be taken in the context of model results from other models and not cherry-picked as was done here." In other words, the NERA model makes assumptions that generate an extreme outcome.

The report Trump took that estimate from “does not account for potential benefits from avoided emissions.” In other words: this “cost-benefit study” ignores any benefits of participating in a global plan to prevent the worst effects of climate change. It is a report on climate mitigation that ignores climate change. The report also does not consider the economic benefits to renewable energy industries, nor does it consider the health costs that associated with fossil fuel pollution. The NERA report is not a study, but a special pleading that confirms Trump’s unfounded assumptions and self-serving prejudices. It is a snare and a delusion presented as evidence by a charlatan who is philosophically, temperamentally, and intellectually unfit for any office, let alone the Oval Office.

One other gross deception in this offensive speech concerned India and coal production. Trump: "India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it. India can double their coal production. We're supposed to get rid of ours." The Paris Agreement does not even mention the word coal, nor does it do anything to put a global moratorium on coal. India does have plans to nearly double its coal production, and the agreement does not prevent that.  Under the Paris Accord, each signatory sets its own goals and reports on its progress. So, this sop to his presumed coal miner base is at best misleading and probably a deliberate and known falsehood. There is no mandate or requirement for us to “get rid of ours.” Let us never forget, the Paris Accord “allows the nations who signed the Paris Agreement to set their own reduction targets to help achieve the overall target of reducing the rise in global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.” There is no violation of American sovereignty; there is respect for the sovereignty of all signatories.

Generations from now, your decision to leave the Paris agreement will be regarded as one of the most ignorant and dangerous actions ever taken by any president. This decision ignores the will of most of the American citizenry and the clear consensus of the scientific community. It will harm our country. It will cost lives, jobs, and respect around the world. It isolates our country on the world stage. It cedes our leadership position and our economic advantage on clean energy to India and China. Chanting a slogan from a baseball hat does nothing to change any of these harmful outcomes. In fact, it's hard to overstate the negative consequences at home and abroad of this foolish, self-destructive move. Only a few of the worst polluters will gain increased profits, but the health of our families and communities will suffer. Future scholars will search in vain to find a President with this level of disdain for reality, this sheer venality, and this total indifference to the future of humanity.

“Here then, my dear countrymen, rouse yourselves, and behold the ruin hanging over your heads.” If arrogant ignorance, zealous partisanship, and rapacious greed can betray the planet and our country, what has become of our pledge to form a more perfect union with liberty, justice, equality, and prosperity for all? Will you stand your country now, or will you admit to being summer soldiers and sunshine patriots? As James Bryce, British Ambassador to the United States, once said, “Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong.” He was right regarding every country including America. So was Carl Schurz who said, “Our dignity, our free institutions and the peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: ‘Our country—when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.” This foolish and deceptively rationalized decision puts America wrong, and it is up to us to put it right!

So, in the name of true patriotism, this Pittsburgher declares that Donald J. Trump does not speak for us. Our colors are Black and Gold, but the only connection he has with those colors are the Black of his egomaniacal soul and the Gold he relentlessly covets. He is a blight on the American Republic and a disgrace to the Oval Office. The course of true patriotism requires us to resist his efforts and remove him and his party from power.

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