Sunday, July 14, 2019
Just Time For A Quick Update
written 7 July 2019
published 14 July 2019
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." On the 243rd anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, it's time for a quick update to see how we are doing.
The Republican Supreme Court supports partisan gerrymandering, corporate personhood, and big money in politics, while refusing to uphold voter rights, thus gutting the core of our democratic system to maintain their party in power.
America, the largest global weapons exporter, spends more on war than the next four nations combined, leaving less money for social issues. We are a global bully, creating ill will with few results. North Korean negotiations have stalled. Trump unilaterally welched on the international nuclear deal with Iran and applied ruinous sanctions. The results are increased Iranian uranium enrichment, the risk of regional, even nuclear, war, and oil price chaos. So, he held a military parade.
America takes five times our share of global resources, but Trump, desiring more, started a tariff war with China, Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. This middle-class tax hike risks global recession. The stock market has stalled for 18 months. The corporate tax giveaway did not stimulate the economy or pay for itself. Three men control half the wealth in America, and homelessness is endemic. Unemployment is low, but wages are stagnant, and artificial intelligence is going to eliminate even more jobs. Housing prices are declining, long term bond rates have inverted, and the Fed is preparing for the next crash.
American health care is more expensive, and covers fewer people, than other developed countries. Opioids kill thousands while making big Pharma billionaires. Chemical and radioactive contamination of our air, food, and water has caused cancer rates to double, and childhood cancers, once rare, are now a leading cause of death. Monsanto has lost three multi-million dollar lawsuits claiming Roundup causes cancer, and thousands more are pending. Glyphosate, the active ingredient, is wide spread, found in most people's blood, and even in rain water. Plastic trash has been found everywhere from the bottom of the Mariana Trench to the peak of Mount Everest. Plastic gyres exist in all the oceans, and microscopic plastic particles are found in our blood, where they act as hormone disruptors and sites for bacterial growth.
Atmospheric CO2 content passed 415 ppm, last seen 3 million years ago when the sea level was 100 feet higher. July temperatures in Anchorage hit 90° and the mid-west is still flooded. The heavy runoff washed nutrients into the Gulf of Mexico, creating a larger than normal dead zone. Insect populations have declined 40% and starving sea birds and grey whales are dying, washing onto west coast beaches. The California fire season has started, and PG&E plans to cut power for five days at a time, creating a third world power system in the world's fifth largest economy.
This spring, the Arctic ice field is melting early, allowing shipping through the Northwest Passage. Climate change currently cost the American economy $350B per year, and Wall Street is beginning to pay attention. Scientists tell us we have a decade to cut our emissions by 50% if we want to avoid near term human extinction. But Trump and his anti-science Republican supporters, insisting climate change is a hoax, are working full time to destroy environmental regulations and renewable subsidies, while funding economic and environmental losers like the coal and nuclear industry. The Democratic National Committee isn't much better, as climate change received only 15 minutes of discussion in four hours of debate.
Our country was founded on noble ideals, if incompletely achieved, rooted in a vision of unity. Like other attempts to evolve our species, these ideals have been hijacked for the short-term profit of a very few, now risking the fate of our species. I am proud of America's goals, but sad to see how far we have to go. Even in the face of the threat of extinction, it is important to declare again what we stand for, and work to become our best. That is the true American way.