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One County’s Global Warming Failure


#1

One County’s Global Warming Failure

Robert Parry

The difficulty of the United States and thus the world to confront the worsening crisis of global warming is underscored by the resistance – even in well-to-do communities – to invest the financial and political capital in public transit and other infrastructure necessary for reducing carbon emissions.


#2

Since the watchwords are "climate justice" and not simply "climate change," I wonder how the issue of gentrification was dealt with regarding the light rail proposal. A similar situation regarding light rail has arisen in the city where I live and gentrification around the light rail stations is a real issue.

How do you advantage low-income, predominantly POC neighborhoods regarding transportation while not forcing out longtime residents due to higher property values and taxes? A tough question, but one that needs to be addressed by involving the stakeholders in these neighborhoods.


#3

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#5

This story is also a microcosm of how our elections sometimes end up. Republicans will zero in on some issue that appeals to our worst nature and milk it for all it is worth. Meanwhile the waffling dems pare away their own unity by a thousand cuts until they leave themselves open to some last minute cave ins by a few sell outs.

Unfortunately this pattern of the crass but unified repub opposition winning out over a seemingly well meaning but disunited democrat party is all too typical.

People bemoan a rigged game and this is a big part of it. You get the sense that the dems don't want to be dems but they just can't make it as republicans. While we may need a third party in this country (along with term limits) we don't have one. So what to do?

When our rigged game democracy fails us, it usually does so because we actually fail it constantly. It is quite common to hear liberals blather on about how their vote doesn't count and that they never vote "because there is nobody to vote for" and so forth. Many Americans stand up for what they believe in by sitting on their ass and staying home. Sounds like a lot of people we all know doesn't it?

So if you don't want republican control but you don't really like the semi-republican waffling of the dems try to remember that that IS the way the rigging of the rigged game works!

That is the rigged game ... You say republican and I say democrat and let's call the whole thing off and stay home! They are both rotten tomatoes however you want to call it! They know it and believe it or not they count omn you knowing it too. It isn't about honesty for most of them.

Maybe folks have got to forget the labels that are so often meaningless anyway. If so and so is a dem but he votes with the repubs then why is he even called a dem? Why is because in his district a repub tends to lose that's why. A dem for show purposes only. He gets away with it because liberals and progressive leftie don't vote his ass out of there.

Progressives should fight them at their own game and PARTICIPATE rather than opt out. They count on us opting out. They really do. They gauge support or opposition by a hairbreadth and in those calculations, both sides count on those most committed and informed about politics staying out of the process.

When we rail against the duopoly, the conservatives win. They have successfully accumulated incremental gains in voters staying home election after election until they are able to micromanage the vote. They don't worry about progressive and leftie complaints because as serious as they are nevertheless those people don't vote. They complain instead and vent their energies amongst themselves.

Progressive and leftie anger ... stays home on election day and translates into outrage the day after the election when the tally is known.

The game is rigged slow but sure and ends up with progressives and less conservative politicians being squeezed out over time and the result is our far less liberal Congress. The American people are more progressive than is ever shown by who gets elected. How is that possible in a democracy? How can Americans think more progressively but allow conservative leaning oligarchists and plutocrats to be elected?

It is possible because democracy stays home while the rigged game goes out and votes on election day. The conservatives go out and vote for somebody while the liberals don't vote for anybody. Can you guess why oligarchy has been winning ever since Reagan?


#6

Parry's "sky train" proposal is ridiculous and would be mind-bogglingly expensive.

For most US cities, streetcars and light rail only make economic sense on the most heavily used routes. And building enough streetcar routes from scratch to provide service a short walk from residents homes is entirely impractical. The ordinary diesel bus running frequently (10 minute maximum headways) and cheaply ($1.50 maximum fares and free transfers) which can be converted to electric trolley-buses on the more heavily-used routes as funding becomes available, is by far the best way to move forward with public transit in medium-sized US cities and get people out of cars. However, rich white "young professional" people need to get over this obsession with steel wheels and rails and lose their racism/classism-tinged aversion to buses.


#7

I always think of the automobile as the key enabling item in a powerful economic quad-alliance - Big Detroit, Big Oil, Big Real Estate and Big Box. All these business' polluting and community-destroying products become largely redundant and useless in compact, walkable, transit served neighborhoods.


#8

Why not provide ordinary, frequent bus service? They can go anywhere - including right to the doorstep of the local Wal Mart. Almost all buses these days "kneel" and have ramps for wheelchairs and even mobility scooters. There is a solution to carrying stuff - tote bags or tote carts - plenty of people get their groceries just fine using the bus.


#9

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#10

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#11

The Interstate Highway Act of 1956 was a huge giveaway to the automobile and airline industries, and to every industry they depend upon - rubber, steel, concrete, etc. It was the deathknell for passenger rail in America. It lined many politicians' pockets. For instance interchanges and offramps were built (long before the highways that would use them) on lands purchased from the very politicians who had an inside track on the plans.

I would suggest retrofitting the interstate highways to carry light rail.

Parry's article illustrates the old maxim "Think Globally, Act Locally." The climate crisis is a global problem, but all the solutions really are local.


#12

Good points except that you are letting governments off the hook I think. Think globally and act locally needs to also have an act nationally component. Governments would love to leave things local (where noting gets done either as this article shows.). However if the government (state or federal) had mandated that mass transit should be built to offset global warming from fossil fuel cars and trucks etc then it would have been passed at the county level.

The solutions may be local but just maybe some of the inspirations should be governmental (national).


#13

"As a microcosm of the challenges that many other communities around the globe will face..."

Will face? RP says this as though he thinks America is leading the world in this matter or something. Most cities where I am have had these transit systems for over a century and newer modernised versions have been progressively appearing for the last few decades.


#14

One of the big problems is that city councils are largely run by people with business backgrounds, so there is little diversity in thinking and practically no imagination. American business types often fantasize that they have the answer to social problems, when their parameters generally are limited to taxing and spending, with little foresight because of their profit fetishes. And they make a lot of really stupid mistakes because they're bull headed, arrogant, and focused on their small unimaginative agendas. Most European nations and Japan have had excellent public transportation for decades, and they are getting better with time. Come to the US to experience antiquated systems, parochial thinking, and stubborn ignorance in city, state, and federal officials. Idiocracy at all levels.


#15

Correction: scientists are saying that a temperature rise of 1.5C, maybe 1C, will wreak havoc on the Earth. We’re there.

The Koch-owned tea parties and the Republican party (a majority share of which is owned by fossil fuel corporations) in general are opposing almost everything sane, revealing their desire for a mass murder-suicide pact with the Earth. Most Democrats are only marginally better if at all, since their token opposition functions as much to give cover to the Republicans as simply the other right wing of the corporate duopoly. The Streetcar incident shows just one of many mechanisms by which that happens—the Republicans making the Democrats more identical to Republicans all the time, as both parties move to the right. The Democrats need to start framing to support their arguments instead of to ruin them, as they remove money from the electoral process.

If we want civilization to survive we need to remove these insane people from the political decision-making process—from right wing ideologues to corporate money-dependent Democrats.


#17

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#19

That's a commonly sung tune. Turns out it's flat, as millennials are already

The problems of a misdesigned landscape will be solved the same way they were screwed up, only faster because the US government, compelled by dire necessity, will make it happen faster. The high speed rail network necessary for replacing plane travel with a faster, more convenient, more comfortable way of travel, will have hub at its stops. Partly a natural outcome, partly the result of planned funding and contracts, the hubs will attract businesses and services, and short radiating spokes and clusters of other needed services will form in response to the announcement, planning and building of new transit webs.

We should have been doing this decades ago. In fact, with just a little foresight and investigation, the interstate highway system would never have built, since we already had some inkling in the 1950s that global warming was happening. But the right has opposed every rational move toward a more ecological society as long as there's been any possibility of building one. It should discredit the entire Republican party, the corporate duopoly and every institution that's been built on the political landscape of a US culture that with action reveals its psychosis.


#20

The issues under discussion are complex and cannot be dealt with easily.

  • The issue of global warming is obvious.

  • The human consequences and injustices of gentrification are equally obvious.

The Green Party in Arlington believes the human consequences of gentrification present a bigger problem locally than not expanding/enhancing their existing mass transit system via the plan under discussion.

The Green Party did not take a stand against reducing carbon emissions, the primary cause of global warming, as your post and the authors comments imply. The Green Party simply prioritized the problems and injustices of gentrification on this issue at this point in time.

Why must every article, opinion or post be divisive? What purpose does this serve?

Please refer to the following links regarding gentrification. Thank you!


#21

If the
Nation could
Mobilize for WWII
It can mobilize to
Fight global warming

The answer is "NO EXCUSE"!


#22

Robert Parry has vision; that is his greatest turnoff in political circles. To today's politicians, vision is a cancer. Seeing vision as cancer makes it easy to destroy and forget the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the US Constitution, and the whole constitution, as well. Don't need no stinking "common welfare." Don't need no stinking "domestic tranquility." Don't need no stinking "justice." Don't need no stinking "more perfect union." Only need corporate welfare. Bipartisan majorities consistently say so, and they are never wrong. Ask Obama.


#24

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