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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/2/19

Climate Terrorism: The Politically Farsighted Way to Impeach Trump

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Introduction: Thinking Impeachment Outside the Mueller Box

If ever a US president deserved impeachment, it's Donald Trump. Right after Trump's inauguration, even before Robert Mueller launched his investigation, Free Speech for People and Roots Action had launched a petition campaign demanding Trump be impeached on the very solid legal ground of his violations of the US Constitution's domestic and foreign emoluments clauses.

Denial Is Not A Policy--No, It's Climate Terrorism
Denial Is Not A Policy--No, It's Climate Terrorism
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Considering how the prohibitive cost of national election campaigns makes billionaires likelier than ever to run for president, dusting off the Constitution's wise if forgotten emoluments provisions seems crucial to ensuring future billionaire presidents (if we're foolish enough to elect any) don't let personal business interests "trump" their loyalty to the nation's good. Given Trump's notorious corruption --he even used his grasp of political corruption as a campaign selling point--impeaching Trump over emoluments seemed a prudent way to make presumptuous political neophyte billionaires think twice about ever running again, given the high personal cost of divestment from business interests our Constitution pretty clearly demands.

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Wise and constitutionally solid as an emoluments-based impeachment seems, Congress--and most to the point, Congressional Democrats--never were the least bit interested in that sound anti-corruption approach. Not that it was the only publicly supported basis for impeaching Trump available. To date, Free Speech for People and RootsAction have complied almost 1.5 million signatures on their joint Impeach Trump Now petition, which now lists a host of solid grounds for impeachment beyond Trump's blatant violations of the Constitution's domestic and foreign emoluments clauses.

Seeking to spread the widest net for public support in their grounds for impeachment, Impeach Trump Now's initiators have included reasons stemming from the Mueller report in their list. While some of those grounds may be legally sound, including them strikes me as politically imprudent and potentially self-defeating for the cause of impeachment. Why? Because the Democratic Party establishment and their servile corporate media reprehensibly warped the Mueller investigation into an obsessive "Russian collusion" witch hunt, thereby grievously harming Democrats' public image, their prospects of impeaching Trump, and even their chances of winning the 2020 election. If establishment Democrats gain control of the impeachment narrative, their self-serving, voter-wearying Russiagate tale will likely crowd out far more compelling reasons for impeaching Trump--more dramatic, groundbreaking reasons that could inflict irreparable electoral harm on Republicans in 2020 and beyond.

By far the most dramatic and easy-to-establish reason--one that won't mire Congress in endless, tedious months of beating the Russian dead horse (or bear)--is Trump's beyond-criminal climate policy. And Democrats can easily enhance the riveting, newsmaking drama of that impeachment basis by proper charge framing: there are compelling, intellectually solid reasons to stigmatize Trump's most grievous misdeed as climate terrorism.

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By boldly framing Trump's most destructive policy as "climate terrorism," Democrats could reverse the impression given by their failed witch hunt for Russian collusion that they're focused on grievances as low-priority to voters as Trump's navel lint while he inflicts unprecedented, irreparable harm on human civilization in plain sight.

By focusing on climate terrorism--by far the most radical way of "thinking outside the Mueller box"--Democrats could prove to voters that they care more about the common good than self-serving partisan priorities like the Russiagate narrative. Given the extremely short timetable for climate action, the entire future of civilization probably depends on Democrats convincing voters that climate-denying Republicans are intolerably bad news. Given how horribly Democrats have botched this urgent task of persuasion to date, a fresh, dramatic messaging strategy--like the one I propose here--will surely be required.

Exploiting Republicans' Most Suicidal Gamble

As journalist Allan Nairn brilliantly explained nearly a year before Mueller released his report, Democrats made an insanely risky gamble in pinning virtually their entire anti-Trump case on Russian collusion. For our purposes, I'll quote a whole prescient passage from Nairn's Intercept interview here (emphasis mine):

Look, Trump is a guy who's guilty of almost everything, in a meaningful sense. Yet, here, the Democrats have pinned the political future of the world on nailing him for the one thing of which he may in fact be innocent: Russia collusion. I mean, he's guilty of just about everything else. But maybe there is no hard proof of Russia collusion. And my God, what a bitter, disgusting irony that would be if the whole edifice of opposition to Trump comes crashing down, if that speculative bet that that can be proven fails to pay off. It's irresponsible to devote the majority of your political resources to that when so many other things are more substantively important, and also beyond debate.

One thing that's far more substantively important--and beyond debate in the face of humanity's climate emergency--is the criminal insanity of Trump's climate policy. Which is essentially everyday Republican climate policy on steroids. Again, Nairn gives us a crystalline intellectual lens for grasping Trump's exacerbation of normally extremist Republican tendencies . Nairn's Intercept interview is fittingly titled "Allan Nairn on How Trump Dragged a Rightist Revolution to Power."

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Nairn's word dragged, when combined with his phrase rightist revolution, couldn't possibly be more insightful. As Nairn points out, Republicans' agenda--an extremist oligarch agenda put into play roughly around 1980--is so contrary to the interests of ordinary voters and therefore so unpopular it couldn't possibly win democratic elections on its own merits. So in part, Republicans have had to rely on an antiquated, anti-democratic Electoral College and Senate (which radically overrepresents small rural states), red-state voter suppression laws, district gerrymandering, and democracy-crushing court appointees to maintain any grip on power.

But they've also had to rely on demagogues who pander to the worst tendencies in their non-oligarch base. Trump is by far the most dangerous and despicable of such demagogues, exploiting every yahoo tendency in average people that democracy's elitist critics go spasmodic over. While Nairn rightly emphasizes racism, he fails to mention a dangerous, resentful anti-intellectualism that castrates every worthwhile impulse in democracy. If democracy is about developing human potential to its fullest (and electing capable leaders), average people need to admire the intellectual quest for truth and cultivate the budding intellectual in themselves.

Trump's unrelenting attack on climate science is yahoo anti-intellectualism at its worst and most dangerous. In its unprecedented potential for apocalyptic global harm, and its roots--like all terrorism--in irrational, extremist ideologies, Trump's catastrophic environmental policy fully deserves the name of climate terrorism. Trump's policies flow directly from extremist Republican market fundamentalism and yahoo science denial, elevated to the status of a fanatical religious cult. In the case of Trump's vice-president Mike Pence, the fanaticism is literally religious.

By making an extremist bet against science itself--and therefore against reality-- Republicans have unwittingly staked their future on a gamble even more suicidal than Democrats' self-destructive Russiagate obsession. Since science is humanity's most provably reliable tool for grasping the nature of reality itself, reality itself will gradually, inevitably avenge the suicidal folly of betting against science. While average people regrettably harbor yahoo anti-intellectual tendencies, those tendencies can't overthrow the direct evidence of their senses--especially when that evidence is accompanied by real physical danger and pain. Nature itself, via unprecedented wildfires, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes, is now making far more convincing climatology arguments to average people than any "lab-coated egghead" ever could. By denying verifiable reality, Republicans have--wittingly or unwittingly--chosen political suicide. What's at stake in 2020 is either suicide for a criminally insane party--led by a Climate-Terrorist-in-Chief--or for civilization as we know it.

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Patrick Walker is co-founder of Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP) and the Bernie or Bust movement it spawned. Before that, he cut his activist teeth with the anti-fracking and Occupy Scranton PA movements. No longer with RAP, he wields his pen (more...)
 

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Patrick Walker

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It's incredible how much the Trump administration is rhetorically playing into the hands of those of us seeking to impeach him for climate terrorism. Just consider their ludicrously Orwellian portrayal of exported natural gas as "freedom gas." While the phrase's self-parodying goofiness staggers comprehension, it also sets Trump up for us talking about his terrorist gas attack on the planet. Or for saying that by exporting "freedom gas," he's really exporting terrorism--as he's so apt to accuse other nations of doing.

Submitted on Sunday, Jun 2, 2019 at 10:03:07 PM

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David Wieland

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And you don't see "climate terrorism" as an example of self-parodying goofiness? It's tragic that leftists have succumbed to climate lunacy. Data has become sadly irrelevant in a time of emotional hype.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 3, 2019 at 4:54:31 PM

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What the hell do you about data? The IPCC knows a hell of a lot--it summarizes GLOBAL climate data--and Trump's utter contempt for the IPCC's short timetable for switching to renewables surely makes his deregulation and ramping up of fossil fuels look like terrorism. You couldn't even cite data from credentialed climatologists; I'm virtually certain all your "data" come from wingnut think tanks like the Heartland Institute. I defy you to produce peer-reviewed climate science in favor of your viewpoint.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 4, 2019 at 1:17:07 AM

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David Wieland

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I'm afraid you're not actually looking at data -- or even at what the IPCC says. A good summary of key non-alarmist statements from the IPCC AR5 report (Chapter 2) is informative. As for data, it clearly disconfirms the sadly unscientific claims that rising CO2 is causing dangerous overheating of the planet; temperature is not tracking CO2. You should read deeper to avoid putting yourself in the wingnut category.

There are a lot of reasons to consider impeachment, but "climate terrorism" isn't among them. That's a truly wingnut notion.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 6:18:02 AM

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The problem is, you only look at data from wingnut sources and not the consensus scientific sources that LONG AGO debunked them. Wingnuts ALWAYS do this and them claim we're not looking at the data. It's a stupid ploy by unqualified nonscientist denialists to shake the confidence of nonscientists (like me) who believe the overwhelming consensus science.


Here's a link from Skeptical Science--a mainstream source I'm sure you NEVER consult--definitively debunking your case. You particular misinforming heartthrob, Dr. Ole Humlum (or is it Humbug) is put in his place in Part 3.


Skeptical Science devotes itself especially to dekunking the denialist hogwash wingnuts like you dredge up. That's why I'm sure you NEVER consult it.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 10:34:08 AM

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Maxwell

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But since climate terrorism is essentially the official platform of the GOP I doubt it's going to work while they still control the senate.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 3, 2019 at 4:47:08 PM

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If you read my article carefully, I already acknowledged that point. The whole motive of impeaching Trump for climate terrorism is to force Republicans to discredit themselves by colluding with that climate terrorism before the 2020 election. Republicans who won't impeach Trump over his climate terrorism get branded climate terrorists too!

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 4, 2019 at 1:20:35 AM

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Phat Khat

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I don't know if your link about Pence was supposed to be tongue in cheek or not. The blog you linked is a satire blog, that, like the Onion, sometimes seems more real than the real stories. I spend a lot of time at Patheos, but when I first visited, LiD fooled me a couple of times.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 4, 2019 at 5:46:21 AM

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I am greatly confused. It would appear, every negative thing happening in this World today, (when I refer to the World, it means the U.S. of A. as that is how Americans look at things believing the U.S. is the center of the World) is laid at the feet of Trump, and is all his fault. Going by posts here and elsewhere, many posters seem to think replacing Trump will resolve these problems. But at the same time, IGNORE the FACT, that the issues plaguing us today, began well before Trump put his bum on the seat in the W.H. yet no condemnation is ever directed at the folks who were in charge over the last 50 years who designed and planned everything unfolding today. Why is that ???? Do Americans seriously believe changing the bum on the chair in the W.H. will change ANYTHING ??????????????? L.O.L. When will Americans realise it makes no difference which party is in power in the W.H. the agenda remains the same. We, in Australia have come to this conclusion long ago, and KNOW it matters nought, which party is in power in our country, they ALL answer to the Global Elite and follow their instructions to the letter. Just as is done in the U.S.

B.T.W. you do all realise, currently Trump is rubbing shoulders with Windsor Royalty in Britain. The epicenter of the Global Elite, can you imagine what's being discusses there by them both ???? Of course you are all aware, the Queen is the richest woman on the planet, and never, ever got her hands dirty. How did she get so rich ?????????????????

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 4, 2019 at 6:14:07 AM

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b. sadie bailey

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Although I agree with other posters who point out that Trump is merely the toddler-bully pushing the dominoes over, and that this route to extinction has been the elite's plan since forever (and BOTH corporate parties are guilty - Obama and the Clintons did their fair share to bring us the conditions that allow a Trump/Pence to be a reality!), I think the author's idea has merit because, primarily, Trump is a madman being used by the elite to knock down ALL the dominoes in exchange for promised dictatorship or whatever. Climate change and/or nuclear war/reactor meltdowns are the number one thing that will likely destroy life on earth. The problem is, most people refuse to face the terminal diagnosis (6th mass extinction, human-caused) squarely in the face and do the right things - things are accelerating, not slowing down or stopping. We're over 400 ppm and there's no reversing this without STOPPING it all.

I've no sympathy for the dems and their ridiculous McCarthyist "Russiagate" which discredited them and any decent candidate who has to run under their corporate DNC monopoly.

Trump administration and the elites who own them don't even have to pretend to care; it's game over; they will "drain the swamp" of resources then I guess, fly off to Mars with Elon Musk.

I agree with Mr. Walker that at this point, they are suicide climate terrorists blinded by profits and nothing more; like an infestation of locusts they will devour and and they are dismantle everything in their path. So yeah, this idea is the best we have.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2019 at 5:06:43 AM

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