August 16, 2012
Warming and aging
By David Giffey
“The earth that we knew – the only earth that we ever knew – is gone.”
That’s a line from Bill McKibben’s book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. McKibben primed the pump-up to Fighting Bob Fest set for September 15, at the Alliant Center in Madison, when the environmentalist and author was hosted on Fighting Bob Radio August 16.
You can hear the online broadcast with McKibben, and with guest Nino Amato, of the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups (CWAG), on the website blogradio.com/fightingbob.com. The live show is hosted by Ed Garvey, founder of editor of fightingbob.com, and Eric Schubring, of WOJB-FM radio, Hayward, each Thursday from Wisconsin at 11 a.m. CST.
McKibben founded 350.org, a grassroots organizing and public action environmental organization with a presence in 188 countries. His study and early warnings of global warming led to massive responses successfully thwarting, hopefully forever, construction of the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline, and President Obama’s rejection of the project.
On Fighting Bob Radio, McKibben said a clear predictor of how politicians will vote on “preserve the planet” issues is how much money they receive from massive corporations and fossil fuel billionaires. “Congressmen are kind of like cashiers,” McKibben said. “They are the perfect example of money power.”
Later this year, McKibben - with Naomi Klein and 350.org - will launch a global warming “divestment movement” similar to the successful global actions of the past taken against South African apartheid.
“The fossil fuel industry is the villain here,” McKibben said. “It’s the Koch Brothers, it’s Exxon, it’s Chevron… We can’t stop global warming. It’s too late for that. But we have to put a price on carbon.”
350.org takes its name from the parts per million of carbon dioxide levels deemed safe for planetary survival. The level is presently near 390 parts per million but, McKibben says, with commitment and some luck the level could be cut back. “We have the know-how, but lack the political will,” he told Fighting Bob Radio. So he’s dedicated to mass action, a call he will bring to Wisconsin and Fighting Bob Fest.
Nino Amato is CWAG’s president and executive director. On an environmental theme, he said the group’s constituency of elderly and disabled people is particularly vulnerable to climate change as shown when deaths surge during heat waves. He praised the Obama administration for setting emission standards on the auto industry since such pollutants also affect older people. Amato noted Scott Walker’s rejection of emission-tax measures which would have better protected the elderly and people with asthma.
But Paul Ryan’s “war on the elderly” drew special criticism from Amato. As the anointed running mate for Mitt Romney, Ryan has back-pedaled from his well-documented admiration for the late atheist libertarian Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged. However, Amato said that Ryan continues to adhere “the Rand philosophy of survival of the fittest.”
The U.S. ranks 23rd among 24 developed nations in the availability of healthcare, and has a higher infant mortality rate than Cuba. Mayo and Cleveland clinics, and Veterans’ Administration hospitals are models of U.S. providers that deliver services while keeping administrative costs in check, said Amato. He named leaders of healthcare as the late Ted Kennedy, Bernie Sanders, and Herb Kohl who was head of the Special Committee on Aging.
“This really is a crossroads in America’s future,” Amato said. We’ll either follow Ryan’s path of “unbridled capitalism,” with its privatization of Social Security and Medicare, or pursue proven healthcare models “with a bright future.”
Amato predicted that the next generation would ask one of two questions regarding healthcare: How did we overcome the buying of elections, the greed on Wall Street, and the corruption in our political system? “Or they’re going to ask us, ‘What the hell happened? Why didn’t you work harder?'”
Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for president, is scheduled as guest on Fighting Bob Radio at 11 a.m. Thursday, August 23. She’ll also speak at Fighting Bob Fest in September. Don’t miss it.
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I went a different direction and bought Peter Janney's book "Mary's Mosaic". It's about the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer a year after JFK was assassinated. I had never heard of her since I was only a wee lad at the time sucking on my baby bottle of Guinness. I started at the back, but I admit it's a page turner.
And in the context of today and back then (60s), it's sad we have the same government and the same problems. Something has to change before there can be change. Otherwise, as we see, we always have the same problems.
Even the Founding Fathers would look at today's political system and recognize our system is recreating the British class system with the wealth transfers and the 1% running everything.
-Mad Hemingway | Heart of Badger country | August 17, 2012