Side Shows

This administration, the orange one, is so difficult to mount a resistance against because so much happens under the radar as side shows while some big show is going on in the main ring. In that main ring some part of our democracy is being set on fire, this time it is income inequality, growing due to a bad tax reform bill. David Leonhardt in today’s NYT’s tells the resistance that this tax reform, if passed, will not be a big deal. It can be rewritten when the opposition regains power and it won’t have negative outcomes that are immediately perceivable. It will not, he says, be as big a problem for Americans as repeal of the ACA would have been. Whether you agree with him or not, I assume you do agree that recently the resistance has been focused on trying to put out that fire.

But while a fire threatens in the main ring there are all kinds of side shows (little fires) around the big show which erode policies slowly and yet are persistent enough that in the end real damage will be done. The hallowing out of the State Department is one of these things that should be drawing more of our attention than it is. Of course, how would the resistance find a tactic to reverse this? With so many intelligent, angry, and creative people I’m sure some in the movement are working on this. We keep reminding the administration that we can see what they’re doing, but they don’t seem to be shaking in their boots or stopping the decimation.

I don’t think it is at all clear if the outcomes of overturning environmental protection laws, another side act we watch but from which we keep getting distracted, will be as reversible as Mr. Leonhardt seems to believe the tax reforms will be (and the budget cuts?) In the December 6, 2017 edition of the New York Times is one of those useful end-of-the-year summaries which goes back over all that has occurred in the environmental arena in the first year of “The 45 Show” (The Year in Climate Change). Downloading this article and saving it will give you access to an array of climate information about climate events, changes to climate laws, and some of the possible solutions other nations are considering.


Topics covered:


Six Maps Showing How Americans Think About Climate Change

Greenland is Melting – Where is the Water Going?

Answers to Complex Climate Questions

95 Degree Days – Spreading of Extreme Heat

Summers are Getting Hotter

Southern States Will Suffer More

Carbon Rising even as Emissions Stabilize

50 Years of Melting Ice in Glacier National Park

The Crack in the Antarctic Ice Shelf

Looming Floods Threaten Cities

Miles of Ice Collapsing Into the Sea

Finding Answers in Ice

Vikings Razed the Forests – Can Iceland Regrow Them?

Alaska’s Permafrost is Thawing

The US – Biggest Carbon Polluter – Walked Away from Paris Climate Deal (June)

How GOP Leaders Came to View Climate Change as Fake Science (June)

How Rollbacks at Scott Pruitt’s EPA are a Boon to Oil and Gas (May)

52 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump (Oct)

Very Bad for Disaster Planners – That Trump Ignores Climate Change (Nov)

US Climate Change Policy: Made in California (Sept)

America’s Heartland – Discuss Climate Change without saying Climate Change (Jan)


Changing Climate, Changing Cities


Mexico City (Feb)

China (April)

Dutch Solutions (June)

Houston and Harvey (Nov)


Solutions and Setbacks


How Far is the World from Meeting Climate Goals? (Nov)

Tokyo flood preparations (Oct)

Rooftop Solar Dims under Pressure from Utility Lobbyists (July)

Things that, if Fixed, Fix a Piece of Climate Puzzle (July)

Seed Bank Almost Lost in Syria’s War Could Help Feed Warming Planet (Oct)

Amazon Deforestation Surges Again (Feb)

Building Better Coral Reefs (April)


You can find these environmental articles in one place, at this link:


Even after we tune in to this climate change “side show” it hits our senses as a series of so many small assaults that it is difficult to mount a counterattack. We get to the point where we just decide that we will sit back until something occurs on the environmental front that is so big that what was once a little side show becomes the next act in the main ring.

Climate change is not the only side act. Our ringleader likes to keep our senses fully occupied and therefore distracts us by announcing new acts every day, or even several times a day. Will our hostilities with North Korea escalate? Let’s name Jerusalem the capital of Israel today – fun! Will we have a government shutdown? Don’t think about Russia and the 2016 election – old news, fake news. Don’t think about my misogyny or even the likely pedophilia of Roy Moore. However, we are encouraged to focus on Democrats who mistreated women – throw them out of Congress, even as we welcome Roy Moore in. Immigration, DACA cannot get our undivided attention even though the travel ban decisions from a biased court will stand because our Supreme Court is also biased. Yikes, this is how you divide the focus of what looked to be a promising resistance movement.

I never was a circus fan but, at least, a normal circus is simply an entertainment. The circus going on in Washington, DC in the orange administration is like a circus in a science fiction story. The acts are not simply entertainment, they will affect Americans and living things around the world, possibly for many years to come. The GOP (and 45) have made certain predictions about what will happen in the future because of these “acts”. They predict that the results will “make America great again”. But if they are wrong we could all pay “bigly”. It is a “yuge” risk for one party, out of a rather extreme ideology to force events to conform to their vision. Of course, we will know who to blame, but that could end up being a small consolation.

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