Jane Sanders: Climate Crisis Critical Issue in 2020 Elections

Jerri-Lynn here: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a ‘first lady’ who did more than plant gardens and appear on Carpool Karaoke? In this Real News Network interview, Jane Sanders discusses the climate crisis and tells Paul Jay that voters shouldn’t support candidates who claim to be progressive, but don’t prioritize the fight against fossil fuel interests. The Sanders Institute recently convened The Gathering – a meeting of about 200 progressives – in Burlington, Vermont, to discuss the policy framework to push for in the 2020 elections.

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay.

The Gathering, a meeting of 200 or so progressive thought leaders invited to Burlington, Vermont, was a meeting to talk about what comes next in the coming 2020 elections to help create a vision, a policy framework, for what candidates might run on, what people might fight for. It comes at a rather momentous time in human history, as I said in one of the other interviews; 2020 is maybe the most important election anyplace, ever, given what’s at stake. The Gathering was called by Jane O’Meara Sanders, who’s co-founder of the Sanders Institute; now serves as a fellow. Jane served as a political consultant, has held appointed and elected office, and Jane was the driving force behind the Gathering. And she now joins us here in our studio at the Gathering. Thanks for joining us.

JANE SANDERS: Thanks, Paul.

PAUL JAY: Your hopes going in—and I heard this a little bit in the email back and forth—is we don’t want to spend all this time trashing Trump. We really want to talk policy and what a different world might look like. How do you feel that was achieved?

JANE SANDERS: I was astounded. I mean, we had 49 speakers in 48 hours. And actually, I think a few added on during the weekend. It was thought provoking, inspiring, much better than I had ever envisioned. I had pretty high thoughts for this weekend. We came—you mentioned thought leaders. And what I realized by the end is they’re not just progressive thought leaders. They are bringing the heart to the, their hearts to the causes, to the issues that we talked about. They’re leading from values and principles, and then their intellect informs the rest. But the first layer is the values and the principles that we espouse, for democracy and for human dignity.

PAUL JAY: The times we live in are, as I said, this may be—the coming election may be the most important ever, to a large extent because of climate change. If a climate denier is elected again, or if a corporate Democrat is elected who pays lip service to the climate crisis and doesn’t take effective action, we’re kind of screwed. We’re already close to 1.5 or 2 degrees above—in terms of warming, above pre-industrial averages. The tipping point is really within sight. In terms of the messaging of the extent of the crisis and what to do about it, do you think that was addressed here?

JANE SANDERS: I think it was. I think that people walked away with the concept that, and with the realization, that time is running out. And what we need to do is not just ask people what to do or inform people about the issue.

One of the things that we need to do, and the reason for the Gathering, was to amplify each other’s voices, resonate on the issues. We need leadership that actually says, I’m sorry, this is a crisis. We need to address it now. Not next year, not the year after. It’s leadership at the local, the statewide, the national, the international level. Not just people who are elected, but people who want to make a difference in the world.

At the end of the climate crisis panel, Bill McKibben said that we need to have healthcare, Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and 100% renewable. Those are not the only things. But the 100% renewable and the focus on the climate crisis has to be at the outset of anybody running for office. Where do you stand? Where do you stand? Not [crosstalk]

PAUL JAY: Absolutely. But I’m not hearing it. Even with progressive candidates it’s like, I have to say even to some extent Bernie, although he’s certainly better than any of the others that actually have a mainstream role. But the extent of the threat is not like—it’s got to be front and center. We’re often, it’s like a shopping list, healthcare, Medicare for all, $15, climate. Well, climate is, it doesn’t matter if you get $15 an hour if we ain’t here. There seems to be a feeling both amongst people that work on this issue in the climate sector, people involved in political campaigns, that if you talk about the extent of the crisis you’re just going to scare people. Well, shouldn’t we be scaring people?

JANE SANDERS: I think so. I think you’re absolutely right. And we have to start—I believe a lot of people have conferences, and that’s the end game. Let’s have a conference. This was a jumping off point. We want to have the conference inform future action. What I heard from the questions from the attendees, the hallway conversations was that we have to hold people accountable. It’s not from a perception of you have to vote for this or vote for that. What do you understand about the climate crisis? Where do you stand on it, what are you willing to do, and what are you not willing to do? Don’t talk to me about in sound bites, don’t talk to me to say climate crisis is really bad, but no, I’m not going to fight the pipelines in the states. I’m not going to not take fossil fuel industry money. I think with the climate crisis, I think more than anything else we have to draw a very clear line and say these are the expectations. If you don’t do this, I don’t care how progressive you are, supposedly, it’s not—we’re not interested.

PAUL JAY: It’s got to be a criteria people use on who they vote for. But to do that we’ve got to get into those sections amongst working people who right now, climate is barely on the top 20 of their list. We did some work in southern Pennsylvania, we’ve done work around Baltimore where we’re based. And without doubt, the day-to-day suffering is such that people, they want that addressed. This thing has to be framed in a way that it is today. It’s not some great future prospect. And it’s your kids at stake, your grandkids at stake. The messaging is not getting through much to ordinary people.

JANE SANDERS: Well, when you look at the floods and the torrential rains and the fires, there is no analysis of that on the news. They cover it like voyeurs to say, oh, look at this terrible thing that’s happening. These people are helping, this is good news. The community is coming together, great. But they don’t ever ask why. Why is this occurring? Cover the science. And that is not happening. They need to cover the science.

PAUL JAY: Every day.

JANE SANDERS: Yeah, every day. But they’re not, and we need to insist they do.

PAUL JAY: We’re going to be, we are. and we’re going to be every day doing science. Because what’s missing from the whole discourse for ordinary people, people coming in on the issue, is the sense of urgency. People that understand what’s going on, we feel a sense of urgency, but there’s still this feeling that you can’t tell people that because it’s going to overwhelm them. It’s like treating people like kids.

JANE SANDERS: Partly. But I also think that people don’t want to have—want to just focus on a problem without a solution. Many of the people that are speaking about it or looking for votes don’t want to deal with the solutions. I do think that we have an opportunity at this point in time to say, to lay out what this administration has been doing in terms of rolling back air and water and all this, and all these regulations, and to recognize the support they’re giving to the fossil fuel industry with our tax dollars and not to renewables, which would help us. But to be able to say there is an answer.

The House just turned, and we should be making it very clear to the Democrats that are in control of the House, are you going to do something? If you’re not going to do something, thank you very much, we’re not going to be supporting you. If we say to the people, this is what you can do, and this is what we expect of you as leaders in your community or as elected leaders, we need your voice out there, then we can make a change. I think people need to not just focus only on the climate crisis, because as you say, that’s what everybody is saying. Everybody is going to be very nervous about it and very concerned. They should be, but we have to give them a path forward. We have to say how are you going to be able to make this-

PAUL JAY: Well, one of the things that came out of the conference was the discussion of a new green deal, a Green New Deal, I should say, which seems to make a lot of sense. It makes a lot of sense when you already understand why we need a new green deal—Green New Deal. Most people don’t even get the urgency of that.

JANE SANDERS: I think the bully pulpit really matters. The people in that room, and hopefully the people that watched on livestream, and the people that watch the things we’ll be putting out in the future at the Sanders Institute, will understand more. And Real News. You’ve been talking to people this entire time to have the Real News be covering the science, covering the facts, and having people who are in a position to lead their communities to solution. That helps. Now, the problem is that so many of the solutions, or so many of the approaches, seem to be protesting only. That’s not what we—I mean, protests are very important. That’s not enough. What we need to do is demand accountability, demand that they don’t take money from pipeline, they don’t support banks that fund pipelines. We need to say to our representatives and to the media, we expect you to ask and answer serious questions that are complex and not just give us sound bites.

PAUL JAY: I got a suggestion for the Sanders Institute.


PAUL JAY: One of the things I learned over the weekend was how Barcelona has created a publicly owned energy company. It seems to me more of that kind of program, like here’s what, if you actually took over a city, major city in this country, here’s what a city can do, here’s what a state could do. Also in terms of Congress, I think there’s going to be a real fight over whether real hearings are going to be held over what to do about climate change or trash Trump. I have no problem with trashing Trump. But if the focus is on that it’s just more of the same rhetorical battle.

JANE SANDERS: I agree. I think, unfortunately, the Democrats have a great opportunity, and unfortunately I’m concerned that they are going to blow it and focus on investigations, investigations, investigations. People want them to pay attention to the real issues facing their lives. And what’s happening now, I know, I really want Medicare for All, I really want $15 minimum wage, we want a lot of things. And a lot of new ideas and replicable policies came out of this conference. In terms of the climate crisis, what we need to do is focus on it, and if they don’t deliver to the voters that put them in, I think that it’s over. I think it’s over for that party. I don’t, I think-

PAUL JAY: It’s over for us humans.

JANE SANDERS: Well, but no. Because I think if they don’t focus on real change, on effecting real change, especially in this area, I think that we will be able to lead from below.

PAUL JAY: The logic—I mean, other than the fact that a whole section of the Democratic Party is very tied up with finance and fossil fuel, but set that aside for a second. They accept the dictatorship of corporate media. What I mean by that is the corporate news media is making a fortune out of this partisan battle. Not only does it drive ratings, because it’s like watching a football game, then the parties spend a billion, over a billion dollars, billions on advertising and campaigns. The partisan war, the news media loves. The logic goes if we have a hearing on climate change they won’t cover it.

JANE SANDERS: That’s what they said, actually. They have said that to us, that the ratings on climate change don’t matter. Then, at the same time, the ratings on fires and floods, they cover ad nauseum. Now, how hard would it be to cover them in a way that said these are the facts, this is climate change at work. This is why it’s happening. And this is what you can expect to happen later. These parts of the world are going to be underwater, and there’s going to be mass migration, and there’s going to be food shortages. They don’t have to cover it all at once. But when you look at things and you see the same footage for three days of terrible personal pain that people are experiencing, the loss of their homes and of their communities and even their cities, instead of saying, okay, we don’t have to put that on again, we can keep informing the people. That’s my, one of my concerns, is I think the fourth estate has been letting us down. A democracy requires an informed electorate. The media, the fourth estate, is supposed to inform the public. They’re not doing that. They’re selling ratings. But they’re not even thinking deeply about it. Because if they covered the fires and explained them, they’d get the same ratings.

PAUL JAY: I agree with you. But I have no expectation that corporate news media is going to change. This Democratic-controlled House, if they’re serious about climate change, they can create hearings with as much drama as the Kavanaugh hearings. You know, subpoena the head of Exxon, create a real dramatic presentation.

JANE SANDERS: Like they did with tobacco years ago, under Henry Waxman.

PAUL JAY: Exactly. But they have to want to do it. And that’s going to be a fight.

JANE SANDERS: It is going to be a fight, because people don’t want to take on the banks. They don’t want to take on the fossil fuel industry. They don’t want to take on the large donors and the big corporations. My hope is there will be—and I know there will be a group of people that will in the new Congress. And the Progressive Caucus in the Congress is pretty good.

PAUL JAY: There is a group now pushing for hearings on a Green New Deal.

JANE SANDERS: I think we’ll see some, for once, moving in the right direction. And I think the fact that under the Trump administration so many things have been so difficult for not just climate crisis, but everything, that I think people are beginning to realize we can’t take six more years of this. We can’t possibly survive that well. I guess that’s dramatic but-

PAUL JAY: A lot of people won’t survive.

JANE SANDERS: Yeah, a lot of people won’t. I think people are getting that. I have more faith in the American people. I think that they’re going to pay attention if they can be informed. That’s why places like The Real News and the Sanders Institute and all the people that were here from different organizations are so important, because—you started it with I don’t think they know. That education is extremely important.

PAUL JAY: Great, thanks very much.

JANE SANDERS: Thank you.

PAUL JAY: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

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  1. divadab

    Jane Sanders still a voice in the wilderness in a corporatist world dedicated to maintaining the unsustainable status quo, based on an ideology of infinite growth in a finite world. The ideology of a spoiled greedy killer child. Trump the absolute epitome.

    Some populations are in zones which climate change will not affect as badly, or even improve things. Populations in areas which will be flooded out or become desert will try to migrate in massive numbers. Hard choices will have to be made. Walls WILL have to be built. No liberal like Jane is addressing this – and few authoritarians are not in denial, based as they are in the status quo.

    However, defending what we have in the face of the hordes is a “unify or die” issue. But the level of catastrophe required to wake up the authoritarians to reality and scare the liberals out of their bleeding heart self-defeating worldview is scary. Will it really take a hurricane that wipes out Miami to unify the folks and make a parasitic ruling class take useful societal measures?

    1. nick

      Can’t say I would rather unify with authoritarians and a parasitic ruling class than recognize the humanity of people whose livelihoods and homes become wiped out. Not really a hard choice for me either.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps conservation-lifestylers should quietly identify those places which offer the hope of less decay and slower under global warming than other places. Perhaps they should quietly move to those places as fast as they can without drawing attention to themselves. Once there, perhaps they should try evolving local steady-statish survival economies in place and create as many “economic survivalist slots and billets” as possible in their survival-possibility areas, and recruit as many other conservation-lifestylers as they can to fill up all those economic survivalist slots and billets.

      They should fill up their areas now in advance of mass migrations. They should also arm themselves and bulk up their national guards as much as possible so as to deter the entrance of millions of climate refugees.

      If they have recruited all the reality-based global warming accepters from the regions-at-risk ahead of time, they should be able to feel zero guilt about doing what I have recommended just above. Because the climate decay refugees would be composed of vicious and spiteful fantasy-based global warming deniers, who have forfeited their right to live by trying to kill everybody on earth with their fantasy-based global warming denialism.

  2. Brooklin Bridge

    Paul Jay:

    But the extent of the threat is not like—it’s got to be front and center. We’re often, it’s like a shopping list, healthcare, Medicare for all, $15, climate. Well, climate is, it doesn’t matter if you get $15 an hour if we ain’t here. There seems to be a feeling both amongst people that work on this issue in the climate sector, people involved in political campaigns, that if you talk about the extent of the crisis you’re just going to scare people. Well, shouldn’t we be scaring people?

    Shorter version: “We’re doomed. Vote for me.”

    An exaggeration of course, but that’s a little bit what it might sound like to many who do not have the financial luxury of such prioritization. Accurate perhaps, effective – not so sure. Some segments of society, I’m thinking of blacks particularly, are in such dire economic straights in many areas of the country that it’s understandable that such a relative abstraction to their situation just doesn’t motivate the way a 15 dollar minimum wage or universal (free) health care, or a guaranteed jobs program might.

    Politically, it might be more effective to work on the MSM; bring the titans who control the MSM in front of Congress. Not sure what penalites can be applied, but as far as awareness of the dire straights we are in, the MSM is a, if not the, critical component and in many ways the biggest culprit (after the carbon barons). Also, a politician who is elected, rather than campaigning, has a better platform with which to inform the public about the immediacy of global warming than one who is asking the already disenfranchised to vote for him or her (though I would agree that is open to debate – perhaps more so in some areas than others).

    Dealing with campaign financing, and the whole issue of lobbyists, would be another effective if indirect approach.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      In other words, we don’t have the luxury anymore of focusing on ” the one keystone crisis” anymore. We have to address all the crises together.

      We have entered the Crisis Crisis. Too many crises to keep up. Each crisis making all the other crises worse.

      So progressive-wannabes in politics will have to engineer immediate-survival solutions for people with immediate-survival issues which are designed to de-warm the global while being applied to raise the immediate-survival prospects of people with immediate-survival issues.

  3. oaf

    ” Why is this occurring? Cover the science. And that is not happening. They need to cover the science.”

    …Mass Media won’t because Mass Media is owned by market winners. That would be like sawing off the branch they are sitting on…

  4. McGardner

    I find it so humorous that now it’s the liberals spouting their End-of-Days conspiracy theories. Do you realize, you are now the religious far right doppelgänger? You’ve killed God and replaced Him with almighty Scientistism, complete with your own apocalyptic visions and blasphemes. Non-believers, ‘deniers’, are castigated to the Pointless Forest where they are shunned as less-than Creatures of Hate ™. The Freudian projection, based on collective white guilt, over the historically comfortable lives we live has created this Dystopic Leviathan called the regressive left. Forced population controls, mandatory submission to theoretical dogma, Utopic narcissism masquerading as compassion, etc. I’ll just end with this and be done with it; December 8th should be a National Holiday. John Lennon is Dead.

    1. JTMcPhee

      And your bete noir, the “regressive Left:” I guess your assumption that the “liberals” have driven all this is sort of correct — neoliberalism and “Listen, Liberals” are part of the ruling elite. Laugh all you want, of course…”It’s a free country ™ (sic).”

    2. pretzelattack

      this is incoherent. climate change is well understood to be caused by humans. i don’t know why god or freud or white guilt would have anything to do with it.

    3. Massinissa

      So science is like religion because… You don’t like science?

      You don’t really refute anything in this comment, you just dislike what the data has shown.

      Look, I get it. My hero William Jennings Bryan did something similar when he denied Darwinism because he didn’t like the social implications of Social Darwinist thought (which had nothing to do with proper Darwinism anyway). But the legitimate scientists who are against Anthropogenic global warming are an extremely small minority, less than 5%.

      1. McGardner

        Thanks for the reminder about Bryan and the Scopes trial. Even HL Mencken was in on that one. Ha!
        Anyways, when science becomes a religion… when one questions the narrative and is labeled a blaspheme, we are dealing in religious terms. AGWarmists are the new religious right with a certain totalitarian bent. Admire the comments below; so anti-human, and guised as compassion. The general conceit of the left has tainted all potential avenues of discourse and they are not to be trusted. There is a civil war ahead, we can all feel it coming and unfortunately all this ink over spilt CO2 is meaningless. Ready your plan, for the shot heard round the world will be televised and class warfare will be global in nature. Good luck to you and good night.

          1. McGardner

            insightful witters. thanks for playing! This is my point, there is no countering the AGWarming narrative because the financial stakes are so high. Legions have bought into this narrative with heart, soul and wallet. Is it possible to buy scientific conclusions? you bet it is. You think climate science doesn’t have it’s own internal agenda? look at climategate. If you don’t get the right readings, cheat!
            Apart from that, let’s say the globe is warming at an uncontrollable rate of 2.0C, well, what’s the fix? Paris? Why would a first world nation accept a kneecapping and let china and india play catch up? silly…. Politicians want to keep their jobs. it has to crash and burn first, then politicians will be the saviors. They won’t risk their own scalps.

        1. alan2102

          Oh for God’s sake. Climate science is no one’s “religion”, but rather something taken seriously by thoughtful people (and if that is “religion”, then a whole lot of things are “religion”!). No one thinks that climate scientists can’t be wrong. The point is that even if there is a 10% chance that they are right — i.e. 10% chance of existential crisis for civilization — then we should be acting boldly, without hesitation. That’s CONSERVATIVE. We wish to CONSERVE civilization and its fruits. Flaming radicals and reckless gamblers urge us to do otherwise: ignore the warnings and roll the dice, with civilization riding on the bet. You better freaking hope you’re right.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      If you believe that human activity is not driving a global warming process, then you have to believe that a wonderful contrarian investing opportunity exists for you.

      Because if the global is not warming and will not warm, that means that for example the ocean is not rising and will not rise. In which case, if you were to buy oceanside land or other assets while the scaredy liberals are abandoning oceanside land and assets, you or your heirs will be in a position to profit bigly if the liberals or their heirs realize that global warming was just a mistaken belief. You and yours will be able to name your price to any liberals who wish to return and buy some small fraction of the land or assets you will be in a position to sell.

      Buy land in Miami. And go live there.

      1. McGardner

        My decision to not buy farmland in Minnesota has already been made, so if this is similar enough in nature for you, then my money is where my mouth is. Commodities will blow up come 2020 after the dollar finally breaks from its soon to be smashmouth bull market. Maybe look at Costa Rican coffee fincas at that point. Miami is hardly a paradise and the income tax will eventually be initiated. More to your point is the dilemma of Rowayton, CT. After Hurricane Sandy, all the million$$ waterfront homes had to be raised 15ft! Ouch…. ) My point is not to disparage those who are concerned for their planetary future. It’s the idea that the world can live as One in a utopian Collective without murdering each other. Impossible, as seen throughout our human history. I’ll say this, I’d rather die of heat stroke sharing my water with my neighbor of my own accord, than have to kill them to stop them from telling the Collective I had my own water supply.
        The AGW Solution would require the science to be bulletproof enough to enforce, under the full weight of federal gunpoint, the demands of the AGWarmists… and still be able to hold the moral high ground. The ethical paradox of murdering those already born (for some will surely resist) in the name of saving the future species will turn specious at best. We have people who suffer plenty right here and right now. No one promised you tomorrow, so we’d best help those who suffer today. Getting someone a meal for the night, or a blanket for the winter is a fix immeasurably more valuable than any dollar put towards conquering global weather cycles.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well, it goes halfway. If you believe that Minnesota will be within the New Frozen Death zone, it makes sense to not buy farmland there.

          The other halfway amounts to deciding where TO live. If you believe the global is not warming and will not warm, and the ocean is not rising and will not rise, then the places that all the warmists fear will go underwater in the face of a Rising Sea . . . would be exACTly the places for you to live. South Florida or South Louisiana or such places.

          Go to South Florida. Go there. Go. Its the Contrarian thing to do.

          1. McGardner

            That would be the contrarian play, which I am prepared to time, to my best ability. But I just don’t see the mass exodus happening. I’m down there every so often (SWFL) and they just keep on building right along the coast. And sure enough, people just keep on buying. No fire sales as such. And the culture’s not my style. Maybe Costa Rica in some far away dream life.
            AGW prepping is like trying to prove a negative. If it happens, your dead. If it doesn’t happen you’ll never know. But in order to properly attend to the AGW narrative challenges as imagined, it would take a shooting revolution to institute the perceived solutions. The US would break up into red/blue zones and much of the western world would tribalize into fiefdoms of <1mmpeople. Chaos. Look at Paris, that’s a tax scheme gone wrong plus a migration scheme gone rogue. That’s what we would be facing on a global scale. The buy-in is just too high.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              The global either is warming or it is not. Impersonal evidence offers clear guidance as to whether it “is” or “not”.

              If one decides the evidence clearly guides one to a realization that the global is warming, then one decides whether the warming is manmade or not.

              Obviously if one decides the global is not warming, one plans for a “no warming” future.

              Whatever it is that is actually happening, it is actually happening. And the impersonal earth-system neither knows nor cares whether someone wants to “buy in” to something or not.

              So you will do what you will do based on what you think you know. And others will do what they do based on what they think they know.

              So it goes.

              1. McGardner

                True, in the end we’re all making our own choices on what we think is best for ourselves. It’s the policy ‘problem’ we have in which others make choices on how to take money from one group and give it to another in the name of a cause; therein lies the rub. This goes for more that just climate change mind you. (MIC for starters). This is where the job description of Government becomes critical. Do we need to burn the global village to save it? Or do we leave each other alone in the libertarian/Daoist tradition. I certainly agree with you that weather changes and that Mother Earth always bats last. Mother Earth will go on long after we have done ourselves in.
                Where are you going to go? What’s the AGW redoubt? Might want to check out Eastern WA. Wenatchee? Good water, mountain hideouts, arable land.

  5. JTMcPhee

    Not all women are the same, of course. There is Eleanor Roosevelt, and Dolly Madison, for example. So at least there have been a couple of “First Ladies” who had what the mopes might consider a positive effect on “policy.”

    Who knows what Jane Sanders might do, if given the shared bully pulpit? Of course she is just another soft target of oppo-tunity, in our collective race to the grave…

    How many of us humans really are interested in and committed to continuing the species, building community, restoring the commons, constructing in big and small ways the elements of resilience and sustainability? How many willing to embark on a “Luddite” exercise to e.g., smash the AI machinery, overturn the tables of the money changers, stop the Amazoning, stuff like that? How many with any kind of clue as to what ought to be done, in a world of nearly 8 billion humans with more or less autonomy, to even start any kind of catalytic “change” that has a prayer of stopping and reversing “civilization”? That being the global war economy, birthed out of cities that grew from agriculture and “ripened” on the drive of more than enough of us to have hegemony over others, to break down the others’ citadel’s walls by violence or stealth or corruption, to loot, burn, rape, enslave, take their stuff?

    1. beth

      When we vote for a president we are not voting for a team, i.e., the president and first lady, or president and first man. The latter is an honorary title and, in no way entitles a Co-Presidency. If the spouse wants a more than honorary role, then they need to run for the office they want.

      That was the first thing that bothered me about Hillary. I don’t deny her or any spouse the right to lobby for a role in the nation, elected or otherwise.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Was Eleanor Roosevelt “elected” to anything? Seems to me she just used her prominence as spouse of the president to pretty good effect. I was in no way arguing that Jane Sanders achieves some kind of “power spot” if her husband somehow managed to become the Elected Head of the Free (sic) World. Just that she might do more than that Michelle person, and be less of an Elite than the unfortunate Melania. Or of course Mrs. Netanyahooooo and her various activities.

        Martin Luther King was not elected to any office either. People of good will who fortuitously become prominent, like ER and Dolly Madison, have a chance to do the right thing. With a little more chance of effectuating “change.”

        How these net exchanges operate, eh? People (always) working their issues, apparently not finding universal enough language and sufficient drafting and rhetorical skills to satisfy all the various interests and alignments and preferences of all the potential auditors (lexitors?) of the message intended and possibly not clearly enough stated and sent, with enough footnotes and caveats and attention to shibboleths…

  6. Jeff W

    PAUL JAY:…This Democratic-controlled House…can…subpoena the head of Exxon, create a real dramatic presentation.

    Or, better yet, we can simply buy off Big Carbon. (Finally, someone over at Counterpunch says what I’ve been thinking for a pretty long time.)

    Jane Sanders wants us to “demand accountability” from our representatives and wants “the American people” to be “informed.” Paul Jay bemoans “the dictatorship of corporate media.” We wouldn’t have to be talking about what an informed citizenry might possibly be able to do—which seems to me like “majoritarian democratic chatter,” in a system that is, arguably, an oligarchy—if, instead, Big Carbon was, to put it bluntly, paid off.

    The point of highest leverage in this system is the money that these fossil fuel companies are making from the extraction of fossil fuels (and deploying strategically to our representatives and “the corporate media dictatorship” against the global public interest). The most effective intervention is to pay them not to (and to wind down their fossil fuel extraction businesses permanently).

    Economist Stephanie Kelton says “…the state, because of its power over money, has a form of power to command resources in the economy.” To me, that includes, or could include, “commanding” those fossil fuels to stay safely, irrevocably unextracted—or, more precisely, “commanding” Big Carbon to leave them unextracted. Perhaps that seems pie-in-the-sky unrealistic but it seems less unrealistic to me—and certainly less contingent—than hoping that an “informed” public will be able to hold its representatives “accountable” so that they can hold hearings for “dramatic presentations” from the head of Exxon and that that, if it can occur, will lead to effective change in a system that’s awash with money.

  7. Kasia

    A growing US population means an ever hotter planet and an ever closer to the end of the world. Without the last 50 years of mass immigration the US population would be around 250 million and would now be in a slight decline. How many degrees cooler would the earth be today if mass immigration had never happened into the US (or Europe). And if our immigration rates continue at their current rates then by 2100 there will be more than 500 million people in the US literally destroying the planet. And yet Neo-liberals on both the Left and Right keep insisting on more cheap labor immigration to spread misery among the working classes and to wreak havoc around the world. Certainly by 2020 it will no longer be able to hide the link between mass immigration into first world countries and the rising temperature of the earth. There needs to be an immediate moratorium on any immigration into the high consuming US or Europe and massive amounts of money spent trying to convince Americans of all types to go live in the low consuming third world. By 2020 a candidate pushing de-growth and zero immigration would have the best chance of winning the Presidency and saving the planet.

    1. alan2102

      Excellent point. But, along with that moratorium must be an honest accounting for and resolve of the causes of the immigration; i.e. why did countries get wrecked so badly that now everyone wants to move to the U.S. or EU?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        And then how to de-wreck or reverse-wreck these countries? Or at least set them free to de-wreck or reverse-wreck themselves?

  8. John Wright

    This statement may indicate WHY little will be done about climate change:

    “But to do that we’ve got to get into those sections amongst working people who right now, climate is barely on the top 20 of their list.”

    Jane Sanders mentions:

    “It is going to be a fight, because people don’t want to take on the banks. They don’t want to take on the fossil fuel industry. They don’t want to take on the large donors and the big corporations.”

    Jane mentions “take on the fossil fuel companies”, but neglects that a great many Americans like inexpensive gasoline and heating oil and “take on fossil fuel companies” could be viewed as decreasing supply and causing higher prices.

    In 2009, taking on the banks was popular with Americans, but US politicians couldn’t be troubled to do that then.

    Why would contribution seeking politicians take on fossil fuel companies or banks now?

    I simply can’t see the changes that will be necessary to really do much about climate change as that would require drastic lifestyle changes in the developed, and to a lesser extent, developing worlds.

    I know someone who stated, “I believe climate change is real, but nothing will be done about it, and my wife and I like to take vacations that produce a lot of CO2 via air flights”.

    I suspect that life-style choice is common with many climate change “believers”.

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      @John Wright: You said…

      Jane mentions “take on the fossil fuel companies”, but neglects that a great many Americans like inexpensive gasoline and heating oil and “take on fossil fuel companies” could be viewed as decreasing supply and causing higher prices.

      It’s worse than that. Even if Jane Sanders were to succeed at environmentalists’ wildest dreams and shut down most American fossil-fuel companies entirely, people would still need to be able to put gasoline in their cars and fuel oil in their furnaces. The steel and cement industries would still need metallurgical-grade coal for their refining processes. And in the absence of American suppliers, we’d have to turn to foreign suppliers. Like Saudi Arabia for the petroleum-based products, and China for coal.

      Net result: The CO2 would continue flowing skyward. And we’d be lining the pockets of countries with (ahem) dubious civil rights. Somehow I doubt this is the outcome we really want. Until we have replacements for fossil fuels at the point of combustion, “taking on fossil fuel companies” is pointless virtue signaling.

      1. Quill

        This is key. And we need to ensure that any policies we adopt are supportive of technological innovation – especially since the key decisions are going to be taken by other countries. At the same time, we can take some steps which will improve things and we need to do so.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Would-be global dewarmers who want to be taken seriously will at least have to lower their own point-of-combustion combustion levels their own personal selves. They will have to lower their energy-use enough to have personally credibility when they say “we’ve done all we individually can and it isn’t enough. Social and technological re-engineering will be necessary”.

        But people won’t be willing to even hear that from people who have not strangled down their own personal energy use as low as long-term individual-lifestyle sustainable. So would-be global dewarmers will have to get busy reducing their own carbon emitting in order to be taken seriously in the coming debates and power-struggles.

  9. edmondo

    So Bernie’s campaign theme for 2020 is going to be “Two for the price of one”?

    It worked so well the last time.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      First Ladies have been influential at this-or-that in the past, at the informal social-and-lifestyle-inspiration level . . . . either in or after the White House.

      I am thinking of Lady Bird Johnson and Betty Ford. And of course Eleanor Roosevelt.

      So a First Lady Sanders could hit the ground sitting still. And look around. And fit gracefully into the Washington Social Whirl. And from that platform of settled acceptance, begin a program of Conservation Lifestyling Inspiration from the White House outward.

      Perhaps she could host some working-middle-class heroes of home-upgrading at White House Dinners . . . like Jim Dulley, Tim Allen, Glen Hage, Paul Villa, the This Old House crew and etc.

      This Old Whitehouse Goes Green. stuff like that.

      She could bring up a Master Masonry Heater designer and some Barbecue Pitmasters from Texas and South Carolina and etc., and have them jointly design and then oversee the building of a super energy-conserving mass-banquet-size Barbecue Pit. That would show that energy conservation can be compatible with the most sacred touchstones of Southern and Soutwestern Culinary Culture. Perhaps it could even be designed to perform massive Clambakes, this roping in New England culinary culture. And if it could be a Luau Pit as well, then Hawaii becomes represented as well.

  10. polecat

    Well, I’m a believer .. of sorts .. who nevertheless basically utilizes his petroleum quotient/conveyance out of necessity, generally goes no further than 100 miles .. round-trip !
    This bit of yeast likes to stay put, to tend his tinsy, weensy speck of home-grown Eden ..

    Grow .. the right way, use, reuse, live light as is possible.

    1. workingclasshero

      Win political power than do sometging about it.you want to get the middle and working classes to possibly vote for you in the u.s.?try running on direct federal financing (on mmt principals) of social security,medicare,education and job gaurantee without raising their taxes, also throw in ending miltary adventures and provocations.that maybe indicative of the sorry state of the great american public in not prioritizing climate change but the people on my level don’t have it in their top 5 issues,or so i’m presuming.in short,win power

  11. Eclair

    Woah! Looks like all us NC’ers have advanced (?) to the depression level in the five stages of grief. Not that we can’t also mix in some denial, bargaining and anger along the way.

    For the past ten years, I have believed that the saving of Earth and the wonderful mix of creatures and plants that have evolved over the past millennia, would necessarily have a large spiritual component.

    Our major religions have sprung up in times of turmoil and, although attributed to one man (or woman), have undoubtedly reflected a need felt by thousands as their social order was breaking down or simply becoming untenable.

    To say our social order, as well as our environment, is breaking down, is an understatement. We are going to have to develop coping mechanisms. These will have to be physical but they must be firmly rooted in a spiritual element.

    Money, the physical trappings of success, will no longer matter, because they will be perceived as the cause Earth’s destruction. What will matter are family, community, friendship, the preservation of our immediate environment and the recognition that everything is connected in a fragile and interdependent web. This might involve tending your garden plot, planting a local forest, or dismantling your neighborhood refinery.

    No one is coming to save us; not a fatherly god, not legions of angels, not a human prophet riding in on a Cadillac Escalade. We have only ourselves but with the recognition that we are a tiny, and probably relatively unimportant, part of the great web of being.

    1. Wukchumni

      Money, the physical trappings of success, will no longer matter, because they will be perceived as the cause Earth’s destruction. What will matter are family, community, friendship, the preservation of our immediate environment and the recognition that everything is connected in a fragile and interdependent web. This might involve tending your garden plot, planting a local forest, or dismantling your neighborhood refinery.

      Boy, isn’t that the truth!

      As it is now, money is an ad hoc jailer, our warden if you will.

      Once our fiat system is completely debauched, things change.

      1. Susan the other

        Taking Jane’s agenda, demanding honesty and action; yesterday’s dry economic but pertinent piece on the futility of capitalism as usual; and today’s Link to Der Spiegel on climate change triage, science and cutting our losses, we’ve got ourselves some good information. If this gets fed to everyone in an organized presentation it will dispel the confusion. And confusion is the partner of disaster capitalism – riding to the rescue with poverty for all. So just hold on all you cowboy profiteers, we’ve got a far more serious situation on our hands. Yes we can handle it because we have to and that eliminates the misuse of public trust. And we all know capital is nothing more than trust. And trust is the purest form of fiat. That’s the lucky part. Things are definitely gonna change.

        1. Eclair

          Yes, Susan the other. Following all your examples, we should feel emboldened to say to our politicians and our MSM, just stop with all your nattering on about Russiarussiarussia-Manafort-Mueller, the latest Trump abominations, Bush hagiography, fires-floods-and-blizzards without a word of explanation connecting these to climate change, and the best-Christmas-gift-deals-from-Amazon.com. We have a crisis on our hands.

          “… capital is nothing more than trust. And trust is the purest form of fiat. “

    2. John Wright

      Yes, it is too bad Stanley Kubrick is not around to do a sequel:

      Dr. Strangelove II or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Climate Change.

      1. Wukchumni

        408.32 ppm is the current C02 number, up from 405.92 ppm on the same date last year.

        So, in essence you’re correct, we’re talking about changing time and tide through our actions, while the results are already baked in.

    3. DJG

      Thanks, Eclair: And if people are wondering what our current batch of congressional professionals will do, it is the first half of Jane Sanders’s observation. And in the second half, she raises the stakes. So how to pay for this suggestion from Jane Sanders?:

      I think, unfortunately, the Democrats have a great opportunity, and unfortunately I’m concerned that they are going to blow it and focus on investigations, investigations, investigations. People want them to pay attention to the real issues facing their lives. And what’s happening now, I know, I really want Medicare for All, I really want $15 minimum wage, we want a lot of things.

      Let’s see: The endless wars in the Middle East have wasted some 7 trillion dollars, have caused ecological disaster, and have displaced an estimated ten million people in Iraq and ten million people in Syria.

      If there is a god on a Cadillac Escalade, let’s hope that Mr. God doesn’t give us what we deserve.

      In the meantime, the cost of endless war and its effect on the U.S. of A. domestically and on the rest of the world have to be attended to. And in the meantime, we have to collectively force the issues of climate change, redistribution of wealth, invention of new systems to improve life–all “everyone in, no one left out.” And with Gramsci’s ethic: Pessimism because of intelligence (the facts), optimism because of the will (to live). (I am way past any stages of grief, if I ever felt them.) In short, the trappings of success are going to be if we collectively can become good stewards of the Earth and good fellow citizens.

      1. Eclair

        What a lovely call to action, DJG!

        “In the meantime, the cost of endless war and its effect on the U.S. of A. domestically and on the rest of the world have to be attended to. And in the meantime, we have to collectively force the issues of climate change, redistribution of wealth, invention of new systems to improve life–all “everyone in, no one left out.” And with Gramsci’s ethic: Pessimism because of intelligence (the facts), optimism because of the will (to live). (I am way past any stages of grief, if I ever felt them.) In short, the trappings of success are going to be if we collectively can become good stewards of the Earth and good fellow citizens.”

        Time to gird up our loins.

  12. NotReallyHere

    Global Warming. The perfect issue for a craven, cynical political class angling, NOT to actually fix the problem, but to find ways to get their snouts into another consumer/taxpayer funded trough.

    The most important aspect of any law, of course, will be to ensure that politically connected trough-feeders get to make the rules of the new “market”, then use that power to ensure their friends make a killing. In Vermont that would include the Sanders clan.

    It’s perfect because results are impossible to measure. The topic is also complicated enough to allow any and all criticism be labeled as “climate denial”.

    1. Bobby Gladd

      ‘results are impossible to measure”

      Can we assume that you argue that the asserted adverse anthropocene climate trends are themselves “impossible to measure”?

      1. NotReallyHere

        No you shouldn’t assume that, although the people/industrialization factors are there I believe even climate scientists have a hard time separating natural climate shifts from human driven ones.

        My point is that there are many many factors inherent in human driven co2 emissions. These factors include, but are not limited to, regulations re coal use, incentives for renewable energy, the effect of new industrialized economies (which invariably use coal in their initial stages of development) entering global supply chains and not least, consumer demand for cars and air travel in newly developing consumer markets.

        Then there is the lag effect. CO2 created in the 1970’s Europe and the US is still producing effects on today’s climate. China and India’s CO2 production today will probably only show the effects on climate in a decade or so.

        Markets designed to put a “price” on co2 emissions are, by design politically created entities, devised among a coterie of politicians and their donors (large corporations). when the markets don’t work (check out the carbon trading market in the EU) the politicians can point to many many factors apart from their co2 market baby to blame for the failure. It a perfect gravy train and to say anyone who disagrees with the corrupt politicians’ solution can only do so because they are “climate change deniers” is part and parcel of the cynical scheme.

    2. John Wright

      Your imply that there may be a way “to actually fix the problem”.

      That to me is the core issue, there may be NO feasible way to “fix the problem”.

      What scales up as a realizable solution across developing/developed worlds in the time frame required?

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        You ask “What scales up as a realizable solution across developing/developed worlds in the time frame required?

        Well, nuclear power definitely has the track record for scaling up the fastest, as seen here: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/353/6299/547/F2.large.jpg. Way faster than wind and solar [Which notably, whose rollout would get even slower once their intermittent nature forces the parallel construction of MASSIVE energy storage systems. The chart doesn’t show that slowdown, as nobody has built a meaningful amount of storage yet.]

        Could nuclear be scaled up in the time frame required? That depends on the time frame we actually have. If it’s the 12 years that the IPCC states, then we’ll very certainly fall short of the goal. Even with a massive “war-time equivalent” mobilization, I don’t see how we could build that many nuclear power stations (over a thousand for the US alone) that quickly.

        But just because we can’t meet the IPCC’s 12-year target doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take any action. Even partial progress would slow the effects and provide more time for mitigation efforts. People would have more time to adapt.

        1. Quill

          We seem to share views on this. However, there is absolutely no momentum toward nuclear power at the moment.

          1. John Wright

            The nuclear industry, with considerable government assistance, has harmed its credibility, credibility that would be very handy in a buildup of nuclear.

            See https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/05/the-60-year-downfall-of-nuclear-power-in-the-us-has-left-a-huge-mess/560945/

            “It is 60 years since America’s first commercial nuclear power station was opened by President Dwight D. Eisenhower at Shippingport, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on May 26, 1958. But the hopes of a nuclear future with power “too cheap to meter” are now all but over. All that is left is the trillion-dollar cleanup.”

            The government nuclear sites were guarded by secrecy, which kept problems hidden for years.

            And sometimes proper care was lacking, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon_core

            Admittedly, the US government nuclear weapons sites are not part of the nuclear electrical power generation effort, but the behavior of the US government while running the weapon sites will hamper any efforts by the government to ramp up public support for nuclear power.

        2. rob

          saying nuclear power will save us is as short sighted as saying a lifetime supply of skittles will save a starving man. It will give immediate calories, but it will get you later.
          Nuclear power (fission that is), is a horrible idea. Can anyone say fukushima?
          How is that working out? want some pacific fish for dinner?How long is that disaster going to last?what will be the final verdict? how long will it take to find out?
          But the reality is; it is a short term idea.
          the storage of spent nuclear material is its own problem. look at hanford, or los alamos. both of those “long term” storage sites have already begun to spring leaks, with less than fifty years of use. which considering we need 10,000 years of safe storage, means that new car smell shouldn’t even have come off yet.
          And as far as money, it isn’t cheap. As duke energy who has been trying to build two new plants , in the southeast, and after billions of over runs in cost, they may have to abandon the projects due to the fact the plants and cost overruns may never pay for themselves. Luckily for them they can steal the money from their customers, due to market monopoly power, and regulatory capture. but they can’t make the numbers work out, despite billions already wasted.
          the reality is other cleaner renewable sources are a better option. both in the short term AND the long term. In the south, small fields of solar are being put along distribution lines already in existence. Incremental movement forward is a better plan than pie in the sky nuclear, which will backfire, eventually.
          And worry not all you nuclear-ophiles out there. We can’t get rid of the nuclear plants we have already, we have no way to really clean them up other than to dismantle and put the dirt”under the rug” elsewhere. So they may as well be utilized as long as possible. assuming they are safe-ish. Then we can take the radioactive dirt, and sweep it under a temporary rug somewhere, and let another generation deal with it at some point.

        3. alan2102

          “nuclear power definitely has the track record for scaling up the fastest”

          Those figures are most encouraging — for renewables. They describe ~10 years of growth WELL BEFORE any maturation of the relevant industries. The maturation is coming, over the next decade. The trajectory has us doubling renewable capacity every ~3 years; that will leave nuclear’s record in the dust.

          Intermittancy? Paper tiger. Do your homework.

          Nuclear? Dead in the water. DEAD, and good riddance.

          The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017
          Tuesday 12 September 2017

          “[T]his 2017 World Nuclear Industry Status Report is perhaps the most decisive document in the history of nuclear power. The report makes clear, in telling detail, that the debate is over. Nuclear power has been eclipsed by the sun and the wind. These renewable, free-fuel sources are no longer a dream or a projection — they are a reality that are replacing nuclear as the preferred choice for new power plants worldwide.
          The value of this report is that this conclusion no longer relies on hope or opinion but is what is actually happening. In country after country the facts are the same. Nuclear power is far from dead but it is in decline and renewable energy is growing by leaps and bounds…. nowhere in the world, where there is a competitive market for electricity, has even one single nuclear power plant been initiated. Only where the government or the consumer takes the risks of cost overruns and delays is nuclear power even being considered…. since 1997, worldwide, renewable energy has produced four times as many new kilowatt-hours of electricity than nuclear power.
          Maybe the Revolution has not been televised, but it is well underway. Renewable energy is a lower cost and cleaner, safer alternative to fossil fuels and nuclear power. The world no longer needs to build nuclear power plants to avoid climate change and certainly not to save money. If you have any doubt about that fact please read the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017.”

      2. NotReallyHere

        Well I don’t mean to imply that although it could be true. The optimist in me wants to believe that we can do something to encourage smarter energy use and reduced carbon emission. Maybe that will be by using incentives for solar and wind as alternatives. Maybe it will be to concentrate usage at the consumer level to electricity and tackle carbon capture at the generator level (a smaller number of producers should be easier to regulate)

        At lot of these initiatives are already in place (my home state is crawling with small firms pushing solar because government incentives are extremely generous.

        The point is, climate change, and specifically human driven climate change, has become a “trigger” topic. The subject matter is irrelevant because everything is subtext. When Jane Sanders talks about tackling banks and fossil fuel companies it is ridiculous on its face. Politicians have NEVER – at least since the Great Depression – tackled these power centers. Yet she has put herself in the big government tent where more government – or more specifically a greater number of non-profit NGO’s set up by friends of those in government – can solve every problem.

        Those who question these solutions are condemned to the fringes. Forced to fend off nsinuations of being with the young earth religious zealots or the mad libertarians. There is no in between.

        And then they say nobody listens to the other side.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      It is simple and straightforward to measure whether or not the measurable amount of CO2 and Nitrogen Oxides and Methane and that computer-chip-cleaning solvent in the air are going up or down or staying the same.

  13. Cal

    Maybe she could trade countries’ pledges to reduce carbon to get loans to build solar plants?
    Worked for real estate. Seriously.

  14. Scott1

    There are the cooperative and the uncooperative. It climate change, is a one world problem. The willing will have to be paid. The unwilling will have to be paid.

    Fiat currency from a World Bank will be necessary. What bank can be taken over so the currency is of value? What bank must be created to create the currency to pay for transformational energy sourcing? I did create an alternative currency from insurance. It is essentially based on human capital. I believe capitalists understand insurance.

    There will be the uncooperative and the cooperative. 10 is a lucky number. It implies to me that out of the 12 years 2 must be dedicated to making a financial system that pays for transformational energy sourcing.

  15. kareninca

    I have well-off (for the Midwest) relatives in the Midwest. They started out born again, but are now searching because a relative they care about is gay. So they are ardent Clinton supporters and visceral Trump haters. They go on several European cruises every year and take the grandkids on Disney cruises; plus there are the trips to places like Cancun in the winter. I asked about how their travel meshed with their political side’s position on global warming, and was told “we can’t worry about everything.”

    I also know plenty of people who have advanced degrees who travel just as much – but who come up with “excuses.” But they could pick up a phone and do what they need to do, instead of getting on a plane, almost every time.

    I did know of one case of an environmentalist who refused to visit his girlfriend in the U.S., due to carbon. She was suitably impressed. Then it turned out that he was just lying, and was cheating on her, and that that was why he didn’t want to visit.

    I know precisely one person who lives in a way to not contribute to global warming, who does so for that reason, as opposed to just doing it because of being poor. So I almost wonder why we are talking about this.

    1. Quill

      Yep. I live in a liberal area of the country. In most respects, my friends and neighbors emit less CO2 then average Americans. But this is overwhelmed by air travel.

      We are nowhere on replacing fossil fuels for aircraft engines, so if you want to reduce CO2 emissions here you have to reduce the number of plane flights. (Note that these CO2 emissions are non-essential and disproportionately emitted by the better off, so in some ways from a progressive point of view these should be particularly good targets for elimination.)

      Good luck getting agreement to do so.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Or if not elimination, then reduction.

        But this is a case where the upper classes would have to visibly give up their luxury air travel every week or every day before expecting the middle classes to give up their less-luxury air travel every month or every year.

        If we are going to ground all the sky subways, we should ground all the private jets first.
        We should also abolish air shipment of goods. We should abolish the growing of flowers in Africa to fly into Europe.
        We should abolish the growing of flowers in South America to fly into North America.
        For example.

    2. jrs

      maybe they fly to see relatives, and why do they have to fly to see relatives: because they @#$# moved to where the @#$# jobs were!!! The stupid BS we’re all supposed to do. I will die in place though, even if it’s homeless and in a gutter, because I didn’t move across country several times in my life chasing ephemeral jobs in whatever the hot area for the hot field for this decade was.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well . . . this would be a fine thread to talk about the details of successful down-carbon lifestyling. And talk about people who ARE doing it, in whole or in part, and HOW they are doing it.

  16. fries

    From Cheatsheet.com: What worries Americans most in 2018:

    8. Terrorism and North Korea
    7. Unemployment
    6. The Economy
    5. Nation Unity
    4. Immigration
    3. Racism
    2. Healthcare
    1. Government and Poor Leadership

    Gallup has a similar roundup. Notice any issue missing?

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