Jane Fonda Is Pitching For Our Future. Lend an Ear.

Yves here. I imagine praise of Jane Fonda will set some readers’ teeth on edge. More generally, celebrity spokespeople, even for good causes, are too often seen as dilettantes. But it’s also too easy to paint actors who engage in activism with an overly broad brush, as examples like Susan Sarandon and Russell Brand illustrate.

More generally, taking umbrage at celebrities for the mere fact of getting on a soapbox is ad hominem and intellectually snobbery. If they use their high profile to pump for a worth cause and do a good job of it, they deserve a round of applause.

By Skip Kaltenheuser. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

Even for those already in the climate choir, Jane Fonda’s sermon last month at the National Press Club is well worth the time to read or watch and listen to. I’ve logged loads of press club luncheon speeches over the years. This was one of the finest I’ve heard. Fonda eloquently described how global warming has us up against the wall. Not just the heartfelt delivery one expects from Oscar winners, but the essential substance and slightly wicked wit woven throughout. Send it to those needing motivation to confront the stark realities before us and to act.

Fonda’s many actions include Fire-drill Fridays, protests for which she temporarily moved to DC in September, at which she’s been arrested a half dozen times. If you’re around Washington, the last drill before her return to acting commitments in L.A. is January 10th, 11 AM at the U.S. Capitol. Guest speakers will include Bill McKibben and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Climate Change Denier-in-Chief by Nancy Ohanian

Fonda’s speech took no prisoners, calling out a range of climate villains, including Exxon, which over forty years ago knew the truth about the effect of increasing CO2 gases and the short window to address it, and whose executives, when their scientists informed them of the global impacts, replied “This problem is not as significant to mankind as a nuclear holocaust or world famine.”

“And they continued to drill,” said Fonda. “Exxon, Shell, Mobil, and others knew that their products wouldn’t stay profitable once the world understood the risks. So they used the same consultants that the tobacco companies had used to launch a huge communications effort, to develop strategies on how to fool us.”

“The difference is that tobacco companies were primarily harming people who smoke. The fossil fuel companies are harming the entire planet and all its inhabitants. The companies not only hid what they knew, a coalition, together with the Koch brothers and other billionaires spent tens of millions of dollars on think tanks, like the Heartland Institute, that promote false science, sowing confusion about global warming, so that people won’t try to stop them. Their line was, and continues to be, that the, “Science about climate change is not clear. And even if it were, the fault lies with governments and consumers, not with them.” You see, but the thing is, these oil companies have played a big role in actively stopping governments from enacting clean energy policies, with Exxon leading the way.”

That includes Exxon’s undermining the 1998 International Treaty on Climate, the Kyoto Protocol. Fonda points to other bad actors, like the American Petroleum Institute, with its new video, America’s Energy Security: A Generation of Progress at Risk, equating fracking and drilling with patriotism, as Republicans including Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania introduce resolutions to prohibit a President from implementing a unilateral moratorium on fracking, and as the Manhattan Institute, with significant backing from fossil fuels concerns, warns of global recession if the US bans fracking. It won’t shock that Fonda advocates legal consequences for knowing deceptions and environmental damage.

To claims like Toomey’s that American oil and gas production is the only path to energy security, Fonda asks if it’s necessary for energy security, what are we doing shipping it overseas? She quoted Oil Change International that 45% of existing drilling wouldn’t be profitable without taxpayers subsidizing fossil fuels with over $16 billion dollars a year.

She didn’t mention it, but that’s dwarfed by military expenditures underpinning escapades with oil in mind. They arguably include backing Iraq in the Iraq-Iran war of 1980-88, the invasions of Iraq, and shoring up the Saudi regime and the UAE and pumping up their ally Israel. Now we’re doing that trio’s bidding with a dance in the dark with Iran.

Andrew Wheeler by Nancy Ohanian

Fonda stressed the importance of workers like coal miners not being treated as stranded assets, unlike the fossil fuels that must become stranded assets left in the ground if we’re to have a chance. She acknowledged how overwhelming the tasks before us must seem, how disruptive and expensive addressing global warming will be. Fonda then pointed out the costs of billion dollar weather and climate events, which over the last three years exceeded $450 billion

Referencing The Grapes of Wrath, one of Hollywood’s masterworks and one that starred her father Henry, Fonda noted the 1930s was a time of both massive financial collapse (the Great Depression) and an environmental collapse (the Dustbowl). In response to the social unrest it generated, FDR responded to those demanding government action, “I agree with you. Now go out and make me do it.”

Fonda connected political challenges then with those current:

Now the rich and powerful hated the New Deal, hated Roosevelt, because it set a precedent for the federal government to play a central role in the economic and social affairs of the nation. It was criticized as fascist, as socialist. Bankers tried to overthrow Roosevelt. Big business, big railroads, big banks ranted and raved against it. But there were millions of people in the streets demanding that Roosevelt do more, because it was helping them. And, because of that, it succeeded.

The same interests that hated the New Deal are the ones telling us today that the Green New Deal is bad, that government shouldn’t be so involved in economic and social regulation… But it’s not the size of government that matters, it’s who the government is working for. And for too long, it’s been a government controlled by corporations, most particularly the fossil fuel industry. This is why it hasn’t been working for working people.

And powerful forces are arrayed against the efforts to change this, just like back in the 1930s. Already, there’s a rash of new laws …that specifically criminalize protests aimed at fossil fuel infrastructure. These new laws are called critical infrastructure laws, since they reclassify fossil fuel infrastructure as critical, in order to justify harsh penalties against climate advocates exercising their Constitutional right to peaceful protest.

American Dream Revisited by Nancy Ohanian
Addressing the media in the room, Fonda said it’s hard to get people to increase their activism in concert with others when only 43 percent of Americans report hearing about climate change, and 23 percent say they never hear about it. She called for media to step up with more coverage of the best practices of states and cities transitioning from fossil fuels. And especially to drop the “two sides to the story” narrative, given 97% agreement in the scientific community.

Fonda asserted that because of the fossil fuel industry, which lost the country decades of critical time to act, and shrank our carbon budget– the amount of carbon that could be burned without passing the tipping point– it’s too late for moderation. “And given the emergency, it’s those who believe in moderation, in pre-Trump ‘business as usual’, who are truly delusional.”

Perhaps wisely, when aiming to convince a broad political spectrum to confront the political power of the fossil fuel industry, Fonda declined to name her favorite for President in 2020. But she allowed this: “You know, I’ve said pretty clearly, it’s too late for moderation. So I guess that tells you something…You know, the idea that going back to what existed before Trump, I mean Trump isn’t some unicorn that appeared out of nowhere. There’s a reason that he was elected. And so the solution requires much more than going back before he was elected. It requires addressing the reasons that he was elected. And that’s why I like the Green New Deal, because it’ll not only solve the climate crisis, it will address the reasons that someone like Trump could get elected in a country that is supposed to be a Democracy.”

Asked if Michael Bloomberg, who spent millions underscoring climate issues, was on the same side, despite often putting his money behind Republicans, Fonda replied:

I like Michael. I admire much– I love his work on gun control. But I don’t like the fact that he supports candidates– I mean Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania was running against a very progressive woman. And Michael Bloomberg put a lot of money into Toomey’s campaign, because Toomey is good on guns. But he’s terrible on climate and fracking. So there’s a lot about where Bloomberg is coming from, that I don’t like. But, on top of that, I don’t like people buying their way into the electoral process. We got to get money out of politics.

There are some journalists, I can think of a few on both TV and radio, who are like a terrier with a sock trying to put words in someone’s mouth until they get the talking point they want that supports their narrative. I won’t imitate them now. Draw your own conclusions as to which candidate best threads the needle of Fonda’s druthers, and which ones don’t.

Ah, but I will digress in timely fashion. A presidential candidate who is Fonda’s junior has earned the mantle of the leading climate candidate. Corporate media and a shameful number of those in Congress are working overtime to disparage the Green New Deal that Bernie champions. But the detailed version here, including transitioning jobs in fossil fuels to work that creates green infrastructure, will help make Bernie a home stretch closer. Fonda mentioned Yale scientist Anthony Leiserowitz telling her that 43 million Americans would do something about climate change, but nobody asked them. Bernie’s asking. His campaign is a vehicle for climate involvement. Larger and larger swaths of the public connect the dots between shriveled crops, flooded hog farms, polluted waters, smoking forests and diminished prospects for their children. Many of them will recognize Bernie’s campaign as legit action. Bernie will be ticking like a Timex as people anxious over a heating planet enable him to come from behind like Seabiscuit.

By the way, If you haven’t signed up for David Sirota’s Bern Notice newsletter, part of the campaign’s end run around the Bezos Brigade and other media hostiles, you can do so here.

My only complaint on Fonda’s speech is that she didn’t share who brokered her soul. She turned eighty-two the week of her speech and no one would ever pick her out of a line-up as an octogenarian on a crime spree. Even allowing for star-power wealth and privilege, she’s a reminder that age is not an average of expectations for a particular number, it’s a very individual matter. Though every day is a roll of the dice as we move through the casino of health breaks and genetics, we prejudge at our peril. That’s whether or not one is still among, as an accomplished polio victim once phrased it for me, the temporarily-abled.

Over New Years I took my two kids, young adults on break from school, to the Delaware beaches and a coastal state park, for walkabouts along and through dunes anchored by pine and oak. Temperatures reached sixty-five. There’s always unusually warm winter days in the mid-Atlantic. But averages are steadily creeping up. Watching waves break, I thought of the 1959 apocalyptic film On the Beach, in which Australia is the last to go, not among the first. I couldn’t shake the notion that our pleasures were the flip-side of hundreds of millions of animals perishing in Australia’s bush fires. It makes me uneasy about what might be knocking on America’s door this summer.

Looking at DC forecasts for the next ten days, several top off in the mid-sixties. That’s a bit weird for January, normally our coldest month. For years after I moved from Kansas to DC in ’79, I could count on snowy city shutdowns and a week or so of cross-country skiing in the valley of Rock Creek National Park that winds though the chunk of the city where I live. Then it became occasional. Finally, rare. At present in DC, it’s a good bet Frosty will go extinct this entire winter, leaving our sleds in hibernation and our snowballs imaginary.

Nero Lives by Nancy Ohanian

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  1. The Rev Kev

    I was just thinking about all those executives from companies like Exxon, Shell, Mobile and all the others who suppressed all this vital information back in the 70s, 80s and 90s. They would all be long ago retired and perhaps more than a few have passed on. But they probably continued to have comfortable careers and went home at night to their oversize homes. They probably enjoyed holidays too in exotic locations with their families and enjoyed all the perks and privileges that their successful positions earned them.

    They knew what was waiting their grandchildren but they went ahead anyway and undermined all efforts to counteract this coming catastrophe. I only partially blame them for putting a lid on this data as it was coming out from their own scientists. But I fully blame them for spending billions to get a whole generation of people to dismiss all this data as some sort of conspiracy theory. The later is unforgivable and may lead to deaths in the hundreds of millions.

    Capitalism is what produces such men and women, It was once said that ‘The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.’ We are know learning up front and personal that capitalists will sell us the means with which to destroy present day life on the same planet that they live on. And our economic system continues to reward them for this.

    1. xkeyscored

      They knew what was waiting their grandchildren but they went ahead anyway
      This is what baffles me the most. I can understand those who profited from tobacco, asbestos, tetra-ethyl lead and so on thinking “Ha ha you stupid suckers, we’ll probably be OK”. Nasty, and maybe incorrect, but understandable. But not caring about their own kids and grandkids? That’s unusual among ruthless and violent hardcore criminals.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think group psychology is very important in this – its like studies of WWII war criminals who were not dedicated Nazis indicated that a major motive was simply a desire to stand shoulder to shoulder with comrades. Humans have a huge capacity for self deception, I’m sure most of those executives, engineers and scientists (and I know quite a few dedicated scientists who have worked in the oil industry) genuinely feel that they didn’t do anything fundamentally wrong.

        1. xkeyscored

          I think there’s something in that, but with this difference: did those WWIII war criminals think they were negatively impacting their own kids and grandkids? Even if they didn’t swallow the Glorious Third Reich stuff, didn’t they probably believe their descendants would be basically OK?

          1. jsn

            I grew up in a house of intelligent, highly educated Texas Republicans in the 60s.

            Their ability to subsume what they knew scientifically on some rational level, my father’s hobby was physics, “Scientific American” and “Nature” stacked up on the side table, under what the knew even better socially, how they would make their lives, and by extension mine, better, I think accounts for what we see with the culpable elite’s self delusions.

            Once that slow, bright, scientific knowledge is dusted and dulled over with its’ first coat of heuristic social quickness, the heaps of stercoraceous fossil fuel propaganda quickly burry it deep.

            1. T

              Same. I liken it to otherwise thoughtful, educated, intelligent people who consistently pursue, date, and marry the worst people. Fetishistic behavior I cannot understand.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        But they don’t believe it awaits THEIR grandchildren. They believe it awaits the REST OF US’s grandchildren. And they consider that to be OUR problem, NOT their problem.

        They are confident that their grandchildren will all survive in posh underground Waldort-Astoria bunkers, or ranches in Paraguay or New Zealand, or wherever.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      You raise a question that has troubled me for a long time. How & Why did the executives in Exxon, et al., do what they did and continue to ‘do’, knowing what they knew, and know, and learned? And these executives controlled the actions of large corporations composed of large numbers of individuals who neither benefited so well as did the executives nor were so directly responsible for controlling the actions of their Corporations but were much more directly responsible for executing the actions they were directed to perform. Why did they just do what they were told? And I have to ask how is it that people like the executives were chosen to fill their positions and how were people like the supervisors who directed employees to execute directions from above … chosen?

      Humankind in its present form is an extremely recent innovation. There is no evidence to suggest that all the flaws in Humankind have been passed through the fine filter of evolution to select for traits promoting the long-term survival of our species. This is a very pregnant and ominous observation. However it might help address questions about why Exxon executives have acted as they have, … but the answer is not comforting. In view of our power compared with that of other species … the answer is not comforting at all, and not just for our species.

      I have my own theories about your original question — but I would very much appreciate other views !!!!!

      1. JeffK

        “…There is no evidence to suggest that all the flaws in Humankind have been passed through the fine filter of evolution to select for traits promoting the long-term survival of our species…”

        Agreed. In fact there is plenty of evidence that one of the drivers of human migration before and after the dawn of agriculture was (is) greed and aggression. Human nature expressed in warfare had the paradoxical effect of both obliterating groups of humans and helping to disperse the human species. Now the world is full. There is no unclaimed territory to escape to.

        Given that fact, it would be easy to assert that we will soon be forced to come to terms with our natural inclinations at some point, but, for now, I think those people considered neoliberal elites, the guys at the top of the pyramid, have managed to construct safe havens of “civility” that they have bought with their money-making machines. They affect the rules of governments. They have purchased police protections and legions of lawyers to “fix problems”. There are no “problems” with the corporation as long as the money keeps rolling in and happy hour at the yacht in Saint Martin starts at 11:30AM. Their children and grandchildren are safe. Even if the corporations fail they will have enough money to continue stress-free living in perpetuity. The other “we” are cogs in their machines. We are the ones who can not sleep at night because of economic and political injustice, not them. We are the ones haunted by the specter of destitution, not them.

        I think the Exxon exec promotes more petroleum drilling; the Bayer chemist discredits evidence of toxicity; the coal company exec spends money on lobbyists because they are personally vested in getting to the top of the pyramid where it is insulated and safe, and they will justify the unsustainable costs to the overall system by focusing on current economic growth data and projections. All the cogs in the machine are promised free (unearned) money by investing in more growth, and there will be bonuses. There – you see – everyone benefits – and anyone who works hard enough can get their yacht and winter house in the BVI ;<)

  2. salvo

    thank you very much for making me aware of Jane Fonda’s speech, I didn’t know it. A very powerful speech, I absolutely agree that she deserves a big applause for it.

    “We just have to break the stranglehold that the fossil fuel industry has on our government. Will we continue to allow these executives who have committed crimes against humanity, and the earth, to keep on doing it? Not just with oil, gas, and coal, but with plastics, dangerous fertilizers, and pesticides? And do most Americans even realize that we’re paying them to do this to us, with subsidies of more than $16 billion dollars a year, our taxpayer money? Oil Change International says that 45 percent of their existing drilling wouldn’t even be profitable without these subsidies. We cannot—We cannot allow this to continue. The fossil fuel industry has controlled the US government and too many other governments for too long. This is the last possible moment in history when changing course can mean saving lives and species on an unimaginable scale.”

  3. makedonamend

    Really enjoyed the article.

    A couple of ideas resonated with me:

    1. “…But it’s not the size of government that matters, it’s who the government is working for. And for too long, it’s been a government controlled by corporations, most particularly the fossil fuel industry. This is why it hasn’t been working for working people…” – There’s ideas in this that are useful for working people the world over when in conversation.

    2. “…It requires addressing the reasons that he was elected. And that’s why I like the Green New Deal, because it’ll not only solves the climate crisis, it will address the reasons that someone like Trump could get elected in a country that is supposed to be a Democracy…” – Suggest that working people need to dig into our current dilemma a bit more in order to better understand our circumstances and how we got here.

    [Caveat to #2: I’m not making any judgement on Trump or his supporters. I can understand why certain working class people would support him, even I if I don’t agree with them. (Anyway, I don’t have a pony in that race.)]

    There’s also 2 great cultural references:

    1. Seabiscuit – great story and film

    2. But really #1 The Grapes of Wrath – When I had to read it at a US university it was a revelation, not only for its content but for the structure and delivery of the story telling. Within a very short period I devoured everything Steinbeck wrote.

    In fact, I’m going to dust off my decades old copy and read it today. I could do with a bit of uplifting.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      I had a similar experience many years ago with Steinbeck & sort of coincidentally, yesterday while working I spent around 8 hrs listening to part 2 of the audiobook story of a young couple during the Great Depression, which apart from detailing the reality of living in cars, a lying media, corruption, cop / prison warden brutality & much else was for the most part the love story of Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow written after extensive research by Jeff Guinn called ” Go Down Together “.

      I then spent much of the evening trying to fill in what must have been explained in part 1 which is not on youtube, about how they came from sharecropper families who ended up in a slum in Dallas, with Clyde likely due to his treatment in prison which included repeated sexual assault perhaps being the catalyst to him heading on his murderous way.

      A bit of a shock for someone whose knowledge of the subject was based on the in comparison glamourous 1967 film.

      Apologies for veering off topic.

      1. makedonamend

        Hiya EdSP,

        Sounded interesting – so I went over to youtube and listened to the audiobook for a few minutes, which only peeked my interest further.

        Damn, now I want to, nay must, read the book!

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          Yep, full audio book for me when cash flow finally improves, as one of the reasons I love my work is that I can listen while I’m at it – eye strain often makes the printed word difficult for me.


  4. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    Fair play to her as we need all the voices we can get especially if their voice through celebrity or notability can get them heard. With the proviso that like her they actually know what they are talking about.

    Love the Artwork.

    1. Freethinker

      Yes. Nancy Ohanian’s artwork is wonderful and imbues added power to the righteous reporting.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I believe Visual Art is the most powerful of didactic media, followed clinging as close as skin by aural and written Art.

    1. Susan the other

      The window for oil and gas infrastructure is closing. That explains this last ditch, mad-dash effort to get pipelines built. It’s like the gold rush. Everywhere there’s a drop to be squeezed. The window is closing because nobody will invest in the stuff; it’ll all be subsidized by governments and big private consortiums which are in turn subsidized by governments. Oil and gas are still strategic resources. But ordinary people will take the profit out of it by switching to sustainable lifestyles – it’s happening. The biggest problem right now is having to prevent an ischemic stroke – if too much oil and gas are blocked – as stranded assets – the system shuts down. And chaos follows. Mark Carney’s recent speech, for example. And the consensus going forward will be for closely controlled conservation of these resources. We’re going to need them to build a sustainable world. imo.

  5. Louis Fyne

    No, no, no. The use of celebrities as activists is absolutely counterproductive. They’re seen as patronizing hypocrities. (article even used the word ‘sermon’)

    To wit: Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes mocking the cottage industry of woke Hollywood virtue-signalling—

    12+ million views 431k likes v. 6.7k dislikes

    clearly his monologue strike a positive tone w/the public. just saying.


    1. Quentin

      Okay, let’s give her some slack, for goodness’ sake, she’s letting herself be arrested at 82 to support the climate change cause. A lot of readers here couldn’t possible remember how she was hauled through the fire because of her visit to Hanoi, which she later apologised for. One way or the other, the invasion of South and North Vietnam, with the bombing of Cambodia and Laos, was a war crime and crime against humanity for which no one has been legally condemned. Think Iraq on steroids. Ricky Gervais’ observation at the Golden Globes made my immediately think of George Clooney and his advocacy for the White Helmets in Syria.

    2. Carolinian

      Jane is good people. When she lived in Atlanta a friend once spotted in her daughter’s front yard raking leaves. She’s very down to earth and if you’ve read her biography she’s no dummy either.

      But I’m not sure how useful the “blame it on the oil companies” line is or how innocent the public is (comparing them to nonsmokers for example). At this point I’d say everyone knows about global warming and yet they still drive large vehicles (and getting larger) and carry on as before. The problem is just too big for individuals to process and if our government really did take radical steps then the economic consequences might also be radical. It’s not as simple as a Hollywood heroes versus villains scenario would depict.

      1. jrs

        Get back to me on blaming individuals when we have cities like Copenhagen in the U.S.


        A train every two minutes? Free public transit? A city planned for everything to be 5 minutes away? WE COULD HAVE THIS. Only for some reason, mostly connected to living a sh*th*le country, we can’t. And you want to blame individuals? They could do more yes, but if they lived in Copenhagen they wouldn’t have to.

        Now I do know that not all of the U.S. is urban etc, so “we could have this” applies more to urban areas, but increasingly the population lives in cities here and everywhere on earth.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the oil company people carried out the billion-dollar disinformation and subversion campaign that Fonda ( and various lawsuits) allege they did . . . .. in order to destroy public conservation policy for 3 crucial decades in order to create and maintain their Matrix of Forced Waste-o-genic infrastructure and petro-technology, then blaming the oil companies is both true and useful.

        You can’t take the bus when there is no bus and you can’t take the train where no trains go. Or trolleys or streetcars either. And it is a matter of historical record that a three-party conspiracy of Standard Oil of New Jersey, General Motors and Firestone Tire and Rubber set up front companies to buy and physically destroy trolley and streetcar lines all over America.

        This “blame the people” shtick reminds me of comments made by someone called “Banger” many long years ago. And while it could apply to deliberate Hummer-buyers, it applies a whole lot less to Geo Metro drivers.

        So we must at least have enough a sense of balance to be able to give the Black Hat Petro Perpetrators the share of the blame which is theirs to take. And then get captive individuals to do what little they can within the matrix engineered all around them on the way to tearing down and exterminating the Petro Power which prevents us from installing nation-wide alternatives at the broad social level.

  6. Lorenzo Raymond

    “Ricky Gervais’ observation at the Golden Globes made my immediately think of George Clooney and his advocacy for the White Helmets in Syria.”

    That’s not a good thing. And Fonda is a millionaire, formerly married to billionaire (Ted Turner). She doesn’t need our “slack”. The frontline pipeline resisters risking their lives do though.

  7. GF

    Can’t get too much more front line than being arrested for protesting and spreading the truth about climate change and helping keep it on the front burner.

  8. teacup

    Ted Turner is one of the largest land ‘owners’ in the world. It’s his class that think they ‘own’ something they had had no hand in creating, which has brought upon the world all of the pollutive negative externalities that the world is dealing with today. Thank the marginal ‘revolution’ and neoclassical economics for the past 150 years of brainwashing in Westernized academia to frame the ecosystem as linear and atomistic when it is naturally circular and pluralistically cooperative. Whatever happened to stewardship?

  9. Rembal

    Jane Fonda is one of the biggest personal perpertators when it comes to carbon emmissions, she is right up there with likes of big oil and coal CEOs, and most probably on her own did more wrong than any single one of those CEOs.
    One of the most practical, carbon emmissions free alternatives to fossil fuels for last 50 years is nuclear power, and she was spearheading the anti-nuke movement since its inception, spreading a lot of missinformation.
    We could have had a few percent less co2 in our atmosphere if the generał public listened to scientists instead of celebrities back than.
    Can we learn from our mistakes and focus on people who actually know stuff?

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Criticizing Jane Fonda for being a big “carbon emissions perpetrator” is an ad hominem attack that you should be ashamed of saying. All of us who live in the materialist west are big carbon emitters. None of us are saints. With that said, all voices calling for reducing our carbon footprint should be heard including Jane Fonda’s voice.

        1. Susan the other

          Regarding Edward Teller’s push for atomic energy – it would have been acceptable except for the fact that we did not then, nor do we now, have control over it. Fukushima. Or any other natural disaster that cannot be predicted, can cause a devastation we cannot recover from. So Edward Teller, looney little genius that he was, did not complete the necessary forms to be considered as a candidate for directing energy decisions. Nobody does as yet.

    2. witters

      “Can we learn from our mistakes and focus on people who actually know stuff?” For your sake, Rembal, I hope so.

  10. Mael Colium

    Does the world really need Hanoi Jane to state the bleeding obvious? Given her propensity to polarise social debate, I’m a tad dismayed by her foray into climate change. OK I know it’s the land of the free and movie stars seem to melt tin ears for a while anyway, but doesn’t this just provide another distraction for the deniers who will seize on her past performances to stall the debate? This is another target like the Swedish teenager that the deniers pounded into the ground and climate protectors will waste energy (sorry) in defending.

    I’ve not doubt that she is well meaning and has wrapped up a tidy summation of the issues, but I doubt she has the gravitas to sway public opinion. If the uncomfortable truth wasn’t able to do it, then I doubt her efforts will do much good. I would rather she used her profile to raise cash to put into direct action to shame the political classes who enable and support the climate change industry IMHO.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Hanoi Jane … Climate as social debate … really? Have you watched “Fog of War”? If not, which I suspect, you should. The memorial wall in Washington could have been so much shorter. Climate change is not social debate. Climate change is Science. Social issues related to climate change are not unimportant but climate change and climate deniers are contending at deciding a Scientific question — a question of evidence and interpreting evidence. Does climate change — I very much prefer Climate Chaos — require help from the likes of Jane Fonda? After four decades of agnotology — I’ll take her help along with any other help that comes along.

      I believe the Devil himself could argue what is True and worthy of action. Arguments should stand on their own, no matter who makes those arguments. [I have personal flaws in my reluctance to place much trust in bad sources. I am working on this. I console my shames in noting that for complex issues it takes a lot of time and effort to assess an argument on its merits alone — a rationale in which I take some solace but little remedy from my shame.]

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      The climate heating debate will of course be polarized. How could it not be when the needed responses will be threatening to powerful interests. For you to say that Jane Fonda will be polarizing is stating the obvious. We ought not shy away from polarization. Rather, we need to join the battle against those who will destroy this planet. Playing nice isn’t going to cut it.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      The climachange debate is already polarized anyway. Fonda couldn’t polarize it any more than Trump has. And she has a fanbase. If her involvement inspires some of her followers and respecters to do something useful at some level about climachange that they weren’t doing before, then her presence in the debate is just that much net-net useful.

      And if Trump supporters use her getting involved in the climachange debate as a reason to buy and burn twice as much fossil carbon as they are already doing, that’s on them not on her.

  11. Skip K.

    I laugh aloud, and painfully, at Gervais’s Extras, but let’s not muck up apples and oranges and Gervais’s cheeky warning to run the trains on time. If Golden Globes isn’t the right venue for global warming, pick another, but pick something. And when your butt’s on the line, maybe best not to turn away anyone who’s trying to save it.

    In any case, I hope people aren’t denied new territories for contributing because it startles some who knew them a different way. Particularly talents like Fonda, who’s done her homework developing good expertise on these issues.

    Are there really no second acts in American lives? I think Fitzgerald’s comment referred to Americans wanting to skip the theatrical second act with it’s complications and uncertain outcomes and jump straight to the resolution. For our climate woes, there is no easy leap to a satisfying ending.

    Today I went with my son to the last Fire Drill Friday in DC. Educational. It takes some center of gravity, a skilled ringmaster like Fonda, to pull something like that together on the Capitol grounds. Among those who acquitted themselves well – they all did – was Martin Sheen, who’s been arrested over seventy times in acts of civil disobedience, and an American Indian lady, sorry I didn’t catch her name, who was mauled by a private security force dog while protesting a pipeline through her tribal lands. They did a great job connecting the dots between investors like JP Morgan Chase, the fossil fuel industry and authorities bringing the hammer down on Indian protesters standing in their way. And on aboriginal people across the globe who take the brunt of abuse directed at those trying to be stewards of the land, from the side effects of drilling and mining, (including of uranium), to social dislocation and tribal women who are abused and often killed or disappeared when hordes of outside workers suddenly cluster and descend on an unprepared land.

    In ’79 I came out to DC on an appointment in part to help implement the National Environmental Policy Act into regs for the Dept. of Energy, which was a kissing cousin of the Defense Department. Energy knowledge drifts, but not the sense of the fix being in, particularly against renewables and conservation. My hat’s off to Fonda and her colleagues for their ability to communicate how the fix is still in, and that we’d best fracture the political power behind it sooner than later.

    Thanks for the kind comments, and on the art, which won Nancy the Editorial Cartoonist of the Year from the National Press Foundation. For more, NancyOhanian.com.

  12. steven

    Maybe the oil company execs were just doing what they were told to do:

    The oil industry as buttress of the U.S. balance of payments and foreign diplomacy

    The trade balance is buttressed by oil and farm surpluses. …
    America’s attempt to maintain this buttress explains U.S. opposition to any foreign governments steps to reverse global warming and the extreme weather caused by the world’s U.S.-sponsored dependence on oil.

    America Escalates Its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Abolish Free Trade, restore Protectionism, repair America’s domestic production-for-consumption economy and America will not need oil and food to solve a balance of payments problem.

      A mostly autarchik America would not have a balance of payments problem to begin with.

      Someone should run for President on that.

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