Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Hazy Days Are Here Again

Hazy Days Are Here Again

by C.A. Matthews

Hazy days are here again—
Smoky skies and tears to lend
The environment is screwed my friend!
Hazy days are here again!
(*Sung to the tune of Happy Days Are Here Again)


If you don’t think it's possible to write an article incorporating a climate catastrophe story along with the opening bell of an alternative party presidential run story, then you have another thing coming to you! It’s also includes poorly written filks of old tunes as segues. (Sorry about that, but they just seem to fit.) 

In the news climate-wise, people in New York City were forced to give up breathing this past week due to particulate pollution caused by Canadian wildfires. The Air Quality Index (AQI) in parts of Brooklyn reached 484 — nearly double San Francisco’s highest hourly reading during California’s 2020 fire season. And it wasn’t just New Yorkers who were gasping for air. The smoky haze and micro-particulate clouds covered skies from Illinois to Ohio to Pennsylvania to South Carolina to New York State to Maine… In fact, just about everybody east of the Mississippi experienced horrible air quality indices this week.

Who cares though, right? Breathing is for sissies! We're told that unhealthy AQIs can cause serious health issues for vulnerable populations such as asthmatics and those with COPD as well as children and the elderly. But what’s more important—keeping poor working class people alive or growing sociopathic billionaires’ bank accounts? You know which group is more important to please for those idiots in Washington DC and in your own statehouse, don’t you? For your sake, I hope you do.
The fossil fuel industry takes no responsibility for causing a build up of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere due to the polluting by-products which come from combustion engines and coal-fueled power plants. It’s not like carbon monoxide and other gases have caused the so-called “greenhouse effect” that bring on heatwaves and dry up the forests of North America. No, not at all. It’s just coincidence that record breaking spring temperatures this year occurred. In no way could they have helped to spontaneously ignite tender-dry forests that have continued to burn unabated for weeks now. Pure coincidence.

It’s also pure coincidence that my garden in Northwest Ohio hasn’t seen a speck of rain in over 21 days—setting a dry spell record that is unheard of in the Midwest since the “Dust Bowl” era of the 1930s. The brown, hazy skies and dry winds that smell like a permanent bonfire have only caused me to reach for my emergency inhaler a dozen times this week. 

Well, who doesn’t need to quit breathing from time to time? The tears streaming down my face from my smoke-irritated eyes can go a long ways in filling our bone-dry rain barrels, too.

If you’re thinking I’m being facetious, think again. Between the millions who are still suffering from the lasting effects of COVID-19 and this recent air quality disaster, who knows just how many Americans have or will suffer a debilitating illness that could disable them for life? The time to take action to eliminate the use of fossil fuels and other polluting methods to generate power isn’t today—it was yesterday. In fact:

A new study by 50 leading scientists conducted to supplement the “information gap” between Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports said global greenhouse gas emissions have soared to a record high and are threatening to push our planet into “unprecedented” global heating.

Which leads me to the next story…

Oh, hazy day! Oh, hazy day!
When Cornel West… came to show us the way!
(*Sung to the tune of Oh, Happy Day)
Cornel West at BGSU in 2017

This next story is one that has captured the focus of many a leftist thinker. Dr. Cornel West, academic, philosopher, and former Bernie Sanders delegate to the DNC, has announced that he is running for the presidency in 2024. The biggest controversy at the start of his candidacy is that Dr. West has stated he is running as a People’s Party (MPP) candidate. He’s not running as a Green Party candidate or as an independent but as a candidate for an alternative party that barely exists.

To say this has caused an explosion of conversation and cursing in online forums where Lefties hang out is an understatement. Dr. West’s decision to go with the MPP is being questioned on several levels. Does he realize that the MPP doesn’t have ballot access (or even statewide organizations) in more than a handful of states? Would he be open to becoming a “fusion candidate” that several left-leaning alternative parties such as the Green Party US would be glad to nominate, thus giving him broader ballot access and more experienced organizers? Chris Hedges has said he’d speak to his good friend about switching to the Green Party. Could we see a West/Hedges 2024 ticket? We’ll see.

UPDATE: Chris Hedges did talk to Dr. West and he has decided to run as a Green after all! The West campaign website doesn't reflect this recent change in Dr. West's plans yet, so please be patient.

It’s early days so Dr. West has time to change his mind about running, or he could simply switch his choice in a party and run in one with less controversy attached to it. The MPP has fallen apart (in spite of its auspicious start with West, Nina Turner, Paula Jean Swearingen and other big names supporting it) because of sexual harassment and financial misuse charges brought against its current chair and founder Nick Brana. One would hope Dr. West would address the harassment mess and that Brana would step down so West could run without being associated with any nasty business.

Dr. West is a decent and compassionate human being. He might actually believe the voting public will look past the inadequacies of the People’s Party and concentrate on his message. One would hope that proves true, but for now… The discussions and debates continue online. (UPDATE: Even with Chris Hedges talking Cornel West into running as a Green, things are still relatively up in the air and the discussions are ongoing. You're not going to please everyone, in other words!)

West posing with friends in 2017 (photo by author) 

To draw these seemingly radically different stories together—hazy, polluted skies and Cornel West running for office—I’d like to posit that only a presidential candidate of Dr. West’s moral caliber would do anything worthwhile to end the reign of the fossil fuels oligarchs and help put our ailing planet back on a path toward wholeness.

My reasoning? The duopolists take millions of dollars yearly from capitalists who don’t care about the health of the people or our Earth. (I suppose these rich types expect a ticket on Musk’s or Bezos’ rocket to their “Elysium” in space once they’ve destroyed our world.) Leftists candidates like Dr. West would more than likely put the fates of the poor and working classes before the billionaires’ bank accounts.  

During a Cornel West administration, we’d probably see action taken to convert our energy grid from dirty to clean energy sources, along with punitive measures taken against capitalists who don’t cooperate in these lifesaving measures. That’s why it’s imperative those who care about their lungs, their family members’ lungs, and the health of the entire planet leave the duopolists’ ranks and join with independent thinkers to destroy the corrupt, planet-killing system currently in power. 

With cleaner skies, the end of wars for oil, health care for all guaranteed, civil rights assured for the people, we’ll be singing:

Roll out those non-hazy, crazy, lazy days of summer!

(*And you thought I was done with the filks? That’s what a lack of clean air gets you. Bwahaha!)


Related Articles and Links of Interest:

Our first meeting in person with Cornel West was back in 2017 at a lecture he gave at Bowling Green State University: https://bernie2016.blogspot.com/2017/01/justice-is-what-love-looks-like-in.html

Cornel West Discusses His Presidential Campaign https://www.blackagendareport.com/cornel-west-discusses-his-presidential-campaign 

Cornel West 2024 website: https://www.cornelwest24.com/

Sabby Sabs: Cornel West Joins... (video) https://www.youtube.com/live/xH434-Ze5Jk

As Canada Burns, Docs Reveal Oil Giant Weighed In on Government Carbon  https://scheerpost.com/2023/06/11/as-canada-burns-docs-reveal-oil-giant-weighed-in-on-government-carbon-plan/

NYC Officials Knew Wildfire Smoke Was Coming But Did Little to Protect Residents  https://truthout.org/articles/nyc-officials-knew-wildfire-smoke-was-coming-but-did-little-to-protect-residents/

New York City Skyrockets To World’s Most Polluted City

Deadly wildfire smoke spreads across much of northeast US

New York Reports Worst Air Quality in the World as Smoke Creeps Along the Coast https://scheerpost.com/2023/06/08/new-york-reports-worst-air-quality-in-the-world-as-smoke-creeps-along-the-coast/

As New York Skies Darken, Delivery Workers Help Each Other

Over 115 million across US and Canada choked by smoke as massive wildfires burn out of control https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/06/08/misv-j08.html

Canada’s wildfire season off to record start, with fires burning in the East, West and Far North  https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/06/06/zrbv-j06.html

Requiem for Our Species https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/requiem-for-our-species

Norfolk Southern seeks to have lawsuits dismissed over derailment, toxic chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio

Julian Assange Dangerously Close to Extradition Following High Court Rejection of Appeal https://scheerpost.com/2023/06/08/uk-julian-assange-dangerously-close-to-extradition-following-high-court-rejection-of-appeal/

Cornel West: Running for President, Ending Ukraine War & Taking on “Corporate Duopoly” of Dems & GOP (video)

Hurting the Democratic Party is essential for revolutionaries, & voting Cornel West is our best way to do this

Dr. Cornel West Announces He is Running for President https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/dr-cornel-west-announces-he-is-running

BRICS New Development Bank de-dollarizing, adding Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe as members https://geopoliticaleconomy.substack.com/p/brics-new-development-bank-dollar-expansion

The war in Ukraine and the fight over raw materials

Patrick Lawrence: First There Were Neo-Nazis, Then There Were No Nazis, Then There Were https://scheerpost.com/2023/06/06/patrick-lawrence-first-there-were-neo-nazis-then-there-were-no-nazis-then-there-were/

FBI helps Ukraine censor Twitter users and obtain their info, including journalists https://thegrayzone.com/2023/06/07/fbi-ukraine-twitter-users-including-journalists/

Durham ignores Clinton role, and new holes, in Russian hacking allegation https://mate.substack.com/p/john-durham-ignores-clinton-role

Journalism at War https://www.scottritterextra.com/p/journalism-at-war

High Court Denies Assange Right To Appeal

Twitter Files Extra: How the World’s ‘No-Kidding Decision Makers’ Got Organized https://scheerpost.com/2023/06/07/twitter-files-extra-how-the-worlds-no-kidding-decision-makers-got-organized/

Senate Bill Calls for Investigation Into Indian Boarding Schools

New Anti-transgender Laws Will Hurt Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Religious Expression https://scheerpost.com/2023/06/07/new-anti-transgender-laws-will-hurt-indigenous-peoples-rights-and-religious-expression/

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