Why do politicians want to try, impeach, hold hearings and legislate when the sensible approach would be to put the fire out first?
Apparently, it is --or may be-- because we are led by lawyers. (See "The Lawyers' Party" by Bruce Walker at the end of this post, if interested in my source for that assertion.) It would be interesting to analyse why we elect lawyers, when lawyers are said to be among the least liked, respected and trusted professions.
Possibly, eloquence has something to do with it.
Personally, I like lawyers (and politicians). I think they make fascinating alien heroes and alien villains for my speculative romances. But, I digress. Trustworthiness and likability are optional. It's effectiveness that counts.
You cannot put out a fire by talking about or at it.
There are fires to be put out, and our political and corporate leaders (some of whom say they are working 24/7) are holding hearings on weekdays and indulging in various, expensive and exclusive sporting activities on weekends, if one can believe the cameras. If one must be seen to play... maybe one should turn it into a fund-raiser for the less fortunate? Just a thought. One could multi-task. One the other hand, could one do it well?
As my character Grievous said (and he wasn't the first to say it) "It's hard to keep your mind on draining the swamp, when you're up to your arse in alligators."
According to the July/August 2010 issue of DISCOVER MAGAZINE Kristin Ohlson writes "Thousands of hidden fires smoulder and rage through the world's coal deposits, quietly releasing gases that can ruin health, devastate communities, and heat the planet."
So, let me recap that. Parts of the planet are on fire. And our leaders' solution is to tax us... not mind you, to pay for a task force to put out the coal fires in Mongolia, or in Centralia, Pennsylvania, or in Hazard, Kentucky.
Nor do I imagine that Copenhagen mandated tax money would be used to buy up what's left of the rain forests so that local would-be farmers won't burn them to the ground.
We have to stop squandering.
Why don't we know about these fires? Apparently, one coal fire in Kentucky has been burning for the last three years. It's being studied. Measured. According to Ms Ohlson, there's a coal fire in Australia that has been burning for six millenia. Six millenia!
There are 112 underground fires in the USA, and the result is pollution in the air, and contamination in the ground water.
Allegedly, after spending $4 million on trying to put out the Centralia fire, the government has decided it's too expensive and too difficult. Compare that $4 million with BP's offer to put $20 billion into escrow.
Where's the compensation and clean up fund from big coal for their fires, then? Are the coal fires in the ground "man made"? Maybe not all of them, but if the fires are being fed because there's air in the mine shafts (as is alleged), maybe the mines need to be filled until there is no air.
We've got enough trash in the world. There's an island of floating plastic debris the size of a good-sized country suspended in the middle of the Pacific.
Not to rant too much, but why is a government take-over of the auto industry and the imposition of speed limits and fuel efficiency standards and taxes so much more essential to stop "climate change" than an effort to put out the fires?
Maybe we wouldn't be as sick (and in need of so much Health Care) if we had clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.... and fewer chemical additives in our food and in our cosmetics and toiletries.
All this doesn't sound very romantic, and it's too depressing to be the inspiration for whatever the 2012 equivalent of steam punk may be. "Eco- punk"??? But, it does have one ingredient that we writers do well to bear in mind.
Pollution arouses passions.
The Lawyers' Party
By Bruce Walker
The Democratic Party has become the Lawyers' Party .
Barack Obama is a lawyer.
Michelle Obama is a lawyer.
Hillary Clinton is a lawyer.
Bill Clinton is a lawyer.
John Edwards is a lawyer.
Elizabeth Edwards is a lawyer.
Every Democrat nominee since 1984 went to law school (although Gore did not graduate).
Every Democrat vice presidential nominee since 1976, except for Lloyd Bentsen, went to law school.
Look at leaders of the Democrat Party in Congress:
Harry Reid is a lawyer.
Nancy Pelosi is a lawyer.
The Republican Party is different.
President Bush is a businessman.
Vice President Cheney is a businessman.
The leaders of the Republican Revolution:
Newt Gingrich was a history professor.
Tom Delay was an exterminator. Dick Armey was an economist.
House Minority Leader Boehner was a plastic manufacturer.
The former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is a heart surgeon.
Who was the last Republican president who was a lawyer? Gerald Ford, who left office 31 years ago and who barely won the Republican nomination as a sitting president, running against Ronald Reagan in 1976.
The Republican Party is made up of real people doing real work, who are often the targets of lawyers.
The Democrat Party is made up of lawyers. Democrats mock and scorn men who create wealth, like Bush and Cheney, or who heal the sick, like Frist, or who immerse themselves in history, like Gingrich.
The Lawyers' Party sees these sorts of people, who provide goods and services that people want, as the enemies of America . And, so we have seen the procession of official enemies, in the eyes of the Lawyers' Party, grow..
Against whom do Hillary and Obama rail? Pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, hospitals, manufacturers, fast food restaurant chains, large retail businesses, bankers, and anyone producing anything of value in our nation.
This is the natural consequence of viewing everything through the eyes of lawyers.
Lawyers solve problems by successfully representing their clients, in this case t he American people.
Lawyers seek to have new laws passed, they seek to win lawsuits, they press appellate courts to overturn precedent, and lawyers always parse language to favor their side.
Confined to the narrow practice of law, that is fine. But it is an awful way to govern a great nation.
When politicians as lawyers begin to view some Americans as clients and other Americans as opposing parties, then the role of the legal system in our life becomes all-consuming. Some Americans become "adverse parties" of our very government. We are not all litigants in some vast social class-action suit. We are citizens of a republic that promises us a great deal of freedom from laws, from courts, and from lawyers.
Today, we are drowning in laws; we are contorted by judicial decisions; we are driven to distraction by omnipresent lawyers in all parts of our once private lives. America has a place for law s and lawyers, but that place is modest and reasonable, not vast and unchecked. When the most important decision for our next president is whom he will appoint to the Supreme Court, the role of lawyers and the law in America is too big. When lawyers use criminal prosecution as a continuation of politics by other means, as happened in the lynching of Scooter Libby and Tom Delay, then the power of lawyers in America is too great. When House Democrats sue America in order to hamstring our efforts to learn what our enemies are planning to do to us, then the role of litigation in America has become crushing.
We cannot expect the Lawyers' Party to provide real change, real reform or real hope in America Most Americans know that a republic in which every major government action must be blessed by nine unelected judges is not what Washington intended in 1789. Most Americans grasp that we cannot fight a w ar when ACLU lawsuits snap at the heels of our defenders. Most Americans intuit that more lawyers and judges will not restore declining moral values or spark the spirit of enterprise in our economy.
Perhaps Americans will understand that change cannot be brought to our nation by those lawyers who already largely dictate American society and business. Perhaps Americans will see that hope does not come from the mouths of lawyers but from personal dreams nourished by hard work. Perhaps Americans will embrace the truth that more lawyers with more power will only make our problems worse.
The United States has 5% of the world's population and 66% of the world's lawyers! Tort (Legal) reform legislation has been introduced in congress several times in the last several years to limit punitive damages in ridiculous lawsuits such as "spilling hot coffee on yourself and suing the establishment that sold it to you" and also to limit punitive damages in huge medical malpractice lawsuits. This legislation has continually been blocked from even being voted on by the Democrat Party. When you see that 97% of the political contributions from the American Trial Lawyers Association goes to the Democrat Party, then you realize who is responsible for our medical and product costs being so high!