in We the People Series

Truth in a Hurricane

Wealth above all other social factors can push the door closed on people, especially when they are men without means or women, but only if they don’t push back. The righteousness of wealth will spin the story, wag the dog, and fake the news without fact or journalistic integrity. The “maleness” premise regarding errors of judgment, leading to lies, cover-ups, the war for profit, cannot be questioned for facts or become dispositive. Yet, throughout human history, it has been, without doubt, the male force that sustains these errors of power with the equanimity of profound blindness. The challenges to power in the new age of data alter the demand for balance, but if technology is stealing government, there must be a way to get it back.

The Truth in a Hurricane and Other Takings

Based on centuries of case law, the last two SCOTUS appointments (2017 and 2018) challenge America’s ability to provide health care to all. It supports an imperial presidency and returns the claim on women’s bodies (See Rebecca Solnit). Given that legal precedent is now available in terabytes, good change can come from an unseen hand to remove a regulation unfamiliar to many for an unknown entity. Other typical disturbances involve the role of state legislators and jurists in the service of wealthy individuals. The majority of these actions can be considered “for good,” however, the question now posed is why the actions of some private actors that might be dangerous remain unknown until lethality is exposed. 

The law is post-mortem in its attempts to mitigate or prevent the actions of an individual with a deadly assault rifle.

The regulatory breakdown of a corporation handling toxic chemicals is therefore complete. However, no one is safe in the biochemical era of guns and randomly poisonous compounds.

Hurricane Money

Congress members need at least $300,000 every two years (and more every six years for Senators) to communicate to their district or state if challenged in a primary and general election. A member’s salary is under $200K per year, yet the average income is over $1 million. Sadly, alternatives include saving money by suppressing the vote to twenty percent of their registered electorate. The nature of this numerical playground has the pay-to-play problem, and it occurs unscathed due to one presumption. Those who do not make profits (or win) are unfit. While the prerequisites of profit have merit over reasonable periods, instant profits on demand do not. The practice turns natural functions into risky behaviors such as breathing air into your lungs or altering the performance of the earth’s atmosphere. These become recognized as a “long train of abuses.” the right, duty, and the consent of the governed include “throwing off” that government.

Hurricane Land

The following examples are worthy of the careful and devoted attention of writers. Understanding poverty for its cause on a broader footing focuses on the number of households of all kinds who are physically displaced over multiple generations. For example, recent climate change events intensify land ownership/control identification with poverty indices. Like equity, the use and power over land skew toward the top. The income-only definition neglects land, not only for its value but the dangers associated with its location. Hurricanes and their floods contain truth in their wake. Land regulation, even in public ownership, serves unevenly. Historically, the land is the equity of all people, yet access to it is patchy, unfair, and environmentally racist. Three words of the Marxist define the problem – property is theft. To which the historic response is in six words “To f’n bad. I’ve got mine.” Hopefully, this leads to knowing the mean of all climate change events by household location. With that, the question of poverty will include land. Where is it owned (or rented), and how so? (Penn State Paper and World Bank)

Hurricane Law

The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently deferred to the right of states to make their determinations of “public use.” In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, terrorist attack, federal agencies acquired land for offices lost in the World Trade Towers. Today, projects managed by the Land Acquisition Section of the U.S. Department of Justice include obtaining land along hundreds of miles of the United States-Mexico border, ostensibly for the public purpose of curtailing illegal drug trafficking and smuggling. The general purpose of these acquisitions is to mitigate terrorism customs facilities. A similar practice on the displacement impacts of climate change is possible. However, this is where politicizing the law reveals a subtle, if not adverse, effect.

In 2012, while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge Kavanaugh struck down the Clean Air Act’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. In combination with the Acid Rain Program created in 1995, the Cross-State rule has brought steep reductions in the air pollution that causes acid rain and smog.  The people of the Adirondacks will tell you these efforts are why Bear Pond and the entire Saint Regis Canoe Area in New York State are healthy again. Unfortunately, in 2014, six Supreme Court Justices overruled Kavanaugh’s opinion, and the Cross-State rule was reinstated. Justice Kennedy’s clarity of thinking sustains EPA’s authority to safeguard the nation’s air quality. In Kavanaugh’s opinion, it appears victims must show they are harmed or dead. Ruling against pre-emptive efforts reduces lawsuits against power companies and other sources of pollution and reveals how the law may not be what leads the court.

View from Long Pond Mountain of the Saint Regis Canoe Area, NY 8/2006. Photo by: Mwanner

Models representing extreme heat days, freezing days, days with extreme precipitation, and extreme weather events (e.g., tornado watches) can predict migration and displacement patterns. The hedonic categories used to challenge these extremes become lease about the rights of wealth and refocus on the basic comforts of food, housing, renewable energy, and “other pleasures” as expenditures of a higher priority.

Hurricane Risk

Aggregated data on these four elements define a set of “marginal willingness to pay” factors from region to region. Each can be refined further by changes in median income per decade. Populations remaining in high extreme incident areas expose a percentage of households with the capacity to leave yet stay and those without a migration choice. Empirical examples confirm these predictive models, such as the household displacement from nine hurricanes that hit category five before landfall from 2005 to 2018 — Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Dean, Felix, Matthew, Irma, Maria, and Florence. Also, migration preferences are well known, such as the number of older households that migrate to warmer climates to avoid extreme cold days.

Two categories for national regions and their communities emerge in these models—those who can develop the strength to do bold things and build strength and those who will face eventual displacement. The planning required to identify and act on this second category will not occur using predictive weather models or empirical analysis. Instead, it will mandate new central governance powers coupled with a market response to be effective.

Planning has begun to assess the national capacity to absorb household migration due to fear of extreme events and the number of households displaced directly. However, it is equally important to recognize that the investments in establishing safety criteria by region are not occurring in the name of national security or “health, safety and welfare” concerns but left to market forces and the private sector on a post-trauma basis.

Few events more terrifying than a California wildfire can give you the feeling that we have become the consumers of an illusion. The social, environmental, and financial practices that separate the “haves” from the “have-nots” are well known. But, with the advent of extreme events, the separation of the “knowing” from the “unknowing” is the fuel injection offered by the information age.

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  1. Managing Change – The Albemarle Report

    […] The logic of how technology stole government, from the lessons stretching back to the Atari Dems to today leads this “we the people series” to the root of the problem of being good people to the third in this series. I will end it there and come back to it in a couple years. You can read under this title Truth in a Hurricane. […]