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#EndorseThis: John Oliver And Bill Nye Set The World On Fire

Nobody wants to face up to the realities of climate change, from potential famine and water shortages to dying coral reefs and massive species extinctions. But John Oliver is right to insist that we do. The good news is that there we still have time to head off the very worst impacts, and that real climate action — the “Green New Deal” –can be designed to benefit this generation and the future.

Of course Trump and his minions oppose the Green New Deal. Figures like former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka, who warned “They want to take away your hamburgers…this is what Stalin dreamt about.” Probably a good idea for Gorka, although as Oliver notes, the Green New Deal resolution contains no such language about hamburgers. Instead it’s about net zero carbon emissions, a clean-energy economy, and the millions of jobs that those objectives would create.

Oliver is funny as always, especially on cow farts and carbon taxes. Science guy Bill Nye gets into the act with deadpan humor too and he’s great. But this is valuable television if you want to understand what we must do — and can do — to save the planet for our kids.

Click to laugh — and then forward to your idiot uncle.

In Trump’s America, Honoring Workers Is An Act Of Resistance

Extreme wealth, in and of itself, is not a character flaw. Many rich people see their lucky lives as a mandate to do good in the world.

Wealth becomes something else — soul-deadening, let’s say — when privilege blinds one to the daily struggles of everyone else.

In an interview this week with Fox News Channel host Steve Hilton, multimillionaire Ivanka Trump, daughter and counselor to President Donald Trump, weighed in on the issue of a guaranteed job for every American:

“I think this idea of a guaranteed minimum is not something most people want. They want the ability to be able to secure a job.They want the ability to live in a country where’s there’s the potential for upward mobility.”

She was referring to an ambitious proposal called the Green New Deal, written by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). It would guarantee “a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.”

Many of us who grew up in working-class families in the 1950s and ’60s recognize this description as a union job. We remember a time when many more millions of workers had the ability to collectively bargain for wages, benefits and work conditions. Corporate greed and right-wing legislatures have forced union membership into a steady decline. Not coincidentally, the percentage of hourly wage earners making a living wage has also plummeted.

This has nothing to do with the life experience of heiress Ivanka Trump, who apparently thinks that if we make it national policy to pay American workers what they’re worth, they’ll lose all incentive to keep trying. In her version of America, worrying about having to choose between providing food for one’s family members and providing shelter for them keeps one aspiring to greatness.

You can see her concern. If one job were enough for every worker in America, how would the Trumps of the world ever find all the human props they need to maintain their brand of prosperity?

Her disdain for workers does not have to become our personal policy. In Donald Trump’s America, kindness is an act of resistance. So we thank Ivanka Trump for this opportunity to offer a few reminders of how to treat some of the people whom others too often mistreat just because they can.

If you see a tip jar at a coat check, bar or counter, ask who gets the money intended for workers. I’ve been writing about tip jars since 2004, and I know that too often, bosses steal money intended for their employees. This tip theft ends as soon as customers find out about it. There’s a reason we never see signs that read, “All tips go to management.”

When you eat out, please tip generously. In most states, many servers depend on our tips to make even minimum wage. Yes, it’s wrong that customers have to subsidize wages, but it’s not the fault of the men and women who are waiting on us.

Whenever possible, please tip in cash. Too many businesses deduct a percentage of the credit card service charge from their servers’ tips.

At the airport, if you need help getting to your gate, please tip the person pushing the wheelchair or driving the electric cart. In many cities, they, too, need our tips to make minimum wage. In other cities, you’re helping them make a living wage.

Finally, a word about cashiers.

For nearly two decades, I’ve asked them about their jobs. Their No. 1 request of customers: Please don’t treat them as if they were invisible.

Stay off the cellphone for that whole minute or two. Make eye contact. Say hello.

See them, in other words. They’ve never felt more unseen.

Whenever possible, please tip in cash. Too many businesses deduct a percentage of the credit card service charge from their servers’ tips.

At the airport, if you need help getting to your gate, please tip the person pushing the wheelchair or driving the electric cart. In many cities, they, too, need our tips to make minimum wage. In other cities, you’re helping them make a living wage.

Finally, a word about cashiers.

For nearly two decades, I’ve asked them about their jobs. Their No. 1 request of customers: Please don’t treat them as if they were invisible.

Stay off the cellphone for that whole minute or two. Make eye contact. Say hello.

See them, in other words. They’ve never felt more unseen.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two books, including “…and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz (con.schultz@yahoo.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Be Afraid! GOP Screams Green New Deal Will Ban Ice Cream

No, the Green New Deal will not ban ice cream, cheeseburgers, milkshakes, cars or air travel — as Republicans have ludicrously claimed over the past few days.

It’s absurd that even needs to be said. However, in an effort to turn public opinion against the ambitious piece of legislation a pair of Democrats introduced last week to try and combat climate change, Republicans have been spewing ridiculous lies about what the deal would do.

On Monday night at a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas, Trump falsely claimed the deal would “shut down a little thing called air travel.”

“How do you take a train to Europe?” Trump said, mocking the deal.

The deal, to any normal human being who has read it, does not ban air travel. It simply would make other forms of public transportation faster and more readily available, thus making air travel less necessary within the U.S.

Congressional Republicans have also gotten in on the foolishness surrounding the deal.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) — a member of House Republican leadership — falsely said the deal would “outlaw cars.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday that the deal would ban ice cream.

“There’s another victim of the Green New Deal, it’s ice cream,” Barrasso said, without any sarcasm. “Livestock will be banned. Say goodbye to dairy, to beef, to family farms, to ranches. American favorites like cheeseburgers and milkshake will become a thing of the past.”

Where do we even begin with this whopper, no pun intended. Barrasso is apparently referring to the plan‘s net-zero emissions goal, which he’d like us to believe is a threat to cows.

Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get your Ben & Jerry’s and In-N-Out if the Green New Deal passes. As the Washington Post reports, “Nothing in the resolution eliminates ‘all Planes, Cars, Cows, Oil, Gas & the Military,’ as Trump tweeted.”

But don’t expect it to pass.

Even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’ll put the bill to a vote, he’s only doing it in an effort to put vulnerable Democratic senators in a bind — without proposing any climate change legislation of his own.

Democrats, for their part, are annoyed at the GOP misinformation, but unswayed by the smear campaign.

“Republicans don’t want to debate climate change, they only want to deny it,” Sen. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat and co-sponsor of the deal, said in a statement.

“The Green New Deal resolution has struck a powerful chord in the country,” Markey continued, “and Republicans, climate deniers and the fossil fuel industry are going to end up on the wrong side of history.”

Published with permission of The American Independent.