By Now, Climate Denial Amounts to Mass Murder

“Sometimes it seems as if I’ve banged out a trillion words over the last half-century in news dispatches, books and assorted screeds. None, I believe, are more important than these.”

PARIS – Let's be clear before it is too late. Any government leader or corporate executive who flouts irrefutable evidence of climatic shifts is complicit in murdering the human race.

Nobel laureate Paul Krugman called willful denial of climate change “depravity” in a New York Times essay on heedless greed and hubris. That's not the half of it.

Bill McKibben, in The New Yorker, outlined in devastating detail what he has watched closely since sounding the alarm 30 years ago. Yet as fire, flood and famine steadily worsen toward Endgame, the world dithers.

“It's now reasonable to ask,” he wrote, “whether the human game has begun to falter - perhaps even to play itself out.”

As people obsessed on a flash of street mayhem in Paris, few noticed wise old David Attenborough speak gravely in Poland: “If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

Crocodiles and cockroaches will survive as temperatures rise, but humans will be among the first to go. When? Does it matter?


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Bonfire of the Insanities

WILD OLIVES, France – As Donald Trump skulked home on Armistice Day after letting the world know what he thinks of it, Tom Wolfe came to mind. Remember “The Bonfire of the Vanities”? A Wall Street master of the universe gets lost in the Bronx and bumps hard against reality.

Unlike that chastened bond trader, Trump neither reflects nor regrets. Back in Washington, he flipped European allies the finger. France, he tweeted, would have lost both world wars were it not for America’s military. Possibly true. But the United States would also be speaking German.

An isolationist America waited each time until no other choice remained. Imagine if it had confronted Hitler at the outset. The earlier “Great War” mushroomed out of control, a failure of despots and diplomats. Along with those 116,516 Americans, it killed 17 million Europeans.

Today, the big picture is clear. A vainglorious fool focused on money alone, telling patent lies that feed the ignorant fears of one sector of American society, imperils an entire planet.

China plays dirty. But head-on public attack spurs Xi Jinping to fortify his military, block sea lanes and seek monopolies on raw materials and strategic metals. Russia is a foe, but Vladimir Putin’s arrival sparked a shit-eating grin from Trump as he sat sourly among friends in Paris.

In North Korea, Trump jabbed a sharp stick into a hornet’s nest, then elevated Kim Jong-un to a coveted place on the world stage. Kim, now madder than ever because of sanctions, is still building nukes. Trump is awaiting his Nobel Peace Prize.


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Trump’s Response to “Invasion” Is the Real Threat

PARIS - Wasting $100 million to send more U.S. troops to the Mexican border than are now in Afghanistan is plainly a cynical campaign stunt. Less obvious is what it shows about where Donald Trump's hollow heart is leading America and the world beyond.

That piteous march, hardly an “invasion”, will stop at a secure fence. But writ large, it reflects 68 million people on the move. If global leaders ignore the reasons why, their numbers will soar. And as more desperate fathers see children sicken and starve, expect the worst.

This last week sharply defined the real Donald Trump: a deceitful manipulator who exploits the gullible. Unless a new Congress can curb him, he has two more years, maybe six, to unmake America and encourage despots who follow his worst instincts.

Like all nations, the United States must control who crosses its borders with case-by-case screening. But a rich democracy built by immigrants fleeing famine or fear needs to set an example by doing that with human empathy.

Trump just told troops that if someone throws a rock they should “consider it a rifle” and shoot. Nigerian authorities echoed that message to police in the capital, Abuja, who Amnesty International reports then shot dead 45 protesters.

U.S. law says firing needlessly on unarmed people is murder. Yet it appeals to a frightening new mood in America.


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On the Frontline: Real News Battles Fake Power

BAYEUX, France - An email from Florida landed in this noble Normandy town with less impact than a Nazi shell, yet it was an eerie reminder of how hubris and folly filled so many graves on the beaches nearby. The menace today is America über alles.

Last week, I assembled hard data for a Mort Report Extra on dangers posed by Donald Trump and his enablers. One response, dismissing fact as “liberal-leftist rant,” made plain what the world is up against — and why Bayeux is again on the frontline.

“We can agree to disagree,” the email said, “and you can live in whatever fantasy world you think is best. IF YOU don't like it here, then move to Finland, or the socialist utopia of your dreams.” Sure. We'll leave America to greedheads, useful idiots and flat-out morons like him.

I'd have junked that note, like so many similar ones we all see, but for the reason I'm here. As every year for the past 25, journalists from around the world gathered at the weekend for the Bayeux-Calvados War Correspondents Awards. We honored our own, mourned our fallen, and during long, lubricated, music-blasting nights we avoided shop talk about workaday mayhem.

Some of the gang are fresh out of the box, with new skills and high energy. Others have been at it for half a century. Patrick Chauvel, son of a grand French photographer, just covered his 44th war alongside his 18-year-old son, Antoine, in Iraq.

They are a disparate bunch, but one hard fact defines them. Men and women who wade into risk, spending miserable months staying close to their story, do not lie about what they see.


Photo: Mahmud Hams, AFP, Prix Bayeux-Calvados

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Mort Report Extra: The Ghost of Common Sense

“Common sense will tell us, that the power which hath endeavoured to subdue us, is of all others, the most improper to defend us.” Thomas Paine

This is an urgent plea to everyone I can reach. Please pass it on to every American you know before November. Non-voters make up our largest bloc. Others are undecided, and sentient Republicans are wavering. No election in history, anywhere, has been more crucial. 

 We saw last week how deeply hypocrisy and prostitution now permeate our government. Smart young people offer promise, but if we do not vote now, it will be too late for them.  An apathetic, ill-informed electorate will have squandered democracy by default.

If the Mort Report is new to you, I’m a correspondent who has covered world news for 50 years on seven continents for editors who demand strict objectivity. Like all real reporters, I am obsessed with getting facts straight and basing analyses on observation, not opinion.

Until 2016, I’d have cut off a left toe before presuming to tell people how to vote. But I’ve watched Donald Trump for decades, and I know a heartless would-be despot when I see one. During his campaign, it was clear he would attempt a coup d’etat. With a corrupted Republican Party and enough blind cultist followers to sway an election, he threatens not only our democracy but also the survival of our planet.  Please keep reading; this is not hyperbole.


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