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, war for profit, and so on can be questioned for facts covering centuries of action. 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 are new and different in the demand for balance.  It might make an important difference.

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 the bodies of women (See Rebecca Solnit). Given that legal precedent is now available in terabytes, exemplary 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 the good,” however, the question now posed is why the actions of those private actors that might be dangerous remain unknown until lethality is exposed.  The law may be unable to mitigate or prevent the actions of an individual with a deadly assault rifle, but if this inability is extended to a corporation handling toxic chemicals the regulatory breakdown is complete and no one is safe in the era of many guns and chemicals.

Congress members need at least $300,000 every two years (and more 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 just over $1 million. Sadly, alternatives include saving money by suppressing the vote down to twenty-percent of their registered electorate. The nature of this numerical playground includes 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. As these become recognized as a “long train of abuses.” the right, duty and the consent of the governed includes “throwing off” that government

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. For example, recent climate change events intensify the separation of land ownership/control from the indices of poverty. Like equity, the use and power over land skew toward the top. The income only definition neglects land, not for its value but 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 made to be patchy, unfair. Hopefully, this leads to knowing the mean of all climate change events by household location. With that, the question is about land. Where is it owned (or rented) and how so? (Penn State Paper and World Bank)

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, the Land Acquisition Section projects managed by the U.S. Department of Justice includes 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 public 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 the reason Bear Pond and the entire Saint Regis Canoe Area in New of York State is healthy again. In 2014, six Supreme Court Justices overruled Kavanaugh’s opinion, and the Cross-State rule was reinstated. It was the clarity of thinking by Justice Kennedy that sustains EPA’s authority to safeguard the nation’s air quality. In Kavanaugh’s opinions, it appears victims must show they are harmed or dead. Ruling against pre-emptive efforts not only reduces lawsuits against power companies and other sources of pollution it also reveals how the law may not be what rules the court.

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

Models representing extreme heat days, extreme cold days, days with extreme precipitation, and extreme weather events (e.g., tornado watches) can be used to predict patterns of migration and displacement. The hedonic wealth categories used to challenge these extremes become food, housing, energy, and “other” as expenditures.

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 that are without a migration choice. Empirical examples are available for confirmation of 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 the communities in them emerge in these models, those who can develop the strength to do bold things, in comparison to many others that build their strength only sustain their suffering and eventual displacement. The planning required to identify and act on this second category will not occur on predictive weather models or empirical fact. It will require central governance coupled with a market response to be effective.

Planning has begun to assess the national capacity for the absorption of household migration due to extreme events as well as households displaced directly. 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. With the advent of extreme events, the separation of the “knowing” from the “unknowing” is the fuel injection problem of the information age.

In “The Fifth Risk” Michael Lewis criticism of government agencies since the inauguration of POTUS45 is about gutting the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of people. The management function of our government’s 15 major agencies responds to legislation with the responsibility to anticipate problems and offers creative solutions. Research on best practices in health would not occur,  innovative investments in cybersecurity for elections would not occur and individualized support for local communities seeking to assure basics such as clean water, affordable housing, and education would not occur.

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