Yes, you know
Four U.S. Army Special Forces, including two Green Berets, were killed recently in an ambush in Niger. President Donald Trump called all four families with his regrets. With one, he is alleged to have said, “He knew what he was getting into.” Then came the cries of “disrespect, disrespect!”
I was a Green Beret. In 1969, there were about 250 in my graduating class after almost a year of training at Fort Bragg, N.C. At our commencement ceremony, the commanding officer asked for 15 of us to stand up, after which he stated bluntly, “This is about how many of you won’t make it. This is not a game, gentlemen.”
Men in uniform die every year in combat, in training, at home and abroad. Trust me: You know what you’re getting into, and you’re proud.
Cities across America are salivating at the prospect of one of the world’s top 10 retailers choosing them for its next headquarters. Of course, I’m talking about Amazon, and Kansas City is deep in the hunt. And who can blame it? The potential for growth is mind-boggling.
So I don’t disparage Kansas City or any other city that wants to strike it rich. But why must Amazon set off such a feeding frenzy? Why must such a rich and fast-growing company demand a fortune in tax incentives and giveaways? Because it can. It’s greed, pure and simple, disguised as good business practice. And who profits most? Jeff Bezos, the second-wealthiest man in America according to Forbes, and Amazon shareholders.
We’ve witnessed the downside of cities that give away the farm to lure large companies. Look at Walmart in Raytown. Is that what Kansas City wants?
Why can’t Amazon and all mega-companies just choose the best locations based on their business needs and then go to that city and be great corporate citizens — pay all their taxes, pay for their needed improvements — instead of sticking it to the city?
Because they don’t have to. That’s why.
Action, not dream
EPA director Scott Pruitt recently announced termination of the Clean Power Plan. (Oct. 10, 1A, “EPA announces repeal of carbon emissions rule”) He gives life to President Donald Trump’s dream to revive the coal industry.
Any basic reading reveals that the coal industry is declining because of cheap natural gas, increasingly cheap renewable energy and low growth in demand.
The EPA swims against public opinion: 69 percent of Americans support strict limits on coal-plant carbon-dioxide emissions, according to a Yale U.S. Climate Opinion Maps study.
The Trump administration’s dream denies the reality of human-induced global warming, a reality affirmed by the vast majority of climate scientists.
Increasingly common intense weather-related phenomena such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the California wildfires and many others will create ever-increasing suffering in a warming world.
There are rays of hope for congressional action. The House Climate Solutions Caucus has 30 Republicans and 30 Democrats. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is working with Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on climate legislation.
Eminent Republican elder, former Secretary of State George Shultz, has crafted a carbon-pricing plan for the Climate Leadership Council. Citizens Climate Lobby has advocated for a similar plan the last 10 years.
A realistic vision based in reality must replace Trump’s fossil fuel dream.
It’s curious that Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte say there isn’t enough money to repair the Buck O’Neil Bridge to the tune of $200 million (Oct. 18, 2A, “Suburbs worry about KC’s big fund request to replace bridge”), yet they were able to give Cerner Corporation $1.75 billion in incentives.
It makes one wonder what their priorities are.
My three brothers and I were in town last weekend to attend the Chiefs-Steelers game. We were raised right outside of Pittsburgh, although some of us live farther away now.
I want to say that the people of Kansas City were fantastic hosts and very friendly. Each person we met, even when we were dressed in Steelers attire, was like a new friend.
It is so nice in this divisive time in our country’s history to be in a city where fans from opposing teams can be genuinely friendly with each other. That, combined with the fantastic barbecue, will bring me back again — this time with my wife.
Thank you, Kansas City.