Thursday, August 9, 2018

Climate Change Is NOT a Hoax!




     


In 1970, Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act – that was back when even Republicans were environmentalists. In 1970, we also celebrated the first Earth Day. I remember how serious people took Earth Day then.

In 1962, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring and that book served as a kind of catalyst in waking people up to both the preciousness and the precariousness of our earth if we didn’t begin to take better care of it. Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and rural folks, labor and management. After all, we were all dependent on the health of our planet. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage if the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

I would never have believed back then, when we were so committed, that by Earth Day, 2017, a large part of America would have turned against science, mocking the findings of our scientific researchers as “fake news”. I could not have conceived in 1970 that my country would have elected a government determined to undo all the good we’ve done since 1970.

How and why did this happen? We had great successes. Rivers no longer caught on fire. Forests were no longer dying of acid rain. “Smog days” no longer kept children and the elderly from going outside. We banned DDT and the endangered American Eagle began to flourish again. Our vehicles are 99 percent cleaner than they were in 1970. We cut chlorofluorocarbon emissions and the ozone layer is beginning to heal itself.

Now, our government is slashing EPA funding and staff. They are making the country safe for energy companies to drill, frack and mine with impunity. They rescinded the regulation forbidding coal and oil companies to deposit their waste in our waterways. They decided it is fine and dandy to gas wolves in their dens and bears while they are hibernating. They are likely to do away with the Endangered Species act. They would like to open most of our federal lands and even our national parks to privatization for the enrichment of wealthy corporations.

The Trump administration pooh-poohs climate change though 90 percent plus of all the world’s scientists agree it is happening. After 8 long years of working, the world joined together to negotiate the Paris Agreement,  This is an agreement within the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015.  It was opened for signatures on Earth Day, April 22, 2016.  The agreement went into effect on November 4, 2016.

Now, our country, which has always been a leader in helping solve the intractable problems that plague our planet, is considering whether to pull out of the Paris Agreement and letting the rest of the world go ahead without us. And China, which has been chomping at the bit to become the world’s leading nation, is primed to take our place as the mover and shaker on climate change.

On Earth Day 2017, the world held Protests for Science but it looks as though America is going to passively accept the damage that will be done in the next four (or God forbid, eight) years. And the environment isn’t something on which you can suddenly reverse course if your change your mind. We can change policies on the economy, immigration, education. Even wars end eventually but the environment is forever once it reaches a certain point.

By 2018, the Western U.S., especially California, is burning. That state is  currently experiencing its largest wildfire ever. Half the world is suffering from drought and the highest temperatures since we’ve been keeping records. Hurricanes are becoming ever more vicious. Flooding is taking a huge toll across America.

We all depend on the earth to survive but if we don’t protect the earth, it won’t be able to protect us.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Your President is a Pathological Liar, Don't You Care?

                                       


Fact Checking Trump

Another rally, another bunch of lies about everything from the economy to the 2016 election to the Mueller investigation. Trump even repeats his lies when he surely knows they are wrong. For instance, when he says that no Republican presidential candidate won Wisconsin since Dwight Eisenhower when actually Wisconsin voted for or Nixon three times and Ronald Reagan twice.  These are provable facts and if Trump misspoke accidentally the first time, he certainly knew the truth after that.

Trump lied about the size of his Inaugural crowd and he even lied about the weather on that day! He lies about how more women voted for him than Hillary. Actually 54 percent of women voters voted for Hillary to 41 percent for Trump.

He lies non-stop about the economy, claiming that he faced a disastrous economy and supervised a monumental 'turn-around". Nope, sorry, Trump. America is in its 10th year of recovery. It was Obama who faced the worst recession since the Great Depression and turned it around, halving the unemployment rate and more than doubling the stock market in his eight years in office.

He says the last quarter growth of 4.1 percent was the best in decades but Obama  surpassed it four times, once coming in at over five percent.

He lied about the "special money losing" deal Amazon supposedly gets from the Post Office. In truth federal regulators review this contract each year and have concluded it is profitable for the post office. What Trump really doesn't like is that Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon, also owns the Washington Post that has often been critical of Donald.

He says his meetings with Kim Jung Un and Vladimir Putin were huge successes. He said we don't have to worry about North Korea any more but in fact, recent satellite imagery has shown that North Korea is still expanding its nuclear capability. We don't know about Trump and Putin because we (including his own advisors) have no clue what they agreed to in their private meeting.

He lies about the free press, calling it "fake news" and "the enemy of the people". In Tampa, his fanatical followers booed and cursed and all but attacked Jim Acosta of CNN in a deplorable exhibition of viciousness. I wonder how long it will be before the Trump mob actually hurts someone?

He lies about federal law enforcement, Due Process being the lifeblood of our system, he claims life-long soldiers and public servants are Nazis and traitors and betrayers. He used to call Mueller's investigators "13 angry Democrats" but I notice now we're up to 17 angry Democrats. This is flatly not true. Almost all the leaders of the probe are Republicans....appointed by Trump.

He lies when he declares that the Mueller investigation began with the Steele Dossier when the truth is it began with George Papadapoulous before we'd ever heard of the Dossier.

He and his people lied about whether they had any contacts with Russians (four of them have since pleaded guilty.) He lied when he wrote a false narrative about the Trump Tower meeting with his son, son-in-law, Paul Manafort and four officials from the Kremlin.

I could go on and on but what good would it do? The Trump cult either doesn't believe he lies or they don't care that he does. He can say a thing one day and they all parrot his deception. When he says the exact opposite the next day, they turn as one and repeat that lie. They remind me of Groundhog Day. Bill's Clinton's theme song was "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow". The Trumpies are the opposite. They never think about yesterday or tomorrow. Whatever Trump says today is all that counts.


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Straight Blue

                                             
This wouldn't have been a title of a blog I'd have written ten years ago because although I've always leaned toward the Democrats, I rarely voted a straight ticket.

And I'll admit to a certain amount of conflict with the Dems. I am not a Progressive. I've never been able to stand Bernie Sanders. I think he's as much the reason Hillary lost the presidency as Russia or WikiLeaks or Jim Comey.

I'm more a middle-of-the-roader but I do think the D's made a mistake by leaving the same old tired politicians in power for so long and not giving enough space for their younger ones to grow. I do think the energy is on the more liberal side of the party.

Having said that, I believe that we should promote whoever is the best fit for their district - conservative Democrats in conservative districts and lefty Democrats in lefty districts. I want to win, however, we have to do it.They can fight policies out among themselves when they are in control again.

Yes, I will forgive Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly and Heide Heidkamp if they vote for Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. What difference does it make? Trump is going to get one of his picks and they are almost interchangeable so why risk a Senate seat in a losing cause?


In the next few years, I would like to see the DACA kids get a chance for citizenship. I would like to see veterans who fought for their country to stop being deported. I would like to see a humane immigration policy. I would like to see a more selective "Muslim ban" instead of one that judges all members of a particular religion the same. I would, ideally, like to see Medicare for all. I would like to see the minimum wage increased to a living wage. I would like to see us out of Iraq and Afghanistan. I would like to see fewer tax breaks for rich people and corporations and more for the middle class or at least to demand the corporations share their cuts with their employees, rather than stock buy backs and investor dividends. I would like us to go back to free trade. I would like to see us re-join the Paris Accords, the TransPacific Partership, the Iran Agreement, NAFTA. I would like to see us acknowledge our allies in NATO and the G7 as our friends and not our foes. I would like to quit playing kissy-face with the Russians and North Koreans.

I might get some of these things from Democrats; I won't get any of them from Republicans. The current Republicans aren't the R's I once knew. They cower in their corners in the face of Donald Trump's tweets. They have turned all their previous principles upside down. Deficit hawks - ha! Free-traders - ha! America - the leader of the free world - ha!

Their hypocrisy in the way they treated Obama versus the way they toady to Trump is awesomely awful.

So, I will vote for Democrats from the top to the bottom of the ballot. I will vote for them no matter their basic political philosophies - conservative, moderate, liberal or progressive, old or young, black or white, male or female, straight or gay.

I will be voting a straight Democratic ticket until our politics returns to normal and Republicans decide they are patriots rather than partisans.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

It's Looking More and More Like Treason

                                                 

If I had even the slightest morsel of doubt that perhaps I was over-reacting about Donald Trump and just maybe he and his followers weren't as bad as I thought, his performance in Helsinki and their response wiped out that sliver of doubt. I'm 72 and while I think other presidents have sometimes shown misjudgment (the Iraq War being a prime example) none of them has ever disgraced and demeaned our country like this one. None of them has ever purposely thrown our allies under the bus. (My own personal feeling about the reason for his animus toward Therese May and Angela Merkel is that he has absolute contempt for women and assumes all females are weak by definition).

Putin bounced and strutted to the stage in Helsinki like a cocky rooster who'd just screwed a hen. He grinned from ear to ear. He looked like a happy, contented man.

Meanwhile. America's own president was submissive and groveling, agreeing with everything Putin said, like thinking that his idea to send our investigators to Russia to work with Putin's KGB interrogators to "figure out" who hacked our election. This is a suggestion so far beyond the pale that it is almost impossible to believe an American leader could think that way. This while every single intelligence agency we have believe it is an incontrovertible fact that Russia is the culprit.

That Mueller just indicted 12 KGB agents in the hacking probe three days before and that Trump was briefed about it before the meeting, makes it infinitely worse.

And why did Trump insist on meeting Putin alone, without even note takers? Why did he not even want his advisors to know what went on? Did he not realize that the U.S. would then be reduced to obtaining the information from the Russians. Best case scenario, it would be a "he said, he said" so that no one could dispute what Putin said with any authority. But it wasn't a "he said, he said", it was a "both agreed" situation and Trump himself hasn't released even a summary of what was talked about to his people.

And Jesus God, now Trump has invited Putin to the White House before the midterm elections! How freaking stupid are we?

And yet, I've been arguing on Facebook with Trump cult members who are totally behind Trump. What makes me the angriest is the false moral equivalency they try to draw between America and Russia.

"Well, we're not so great either," they claim. According to them, our entire government is a hotbed of deep state corruption including Democrats, Republicans, intelligence agencies, the FBI, the Justice Department and of course, the fake media, who are acting to bring down their adored Trump.

This is all bullshit of the highest order. We don't imprison or kill our political opponents (despite what the Trump nuts say about Hillary).  We don't imprison or kill journalists. We don't beat up citizens who disagree with the government or put them in labor camps. We don't go to other countries and poison people with chemical weapons. We don't invade other countries and claim them for our own.

The right seems to like America less and less as the Trump administration goes on. He has successfully convinced a large swath of us to turn against our own nation. In the war of Trump (and Russia) against the U.S., they are on Trump's side. They despise the Democrats why more than they despise Putin.

Trump leads his fanatics around by the nose with a web of pathological lying. Putin leads Trump around by the nose with a web of pathological lying. Like attracts like.

I hate saying this but it begins to look more and more like treason to me.


Friday, July 6, 2018

Put My Mind At Ease, Conservatives

                                                 

I'm really asking these questions respectfully to try to learn why I'm so nervous and you're not. Do you have answers that I don't have? If you do, please share them.

I've been anxious about Russia from the very beginning. Put all those questions about collusion and obstruction aside. For the sake of argument, I'll accept your claim that it is all baseless.

But why did several Republican senators spend the Fourth of July in Moscow meeting with their Russians counterparts with no Democrats, no press, no official agenda or transcript of what was discussed. Does that make you even a little bit uneasy? What do you think it was all about? 

And, reportedly when Trump meets with Putin in July, he wants a one on one meeting - again with no press and no schedule of what they will discuss. We will be dependent on Moscow to tell us what went on as we have been every time the two leaders have met. Why is that do you suppose?  I'd sort of like to be informed, wouldn't you?

The Republicans changed exactly one thing on their platform - a statement to go lighter on Russia regarding its attack on Ukraine.

Since the election, our government has acceded to everything Putin had on his wish list. There is a huge divide between America and its allies. It appears Trump is ready to pull us out of NATO, the alliance that has kept mostly peace in the world since the end of World War II. Is that a good thing, do you think? Do you really believe Putin and Kim Jung Un are better and more reliable friends to us than Germany, France, England and Canada?

Putin wants to divide us from our traditional allies in every way. Trump cooperatively withdrew America from the Paris Accords, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, The Human Rights Commission, The Iran Agreements. The negotiations on NAFTA have broken down. All these have been replaced with...nothing. And yet, with not nearly the safeguards to ensure compliance as the Iran Agreement, Trump assures us we can rest easy because North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat.

Trump thinks Russia should be allowed back in the G7 although he was rejected for taking Crimea and attacking Ukraine and that hasn't changed. Trump is talking about letting bygones and simply allowing Russia to keep Crimea.

He called to congratulate Putin even though everyone knows his "election" was a sham. Putin is a dictator, not an elected leader.

Trump didn't want to impose sanctions on Russian and refused until Congress forced his hand. Even then, he waited a year.

Please assure me, Conservatives, that you honestly see nothing to be alarmed about in all of this...and please explain why you feel that way.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

....Or Maybe Both

                                                

I have watched my country teeter on the abyss for several years. Of course, Trump couldn't do it alone. It took the Republicans to pave the way of destroying our democracy for him to bring it to this point. It began when they impeached Clinton for partisan reasons. It went on when they stated their goal of obstructing Obama on everything he tried to do including government shutdowns, threats to default on our debt, threats to push us over a fiscal cliff, sequesters. We were almost ready for Trump by the time Mitch McConnell refused to give Obama's Supreme Court nominee a hearing and instead held up the confirmation process for a year. It continued when they spent years and millions of dollars to try to undermine Hillary (which they successfully did although they found zip in the end) and now they are in a hurry to complete the Mueller investigation - go figure). .

So then we get Trump with a little help from his friends and even not-so-much his friends - James Comey and Vladimir Putin. In the time since, the Republicans have changed their minds on everything they always said they believed in. The national debt is soaring. Forget free trade - now they love tariffs. Any attempt to cooperate on a comprehensive immigration bill is dead on arrival.In fact, any attempt to cooperate with the other side on anything is extinct.

And it has been the same with evangelical Christians. Jesus? Who's that? Remember how they once said "character counts"?  Forget that nonsense, that was only when it was the other guy. Now they love them some amoral, vile, filthy-mouthed cheater. Both the lilly-livered Republicans and the hypocritical Christians have been conned and they probably know it. I believe they have willingly traded integrity for power.

That power will have been immensely consolidated if Trump gets to choose a Supreme Court justice and I don't see how the Dems can stop him. Ironically, this justice will probably end up voting on issues that arise from the Russian investigation and do you think Trump isn't intensely aware of that? (Pardons anyone?) How about that not confirming a justice during election years. Oh, no, now we discover that only applies to presidential election years. The people's voices don't count in mid-term elections.

There are lots of things that disturb me deeply about Trump. How he is withdrawing us from our previous leadership positin in the world, for instance (which is to Russia and China's benefit). How he takes us out of negotiated agreements with no replacement plan whatsoever - the Paris Accords, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Human Rights Commission, the Iran Agreement. Possibly NAFTA will be next. He just leaves them hanging out there with no solution in sight.  His penchant for a trade war which he says can be easily won though history tells us that not only aren't they easy to win, they can't be won at all. Meanwhile, Harley Davidson moves part of its work over seas, GM lays off, Our soybean farms are losing money. A nail factory in Missouri shuts down an assembly line for lack of parts...and on and on. And the Trump Cult eats it up. This is their idea of Making America Great Again. I despise the cruelty of our Zero Tolerance immigration policy and well, just the viciousness and deceit of this administration generally. I stress about the environmental rollbacks that will send us back to acid rain and polluted air and dirty water and despoiling national parks and shrinking national monuments. I hate his corruption, nepotism and the way he uses the White House as a gravy train that pours money directly into the Trump coffers. For example, he shouldn't even have anything to do with Trump International Hotel as there is a regulation that government property isn't to be leased to government officials. Trump brushes off these nit-picky little rules as if they don't apply to him and he must be right.

But one thing worries me more than all the others. New Congresspeople and presidents can be voted in. Executive orders can be overturned. Laws can change. Even Supreme Court rulings can be overruled in time (that is probably about to happen with Roe V Wade and gay marriage).

No, it is virtually turning us over to the Russians that I'm most afraid of. Republicans used to hate Russia too but that is another thing they've changed their minds about. They dismiss the Mueller investigation - and in fact, do everything they can to trash Mueller, Rosenstein and Wray - none of them angry Democrats. Republicans all and appointed by Trump himself. They demand unconstitutional access into evidence from an on-going investigation. They threaten to impeach Rosenstein if he doesn't comply with their ridiculous orders.

From the beginning, it was pretty clear that Trump was in bed with Russia. So many in his campaign met with Russian officials and lied about it. They changed the Republican platform to please Putin. Michael Flynn was tweeting a Russian oligarch during Trump's Inaugural Address. Many high-up Russians got tickets to the inauguration as well as the private dinners held afterwards. Trump's son, son-in-law and campaign manager met with Russians in Trump tower to get dirt on Hillary, then lied about what they discussed (with Trump himself writing the false narrative). The Russians visit the Oval Office after Trump is elected and he tells them that he fired Comey and now the Russian problem is off his mind. Incidentally, he also divulges classified information we'd received from Israel. And Russian press only at this meeting only, no Americans. Jared Kushner talks to Russian about setting up a back channel with Russia in their embassy so our intelligence can't listen in.

Mueller has so far gotten 20 indictments, 5 guilty pleas, a former Trump campaign manager in jail but the Republicans pooh-pooh it all. They impugn the honesty and honor of the very foundations of our democracy- the Department of Justice, the legal system, the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies.

Trump has to be be pushed to enforce the sanctions Congress imposed almost unanimously on Russia (back when Republicans still had a shred of loyalty to their country).

He meets with Putin privately - no Americans. We always have to find out about interactions between the U.S. and Russia through their media. We get the transcripts of their calls from Russia - even Fox isn't told!

Trump turns on our allies and wants to let Russia back into the G7. He is probably going to pull us out of NATO. He actually offers better trade deals to countries (i.e. France) if they leave the European union. These are all things Putin wants badly.

So why is Trump engaging in this treasonous behavior? I can only think of two reasons: 1) Russia is blackmailing him. This could very well be. Back when American banks refused to lend him any money because he was such a deadbeat businessman, Russian banks came to his rescue so they probably know a lot about his various financial deals and entanglements. Or 2) he has been promised a gigantic pay-off when he's done being president.

Pick your poison.








Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sickening to Watch

                                              

I liked Barack Obama. I thought he was an excellent president. Did I agree with him 100 percent of the time? No. Did I ever criticize him? Yes and you can go back into my blogs and see for yourself if you doubt me. Did I accept every word he said as the gospel on par with the Sermon on the Mount? Of course not. I have my heroes but I don't worship any of them (no, not even Hillary Clinton).


But this is how Trump's supporters see him - as just one step away from a God. They believe the most fantastical things if he tells them it is so. I had two people on Facebook just today tell me, they still believe Obama was a Kenyan-born Muslim. They still say "lock her up" without a smidgen of evidence against her of any criminal wrong-doing - and its not like the Republicans weren't searching every nook and cranny trying to find anything they could hang their hats on.

Yet, they totally dismiss the Mueller Investigation as a witch hunt despite reams of evidence, 20 indictments, five guilty pleas and a jailed former campaign manager. They shrug it all off as meaning nothing.

Trump can lie and lie and all you have to do to know it is watch his limited press availabilities on the White House lawn (he doesn't do real press conferences). He says one thing one day and the exact opposite the next and then watch his fans shift in a great wave to whatever he said most recently, never doubting his ever-changing statements.

This is the very definition of a cult - unquestioning loyalty and obedience. Trump says he envies Kim Jung Un because his people stand and wave when they see him. Ah, wouldn't it be nice to be a dictator?

Because Donald loves him some autocrats. The worst they treat their people, the better he likes them - Kim, Putin, Duterte, Xi. They're tough, don't you know. Meanwhile, our allies for the last 70 years are two-faced weaklings. Piss on Britain, France, Canada, Germany, the E.U., NATO. In the words of a Trump administration official, our new national motto is: "we're America, Bitch."

And our latest inhumane Trump policy to be ashamed of - snatching immigrant children out of the arms of their parents and putting them in detention centers, the latest of which will be a tent city in the 100 degree southern Texas heat. It was bad enough when Arpaio did it to adults but children?

Meanwhile, Republicans won't take him on. They are too frightened of his tweets. They might lose their cushy jobs if they criticize him! Anyway, they sold their souls for a Supreme Court Justice long ago. And evidently, the evangelicals can overlook a policy that would have made Jesus cry because they evidently want power more than salvation.

And then Trump bald-faced lies about his new policy, saying that it is the Democrats who initiated it, which it absolutely false.

But all he had to do it say for for it to become true to his brainwashed followers.

Trump is a cruel, corrupt person. You only had to watch the debates and see what fun he had demeaning his opponents to understand that we've seen it even more every day of presidency. Oddly, this is what the Trumpies love most about him. He mean and racist and anti-woman and he gives them permission to be the same. They know longer have to be "politically correct". They can say nigger if they want to....and many of them do.

It is really sickening to watch what has happened to our country under Trump and his robots..