How ‘Bout Some ‘Toons?

I think it’s about time to catch up on a few ‘toons, don’t you?  The political cartoons are one way of measuring which issues are on the minds of the people at any given time.  Today, one of the biggest issues is, not surprisingly, the trade war Trump has engaged in with China and the tariffs that are hurting We the People more than any.

tariffs-1tariffs-2tariffs-3tariffs-4tariffs-5


After the recent United Nations report showing that we are in danger of losing one million species from the planet due to our poor stewardship of the environment, climate change and environmental issues once again came to the forefront of everyone’s mind.

environment-1environment-2environment-3Threatened and endangered species


Congress subpoenaed Trump’s tax returns from the Department of Treasury, but of course Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is refusing to honour the subpoena.  Meanwhile, the New York Times released 10 years of Trump’s taxes from 1985 to 1994, showing that in that ten year period, he lost over $1.17 billion … naturally the cartoonists had a field day with that one, as did our friend Don Lemon!

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump the business manfinances-2finances-3


And, of course, we are still dealing with Trump’s blatant and now undeniable obstruction of justice.  The Mueller report cites no less than ten instances where Trump obstructed justice, and he is still doing it today by trying to shut down the congressional oversight committees that are trying to pick up where Mueller’s report left off and determine whether impeachment is the right path.  

criminals-2criminals-3criminals-4criminals-5obstruction-1obstruction-2obstruction-3obstruction-4


And just a few miscellaneous ‘toons to finish up …

generalking-trumptrump-tweet

Election 2020 … Part First of Many To Come

I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard people say that the democrats will win big in 2020, that Trump doesn’t stand a chance, that the democrats have a bunch of good candidates, that the nation will not re-elect Donald Trump, etc., etc.  And I know those people saying this mean well, and in most cases, I think they believe it.  But folks … make no mistake … it will be an uphill battle, and we haven’t yet taken the first step up that hill.  In this post, I want to talk just a bit about what is wrong with the democratic stance and what some of the problems facing the democrats are going to be.  I speak at the moment only of the presidential election, though I will later talk about the Senate and at some point, the House.

First problem … yes, we have a number of highly qualified candidates, from the elders, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, to the newbies like Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.  But that is exactly the problem.  Let me explain …

In 2016, when Bernie Sanders failed to be nominated by the Democratic Party, what did his most loyal supporters do?  Some voted for independent candidates, some even voted for Trump, but the majority simply did not vote.  If every Bernie supporter had cast their vote for Hillary Clinton, we would not have Trump in the Oval Office today.  So, next year, at the Democratic Convention, if Kamala Harris is the nominee, what will Buttigieg’s and Warren’s supporters do?  Some will vote for Ms. Harris, but more will likely either vote for an independent simply to show their anger with the Democratic Party or will simply stay home and not vote at all.  Some will even vote for Trump.  This is a big problem, folks, and while it makes no sense, it is reality.

Second problem … this election will not be, for the Democratic Party, about who is the most qualified and capable candidate, but will be only about who can beat Donald Trump.  Which translates to:  who has the most public appeal, who is the best-looking, who can win what will be naught more than a popularity contest.  Oh yes, I hear you saying that we all care about the issues, and I agree … those reading this post no doubt care more about the candidate’s stance on such things as climate change, health care, taxes, foreign policy, gun regulation, Social Security, etc.  But we, my friends, are not the majority.  The majority do not vote with their heads, do not study the candidates and issues, but rather vote with their hearts.  Why do you think Hillary failed to attain a larger margin in 2016? (I remind you that she did win the election by nearly 3 million votes)  Because she was not warm & fuzzy, was not a ‘likeable’ persona.  And the two straws that broke the camel’s back were her calling republicans ‘deplorables’, and Jim Comey’s “October Surprise”.

Third problem … nobody seems to be doing a damned thing about the fact that Russia did, in fact, influence our 2016 election and, while we will never know for certain if Hillary would have won the electoral college without the Russian influence, we can surmise that would have been the case.  This should be something that Congress is demanding be addressed by our intelligence community, and perhaps it is being addressed, but it doesn’t seem to be taken very seriously at all.

Fourth problem … voter disenfranchisement and gerrymandering.  Most of Trump’s base are white, middle-income, Christian, non-college-educated voters.  They have driver’s licenses, they own cars, and they live in predominantly white, middle class neighborhoods with a polling place only a short distance.  A large number of likely democratic voters are poor, are minorities, and live in neighborhoods where there are no polling places close by.  They may not have driver’s licenses, they may not own reliable vehicles.  They work at minimum wage jobs and by the time they get off work, take a bus to the closest polling place, it has closed, or the line is so long that they cannot wait in line to vote, for they must pick their child up at daycare.  States are, even today, trying to pass stricter voting laws.  In Texas, proposed legislation would force anyone taking more than 3 non-family-members to the polls to fill out a form listing the people being transported and the reason.  In many states around the nation, voter ID laws are being introduced.  Polling places on college campuses are being dismantled.  And I haven’t seen much being done in the way of re-districting gerrymandered districts.  These are all blatant attempts to discourage poor and minority voters, to make it harder for them to vote, and to ensure their votes are diluted when they can vote.

Fifth problem … voter apathy.  We are so bombarded every day with news of corruption on both sides of the aisle that some people … I have had people tell me this … just throw up their hands and say, essentially, “To heck with it … they are all corrupt, so why bother?”  As heated as the 2016 election was, do you know what percentage of eligible voters didn’t bother to vote?  Take a guess.  Almost 40%!!!  Colorado, Minnesota, Maine & New Hampshire were the only states where 70% or more of eligible voters turned out to vote.

I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, but the real danger, as I see it, is in being too complacent, in believing that because Trump is such a terrible president, he cannot possibly win.  He was an awful candidate, but he won in 2016, largely because of Russian interference, Hillary’s unpopularity, voter apathy, and voter disenfranchisement.  The Democratic Party needs to seriously get their act together, unite behind the best qualified candidate, and put together a winning platform that includes health care solutions, environmental stewardship, civil rights reform, gun reform, and a host of other solutions to the issues that are plaguing this nation today, such as dealing with Iran, North Korea and Russia, not to mention mending fences that Trump has torn down with our allies.

Let us not make the same mistake we made in 2016, thinking that Trump is such a buffoon he cannot possibly win.  He is a buffoon, he is a madman, but … he won in 2016.  Let us not let him win in 2020.

Joe Biden: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I bring you the 13th installment of TokyoSand’s excellent series, The 7 Issues Guide, helping us get to know a bit about the platforms of the democratic candidates running for the office of president next year. Joe Biden is on deck today. Biden is among my favourites, as I have long had respect and admiration for him. Joe was poised to run in 2016, but sadly his son died of cancer in May 2015 and he bowed out, feeling it was in the best interest of his family to do so at that time. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Mr. Biden!

Political⚡Charge

biden-smile Joe Biden

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. Each of them brings their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve gathered quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified as the most important. I hope that these guides serve as a helpful starting point for you as you look into which candidates (or how many candidates!) you are interested in supporting…

View original post 1,357 more words

Going … Going … Gone

This morning the United Nations released a report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the premise of which is that as many as one million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction.  Think about this one, folks … one million

That in itself is cause for grief, but the report goes a step further than previous studies by linking the loss of species to humans and analyzing its effect on food and water security, farming and economies.  According to the report, more plants and animals are threatened with extinction now than any other period in human history. Nature’s current rate of decline is unparalleled, it says, and the accelerating rate of extinctions “means grave impacts on people around the world are now likely.”

Now, personally I do not, as some do, see the human species as superior to all others.  Obviously, if the human species were so superior, we would not be willfully destroying every living creature on the planet.  No, I think humans are without doubt the greediest, most selfish species on earth.  But, since we broke it, it is up to us to fix it, and yet the very people with the greatest ability to do so, refuse, putting their own convenience and profit ahead of the future of all life on earth.

It isn’t only the effects of climate change that are causing the global crisis. The report emphasized the effects humans have on animals that are key to their own survival. Pesticides sprayed by farmers that kill pollinators such as bees and other insects will likely have a devastating effect on crops. Homeowners contribute to the problem by purchasing “bug zappers” that target mosquitoes but also eliminate key pollinators such as butterflies and moths, as well as common flies that some animals rely on for food.

The report has a positive spin, saying that “it is not too late to make a difference.” But that difference requires more than 100 developing and non-developed nations to work together to bring about change.  Today.  Not tomorrow or next year – TODAY!

A friend recently told me that she believes God gave the earth to humans for the purpose of their enjoyment and that there is nothing to worry about, for in essence God wants people to be happy and will replenish the earth without us changing our lifestyle.  Well, folks, guess what?  That is the biggest line of bullshit I’ve ever heard.  The owners of those factories spewing tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, the companies that produce the killing pesticides, the fossil fuel industry have all contributed to convincing people to “stay calm”, that the scientists are all wrong, and that everything will be alright.

EVERYTHING WILL NOT BE ALRIGHT!

So, why am I carrying on again about the same topic I’ve written about multiple times?  Because we’re not getting through to the politicians who can make the biggest difference through legislation.  Because we’re not getting through to our friends and neighbors.  Because … we all have children and grandchildren and we are allowing their future to be destroyed.  I know you’re tired and so am I, but we need to do more.  We need to do our own small part, sure, but we also need to get back on a letter-writing, phone-calling, e-mailing campaign and tell our elected officials to get off their sweet patooties and do the right thing.

An anonymous comment I read this morning in The Washington Post says it all …

“For many decades, environmentalists have been sounding the alarm that people are destroying the Earth through their callous disregard of nature, because of the misguided thought that we are supposedly lords over the planet instead of another species that is PART of the planet.

People who think of themselves as separate from nature rather than part of it fall in to the dangerous assumption that they can just keep on killing off whatever plants and animals they want, in as large numbers as they want, without it affecting human life too.

For many decades, politicians have been ignoring these calls for people to have a greater respect for the natural world of which we are a part. For many decades, those calls have been answered with criticism from those who believe there should be no environmental regulations, no protections for wildlife, and that humans should be able to just destroy whatever they want, whenever they want, as often and as much as they want, because to them, making money by destroying the environment is awesome.

Now they’re going to learn the hard way that it’s not awesome at all. The environmentalists have been correct about this all along, and the greedy selfish people who think environmental regulations are bad just keep on trying to claim they’re not.”

This isn’t just another political issue.  This should rise far above partisan politics, should take precedence over trade wars, over corporate profits, and every other issue, for frankly, if we don’t do this now, none of the rest will matter a whit by the end of the century.  You won’t be around to see it nor will I, but our great-great-grandchildren will.  Think about it.

John Delaney: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I bring you the 12th installment of TokyoSand’s excellent series, The 7 Issues Guide, helping us get to know a bit about the platforms of the democratic candidates running for the office of president next year. John Delaney is on deck today. I must admit that until today, I had never heard of John Delaney. He was the represented the 6th district of Maryland in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2013 until 2019, and did not run for re-election last year, preferring to focus on his bid for the presidency. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Mr. Delaney!

Political⚡Charge

johndelaney-forprez-560 John Delaney

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. Each of them brings their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve gathered quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified as the most important. I hope that these guides serve as a helpful starting point for you as you look into which candidates (or how many candidates!) you are interested in supporting…

View original post 1,453 more words

Good People Doing Good Things –Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado

Every Wednesday I write about good people who are doing things to help others.  Sometimes it’s very small things, like helping an elderly person carry their groceries, other times it’s big things, like providing homes for the homeless.  Today, I am focusing on someone who is ultimately helping to preserve the lives of every living, breathing species by helping clean up the environment.  Let’s face it, if we don’t do a lot more than we’re doing and soon, none of the other things will matter before long.


In the early 1990s, Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado was stationed in Rwanda to cover the accounts of genocide. The on-ground experience left him traumatized.

It was 1994, and he was returning to his childhood home of Minas Gerais, Brazil, hoping to find solace in the lap of a lush green forest where he had grown up.  Instead, he found this …village-2019Nothing but dusty, barren land for miles and miles. In only a few years, his beautiful hometown had undergone rampant deforestation. The trees were cut down, the wildlife he remembered from his boyhood gone.

“The land was as sick as I was – everything was destroyed. Only about 0.5% of the land was covered in trees. Then my wife had a fabulous idea to replant this forest. And when we began to do that, then all the insects and birds and fish returned and, thanks to this increase of the trees I, too, was reborn – this was the most important moment.”

Salgado and his family set up the Instituto Terra and have now planted more than 2 million trees, transforming the environment. In doing so, he says, he has found one answer to climate change – as well as creative inspiration.

“Perhaps we have a solution. There is a single being which can transform CO2 to oxygen, which is the tree. We need to replant the forest. You need forest with native trees, and you need to gather the seeds in the same region you plant them or the serpents and the termites won’t come. And if you plant forests that don’t belong, the animals don’t come there and the forest is silent.

We need to listen to the words of the people on the land. Nature is the earth and it is other beings and if we don’t have some kind of spiritual return to our planet, I fear that we will be compromised.”

And this is what the village of Minas Gerais looks like today …village-today.jpgIn addition to the trees, 172 species of birds have returned, 33 species of mammals, 15 species of reptiles and 15 species of amphibians.  Indeed, I think Señor Salgado has done way more than his share to help save this planet, don’t you?

In this short video Portuguese is spoken, however the English subtitles are excellent, and the video is well worth the 5 minutes spent watching.

We don’t all have access to enough land to plant 2 million trees.  Some of us don’t have land on which to plant a single tree, but if you do … then plant one!  Lots of people planting a single tree eventually makes a forest!  And if you’re like me, you rent and cannot plant a single tree, plant flowers!  The bees will love you for it, and you will, in your own small way, be helping to save the planet, for the bee population is greatly reduced, and without them, folks, we would not have food to eat.  Period.  Speaking of bees … one last thing here, I was directed to a blog by an artist named Jodi, and her Sunday post did an excellent job of addressing the “bee crisis” as it were, in a concise summation.  Please drop in and check out her Bee Happy post!

Tidbits Of Good News For Mother Earth

Quite probably the single most crucial issue facing us today is the environment, and not only climate change, but dangerous agricultural chemicals, contaminated water supplies, and the killing of our wildlife as well.  Recently, there have been a number of court rulings favourable to the environment, and throwing small wrenches into Trump’s plan for global destruction.


Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ordered the EPA to finally take action on widespread demands from environmental groups to ban chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide.Farmer in tractor spraying herbicides over field with trailed sprayer in spring.For years, experts have raised concerns about chlorpyrifos, which is commonly used on crops including apples, wheat, and corn. The pesticide has been linked to cognitive problems, especially in children, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed it hazardous to humans. But it remains widely used in the United States, and under former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency denied a petition to ban chlorpyrifos, arguing that the science underlying the pesticide’s side effects is “unresolved.”  Same ludicrous argument the present administration keeps making about climate science.  Perhaps they simply do not understand science?

Last August, the 9th Circuit ordered the EPA to ban the pesticide within 60 days, but the Trump administration appealed. Now, the agency is once again facing a deadline. The court ruled Friday that the EPA has 90 days to decide on banning chlorpyrifos across the country, giving the agency until mid-July to act.

The courts may be losing patience with the administration on environmental issues such as this one, for Judge Margaret McKeown said …

“You’ve had 10 years or more to look at this. We’ve changed administrations, apparently we’ve changed science — how much more time do you need?”

It is far from finished, but the courts seem to be leaning more toward the environment than the EPA, a good sign at least.


On April 18th in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Judge Linda Parker ruled that people in Flint are free to sue the federal government over its mishandling of the city’s water problems.  In the past three years, I have written a couple of times about the water crisis in Flint Michigan, starting with Just Don’t Drink The Water back in early 2016.  Flint-MI-water-towerAlthough one of Trump’s campaign promises was to spend money on infrastructure problems, nothing … zero … has been done to alleviate the situation for the residents of Flint.  Two years ago, Flint community members sued the EPA for “mishandling” the crisis and failing to utilize the Safe Drinking Water Act to intervene and protect residents. Around 3,000 people are named in the lawsuit, which the government has sought to dismiss.

Judge Parker’s ruling does not necessarily find any federal employees negligent, but it does mean the government is not immune from a lawsuit.  It’s a small step, but one in the right direction.


Yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that …

  • Bans oil and gas exploration, development, and production in state coastal and tidal underwater land; and,
  • Prohibits construction of any new infrastructure in New York to transport oil and natural gas developed in the North Atlantic Planning Area, the federal government’s designation for federal waters offshore the tri-state area and New England.

Trump and his cabinet lackeys have proposed opening both the East and West coasts, as well as the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska to offshore drilling.  This new law is one that should be adopted by every coastal state in the nation.  After BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, oil contaminated more than 1,300 miles of coastline, harming fisheries, birds, and impacting endangered whales for generations to come.New-York-skyline-towersThe environment is much more important than the financial interests of the oil and gas industries, and it’s good to see at least some lawmakers acknowledging that.  Undoubtedly there will be court fights over this, but if every state follows New York’s lead, Trump will be long gone from office before all the suits are resolved.


Trump’s plan to reverse environmental initiatives in Alaska put in place by President Obama, took a double hit in federal court in late March.

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason ruled that the administration violated federal law with a proposed road that would split a wilderness area in a national wildlife refuge.  The proposed road was in order to give residents of a local village easier access to an airport, however the damage to the habitat for migrating waterfowl would have likely been severe and irrevocable.

Later the same day, the same judge ruled that Trump exceeded his authority when he reversed bans on offshore drilling in vast parts of the Arctic Ocean and dozens of canyons in the Atlantic Ocean.  The reason for the ban was to protect polar bears, walrus, ice seals and the Native villages that depend on the animals from industrialization and oil spills.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska is not happy about either of these rulings and predicts they will work their way through the court system until they reach the Supreme Court.  She’s probably right.  But, perhaps by then we will have a president who cares more about the environment and the survival of species than about the profits of the fossil fuel industry. 


All of these are good news, but they will undoubtedly be challenged and possibly lose the higher they go in the federal court system.  We the People must make our voices heard, must let Congress, especially the republicans in Congress, know that we don’t want offshore drilling, that we don’t want wildlife decimated, that we want potable drinking water, safe food, and that we want regulations that protect our planet rather than ones that protect oil companies or other corporations.

It’s rant time….

Probably close to half of my most frequent readers are citizens of the United Kingdom and many have truly become good friends. Therefore, I have learned much from them about things transpiring on their side of the pond, Brexit of course being the biggest and most divisive, but other issues are worrying to them as well.

One of those friends, Gary, has written a post that I felt worth sharing, in part because it is an eloquent and heartfelt piece, in part because it helps us understand some of what our friends across the pond are dealing with, and in part because much of what he writes about is happening here in the U.S. as well.

I don’t live in the UK, so I make no attempt to judge from afar the Brexit issue or any other, but I think it’s important for us to understand that they have their troubles, and many of them aren’t much different than our own. I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to read Gary’s post.

A Dad trying to cope with the loss of his Partner and becoming a single parent.

I’ve talked about walks quite a bit recently. Hopefully I won’t stray too much onto old ground on this rant. Apologies it is a rant.

One of the benefits of a walk in nature is that it helps you forget about our world, my country.

Deep breathing and it begins…..

We are so lucky to be sitting on this magical rock, in this special little place in the Universe. We live on a planet which is beautiful and can provide for all of us (if we let it).

I live in a stunning county in a once lovely and diverse country.

I used to love my country but I deeply hate what it has become.

A place where someone thinks it’s ok to string dead Jackdaws on the gates to a TV presenters house because he makes a stand for animals in our country.

A place where one of our…

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Bernie Sanders: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I bring you the 11th installment of TokyoSand’s excellent series, The 7 Issues Guide, helping us get to know a bit about the platforms of the democratic candidates running for the office of president next year. Bernie Sanders is on deck today. Bernie has been one of two Senators from Vermont since 2007, and was a candidate for the democratic nomination in 2016. I like Bernie, he has some good ideas and his focus is on humanitarian issues. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Mr. Sanders!

Political⚡Charge

There is a big field of candidates running for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020. The candidates each bring their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the candidates, I’ve gathered quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified as the most important. I hope that these guides serve as a helpful starting point for you as you look into which candidates (or how many candidates!) you are interested in supporting…

View original post 1,341 more words