Capitalism Run Amok

I have said many times of late that ours is a system of capitalism run amok.  It’s a system driven by greed, by wealthy corporate giants intent on squeezing every last nickel out of the consumers without taking responsibility for their own product.  The republicans act as if ‘socialism’ is a bad word, but frankly democratic socialism makes a heck of a lot more sense that todays extreme capitalism.  It seems that a very astute mind agrees with me.  Take a look at what Robert Reich has to say on the subject.

Corporations are endangering Americans. Trump doesn’t care

From Boeing to Monsanto and beyond: this week has revealed the tip of the iceberg of regulatory neglect

By Robert Reich

Robert ReichWhy didn’t Boeing do it right? Why isn’t Facebook protecting user passwords? Why is Phillip Morris allowed to promote vaping? Why hasn’t Wells Fargo reformed itself? Why hasn’t Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) recalled its Roundup weedkiller?

Answer: corporate greed coupled with inept and corrupt regulators.

These are just a few of the examples in the news these days of corporate harms inflicted on innocent people.

To be sure, some began before the Trump administration. But Trump and his appointees have unambiguously signaled to corporations they can now do as they please.

Boeing wanted to get its 737 Max 8 out quickly because airlines want to pack in more passengers at lower fuel costs (hence the “max”). But neither Boeing nor the airlines shelled out money to adequately train pilots on the new software made necessary by the new design.

Nonetheless, Trump’s FAA certified the plane in March 2017. And after two subsequent deadly crashes, the US was slower to ground them than other countries.

Last week Facebook admitted to storing hundreds of millions of Facebook users’ passwords in plain text that could be searched by more than 20,000 Facebook employees. The admission came just a year after the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed that Facebook shared the personal data of as many as 87 million users with a political data firm.

In reality, Facebook’s business model is based on giving personal data to advertisers so they can tailor their pitches precisely to potential customers. So despite repeated reassurances by Mark Zuckerberg, the firm will continue to do what it wants with personal information.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the power to force Facebook to better guard users’ privacy. But so far Trump’s FTC has done nothing – not even to enforce a 2011 agreement in which Facebook promised to do just that.

Altria (Phillip Morris) was losing ground on its sales of cigarettes, but the firm has recently found a future in vaping. Because inhaling nicotine in any form poses a health hazard, the FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb wanted to curb advertising of vaping products to teenagers.

Gottlieb thought he had Altria’s agreement, but then the firm bought the vaping company Juul. Its stock has already gained 14% this year. What happened to Gottlieb? He’s out at the FDA, after barely a year on the job.

Wells Fargo has publicly apologized for having deceived customers with fake bank accounts, unwarranted fees and unwanted products. Its top executives say they have eliminated the aggressive sales targets that were responsible for the fraud.

But Wells Fargo employees told the New York Times recently that they’re still under heavy pressure to squeeze extra money out of customers. Some have witnessed colleagues bending or breaking internal rules to meet ambitious performance goals.

What has Trump’s Consumer Financial Protection Agency done about this? Nothing. It’s been defanged.

This week, a federal jury awarded $80m in damages to a California man who blamed Monsanto’s (now Bayer’s) Roundup weedkiller for his cancer, after finding that Roundup was defectively designed, that Monsanto failed to warn of the herbicide’s cancer risk, and that the company acted negligently. It was the second jury in eight months to reach the same conclusion about Roundup.

Roundup contains glyphosate, a suspected carcinogen. Cases from more than 1,000 farmers and other agricultural workers stricken with non-Hodgkin lymphoma are already pending in federal and state courts.

What has Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency done about glyphosate? In December 2017 its office of pesticide programs concluded that glyphosate wasn’t likely to cause cancer – although eight of the 15 experts on whom the agency relied expressed significant concerns about that conclusion, and three more expressed concerns about the data.

These are just tips of a vast iceberg of regulatory neglect, frozen into place by Trump’s appointees, of which at least 187 were lobbyists before they joined the administration.

This is trickle-down economics of a different sort than Trump’s corporate tax cuts. The major beneficiaries of this are the same big corporations, including their top executives and major investors. But these burdens are trickling down as unsafe products, fraudulent services, loss of privacy, even loss of life.

Big money has had an inhibiting effect on regulators in several previous administrations. What’s unique under Trump is the blatancy of it all, and the shameless willingness of Trump appointees to turn a blind eye to corporate wrongdoing.

Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress yell “socialism!” at proposals for better balancing private greed with the common good. Yet unless a better balance is achieved, capitalism as we know it is in deep trouble.

Good People Doing Good Things — Peter Tabichi

Peter TabichiI would like to introduce you to Peter Tabichi.  Peter is a Kenyan science teacher and Franciscan friar at the Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village in a remote part of Kenya’s Rift Valley.  More than 90% of his pupils are from poor families and almost a third are orphans or have only one parent. Drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, dropping out early from school, young marriages and suicide are common. Students have to walk 4 miles along roads that can become impassable in the rainy season to reach the school and the area can be affected by drought and famine. RiftValleyMany of Mr. Tabichi’s students would not be able to attend school, if it weren’t for the fact that he gives 80% of his salary to help support the students.  That, in itself, is remarkable, but that isn’t all he does.

Despite only having one computer, a poor internet connection and a student-teacher ratio of 58:1, Tabichi started a “talent nurturing club” and expanded the school’s science club, helping pupils design research projects of such quality that many now qualify for national competitions.  His students have taken part in international science competitions and won an award from the Royal Society of Chemistry after harnessing local plant life to generate electricity.

Tabichi and four colleagues also give struggling pupils one-to-one tutoring in math and science, visiting students’ homes and meeting their families to identify the challenges they face.  Enrollment at the school has doubled to 400 over three years and girls’ achievement in particular has been boosted.  Take four minutes, if you will, to see Mr. Tabichi in action.

Last week Mr. Tabichi was honoured at a ceremony in Dubai where he was awarded the Varkey Foundation 2019 Global Teacher Prize and a check for $1 million!  The Global Teacher Prize is intended to raise the status of the teaching profession. The winner is selected by committees comprised of teachers, journalists, officials, entrepreneurs, business leaders and scientists. The 2019 competition included 10,000 nominations from 179 countries. The founder of the prize, Sunny Varkey, said he hopes Tabichi’s story “will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over Kenya and throughout the world every day”.Peter Tabichi awardAccepting the prize, Tabichi said:

“I am only here because of what my students have achieved. This prize gives them a chance. It tells the world that they can do anything. As a teacher working on the front line I have seen the promise of its young people – their curiosity, talent, their intelligence, their belief. Africa’s young people will no longer be held back by low expectations. Africa will produce scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs whose names will be one day famous in every corner of the world. And girls will be a huge part of this story. It’s morning in Africa. The skies are clear. The day is young and there is a blank page waiting to be written. This is Africa’s time.”

The Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, said in a video message:

Uhuru Kenyatta“Peter – your story is the story of Africa, a young continent bursting with talent. Your students have shown that they can compete amongst the best in the world in science, technology and all fields of human endeavour.”

Upon his return to Kenya, he was given the royal treatment by local officials, fellow teachers and students who through songs praised him for his humility and selflessness.  At the school, he was cheered through songs and dances by relatives, local community and students.

Tabichi homecomingWhat do you suppose Mr. Tabichi plans to do with the prize money?  You got it!  He plans to use “much more than 80 percent” of his prize money in educating the needy bright students and empowering the local community to become resilient to effects of drought.

“My focus is not going to be just the children but help the community adapt to climate change. I will be helping them adopt a model of growing drought-tolerant crops in kitchen gardens.”

Tabichi sign.jpgI am in awe of this man and what he is doing, and give him a two thumbs up!

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Evangelicals Have Out-Size Influence In President’s Crafting Of US Foreign Policy

When I read this post by Gronda earlier today, I was most disturbed … as I told Gronda in my comment, this was likely the most disturbing thing I have read in years, and that says a lot! Frankly, while I try never to criticize another’s religion, I have to say that what is described here is not religion — it is insanity! Thank you, Gronda, for the thought-provoking post … and for the nightmares I will surely have tonight!

Gronda Morin

Image result for PHOTOS OF Robert Jeffress

For the rapture end times Evangelical Christian true believers, their thinking regarding the Middle East is flawed. They are very versed in discussing their thinking/ version of biblical end times, including the rapture doctrine.

The two members of the republican President Trump’s administration who are steeped in these faith based dogmas are his Vice President Mike Pence and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

I’ve no problem with Evangelicals practicing their beliefs even though I genuinely do worry that they are being led astray, but when this thinking seeps into the formation of US foreign policies, then I have a problem.

That the Evangelical community have been exerting an out-sized level of influence on current US policies  is exactly what I believe has been happening. What’s worse is that President Trump is very dependent on their support to keep his hold on power. Evangelicals comprise about 35% of his base…

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Walking, Talking Conflict of Interest

David-BernhardtHis name is David Bernhardt, and he is Trump’s latest pick to head the Department of the Interior, since Ryan Zinke resigned last year in the spotlight of several ethics probes.  Zinke was bad enough … Bernhardt, if confirmed by the Senate, may well be worse.  Bernhardt has been serving as Deputy Secretary of the Interior since August 2017, and thus has been acting secretary since Zinke’s departure.

Where to even start?  This guy is, like so many of Trump’s other cabinet choices, the worst possible candidate for the job!  First, he is a former oil lobbyist, which sets up potential conflicts of interest in itself.  If confirmed, he will become one of two former fossil fuel lobbyists overseeing the nation’s top environmental agencies. The other is Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who heads the Environmental Protection Agency.  Between them, these two are in a position to cause much destruction to our environment.

As a partner in the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Bernhardt lobbied for the oil companies Cobalt International Energy and Samson Resources. His legal clients included the Independent Petroleum Association of America, which represents dozens of oil companies, and Halliburton Energy Services, the oil and gas extraction firm that was led by Dick Cheney before he became vice president to George W. Bush.

Thus far, while overseeing the Department of Interior, Bernhardt has …

  • Put forth a plan that opens up more land to oil and gas drilling than any other single policy action by the Trump administration, while at the same time stripping away protections from about nine million acres of wild life habitat.
  • Put forth a plan that would allow the federal government to lease almost any part of the United States coastline to oil and gas companies for offshore drilling.
  • During last year’s 35-day government shutdown, Bernhardt managed to obtain approval for 15 new leases for drilling on public lands as well as 71 new permits for offshore drilling. More than 50 recipients of the offshore drilling permits were companies that sit on the board of directors of the National Ocean Industries Association, a former client of Mr. Bernhardt’s. (Note that while his department is also responsible for conservation, maintaining national parks and permitting renewable energy programs, none of those functions were operative during the shutdown)
  • Intervened to block the release of a scientific report revealing the threat presented by three widely used pesticides to hundreds of endangered species (See New York Times investigative report). Bernhardt claims the NYT article is “not even close to true”, however I would disagree, knowing full well the integrity with which the Times do their research.
  • Has worked to loosen key provisions of the Endangered Species Act and to weaken safety and environmental rules on oil and gas drilling equipment.
  • Proposed a budget that would cut funding for the National Park Service by nearly $500 million, cut the budget for the Fish and Wildlife Service by $267 million, as well as cuts to other services including wildfire management (remember last year’s wildfires in California?)

Bernhardt’s confirmation hearing was held in the Senate on Thursday.  Predictably, he was praised by republican senators.

“David Bernhardt is an honest man who puts all his cards on the table and keeps his word. He is a champion of conservation. There is zero question that Mr. Bernhardt is qualified to do this job.” – Senator Cory Gardner, Colorado  (An “honest” man???  HAH!!!  Trump would never nominate an honest man!)

It should be noted that Senator Gardner has received $47,000 in campaign donations from Bernhardt’s former lobbying firm.

“I intend to move Mr. Bernhardt’s nomination as expeditiously as possible. He is ready for this job and has demonstrated he can handle everything it entails.” – Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska (How much money did you receive from Bernhardt’s former lobbying firm, Ms. Murkowski???)

However, the democrats in the senate were a bit more discriminating.  Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon mentioned Bernhardt’s blocking of the previously mentioned scientific report, saying …

“Mr. Bernhardt, you came to my office to tell me that you were the guy who stood up for ethics in the George W. Bush administration. You asked to come to my office to say your ethics are unimpeachable. But these documents make it look like you’re just another corrupt official. Why would you come to my office to lie to me about your ethics? Just like Julie MacDonald, you meddled in the science.”

Environmental groups are speaking out against Bernhardt’s confirmation as well.

David Bernhardt“Bernhardt got this nomination as a reward for months of work cramming America’s natural heritage into a wood chipper. He’s already done more damage to our environment than anyone else in Interior Department history. Confirming him as Interior secretary would be a boon to polluters and a colossal disaster for our public lands and endangered species.” – Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity

“With nearly two dozen former clients that have business before the agency, David Bernhardt is a walking conflict of interest who is uniquely unfit to serve as Interior Secretary.” – Jennifer Rokala, executive director of the Center for Western Priorities.

Three Greenpeace activists donned ‘swamp monster’ masks as they sat in the audience at the hearings …

swamp-monster-1          swamp-monster-2

Perhaps Washington state Governor Jay Inslee said it best …

“Let’s not put big oil in charge of the Interior Department. Today’s Senate confirmation hearing shows that oil lobbyist David Bernhardt is dangerous to America’s public lands and waters and can’t be trusted to be our Interior Secretary. Big oil is literally laughing about the access they have to this administration. His answers today demonstrated his deep conflict of interest and his unwillingness to come clean about his record of mothballing an analysis of dangerous toxic chemicals. The Senate should reject this deeply flawed nomination and prevent this ethics nightmare.”

In the end, none of his conflicts of interest will matter to the republican-dominated, boot-licking, ass-kissing senate who are nearly certain to confirm Bernhardt, but it should matter to We the People, for we are the ones who will suffer from the destruction of our home, planet Earth.

The Destruction of Earth …

A day or so ago, I came across an OpEd in The Guardian that I felt worth sharing.  The writer poses an interesting idea … one that I agree with.

The destruction of the Earth is a crime. It should be prosecuted

George-Monbiotby George Monbiot

Why do we wait until someone has passed away before we honour them? I believe we should overcome our embarrassment, and say it while they are with us. In this spirit, I want to tell you about the world-changing work of Polly Higgins.

She is a barrister who has devoted her life to creating an international crime of ecocide. This means serious damage to, or destruction of, the natural world and the Earth’s systems. It would make the people who commission it – such as chief executives and government ministers – criminally liable for the harm they do to others, while creating a legal duty of care for life on Earth.

I believe it would change everything. It would radically shift the balance of power, forcing anyone contemplating large-scale vandalism to ask themselves: “Will I end up in the international criminal court for this?” It could make the difference between a habitable and an uninhabitable planet.

There are no effective safeguards preventing a few powerful people, companies or states from wreaking havoc for the sake of profit or power. Though their actions may lead to the death of millions, they know they can’t be touched. Their impunity, as they engage in potential mass murder, reveals a gaping hole in international law.

Last week, for instance, the research group InfluenceMap reported that the world’s five biggest publicly listed oil and gas companies, led by BP and Shell, are spending nearly $200m a year on lobbying to delay efforts to prevent climate breakdown. According to Greenpeace UK, BP has successfully pressed the Trump government to overturn laws passed by the Obama administration preventing companies from releasing methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. The result – the equivalent of another 50m tonnes of CO2 over the next five years – is to push us faster towards a hothouse Earth.

Hundreds of dead dolphins are washing up on French beaches, often with horrendous injuries. Why? Because trawler companies fishing for sea bass are failing to take basic precautions to stop them being caught. The dolphins either drown in the nets or, when pulled up wounded, are stabbed to death (to make them sink) by fishermen. For a marginal increase in profits, the trawler firms could be driving common dolphins towards regional extinction.

In West Papua, which is illegally occupied by Indonesia, the environmental group Mongabay reports that an international consortium intends, without the consent of indigenous peoples, to clear an area the size of Somerset of stunning rainforest to plant oil palm. Its Tanah Merah project is ripping a hole in an enormous expanse of pristine forest, swarming with species found nowhere else. According to Mongabay, if the scheme continues, it will produce as much greenhouse gas every year as the state of Virginia.

When governments collaborate (as in all these cases they do), how can such atrocities be prevented? Citizens can pursue civil suits, if they can find the money and the time, but the worst a company will face is a fine or compensation payments. None of its executives are prosecuted, though they may profit enormously from murderous destruction. They can continue their assaults on the living planet.

Cases against governments, such as the successful one against the Dutch state seeking a legal order to speed up its reduction of greenhouse gases, may be more productive, but only when national (or European) law permits, and when the government is prepared to abide by it. Otherwise, at international summits, where perpetrators share platforms with states that should hold them to account, we ask them nicely not to slaughter our children. These crimes against humanity should not be matters for negotiation but for prosecution.

Until 1996, drafts of the Rome statute, which lists international crimes against humanity, included the crime of ecocide. But it was dropped at a late stage at the behest of three states: the UK, France and the Netherlands. Ecocide looked like a lost cause until Higgins took it up 10 years ago.

She gave up her job and sold her house to finance this campaign on behalf of all of us. She has drafted model laws to show what the crime of ecocide would look like, published two books on the subject and, often against furious opposition, presented her proposals at international meetings. The Earth Protectors group she founded seeks to crowdfund the campaign. Recently she has been working with the Republic of Vanuatu with a view to tabling an amendment to the Rome statute, introducing the missing law.

Last week Polly was diagnosed, at the age of 50, with an aggressive cancer that has spread through much of her body. The doctors have told her she has six weeks to live. Given her determination and the support of those around her, I expect her to defy the prediction, which she has met with amazing fortitude. “If this is my time to go,” she told me, “my legal team will continue undeterred. But there are millions who care so much and feel so powerless about the future, and I would love to see them begin to understand the power of this one, simple law to protect the Earth – to realise it’s possible, even straightforward. I wish I could live to see a million Earth Protectors standing for it – because I believe they will.”

She has started something that will not end here. It could, with our support, do for all life on Earth what the criminalisation of genocide has done for vulnerable minorities: provide protection where none existed before. Let it become her legacy.

Kirsten Gillibrand: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I bring you the 7th 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. Kirsten Gillibrand is on deck today, and she is one that I know very little about. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Ms. Gillibrand!

Political⚡Charge

gillibrand

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. To briefly use a sports analogy, I see our candidates as the starting players on the Blue team, each bringing 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 enlisted the help of a team of terrific volunteers who have helped gather 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…

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The Cuyahoga River fire of 1969 spurred government action. Sadly, it couldn’t happen today.

The Environmental Protection Agency has an important … nay, imperative … job to do, but under the Trump administration it is being stifled … I would even go so far as to say the goal of this administration is to completely dismantle the agency. Blogger friend Jeff at Voters On The Fence has written an excellent post reminding us how and why the EPA came into being, and of the important work it does. Thank you, Jeff, for this insightful post and for letting me share it with my readers.

On The Fence Voters

Democratic 2020 candidates need to explain why government exists. It’s not socialism. It’s a cop on the beat.

On June 22, 1969, The Cuyahoga River caught fire in Cleveland, Ohio. This was nothing new. The polluted river had caught fire 13 times before the 1969 incident dating back to 1868. However, this particular fire was different. It made national news. The city of Cleveland had recently elected the first black mayor of a major American city, so the town was on the radar of many. With the Vietnam War raging and civil unrest everywhere, the newly elected President of the United States had decided to make pollution and the environment one of his main priorities.

The Cuyahoga River fire led to a national outcry and prompted a federal grand jury investigation into the causes. Eventually, it was determined that about 12 companies in Northeastern Ohio were responsible, including several steel…

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Meanwhile, Up In Canada — A Guest Post By Rawgod

We here in the U.S. are so absorbed in the daily dose of Trumpism that rarely in the past two years have most of us looked outside our own borders.  Oh, sure, we have the most basic knowledge of the Brexit battle, and we make note of such things as the two recent mosque shootings in New Zealand, but for the most part we are so inundated in all things “trump”, that we are almost buried in the detritus.  But, our situation is not unique in this, the year 2019.

Our friend rawgod lives in the western Canadian province of Alberta, and they have problems that are very similar to our own, and in many ways tied directly to our own.  I have long argued that no nation can afford to take an isolationist view, for this is a global world now, and no nation can survive without cooperation in many areas:  technology, trade, national security.  So, when rawgod offered me this guest post, I was happy to be able to present a first-hand, up-close-and-personal view of what is transpiring outside the U.S.  By the way … I always welcome guest posts any time somebody feels so inclined!  Thank you, rawgod, for helping to open my eyes about what is going on up north!Text dividers800px-Alberta_in_Canada.svgIn Alberta I am told that over 100,000 people are out of work because the Oil Sands production has been reduced. This is partly because of Paris Accord commitments to cleaner air, but that partly is too small. The biggest reason is because we are producing more oil than we can move to places whose people are willing to process our oil into usable form. The province’s population is crying for pipelines to move our oil, not caring whose land the pipelines might cross or what ecologies might be damaged. Mostly the land they want to use is owned by First Nations people, and government-protected wildlife areas.

Meanwhile, it is mostly white people who are clamouring for these pipelines to be built without ecological studies. Who cares how the pipelines hurt Mother Nature or First Nations people OR THE ATMOSPHERE WE BREATHE as long as they make their money. Oil Sands wages are extremely high, as wages go these days. The people who want those wages do not want to be retrained to make clean money or clean air, they want to keep on making their dirty money for dirtying the atmosphere. They care nothing about others, they care only about themselves and their wallets.

Alberta has an election coming up in April, and who is making the loudest noise about pipelines–you guessed it, the United Conservative Party, led by a man named Jason Kenney, who cheated to get the party leadership, a man who may have actually broken the law, one who definitely broached political ethics, to make sure he won. Now he wants to become Premier of our province. AND PROBABLY WILL! Alberta has, until the last election, always been a conservative-voting province since its inception.

Yesterday this party did a big flip flop, it went from wanting to expose non-straight children in our school systems to saying it wanted to protect them from exposure, after years of loud politicking that non-straight kids needed to be exposed. Does this sound like a true policy change to anyone? Or does it sound like an insincere political attempt to attract more liberal-minded voters to its march to taking over the province.

After just one day, the leader of the UCP changed his tune about Gay Straight Alliances in schools, which are what I was talking about yesterday regarding exposing those who feel they are not heterosexual. For most of the past three years he has been demanding that schools expose kids who join Gay Straight Alliances, no matter what their reason. He wanted to promote homophobia. Yesterday, he said kids needed to be safe from exposure. We all knew he did not mean that. Today, ONE WHOLE DAY after saying kids needed to be safe, he clarified his policy. IT SHOULD BE UP TO THE TEACHERS TO EXPOSE GSA MEMBERS IF THE TEACHER THOUGHT IT WAS NOT IN THE STUDENTS’ BEST INTERESTS. Who would get to decide that? Religious teachers? Of course. The teachers themselves do not want that responsibility, as a group, but particular teachers do, the ones who believe it is their right to tell parents their children might think they are gay. Or the children may want to just understand their friends who think they might be gay. That is what GSAs are for. To promote healthier relationships. To stop homophobia before it starts.

So much for a new UCP policy. The politicians want to hide behind the teachers. Gutless wonders. Homophobes every one. Suppress healing. Divide. Divide. Divide!

Oh, did I say many of their party faithful have had to pull out of the race after having their racial hatred and white superiority statements brought to light, or even just threatened to be brought to light. They made statements on social media sites before they decided to run for office, and now those chickens don’t want to be roasted with their own bigoted words. Surprise! Surprise!

These are the people who mainly make up the UCP, including their cheating leader. These are Alberta’s Trump-lovers. And these are the people who are probably going to win the election, because their policies of hatred and greed resonate with a huge portion of Albertans.

Vive Jason Kenney! Vive Donald Trump! Vive the death of humanity! Vive climate change! Barf… Barf… Barf…

Deep Sighs From Deep Within …

Filled with angst, I share with you today another version (what is this, version XXMVII?) of Snarky Snippets.  Deep breaths … in … out … in … out …


You know how, if you tell a child not to do something, he/she will do it or die trying? (I know this because I was once that child!)  It seems that such stubbornness is not limited to children, for humans around the globe are guilty of the same.

There has been no dearth of information about how CO2 emissions are causing damage to the atmosphere that will ultimately be fatal to the human race.  Humans have been advised, on a large scale in every nation on the globe, to cut back on energy use, and that the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas are among the largest offenders, putting more CO2 into the atmosphere, when renewable energy sources are more efficient, less toxic, and ultimately less costly.  But have we listened?  Apparently not!

The International Energy Agency released a report yesterday saying that energy demand around the world grew by 2.3 percent over the past year, marking the most rapid increase in a decade.WAKE UP PEOPLETo meet the increased demand, the report continues, some nations did, in fact, turn to renewables such as water, wind and solar energy.  Other nations, however, responded with increased use of fossil fuels, which satisfied nearly 70 percent of the skyrocketing electricity demand.  As a result, greenhouse-gas emissions from the use of energy — by far their largest source — surged in 2018, reaching a record high of 33.1 billion tons. Emissions showed 1.7 percent growth, well above the average since 2010.

Even as renewable energy rapidly expands, many countries — including the United States and China — are nevertheless still turning to fossil fuels to satisfy ever-growing energy demand.fossil-fuels

Way to go United States and China!  Why not just sign our death warrant?

Michael Mehling, deputy director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, described Monday’s findings:

“To me, all this reflects the fact that climate policies around the globe, despite some limited pockets of progress, remain woefully inadequate. They’re not even robust enough to offset the increased emissions from economic expansion, especially in the developing world, let alone to spur decarbonization at levels commensurate with the temperature stabilization goals we’ve committed to under the Paris Agreement.”

Yo, Republicans … want to pat your ‘hero’ on the back and say, ‘Way to go, Prez’?


In yet another effort to quash freedom of the press, the jerk-in-chief has urged major news networks to not allow on their shows several people, including Democratic lawmakers, who have been critical of him.  WHOA … STOP THE PRESSES!  Not even the president, as if we had one, has the right to dictate to the news media what of who they can or cannot cover!

Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, called on the networks to refuse six commentators:

  • Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut
  • Representative Adam Schiff of California
  • Representative Jerry Nadler of New York
  • Representative Eric Swalwell of California
  • Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez
  • Former CIA Director John Brennan

Why?  Because they, as well as millions of others of us, have criticized Trump and stated they (we) believe Trump did conspire with the Russians to sway the 2016 presidential election.  THIS is illegal.  It goes against the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.  I believe Trump conspired … I KNOW he did … so, come on, Murtaugh … I dare you to try to stifle me!

What a ‘fearless leader’ Trump is to be so scared of a little bit of criticism that he would willingly violate the very Constitution he took an oath to uphold!  Look how much criticism President Obama had to contend with, but never once … NOT ONE TIME … did he suggest stifling the freedom of the press!Obama-free-press-quote


Lastly (bet you’re glad, aren’t you?), you don’t hear much from or about ol’ Alex Jones lately, do you?  It could be because he’s been tied up in court a lot these days in the suit brought by Six families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.  Or, it could be because he has been banned by Twitter, Apple, YouTube, and Facebook.  Personally, I find it like a breath of fresh air not to see his ugly mug and hear his ranting conspiracy theories all over the ‘net.

But apparently, he still does a radio show … or internet show … does anybody still watch this crap?  Anyway, yesterday he began his show by saying ‘traitors’ should be executed, and defining traitors as, I gather, anybody brave enough to stand up to, or disagree with, Donald Trump.  Okay, typical fare for the Jones-inator, yes?  But in the background, while he was spluttering his message of hate, he was playing a video of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in the background.  Maddow took it all in good spirits …

Maddow

Y’know, Alex, your brand of ‘humour’ went out in the 1930s.  It’s old, Alex.  Take your retirement package and go live on an island somewhere, please?


Okay, folks, that’s all I’ve got for tonight.  You may have noticed that I haven’t written yet about the Mueller report, William Barr’s brief summary, or the right-wing street dances.  I will.  Give me a moment, please.  If I had written on Sunday or Monday what I thought, I would be sitting in a jail cell now.  I need to take just a few more deep breaths, let the hand pull me a bit more out of the rabbit hole, then you will hear my take.  Meanwhile, both Robert Vella and Jeff over at On The Fence Voters have written excellent posts on the topic.