Filosofa Ponders …

If anybody had asked me late last year what effect a global crisis such as … oh, say a pandemic that spread at the speed of lightning … would have on the people of this nation, I would have answered that it would bring people closer together, cause them to set aside their differences and care about each other much as we did in the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  And I would have been oh so very wrong.  I would have been giving the people of this nation far too much undeserved credit.

While I am no fan of George W. Bush, I must give credit where it is due.  In the days following 9/11, he was a leader in every sense of the word, and it was in part his leadership that brought people together.  He made it clear that we were all in this together, and that together we would survive.  He grieved with us and gave us strength and hope to carry on.  In the current crisis, we have no such leader, but rather a bungling oaf whose own desires will always be a higher priority for him than the needs of this nation.

Unlike 2001, today we have no real leader and rather than bring the nation together, Donald Trump has fanned the flames of discord.  I won’t even delve into his very poor handling of this crisis from day one, for that has been covered everywhere ad nauseam.  But it is beyond disturbing that he continues to operate under a philosophy of “divide and conquer”, even as the nation burns.  What I find even more disturbing, however, is that some 46% of the people in this nation believe he is doing a fantastic job, when in fact he has let us down in the worst way possible.  Rather than encouraging us all to help one another, to set aside our differences for the moment and work together for the good of all, he stands in front of the nation and casts blame.  Blame the democrats, he says.  Blame Obama, blame the governors of states who are trying to keep their people safe … blame anybody, he tells us, except him.  He says, “No, I don’t take responsibility at all.”

But wait … isn’t leadership all about responsibility?  Is that not what he was hired to do, to be responsible for the well-being of the country and its 330 million inhabitants?  I’m confused … how can the “president” not take responsibility?

How is it possible that nearly half the people in this country approve of the job he is doing?  What does this say about We the People?  Does it say that those 46% are so determined to fulfill their goal of making the U.S. a white, Christian, and largely male-dominated country that they are willing to sacrifice decency, sacrifice the future of the nation?  Are the people of this country so blind that they cannot see how he is putting his own self-interest ahead of the people of this nation?  Or is it simply that in times of crisis, people take comfort in continuity, rejecting change altogether?  Whatever it is, I am frankly disgusted and fed up with those who applaud him at this point in time.  I’ve tried and failed to understand their motives.

Donald Trump will never be anything different than what he is today, a greedy, arrogant, narcissistic excuse for a man who cares for nobody and nothing other than himself.  I might have expected that, given the circumstances we are facing today, some 90% of the people in this nation would be calling for his resignation, if not his head on a platter.  But instead, more people than ever are gravitating toward him, hypnotized perhaps by his promises … promises that he cannot keep.

My biggest fear, something I fear far more than catching the coronavirus and dying, is that this newfound approval will carry forward into the election and hand Donald Trump another four years at the helm.  That, my friends, would be the most disastrous thing that this nation would have ever faced.  We cannot, must not let that happen.

Taking Sides against Dictators

Sometimes we are so mired in the muck of our own troubles that we cannot, as the old saying goes, “see the forest for the trees”. Our friend David in the UK, however, has a quite clear view of the state of our nation today, and I’d like to share it with you this afternoon. Thank you, David, for your clarity and also for caring.

The BUTHIDARS

image

I  quite openly admit to having pinched the piece above from my friend Scottie of  https://scottiestoybox.com/, when I read it in the context of the elections due in the U.S.A in November 2020 I thought to myself surely most of these are basic human rights that should be granted rather than fought for these days..Surely we have enlightened Government if not enlightened management over our major businesses.

Not so here. Following the end of the Obama era Government, one of enlightenment and the attempt to establish a National Health Service for everyone which was bitterly rejected as being Socialism, the election was won by the joke.There was a groundswell of reaction against his opponent  for having the temerity to be a woman but in the end Hillary Clinton still polled 3,000.000 more votes than Trump but lost on Electoral  College votes.

Trump himself has a base of Evangelists who see…

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The Expendable Elderly

Our friend Jerry over at On the Fence Voters shows us yet another way in which our so-called leaders are failing us during this time of crisis. Thanks Jerry — good post!

On The Fence Voters

 

In my semi-retirement years I work part-time at an assisted-living senior center. Almost all the residents there are past the driving age, so I drive them to their appointments. Before the COVID-19 era I also drove groups of them to outings in the residence’s bus. But we do, in fact, live in a new, dramatically different era. Now, I rarely drive any of them anywhere. Instead, my workdays now consist primarily of helping the housekeeping crew daily disinfect the premises. Everyone at the facility is dedicated to keeping our precious seniors as safe and healthy as possible at their age.

That sentiment seems not to be shared by our president and many of his followers. Many, such as Texas’ Republican Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, have suggested that for the sake of the economy, Americans need to get back to work; social-distancing needs to end sooner rather than later. If…

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Coronavirus Kills Its 1st Democracy

Want to take your mind off the coronavirus, shortages of food and cleaning supplies, being imprisoned in your home and isolated from your friends & family?  Well, I’ve got just the thing for you … here’s something even bigger to worry about …

On Monday, Hungary’s parliament passed a controversial bill that gave Orbán sweeping emergency powers for an indefinite period of time. Parliament is closed, future elections were called off, existing laws can be suspended and the prime minister is now entitled to rule by decree. Opposition lawmakers had tried to set a time limit on the legislation but failed. Orbán’s commanding two-thirds parliamentary majority made his new powers a fait accompli. – Ishaan Tharoor, The Washington Post

Granted, Hungary isn’t the U.S. and Viktor Orbán isn’t Donald Trump.  Orbán had already corroded the state’s checks and balances, cowed the judiciary, encroached on civil society and the free press … much as Donald Trump has done to the United States.

Orbán has his supporters, too. He has been lionized as a nationalist hero for the West’s anti-immigrant populists and welcomed to the White House by Trump.orban-trump-2It should be noted that congressional democrats initially included election reforms such as vote-by-mail, same-day registration and early voting in the $2.2 trillion ‘stimulus bill’ … measures that were struck down by their republican colleagues.  Now, make sure you’re sitting down when you read what Trump had to say about those stricken measures that would have ensured we could all vote in the November 3rd election …

“The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again. They had things in there about election days and what you do and all sorts of clawbacks. They had things that were just totally crazy and had nothing to do with workers that lost their jobs and companies that we have to save.”

And now, my friends, I suggest you start to do some serious worrying about the November elections, for it becomes obvious that Trump and the republicans have little or no concern for our right to elect new leadership in November, and that they see voter suppression as their only path to power.  I’ve been concerned all along that Trump would find some way to cancel or postpone indefinitely our elections, and nothing I’m seeing is alleviating those concerns.  I believe that Mr. Trump is seeing the coronavirus pandemic as a very fortuitous event for him and his cronies.

In 1980, Paul Weyrich, an influential conservative activist, said …

“I don’t want everybody to vote. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Chilling.

We are running out of time to put in place policies and processes that would enable every eligible voter to cast a ballot, even in the event that the coronavirus remains a threat into November.  The republicans are playing a game … a game with our lives, with our freedoms, with our rights to participate in our government.

Look again at what the Hungarian Parliament has handed to Viktor Orbán.  The only thing stopping our own Congress from doing the same is the democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

orban-parliament

It must also be noted that the emergency law also stipulates five-year prison sentences for Hungarians found to be spreading “false” information.  Think on that one a minute.  Who determines what is “false” information?  Think how many times Trump has declared stories published by The Washington Post or the New York Times to be “fake news”.  Or what about us bloggers?  In such circumstances, historically information is considered ‘false’ if it contradicts what the dictator says.  Facts and reality become secondary and eventually are suppressed.

orban-trumpThere are checks and balances to keep what has happened in Hungary from happening in the U.S.  But, many of those have been destroyed in the last three years.  The Supreme Court tends to rule in favour of Trump, even when that ruling is in blatant disregard of the U.S. Constitution.  The Attorney General has decreed that Trump is ‘above the law’ and can operate in whatever manner he sees fit.  And the U.S. Senate basically affirmed Barr’s opinion when they refused to do their job and convict Trump of what were obvious abuses of power and obstruction of justice.

The U.S. Constitution, or any set of laws for that matter, is only as good as the people who enforce it.  This is why the most important thing this year in the U.S. is that we have fair and honest elections on November 3rd as scheduled, no matter what.

Profiting From A Crisis

Thus far, eight states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont) have banned single-use plastic bags in the U.S.  Fourteen others, including Florida, have moved in the opposite direction, adopting laws to tie the hands of local officials.  In January, New Jersey attempted to pass a law banning single-use plastics, but the bill failed.  Why?  Why aren’t all 50 states on-board with this legislation?  Take a look at what plastic bags and bottles are doing …bags-1bags-2

bags-3

bags-4And the answer to the question why all 50 states aren’t doing their part is simple … the GOP motto is: profit over all else.  Profit is more important in this nation than people, than wildlife, than the environment … in fact, today’s profit is more important than life on earth tomorrow for far too many of our so-called ‘leaders’.  I could expound at some length about this concept, but for today I have a single focus:  those damn plastic bags that they shove down our throats at the grocery store.

Even though only eight states thus far have banned plastic bags, it’s a start, it’s progress.  Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have raised public awareness and many of us now bring our own reusable canvas bags to the grocery and use reusable mesh bags for produce.  Even with that, the stores have been very slow in finding packaging alternatives, so we still end up with unwanted plastic in our rubbish.  Single use plastics account for around 20% of solid rubbish in the U.S., and only about 10% of that is recycled, so 90% ends up in landfills, rivers and ultimately the ocean.

Never let it be said that big industries, focused solely on profit, miss an opportunity to increase their profit, even at the cost of earth’s future.  Enter the coronavirus.  By March 18th, the plastic industry in the U.S. had kicked into high gear.  The trade group Plastics Industry Association requested that the US Department of Health endorse the idea that “single-use plastic products are the most sanitary choice when it comes to many applications.”  A conservative nonprofit called the Independent Women’s Forum started running ads pressuring Washington state, New York, and California to reverse their bag bans. IWF’s ad’s claim: “Researchers say COVID-19 can survive on reusable tote bags for nine days. However, some state legislators are enforcing draconian bans on plastic bags, which might contribute to the spread of the virus and other harmful microorganisms.” 

Many of the groups that have picked up these claims, including the Manhattan Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute, receive support from the Kochs, the infamous family of moguls who made their fortune in the petrochemical industry.  Now are you starting to smell a rat?  The plastic industry’s tactics seem to be working: Maine’s plastic bag ban was supposed to go into effect on April 22, but it’s been postponed till January 2021. New Hampshire’s governor Christopher Sununu, who has misrepresented climate science, has gone further to use the state of emergency to temporarily ban reusable bags. Republicans in Washington state, New York, and New Jersey have been waging campaigns to reverse or delay the blue states’ bans because of coronavirus.

On Sunday, when I had access to daughter Chris’ car and could go to a grocery store a bit farther afield than the Kroger that is only a half-mile from my home (my van is not reliable and I go no further in it than I could walk home), I went to the Meijer store, a midwestern chain, hoping to find some of those rare items such as toilet paper and Clorox wipes that had been impossible to find at Kroger.  A sign on the door warned that re-usable bags were prohibited, but I entered anyway, figuring to argue the point when I got to the check out.  But a young manager stopped me almost before my posterior had cleared the automatic doors and informed me that I could not bring “those bags” into the store.  I rarely give away pieces of my mind, as I have so few left, but he got a rather large piece.  Enraged, I accused him of personally killing every fish in the ocean and also told him that the lives of his own grandchildren (he was only about 25) were on his shoulders, as he was ensuring they would die from lack of water to drink and air to breathe.  I then indignantly stormed out and returned to my own Kroger, hoping against all hope that they had not implemented a similar rule.  They hadn’t, but I was informed I would have to bag my own groceries, for they wouldn’t touch my bags.

Now, there are two things to argue here.  First of all, my bags are a few million times less likely to have any form of germ, let alone a corona-bug, on them than that can of peas you see in aisle #12, or even the tomatoes you picked up in produce.  My bags were wiped down with disinfecting wipes after their last use, and have resided in my locked van ever since.  They are sterile!  Every item in the store is germier than my bags!

The other thing, and the whole point of this post, is that the coronavirus pandemic is a short-term problem.  Yes, a very serious problem at this time, but nonetheless one with a limited lifespan.  Destruction of the environment is an ongoing problem that is shortening the hope for the continuation of life … any life … on earth every single day.  Just because we have a serious problem with this pandemic does not mean we can ignore all the other problems in the world!  The coronavirus has resulted in thousands of deaths and may even rise into the millions.  I’m not making light of that, but there are 7.8 billion human inhabitants on this planet, and exponentially more other life forms that rely on us turning around the damage that has been done over the past 150-200 years.  Plastics in all forms are part of that destruction, and single use plastic bottles and bags are one of the biggest culprits.

The re-usable bags aren’t the problem, but rather the excuse that is being used as the plastic industry seeks to profit from this human crisis.  Once again, We the People are being lied to and tricked, and I for one am damned sick and tired of it.  And for the record, I will never shop at Meijer again, nor any other store that attempts to force me to use their plastic bags!  Excuse me … I need to breathe now.

YOU’RE FIRED!!!

 

We the People
Sea to Shining Sea
United State

Mr. Donald F. Trump
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

29 March 2020

Dear Mr. Trump,

We the People regret to inform you that your services will no longer be needed.  We understood in the beginning, more than three years ago, that you were inexperienced and new to this type of work, and we decided after your first big mistakes that you would need time to grow into the job.  We have given you that time … more than three years of time … but instead of growing into the job, you have become increasingly inept and incompetent.

It would take more than this letter to list all the many mistakes you have made, but let us clarify a few of the worst:

  • Constantly demeaning citizens of this nation who are, technically, your employers. This has included lying about them and name-calling reminiscent of a junior high student.
  • Unprecedented racism and bigotry that is far beneath the dignity of your position and damaging to the continuity of this nation.
  • The terrible things you have allowed to happen to immigrants who came here seeking asylum, seeking to make a better life for their families. You tore their children out of their very arms, threw them in cages, and thus far six of those children have died as a result.  Not only was this in violation of the laws of this country, but it qualifies as international ‘crimes against humanity’.
  • When you were hired, it was made clear to you that you must step away from your own businesses for the duration of your employment with us, but instead, you have used our money to fund your own businesses, with nearly-every-weekend visits to your Florida resort, requiring your staff and Secret Service protection to pay you for the “privilege” of traveling with you.
  • A man is judged by the company he keeps, and to date a number of your companions and associates are in prison, or soon will be. This speaks volumes to us about your character, or rather lack thereof.
  • On at least eight occasions you have directly incited violence, calling on people to attack those who criticized you. In addition, you have made utterly ridiculous videos of yourself that you posted on Twitter … again, something we would expect of a 13-year-old boy, not a public office-holder.
  • One of the most important aspects of your job is honesty and integrity, and you have failed miserably in both. It would take a book to enumerate every instance, but suffice it to say that your employers no longer trust or believe a word you say.
  • Your negligence cost nearly 3,000 lives in Puerto Rico in 2017-2018 after Hurricane Maria. In addition, your bungling and mishandling of the situation with the coronavirus pandemic has already cost thousands of lives and we cannot even begin to estimate what the ultimate death toll will be.  Many of those lives would have been saved if you had not allowed your greed and ego to get in the way of taking appropriate action.
  • Your predecessor implemented some excellent regulations to, along with every other nation on the planet, work toward reversing the damages caused by years of burning carbon-based fossil fuels. Within a matter of weeks after accepting your job, you destroyed almost every one of those regulations and have contributed significantly to the decline of the air we breathe, water we drink, and the safety of the food we eat.  It is almost as if you are willfully attempting to kill your employers.
  • You have acted without dignity or compunction toward our friends and allies, and as a result we no longer have the respect or trust of the very friends who we may someday need to be able to call on for help. Meanwhile, you have cozied up to our enemies and acted without the oversight of Congress, which we mandated when we hired you.

All in all, Mr. Trump, you have been given more than ample time to prove yourself up to the task, and in every single instance, you have failed.  You have abused your power, and devalued the office you hold. As a result of your failures, we are left with a debt of more than $25 trillion and a large number of terrible messes that will take decades to clean up.  Therefore, we are requesting your resignation, effective immediately, to be submitted in writing to We the People in care of The Washington Post.

You will have exactly one week, until Sunday, April 5th, to remove your family and personal belongings from the residence we provided you at the above address.  Your possessions will be closely checked by White House security to ensure that you take only that which belongs to you and your family.  Any damages found after you have left will be billed to you through your attorney.

You will receive one month’s severance pay, but we cannot provide Secret Service protection once you are gone, as we have done for all of your predecessors, as you have bankrupted the country and we simply cannot afford it.

Best wishes for your future endeavours,

We-the-People

Snarky Snippets, Volume _____?

I’ve got just a couple of small snippets to start out your Sunday …


Many things have been put on hold during this time of pandemic crisis.  Though I may disagree with the way in which they were done (no thinking or planning involved), I can’t argue against the need for these measures such as the shuttering of restaurants and pubs, people working from home or in some cases being laid off from their jobs, the closing of schools.  But, the one thing that should never ever have been put on hold are environmental regulations – the few we have left, that is.  There is no logical justification and it will only lead to further decimation of our environment.

From an article in Friday’s issue of The Guardian

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has suspended its enforcement of environmental laws during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, signaling to companies they will not face any sanction for polluting the air or water of Americans.

In an extraordinary move that has stunned former EPA officials, the Trump administration said it will not expect compliance with the routine monitoring and reporting of pollution and won’t pursue penalties for breaking these rules.

[…]

There is no end date set for this dropping of enforcement.

Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the EPA, said that coronavirus had made it difficult for businesses to protect workers and the public while adhering to clean air and water rules.

According to an article in Reuter’s, this was triggered by a letter sent to Trump by the American Petroleum Institute, using the current pandemic crisis as an excuse to be relieved of regulatory requirements for the foreseeable future.  Here’s the kicker, though … they claim to need to be free of all regulation “in order to ensure steady fuel supplies”.  But … there is currently a market glut because … nobody is going anywhere, a large portion of businesses are shuttered, and therefore we don’t need anywhere near the amount of fuel we needed just a month ago!  Additionally, it is that time of year when households are using neither heat nor air-conditioning in any large quantity.  They could cut the supply in half and still have a surplus!  There is absolutely no justifiable reason that they need relief from environmental regulations, but all they had to do is ask Trump, and Presto Bingo … they got their wish.

Would someone please explain to me just exactly how in hell the coronavirus makes it difficult for businesses to follow the few provisions that remain in the Clean Water and Air Acts???  NO, this is just a sorry excuse by Trump and his cronies, his partners in crime, to further pander to their friends in the fossil fuel and other industries.  The Clean Air and Clean Water Acts have been in effect since 1963 and 1972 respectively and cannot simply be dissed because Trump and/or Wheeler say so!  THIS IS UNCONSCIONABLE!

I am not alone in my fury.  Says Cynthia Giles, who was head of EPA enforcement during the Obama administration …

“EPA should never relinquish its right and its obligation to act immediately and decisively when there is threat to public health, no matter what the reason is. I am not aware of any instance when EPA ever relinquished this fundamental authority as it does in this memo. This memo amounts to a nationwide moratorium on enforcing the nation’s environmental laws and is an abdication of EPA’s responsibility to protect the public.”

The sooner we become fully reliant on renewable energy sources and are able to tell the oil companies where to put their oil, the happier and healthier we will all be!  It is simply unconscionable that they are attempting to profit from this crisis!


You know those $1,200 checks that are going out to anybody who filed a tax return in 2018?  Well, it is reported that Donald Trump is insisting his signature be the one on the checks.  What an ego trip!  No, wait, this goes well beyond ego … this is the sign of a truly evil megalomaniac.  Fortunately, I will not have to see a check from him, for a) I was not required to file a tax return in 2018, and b) my daughter’s will be direct-deposited into her account, so I won’t have to face the temptation of wanting to rip that check into a thousand pieces.

My recommendation to those of you who can is if you receive a check with Trump’s signature, transfer it to a charity of your choice, such as a local food pantry or homeless shelter, local hospice or whatever suits your fancy.


Remember that a couple of days ago I mentioned the Trump re-election campaign had issued a “cease and desist” order to networks who were running an ad by a PAC called Priorities USA?  Well, at the time, I couldn’t find an embeddable copy of the ad, but I have one now.  Take a look …


And, for just a bit of humour, J.L. Cauvin of New Jersey is a comedian/satirist and he has done a video that … well, you must see if for yourself!  If you close your eyes, you’d swear it was trumpie.


Alright, friends, that’s all I’ve got for now … be back this afternoon!

Saturday Surprise — A Short One

Good Saturday morning, folks, and welcome to the … w-w-weekend!  I won’t ask if you have big plans, for obvious r-r-reasons, but I will try to give you a smile … how’s that?


Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I bet you didn’t know that in Northern Canada they hold hair-freezing contests! frozen-hair-2

From Atlas Obscura …

Even in the dark, subarctic winters of the Yukon Territory, hot water flows from the depths of Earth’s crust into Takhini Hot Springs at the toasty temperature of 116 degrees Fahrenheit. The natural hot tub, which attracts hundreds of locals and tourists annually, lies just outside the city of Whitehorse. For most of the year, visitors spend hours relaxing in the mineral-rich and odorless waters, which are privately owned by the company Takhini Hot Pools. But much more is at stake during winter months, when the pools become heated arenas for the world’s only frozen-hairdo competition.

The Hair Freezing Contest is a challenge of both art and science. Participants dunk their heads underwater, emerge into the frigid air, and style their locks into stiff, eye-catching sculptures. Depending on one’s creativity and luck with the elements, the results range from frosty, mop-like tangles to dramatically manicured spikes.

According to co-owner of Takhini Hot Pools Andrew Umbrich …

“All this rising steam collects on your hair and freezes really quickly when it meets the cold air. You can get good results within 15 minutes if it’s cold enough.”

frozen-hair-1

frozen-hair-3frozen-hair-4

Er … um … thanks, but no thanks.  I cannot imagine my head being frozen.  Things contract in the cold, and if my head contracted much more, I’d be a pinhead.  Still, looks cool … literally.


Guess what it is

I bet you can’t guess what this is …stage

Hey, don’t be so quick to judge a book by its cover, or in this case a stage by its finish.  This stage, folks, is going on the auction block on April 10th in an online auction and is expected to fetch as much as $20,000.  Do you know who once played one of their first concerts as The Silver Beats on that stage?  C’mon, some of you die-hard fans must know this one.  Ellen?  David?  Okay, I’ll give you a little hint.  The band consisted of Stuart Sutcliffe on bass and Tommy Moore on drums, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison on guitars. Lathom-Hall-ticketIn addition to playing at Lathom Hall, they were also there to audition for local concert promoter Brian Kelly.  They did so well that they were invited back the next Saturday night, but at the last minute they declined and that was it for them and Lathom Hall or any of Kelly’s concert venues for several months.  As their popularity gained traction, eventually Kelly invited them back.

Silver-BeatsOn April 10, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the band’s breakup, California-based Julien’s Auctions will offer a slew of Beatles memorabilia (with live online bidding available), from the handwritten lyrics for “Hey Jude” to corduroy trousers worn by John Lennon himself. While it may not look so illustrious, this set of wooden planks pulled straight out of the floor are in fact witnesses to history, and a marquee item that could fetch as much as $20,000.


Just a few ‘toons and things I found over at Phil’s Phun

toon-1toon-2toon-3toon-4toon-5


Th-th-that’s all I’ve got for today, friends.  Try to have a p-p-peaceful weekend.

Note to readers:  I apologize for my negligence these past 2-3 days in responding to comments.  Sometimes life throws more at a person than they can field, and one struggles to catch up.  I always operate under the philosophy that if you, my friends and readers, can take your precious time to leave a comment, the least I can do is reply.  I have let that ball drop in recent days.  I promise to do better starting today.  Please forgive my negligence.

Discord & Dissension – Part XI -The Climate

The single most important issue in the 2020 election (apart from unseating Trump, of course) is climate change. We have stepped back 20 years in the last three years under Trump, and quite frankly, time is running out. The earth’s resources are finite and we are using them at an alarming rate. For this, Part XI of our series Discord & Dissension, Jeff discusses where we are, where we need to go, how we can get there, and what happens if we don’t.

On The Fence Voters

While the Republican and Democratic Parties disagree on most things these days, nothing epitomizes the significant divide more than does climate change. And it’s not just those who sit in Congress either. According to a recent Pew Research poll conducted in February of this year, among Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party, 78% said climate change should be a top priority.

However, among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, only 21% felt the same way. To put that in even more stark terms, Democrats view climate as a top priority by nearly three times that of Republicans.

And, it gets even worse when registered voters were asked whether climate change is a problem for the country today. 77% of Democrats/lean Democrat said yes, it was a huge problem, and 17% said it was a moderately big problem—a net of 94%. On the flip side, Republicans/lean Republican answered 13/27% for…

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Unconscionable!!!

Jeff-BezosJeff Bezos, the man who co-founded Amazon and today is the CEO and 12% shareholder in the highly profitable company, has a net worth of $118 billion.  Just to make that a bit more visual, that’s $118,000,000,000.  It’s a lot of money, anyway you look at it.  Bezos is said to be the richest individual in the world.  The world.  Perhaps now we understand the source of the “Amazon smile”. Last year (2019) alone, Amazon posted $280 billion in revenue and $11.9 billion in profits.  At least they will actually pay federal income tax for 2019, unlike 2018 when they paid $0 on $11 billion in profits.

Amazon is one of the few companies whose business has surged during this time of coronavirus pandemic.  More and more people are ordering household supplies and even food that they cannot find in their local stores, or just to keep from having to spend much time in the local stores.  Amazon announced last week that they will be hiring up to 100,000 additional workers to cover the increased demand.  And yet …

Amazon maintains one of the stingiest paid sick leave policies among major corporations.  To add insult to injury, Amazon under CEO Bezos is requesting donations from their customers to cover sick leave for their employees!  Think on that one for a minute.

Amazon-donations

The man with more money than anybody deserves or needs, more money than he could possibly ever spend, is too cheap to fully cover his employees sick leave, but expects his customers, many of whom are currently laid off from their jobs, to pitch in.

As if that weren’t enough to make you want to dump a pan of hot berries on his bald pate, he also managed to profit ‘bigly’ by selling $3.4 billion in Amazon shares just before the stock market peaked in mid-February.  Can we say, insider trading?  Had he held onto those shares until this week, he would have lost $317 million … not that he’d even notice, for that’s pocket change for him.

I have been an Amazon customer since 2003, have a monthly standing order for household cleaning supplies, and frequently order other things we need, but … I’m going to start looking for alternatives.  Today!