Out of the pool

Once again, our friend Keith has been thinking and come up with some ideas that I think have a great deal of merit. Granted, they will likely never see the light of day, but … I surely wish they would. Heck, I’m all for starting a campaign to elect Keith Wilson as the next president of the United States! All in favour? Thank you, Keith, for some excellent thoughts.

musingsofanoldfart

I think it is time to fire any politician in Washington who is forgetting why they are there. We could start with the White House incumbent and then take out hundreds of members of Congress in both Houses. I understand fully Congress must investigate and provide oversight over the Executive Branch. That is part of their job and the current incumbent has given them cause to dig further.

Yet, I have this simple idea that leaders of both houses sit down with legislative liaisons from the White House and figure out some things they can pass and sign into law. I think a civilian board could list about a dozen major issues to focus on and say work these out. It should not take a civilian board, but these folks are too beholden to funders to come up with a workable list.

A key reason for not listing the problems…

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A Debate Worth Having …

It’s a damn shame.  It’s a damn shame that the lust for power takes precedence over the well-being of the inhabitants of planet Earth.  It is as if the house is on fire, and half the people living in it say, “Oh no, we cannot go out into the street looking like this … we must first put on nicer clothes and fix our hair.”  Helllloooooo … wake up people!  That fire isn’t going to go into a holding pattern while you get prettied up, and climate change cannot be put on hiatus until the politicians make up their minds to grow a pair of cojones!

The latest?  Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, who is one of the many democratic candidates vying for the office of president next year, along with at least five of the other candidates, requested of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that at least one of the presidential debates be devoted to climate change.  Given that climate change is the number one problem facing every nation in the world today and given that our current excuse for a president has, bypassing Congress and using the power of his executive pen, accelerated and exacerbated the effects of climate change, then it makes perfect sense that it should be a major topic of the debates.  However, the DNC is cowering in the corner and says “no”.  WHY?

Because the DNC fears that such a climate-centric debate could force Democratic contenders to confront policy differences they have so far papered over, including how quickly they would push the U.S. to shift away from the fossil fuels that provide jobs — union jobs. The candidates would also face pressure to offer specifics on their position on the Green New Deal, the ambitious progressive climate resolution that Republicans have sought to tar as an expensive socialist boondoggle.  In other words, it is politics as usual.

Let’s get something straight here.  The purpose of these debates is to provide an opportunity for the candidates to share their ideas and platforms, and to help We the People to decide, based on where the candidates stand on a host of issues, which candidate is most closely aligned with our own views and values.  The purpose is not for the party to control the agenda and ensure we get ‘cookie-cutter’ choices that all look basically the same.

There will be a total of twelve … yes, count ‘em, twelve … democratic primary debates during 2019 and 2020.  TWELVE.  And they cannot make the topic of one of those twelve, climate change???  In this, the Democratic Party is starting to act a whole heck of a lot like the Republican Party!

Not only is the DNC refusing to hold a debate where climate change is the main topic, but they have also threatened to punish democratic candidates who participate in such a debate hosted by other organizations!  Gestapo tactics?  According to Jay Inslee …

“Today, my team received a call from the Democratic National Committee letting us know that they will not host a climate debate. Further, they explained that if we participated in anyone else’s climate debate, we will not be invited to future debates. This is deeply disappointing. The DNC is silencing the voices of Democratic activists, many of our progressive partner organizations, and nearly half of the Democratic presidential field, who want to debate the existential crisis of our time. The next president must make defeating this crisis the top priority of the nation. And I will continue to do everything I humanly can to ensure the climate crisis is at the top of the national agenda.”

DNC Chairman Tom Perez justified his decision thusly …

“The DNC will not be holding entire debates on a single-issue area—we want to make sure voters have the ability to hear from candidates on all the issues. You have my word that I will do everything I can to make sure our candidates are able to debate all of the critical issues during this primary.”

First, with twelve debates scheduled, I really think that if one were set aside for climate change, the other eleven would still provide the candidates with ample opportunity to debate every other issue at some length.  Second, if we don’t address climate change, frankly there are no other issues, or at least none of the other issues will matter 50 years, 100 years down the road.

I have to concur with what freshman Representative Sean Casten of Illinois said …

“This is the most important issue that we face as a planet and a species right now. If you don’t want to have public debate, this is probably the wrong line of work for you.”

The survival of this nation depends on the democrats defeating Donald Trump in 2020, but this is not the way to go about it.  The democrats need to stand above the fray of the republicans, need to get their priorities straight.  While it is the strategy of the Republican Party to deny climate change in favour of corporate profit, the democrats cannot mimic this strategy.  The majority of people in this country, in the world, understand what the climate scientists are telling us … that this planet cannot continue to sustain life as we know it if we do not act now to stop the damage being done every day to our environment.  To eschew the issue is to condemn every living creature on earth to a near-certain death by the end of this century.  I suggest that every concerned citizen respond to Mr. Perez’ tweet, letting him know that he is wrong, that We the People want debate on climate change, that we need to know where the candidates stand in order to make an informed and intelligent choice.  We cannot afford to put political posturing ahead of life on earth.

Live For Today???

If there is a stack of dirty dishes in the sink and laundry piled halfway to the ceiling, will you wash the dishes and the clothes, or go sit down and read a book, hoping that the mess will go away?  If you choose the latter, then please contact me, for I have a lovely bridge for sale … cheap!  I’ll even throw in a book of fairy tales for free!

We in the U.S. have many worries these days.  We have a madman at the helm who is steering our ship toward a huge iceberg.  Our civil rights are being stripped, bigotry is on the rise, education is seriously deficient, income disparity is greater than at any other time, and the list goes on.  But, frankly, none of those things hold a candle to the seriousness of one single issue:  the environment.

Climate change is not going away on its own any more than your dishes and laundry are going to wash themselves, folks.  Just this past weekend, many areas of the Midwest have seen devastating tornadoes, including several last night a mere 20 miles north of my own home.  Remember last year’s wildfires in California, and right now, as I write this, there are two wildfires in Alberta, Canada, eating everything in their path.  Remember the hurricanes, the floods, last summer’s excessive heat?  And still, Don Trump and his minions not only fail to act, but take great pains to further the devastation.

The latest?  As if it wasn’t enough that Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords, making us the only nation on the globe not onboard to address the crisis.  It wasn’t enough that he has, by means of executive order thus bypassing democratic process, rolled back most every environmental regulation on the books.  It wasn’t enough that he has tried everything in his power to stifle the development of renewable energy sources in his support of the coal and oil industries that are wrecking our environment in multiple ways.  No, none of that was enough.  Now, he is launching a new assault on our planet, on our health, on our very lives.

In the next few months, Trump plans to officially rescind what’s left of Obama-era regulations to curb emissions from tailpipes and power plants.  But it doesn’t stop there.  U.S. Geological Survey Director James Reilly — a former petroleum geologist appointed by Trump — has ordered his office to only study the effects of climate change up to 2040.  Scientists say that would give a misleading picture because the biggest effects of current emissions will be felt after 2040. Models show that the planet will most likely warm at about the same rate through about 2050. From that point until the end of the century, however, the rate of warming differs significantly with an increase or decrease in carbon emissions.

And … remember the National Climate Assessment that was released last fall saying, “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities”?  Since that didn’t fit in with Trump’s policy to support the fossil fuel industry, it will not be included in the National Climate Assessment or other scientific reports produced by the government.

Earlier this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking of the melting of glaciers in the Arctic at a meeting of the Arctic Council in Finland, said this …

“The Arctic is at the forefront of opportunity and abundance. It houses 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil, 30 percent of its undiscovered gas, an abundance of uranium, rare earth minerals, gold, diamonds, and millions of square miles of untapped resources, fisheries galore. Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade [that could] potentially slash the time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days. Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century Suez and Panama Canals.”

Think about that one for a minute …

William-Happer

William Happer

Trump is said to be in the process of creating a scientific review panel with the intention of disputing the findings of climate scientists and discrediting the idea that climate change is a national security threat.  The man he is considering to lead the panel is named William Happer.  Let me tell you something about Mr. Happer.  He does not believe humans are responsible for climate change. In fact, he once likened CO2, the greenhouse gas most responsible for warming temperatures, to the Jewish people during the Holocaust. “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.”  Say WHAT???  No, Mr. Happer, you are comparing apples to oranges.

Happer has received money from the ultra-wealthy Mercer family, one of the principal causes of which is to deny climate science. The Mercer family also supports Trump.  Are you beginning to see a pattern here?  Trump and his wealthy donors, most of whom are benefitting greatly from Trump’s rollbacks and might actually see their profits reduced if proper regulations were in place, see no further than the tip of their nose.  Their motto?  Live for today and to hell with tomorrow.  As long as they are raking in the dollars and enjoying their hedonistic lifestyles, it matters not to them whether our children and grandchildren can breathe the air or have food and water in 30-40 years.  It matters not to them if every living thing on earth is gone by the end of this century, for they will have lived their lives.  Just because we won’t be here to see it doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility to future generations!

For those of us who do care about the future of this planet, consider this:

  • The U.S. is the second largest total emitter of carbon dioxide
  • The U.S. is the largest per capita emitter of carbon dioxide
  • The U.S. is the nation that is doing the least to reduce carbon emissions

CO2 emissions by nation.png

A number of states are enacting their own regulations, as are some corporations, but without consistency, without support from the federal government, it simply is not enough.  Not only is our ignorance and greed dooming our own nation, but the rest of the world as well.  There will be a price to pay … probably sooner than we think.

Eric Swalwell: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I bring you the 14th 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. Eric Swalwell is on deck today. I know next to nothing about Mr. Swalwell, other than that he is currently serving his 4th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He seems to have the right ideas, but with 23 candidates currently in the running, I don’t see anything that stands out and says, “Pick me!” Nonetheless, I believe all the candidates should be given fair consideration, for you never know where you will find a diamond in the rough. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Mr. Swalwell!

Political⚡Charge

swalwell Rep. Eric Swalwell

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…

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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!

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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