America’s Wake-Up Call – Joe Biden on the Issues

With just over five weeks left until election day, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.  Today, we are talking about issues that matter the most to all of us.  Let’s face it, we need to stop talking about how awful Donald Trump is and focus on how much better Joe Biden will be.  It’s true that we must be concerned with voting Trump out of office before he turns this nation into a dictatorship, but it’s not enough just to throw out the bad … we must know what we are replacing it with.

There are dozens of issues that are important, but we really want to focus on the ones that are most important to everyone.  After giving it much thought, and narrowing the list, Jeff and I believe the following are of the most immediate concern:

  • Climate change
  • Health Care
  • Education
  • Racial Justice
  • Income Inequality

There are many other issues, such as gun control, campaign finance, immigration, infrastructure, the economy, criminal justice, and more.  But, given the constraints of time, we will focus on the ones that affect every one of our lives, and that have long-term implications that will affect not only us, but future generations – our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the future.  We will cover the first two today, and the other three soon.

Climate Change:

No matter how important the other issues are, climate change must, in the long run, be the most important.  Climate deniers may argue that we are being alarmists, doomsday prophets, but scientists have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that humans are bringing about their own demise every day. We can see the results with our own eyes – the worst ever destructive wildfires on the West Coast, the most active hurricane season on record, and record high heat & humidity in many areas.

Biden has made tackling climate change a centerpiece of his campaign, proposing to invest $2 trillion in a massive green jobs program to build renewable energy infrastructure.

The money, which would be spent over four years, would go toward energy efficiency upgrades, the construction of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations and greatly increasing the share of renewable energy from wind, solar and other technologies in America’s power sector.

His plan calls for ending the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity by 2035. By no later than 2050, he would bring the country to net zero emissions of greenhouse gases under the plan.

Biden has also promised to restore all environmental protections undone by the Trump administration and rejoin the Paris climate agreement, committing to the pact’s goal of preventing global average temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius.

“Climate change is a challenge that’s going to define our American future. I know meeting the challenge will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to jolt new life into our economy, strengthen our global leadership, protect our planet … We’re not just going to tinker around the edges.”

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has unraveled nearly every climate regulation that was put in place by the Obama administration, in part because of his unrelenting hatred of President Obama, and in part because of his financial ties to the fossil fuel and logging industries.  Just yesterday it was announced that Trump plans to eliminate protections for the Tongass Forest in Alaska and open it to logging!  Joe Biden will not put profit ahead of the planet.

His administration has weakened limits on greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, as well as from the oil and gas industry. It has opened more public land to oil and gas drilling and limited wildlife protections. And it has relaxed pollution regulations on coal-fired power plants in an effort to revive the dying industry.  Donald Trump’s actions, if allowed to continue, will ensure the end of the human and many other species by the end of this century.

California’s environmental protections have been a particular target for Trump. The Trump administration has revoked the state’s authority to set tougher car emission standards than those required by the federal government, placing a major obstacle in California’s path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality.

I think Trump summed up his view on climate change when he said …

“People like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers. As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it. I don’t think science knows.”

Need I say more?

Health Care:

When the Affordable Care Act was put in place in 2010 during the Obama administration, it was a historic step that provided affordable health insurance to approximately a third of the people in this nation who had previously been unable to afford it.  Was it perfect?  No, of course not … we all knew it would require adjusting and tweaking as time went by and problems arose, but it was a start, the first step toward a universal health care plan.  Joe Biden’s healthcare plan includes building on the foundation of the original ACA, as well as including an expansion of the public option.

Specifically, he would create a new government insurance plan to be sold on the ACA markets. The 2 million or so people currently stuck in the Medicaid expansion gap would be automatically enrolled, for free. Obamacare’s tax credits would be enhanced, pegged to more generous insurance, and eligibility for government assistance would be available to anybody. Nobody would pay more than 8.5 percent of their income on insurance premiums.  And nobody would be excluded on the basis of pre-existing conditions.

In addition to restoring and improving on the Affordable Care Act, Biden has a plan to lower prescription drug costs, starting with repealing the exception that prohibits drug corporations from negotiating with Medicare over drug prices.  Prescription drugs in the U.S. are, on average, 3.7 times higher than the combined average of other countries.  Think about that one … while someone in Canada might be paying $50 for a prescription, you are paying $185!

By comparison, Donald Trump has stated since before his election in 2016 that he wanted to reverse ACA in its entirety.  Since he has been unable to do that, he has instead undermined and chipped away at portions of it.  There is currently a case pending in the Supreme Court that would completely abolish ACA, and while Trump claims he will present an even better plan, there is no evidence that he could or would.

Coronavirus Pandemic:

No discussion on health care would be complete without addressing the coronavirus pandemic that has already taken the lives of more than 207,000 people in this nation, the highest death toll of any nation on the planet.  With a surge in cases predicted in the coming months, experts predict we will have more than 300,000 deaths by the end of the year.  Trump’s response has been “it is what it is”, and more recently he claims that the coronavirus “affects almost nobody”.  Joe Biden, on the other hand, has a plan.

On his first day in office, he plans to reverse the withdrawal of the U.S. from the World Health Organization (WHO).  He plans to call for a national ‘mask mandate’, and meanwhile urges governors of all states to implement mask mandates for their states. He would adopt nationwide testing and contact tracing, including doubling the number of drive-through testing sites and providing federal funding for “regular and reliable covid-19 testing for every worker called back on the job.”

He plans to restore the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, which was established by the Obama-Biden Administration and eliminated by Trump in 2018.  The thing, though, that I think is most important about Biden’s approach to the coronavirus is that he plans to listen to the scientists.  These are people who have dedicated their entire lives to studying diseases such as the coronavirus, SARS, HIV, Ebola and other infectious diseases … they know what they are doing, and Joe Biden recognizes this, whereas Donald Trump says “I don’t think science knows.”

I realize that what I have written about Biden’s stance on these issues is necessarily somewhat vague, but to drill down to details would require far more than there is time for.  However, feel free to visit the Biden/Harris campaign website for further details.  Perhaps the biggest difference between Joe Biden’s plan and Donald Trump’s is that Biden actually has a plan, whereas Trump seems to wing it from one day to the next.  Joe Biden is a decent man who actually cares about the people of this nation.  Donald Trump is not and does not.

Next week, Jeff will be writing about the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and how it could affect the November election.  We will cover other election issues, as I mentioned in the beginning, in future posts, as well as numerous other topics … well, as many as we can squeeze into the next five weeks!


Note that in order to make it easier to find past articles, we have divided the Table of Contents into two — Discord & Dissension, with all of our posts from January thru May, and America’s Wake-Up Call, with our current posts.

Discord & Dissension — Table of Contents

America’s Wake-Up Call — Table of Contents

America’s Wake-Up Call — Table of Contents

America’s Wake-Up Call — Jeff & Jill Are Baaaaack!!!

America’s Wake-Up Call — Is Joe Biden Worth Your Vote?

America’s Wake-Up Call – Joe Biden on the Issues

America’s Wake Up Call — Will Democrats Finally Take the Courts Seriously?

America’s Wake-Up Call – Voting & Voters – Part I

America’s Wake-Up Call — How The World Sees Us

America’s Wake-Up Call – Voting & Voters — Part II

America’s Wakeup Call-It’s we the People, not we the Donors

 

 

Your Money Or Your Life???

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman’s OpEd in yesterday’s New York Times needs no introduction, for it speaks for itself.  We would all do well to listen to what he says.


Trump’s Motto: Your Money or Your Life

The president claims you have to make a choice, but you don’t.

thomas-l-friedman-thumbLargeBy Thomas L. Friedman

Opinion Columnist

Whenever I talk about Covid-19 or climate change with skeptics, I use a simple analogy: Imagine that your child is sick with a disease and you decide to take her to 100 different doctors to get multiple opinions — and 99 doctors give you the same diagnosis and prescribed treatment and one tells you that there’s nothing to worry about, that your child’s disease will “disappear … like a miracle, it will disappear.”

What parents in their right minds would follow the advice of the doctor with the one-out-of-100 diagnosis?

This, alas, is no hypothetical. This, alas, is actually the most important question facing voters in choosing our next president. Are you ready to trust your own child’s and the country’s health to the guy who holds the one-out-of-100 view on both climate change and Covid-19? He being Dr. Donald Trump, founder of Trump University, where he apparently earned a B.S. in B.S.

It is stunning to me how many conservatives want to go with the doctor with the one-out-of-100 diagnosis, since doing so is anything but conservative. It’s Trotskyite radical.

And to riff off Trotsky for another moment, Republicans may not be interested in Mother Nature, but Mother Nature is interested in them. Both climate change and Covid-19 have brutally elbowed their way into our lives in the past year, and for the same reason: We have been stressing our ecosystems to their limits and beyond.

We’ve done this by invading wilderness areas and extracting wildlife carrying viruses never borne before by human beings and by emitting CO₂ that is heating the planet, amplifying storms that brought four months of rain in four hours in Florida and wildfires of epic proportions to the West Coast.

Joe Biden wants to proceed with more caution, and Trump wants to throw caution to the wind. That’s why the widely respected science journal Scientific American did something last week for the first time, declaring: “Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in our 175-year history — until now. The 2020 election is literally a matter of life and death. We urge you to vote for health, science and Joe Biden for President.”

The choice could not be more stark or important. Trump’s implicit motto when it comes to Covid-19 and environmental protection is always the same: Your money OR your life?

Which do you value more? Biden’s motto has been your money AND your life — you should not, and do not, have to choose between them, if we are wise and follow science.

How so? On Covid-19, for Trump, it’s jobs or masks, opening school or masks, social distancing or Big Ten football, science or church. Everything is black or white. And so is the result: So many Americans are jobless today and watching their kids learning remotely from home because Trump pitted masks against in-classroom schooling, masks against jobs, masks against indoor restaurant dining and masks against gathering for church services.

And too many Americans chose jobs and school and church out of desperation, and they’ve already paid the price or will pay it.

Biden, by contrast, is a unifier. He’s argued that if everyone wears a mask, practices social distancing and gets tested, we can BOTH protect many more jobs AND protect many more lives. Masks are not at war with jobs; they are the driver and protector of job growth in a pandemic. Masks are the vehicle to opening schools and other indoor activities — not their enemy. Just ask the Germans, Singaporeans or South Koreans.

Ditto when it comes to the environment and climate change. Trump wants everyone to believe that protecting nature means unemploying people. It’s clean air OR economic growth. It’s gas guzzlers OR unemployment. He’s forever pitting jobs against nature.

Biden stands for the unity of jobs AND the environment, the unity of jobs AND mitigating climate change. A clean, green economy equals better health AND more and better jobs. And the beauty is this: All that Biden has to do to prove his point is read aloud from the business and science pages:

Oct. 15, New Scientist: “The green economy has grown so much in the U.S. that it employs around 10 times as many people as the fossil fuel industry — despite the past decade’s oil and gas boom.”

June 30, Bloomberg.com: “Tesla Inc.’s market value has surpassed Exxon Mobil Corp.’s in a sign that investors are increasingly betting on a global energy transition away from fossil fuels.” Tesla makes electric cars, batteries and solar products.

Aug. 25, CBS News: “Exxon Mobil, which joined the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1928, is being removed from the blue-chip stock market index. Its replacement: enterprise software company Salesforce.com.”

April 6, Recharge: “Renewables accounted for nearly three-quarters of global power capacity additions last year — half of which was switched on in Asia, according to latest figures from the International Renewable Energy Agency.”

Sept. 17, Fortune editor Alan Murray: “Lululemon C.E.O. Calvin McDonald told me yesterday his company now has more U.S. stores closed due to environmental risk — fires in the West, hurricane in the Gulf, etc. — than due to Covid-19.”

If climate change turns out to be a less serious problem than predicted, and we pursue all of the above anyway, we will be like an athlete who trains for the Olympics, but the Olympics are postponed. No problem. We’ll just be that much healthier. Our air will be cleaner, our industries and vehicles and homes and industries will be so much more efficient and our economy will be the world leader in the clean power technologies that every country will want to import from us — climate change or not — as we add nearly a billion people to the planet by 2030. Yes, there will be nearly one billion more people on the planet in 10 years.

On the other hand, if we treat climate change like a daydream and it proves to be a nightmare, we will be in real trouble as a species.

So, I hope Biden goes into next week’s debate and just says: “My fellow Americans, you don’t hire an arsonist to put out forest fires. You don’t hire a divider to heal racial wounds. You don’t hire a poisoner to clean up your water supply. And most of all — most of all — you don’t hire someone who pits nature against jobs and jobs against health at a time when we so clearly need them all and we so clearly can have them all.”

“It’ll Start Getting Cooler. You Just Watch.”

I’ve written a couple of times in the past week about the West Coast wildfires, but our friend Jeff today shared an open letter to Trump by the esteemed Governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, that pulls no punches, that “tells it like it is”! I have always respected Governor Inslee, and now even more so! Thanks, Jeff, for sharing this letter!

On The Fence Voters

Every day, the current president seems to be on a mission to eliminate as many people as he can in the United States of America. Whether it’s through his immense incompetence and failures to address the worst pandemic in a century, or ignoring the ongoing climate crisis, we can see in real time how devastating another four years of this administration would be to human life and suffering.

Today, I’d like to share a letter written by the current Governor of the state of Washington, Jay Inslee, that was published today on Medium. In it, he addresses the current president in an open letter to lambaste him for his abject failure to even acknowledge there’s a climate crisis emergency in progress.

Open letter to President Donald Trump on the role of climate change in historic wildfires

WA Governor’s Office

WA Governor’s OfficeFollowSep 14·5min read

September 14, 2020

The Honorable…

View original post 942 more words

When Good People Don’t Act …

Over the last couple of years, I have wondered how so many of my friends could seemingly ignore what was happening in this nation.  It is as if they are oblivious to anything that is outside their own little world, as if they were wearing blinders and could not see the atrocities happening in our nation, but instead focus exclusively on what’s for supper, what concert they will go to next weekend, the cute little things their kids or grandkids said yesterday.  As if … nothing has changed, life goes on, it isn’t their problem that kids are kept in cages, that more than a thousand people die every day from the coronavirus, fires are raging on the West Coast, climate change is taking a steep toll and we are doing less than nothing to stop it, and there is a madman at the helm who will soon drive this ship into an iceberg.  None of that seems to bother far too many of the people I know.  Where is the outrage?  Do they simply not care?

The following by Charles Blow in yesterday’s New York Times mirrors my own thoughts, only much more eloquently than I can state them.


When Good People Don’t Act, Evil Reigns

Stop thinking that the horrors of the world will simply work themselves out.

Charles BlowCharles M. Blow

By Charles M. Blow

Opinion Columnist

I have often wondered how major world tragedies and horrors were allowed to unfold. Where were all the good people, those who objected or should have? How did life simply go on with a horror in their midst?

How did the trans-Atlantic slave trade play out over hundreds of years? How did slavery thrive in this country? How was the Holocaust allowed to happen? How did the genocides in Rwanda or Darfur come to be?

There is, of course, nearly always an explanation. Often it is official policy; often it is driven by propaganda. But I’m more concerned with how people in the society considered these events at the time, and how any semblance of normalcy could be maintained while events unfolded.

It turns out that our current era is providing the unsettling answer: It was easy.

As I write this, nearly two hundred thousand Americans have died — many of them needlessly — from Covid-19, in large part because the Trump administration has refused to sufficiently address the crisis, be honest with the American people and urge caution. Instead, Trump has lied about the virus, downplayed it, resisted scientists’ warnings and continues to hold rallies with no social distancing and no mask requirements.

Things are poised to get worse: Models now predict that the number of Americans killed by the virus could double between now and Jan. 1. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington:

“We expect the daily death rate in the U.S., because of seasonality and declining public vigilance, to reach nearly 3,000 a day in December. Cumulative deaths expected by Jan. 1 are 415,090; this is 222,522 deaths from now until the end of the year.”

And yet, Americans still flock to Trump rallies, Republicans continue to defend his pandemic response and it is not clear that he will be defeated in November. We are, in many states, back to restaurants and bars, schools and churches, gyms and spas. It’s not as if we don’t know that there is a deadly virus being transmitted through the air, but it seems as though many Americans, weary of restrictions, have simply made their peace with it.

We have a climate crisis that continues to worsen. Storms are getting stronger. Droughts are severe. Rivers are flooding. The sea level is rising. And yet, we don’t do nearly enough to stop it and may not do enough before it’s too late to do anything.

Right now much of the West Coast is ablaze with hellish scenes of orange skies, and yet too many of us entertain climate change deniers, or, perhaps worse, know well the gravity and precariousness of the situation and still haven’t changed our habits or voted for the candidates with the boldest visions to save the planet.

Right now, China has detained as many as one million mostly Muslim citizens, in indoctrination camps, hoping to remold many into what The New York Times called “loyal blue-collar workers to supply Chinese factories with cheap labor.”

And yet, the world does little. Many look away. Life goes on.

This is how these catastrophes happen — in full sight — and people with full knowledge don’t revolt. People sometimes think that the issue is far away, or if it’s not, that it’s too big and they are too powerless.

They think provincially, or even parochially, concerned with their own house, their own street, their own community.

“It’s too bad that those children are in cages, but I can’t worry about that now, the clothes in the dryer need folding.”

“It’s too bad that an unarmed Black man just got shot by the police, but I can’t worry about that now, the yard needs mowing.”

I guess in some ways this impulse is self-protecting, preventing the mind and spirit from becoming overwhelmed with angst and rage. But, the result is that evil — as a person or system — rampages, unchecked, taking your personal laissez-faire as public license.

If you don’t complain, you condone.

But this mustn’t be. Stop thinking of yourself as weak or helpless. Stop thinking that things will simply work themselves out. Stop thinking that evil will stop at the gate and not trample your own garden.

Gather the energy. Gather your neighbor. Fight, vote, email, post. Do all you can to stand up for the vulnerable, for the oppressed, for the planet itself. Don’t let history record this moment as it has recorded too many others: a time when good people did too little to confront wickedness and disaster.

As Edmund Burke wrote in his 1770 “Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents”: “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

But you may be more familiar with another quote often attributed to Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

While The West Coast Burns …

The West Coast of the United States is on fire.  Property is being devoured by the hungry flames, lives are being lost, people are being uprooted with nowhere to go, having lost everything.  Surely the nation’s leader must be on top of this situation, must be worried and seeking help from all venues to assist in the firefighting, yes?  Well, no … not exactly.  In fact, he hasn’t actually mentioned the fires since a few weeks ago when he taunted California’s Governor Gavin Newsom for not … um … raking the forest properly and threatened to cut off funding to the state.

fires-5Oh, but the so-called leader has many things to draw his attention away from the disaster that is taking lives and leaving thousands homeless!  He is busy throwing away his campaign money on such foolishness as limos and paying his businesses for his own profit.  And he’s very busy watching Fox ‘News’ for 6-9 hours per day, and denigrating Democrats and thinking up new nasty names for us all, but especially his likely successor, Joe Biden.  Oh, and holding mask-free campaign rallies even in cities that have banned large gatherings.

While the nation burns.  The fires that started in California, then spread to Oregon, have also now spread to Washington State.  Consider, if you will, that those three states account for 16% of the U.S. population total, as well as some of the most beautiful natural resources in the nation.  So, why is the person in the White House ignoring the fires in those three states?  For starters …

All three states have Democratic governors:

  • California – Gavin Newsom
  • Oregon – Kate Brown
  • Washington – Jay Inslee

Trump seems to have some misguided notion that democrats are not his problem, that his job is only to represent republicans, and especially those who “like” him.  Another reason …

fires-4The fires are largely a result of climate change.  Trump can still be heard calling climate change a “hoax” (one of his most favourite words) and during his 45-month tenure, he has done everything possible to add to the destruction of our environment.  He has rolled back regulations … nearly every one that was in place to help repair and protect our planet … he has pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accords, letting down every other nation on earth.  He has signed “executive orders” to virtually destroy the planet by the end of the century.  So, to spend time focusing on the fires would be to open himself to intense scrutiny and criticism in his handling of all environmental issues.

And the third reason, I think, is that to care about what is happening on the west coast would require a certain level of empathy, of compassion, and Trump is an emotional black hole when it comes to caring about any but himself.  Even his children and grandchildren are judged by him and found wanting, they may get financial help from him, but they will never receive love or compassion from him.  So, how can we expect him to care about Jacob and Jamie Hyland who just lost their one-year-old child to the wildfires in Washington, while they themselves both suffer serious burns?

fires-7fires-6Or Blake Campos who just lost his house and the family farm to the fires.  Or Dewey and Anabel Bratcher who lost not only their home, but all five of their kitties.  Jesus Mendoza, a 42-year-old tree-trimmer who lost his home, truck, car and all of the equipment he uses for his gardening business. Eileen Menzies Gram, age 78, who lost her ranch, all of her possessions and several of her animals in the fire. The list is endless already and there is no end in sight.  Do you believe for one minute that Donald Trump cares about any of these people?  If you do, please contact me, for I can give you a great deal on a bridge – practically new, barely used!

fires-1fires-2fires-3I have a number of friends who live on the west coast, who are potentially in danger of losing their homes, their livelihoods, perhaps even their lives.  In fact, our friend Jeff Marzick (Brookingslib from On the Fence Voters) lives in Oregon, not too far from the site of one of the fires.  Never having been up close to a wildfire, I can only imagine the trauma, based on the pictures I’ve seen.  For the “leader” of this nation to shrug it off and put all his energies into his re-election bid, his hate campaign against the 60% of the people in the nation who do not support him, is beyond unconscionable.  It is criminal.

We learned this week that Trump intentionally downplayed and blatantly lied about the coronavirus pandemic, calling it a “democratic hoax”.  His greed and corruption, his self-dealing, cost thousands of lives in this nation.  And now, we have wildfires out of control and all he can do is shrug his shoulders and … “Nothing to see here, folks, let’s move on to the Trump Family Circus Show”.

When Trump took that oath of office on January 20, 2017, he swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution and he took his office to support all 330 million people in this country.  Not just whites.  Not just males.  Not just Republicans.  Not just people who “like” him, for whatever reason.  But he has let us down … has let us all down.  Congress cannot step up to the plate and fill in the gaps Trump is leaving, because the majority in the Senate are paid to do Trump’s bidding!  Oh sure, We the People pay their salary, but they are paid much more by big corporations and lobbying groups that see an advantage to keeping Trump in office and therefore they care NOT ONE WHIT about the people in California, Oregon, and Washington.  They care NOT ONE WHIT for the Black people who have been killed by police for no reason other than the colour of their skin.  Like that ‘man’ they have sold their soul for, they have only their own self-interests at heart.

To all our friends on the West Coast … keep safe, and know that you are in my heart and thoughts.

Trump’s Campaign Platform: Abortion

In this year, a year of pandemic, global strife, a looming recession, sky-high unemployment, mortgage foreclosures, millions without health insurance, etc., there are any number of things that I would expect to see on the platform of any candidate for the presidency.  Among them, in no particular order, are …

  • Climate change and environmental issues
  • Education
  • Gun policy
  • Immigration
  • International relations
  • Civil rights
  • Election security
  • Health care
  • Affordable housing
  • Income inequality
  • Minimum wage
  • Campaign finance
  • Taxation
  • Consumer finance protection

And the list goes on.  You may notice that nowhere in my list do you see the word “abortion”.  Abortion is not … or at least should not be … a political issue!  As I’ve said at least a hundred times before, if you think abortion is wrong, then don’t have one!  But don’t impose your religious or moral beliefs on the rest of us!

While it should be a personal issue, not a political one, a good chunk of time on Tuesday night was spent by the republicans at the Republican National Convention, dissing and discussing a woman’s right to have autonomy over her own body.  These people call themselves “pro-life”, but in fact they are not that at all, for most of them support the death penalty, and few of them are in favour of their tax dollars going to help support low income families who are struggling to feed their children.  Most of them seem unconcerned about the extremely high number of deaths from the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., relative to every other nation.  Most of them own guns and put their right to do so ahead of the rights of the public, and even their own children, to be safe … that in itself puts paid to the “pro-life” argument!

The religious right in this country has become a strangling, suffocating movement whose foray into the political forum is not welcome by the majority of us!  I very intentionally stay as far away as I can from any discussion or opinion on religion, for I truly believe that everyone has the right to believe as they will, and it is not my place or anyone else’s to attempt to bend others to my own beliefs.  HOWEVER … I also expect the same courtesy in return!  I do not expect to have evangelicals or any other religious group tell me what I can do based on the tenets of their religion … tenets that even they do not follow, except when it suits them!  This is exactly why we have separation of church and state.

Separation of church and state means that no religion or religious group has the right to set public policy.  There is good reason for this.  We are a very diverse nation with hundreds of different religions and a good number of us (23%) who ascribe to no religion, as is our right.  It is our right.  We … most of us … do not wish a specific religion to be taught in our schools.  We do not wish to be held to honour laws that are created by and for a particular religious sect, for they may very well go against our own beliefs.

For the right-wing religious extremists to call for government to interfere with a woman’s rights is beyond unconscionable … it is nearly a return to the days when women were considered second-class citizens, subservient to their menfolk.  For no matter how women view this issue, it is largely men who are making the laws in this country, even today.  In fact, one of the speakers at the RNC on Tuesday was a woman named Abby Johnson who sermonized on the ‘evils’ of abortion.  Ms. Johnson’s anti-women ideology goes much further, however, for back in May she spoke of her support for the idea of “household voting”, where only the “head” of each household would be allowed to vote …

“I would support bringing back household voting.  Each household would get one vote. In a Godly household, the husband would get the final say.”

If you are reading this and are not sputtering or spouting obscenities, then I’d have to question what planet you were born on.  And then, on Tuesday night she yammered about abortion …

“This election is a choice between two radical anti-life activists and the most pro-life president we have ever had. That is something that should compel you to action, go door-to-door, make calls, talk to your neighbors and friends, and vote on November 3.”

Really?  So, the republicans honestly think this election is about … abortion???  What about climate change, what about civil rights, what about education, what about health care, what about our relations with other nations, what about gun violence, what about … all of the things that really matter?  Frankly, if abortion, or rather anti-abortion, anti-women’s rights, is the only issue the republican voters care about, then there is a definite lack of understanding within the Republican Party.  There are far more monumental issues to be concerned about.

To the best of my knowledge, no woman in the United States has ever been forced to have an abortion against her will, and only about 1% of abortions are performed after the fetus becomes viable, those only in extreme cases to save the mother’s life.  Yet Trump claimed back in March …

“Virtually every Democrat candidate has declared their unlimited support for extreme late-term abortion, ripping babies straight from the mother’s womb, right up until the very moment of birth.”

It is this sort of verbiage that seems to fire up Trump’s base, despite being devoid of any facts.  In fact, not one single democrat has advocated for such.  I would remind voters that possibly the biggest, most lethal single issue that should be what they are considering, is that of the environment.  Frankly, if we do not re-implement environmental regulations, if we do not take fairly drastic measures and work with other nations to curb the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that we are emitting every minute of every day, you won’t need to worry a heck of a lot about whether a woman has an abortion or not.  You’ll be too busy fighting for every last breath to be worried about seedlings.

While California Burns … Trump Fiddles

It should come as no surprise that this year’s wildfires in California are even more devastating than those of 2019.   The wildfires, largely sparked by lightning strikes and exacerbated by very dry conditions, have now burned through more than a million acres.  The fires have claimed hundreds of homes and threaten tens of thousands more, forcing more than 100,000 to flee amid a coronavirus pandemic that vastly complicates evacuation decisions.wildfire-1At least six are known dead, and hundreds yet unaccounted for.

The fires started early this year, on August 14th, with literally thousands of lightning strikes setting off the dry timber.  In just over a week, the California blazes have charred more than 1 million acres, according to Cal Fire, more than tripling the area burned during a typical fire season (a little more than 300,000 acres). The area burned is larger than the state of Rhode Island.wildfire-2California has seen a significant uptick in large-wildfire activity because of a combination of climate change, land-use practices and other factors. Large fires have also increased across other parts of the West, which climate studies tie to human-caused climate change that alters the timing of precipitation, makes summers hotter and vegetation drier, and leads to more days with extreme weather that enable fires to spread rapidly.

And just when California, which is, by the way, part of the United States, most needs help, the person at the head of the federal government is doing what he does best … mocking, denigrating, and being an all-round ass.  You may remember that at the height of last year’s wildfires, Trump admonished California Governor Gavin Newsome, saying he should have “raked the forest floor”.  Well, he’s at it again …

“I see again the forest fires are starting. They’re starting again in California. I said, you gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests — there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they’re like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up. Maybe we’re just going to have to make them pay for it because they don’t listen to us.”

WTF is this “them”???  There is no “them”.  It is we , not ‘them vs us’!  This country is called, in case Señor Trump has forgotten, the United States, and California is one of those states!  In fact, with nearly 40 million people, it is the most populous state in the country! I am so sick and damned tired of Trump’s ignorance costing lives in this country!  It was, in part, his rollback of nearly every environmental regulation on the books that has added to the massive problem of human-caused climate change, so in one sense, Trump himself has helped create this nightmare scenario.  He damn sure hasn’t done anything to help the state of California … or any other state, for that matter!wildfire-3Trump’s suggestions have prompted head-scratching from experts who say his prescriptions — more raking, less water released into the ocean for environmental purposes — suggest he does not understand the science of wildfires. Critics also point out that most of California’s wildlands are federally managed.

It should be noted that the president is elected by the people of all 50 states.  It should further be noted that he takes an oath to “… faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”  That oath does not say he will only be responsible and accountable to people living in states that voted for him, or that have a republican governor, or a republican majority, or that “like” him!  The good people of California pay taxes the same as the people of Florida, Mississippi, Michigan and New York!  And in return, they are treated by the federal government as one of those “shithole countries” Trump refers to!

Hennessey Fire Burns In Napa County

It is time for our government to step up to the plate and help the State of California.  If Trump won’t do it, then Congress damn well better.  Off your ass, Mitch McConnell, and do something good for once in your life!wildfire-5

Is this what a president for the common man does?

Trump supporters seem to be unaware of the many ways in which they are voting against their own best interests, or effectively shooting themselves in the foot, when they vote for Trump. Keith provides a few of these examples in his excellent post this afternoon. Thank you, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

Many of the Trump base have no idea they are voting against their economic interests. This advertised populist, common man president, fails to let folks know the following:

– in his first two hours of being president, he repealed a regulation that would have reduced homeowners insurance premiums for securing mortgages with the less than 20% down, that was scheduled to go in effect February 1, 2017. This would have helped about one million low income homeowners.

– he has hobbled the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that was very successful, but banks and credit card companies did not like it. The CFPB penalized these companies for fraudulent and aggressive lending practices, with 95% of the fines going to cheated consumers. In short, the CFPB helps folks who are targeted.

– he eliminated a new requirement that said all investment advisors have to be fiduciaries, meaning they must put your interests…

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