Going Once, Going Twice …

Arguably the single most important issue facing the world today is climate change.  In the throes of the current pandemic, and amidst the undeniably craziest election the U.S. has ever seen, we in this country seem to have largely forgotten about the damage that we humans have done to this planet over the past 100 years or so.  The wildfires on the West Coast and the onslaught of hurricanes in recent years should have been a wake-up call, but … we are still focusing on other things, while the world burns.  We are nearing the point of no return in our wanton disregard for the environment, yet few seem to care.  Robert Reich speaks wise words …


Trump doesn’t care if wildfires destroy the west – it didn’t vote for him

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

The climate crisis is upon us all but the president pursues more rollbacks. This election offers an existential choice

The air outside my window is yellow today. It was orange yesterday. The Air Quality Index is over 200. The Environmental Protection Agency defines this as a “health alert” in which “everyone may experience more serious health effects if they are exposed for 24 hours.” Unfortunately, the index has been over 200 for several days.

The west is burning. Wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington are incinerating homes, killing scores of people, sickening many others, causing hundreds of thousands to evacuate, burning entire towns to the ground, consuming millions of acres, and blanketing the western third of the United States with thick, acrid, and dangerous smoke.

Yet the president has said and done almost nothing. A month ago, Trump wanted to protect lives in Oregon and California from “rioters and looters.” He sent federal forces into the streets of Portland and threatened to send them to Oakland and Los Angeles.

Today, Portland is in danger of being burned, and Oakland and Los Angeles are under health alerts. Trump will visit California on Monday, but he has said little.

One reason: these states voted against him in 2016 and he still bears a grudge.

He came close to rejecting California’s request for emergency funding.

“He told us to stop giving money to people whose houses had burned down because he was so rageful that people in the state of California didn’t support him,” said former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor.

Another explanation for Trump’s silence is that the wildfires are tied to human-caused climate change, which Trump has done everything humanly possible to worsen.

Extreme weather disasters are rampaging across America. On Wednesday, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration released its latest State of the Climate report, finding that just in August, the US was hit by four billion-dollar calamities. In addition to wildfires, there were two enormous hurricanes and an extraordinary Midwest derecho.

These are inconvenient facts for a president who has spent much of his presidency dismantling every major climate and environmental policy he can lay his hands on.

Starting with his unilateral decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, Trump has been the most anti-environmental president in history.

He has called climate change a “hoax.” He has claimed, with no evidence, that windmills cause cancer. He has weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide from power plants and from cars and trucks. He has rolled back rules governing clean air, water and toxic chemicals. He has opened more public land to oil and gas drilling.

He has targeted California in particular, revoking the state’s authority to set tougher car emission standards than those required by the federal government.

In all, the Trump administration has reversed, repealed, or otherwise rolled back nearly 70 environmental rules and regulations. More than 30 rollbacks are still in progress.

Now, seven weeks before election day, with much of the nation either aflame or suffering other consequences of climate change, Trump unabashedly defends his record and attacks Joe Biden.

“The core of [Biden’s] economic agenda is a hard-left crusade against American energy,” Trump harrumphed in a Rose Garden speech last month.

Not quite. While 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, his ideas are not exactly radical. The money would be used for improving energy efficiency, constructing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, and increasing renewable energy from wind, solar, and other technologies.

Biden wants to end the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity by 2035, and to bring America to net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by no later than 2050. If what is now occurring in the west is any indication, his goals may be too modest. 2050 will be too late.

Nonetheless, Americans have a clear choice. In a few weeks, when they decide whether Trump deserves another four years, climate change will be on the ballot.

The choice shouldn’t be hard to make. Like the coronavirus, the dire consequences of climate change – coupled with Trump’s utter malfeasance – offer unambiguous proof that he couldn’t care less about the public good.

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.

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

Filosofa Rants

Donald Trump and his administration defy description.  I can use every adjective in my vocabulary and still not have defined the abomination that is not-so-affectionately called “the swamp”.

Let us look back to Tuesday, when Donald Trump gave an impromptu presser outside the Capitol.  When asked by one reporter a question regarding the economic downturn triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, Trump answered …

“It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away… Be calm. It’s really working out. And a lot of good things are going to happen. The consumer is ready, and the consumer is so powerful in our country with what we’ve done with tax cuts and regulation cuts and all of those things. The consumer has never been in a better position than they are right now. So a lot of good things are going to happen.”

Huh?  Does he think we are four-year-old children looking to our daddy for affirmation that “everything will be okay”?  And “a lot of good things”???  What good things?  People dying, panic in the markets, a NCAA tournament being played sans spectators?  Nearly two thousand cases in the U.S.?  (Yes, Donnie, you must count the cases that were on the ship Diamond Princess … like it or not, the ship is not a nation, and the people aboard it are U.S. citizens)  And since you opened the bloody door, Donnie … those tax cuts and regulation cuts have hurt … HURT … the consumers, the citizens of this nation.  With your tax cuts, you benefited the wealthy, at the cost of the average worker.  And with your ignominious regulation roll-backs, you are killing us slowly as you allow more and more crap to be put into the atmosphere by your rich bitch friends in the fossil fuel and logging industries.  KILLING US!  Killing future generations.  Killing the ecosystem that supports life on Planet Earth.  And for what, pray tell???

How many more lies will the people of this nation put up with?  How much longer will the republicans who support Trump be willing to risk their lives and the lives of their children & grandchildren, to feed the ego of the megalomaniac who sits on his fat derriere in a chair in the Oval Office that Hillary Clinton earned, not him?

Last June, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who had not given a single press briefing for three full months, left her position as White House Press Secretary and was replaced by Melania Trump’s “chief of staff for communications”, though I have not the faintest idea why Melania needs such a person.  Since accepting the position of Press Secretary, Ms. Grisham has not held one single press briefing.  Not one.  The job of White House Press Secretary is to be a liaison between the administration and the public.  WE THE PEOPLE pay this woman $183,000 per year to … what???  Well, let’s see … a few days ago she could be heard screeching at reporters attending a press conference to “Get out .. just GO … GET OUT!” repeatedly.  Very unprofessional.  Oh, and I hear she appears frequently on Fox News shows.

Donald Trump’s “campaign” is suing the three top news outlets in the country:  The Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN.  The lawsuits, according to all legal experts, are frivolous and his campaign stands zero chance of winning any of them.  However, winning them was never the purpose.  The purpose was always to send a warning shot over the bow, so to speak.  To cause media outlets to think twice before printing anything in the least bit critical of Trump.  Now, let’s think about this for a minute …

Since long before he took office, Trump has denigrated the press, has attempted to bully and intimidate them.  The most heinous was the many times he referred to them as “the enemy of the people”, a term for which any other president in our nation’s history would have been censured, but not Trump.  He communicates via Twitter, rather than holding actual press conferences or actually talking to reporters.  He is purging his staff of any who cannot prove they are 100% loyal to him.  The only way the press have often known what was transpiring within the administration has been through leaks by staff … those are likely to dry up in light of his purges.  And now, he is suing any who criticize him.  What do you think all this adds up to?

It adds up to the fact that there is likely to be even less transparency for the next eight months than there has been in the past three years, and that has been little enough.  It means we will have no idea what the truth is, what is being done to within the confines of the government we pay for.  We have been lied to so many times, and now, with an actual crisis facing this nation, the press has been stifled and all he can do is tell us more lies.  No, people, everything is NOT under control, there are NOT good things happening, and Donald Trump is in so far over his head that he is drowning in the muck he has created.

The man who holds the highest office in this nation does not have any leadership skills, lacks intelligence, is more concerned about his image than our lives, and has surrounded himself with buffoons and bozos.  My friends, we are not in a good place.  The things you can do are support the free press, keep calling and writing to your representatives in Congress, send letters to your local newspapers, and most important of all:  Vote this son of a bitch out of office on November 3rd!

Two Of The Worst Things …

The end of not only a year, but a decade fraught with troubles lends itself to musings and ponderings.  If I put my mind to it, I could come up with at least 50 things Donald Trump has done in his three-year tenure that are wrong, disgusting, destructive, and pose a threat to either the nation’s internal or external security.  But, there are two that stand out most, that are so incredibly cruel or stupid that my jaw still drops when I think of them.


The first is the policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the southern border, then putting the children in detention centers where even their most basic needs are often not met.  This is, as much as any, a crime against humanity and one that, while the people of this nation were up in arms over for a time, seems to be largely forgotten today.  It has taken a backseat to impeachment and most everything else.  When was the last time you read an article or heard a news story about the children who may never be reunited with their parents? caged-kidI do not know how many children remain separated from their parents and housed in detention centers along the southern border … I’ve read a few estimates, but none seem to be certain … perhaps Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have lost track, just as they’ve lost track of the whereabouts of these kids’ parents.  But, whether it’s 20 or 2,000 … while you and I were enjoying unwrapping presents and later a Christmas feast with friends and family, this is how the innocent children in the detention centers spent Christmas …caged-kids-xmasThe United States of America … land of opportunity, land of milk and honey … but only if your skin is the right colour.caged-kids-drawing.png


The second thing is the damage Trump has done to the environment … damage that, to a large extent, can never be reversed.  Trump, as we all know, has a serious ego problem … his ego is the most bloated part about him, and that’s saying a lot.  Trump’s ego seemingly demanded that Trump do everything he could to erase the legacy of the positive things that were done by his predecessor, President Barack Obama.  Three of the things President Obama was most noted for were environmental regulations, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  Trump has attempted to demolish all three of those, but the area in which he has been most successful is that of environmental regulations. pollution-2A New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and other sources, counts more than 90 environmental rules and regulations rolled back under Trump.environmental-rollbacksFor a detailed analysis of each, refer to the article in the Times.

Trump’s unconscionable rollback of these regulations benefits the fossil fuel industry and the logging industry barons, but harms this nation, its people and its precious resources, such as breathable air, potable water, safe food, national monuments, and wildlife.  More importantly, his actions are hastening the crisis that scientists are predicting.

The latest United Nations report on climate change issued last month paints a grim picture for the future of life on planet Earth.  In a statement announcing the findings, Inger Andersen, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, said …

“Our collective failure to act early and hard on climate change means we now must deliver deep cuts to emissions. We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated.”

Roughly 20 percent of the world has already warmed to troubling levels. Slowing future warming will require monumental changes, such as phasing out gas-powered cars, halting the construction of coal-fired power plants and overhauling how humans grow food and manage land.  And yet, Donald Trump continues to claim that climate change is all a hoax and has convinced a large number of his followers.  I recently (and regrettably) engaged in a conversation with one such person and … let me tell you, it’s a waste of precious breath, for Trump has brainwashed them to believe that he is smarter than all of the scientists in the world.  Quite a feat, eh?


As I said at the beginning, there are many, many things that Trump has done that have, in one way or another, brought harm to this nation and to We the People, but these two stand out as being the most inhumane on a large scale.  These two alone have greatly reduced the respectability of this nation around the world.  And fully 40% of the people in this nation continue to applaud.  Sigh.

The “Bromance” Heats Up?

Yesterday, Donald Trump called his bro-buddy Vladimir Putin and … offered to help him with the wildfires that are burning in Siberia!  Yes, it is true … the plonker who thinks raking the forest is the way to prevent fires, offered to send resources, both human and equipment (rakes, perhaps?), halfway across the globe to help our adversary!  Now, mind you I have no desire to see portions of the earth burnt to a crisp, but there are so many things wrong with this scenario that I don’t know where to begin.trump-putin-phone-732356The “Embassy of Russia in the USA” put out the following release:

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump this evening at the American side’s initiative.

The US President offered help in putting out wildfires in Siberia.

The President of Russia expressed sincere gratitude for the kind attention and the offer of help and assistance. Vladimir Putin said he will accept the offer if it becomes necessary. He also told his American colleague that a powerful group of aircraft had been formed in Siberia to fight the wildfires. According to the Emergencies Ministry, solutions have been found to problems with the refuelling and deployment of airplanes and helicopters.

The President of Russia regards the US President’s offer as a sign that it is possible that full-scale bilateral relations will be restored in the future.

The presidents of Russia and the United States agreed to continue contacts in the form of telephone conversations as well as personal meetings.

Trump-Putin-toonSounds pretty chummy, yes?  And … um … please forgive my suspicious nature, but isn’t there an election coming up in about 15 months, and didn’t ol’ Vlad help Trump get elected last time, and isn’t Trump in need of some help this time?  Let that sink in, but meanwhile …

Remember last year when California was experiencing some of the worst wildfires in its history?  Trump blamed the state for the fires, saying it was “bad environmental laws” and “gross mismanagement of the forests” that had caused the fires, and threatened to stop sending federal money to the state unless it fixed its forest-management methods, pronto.  Said the expert on forest fires …

“You’ve got to take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forests, it’s very important.”

And he claimed to have had a conversation with the President of Finland …

“He called it a forest nation, and they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problems.”

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto disputed this conversation, but that didn’t deter Trump, who knows more about everything than anyone else.

And remember his unconscionable complaints about having to provide assistance to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico:

“Puerto Rico got far more money than Texas & Florida combined, yet their government can’t do anything right. The place is a mess.”

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated U.S. territory, and the people who live there are U.S. citizens, yet Trump is more willing, nay eager … to help put out fires in sparsely populated Russian Siberia than save lives of U.S. citizens.Trump-Putin-SamOur neighbors to the north have been battling wildfires in Alberta and Ontario, Canada, for several months this year, the fires are still burning, and has Trump proffered assistance even one single time?  I think not.  Similar fires are burning in Alaska (which is one of the fifty “United” states) and the Arctic, but has Trump offered assistance to either?  I think not.

And finally, consider this.  Trump has done as much as anybody, more than most, to cause those wildfires he’s so concerned about.  The fires are a result of July’s record-breaking European heatwave, which is a result of the climate change that Trump has denied, has called a Chinese hoax.  Donald Trump had it in his power to address the issue of climate change, to enhance the regulations that were already in place on the fossil fuel and auto industries, but instead he trashed every single environmental regulation.  The U.S. puts out more carbon emissions, CO2, per capita than any other nation on the globe.  But, instead of addressing climate change with any degree of conscience or maturity, he added to the problem in order to help his rich capitalist buddies.  Instead of being so happy that Trump offered assistance, Putin should be furious that Trump, in fact, is adding fuel to the fire.

I have to wonder … if the fires were in the UK, France, or Mexico, all of whom are U.S. allies, would Trump be offering help?  Think about it.

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.

Fool On The Hill — Mitch McConnell

The date was 23 October 2010 — nearly two years into President Barack Obama’s first term and two weeks before the first midterm elections of his presidency. Speaking to the National Journal, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a now-infamous statement: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”  A statement that congressional republicans intended to do everything in their power to thwart President Obama could not have been any clearer.  But, listen to what McConnell had to say on Fox News earlier this week …

“Will Dems work with us, or simply put partisan politics ahead of the country?”

Say WHAT???

Here is McConnell’s OpEd, enhanced by Filosofa’s snarky comments in blue:

Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) There are worse pictures of him.Last Tuesday I was proud to see that the American people voted keep Republicans in control of the U.S. Senate. But we also learned that, come January, the Republican Senate majority will be dealing with a House of Representatives under Democratic control. What goes around, comes around, Mitchie.

Needless to say, the past two years of unified Republican government will be remembered as a period of historic productivity.  Define productivity???  You haven’t done a damn thing worthwhile!

Both houses of Congress have taken swift action to right-size a bloated federal regulatory state. The Senate has shattered records in confirming the president’s well-qualified judicial nominees, including two outstanding jurists to serve on the Supreme Court.  Um… Mitchie … ever hear of a little thing called “climate change”?  Those regulations were in place in an attempt to save our earth.  And one of your “outstanding” jurists is a sexual predator!

And together, we passed the first comprehensive reform of the nation’s tax code in a generation. Already, Americans’ paychecks are growing, consumer confidence is high and unemployment has reached a near 50-year low.  Have you looked at the federal debt/deficit estimates lately?  And do you realize that your damn tax reform robbed from the poor and gave to the rich?  Rather a reverse Robin Hood!

After this prolific run, I was not surprised to be asked over the past week about just how much the American people can expect from the next Congress under divided leadership. What can we realistically accomplish?  Restoration of sanity and accountability is my hope.

I have good news: reports of the death of bipartisanship in Washington have been wildly exaggerated. In fact, some of the most significant accomplishments of this Congress have been delivered with overwhelmingly bipartisan support.  Eh?  Such as?  Name one, please?

Under bipartisan committee leadership, we took major steps toward restoring regular order to our appropriations process. The Senate passed more funding measures before the beginning of this fiscal year than at any point in the last two decades.  Funding for what?  Certainly not to help the poor, the homeless, the ill.  Nothing that I can see that benefits the people in any practical manner.

The measures included the largest year-on-year increase in defense funding in 15 years, which put an end to the Obama-era atrophy of our armed forcesGeez, Mitchie … the U.S. already had the largest military budget in the western world!  How is that “atrophy of the armed forces”???  Ever hear the term ‘guns or butter’?  We. Don’t. Need. More. F***ing. Military. Toys.  Get it?  We need help for the poor, we need healthcare!

Working closely with counterparts in the House, we found common ground on rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure. In fact, America’s Water Infrastructure Act – designed to improve interstate commerce, water quality and flood safety – passed the Senate by a vote of 99-1.  Let me just pop over to Flint, Michigan and see how much help you’ve given them …

And in August, the Senate voted unanimously to expand Americans’ opportunities to receive technical and career-focused education.  Meanwhile, you’ve done nothing to improve our public schools, and have made a college education damn near out of reach for the average citizen!  There is much, MUCH more to education than technical and job training …

We’ve passed 22 pieces of legislation produced by the bipartisan work of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. From improving the efficiency of Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities to enhancing access to post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits, each of these pieces of legislation was designed to help America keep its promises to returning heroes and their families.  Not what I’m hearing from the vets.  Have you talked to anybody from AMVETS lately?  I have.

And last month, the Senate passed a landmark package of targeted resources to combat the opioid epidemic. The legislation was produced by five bipartisan committees and included direct input from 72 different senators.  Whoopee.  Meanwhile, those of us who need medications such as insulin to stay alive, cannot afford them. 

Of course, these are just a few highlights of a Congress that has conducted as much serious, cooperative work as any in recent history.  Hah! Let me ask Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi if that’s true …

So make no mistake. The Senate has proven its ability to reach bipartisan solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing our nation.  I think you mistake the meaning of “bipartisan”.  I’ve seen naught but infighting and chaos in the 115th Congress.

And looking ahead to the coming year, there will be no shortage of opportunities to continue this impressive record of cooperation across the aisle and across the Capitol.  Opportunities, yes.  But will you put aside your love of all things Trump and join the democrats in holding him accountable?  Will you put the 99% ahead of the 1% just for once?  Will you act with the interests of the nation in mind?

What we can make of those opportunities will depend on our Democratic colleagues. Will they choose to go it alone and simply make political points? Or will they choose to work together and actually make a difference?  Look in the mirror and ask that question, Mitchie.

Last week, the American people made it abundantly clear that they prefer that Congress focus on making a difference.  Is this a new concept to you?

That message may have been lost on a few House Democrats, who have made clear their preference for investigations over policy results. After years of rhetoric, it’s hardly news that some are more interested in fanning the flames of division than reaching across the aisle.  Not ‘fanning the flames of division’, Mitchie … it’s called ‘accountability’.  Look it up in the dictionary.

But however Democrats interpret the latest message from voters, Senate Republicans will continue our commitment to delivering results.  Continue???  When did you start?

We’ll keep working to lift the burden on American job creators and small businesses. We’ll stay focused on helping communities across the country seize new opportunities and realize greater prosperity. We’ll seek new ways to make life easier for working families.  “Lift the burden”???  WTF???  The burden is on the poor and middle-class, not the big corporations whose so-called ‘burdens’ you seek to ‘lift’.

Most importantly, in the face of whichever tactics the far left chooses to employ next, we’ll continue to stand for the rule of law. We’ll continue to confirm more well-qualified nominees to serve on our nation’s courts.  Rule of law?  Where is that, Mitchie?  Where was rule of law when Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath?  Where was rule of law when you and your cohorts refused to ban assault weapons because you are in the pocket of the NRA?  Where, indeed, is rule of law in Trumpdom?

This is what the Senate’s Republican majority was elected to do. And we’ll continue to get it done.  Bull. You’ll keep right on licking the boots of the fool in the White House.

It is obvious to me that McConnell was doing damage control, making it clear to the Fox viewers, which likely includes Trump’s & McConnell’s followers, that whatever goes wrong in the next two years will be the fault of those mean ol’ democrats.  Mitch McConnell has been in Washington far too long … time for him to retire!