Corporate Profits Over Life?

There is yet more evidence that corporate profits matter more than life in the U.S.  Last November one of the issues on the California ballot was Proposition 12.  In a nutshell, Proposition 12, the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act …

“…  outlaws the most extreme forms of animal confinement throughout the Golden State. Once it’s implemented, egg-laying hens, baby calves raised for veal, and mother pigs will no longer be confined in cages. Additionally, all eggs, veal, and pork sold in the state will meet this standard.”

Some 60% of voters approved the measure, and it was signed into law.  The Humane Society of the United States backed the measure, while People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals opposed it, saying it did not go far enough.

However, the meat industry claims that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause by requiring out-of-state producers to comply with California’s rules or face a sales ban. The North American Meat Institute, whose members include processors such as Tyson Foods, Cargill, Smithfield Foods, and retailers including Wal-Mart, Chipotle, Target, and Whole Foods, said enforcing Proposition 12 would hurt producers and consumers by significantly increasing their costs.  And so, on Friday they filed a lawsuit (isn’t that the answer to everything these days?) in Los Angeles federal court seeking an injunction against the sales ban targeting out-of-state veal and pork.

The law, if enforced, would …

  • Prevent egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and veal calves from being housed inhumanely in small cages for their entire lives.
  • Reduce the risk of people being sickened by food poisoning and factory farm pollution by preventing overcrowding of animals in small spaces.

It would also likely cost producers more to comply, and thus raise the consumer prices for eggs, pork and veal, for we all know that companies like Tyson and Wal-Mart aren’t going to eat a single penny of that increased cost but will pass it on to consumers.

My take?  Thanks for asking … if these producers cannot treat the animals humanely, then they can go out of business for all it matters.  People should eat less pork and veal anyway, and fewer eggs as well.  We would all be healthier.  I’m sick and tired of the big corporations putting their profit ahead of lives, whether human, animal, plant, or the planet.  And speaking of the planet …

CaliforniaCalifornia seems to consistently be ahead of the pack on trying to improve such things as the environment, human and animal welfare, etc.  California has the strictest emissions standards in the nation for autos and trucks, and recently the state worked with auto makers to maintain those standards, but last month Trump & Co revoked the state’s authority to set state-level standards.  Why?  Because Trump & Co are in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry.  Higher emission standards like California’s mean the oil companies will sell less fuel and … GASP … may lose some of their multi-billion dollar profits!  ¡Ay, pobrecitos!

But then … wait for it … the Environmental Protection Agency last week followed up with letters to California that threatened to wield rarely used provisions of environmental law to withhold federal funding from the state if it did not take specific steps to clean its air and water!  That’s what they were trying to do, for Pete’s sake!!!

Legal experts say this amounts to weaponizing environmental laws intended not only to undermine California’s liberal government but to send a message to other states that might defy Trump.

The Clean Air Act specifically offered states the ability to set their own environmental standards if Washington grants them a waiver.  This move infringes on states’ rights, is a threat to the very principle of states’ rights.

Andrew-Wheeler

Andrew Wheeler

Andrew Wheeler, who now heads the EPA, worked in the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, representing coal magnate Robert E. Murray and lobbying against the Obama Administration’s environmental regulations.  Conflict of interest???  It seems to me that under Wheeler, just as under Pruitt before him, the Environmental Protection Agency is doing the exact opposite of protecting the environment!

Are we to sit quietly while big corporations and Trump’s gang of thugs abuse animals and destroy the air we breathe, the water we drink, and everything else under the sun only for the sake of lining their own pockets?  Think about it.

You CAN’T Do This, Donald Trump!!!

I was just getting ready to fold a load of clothes when the ‘Breaking News’ came across with this headline:

Trump administration to revoke California’s power to set stricter auto emissions standards

NO … No No No No No!  This is not right!  I was so furious that I nearly shredded poor Miss Goose’s favourite shirt as I was folding it.  Just who in hell does this ‘man’ think he is?  He is not the king, nor is he the dictator … at least not yet!

For decades, California has had stricter emission standards, has been a frontrunner in trying to protect life on earth.  Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have vowed to adopt California’s standards if they diverge from the federal government’s, as have several major automakers.  But now, Donald F. Trump (yeah, I know it’s a ‘J’, but in my book he now has a new middle name) has decided that he and he alone can doom all life on earth, bring about our demise even sooner than was previously planned?

In July, California reached an agreement with four companies — Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW of North America — under which they pledged to produce fleets averaging nearly 50 mpg by model year 2026.  The deal upset Trump and his buddies in the oil industry, for it would, conceivably, cut down on the amount of fuel they could sell … never mind that it would make the air cleaner, healthier, more breathable, and perchance help cut down on the carbon emissions that are killing life on planet Earth!  By all means, the profits of companies like Exxon Mobil, and by extension Donald Trump, are far more important than our lives!

Congress has repeatedly reaffirmed California’s right to set its own emissions standards, and in 1977, lawmakers said other states could legally adopt California’s stricter car emissions standards.  Over time, emissions control strategies first adopted by California — catalytic converters, nitrous oxide regulations and “check engine” systems, to name a few — have become standard across the country. Over the decades, the EPA has repeatedly approved waivers for California under the Clean Air Act.  And now, along comes Donald Trump whose fortunes are obviously tied to the fossil fuel industry, and says we all have to spend more money and sacrifice our very lives to put money into the pockets of he and his rich cronies.

This simply cannot be allowed to continue.  We don’t have a president, we have a madman bent on destroying the earth as rapidly as possible.  Let us hope that there is broad intervention by both Congress and the Courts, and that Trump and his oil buddies will have their tiny hands slapped and removed from the cookie jar.  Someone, somehow, must prove to this sorry excuse for a president that he is NOT the dictator of the nation, and that his job is to ensure the safety and best interest of the people of this nation … not to try to destroy us all!pollution-2

She Wants To Go ‘Behind Closed Doors’???

Joni-ErnstJoni Ernst is a U.S. Senator representing the state of Iowa.  Ordinarily, I would respect and admire this woman, for she served for 23 years in the U.S. military.  Ordinarily, given her military service, I would even be able to look past the fact that she is a republican.  But, when somebody starts trying to rob me and millions of other people, they lose my respect real fast.

Before I get into that, let’s take a look at Ms. Ernst and some of the things she stands either for or against:

  • Ernst referred to Obama as a dictator who should be “removed from office” or face “impeachment.” And yet … she wouldn’t support impeaching the most corrupt, autocratic president in history?

  • Ernst opposes the federal minimum wage and has said that states should have sole authority to set their own minimum wages, saying, “I think $7.25 is appropriate.” I wonder how she would like to try to live on $7.25 per hour, which is $15,080 per year?

  • Ernst has proposed eliminating the Internal Revenue Service as well as the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Seriously???

  • She has an ‘A’ rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA) … no wonder she has received $3.1 million from the NRA! Needless to say, she sends lots of ‘thoughts and prayers’ and opposes any and all gun legislation.

  • She endorses and supports U.S. Representative Steve King, the ultimate racist, who also happens to be from Iowa. That speaks for itself.

  • Like most republicans, she opposes same-sex marriage and abortion.

All of the above is enough to make her unsuitable to be in the U.S. Senate, but the latest takes the prize.  A week ago, during the congressional recess, Ms. Ernst held a town hall meeting with constituents in Estherville, Iowa.  During the course of that meeting, she said that members of Congress should negotiate changes to Social Security “behind closed doors” in order to dodge scrutiny from the media and advocacy groups.

“The minute you say we need to address Social Security, the media is hammering you, the opposing party is hammering you—there goes granny over a cliff.”

Say WHAT???

Please, Ms. Ernst, allow me to explain a couple of things to you.  First, every single thing you do in your job, every single word you utter, should be recorded and reported by the media.  Why?  Because you work for us, not the other way around.  We have a right, nay … we have a need … to know everything that any member of our federal government does.  Today, with the most corrupt and ignorant president in the history of the nation in office, that need is even more imperative, for you and others of your ilk have proven time and time again that you do not have the best interests of this nation and its people at heart.

Second, perhaps you don’t understand about Social Security, but WE fund it, just as we fund your salary.  Yes, WE!  Out of every paycheck we earn throughout our entire life, 7.65% is withheld … 6.2% of that is to fund our government-managed retirement account, and the other 1.45% is to fund Medicare.  Our employers match our contributions, dollar for dollar.  Neither Social Security nor Medicare are “entitlements” that the government giveth and thus can taketh away!  I see that you have a Master of Public Administration degree from Columbus State University, so how do you not understand such a simple concept???

I do not live in Iowa, so I cannot vote this woman out of the Senate, however she IS up for re-election next year, so if any of my readers hail from Iowa, or if you know of anybody who lives in Iowa, please encourage them to vote this harridan out of office, and Steve King, too!

Joni-Ernst-Trump

Trump & Ernst — on the campaign trail

Joni Ernst is not alone in wishing to cut Social Security and Medicare.  In August, Senator John Barrasso, a republican from Wyoming told the New York Times that his party has discussed cutting Medicare and Social Security with Trump and said the president has expressed openness to the idea.  The Times also reported that Trump said it was “a second-term project”.  And republican Senator John Thune from South Dakota, reportedly said it is …

“Going to take presidential leadership to cut Social Security and Medicare, and it’s going to take courage by the Congress to make some hard votes. We can’t keep kicking the can down the road.”

What ‘can’???  You take our money for the 50 years or so that we are in the work force, you invest it and, assuming you invested it wisely, you get a return on that investment, and now you don’t wish to give it back?  It’s a paltry enough sum that we get back as it is!

Folks, I could list at least 100 good reasons that this nation cannot afford to re-elect Donald Trump in 2020.  This is just one, but an important one – a crucial one.

Trump vs Facts

It shouldn’t have been a big deal … but it was.  It shouldn’t have received the attention of the international press … but it did.  It was stupid, foolish, but relative to the news of the day, irrelevant – just another example of the ignorance of the ‘man’ who sits in the Oval Office.  I mostly ignored it, save for a brief mention, but an ego was involved … perhaps the most bloated ego of any in the world … and thus it was blown up, mocked, and the ‘man’ in the Oval Office refused to simply say, “I made a mistake”.

I try hard not to waste my voice here on my blog with irrelevancy, unless it is to bring a smile, a laugh, a bit of levity to my readers.  But, what was irrelevant has now become yet another sign of the despotism that flows around the White House today.

The incident, of course, is the one that began last Sunday, September 1st, when Trump tweeted …

“In addition to Florida – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!”

The fallacy was that Alabama was not in the path of Hurricane Dorian.  Within an hour, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a statement correcting Trump:

“Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east.”

And then the sh*t hit the proverbial fan.  Had it been left there, it would likely have died before the next round of late-night television shows, for there were more important things to worry about.  But, Trump can never be contradicted, can never be told he is wrong about anything, despite the fact that he has been proven wrong about most everything.  The notice by the NWS was important and necessary, for Trump’s statement could have sent Alabama residents into a frenzy, wondering why they hadn’t been warned and running out stripping the store shelves of bottled water and other essential supplies.  It was the responsible thing for the NWS to do.

So, Trump couldn’t let it lie, took one of the official maps showing the likely trajectories of Hurricane Dorian, and with a Sharpie pen, drew an additional line to include Alabama in the path of the storm.  It was as if a 5-year-old child had done it, was obviously a stupid thing, but … well, Trump’s ego, y’know.  And then the whole thing blew up.altered-map.jpgTrump continued to defend his tweet and complain about the flak he’s received over media reports that point out that he was wrong, his vile rhetoric becoming more ludicrous with each tweet.  He tweeted a doctored video of a CNN segment that noted Alabama might feel the effects of the hurricane.  WHAT PRESIDENT DOES THIS???  Where is the professionalism of the office?  Where is the dignity?  For six straight days, he tweeted obsessively about the whole thing, even demanding an apology.

But, on Friday this truly became a serious issue, and one that should have every person in this nation up in arms.  On Friday afternoon, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the parent agency of the National Weather Service, issued a statement declaring that its Birmingham, Alabama office was wrong to dispute the president’s warning that Alabama “will most likely be hit” by the hurricane despite forecasts to the contrary.

“The Birmingham National Weather Service’s Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Yes, my friends, a government agency tasked with reporting facts, tasked with the safety of the nation under severe weather conditions, was forced to bow to the whims of a megalomaniac for the sake of salving his ego.  Let that one sink in a minute.

This is no longer a laughing matter, for it is further evidence that the safety of this nation matters less than the ego of Donald Trump.  This only happens in autocracies, it does not happen in democratic nations.  It is but one in a long line of such incidents, but this one received the notoriety to put it front and center and the perfidy cannot be ignored.

The biggest issue facing every industrialized nation on the globe is climate change, yet because Trump says it is a “Chinese hoax”, our government doesn’t talk about climate change.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has removed all references to climate change from every one of its documents.  The EPA has also removed the Climate Science page from its website.  All to stroke the ego of a madman who just happens to be the highest-ranking official in our government.  And now, our National Weather Service is not allowed to give us accurate warnings when a devastating, life-threatening storm is looming.

Can we ever again trust anything we are told by any government agency?  No.  We now know that Trump manipulates the information given by every agency under his control, and we should not take a single thing at face value.  Yesterday, the Bureau of Labour Statistics released their report for August, saying that the U.S. had added some 130,000 jobs during the month.  I do not believe it for one minute.  What if we actually lost 50,000 jobs?  Trump is apprised of the report before it is made public.  What if he said, “NO … we didn’t lose jobs, we added jobs — lots of beautiful jobs — great jobs!  This report is ‘fake news!!!’  Then, would the Labour Department have changed the numbers to match Trump’s whim?  I posit that no new jobs were added in August, and that the Labour Department report has no validity.  For the duration of Trump’s term in office, I shall not believe another piece of data that comes out of our federal government.

It is a damn shame when one ‘man’, in just under three years, can completely shred the credibility of the entire federal government, but that is exactly what has happened.  Would we receive proper warning if there were a pending threat from another nation?  Maybe, maybe not.  Depends on what Donald Trump wants us to know.  This is a dangerous and disturbing situation.  Next time there’s a hurricane, the NWS will ask Trump where he would like them to draw the projected trajectory.  I can envision a number of scenarios where lives would be placed in danger, lives perhaps lost, to protect the fragile ego of a man-child.  Think about it.

Deconstructing government in Trump’s America

The important things, as I have said before, are slipping under the radar. Jeff, from On the Fence Voters, has shone a spotlight on one such thing. This administration is working so hard to destroy not only the nation, but the entire globe. Please take a minute to read Jeff’s assessment. Thanks, Jeff, for keeping us informed!

On The Fence Voters

Bannon’s prophetic prediction playing out before our eyes at USDA

In the early days of the Trump administration, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon declared that the President’s cabinet picks are well suited to implement a complete “deconstruction of the administrative state.” The quote by Bannon is relatively well known. Unfortunately, large swaths of the American people do not understand that that deconstruction is not only alive and well, but proceeding with lightning speed—with no end in sight.

To put it in more simpler terms, the administration is on track to weaken regulatory agencies and other bureaucratic entities, faster and more extreme than any previous Republican administration had ever tried to do. And it’s not like George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan didn’t try mightily to achieve this end. After all, less and smaller government is one of the main objectives of most Republicans as it is. But the…

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A Bucketful … of Snarky Snippets

There is just so darn much to ruffle the feathers, rile the temper, send the ol’ blood pressure soaring these days … I started earlier today on a humour piece that I had an idea for, thought it would be a nice change of pace.  And then … I looked at the news.  Suddenly, my humour piece didn’t seem very funny, and instead it made me want to cry.  So, instead I am back to being my ol’ snarky self, and any humour will no doubt be acidic and acerbic.


Under investigation …

He sure does know how to pick the winners, doesn’t he?  That is, in this alternate universe where up is down, black is white, and winners are losers.  I did a series of posts after Trump took office about his choices for his cabinet, all of which were the antithesis of the “right person for the job”.  ‘Draining the swamp’ apparently meant adding more alligators. Consider, for example, his first choice to head the EPA, Scott Pruitt, who had sued the EPA numerous times.  Or Betsy DeVos, his choice for Secretary of Education who was against public education!  One of his crew is in the news again today.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seems to have a whole series of corrupt heads and staff.  I’ve long said that Trump’s goal was to dismantle the EPA, or at least render it powerless, and it seems to be the case.  The latest?  Bill Wehrum, who headed the EPA’s air policy division from November 2017 until he resigned under a shadow last month.WehrumWehrum, according to the New York Times …

“… worked for the better part of a decade to weaken air pollution rules by fighting the Environmental Protection Agency in court on behalf of chemical manufacturers, refineries, oil drillers and coal-burning power plants.”

Wehrum’s clients included Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, the Brick Industry Association, and the Utility Air Regulatory Group.  And then, he went to work for Donald Trump’s EPA where he pushed for rollback of environmental regulations and continued to interact with former clients. This, despite an ethics rule that prohibits former industry lawyers and lobbyists from meeting with former clients in private settings to discuss government-related matters.

During his 19 months at the EPA, he oversaw efforts to ease regulation of the coal industry, slow requirements that cars and trucks become more fuel efficient and overhaul how the agency calculates costs and benefits to favor industry.

In April, the House Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigation into whether Wehrum had improperly aided his former industry clients since joining the administration.  Last month, Wehrum resigned, and today the EPA’s inspector general is looking at Wehrum’s interactions with his former law firm as well as several of its clients, who rank among the nation’s major emitters of greenhouse gases linked to climate change.

Yet another example, my friends, of Trump & Co. putting their own greed and that of their wealthy benefactors above the well being of this nation and its people.  My best guess is that this investigation will quietly fade away, that EPA head Andrew Wheeler will ensure it is all swept under the carpet, and that Wehrum will be replaced with an equally corrupt, noxious person.


Look what’s crawling out from under the rocks …

I’ve said it before and I say it again … when Donald Trump took the oath of office (which he has failed miserably at upholding) it was an invitation to all the slimy creatures to come crawling out from under the rocks where they had been hiding, lying in wait, biding their time.  Two examples …

A professor of law at University of Pennsylvania, Amy Wax, recently told a group of republicans last week that …

“Conservatives need a realistic approach to immigration that … preserves the United States as a Western and First World nation. We are better off if we are dominated numerically … by people from the First World, from the West, than by people who are from less advanced countries.”

Amy WaxWhat. A. Bitch.  She said her position is not racist because her problem with nonwhite immigrants is cultural, rather than racial.  Bullshit.  And … it isn’t only immigrants against whom she is prejudiced.  Last year, in an interview with a professor from Brown University, she said …

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Black student graduate in the top quarter of the class, and rarely, rarely in the top half.”

And then this …

Charlie Rispoli is a 14-year veteran of the police department in Gretna, Louisiana who apparently shares Ms. Wax’ view of how the demographics of this nation should be.  Last Thursday, he posted to his Facebook page …Rispoli

Rispoli and another officer who “liked” the post were both fired, but only five days later, when the public backlash became loud, or as Chief of Police Arthur Lawson said, “a ripple in a pond that became a tidal wave.” The incident is haunting.  How many police officers are there out there who share Rispoli’s view?  We already know there are police officers who would shoot a black man quicker than a white one … what next?

Representative Ocasio-Cortez’ response was, I think, precisely correct …

“This is Trump’s goal when he uses targeted language & threatens elected officials who don’t agree w/ his political agenda. It’s authoritarian behavior. The president is sowing violence. He’s creating an environment where people can get hurt & he claims plausible deniability.”


Sickening

As I occasionally do in the mornings, I checked Trump’s approval rating yesterday morning.  Yes, I know polls are subject to many vagaries and variables, but I use the FiveThirtyEight aggregate of polls, and while I don’t put a lot of store in the actual percentages, I think the trend is a fair indicator of the pulse of the nation.

Imagine my reaction when I saw that his approval rating was at it’s highest point since March 2017, shortly after taking office.  🤢  WHY????  Last night, I found the answer …

Trump has been prolific in his hate speech the past week, spewing trash talk against four congresswomen of colour and not letting up … every morning, while he sits on the potty, his tiny thumbs work the buttons of his twitting machine, never tweeting anything new or original, just the same hatred over and over and over.  Most of us are sick of it, most of us don’t even bother to read it anymore.  But … according to a Pew Research study, a large portion of republicans claim his speech makes them feel excited, proud, happy, and hopeful.  If this doesn’t make you feel sick …

PEW-study.pngI would love to hear from some republicans in response to this.  C’mon, tell me how the hell racist speech makes you feel excited or proud!  Granted, these only represent some 72% – 79%, but folks … on average that is 3 out of 4 republicans!  What the Sam hell is wrong with these people???  The democrats, however, say his speech makes them feel exhausted, concerned, angry and insulted.  I am an independent, but these days I might as well be a democrat, for I cannot imagine ever again voting for a republican with those attitudes.  In fact, I think I will change my party affiliation this week!


And now that my blood pressure is sky high, my teeth are cracked from gritting them, I will leave you with a cartoon to brighten your morning.'toon.jpg

Tidbits Of Good News For Mother Earth

Quite probably the single most crucial issue facing us today is the environment, and not only climate change, but dangerous agricultural chemicals, contaminated water supplies, and the killing of our wildlife as well.  Recently, there have been a number of court rulings favourable to the environment, and throwing small wrenches into Trump’s plan for global destruction.


Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ordered the EPA to finally take action on widespread demands from environmental groups to ban chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide.Farmer in tractor spraying herbicides over field with trailed sprayer in spring.For years, experts have raised concerns about chlorpyrifos, which is commonly used on crops including apples, wheat, and corn. The pesticide has been linked to cognitive problems, especially in children, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed it hazardous to humans. But it remains widely used in the United States, and under former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency denied a petition to ban chlorpyrifos, arguing that the science underlying the pesticide’s side effects is “unresolved.”  Same ludicrous argument the present administration keeps making about climate science.  Perhaps they simply do not understand science?

Last August, the 9th Circuit ordered the EPA to ban the pesticide within 60 days, but the Trump administration appealed. Now, the agency is once again facing a deadline. The court ruled Friday that the EPA has 90 days to decide on banning chlorpyrifos across the country, giving the agency until mid-July to act.

The courts may be losing patience with the administration on environmental issues such as this one, for Judge Margaret McKeown said …

“You’ve had 10 years or more to look at this. We’ve changed administrations, apparently we’ve changed science — how much more time do you need?”

It is far from finished, but the courts seem to be leaning more toward the environment than the EPA, a good sign at least.


On April 18th in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Judge Linda Parker ruled that people in Flint are free to sue the federal government over its mishandling of the city’s water problems.  In the past three years, I have written a couple of times about the water crisis in Flint Michigan, starting with Just Don’t Drink The Water back in early 2016.  Flint-MI-water-towerAlthough one of Trump’s campaign promises was to spend money on infrastructure problems, nothing … zero … has been done to alleviate the situation for the residents of Flint.  Two years ago, Flint community members sued the EPA for “mishandling” the crisis and failing to utilize the Safe Drinking Water Act to intervene and protect residents. Around 3,000 people are named in the lawsuit, which the government has sought to dismiss.

Judge Parker’s ruling does not necessarily find any federal employees negligent, but it does mean the government is not immune from a lawsuit.  It’s a small step, but one in the right direction.


Yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that …

  • Bans oil and gas exploration, development, and production in state coastal and tidal underwater land; and,
  • Prohibits construction of any new infrastructure in New York to transport oil and natural gas developed in the North Atlantic Planning Area, the federal government’s designation for federal waters offshore the tri-state area and New England.

Trump and his cabinet lackeys have proposed opening both the East and West coasts, as well as the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska to offshore drilling.  This new law is one that should be adopted by every coastal state in the nation.  After BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, oil contaminated more than 1,300 miles of coastline, harming fisheries, birds, and impacting endangered whales for generations to come.New-York-skyline-towersThe environment is much more important than the financial interests of the oil and gas industries, and it’s good to see at least some lawmakers acknowledging that.  Undoubtedly there will be court fights over this, but if every state follows New York’s lead, Trump will be long gone from office before all the suits are resolved.


Trump’s plan to reverse environmental initiatives in Alaska put in place by President Obama, took a double hit in federal court in late March.

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason ruled that the administration violated federal law with a proposed road that would split a wilderness area in a national wildlife refuge.  The proposed road was in order to give residents of a local village easier access to an airport, however the damage to the habitat for migrating waterfowl would have likely been severe and irrevocable.

Later the same day, the same judge ruled that Trump exceeded his authority when he reversed bans on offshore drilling in vast parts of the Arctic Ocean and dozens of canyons in the Atlantic Ocean.  The reason for the ban was to protect polar bears, walrus, ice seals and the Native villages that depend on the animals from industrialization and oil spills.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska is not happy about either of these rulings and predicts they will work their way through the court system until they reach the Supreme Court.  She’s probably right.  But, perhaps by then we will have a president who cares more about the environment and the survival of species than about the profits of the fossil fuel industry. 


All of these are good news, but they will undoubtedly be challenged and possibly lose the higher they go in the federal court system.  We the People must make our voices heard, must let Congress, especially the republicans in Congress, know that we don’t want offshore drilling, that we don’t want wildlife decimated, that we want potable drinking water, safe food, and that we want regulations that protect our planet rather than ones that protect oil companies or other corporations.

Happy Earth Day – Redux for 2019!!!

Today is Earth Day … the 49th anniversary of Earth Day, to be exact.  Last night, I was struggling, trying to write a new Earth Day post for 2019, the theme of which is “Protect Our Species”.  Motivation just would not come, so this morning I looked back on my prior years’ posts and found that last year’s post expresses my thoughts just as well as anything I could write today.  So, I am ‘re-cycling’ that post.  I will have more soon, for Earth Day is only a motivator — we must learn to be good stewards of our planet Earth every day.


Today is Earth Day!  I am always surprised by people who say, “Yeah, so???” Or those who say “What the heck is Earth Day?”  So, please bear with me while I explain very briefly.

History – In The Beginning

The concept for Earth Day was conceived in the mind of then-Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Nelson recruited help from Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey and others, and on April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 2018-4Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest honor given to civilians in the United States—for his role as Earth Day founder.

From Then To Now

Through the years, Earth Day has focused largely on global warming and a push for clean energy. Earth Day 2000 used the power of the Internet to organize activists, but also featured a drum chain that traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC for a First Amendment Rally. Earth Day 2000 sent world leaders the loud and clear message that citizens around the world wanted quick and decisive action on global warming and clean energy.Earth Day 2018-3Earth Day 2010 saw new challenges:  Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community all contributed to the narrative—cynicism versus activism.  Still, some 250,000 people showed up at the National Mall for a Climate Rally, launched the world’s largest environmental service project—A Billion Acts of Green®–introduced a global tree planting initiative that has since grown into The Canopy Project, and engaged 22,000 partners in 192 countries in observing Earth Day.

And In 2018???

Under the current administration, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) having been nearly decimated under the auspices of Scott Pruitt, the United States stands alone among all nations in eschewing the science of global climate change, and I am inclined to say that we have no right to even celebrate Earth Day.  However, thankfully, the vast majority of people in this nation are more intelligent than our leaders and understand how critical our environment and our stewardship of the planet earth is.

The Plastics Crisis

A mound of plastics

This year’s Earth Day theme is a call to end plastic pollution.  This year, a six-ton sperm whale washed up on the shores of southern Spain with 64 pounds of plastic in its stomach!  The plastic crisis is a truly global one, and the numbers are staggering: A 2015 study found that between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic makes it into the ocean from land each year. By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by weight.

Plastic is not biodegradable and does not break down in nature.  Some 32 percent of plastics end up in nature, where it often ends up in the bellies of fish, birds, and whales. 83 percent of drinking water samples all over the world were found to contain plastic fibers, even bottled water. Environmental activists are pushing to reduce or end the use of disposable plastics. Curbing plastic pollution is a key theme in this year’s Earth Day and there’s a high-profile campaign underway to ban plastic straws in particular. UK Prime Minister Theresa May called for a ban on plastic straws, swabs, and stirrers. Some researchers last year openly called for an international agreement to control plastic pollution.

Animal Extinctions

We failed to save the Northern White Rhino species, as the last male of the species died last month. His name was Sudan …

There are now only two Northern White Rhinos left in the world, both females.  Why did these animals become extinct?  Two main causes:  poaching and loss of habitat.  Humans must bear the blame for both.  In 1900, there were an estimated half-million of the rhinos.  By 1970, that number was reduced to 70,000.  And today the number is 2.

Global Warming

Earth’s polar regions are warming twice as fast as the average rate of the planet. NOAA scientists reported late last year that the Arctic losing ice at its fastest rate in at least 1,500 years. For the third year in a row. January saw the lowest extent of Arctic sea ice for the month on record. Researchers reported last year that a section of Greenland’s ice sheet suddenly started melting 80 percent faster. Another study found Greenland’s entire ice sheet is melting at its fastest rate in at least 400 years, and that the melt rate sped up drastically in 1990. If the entire Greenland ice sheet were to melt, it would raise global sea levels by more than 20 feet.

The climate change deniers can deny until they turn blue in the face, but facts speak louder than bullshit, and the facts tell us that we are losing this battle and will face our own extinction if we don’t take collective action soon.

In Summary

This is a post about Earth Day, but more to the point it is a post about the need for Earth Day.  It isn’t just about one day a year, about marches and articles such as this one, but it is about awareness.  The entire purpose of Earth Day is to raise awareness, to stir people to take action.  The U.S. government and Fox News will continue to deny the need to protect our environment, not because they are as stupid as they seem, but rather because they are as greedy as they seem.  But there is much that each and every one of us can do without the help of our elected officials.  Recycle, pick up trash when you see it on the streets or in your local parks, plant a tree, plant flowers to encourage pollination, turn the thermostat down, conserve water, reduce food waste, turn off lights, consolidate errands and trips in the car, walk more/drive less, take the bus … use some common sense and be a good steward of the planet.  And meanwhile, keep petitioning your elected officials at local, state and federal levels … let them know that a healthy environment is more important to you than the finances of the fossil fuel industry.  Please … my life and yours are at stake, but more importantly our children’s and grandchildren’s lives are at stake.

Happy Earth Day, my friends!  Why not celebrate by planting a sapling or a few flowers in the back yard?

Filosofa’s BIG Announcement!

Okay, folks … here is my big announcement:

I’ve decided to run for President of the United States in November 2020! 

Um … don’t everybody wear your hands out applauding now … well, a little bit of applause might be nice … okay, I’ll settle for those few chuckles I heard.

Now, I can’t afford a huge campaign, and I will NOT take a single dime from any business or lobbying interest, so that puts me at a disadvantage before I even get to the gate. However, I do have a few advantages over the rest of the pack, but I’ll get to those in a minute.

First, a few of my highest priorities:

  • Environmental
    • The United States will immediately, the day after I take office, rejoin the Paris Accord
    • All regulations on the fossil fuel and auto industries that were revoked by my predecessor will immediately be re-instated
    • I will petition Congress for emergency funding to re-build the Environmental Protection Agency and will nominate a conscientious person as director of that agency
    • We will enhance our renewable energy resources and provide incentives for companies to develop new sustainable energy sources
  • Constitutional Issues
    • I will support freedom of the press to the fullest, even when I don’t like what they say about me – the free press is our only hope for remaining a free people
    • Separation of church and state will be the law. There is no place for religion in government, and this government will support no particular religion over another
    • I will petition Congress for a ban on all assault weapons, and for expanded background checks, as well as training and licensing in order to obtain any sort of firearm
  • Education
    • All funding for the Department of Education will go toward public schools where all children will be treated equally; taxpayer money will NOT be used for ‘charter’ schools that benefit only the few
    • I will propose that Congress introduce legislation to provide free college tuition for a minimum of two years to all students whose annual family income falls below $100,000
    • School curriculums will be evaluated and re-designed as necessary in order to provide students with a well-balanced education that includes both career training and a liberal arts education
    • Religion will not be taught in public schools. Parents who wish their children to obtain religious training may send their children to religious schools at their own expense
  • Health Care
    • No person in the country will be without affordable healthcare. Most will pay according to their ability to pay, without such payment placing undo hardship.  Those who cannot afford to pay will receive free healthcare
    • There will be an ad hoc committee to study prescription drug costs and appropriate caps will be put on all pharmaceuticals
  • Taxation
    • The tax brackets will be expanded for those earning over $100,000 per year. Those whose net worth is $1 million or more will fall into the highest income tax brackets, to be determined before year end
  • Economy
    • Unfettered capitalism will cease to exist. My administration will place a higher value on human life than on GDP
    • The Chairman of the Federal Reserve will decide at what point it is prudent to raise or lower interest rates without coercion from myself or others. This is not a political agency, but one based on the best interest of the nation
    • We will aim for a balanced budget, or at least reduce the deficit by 20% each year, and will not increase the national debt beyond its current levels
  • International Relations
    • We will begin re-building trust among our allies in whatever way possible
    • We will hold Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the brutal murder of our journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year by severing any arms agreements, and imposing other sanctions as seen fit
    • There will be NO wall on our border

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but merely the top bullet points of my platform.  Now, what do I bring to the table, since it damn sure isn’t money or fame?

Honesty and integrity, for starters.  I will take not a single dime from any organization that seeks special favours or sees their donation as creating an obligation.  I will not lie … if I cannot tell you something, I will simply say that I cannot discuss it, but I will not lie or over-inflate my achievements.  I will demand the same from any cabinet members that I select.

Compassion and humanity.  I will put the people of this nation … all the people … ahead of profit.  One thing this means is that I will never demean or mock another human being.  We’ve had enough of that to last a lifetime.  I will not tolerate bigotry in any form. The emphasis of this government will be people, not weapons of war, not profit for the biggest corporations, but the well-being of people.

Literacy.  Unlike my predecessor, I have studied politics and history all my life, hold a B.S. in both Accounting and Political Science, and an M.A. in International Relations.  I have read the U.S. Constitution at least 50 times in the past 30 years and have taken a number of classes in Constitutional Law.  I have studied past presidents.  And I can write more than 5 words without a spelling error.  In other words, I know the difference between ‘origins’ and ‘oranges’.

Common Sense.  I am smart enough to realize that there are many, many things I will not know, but unlike my predecessor, I am willing to seek the advice of those who do know those things.  I am also smart enough to realize that sometimes we all make mistakes, but the important thing is to admit those mistakes, then take steps to rectify the errors.  This I will do.

And that, my friends, is all I have to offer.  Now all I have to do is find a running mate who shares my values and vision.  Any takers?

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

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

On The Fence Voters

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

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

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

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