HELP!!! — Part I

People who are not consumed by greed or blinded by Trumpism understand that the human race is racing toward self-extinction as a result of careless lifestyle habits in the industrial age.  It isn’t just one single thing, but a conglomeration of many things, the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, increasing use of plastics, increased consumption of beef and pork, overpopulation, far too many vehicles on the roadways, and more.  Credible climate science tells us that we have a very narrow window of time to take major steps to control and reverse the damage being done to the atmosphere.  And yet, while many countries are heeding the call, the United States is not, as a nation, taking the warnings seriously.

Point in case is this headline from ThinkProgress:

Republicans push anti-wind bills in several states as renewables grow increasingly popular

In regions like the South, the potential for renewable energy abounds. That isn’t going over well with fossil fuel interests.

Data shows that renewable alternatives to energy sources like coal are increasingly cheaper, in addition to helping offset greenhouse gas emissions. But as they continue to gain prominence, power sources like wind are becoming a popular target for those with a vested interest in fossil fuels. Now, opponents are using everything from national security arguments to targeting tax incentives in order to hobble wind power.

North Carolina is one of several states in which lawmakers are pushing new proposals to undercut wind energy. State Senator Harry Brown has proposed Senate Bill 377, the ‘Military Base Protection Act’, that posits that wind farms pose a national security risk and would essentially outlaw wind farms built on land within 100 miles of the state’s coast.

North Carolina’s Amazon Wind Farm, the first large-scale wind farm in the state, went through years of review and permitting studies, in addition to coordinating with the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense. Proponents of renewable energy say arguments about national security are just another way for fossil fuel interests to dissuade potential wind and solar investments in the state.

Folks, I don’t care if you’re republican or democrat, Christian, Jew or atheist, you are a member of the human race, and as such ought to care a bit more than this about our home.  Members of Congress, state legislatures, and voters need to wake the heck up!  CEOs of fossil fuel interests need to take their heads out of their patooties and realize that all that lovely money they are making isn’t going to do them a damn bit of good when they’re dead!  And dead is where they, their children, and their children’s children are going to be before the end of this century if this greed and ignorance continues!

An environmental firm, Energy Innovation in partnership with the grid analysis company Vibrant Clean Energy, issued a report on March 24th.  Their findings …

America has officially entered the “coal cost crossover” – where existing coal is increasingly more expensive than cleaner alternatives.  Today, local wind and solar could replace approximately 74 percent of the U.S. coal fleet at an immediate savings to customers. By 2025, this number grows to 86 percent of the coal fleet.

There is no longer any justification for the fight against renewable energy, and yet corporate greed and politicians in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry are trying to keep this nation from moving ahead.  Trump has claimed that there was a “war on coal” and that he is ending it, even calling for a bail-out of the coal industry.  There is no “war on coal”, but there is a battle to save the human race from extinction – a near certainty if we do not act soon.

Take Iceland, for example.  They are the country that generates the most clean electricity per capita on earth, with almost 100% of its energy coming from renewable sources.  Sweden, Costa Rica, United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark … the list goes on of countries that are taking climate change effects seriously and being proactive in the fight to save lives, to save the planet.  The United States does not even come close.  There are states, cities and even some companies that are doing their part, but the effort needs to be wide-scale, it needs to start at the federal level.

I wish to leave you with something to think about.  Look ahead just a few years.  Many countries will have, through great effort and planning, ceased drilling, mining, or using fossil fuels, but instead will be relying 100% on renewable energy sources.  They will have become carbon-neutral, have stopped using single-use plastics, and found innovative ways to clean up the air and coastlines.  The United States may be the only nation that is doing … nothing.  Now, our pollution doesn’t just affect us, but affects the entire globe.  If you were, say, Germany or the United Kingdom, how would you feel about this?

fat-baronI can foresee a time when the European Union joins with other nations to offer an ultimatum to the United States that, if ignored, could lead to all-out war.  I wonder if the fat coal and oil barons will still think their profits are so all-important?  Frankly, if they were smart men, they would have seen this coming long ago and began investing their resources into renewables, phasing out the coal mines and oil fields.  But they are not intelligent beings, only greedy ones.  And they don’t give a rat’s you-know-what about you or me, or even their own grandchildren.

It’s time to get serious about this, folks … matter of fact, it’s way past time.  Stay tuned, for I am not finished!solar-energy

Deep Sighs From Deep Within …

Filled with angst, I share with you today another version (what is this, version XXMVII?) of Snarky Snippets.  Deep breaths … in … out … in … out …


You know how, if you tell a child not to do something, he/she will do it or die trying? (I know this because I was once that child!)  It seems that such stubbornness is not limited to children, for humans around the globe are guilty of the same.

There has been no dearth of information about how CO2 emissions are causing damage to the atmosphere that will ultimately be fatal to the human race.  Humans have been advised, on a large scale in every nation on the globe, to cut back on energy use, and that the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas are among the largest offenders, putting more CO2 into the atmosphere, when renewable energy sources are more efficient, less toxic, and ultimately less costly.  But have we listened?  Apparently not!

The International Energy Agency released a report yesterday saying that energy demand around the world grew by 2.3 percent over the past year, marking the most rapid increase in a decade.WAKE UP PEOPLETo meet the increased demand, the report continues, some nations did, in fact, turn to renewables such as water, wind and solar energy.  Other nations, however, responded with increased use of fossil fuels, which satisfied nearly 70 percent of the skyrocketing electricity demand.  As a result, greenhouse-gas emissions from the use of energy — by far their largest source — surged in 2018, reaching a record high of 33.1 billion tons. Emissions showed 1.7 percent growth, well above the average since 2010.

Even as renewable energy rapidly expands, many countries — including the United States and China — are nevertheless still turning to fossil fuels to satisfy ever-growing energy demand.fossil-fuels

Way to go United States and China!  Why not just sign our death warrant?

Michael Mehling, deputy director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, described Monday’s findings:

“To me, all this reflects the fact that climate policies around the globe, despite some limited pockets of progress, remain woefully inadequate. They’re not even robust enough to offset the increased emissions from economic expansion, especially in the developing world, let alone to spur decarbonization at levels commensurate with the temperature stabilization goals we’ve committed to under the Paris Agreement.”

Yo, Republicans … want to pat your ‘hero’ on the back and say, ‘Way to go, Prez’?


In yet another effort to quash freedom of the press, the jerk-in-chief has urged major news networks to not allow on their shows several people, including Democratic lawmakers, who have been critical of him.  WHOA … STOP THE PRESSES!  Not even the president, as if we had one, has the right to dictate to the news media what of who they can or cannot cover!

Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, called on the networks to refuse six commentators:

  • Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut
  • Representative Adam Schiff of California
  • Representative Jerry Nadler of New York
  • Representative Eric Swalwell of California
  • Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez
  • Former CIA Director John Brennan

Why?  Because they, as well as millions of others of us, have criticized Trump and stated they (we) believe Trump did conspire with the Russians to sway the 2016 presidential election.  THIS is illegal.  It goes against the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.  I believe Trump conspired … I KNOW he did … so, come on, Murtaugh … I dare you to try to stifle me!

What a ‘fearless leader’ Trump is to be so scared of a little bit of criticism that he would willingly violate the very Constitution he took an oath to uphold!  Look how much criticism President Obama had to contend with, but never once … NOT ONE TIME … did he suggest stifling the freedom of the press!Obama-free-press-quote


Lastly (bet you’re glad, aren’t you?), you don’t hear much from or about ol’ Alex Jones lately, do you?  It could be because he’s been tied up in court a lot these days in the suit brought by Six families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.  Or, it could be because he has been banned by Twitter, Apple, YouTube, and Facebook.  Personally, I find it like a breath of fresh air not to see his ugly mug and hear his ranting conspiracy theories all over the ‘net.

But apparently, he still does a radio show … or internet show … does anybody still watch this crap?  Anyway, yesterday he began his show by saying ‘traitors’ should be executed, and defining traitors as, I gather, anybody brave enough to stand up to, or disagree with, Donald Trump.  Okay, typical fare for the Jones-inator, yes?  But in the background, while he was spluttering his message of hate, he was playing a video of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in the background.  Maddow took it all in good spirits …

Maddow

Y’know, Alex, your brand of ‘humour’ went out in the 1930s.  It’s old, Alex.  Take your retirement package and go live on an island somewhere, please?


Okay, folks, that’s all I’ve got for tonight.  You may have noticed that I haven’t written yet about the Mueller report, William Barr’s brief summary, or the right-wing street dances.  I will.  Give me a moment, please.  If I had written on Sunday or Monday what I thought, I would be sitting in a jail cell now.  I need to take just a few more deep breaths, let the hand pull me a bit more out of the rabbit hole, then you will hear my take.  Meanwhile, both Robert Vella and Jeff over at On The Fence Voters have written excellent posts on the topic.

DOA … Dead On Arrival

Fortunately, since we have a caveman at the helm, the president does not write the budget – Congress does.  The president can submit his proposal, his request or wish list, but at the end of the day, it is Congress who writes the budget.  Thankfully.

This week, Trump gave his wish list to Congress, and as we all suspected, it is atrocious.  In short, he wants to take as much as he can possibly take from We the People and give as much as he possibly can to his wealthy cronies, raising the already-staggering deficit in the process.  Let’s take a look at some of the most egregious items, shall we?

  • First, there is “the wall”. Since he couldn’t bully Congress into giving him the $5.7 billion he asked for to start work on the wall, he is now asking for $8.6 billion!  And this guy is supposed to be a master dealmaker?  The art of compromise is entirely lost on him!
  • Then there is the environment. His proposal is to cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by 31%.  It would cut the EPA’s Global Change Research office, which exists to provide scientific information to policymakers about the threats posed by climate change, as well as a number of other programs involving clean water and air.
  • Along similar lines, he proposes massive cuts to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) renewable energy and energy efficiency budget … some 70%!!! The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which falls under the DOE, provides hundreds of millions of dollars a year in grants and other financial assistance for clean energy, has financed research into technologies ranging from electric vehicles to energy projects powered by ocean waves. It has been credited with financing research to help make the cost of wind power competitive with coal, and cutting the costs of LED lighting.

Note that Trump has repeatedly vowed to zero out federal spending on clean energy research and development, while doing everything in his power to promote and even subsidize the fossil fuel industry.  The only conclusion that can be drawn is that either he truly desires the destruction of the human race, or he is really that damn stupid.

  • He proposes to cut safety net programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance, all programs that low-income families depend on for their very survival. In spite of inflation, he proposes to freeze the maximum Pell Grant for low-income college students.
  • He has also proposed to cut Medicare … that benefit that we all paid into every single paycheck of our lives … by $845 billion over the next ten years! And … he plans to cut $25 billion from Social Security … again, a program that we all paid 6.2% of our gross pay into every paycheck we ever earned in our entire lives!

Note that in 2016, when he was still a wanna-be, he said, “I’m not going to cut Social Security, like every other Republican, and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.” More damn lies! 

  • He also proposes to cut the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 16 percent and the Education Department by 12 percent.
  • He does, however, wish to increase the defense budget by $750 billion (that’s in addition to the $8.6 billion for his damn wall).

No part of the plan addresses increasing revenue, and in fact it extends the tax cuts for the wealthy that were passed in December 2017.  It is by no means a balanced budget, and will absolutely, without question add to the national debt and deficit, both of which are already out of control, by trillions of dollars.  What happened, I would ask, to those fiscal hawks that put Obama down for eight years for not balancing the budget, for deficit spending?  Yo!  Republicans!  Can y’all hear me out there in la-la land???  This ‘man’ you all think so much of, that you’re willing to lose friends over, is going to cut Social Security … the money you have saved for your retirement since the first day of your first job.  Are you going to continue to sit on those fat, white posteriors and not even raise a stink?

But, there is good news.  And that is …

Trump’s budget proposal does not stand snowball’s chance in hell of passing Congress!  Not even a slight chance.  Even the republicans don’t like it!  It is naught but his pie-in-the-sky wish list.  However … what it does do is it speaks volumes about Mr. Trump’s priorities, and his lack of concern for the people who put him into office.  A president is elected, in theory, by the majority of the voters.  In Trump’s case, he was not elected by the majority at all, but was nearly three million votes short of it.  One might think that would make him work a lot harder to win over those of us who did not vote for him, but instead, he devotes seemingly every waking moment to finding ways to stab us in the back.

We’re tired of it.  Instead of working with Congress to attempt to develop a budget that benefits the nation and its people, he is submitting a proposal that his own advisors have told him will not fly.  He is working against the very people he swore to represent.  His priorities are a wall, his rich cronies, his Star Wars-type toy, a ‘Space Force’, and other useless crap, for lack of a better word.  Meanwhile, the poor and middle class, the 99% of the nation, will suffer if he gets his way.  Those are his priorities, folks.  His budget proposal tells us exactly where we stand … out in the cold.

An Important Message …

I came across this video created by Greenpeace a few days ago.  Greenpeace, founded in 1971, is a non-governmental environmental organization focusing on worldwide issues such as climate change, deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering, and anti-nuclear issues.  Their mission statement:

Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

The video contains probably some of the worst singing you will hear this week, but the message is important, the message is one that needs to be remembered and shared.  Our lives, the lives of our children and their children are at stake here, and every person on this planet has the ability to make a difference.

Sickening …

I did not realize I was feeling ill until the following “breaking news” came popping up on my phone last evening …

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows is no longer under consideration to be Donald Trump’s chief of staff.

“Congressman Mark Meadows is a great friend to President Trump and is doing an incredible job in Congress. The President told him we need him in Congress so he can continue the great work he is doing there,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Meadows, a staunch Trump ally, had been a top contender for the position, and he had signaled his interest in recent days. But ultimately, aides said the president thought it best for him to remain in Congress, where he can continue to be a strong defender of the administration.

Now, first off, I am glad that Meadows, who is a grade-A, bigoted, radical right-wing jerk, is not going to be the new chief of staff.  But when I read that he is doing “an incredible job”, my stomach churns, and when I read that he is to stay in Congress “so he can continue the great work …” I am full on sick to my stomach.

For those who may be unfamiliar with Mr. Meadows, let me summarize …

  • Meadows voted against relief for Hurricane Sandy in 2013
  • He is anti-abortion and anti-birth control
  • Oddly, he claims to support a balanced budget, though he has largely contributed to the highest deficit we have seen in six years
  • He demanded that Trump get rid of all federal funding to study climate change
  • He also requested Trump repeal environmental regulations including the Renewable Fuel Standard, stop the prohibition of drilling oil on federal lands, and pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement
  • Meadows voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act
  • He has proposed that the United States should tap into oil and gas reserves to keep energy prices low, and to develop energy independence. He supports tapping into off-shore oil and gas supplies
  • Meadows opposes same-sex marriage
  • Meadows opposes any restrictions on gun purchases and opposes a national gun registry that would list detailed information about firearm ownership
  • He has voted numerous times to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  • He supports tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations, and is against net neutrality

House Freedom CaucusWell, you get the picture.  Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, and member of the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina is the worst of the worst of the republican party.  In essence, if it is good for the wealthy and bad for the rest of us, he is for it.  If it helps the average Joe, he will fight against it.  And he is considered one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress.  That tell you something?  This is a man whose conscience is measured in dollar signs.

And so now you might understand why, when I hear Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Don Trump refer to him as “doing an incredible job”, I feel ill.  An incredible job at what???  Destroying the nation and the global environment?  Sending women’s rights back two centuries? Mark Meadows-1You might ask just what the good people of North Carolina were thinking when they elected him for a fourth term last month, but the reality is that his district is so heavily gerrymandered that almost all minorities have been excluded.  He campaigned for the 2018 elections by touting his support of the madman Trump, while claiming that any republicans who didn’t support Trump should be removed from office.

Mark Meadows is, contrary to Ms. Sanders and Mr. Trump’s opinion, not doing a great job at anything.  He is the poster boy for why we need to have all district maps re-drawn to appropriately represent the voters.

So, we are left with the question … who will be the next chief of staff?  Nick Ayers and Rick Santorum have thus far turned down the job, Mark Meadows is out of the running … who’s left?  The three leading contenders appear to be acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, a former campaign manager David Bossie, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  But then, who knows … by tomorrow it could be Daffy Duck!  Whoever it is, I’m sure he or she will make a lovely addition to this circus of clowns.circus-1

Good People Doing Good Things — Greta Thunberg

After the Parkland school shooting last February, we saw many of our young people step up to the plate and become … well, the adults in the room, quite honestly.  They declared they had enough of adults being so stupidly in love with their guns that they were willing to sacrifice the very lives of these young people, and in nearly the blink of an eye, these young people became activists for meaningful gun regulations.

On Monday night, our dear friend Colette sent me an email with a suggestion that I look into another young activist fighting for a cause that we should all be fighting for.  Her name is Greta Thunberg, she is 15-years-old and lives in Sweden.  Greta is, as the Parkland kids were, being the adult in the room.  Her cause?  Climate change.

“Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.”

It takes a lot of courage for a teenage girl to make such a statement, and she is spot on!Greta-2Greta is the daughter of Svante Thunberg, an actor, and Malena Ernman, a well-known opera singer, both people of conscience, as you will see.  Greta developed her special interest in climate change when she was nine years old and in the third grade.  As she tells it …

“They were always talking about how we should turn off lights, save water, not throw out food. I asked why and they explained about climate change. And I thought this was very strange. If humans could really change the climate, everyone would be talking about it and people wouldn’t be talking about anything else. But this wasn’t happening.”

Nine years old, and she had better sense than many world leaders today.  She began researching climate change and has stayed on the topic for six years. She has stopped eating meat and buying anything that is not absolutely necessary. In 2015, she stopped flying on airplanes, and a year later, her mother followed suit, giving up an international performing career. The family has installed solar batteries and has started growing their own vegetables on an allotment outside the city.Greta ThunbergAll of that would be enough, in my book, to dub her a “good person”, but it is barely even the tip of the iceberg.  Fast forward to mid-August when Greta Thunberg went on strike.  That’s right … she went on strike, refusing to attend school until Sweden’s Parliamentary election on September 9th.  Every day, Greta sat quietly on the cobblestones outside parliament in central Stockholm, handing out leaflets that declare: “I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future.”

When people tell her she should be at school, she points to the textbooks in her satchel …

“I have my books here. But also, I am thinking: what am I missing? What am I going to learn in school? Facts don’t matter anymore, politicians aren’t listening to the scientists, so why should I learn?”Greta-3As word of Greta’s protest spread, so did the protest itself.  At last count, more than 20,000 students around the world have now joined her. The school strikes have spread to at least 270 towns and cities in countries across the world, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the US and Japan. Greta is amazed by the rapid spread of school strikes for climate around the world: “It proves you are never too small to make a difference.”

Greta has since returned to school four days a week, but on Fridays she pursues that which is closest to her heart these days, her activism, her attempt to wake us all up, to help us save ourselves.  Every Friday, she and others sit outside Parliament to raise awareness amongst legislators and passersby.  I may have forgotten to mention that Greta is autistic and has both ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Asperger’s Syndrome, all of which makes it very difficult for her to speak to other people, yet look at what she has done in spite of her obstacles!

This Monday was the opening of COP24, the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change being held for twelve days in Katowice, Poland.  Greta Thunberg held a press conference.  The sound quality is poor on the video, and I tried to find a better one, but no luck, so instead I am providing a transcript of her speech.

Greta-COP24For 25 years countless of people have stood in front of the United Nations climate conferences, asking our nations’ leaders to stop the emissions. But, clearly this has not worked since the emissions just continue to rise.

So, I will not ask them anything.

Instead I will ask the media to start treating the crisis as a crisis.

Instead I will ask the people around the world to realize that our political leaders have failed us.

Because we are facing an existential threat and there is no time to continue down this road of madness.

Rich countries like Sweden need to start reducing emissions by at least 15% every year to reach the 2 degree warming target. You would think the media and everyone of our leaders would be talking about nothing else – but no one ever even mentions it.

Nor does hardly anyone ever talk about that we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, with up to 200 species going extinct every single day.

Furthermore does no one ever speak about the aspect of equity clearly stated everywhere in the Paris agreement, which is absolutely necessary to make it work on a global scale. That means that rich countries like mine need to get down to zero emissions, within 6–12 years with today’s emission speed, so that people in poorer countries can heighten their standard of living by building some of the infrastructure that we have already built. Such as hospitals, electricity, and clean drinking water.

Because how can we expect countries like India, Colombia or Nigeria to care about the climate crisis if we, who already have everything, don’t care even a second about our actual commitments to the Paris agreement?

So when school started in August this year I sat myself down on the ground outside the Swedish parliament. I school striked for the climate.

Some people say that I should be in school instead. Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can “solve the climate crisis”. But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions.

And why should I be studying for a future that soon may be no more, when no one is doing anything to save that future? And what is the point of learning facts when the most important facts clearly mean nothing to our society?

Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground.

So, we can’t save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed.

So, we have not come here to beg the world leaders to care for our future. They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again.

We have come here to let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not. The people will rise to the challenge. And since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.

This young lady has courage beyond what I could have even begun to imagine when I was her age — or even now, for that matter!  She is an inspiration to so many others who have joined her in the good fight.  Every Wednesday I write this post about ‘Good People Doing Good Things’ … Greta Thunberg is by every measure a good person, and she is doing good things, not just for a few people, but for every living, breathing organism on this planet.  She is doing what our leaders haven’t the courage to do.  She is doing what none of us have the courage to do.  She is trying to save our lives.  I hope that the people with the money and more importantly, the power to do something listen to Greta and her words of wisdom, for all our lives depend on it.  If future generations stand a chance, it will be because of young people of conscience like Greta Thunberg.  Thank you, Greta.

Many thanks to Colette for this suggestion, and also for a number of emails containing links to information and video!  There is much more I could write about Greta Thunberg, but in the interest of time and space, I have included a few links below, for those who would like to know more.

Greta Thunberg: “Sweden is not a Role Model”

Greta Thunberg speaks in Katowice: ”Our leaders behave like children”

Greta on Twitter

Mind-Numbing, Jaw-Dropping Moments …

Two things in yesterday’s news were “Say WHAT?” moments.  Mind-numbing, jaw-dropping … the things that make you want to go live somewhere inside the Arctic Circle and forget you ever heard of the United States.

Ugly Trump“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers. As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it. You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean.” – Donald Trump in interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, 26 November 2018

One of the problems I have with that statement is that I cannot decide whether it sends me into gales of laughter or fits of rage.  “High levels of intelligence”???  Even his most avid followers must surely be either shaking their heads or laughing hysterically at that one!  Intelligence is definitely not one of the words I would use to describe this pimple on the posterior of humanity!!!

People who are truly intelligent have no need to point it out to others.  People who are truly intelligent realize that there are some topics on which others may be more well-educated, and therefore they listen to the opinions of scientists, advisors, etc.  People who are truly intelligent do not act stupidly 99% of the time.  People who are truly intelligent read books.  I could go on and on in this vein, but I think you get the picture.  Trump is undoubtedly the least intelligent person to have been in the Oval Office in my 67 years at least.  And no, I don’t say that because I dislike him immensely.  I immensely dislike Vladimir Putin, but I consider him a fairly intelligent man.

The second problem I have with this statement is that the thing Trump was claiming to be “not necessarily” a believer in was man-made climate change and the need to work cooperatively toward cleaning up our planet.  That, in itself, is proof enough that he is not possessed of ‘high levels of intelligence’.pollution-2And, it goes without saying, the third problem I have with his statement is the lie that our air and water right now are “at a record clean”.  He removed regulations that prohibited coal companies from dumping sludge into creeks and streams, he has reversed other regulations that controlled the amount of CO2 industries could put into the atmosphere.  Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed to weaken or roll back three key public health safeguards directly limiting particle pollution: the Clean Power Plan, clean car rules, and methane standards for the oil and gas industry. These safeguards also indirectly cut particle pollution by fighting climate change—which is fueling larger wildfires and unhealthier wildfire smoke.  Compared to China, our air and water may be relatively clean, but we are doing a lousy job keeping them that way, and in the last week or two, since the smoke from the California wildfires made its way across the nation to the East coast, people with asthma can tell the difference.

So no, there is nothing highly intelligent about either Mr. Trump or his statement of ignorance.  But since he disgusts me, let’s move on to Mississippi …


Hyde-SmithThis is the face of an extreme racist.  This is the woman who will be sitting in the U.S. Senate for the next two years, fulfilling the term of former Senator Thad Cochran, who resigned earlier this year due to illness.  This is the woman who has said she would like to sit in the front row at a lynching.

Yes, Cindy Hyde-Smith won the run-off election against democrat Mike Espy on Tuesday night.  For a brief time, when the returns first began rolling in, Espy was ahead by a slim margin, but with only 1% of the votes counted at that time, I was pretty sure I knew what came next.  When next I glanced over that way, she had a 9% lead and so it remained for the rest of the evening.

As Hugh reminded me not long ago, we must be careful about painting an entire group with the same brush, but I still contend that for this racist woman to win by 7.8%, or 68,585 votes, tells us some things about the majority of people in Mississippi.

The headline in the New York Times read …

In Electing Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi Stays True to Its Conservative Roots

Okay, ‘conservative roots’ are one thing, but blatant, crude, cruel racism is quite another – it is dangerous.  Regarding her win, Ms. Hyde-Smith said …

“The reason we won is because Mississippians know me and they know my heart. This win tonight, this victory, it’s about our conservative values, it’s about the things that mean the most to all of us Mississippians: our faith, our family.”

Translation:  The reason she won is that she is anti-immigration, pro-white supremacy, and her “values” mirror those of at least 54% of the state.  How much of this is due to voter suppression methods, I do not know.  Either way, though, 479,278 people voted for her.  479,278 people voted against Civil Rights, against equality, against LGBT rights, against women’s rights, and more.  Way. To. Go. Mississippians.


On that note, I am going to bed.  Good night, folks.  😴 💤

This Is Not A Game!!!

There are some stories that you can just look at the headline and call “BULL!”  Here are a few such:

Trump dismisses US climate change report

Trump: ‘We’re the cleanest’

Sen. Mike Lee gives a perfectly ridiculous reason to ignore climate change

G20 draft statement on climate change crafted to appease Trump, report says

California wildfires are the fault of ‘radical environmentalists,’ says Zinke

On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when most people were either sleeping off the calories from the day before, else out pushing, shoving and fighting for the best deals on Christmas gifts, the NCA climate report, which had originally been scheduled for release in early December, was quietly released on what is known as “Black Friday”.  There may have been hopes on the part of Trump and his fellow climate change deniers that it would go largely unnoticed, but that wasn’t the case.Climate change Portland paperMajor national and regional newspapers such as the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Mercury News, Miami Herald, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times and Washington Post carried stories about the report on their front pages.

The National Climate Assessment (NCA) assesses the science of climate change and variability and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century.  The report is required by Congress every four years and is issued by 13 federal agencies and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.  More than 1,000 people contributed to the report, including 300 leading scientists, roughly half from outside the government.

The report (link below) is 1,656 pages, but is handily broken into groups, with a nice summary.  I highly recommend you take at least a brief look at it, for this is important. Let’s take a look at the twelve key points:

  • Communities – Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.
  • Economy – Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century.
  • Interconnected Impacts – Climate change affects the natural, built, and social systems we rely on individually and through their connections to one another. These interconnected systems are increasingly vulnerable to cascading impacts that are often difficult to predict, threatening essential services within and beyond the Nation’s borders.
  • Actions to Reduce Risks – Communities, governments, and businesses are working to reduce risks from and costs associated with climate change by taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions and implement adaptation strategies. While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.
  • Water – The quality and quantity of water available for use by people and ecosystems across the country are being affected by climate change, increasing risks and costs to agriculture, energy production, industry, recreation, and the environment.
  • Health – Impacts from climate change on extreme weather and climate-related events, air quality, and the transmission of disease through insects and pests, food, and water increasingly threaten the health and well-being of the American people, particularly populations that are already vulnerable.
  • Indigenous Peoples – Climate change increasingly threatens Indigenous communities’ livelihoods, economies, health, and cultural identities by disrupting interconnected social, physical, and ecological systems.
  • Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services – Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society are being altered by climate change, and these impacts are projected to continue. Without substantial and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, transformative impacts on some ecosystems will occur; some coral reef and sea ice ecosystems are already experiencing such transformational changes.
  • Agriculture – Rising temperatures, extreme heat, drought, wildfire on rangelands, and heavy downpours are expected to increasingly disrupt agricultural productivity in the United States. Expected increases in challenges to livestock health, declines in crop yields and quality, and changes in extreme events in the United States and abroad threaten rural livelihoods, sustainable food security, and price stability.
  • Infrastructure – Our Nation’s aging and deteriorating infrastructure is further stressed by increases in heavy precipitation events, coastal flooding, heat, wildfires, and other extreme events, as well as changes to average precipitation and temperature. Without adaptation, climate change will continue to degrade infrastructure performance over the rest of the century, with the potential for cascading impacts that threaten our economy, national security, essential services, and health and well-being.
  • Oceans & Coasts – Coastal communities and the ecosystems that support them are increasingly threatened by the impacts of climate change. Without significant reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions and regional adaptation measures, many coastal regions will be transformed by the latter part of this century, with impacts affecting other regions and sectors. Even in a future with lower greenhouse gas emissions, many communities are expected to suffer financial impacts as chronic high-tide flooding leads to higher costs and lower property values.
  • Tourism and Recreation – Outdoor recreation, tourist economies, and quality of life are reliant on benefits provided by our natural environment that will be degraded by the impacts of climate change in many ways.

The report supports the data from the IPCC report, issued last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. The IPCC was established by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to review and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change.  Currently 195 countries are Members of the IPCC, and thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC.

So, we have two independent reports with data from a wide variety of the scientific community, both saying essentially the same thing.  Both should be a wake-up call to everyone.  But is the so-called leader of the United States, Donald Trump, awake?  No.  He told reporters on Monday that he had “read some of” Friday’s report, but the ‘man’ who still doesn’t understand the difference between ‘climate’ and ‘weather’ takes no responsibility and largely says he doesn’t believe either of these reports.

“You’re going to have to have China and Japan and all of Asia and all these other countries, you know, it  addresses our country. Right now we’re at the cleanest we’ve ever been and that’s very important to me. But if we’re clean, but every other place on Earth is dirty, that’s not so good. So I want clean air, I want clean water, very important.”global warmingThink of the wildfires in California.  Take a look at this graph showing the increase in expenditures to fight wildfires since 1985:

wildfire graph

Consider the severe hurricanes we have experienced over the past two years.  There can be no doubt in any thinker’s mind that we are destroying our environment.  Trump and the other climate change deniers claim that increased fossil fuel use creates jobs and boosts the economy.  They claim that removing constraints and regulations from industries enhances corporate profits, thereby adding to the economy.  All of which is, first off, lies, and secondly, irrelevant if we bring about the extinction of not only the human race, but every other living creature on this planet.  And that, folks, is exactly what we are doing.  You don’t have to understand the science to know that it is credible. All you have to do is look around, read the newspaper, think!

Other nations would be well within their rights to be furious with the U.S. for pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord and reversing course on environmental protection.  I would hazard a guess that ultimately, the United Nations will issue an edict that, if ignored, will lead to a war.  This is too important to ignore.  Trump thinks this is a game, thinks it is all about money.  It isn’t a game, and frankly, all the money in the world won’t matter if we don’t wake up and smell the coffee … SOON!

Links to reports (all links open in separate tabs):

NCA Report

IPCC Report

Cause of Death: Donald Trump

This column by The Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson speaks for itself … in fact, the title says it all …

Our planet is in crisis. We don’t have time for Trump’s foolishness.

Eugene-RobinsonHere is how to interpret the alarming new United Nations-sponsored report on global warming: We are living in a horror movie. The world needs statesmen to lead the way to safety. Instead, we have President Trump, who essentially says, “Hey, let’s all head to the dark, creepy basement where the chain saws and razor-sharp axes are kept. What could go wrong?”

The answer is almost everything, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The impact of human-induced warming is worse than previously feared, the report released Monday says, and only drastic, coordinated action will keep the damage short of catastrophe.

To this point, climate change has been a slow-motion calamity whose impacts, month to month and year to year, have been hard to perceive. Unfortunately, according to the report, that is about to change.

The burning of fossil fuels on an industrial scale has raised global temperatures by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. That may not sound like much, but look at the consequences we’re already seeing: Stronger, slower, wetter tropical storms. Unprecedented heat waves. Devastating floods. Dying coral reefs. A never-before-seen summer shipping lane across the Arctic Ocean.

Meanwhile, humankind continues to pump heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a tragically self-destructive rate. The IPCC calculates that a further temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius — almost inevitable, given our dependence on coal, oil and gas — would be challenging but manageable. An increase of about 2 degrees, however, would be disastrous.

What’s the difference? With a 1.5-degree rise, about 14 percent of the world’s population would be vulnerable to severe and deadly heat waves every five years; with a 2-degree rise, that figure jumps to 37 percent. With a 1.5-degree rise, an additional 350 million city dwellers worldwide will face water shortages; with a 2-degree rise, 411 million people will suffer such drought. With a 1.5-degree rise, coral reefs will experience “very frequent mass mortalities”; with a 2-degree rise, coral reefs will “mostly disappear.”

Small differences can have huge impacts. Under the 1.5-degree scenario, up to 69 million people will be newly exposed to flooding. Under the 2-degree scenario — which the report estimates would boost sea-level rise by as much as 36 inches — the number rises to 80 million.

Please don’t dismiss all of this as just another boring compendium of carefully hedged facts and figures. I have followed the IPCC’s research since covering the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The new report strikes a different tone that combines weary fatalism with hair-on-fire alarm. In dry, just-the-facts language, it predicts declining fisheries, failing crops, more widespread risk from tropical diseases such as malaria, economic dislocation in the most-affected countries — and, by logical extension, greater political instability.

All of these impacts are bad with 1.5 more degrees of temperature rise. With 2 degrees they are much, much worse.

The obvious solution is to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. The IPCC says emissions need to decline by at least 40 percent by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050, if we are to hold warming to 1.5 degrees. Yet last year, according to the International Energy Agency, global emissions hit an all-time high.

Since 2016, representatives of 195 nations — including all the big emitters — signed on to the landmark Paris agreement calling for systematic emissions reductions beginning in 2020. But Trump, who has ignorantly called climate change a “hoax,” decided to withdraw the United States from the pact. Even worse, Trump is aggressively trying to increase reliance on coal, which contributes a disproportionate amount of carbon dioxide emissions compared with other fossil fuels.

U.S. carbon emissions actually fell slightly in 2017, because of the expansion of the renewable energy sector. But Trump administration policies are designed to reverse that trend; and if they fail to do so, it will be because the rest of the world is already moving toward clean energy — a huge economic shift that threatens to leave the United States behind.

When you read the IPCC report, you see that what the world really needs is visionary leadership. As the world’s greatest economic power and its second-largest carbon emitter, the United States is uniquely capable of shepherding a global transition to renewable energy. Instead, the Trump administration rejects the science of climate change and actively favors dirty energy sources over clean ones.

Humanity has no time for such foolishness. “I’m the president of the United States. I’m not the president of the globe,” Trump thundered at a recent rally. On what planet does he think this nation resides?