Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Friday Linkage 9/20/2019

The hardest lesson to impart to children is the idea that they are the ones responsible for their actions.  Heck, it is hard for adults to learn this lesson.

The current occupant of the White House places blame for everything that swirls around him on someone else.  He even blames his orange skin on something other than himself. If you are the color of a cheese puff in natural sunlight, it’s on you.  If you are the color of an oompa loompa under the lights of an arena during one of your fascist-esque rallies, it’s on you.  Blame LED light bulbs all you want, but your desire to mask your pallid skin with spray tan is all Donald, all the time.

On to the links…

The New Face of Climate Activism is Young, Angry — and Effective—We can hope.  We can hope that this generation will do better than previous generations.  We can hope.

Five CEOs Tell Us Why They’re Joining the Climate Strike—These CEOs understand that the climate strike represents the future.

Unfriendly Climate—We live in a society where elected officials without any scientific training or respect for science are allowed to make speeches and policy regarding science.  Why is it acceptable for someone to say, “I am not a scientist…” and then follow it with pseudo-scientific thought passed off as rigorous truth?

American Migration Patterns Should Terrify the GOP—Demographics may be destiny, but will that destiny get here before the radical GOP wrecks the country.

Renewable Energy to Overtake Natural Gas in the U.S. by 2035—2019 is the tipping point?  How do we accelerate the transition?  What is holding it back?

First National Platform for Renewable Energy Helps Consumers Slash Electric Bills up to 20%–Step by step renewable energy is becoming the default.  Energy exchange platforms allow for producers and consumers who are not linked physically to transact for available renewable energy.

It’s That Light Bulb Moment: Time For A Radical Rethink Of Power Generation Based On Renewables—It’s not radical, it’s rational.

Air Pollution Particles Found on Fetal Side of Placentas—We are now exposing our children to pollution before they ever draw a breath of air. We are doomed.

Monsanto’s Spies—This is the world we live in now.  Monsanto, a giant agri-chemical company, employs “spies” to discredit its critics.  These are the same critics who have had the temerity to question the safety of its products and the ethics of its business practices.

More Residents Turn to Solar Power as North Coast Faces Growing Threat of Wildfires, Blackouts—This is the future.  As centralized power generation becomes more expensive, less reliable, and non-existent in some cases individuals and communities will turn to locally produced energy.

Climate Change: Electrical Industry’s ‘Dirty Secret’ Boosts Warming—I have never heard of sulphur hexafluoride until this article.  How many “dirty secrets” of our modern world like this exist?

$1M a Minute: The Farming Subsidies Destroying the World—We, as a society, subsidize the very practices which are causing climate change.  Imagine, for a moment, if we deployed that level of subsidy toward practices that regenerate the environment and promote a better world.

Hormel, Kellogg’s Getting Into the Plant-Based Meat Business—Have we reached the tipping point for plant based meat alternatives?

Ireland Plans to Ban Single-Use Plastics—Here is why nothing short of bans work to eliminate things like single use plastics…people are really freaking lazy.

Colorado Plans to Abandon its Battle Against the Emerald Ash Borer—We have lost the war against this pest wherever it has been found.  The goal now must be to rebuild the forest, urban or otherwise, with a wide variety of tree species so that we never have a problem like this again.

The Air Force Spent More at Trump’s Scottish Resort than Originally Thought—It is just run of the mill government corruption.  I cannot wait for this to be over in January 2021.  Is it really more than a year away?

Why Don’t Americans Wear Helmets in the Shower?—It’s a silly question meant to spark a debate about helmet shaming.  Listen, I wear a helmet whenever I ride a bicycle because in America cars are out to kill you.  I live in an area with a lot of cyclists and the cars are still out to kill us.  I cannot imagine living somewhere with less of a cycling subculture.

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What Does Rob Blum Have to Say for Himself?

Iowa’s incumbent 1st District Congressman Rod Blum does not want to answer for his record or, rather, his lack of a record on any issues of substance during his two terms in Congress.

As a member of the arch conservative House Freedom Caucus, Blum has been a rubber stamp for some of the worst impulses of the modern right wing in America.

Tax cuts that bankrupt the Treasury, but enrich the wealthiest Americans?  Check.

Attempting to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act without offering anything in the way of a replacement that would protect average Americans?  Check.

Allowing corruption to run rampant through his own caucus with nary a word of protest?  Check.

Providing no oversight or investigations into the corrupt and unethical Trump administration because a notionally Republican president is a good thing for their own agenda?  Check.

Well, what do you expect from a member of Congress embroiled in his own ethical scandal who trots out the well-worn Trump line that any investigation into a Republican is a “witch hunt?”

Furthermore, Rod Blum will not answer to his own constituents about these and many more issues.  In the past two weeks I have contacted his office on ten separate occasions regarding questions of revocation of U.S. citizens passports, general corruption in the Trump administration, breaches of security protocols at all levels of government, and unethical behavior on the part of the president without a single response beyond a form email acknowledging my contact.

It is time for Rod Blum to do something for the people of Iowa and walk away.  I am sure that the money he secured for himself by cutting his own tax bill will provide enough succor on those cold winter nights in Dubuque.

Running Rod Blum

Rod Blum is running.

Rod Blum is running for reelection in Iowa’s 1st District.  Congressman Blum is considered one of the more vulnerable Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections.   The 1st district went heavily for Barack Obama in 2012, but swung Trump’s way in 2016.  In 2018 the district is likely to snap back and smack Rod Blum in the teeth.

Rod Blum is running from his unethical behavior.  In true Trumpian fashion Congressman Blum has declared any investigation into his unethical behavior to be a witch hunt.

Rod Blum is running from hard questions.  Just like the time Congressman Blum ran out of an interview rather than answer a question, he has gone silent on any number of issues that pertain to the ethical and/or criminal activities of the Trump administration.

Rod Blum is running from his own record in Congress.  Rod Blum has a 100% score from Americans for Prosperity.  You know those guys because the organization is basically a front for the Koch’s to spend millions of dollars of dark money in the hopes of influencing elections and getting legislation passed that allows them to profit off the people of America.  Rod Blum has a 93% score from the National Rifle Association.  Yes, the same National Rifle Association that clings to ridiculous rhetoric in the face of changing public opinion and scores of school shootings.  Heck, Rod Blum as a 70% rating from the freaking John Birch Society.

Rod Blum is running and hopefully in January he is running home to Dubuque from Washington D.C.

Why No Hearings or Investigations Congressman Blum?

In 2016 Rod Blum was very concerned about the state of security around Hilary Clinton’s emails.  During a hearing, in which the technical expertise of Clinton was roundly mocked, Blum noted, “This would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.”

I am very happy to see that Rod Blum is concerned about the serious nature of security lapses in a presidential administration.  Surely, he has called for hearings or investigations into similar lapses by the Trump administration?

The sound you hear is crickets coming from the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives.  For all of the fire and fury around emails when Barack Obama there has been no outcry over the many security lapses of the Trump administration.

Starting this week I have sent an email per day on the subject of the lack of investigations and/or hearings into the many issues surrounding the current presidential administration.  At the end of this post you can see the sample text that I have been sending.

Here is what Rod Blum’s office sent in reply to pointed questions about hearings or investigations of security lapses under the Trump administration:

“…”

That is right.  I have heard nothing in response to many inquiries.  Why?  Republicans in Congress do not give a shit about what Trump does as long as he keeps delivering on their corrupt agenda.

The general thrust is that Republicans could give a shit what Trump does as long as he cuts taxes, installs compliant activist judges, and generally does the bidding of the kleptocrat class without making them look too bad.  He has succeeded on the first two, but Trump is a miserable freaking failure when it comes to not being an embarrassment.

Republicans in Congress have the power to convene hearings and conduct investigations into the corrupt practices of the Trump administration.  You can rest assured that as long as Republicans control Congress that this power will be kept under lock and key.

What say you Rod Blum?

115th Congress is Complicit in Trump’s Rampant Corruption

There is a spreadsheet circulating among Republicans and, thanks to some investigative reporting and the internet, it is circulating freely among us.  The gist is that this spreadsheet details the list, which is growing daily, of matters that will be investigated under a House of Representatives led by Democrats.

The list includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • President Trump’s tax returns
  • Trump family businesses — and whether they comply with the Constitution’s emoluments clause, including the Chinese trademark grant to the Trump Organization
  • Trump’s dealings with Russia, including the president’s preparation for his meeting with Vladimir Putin
  • The payment to Stephanie Clifford — a.k.a. Stormy Daniels
  • James Comey’s firing
  • Trump’s firing of U.S. attorneys
  • Trump’s proposed transgender ban for the military
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s business dealings
  • White House staff’s personal email use
  • Cabinet secretary travel, office expenses, and other misused perks
  • Discussion of classified information at Mar-a-Lago
  • Jared Kushner’s ethics law compliance
  • Dismissal of members of the EPA board of scientific counselors
  • The travel ban
  • Family separation policy
  • Hurricane response in Puerto Rico
  • Election security and hacking attempts
  • White House security clearances

Wow.

But what about Hilary’s emails?  Do you see the ninth item on the list above?  Trump’s administration is doing the same damn thing, but I do not see Trey Gowdy getting his Skeletor undies in a bunch over the issue.

Remember, the midterm election is 69 days away from today.  If your Representative or Senator is a Republican who has not called for an investigation or, at the very least, hearings on all of these issues there needs to be a reckoning.  Call and email them frequently to get them on the record as to where they stand in opposing the rampant corruption of the Trump administration.

If they demure, remind them of the time spent on Clinton’s email “scandal” and the events that occurred in Benghazi.  Remind them that Clinton spent hours, under oath, in hearings.  Ask for the same treatment of Trump’s administration.  It’s only fair.

If not, remind them and everyone you meet that the midterm election is a referendum not just on Donald Trump but it is a referendum of the complicit nature of the 115th United States Congress.

I cannot wait to see what Rod Blum’s office says in response.

You Must Read—What You are Getting Wrong about Appalachia

9780998904146.jpgNot since Jon Krakauer disemboweled Greg Mortenson in Three Cups of Deceit has an author gone quite for the jugular of a popular book like Elizabeth Catte does in What You are Getting Wrong about Appalachia.  The target of her ire is J.D. Vance and his uber popular Hillbilly Elegy.

The word Appalachia is really a code word for the dog whistle politics of the right wing.  It conjures all sorts of images of humble working class folk wronged by the liberal politicians of the coastal states.  Too bad this is all just a bunch of bullshit and Catte calls people like Vance to the carpet for perpetuating simplistic stereotypes for financial gain.  Make no mistake, Vance has sold whatever credibility and authenticity he had to being “Appalachian” long ago.  Please, do not take my word for it.  Read this excerpt from page 93:

Vance is a well-educated person of means with a powerful platform who has chosen to accept a considerable amount of fame and wealth to become a spokesperson for the region.  Since he is such an enormous fan of personal responsibility, I am thrilled to hold him responsible for his asinine beliefs and associations.  Appalachian blogger Kelli Haywood, in her essays on Elegy, objects to the individuals who claim that Vance isn’t authentically Appalachian because he migrated outside the region.  I don’t give a damn about geography, but I’ll not that Vance has transcended one of the most authentically Appalachian experiences of them all: watching someone with tired ideas about race and culture get famous by selling cheap stereotypes about the region.

Damn.  J.D. Vance is really just a road side carnival barker selling the United States at large on a drive by tourism of tired Appalachian tropes.

Here’s the thing: Catte is spot on in her criticism.  We, as a nation and especially the media, would like nice and neat narratives about regions like Appalachia because it allows us to fool ourselves into a sense of cultural complacency.  Appalachia is poor and dependent upon extractive industries for whatever economic good fortune might trickle its way.  Iowa is rural and the price of corn or soybeans is the single most important economic indicator on any given day.  Oklahoma is run by the oil and gas lobby…oh wait, that one is probably true.

You get the idea.  We want Appalachia to be easy to understand because it makes our own communities easier to understand.  It is not easy to grapple with an Appalachia that was and, to some degree, remains a place where radical workers reside and resistance to coal companies, as opposed to the assumed subservience, was a hallmark of the holler.  It is not easy to imagine an Appalachia that is increasingly diverse as African Americans and Hispanic populations grow while the Caucasian population declines.  God forbid we try to wrap our minds around an Appalachia that contains members of the LGBTQ community.  Whoa nelly!

Appalachia is America and the sooner we realize that truth is the sooner that we become a better country.

Are Baby Boomers Evil?

This weekend I finished Bruce Cannon Gibney’s Generation of Sociopaths How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America.  I hesitate to recommend the book as a “must read” because it’s point is somewhat repetitive throughout the course of the book making it seem more like a personal attack on an entire generation rather than a statistically backed takedown of an entire generation.  In fact, you could make the case that the book is both of those things at the same time depending upon where you are at in your reading.

Nevertheless, I believe that the core tenant of the book—America’s problems are, fundamentally, caused by the selfish behavior of the Baby Boomer generation—bears some consideration as we muddle through the second year of the presidency of someone who the Baby Boomers basically elected.

In essence, I believe the story can begin and end with Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the presidency.  Donald Trump is a Baby Boomer having been born in 1946 at the beginning of the cohort born from approximately 1943 through approximately 1964.  He represents all of the worst characteristics of the generation—narcissism, aversion to authority other than that derived from their own person, indifference to facts or expertise, hostile to criticism, inability to consider sacrifice, lack of empathy, and so on.  You even get some of the other characteristics like divorce, love of television, taste for fast food, and an attraction to ostentatious displays of affluence.  It is as if the Baby Boomers decided to create a 151 proof version of all of their bad traits and put that person in the White House.

Baby Boomers are even to blame for this man’s election.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the voting statistics behind the 2016 election by demographic cohorts.  Older, white males who identified as conservative loved Donald Trump.  Basically, you Uncle Carl who likes to get lit at Thanksgiving and tell everyone at the table that America is going to hell elected the worst president in modern memory.  Knowing Baby Boomers the generational cohort will likely take no blame and pin the result on everyone but themselves.  Good lord!

But why did Baby Boomers elect Donald Trump over another member of their generation?  Do you remember the move The American President?  Toward the end of the movie President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas, excoriates his political nemesis Bob Rumson, played by Richard Dreyfuss:

We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: Making you afraid of it, and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle age, middle class, middle income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and character and you wave an old photo of the president’s girlfriend and you scream about patriotism. You tell them she’s to blame for their lot in life. And you go on television and you call her a whore.

If that does not sound like the playbook of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign I do not know what does.  It is like he saw the movie, the man likes his television, and said, “I got it.  I will be just like Bob Rumson!”  Add in Fox News, Twitter, and a Russian connection…you get the idea.

While we can place blame for the election of Donald Trump on a lot of different factors with baby boomer support being just one, I think the special election for Senate in Alabama was a more insightful example.  By all accounts, the Republican candidate for the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions should have been elected in a cakewalk over any Democrat, unless Nick Saban decided to run for the office as a Democrat.  However, the Republican party put forth Roy Moore, Jr. as a candidate because when it’s primary season you never know what kind of crazies are going to make the ballot.  Just ask Virginia’s state GOP how that is going.

When all the voting was done Roy Moore, Jr. lost to Doug Jones in a fairly close election.  Given the outlandish nature of Roy Moore, Jr. as a politician, judge, and basic human being it should have been a disaster for the GOP.  What happened?  Makes supported Roy Moore, Jr. 56 to 42 according to exit pools.  Even more telling was that people over the age of 45 supported Roy Moore, Jr. by a large margin.  The exit polling from this race is just fascinating. You can disagree with policies all day long but when you cast your vote for a man with no regard for the law who happens to be a serial pedophile just because he is a Republican you are evil.  Thank god that African Americans, women in particular, turned out in force for Doug Jones and saved our democracy the spectacle that could have been.

Sorry baby boomers, but the evidence is starting to make me agree with Bruce Cannon Gibney and I did not want to do that.  The challenge facing us is to sweep aside this generation of leaders and put people in place who actually want to solve problems as opposed to ensuring that largesse continues to flow.