Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Venn Diagram of Bad Presidents

This Venn diagram has been making the rounds on the internet over the course of the past week:

History is a cruel mistress.

Standing at the center of certifiably bad outcomes for U.S. presidents is one Donald J. Trump.

I have long said that when the dust settles and historians tally up the score the past four years will be remembered as the most corrupt in American history.  This is coming from a country that had Warren G. Harding as a president.  That guy used to be considered the exemplar of bad presidents.

I wonder how long before the imagineers at Walt Disney can get the Hall of Presidents updated to reflect our new reality?

Four Weeks to Save the United States

It goes without saying that the last four years or so have been an abomination.  Heck, I could go back as far as the moment Donald Trump glided down the escalator in his 1980s fever dream of a building lobby to announce he was running for the Republican nomination for president.  Regardless, it has been a difficult four years for anyone with more sense than a sack of potatoes.

In four weeks we hope to have the contours, if not the exact picture, of what a future United States will look like.  At least speaking in political terms.

In four weeks we have the opportunity to save the United States from itself.

Think about this for a moment.  Right now, millions of people are out of work because of the coronavirus and the economy is teetering on the edge of a depression like decade.  It’s the second of these events in our working lifetimes.  You would think that Republicans in the Senate would be clamoring to provide at least the appearance of assistance to the majority of Americans.

Nope.  Mitch McConnell can speed through the appointment a Supreme Court justice to a lifetime on the bench, but he cannot be bothered to even vote on a coronavirus relief package.  I am sure that if there was a huge tax cut he would marshal the votes.  A man has got to have priorities.

In four weeks we have to change course because there is no way that our country can handle four more years of this shit.

We cannot handle four more years of racist dog whistles becoming actual government policy.  We cannot handle four more years of enabling white supremacists.  We cannot handle four more years of blatant corruptions and graft.

Early voting has opened in Iowa this week.  Lines have reportedly been forming at the satellite voting locations and that makes me encouraged that people are motivated to bring change forward.  The status quo is just too dangerous.

They Forgot the Bread

The Roman poet Juvenal is generally credited with having created the phrase “bread and circuses” to illustrate Roman emperors desire for the superficial appeasement of lower classes at the expense of wider concerns.

In the modern context, it has generally been applied to organizations—political, social, commercial, etc.—that provide some level of material comfort and superficial entertainment to mask shifts in the underlying foundations of civil society.

Think about large land grant universities in the United States.  These institutions have generally raised tuition at levels much higher than the corresponding rates of inflation, increased class sizes to levels that would make most concerned educators blush, and allowed departments—athletic, academic, or administrative—to become nearly autonomous fiefdoms free from any sort of oversight.  Do the students these institutions purport to serve revolt?  Nope.  As long as the revenue sports keep them entertained and the cheap beer flows from lukewarm kegs no one raises a single cry of outrage.  It’s not bread and circus.  Rather it’s Beer and Circus.

However, in recent years the primary mother fuckers behind this cynical strategy seem to have forgotten that you need to at least provide some comfort to people in order to keep them mollified.  In an excellent piece of angry opinion writing Daily Kos community member Haricot Blue wrote:

Yes, you were sitting pretty.   And all you had to do to keep it that way was to not wage a racist, scorched-earth war against the first Black President of the United States.  That’s all!  That is the only thing you dumb, stupid idiots had to do:  swallow your pride, smile, shake hands, and play nice with one of the most charismatic, inspiring, intelligent and genuinely moral politicians in American history. 

Barack Obama didn’t want to ruin you, you dumbasses!  He wasn’t out to confiscate your estates, kill your grandmas, and force you into re-education camps!   All he wanted was a more humane, less cruel, less racist version of the system that made you rich.  You should have wanted that too!  Not because you care about other people — for your own good!   But you were too stupid.

What would it have cost you?  A moderate tax hike?  More oversight from nosy bureaucrats?  Some limits on your environmental depredations and exploitation of workers?  Maybe a few more women and people of color showing up at the Executive Retreat?   And in return, millions of your fellow citizens would have health coverage, a living wage, affordable education and child care, clean air and water, some disposable income and free time – in short, a stake in the system.  

Instead, these mother fuckers—yes, I use the term lovingly—took everything that they possibly could and supported the election of the worst president in the history of the United States.  Now they are surprised that people are pissed and want change.

A little bread would have gone a long way, but Mitch McConnell has never been one to concede an iota if it means that the same iota has to come from his pocket.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost, so to speak, and with an election coming up in a little over four months things are looking increasingly worse for the Republican Party.  Not that it could happen to a better bunch of mother fuckers.  These are the people who spent eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency obstructing every idea, no matter how aligned with their priorities, because…um…that’s right, he was the black guy.  Then they stood behind the racist troll as he laid bare the reality of American politics.  That is to say, there is a large percentage of people who will vote based on nothing more than racial animas and perceived lack of standing.  Never mind that it has been Republican policies since the 1980s that have destroyed what little standing those same people had in the first place.  It is just easier to blame someone with darker skin, drink a Natty Light, and complain about Colin Kaepernick.

I can hope, dear god I can hope, that come November enough people are sick of this carnival barker’s sideshow and his Republican freak show to usher the mother fuckers out into the cold D.C. air in January.  The think tank jobs and Fox News gigs will be cushy, but at least we will not have to hear them lecture the nation on…whatever, I stopped listening at about the same time as that Tea Party bullshit.

Friday Linkage 1/3/2020

Welcome to 2020.  What will the New Year and new decade bring?  I have a list of things I hope will happen, but I do not want to jinx the possibility of actual progress by writing those things downs.

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable holiday and is ready to make 2020 a great year for all people.

On to the links…

Trump Vs. Toilets (And Showers, Dishwashers And Lightbulbs)—This is like your drunk Uncle Carl from Thanksgiving getting to be President of the United States.  Just when you think the situation is at its nadir, Trump steps up to the podium and delivers a new stream of drivel.  What will the campaign bring out from this monster?

Rise Of The Wind Turbines – The Force Is With Them And They Are Great For America—Trump may not like wind turbines because a wind farm in Scotland “mars” his view from his golf course, but the verdict is that wind turbines are good for the economy and the environment.

Who’s Gonna Win The Race For Floating Offshore Wind Turbines, Maine Or California?—Whoever wins the race means that we all win as offshore wind comes online in the United States.  If you thought onshore wind was a good thing then you will love offshore wind.  Imagine wind turbines bobbing near markets along the eastern seaboard.

Fossil Fuels Fall to Record Low Proportion of UK Energy Mix—Almost 39% of electricity from renewables seems amazing for an entire country for an entire year.  We’re not talking about a day or a week or a month, but a year.

With Most Electricity From Renewables, South Australia Has Lowest Utility Cost—So, in South Australia you get more than 50% of your power from renewables and it has the lowest cost compared to others.  What am I missing?

California Will Require Solar Panels on All New Homes. That’s Not Necessarily a Good Thing.—I am of the mind that this is a good thing.  Yes, California will overbuild solar capacity but this will lead to innovations in demand shifting and energy storage.  If the power is cheap or free, someone will figure out a way to use it at a different time when it would be expensive.

Coal-Killing Long-Duration Energy Storage For Vermont—We are already starting to see solutions for so-called long-duration energy storage.

3 Breakthroughs That Could Shake The Energy World In The Next Decade—I think that number three on this list could also be a big factor if the reverse is true.  Rising fossil fuel costs could accelerate the transition to renewables.  Nothing will make an EV looks more attractive than $4 a gallon gas in the United States.

Shipping Fuel Regulation to Cut Sulfur Levels Comes into Force—Maritime shipping emissions are a big deal because each of these ships is like an outdated power plant spewing pollution out its smokestacks.  Considering how much global trade is moved via ships this is one of those “boring, but important” changes.

10 Ways That Car Dealerships Can Step Up To Sell Electric Vehicles—The number one thing missing from this list is for most dealerships to stop being dicks to their customers.  If you want to understand why customers are willing to buy relatively expensive cars sight unseen from an app—yes, I am talking about Teslas—walk into the average new car dealer and tell me about the experience.

The Missing 99%: Why Can’t We Find the Vast Majority of Ocean Plastic?—Man, this is just depressing.  When future generations look back on our time period they will just shake their head at the sheer stupidity of people in general.

A Recycling Renegade Is Out of Prison—and Ready to Tackle the Electric Vehicle Battery Crisis—Eric Lundgren went to jail because of a quirk in digital copyright law, but now he is back with a plan to tackle the rising tide of battery refuse from the EV industry’s growth.  I wish him the best of luck.

Replanting Britain: ‘It’s About the Right Tree in the Right Place’—Reforestation is one of the best tools that we have to fight climate change, but the experience in Britain shows that it is not as simple as just planting a tree wherever.  However, it is instructive that we have the knowledge to actually do reforestation right.

Snow Machines and Fleece Blankets: Inside the Ski Industry’s Battle with Climate Change—The future does not look too good for those of us who enjoy winter sports.

Mystery Pork Will Soon Hit The Stores—This reminds me of the quintessential line from Fast Food Nation: There is shit in the meat.

Those ‘Flushable’ Bathroom Wipes May not be so Flushable After All—Can we just stop using these damn things?

Go Slow to Help Slow the Climate Crisis—I think this is a solution to so much more than the climate crisis.  We are all stuck in a loop where we think going faster will help us accomplish more, but all it does is put pressure on us to do more faster.  It is a treadmill you cannot escape.

Wily Coyotes Take up Residence at Trump’s New York City Golf Course—I can already see the campaign rally rant about coyotes.  Trump will stand at the podium and riff about how it used to be glorious when you could just shoot animals onsite.  Donny Jr. will take the stage with his lame ass beard and pressed camouflage attire to rile up the crowd while asking daddy for permission to rid the golf course of this animal invasion.  It may sound like a fever dream, but it is oh so plausible.

An Efficient Middle Finger Aimed at Donald Trump

Since the election of Donald Trump the world has seemed a little topsy turvy.  Facts are not facts anymore.  Lies are alternative facts.  And god knows what else has changed in the last twenty minutes.

In September, the great cheese puff announced that the Department of Energy was going to propose rules to roll back or delay efficiency requirements for categories of bulbs that account for approximately half of the sockets in the United States.

Why?  There was the usual word salad of free market, decreased regulation, Obama, freedom, America, choice…you get the idea.  The kicker may have been that Trump feels the new light bulbs make him look orange. Uh, bro, the reason you look orange is because you go to the same spray tan place as the kids on the Jersey Shore.  Do not take skin regimen tips from Snooky.

In honor of our idiotic president’s lame ideas and his minions seemingly inability do anything positive for the country I decided to extend a metaphorical middle finger and replace the fourteen reflector light bulbs in my basement:

IMG_20191017_103915172.jpg

Out went fourteen incandescent and in went fourteen LEDS.  This is the low hanging fruit of efficiency improvements in any household.

Now, why hadn’t I done this sooner?  Honestly, until recently these were very low use lights in our basement.  Until we finished the very large craft table and set my daughter up for piano lessons these lights might not have been turned on all week.  With winter on the way the kids are downstairs a lot more and the lights are on a lot more.

If we can keep making changes like this during the current moronic administration, imagine what the changes will look like under a political environment that actually supports positive change?  I am sure that Elizabeth Warren has a plan for that.

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.

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.