Category Archives: Climate Change

In the City of Brotherly Love: Day 1 of the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia

sanders-clinton-handshakeOur theme today is “United Together.” I’ll pause while we all take a deep breath and live in the hope that today’s Democratic Convention opening doesn’t look like last week’s RNC disaster.

Will Bernie Sanders go all Ted Cruz and refuse to endorse Hillary? Will the Feel the Bern-ers (who are still chalking “Vote for Bernie” on sidewalks in the Fillmore) take over the spotlight to cause a ruckus? Bernie has promised a special moment for his supporters for today, which sounds ominous…

michelle-obamaOn the other hand, Michelle Obama is also slated to speak tonight. Personally, I’d love it if she cribbed a phrase from Melania Trump, but she’s too gracious for that kind of thing.

We will see if the Dems can get their act together. That dull thunk you hear is the sound of Debbie Wasserman Schultz falling on her sword, which may not mollify the Sanders supporters, but oy, can we please at least get the  dirty laundry aired and dry cleaned before we start this party? I am so tired of watching supposed adults acting like they are five year-olds on a playgroundfive year-olds on a playground.  Come to think of it, I know better behaved five-year olds.

Party Rules

Real estate developer Donald Trump, gestures during a news conference with the PGA in New YorkSo, I know I promised this earlier in the week. It took a while for my stomach to settle down enough so I could read the Republican Party platform. Not that you’d know it from the four days of absurdly rollicking disunity and disorganization we just witnessed ( which Politico called “The most chaotic, messy and perhaps memorable political convention in decades“), but there is a written plan that theoretically outlines the champagne wishes and caviar dreams of the GOP.

2It’s 66 pages of eye-roll inducing bloviation that starts out by declaring for American exceptionalism, which to me is like starting out by stating that the sun, moon, and stars all revolve around the earth. It just ain’t true, folks–we are as exceptional as any other nation, which is to say, not at all. It also kind of hilariously flies in the face of Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.” If we are so exceptional and guided by divine right, why do we need to make ourselves great…again?

Here are some other lowlights, but I encourage you to read it yourself, particularly to friends who need encouragement to get out to vote in November. It’s scary, folks.

In no particular order, let’s start with  denial about climate change. The GOP is putting their chips formally behind fossil fuels and coal, which seems so ludicrous as to be insane. Do you really need the votes from coal miners in West Virginia so badly?

Hilariously, the platform notes that:

The central fact of any sensible environmental policy is that, year by year, the environment is improving. Our air and waterways are much healthier than they were a few decades ago. As a nation, we have drastically reduced pollution, mainstreamed recycling, educated the public, and avoided ecological degradation.

Seriously? And just who do you think was responsible for the REGULATIONS that brought about that improving? Because it was Republicans and it didn’t just happen spontaneously.

Republicans are, of course, vehemently pro life and would like to pass an amendment declaring every egg and sperm is sacred.

We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Notorious R.B.G. At work. (Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Along with that, the platform formally declares their desire to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood and condemns the Supreme  Court decision that allows women’s health clinics to continue to operate in Texas without undue restriction.

 

Also on the Culture War front, the platform also promises pro-life justices– enjoy this shoutout to Antonin Scalia:

Only a Republican president will appoint judges who respect the rule of law expressed within the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, including the inalienable right to life and the laws of nature and nature’s God, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Speaking of Scalia, the GOP is also looking to roll back marriage equality gains:

Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values. We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia,
was a “judicial Putsch” — full of “silly extravagances” — that reduced “the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Storey to the mystical aphorisms of a fortune cookie.” In Obergefell, five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Check that out. That’s Republicans claiming that they were robbed of the right to disenfranchise other citizens of their rights.

PP-Casting-Out-the-MOney-Changers-by-Carl-Heinrich-Bloch-1834-1890

Hey, moneychangers: Get out.

And speaking of rights….the GOP also whines that the freedom of religion is under attack because certain institutions who don’t believe that gay marriage should be a right can’t get government grants and might lose their tax exempt status. Uh, by the way, you’re still FREE to practice your religion–you just don’t get money and tax breaks for failing to recognize the rights of others.

Other miscellany: the GOP is against gun restrictions. Of course. High capacity magazines (154 shots in 5 minutes) are a great idea especially for school shootings.

We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle.

They’d like to roll back banking reform –what little there was of that–from 2008, because darnitalltoheck those pesky restrictions keep crazy people from inventing new investment schemes that can tank the economy.

What else? They’re against stem cell research, natch, and against GMO labeling, but for proof of citizenship to vote. (Hey, what if everyone had to name the nine –well eight–justices of the Supreme Court in order to qualify? Then only recently-minted American immigrants will be able to vote.)

keystone-xl-pipeline-tar-sands-cartoon-1024x701Republicans are for fracking, more oil and gas drilling (hello, Keystone XL pipeline) and against food stamps. They want to break down Obamacare and build a wall on the Mexican border. They want to penalize cities that give sanctuary to undocumented immigrants, but pass a law allowing bible study in public schools. Affirm the right to life while restoring the death penalty. Oh, and this:

Quite simply, the Republican Party is committed to rebuilding the U.S. military into the strongest on earth, with vast superiority over any other nation or group of nations in the world.

KKKristian-690x460

I don’t think these people live in Seville, Spain.

You’ve got the idea. Basically they’d like to give lip service to Christian values, while standing against all the things Christ actually represented like helping the poor, forgiving sins, renouncing violence and worldly goods, and unconditional love for your enemies.

 

Happier Thoughts

Anyway, in prep for tonight’s extravaganza, I offer you a few things that made me happy from last week, in hopes that this will set the tone for this week.


Dear Mr. President Edition

An open letter to President Obama

Mr. President,

I want to say first of all, don’t worry about my vote.  You have it. I liked you even before the Will.i.am video –I’ve liked you ever since that keynote speech back in 2004and even though you weren’t my progressive dream candidate (she’s doing a crackerjack job as your Secretary of State, an appointment I heartily approve of), I was happy to vote for you the first time and I’m happy to do it again.

I know that I personally will be thrilled to watch you take the stage to accept the nomination on Thursday. Especially after gritting my teeth through the numerous whoppers being told at the Republican convention last week.

So it’s been four years, huh? How different was life back then? It’s nice, I’ve found, not waking up every day thinking I’m about to be wiped out in a nuclear armageddon like I did during the Reagan years, or wandering around with a black cloud of unconsolable misery, mortified to call myself an American, like I did while Cheney/Bush was president. I wake up now and don’t think about the government much, because I’m pretty sure the guy we elected has got it in hand. Not that I’m taking you for granted, sir, but I’ve just had a lot else on my mind. But it didn’t escape my notice that you were busy doing good stuff.

Nowadays, Republicans are using “Hope and Change” as a disparaging punchline to fallacious jokes, but when I look back at the last four years, I see a lot of both, and I love it. From your first week in office, when you signed the Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act, to last May when you put women’s rights on the G-8 agenda, to appointing two women to the Supreme Court, you’ve advanced the cause of women nationally and internationally. I cheered when you finally passed Health Care reform, and kept it going despite the best efforts of the crazies in Congress who’ve bizarrely twisted the public perception of this important bill. The Credit Card reform act was much needed and thank you for repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”–possibly the stupidest and most irrelevant policy in military history. Your speech in Cairo to the Islamic world, and actually ending the war in Iraq, not to mention reversing Bush’s policies on torture improved America’s image abroad enormously. Man, you even actually GOT bin Laden, when the Bush team had basically forgotten about him.

BUT–and there’s always a “but”– there’s a few areas that could stand improvement. And when (not if) you get re-elected, I hope we can do better –and yes, by we I mean you.

1) Quit waiting for bipartisanship. Seriously.  I’m sorry, except I’m not. Republicans have got a grudge against you — we won’t go into why I think they do, but they clearly do. Do what you can do without wasting time trying to get GOP buy-in.

2) No more raiding Little Orphan Annie’s piggybank for Daddy Warbucks. I’m so sick of giant corporations, banks, auto companies, Fannie, Freddie, GM, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Yadkin Valley Financial Corp–all getting tax dollars so that their CEOs can take huge bonuses, and NOTHING trickling down to help the people who are the backbone of this country. I know, a lot of them paid the money back, but a lot of them didn’t. The bailout turned around a bunch of companies, but it also lined the pockets of execs. Companies like B of A got our money and then shipped jobs to the Philippines. They should not get a PLUGGED NICKEL without agreeing to stringent regulations. Now, I understand that I’m not an economist and there are probably some pretty fancy-sounding reasons for why we should lend money to these guys, but you know what? I want your next plan to tell us how you’re going to recapitalize teachers, how it’s going to strengthen the artistic sector of our economy, how it’s going to create jobs for scientists.

3) And on that note, clean house at the Federal Reserve.  Why is a guy like Jamie Dimon of the Bank of America disaster a Class A  director of the NY Federal Reserve!?

4) Climate Change.  Maybe I should’ve made this number one. I know, you started something two years ago and it got shot down in the midst of partisan stupidity. After the summer of fires and storms, in which even the Republicans had a convention day washed away in yet another hurricane, it’s time to dust that climate change bill off and get to work again.

5) Close Guantanamo.  It’s been a national embarrassment for too long. Get it done.

6) Put the focus on green energy tax credits.  And no tax credits for oil companies — they don’t need them.

7) Get working on nominations to lower courts.  YOUNG, PROGRESSIVE judges. You’ve got to make every appointment count.

Most of all though, I want you to get the word out about the impact of every good thing you do.  You’ve been humble, you’ve been mild-mannered, you’ve been bipartisan, but now is the time to start taking credit, blare that trumpet, let everyone with short memories know how your agenda has benefited America. When the Republicans claim they’re doing something for women, fire back at them with Lily Ledbetter and protecting women’s access to birth control. When the Romney claims he saved the auto industry, don’t just say that he’s lying, explain to the world that you turned Chrysler around.

Look, I understand. You’ve been a busy man, and you’ve gotten a lot done. I can appreciate that, which is why I keep sending you $5 every time you email me. But there’s a bunch left to do, and –I say this with all respect and only in a “positive criticism” kind of way — there’s a lot you could do better.  Go to it.

Sincerely,

ME

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GROUSY CAT SEZ:

Go ahead, make my day…watch the Demoncratic National Convention Tuesday through Thursday, and don’t miss Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday night–superstar, really. She’s not giving the keynote though–that honor goes to San Antonio mayor Julian Castro.  Watch his TED talk about education and how it changed his life.  Schedule is here.


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