What Fresh Hell Is This?

September 10, 2019

My HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIFTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

CNN (and then the NYTimes) reported that the US Intelligence Community "extracted" a high level spy in the Russian Government in part because Donald J Trump "and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy."

The NYTimes reported that Trump's commerce secretary threatened to fire NOAA employees if they "didn't disavow" Trump's (inaccurate) tweet regarding Hurricane Doria and Alabama. It's their job to deliver accurate truthful weather information to the public and they did. Trump's secretary threatened to fire them because of it.

This week's question: How can you still support this man and his administration? When will it be enough for you to break ranks?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.


Follow-up:

September 6, 2019

Climate Change Is Still Undeniable, But Thanks To Trump, The Evidence Is Harder To Find

Hey, remember when I posted this?

It's from 2010 and it links to a NOAA report that outright states that "global warming is undeniable."

Well, the report itself is no longer there.

This is what you get when you follow this link:



Granted, the "Highlights" brochure is still available.

But the report itself outlined ten separate indicators of warming - each with it's own multiple sets of support.  Like this:


See that part in the bottom of the chart that says "7 Sets of Data"?

You could find them in the full report.

But with the climate science actively disappeared by the Trump administration, finding the science from this report is now just a little more difficult.

MAGA!

September 3, 2019

Hey, Look What I Wrote

My SECOND column at The Pittsburgh Current.

It's about the science of climate science and not the evidence (rest assured, that's coming!).

Did you know that the basic idea of greenhouse gasses trapping the sun's heat is an idea that's more than a hundred years old?

It's also not a hoax.


My HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FOURTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

As this is still an on-going thing, we have to talk about the kids in Trump's concentration camps.

An investigation detailed in a lawsuit recently filed by 19 states found that teenage girls being detained in those camps are being denied sanitary napkins and showers while they are on their period.

Doesn't this trouble you at all? This is America. We're supposed to be the good guys. We're supposed to be Reagan's "shining city on a hill." Instead, this is just cruel.

Will you be speaking up against the cruelty?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.


Follow-up:

August 30, 2019

This, From FOX NEWS

Take a look-see:


Crooks and Liars has a (partial) transcript:
I'm not the one who said tariffs are a wonderful thing, you are.

Just like I'm not the one sent Mexico would pay for the wall, you did.

Just like I'm not the one who claimed Russia didn't meddle in the 2016 election, you did.

I'm sorry you don't like these facts being brought up, but they are not fake because I did. What would be fake is if I never did, if I ignored all the times you said you loved your old Secretary of State Rex Tillerson until you didn't.

Had no plans to dump your homeland security secretary until you did.

Called Chinese president Xi Jinping an enemy just last week and a great leader this week.

Sometimes you don't even wait that long.

Last week you expressed an appetite for background checks before arguing just hours later, our background checks are already strong.

These aren't fake items there are real items and you really said them.
Of course, this does not absolve Fox "News" of its many journalistic sins. But it's good to know that at at least one segment of it's "news" division, they're pushing back, if only a bit, at Trump's bullshit.

August 27, 2019

My HUNDRED AND TWENTY-THIRD Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Recently, Donald Trump proposed that the next G-7 summit to be held at his golf resort in Florida.

How is this not a violation of the Emoluments Claus of the Constitution?

And even if it weren't a direct pitch but rather an impromptu advertisement by the president for the resort to the public at large, how is that any better?

How can you still support this administration?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.


Follow-up:

August 22, 2019

Isn't THIS Executive Over-reach???

Yesterday:
President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he is "seriously" considering ending US birthright citizenship despite the fact that such a move would face immediate legal challenge and is at odds with Supreme Court precedent.

"We're looking at that very seriously, birthright citizenship," Trump told reporters outside the White House, echoing his administration's previous vow to unilaterally end the process by which babies born in the country automatically become citizens.

The President did not elaborate on what he meant.
And this is what the Constitution says:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. [Emphasis added.]
Even though he declared himself "the chosen one" Trump does not have the authority to rewrite the Constitution.

Where are all those "constitutionalists" who taunted us during the Obama years about "executive overreach" now?

August 21, 2019

Un-American. Simply Un-American

From The NYTimes:
President Trump said on Tuesday that any Jewish person who votes for a Democrat is guilty of ignorance or “great disloyalty,” intensifying his efforts to drive in a partisan wedge over religion and support for Israel even as he appeared to draw on an anti-Semitic trope.
There's no context by which his utterance can be justified.

None.

Anyone not denouncing his anti-antisemitism is condoning it.

August 20, 2019

Hey, Look What I Wrote!

Hey, I'm a columnist, now!

If you need an idea as to what's in the piece, here's the headline:
Rep. Reschenthaler’s attack on Robert Mueller is based on either ignorance or dishonesty
Yep, that's me.

My HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SECOND Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Senator, I've asked previously about this administration's immigration policy and I have to ask about it again.

Recently it was reported that an early August ICE raid in Clarion, Mississippi netted a mother of three children (all American citizens, thanks to the 14th Amendment) while she was getting off work at a Koch Foods plant. Her youngest is 4 months old - breastfeeding age.

The woman had been working at the plant for 4 years, It's also been reported that  employers at some of the raided plants knew they;d hired undocumented immigrants - a violation of the law. While the workers have been arrested, so far the employers have not.

Simple question: Doesn't the cruelty of this situation bother you? Is this America to you?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.


Follow-up:

August 18, 2019

Um...We Kinda Already Knew A Lot Of This (Cordelia Scaife May In The NY Times) UPDATED

I am sure some, if not most, of you have read this piece from The New York Times about Cordelia Scaife May. It begins with this:
She was an heiress without a cause — an indifferent student, an unhappy young bride, a miscast socialite. Her most enduring passion was for birds.

But Cordelia Scaife May eventually found her life’s purpose: curbing what she perceived as the lethal threat of overpopulation by trying to shut America’s doors to immigrants.

She believed that the United States was “being invaded on all fronts” by foreigners, who “breed like hamsters” and exhaust natural resources. She thought that the border with Mexico should be sealed and that abortions on demand would contain the swelling masses in developing countries.

An heiress to the Mellon banking and industrial fortune with a half-billion dollars at her disposal, Mrs. May helped create what would become the modern anti-immigration movement. She bankrolled the founding and operation of the nation’s three largest restrictionist groups — the Federation for American Immigration Reform, NumbersUSA and the Center for Immigration Studies — as well as dozens of smaller ones, including some that have promulgated white nationalist views.

Today, 14 years after Mrs. May’s death, her money remains the lifeblood of the movement, through her Colcom Foundation. It has poured $180 million into a network of groups that spent decades agitating for policies now pursued by President Trump: militarizing the border, capping legal immigration, prioritizing skills over family ties for entry and reducing access to public benefits for migrants, as in the new rule issued just this week by the administration.
As if this is news.

Why do I say this? Because of this:
A committee organized to welcome the world to Pittsburgh for the September G-20 economic summit has received a donation from a foundation that has, in the past, given millions of dollars to anti-immigration organizations including two listed as hate groups.

The Colcom Foundation, founded by Cordelia Scaife May, a now-deceased heir to the Mellon fortune, has been one of the major contributors to a web of groups founded by John Tanton, a Petoskey, Mich., ophthalmologist who has long been at the forefront of efforts to restrict immigration into the United States.

During Ms. May's lifetime, the foundation also underwrote the work of Samuel Francis, a self-described "white nationalist" who edited a newsletter for the Council of Conservative Citizens, a group that has advocated racial separation. Mr. Francis also was a regular speaker at conferences sponsored by American Renaissance, an annual gathering of academics who theorize on racially based differences in intelligence, contending that black people have lower intelligence than whites and Asians.
And:
Heidi Beirich, head of research for the Southern Poverty Law Center who has done extensive studies of the immigration control movement, called the list of Colcom recipients "quite a lineup of haters."

"It's beyond ironic that Colcom would be giving money to welcome the world to Pittsburgh, while simultaneously having bankrolled notorious white supremacists like Sam Francis and some of the most racist anti-immigrant groups in the country," Ms. Beirich said.
Check the date of publication: July 1 2009.

Within a few weeks, the Southern Poverty Law Center even commented on Roddy's piece:
Roddy’s article showed how the Colcom Foundation, founded by Cordelia Scaife May, a now-deceased heir to the Mellon banking fortune, had given money to extremists such as Samuel Francis, a white nationalist who edited a newsletter for the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a group that has advocated racial separation and believes blacks to be a “retrograde species of humanity.” The foundation started by May, who died in 2005, also donated massive amounts of money over several decades to the various anti-immigrant institutions created by John Tanton, a retired Michigan ophthalmologist who is the orchestrator of the modern nativist movement. Two Tanton-linked organizations listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups — the Social Contract Press and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) — are among those that received funds in the past from Colcom.
That was 10 years, 2 months and 3 days before The Times.

How is this news?

Wasn't news to me.

UPDATE: Via an email, Dennis Roddy had a comment:
During the Corbett administration I found environmental groups happily accepting Colcom money all the while knowing that it was being used to essentially “greenwash“ the foundation's anti-immigrant behaviors. Nobody in the Capitol press corps would touch the story.

August 16, 2019

Meanwhile, Outside...

From the science done at NOAA:
The global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average for July 2019 was the highest for the month of July, making it the warmest month overall in the 140-year NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880. The year-to-date temperature for 2019 tied with 2017 as the second warmest January–July on record.
And:
Nine of the 10 warmest Julys have occurred since 2005, with the last five years (2015–2019) being the five warmest Julys on record. July 1998 is the only value from the previous century among the 10 warmest Julys on record.
Meanwhile, in Trump's America:
One of the nation’s leading climate change scientists is quitting the Agriculture Department in protest over the Trump administration’s efforts to bury his groundbreaking study about how rice is losing nutrients because of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Lewis Ziska, a 62-year-old plant physiologist who’s worked at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service for more than two decades, told POLITICO he was alarmed when department officials not only questioned the findings of the study — which raised serious concerns for the 600 million people who depend on rice for most of their calories — but also tried to minimize media coverage of the paper, which was published in the journal Science Advances last year.

“You get the sense that things have changed, that this is not a place for you to be exploring things that don't agree with someone's political views,” Ziska said in a wide-ranging interview. “That's so sad. I can't even begin to tell you how sad that is.”

The departure comes soon after several other government officials resigned from their posts over accusations that the administration is censoring climate science — reports that have raised alarm about scientific integrity in the federal government.
It's Trump's America - I'm just hoping we all survive it.

August 15, 2019

And Now The Truth Is Out In The Open



August 14, 2019

Another Donald Trump LIE

I'll just let Richard Mellon Scaife's Tribune-Review frame the dishonesty:
President Trump boasted Tuesday afternoon about his administration’s efforts to “revive” the nation’s energy and manufacturing sectors during a visit to Royal Dutch Shell’s ethane cracker plant construction site in Beaver County.

Trump also took credit for the multibillion-dollar project’s existence.

“It was the Trump administration that made it possible, no one else,” Trump said during his speech inside a warehouse at the Shell site to an audience of mostly construction and trade workers employed there. “Without us, you would have never been able to do this.”

Shell formally announced in June 2016, before Trump was elected, that it would go ahead with construction, but the company and government leaders began working on the project years before that. The company signed a land-option agreement to begin evaluating the sprawling property as a potential plant site in March 2012.
KDKA:
Time:
Speaking to a crowd of thousands of workers dressed in fluorescent orange and yellow vests, Trump said “This would have never happened without me and us.” In fact, Shell announced its plans to build the complex in 2012, when President Barack Obama was in office. A Shell spokesman said employees were paid for their time attending Trump’s remarks.
Wait, the chanting crowd was paid to be there?

And Trump outright lied to them.

August 13, 2019

My HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIRST Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Senator, Donald Trump recently retweeted a ridiculous conspiracy theory linking the death of accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein (then in the custody of his Department of Justice) with a one-time presidential rival and her husband, a former president of the United States of America.

First off (and this is important), do you believe the theory?

If you do not then do you think it's appropriate presidential behavior to use Roosevelt's "bully pulpit" to push such dangerous ridiculousness into 60 million twitter feeds?

Don't you think Donald Trump has a responsibility to tell the truth to the American people? And if he believes the conspiracy theory to be true isn't that, in itself, a serious threat to American society?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.


Follow-up:

August 12, 2019

AGAIN - Climate Reality From The "Pages" Of The Tribune-Review

I can't tell you how much time I spent debunking the science denial that trickled like so much toxic waste off if the editorial pages of the Tribune-Review.

It's been a pleasant surprise to to see that they've actually been moving in the direction of science non-denial when it comes to the climate.

First, there was this from late last month.

And then, only yesterday, the powers that be over there at the Trib allowed this paragraph to be published in Dick Scaife's old paper:
This summer’s scorching heat waves in Europe, flooding in New Orleans, record-high temperatures in Alaska and even our unusually high rainfall amounts here in Pittsburgh demonstrate that climate change is not some distant reality. It is here and now. Yes, it’s clear that no single weather event can be attributed directly to climate change; but all of these events are consistent with models of a warming climate, and the trend is not in our favor.
Amazing, only a few short years ago the editorial pages dripped with "insults" like calling the science the "church of climatology" or cluck-clucking however many "chicken little" strawmen they could conjure up.

And look at the page now. They've allowed this go to unchallenged: climate change is not some distant reality. It is here and now.

Guys, what took you so long?

August 7, 2019

And Now Some Wise Words From An Intelligent And Rational President

The text:
Michelle and I grieve with all the families in El Paso and Dayton who endured these latest mass shootings. Even if details are still emerging, there are a few things we already know to be true.

First, no other nation on Earth comes close to experiencing the frequency of mass shootings that we see in the United States. No other developed nation tolerates the levels of gun violence that we do. Every time this happens, we’re told that tougher gun laws won’t stop all murders; that they won’t stop every deranged individual from getting a weapon and shooting innocent people in public places. But the evidence shows that they can stop some killings. They can save some families from heartbreak. We are not helpless here. And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening.

Second, while the motivations behind these shootings may not yet be fully known, there are indications that the El Paso shooting follows a dangerous trend: troubled individuals who embrace racist ideologies and see themselves obligated to act violently to preserve white supremacy. Like the followers of ISIS and other foreign terrorist organizations, these individuals may act alone, but they’ve been radicalized by white nationalist websites that proliferate on the internet. That means that both law enforcement agencies and internet platforms need to come up with better strategies to reduce the influence of these hate groups.

But just as important, all of us have to send a clarion call and behave with the values of tolerance and diversity that should be the hallmark of our democracy. We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people. Such language isn’t new – it’s been at the root of most human tragedy throughout history, here in America and around the world. It is at the root of slavery and Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. It has no place in our politics and our public life. And it’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much – clearly and unequivocally.
Remember when words coming from the president weren't an international embarrassment?

August 6, 2019

My HUNDRED AND TWENTIETH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Senator, I was going to ask about your recent vote on the budget (how you voted against it, citing the growing deficit, but you voted in favor of the Trump tax cut, which ballooned it) but sadly I find I have to ask you, yet again, about Donald Trump, the leader of your political party.

I'll ask you straight out: Considering the events of the past week or so and considering how similar Trump's rhetoric is to the El Paso shooter's posted rant (that Mexicans are "invading" the country and so forth), do you think Donald Trump is a racist?

I'll write that in all caps so as to emphasize the importance of the question:

DO YOU THINK DONALD TRUMP IS A RACIST?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.


Follow-up:

August 5, 2019

If Only There Were More Republicans Like This

I have no idea what other policy choices Nebraska State Senator John McCollister has made but he made the right one with this tweet:
The entire text:
The Republican Party is enabling white supremacy in our country. As a lifelong Republican, it pains me to say this, but it’s the truth.

I of course am not suggesting that all Republicans are white supremacists nor am I saying that the average Republican is even racist.

What I am saying though is that the Republican Party is COMPLICIT to obvious racist and immoral activity inside our party.

We have a Republican president who continually stokes racist fears in his base. He calls certain countries “sh*tholes,” tells women of color to “go back” to where they came from and lies more than he tells the truth.

We have Republican senators and representatives who look the other way and say nothing for fear that it will negatively affect their elections.

No more.

When the history books are written, I refuse to be someone who said nothing.

The time is now for us Republicans to be honest with what is happening inside our party. We are better than this and I implore my Republican colleagues to stand up and do the right thing.

We all like to cite Abraham Lincoln’s Republican lineage when it is politically expedient but NOW is the time to ACT like Lincoln and take a stand.
Complicit (because they are silent to Trump's racism) republicans locally:

August 4, 2019

Just Another Day In Trump's America

The news from El Paso, Texas:
A young gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas, shopping area packed with as many as 3,000 people during the busy back-to-school season Saturday, leaving 20 dead and more than two dozen injured.

Authorities were investigating the possibility the shooting was a hate crime, working to confirm whether a racist, anti-immigrant screed posted online shortly beforehand was written by the man arrested in the attack on the 680,000-resident border city.
And here's the evidence that the shooter wrote and posted the screed - from bellingcat:
On August 3, 2019, at around 11am local time, initial police reports indicated that a gunman had walked into an El Paso Wal-Mart and opened fire. As of the publication of this article, at least eighteen people have died and several others have been injured. One victim was a four-month old infant. As we’ve seen with two other mass shootings this year, the killer announced the start of his rampage on 8chan’s /pol board. The poster also attached a four-page manifesto to the post, along with a document in his original post that included his name — Patrick Crusius.

Looking to an archived copy of the 8chan post, we can see that the post was made at the Unix time of 1564848920, which converts to August 3, 2019 at 4:15pm (UTC) — or, in local El Paso time (UTC-6), 10:15am, just before the first reports surfaced of a shooting in El Paso.

While all of this could technically be an extremely elaborate hoax, it would require the poster to know the suspect’s name well ahead of time. Additionally, there is the fact that the post was made before any public reports of a shooting, and even longer before the name of the suspected shooter was released to the public, and included information that matched the attack (model of weapon, targeting a heavily-Hispanic area).
Pretty safe to say in the meantime that the El Paso shooter is the manifesto writer.

So what of this manifesto screed?

Well, it starts with this:
In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto.
The "Christchurch Shooter" would be Harrison Terrant and his manifesto is 74 pages long and is titled "The Great Replacement."

The title of Terrant's manifesto is, in turn, a reference to a white right-wing racist conspiracy theory also known as "replacement theory" which posits a plot to replace white people with non-white people. Some pushing the theory blame George Soros specifically, others are a bit more general:


While Renard Camus, the french philosopher who first wrote of "Le Grand Remplacement" in 2011, did not include an anti-Semitic element, he does call the conspiracy theory "the nephew of Nazism."

Anyway, back to El Paso and the shooter. His next three sentences are:
This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.
Note that last word. It's also in this tweet:
And this tweet:
El Paso is right on the US-Mexican border.

Just another day in Trump's America.

And now there's another shooting - this time in Dayton.

MAGA!