Thursday, April 13, 2017

Trump - Climate Change? A Chinese Hoax...

Chicago Climate March – April 29th

Imagine your doctor deciding to remove a mass in your abdomen without benefit of an MRI or even an X-Ray.  “I’ll find it,” he says, “and we don’t need all that information anyway.  Just feel around in there.  My kind of medicine has been removing stuff for hundreds of years.” 

Or how about you airline pilot deciding to get you to California by pulling out a magnetic compass mid-flight and heading in a westward direction. 
“Attention, passengers, if you look out the right side of the plane, you’ll see north; and the left will see south.  That’s really all we need to know to get safely where we want, isn’t it?” 

Ignore science, disregard research information, and flout empirical findings at your own peril.  On the national as well as personal level.

The office of science advisor for the current occupant of the Whitehouse has not been named.  The actual title is White House Office of Science and Technology Policy or OSTP.  And the previous staff, which helped Obama craft, revise and research over 30 studies of subjects as varied as advanced manufacturing and cyber-security was the most active in our nation’s history (Atkins).

Now? The office remains empty or seriously compromised.

But President Trump promises to name a new leader for the office soon.  Very soon. So fast it’ll make your head spin. Bigly.  

Of course, this may not be good news.  Take for example Michael Pruitt, Trump’s choice to lead the EPA, an office that now disregards once held “science based decisions” in favor of pursuing “economically and technologically achievable standards” (according to Emily Atkin’s article in the New Republic).  “Among other things, the office’s mission statement no longer reads that the office provides the president with ‘accurate, relevant, and timely scientific technical advice.' Now, it just reads “advice.”’

And, the names to fill the office once held by Obama's Science Advisor John P. Holdren, previously professor of environmental policy at Harvard University, are not likely to give you any desire to inhale without concern.

One of Trump’s monetary and influential alt-right backers has been the Mercer family.  They have strongly promoted and endorsed sheep rancher/biochemist Arthur Robinson, a strong climate change denialist, according to Jane Mayer in the May 2017 New Yorker.  Trump has been coy in regards to selecting Robinson despite the influence of his alt-right backers, but Robinson has not been fully eliminated from the list – short or long.  Robison calls himself a Jesus plus-nothing – else Christian and his research includes a factory of freezers with fourteen thousand samples of human urine that careful examination will help illuminate new ways of extending our lives.  He remains skeptical of global warming and contests the Kyoto Accord. He sells a self-designed curriculum for schools (and his home-schooled children) which refutes the possibility of evolution.

Another possible choice for Science Advisor to the President (Trump) is Dr. William Happer.  Happer is an often called-upon expert for Breitbart and a retired Princeton physicist who dabbles in climate policy.  He remains infamous for his analogy that our “demonization” of carbon dioxide is little different than Hitler’s demonization of the Jews.  Attempts to have Dr. Happer flesh out his connection often end in profanities or admonishments   Happer theorizes that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is actually a benefit to our world, encouraging the growth of plants and the greening of our deserts ( a good thing).  “With our without Happer’s help, the Trump administration, like the Republican Party, is already steeped in climate denial; the Mercer family, Trump’s biggest financial backers, recently spent two days at a Heartland Institute Conference, the theme of which was essentially , “more CO2 in the atmosphere is essentially great.”  Like the Koch’s, with whom Happer is associated, he falls in line with their assessment of global warming.  Yes, it is warming, but in a very "mild, and manageable way."

Finally, and most likely, is David Gelernter, an anti-intellectual computer professor at Yale being considered as well.  Gelernter, who was injured by uni-bomber Ted Kaczynski while opening an envelope, is a hard right anti-Obama author who decries the liberal influence in government and education.  Gelernter doubts any credibility in science’s pointing to man-made climate change. He also finds the liberal elite culpable for the loss of family values and the disintegration of patriotism. He expects participation in the Science Advisor's Office as a given.   (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/01/18/david-gelernter-fiercely-anti-intellectual-computer-scientist-is-being-eyed-for-trumps-science-adviser/?utm_term=.b7e5d8831aa5)


 Meanwhile, according to NASA satellites sea ice has shrunk to its least amount at both poles. 

2016 was the third year in a row that marked global temperature increases and records.

Major storms were recorded for the last year (2016) beyond expectation and a 6% level of increased moisture in our atmosphere contributes to flooding and downpours.

Biologists are documenting multiplying numbers of mammalian species lost as many water levels rise in oceans surrounding smaller islands and land projections.

CO2 passed the 440 ppm level in our atmosphere last fall, and scientists doubt that it can return to anything less.  Have we reached the tipping point?

People’s Climate March
April 29, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Federal Plaza 230 S Dearborn Chicago, IL 60601


See you there.




Sunday, April 2, 2017

Rauner & Trump

Rauner & Trump

It shouldn’t be surprising that Governor Bruce Rauner would be launching into campaign mode nearly a year and a half before the actual election.  With the financial backing of “State Solutions,” a Republican Governors fund supported by the Koch brothers, the Chamber of Commerce, and Ken Griffen's Citadel Group – Rauner once again dons the costume of workin’ guy.  The old tan canvas work vest is now a bright plaid lumberjack-like shirt.  He brandishes a roll of duct tape in one ad and peels strips of tape from the lens of the camera in the other.  Duct tape equals “easy fixes.”  The workroom backdrop suggests he’s a guy who can fix things.  So, the Governor thinks, let’s make a commercial.  After all, what else is there to do?

One might suggest “govern.”

But, after two years of witnessing the wealthy Winnetka hedge-fund manager’s unwillingness and inability to lead, most people in Illinois recognize a man who purchased an office and then remained fixed in his determination to identify scapegoats, berate rather than negotiate, and callously apply pain to the marginalized and disenfranchised to make his political points.

Like the other “business leader” on the national level who declared after only 17 days of trying to steamroll his HealthCare Plan in the Congress, “The best thing, politically speaking, is to let Obamacare explode…”  That’s leadership? And, if it did, who would suffer?

Rauner finds everyone lately coming after him: Lisa Madigan, AFSCME, the Courts, Leader Cullerton, Speaker Madigan, Susana Mendoza.  Similarly, Trump also finds fault in everyone but himself: Speaker Ryan, the Democrats, the Freedom Caucus, fake news, Obama wiretapping, bad Neimann Marcus, etc.  

Ironically, Bruce Rauner never wanted to go on the record speaking for or against Trump during the latter’s run for Presidency.  But his own administration in very many ways mirrors the struggling President’s.  And likewise their near frivolous willingness to embrace pain and discomfort for others as a result of someone else’s not doing what they wanted done.

Because they haven’t the skill or comprehension of governance, the willingness to seek middle ground or feel the weight of the populace’s needs; they revert to the character of candidacy quickly and easily.

Trump flies to places in Kentucky or Florida or North Carolina to “thank his people” and bask in sunny self-absorption.  Rauner and his combative office executives stump about the state affirming the Turnaround Agenda to responsive right-wing audiences, create multiple commercials linking Speaker Madigan to the Illuminati,  and run reconditioned “same-old” folksy campaign ads for 2018.

In Illinois, meanwhile, the “Grand Bargain” for a budget fails again, this time according to people on both sides of the aisle because the Governor delivered the poison pill and pulled back the Republican votes. 

Over two years ago, candidate Bruce Rauner while sitting next to his “Democratic” wife Diana warned, “I’m gonna drive ‘em nuts down there (Springfield). Really, I am.” 

I think it safe to say Rauner did not drive his enemy politicians “nuts,” but he has been able to steer the state’s bond rating down numerous times.  Moody’s has warned that the next downgrade will bring the State of Illinois’ Bond Rating to junk status if there is no budget accord for a third year. 

In addition, many human and social service organizations and companies have had to pull back resources or even shutter services as a result of the state’s inability to pay for assistance for the millions of poor, disadvantages, and mentally ill.

According to SEIU.org millions of Illinois children are now trying to get by without Child Care Assistance Programs. 

Senior citizens have lost over twenty home healthcare institutions, which leaves them all more likely to require institutionalization in place of personal care.

Anti-violence programs that depended on intervention and neighborhood counseling to deter violence and revenge killing in places like Chicago have seen their funds erased during the budget battles. 

An accidental oversight by the Governor’s Office resulted in the loss of funding for domestic violence programs in Illinois.

The State of Illinois now owes more than $12 billion in unpaid bills to providers of services that were promised payments despite two years of no budget.  That is nearly 1/3 of the amount of General Revenue provided before the roll back of the income tax increase. 

The interest on the unpaid balance is also adding up exponentially as the Governor prepares his next collection of commercials identifying everyone else as culpable for where we are.  How much?  Current interest on bill backlog is at nearly $80 million.

What Comptroller Susana Mendoza has characterized as the “worst fiscal crisis” in the State’s history is about to enter another year without a budget. 

Meanwhile, on the national level the markets and his loyal supporters hold every expectation that Trump will deliver on his promises despite his uncanny resemblance in behavior and political petulance to fellow business genius and political failure Bruce Rauner. 

We live in interesting times.