Many are deeply concerned about the environment and try to live their lives accordingly. Others seem more interested in appearances. Years ago a prominent actor and environmental activist was asked about starring in a movie that glorified car racing. He didn’t think that was relevant.
Corporate America is not immune to putting appearances over substance. A large computer maker boasted of being carbon neutral. It accomplished this by having someone else assemble the computers in China and buying a rain forest. Undoubtedly the process was less energy efficient and likely relied on electricity produced by coal. More energy was used to transport them across the Pacific.
The most ridiculous example is electric cars. The Obama administration spent billions on their development. Remember Solyndra? Granted you don’t smell any fumes when they are running. It’s a different story at the power plant, many of which use coal.
If they really want to promote their cause, they should be more interested in being green rather than looking green.
Hard-core conservatives are in a mood to party. Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican, announced he will not seek reelection next year. Flake is very much a traditional conservative but that’s not good enough for the Right. They have continually attacked him even though they need his vote to pass the Trump agenda.
It looks like the GOP will nominate Kelli Ward, a former state senator. She opposed John McCain in 2016 and declared his and Hillary Clinton’s positions to be nearly the same. When he developed brain cancer, she urged him to resign and offered herself up as a replacement. Sounds like she took lessons in class from Donald Trump. Her likely opponent is Kyrsten Sinema, a three term member of Congress. She is a moderate who has even won the support of the Chamber of Commerce. I would say that Republicans stand a good chance of losing a seat.
This is the continuation of a pattern. The Right went after Luther Strange, the Alabama senator chosen to replace Jeff Sessions. Even though Strange is a solid conservative, he lost in the primary to Roy Moore. As Alabama Chief Justice, he used state funds to build a monument promoting his religion and defied a federal court order to remove it. He may win, but his Democratic challenger is making a race out of it.
In 2012 they gleefully defeated Richard Lugar. Their candidate declared that Social Security is unconstitutional and it is God’s will that a pregnant rape victim bear the child. They lost a seat they held for thirty-six years.
I don’t understand their thinking. They don’t seem to care about getting their agenda passed or even staying in power. Their full focus is on destroying the so-called Establishment. To borrow a term used for those with a blind hatred for President Trump, they seem to suffering from Establishment Derangement Syndrome.
Each party is moving further to the extreme and showing political ineptness. I think there is a reasonable chance of a new party forming in the next twenty years and one of the existing parties becoming a fringe group third party.
The last few months have been a time of real tragedy for our country. Hurricane Harvey dumped up to 50 inches of rain on Texas resulting in eighty-nine deaths and around $70 billion in damages. It is estimated that 80 percent of damaged homes did not have flood insurance. Hurricane Irma was an incredibly powerful storm that left ninety people dead. Maria killed fifty-two and devastated Puerto Rico. More recently we saw the worst mass shooting in our history result in the deaths of fifty-eight people in Las Vegas.
We live in an era of short news cycles. The shooting is still in the news but we hear nothing about the storms. An untold number of people are mourning the loss of loved ones, recovering from injuries or dealing with damaged or destroyed homes. They still need our help.
Last week I had a vivid reminder of one of these disasters. I was in Las Vegas. The area around the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign has been turned into a memorial complete with fifty-eight crosses, flowers and other items. Plywood covers the broken windows at Mandalay Bay. The concert venue is still an active crime scene. It is hard to witness that and not be moved.
We all have problems. Before feeling sorry for ourselves, we need to remember those who have it much worse.
Will Rogers once said “I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat.”. They certainly have their share of problems. For a party that controls the White House and Congress, things are pretty chaotic with the Republicans.
It looks like General Kelly has put a stop to the fratricide in the Trump administration. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to rein in President Trump. He seems to make decisions based on limited knowledge. He recently threatened to take away NBC’s license. With all of his exposure to the industry, you would think he would know that the local stations need to be licensed, not the network.
He seems bound and determined to create chaos. He has publicly disagreed with cabinet members and criticized them. He is constantly feuding with members of Congress. Then there are the tweets.
The chaos continues in the Senate. They have not been able to reach a compromise to repeal Obamacare. President Obama got it through without a single Democratic senator voting no. Meanwhile, some are calling for Mitch McConnell to be ousted as their leader.
Meanwhile, many hard core conservatives have declared war on the party. Steve Bannon is leading a group to challenge the “Establishment”. They will likely knock off a few incumbents in the primaries and replace them with candidates that can’t possibly win. Remember the lady that wasn’t a witch and the guy who said a woman’s body “shuts down” during a rape?
Despite all this discord, they have an ace in the hole. It looks like Democrats will continue with the strategy that has the party in the worst shape since the 1920s.
We face a number of challenges in the world. None is more problematic than North Korea. It is developing the capability to launch nuclear missiles on the United States. It also has one of the world’s largest armies. A whole bunch of artillery pieces are heavily fortified and aimed at Seoul. To make matters even worse, it is ruled by a man who quite possibly may be insane.
Past presidents have tried negotiation. Their promises weren’t worth the paper they were written on. President Trump has responded with a number of belligerent threats. One of the ways Kim Jong-um stays in power is by talking about the US as an aggressor. Every time Trump spouts off, he gives Kim more ammunition.
So what are we to do? First of all, Trump needs to stop the threats. If war broke out, Seoul, a city of over ten million people, would be in ruins. It’s impossible to negotiate with someone who has members of his family killed. However, talking never hurts. We need to maintain a strong military presence but not one that threatens Kim. We must make sure there is no way a missile could ever reach the United States. Finally, we need to keep the pressure on China but realize there is only so much they can do.
Dealing with North Korea requires a nuanced approach. That is not the way Trump operates so we have to hope he will listen to his advisors.
Sadly, we have become accustomed to mass shootings in America. What we saw in Vegas was on a scale we couldn’t have imagined. The shooter was holed up in his suite with twenty-three weapons. He poured hundreds of rounds on the concertgoers below. By the time he was stopped, fifty-nine people were dead and over five-hundred injured.
There is no way for us to make sense out of this tragedy. We can’t understand the mind of someone so twisted. A sixty-four year old man who financially secure is a huge departure from the typical profile of a mass shooter.
Now thousands of people across the country must cope with the loss of their friend or loved one. An untold number will be supporting the injured. All of us are affected one way or another.
It is hard to find a silver lining in such senseless tragedy. However, the support pouring in for the victims and their families is proof that what connects us is stronger than what divides us.
While most of us respond in shock and disbelief, some use this as an opportunity to seek political advantage or spew hate. A number of Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, talked about gun control. I don’t understand the mentality of someone who views this as an opportunity to stick it to their political rivals.
Some went much further. Congressman Seth Moulton refused to participate in a moment of silence. Several reporters used it to attack Trump and Republicans. A college professor blamed “Trumpism” and “white victimization”.
The prize for the sickest response goes to a now former CBS lawyer and vice president. She tweeted that she was “not even sympathetic” to the victims because “country music fans are often Republicans”. I fail to understand how someone can be so twisted as to not care about such a tragedy simply because some of the victims might vote differently than her.
We need to find ways to become closer together and reject those that hate regardless of whether we agree or disagree with their political philosophy.
Michelle Obama recently scolded women who voted for Donald Trump. “As far as I’m concerned, any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against her own voice”. She defined voice as “believing in our authentic self”.
If I was a woman, I’d be insulted on several levels. She is saying that women should ignore their beliefs and vote for someone simply because of gender. She appears to be saying women are unable to find their authentic selves unless a woman is president.
This, in a microcosm, shows how the Democratic Party is off track. The women’s movement was about empowering women. Now Democrats are telling women (and minorities) they are powerless and need a benevolent government to protect them from evil Republicans.
Congressional Democrats are at their lowest ebb in almost a century. Amazingly, the party is sticking to the same script that caused their decline.