Soggy Sunday

We are getting much needed rain from a storm called Nestor. I don’t think Nestor ever made it to formal hurricane status, but it did spawn some tornadoes in the Florida panhandle.

Speaking of rain, the British parliament rained on Boris Johnson’s Brexit parade. What does the future hold? The one thing that must not happen is a no-deal Brexit. Brexit will be challeging enough, but a no-deal Brexit would be a Trump worthy disaster.

Speaking of Trump worthy disasters, there are three that are in the news, although he backtracked on one under Republican pressure. In the middle of being investigated for abuse of power, he abused his power saying the next G7 conference would be at a Trump resort. “Unforced error” is the kindest definition of this announcement, which was uttered by Neil Cavuto of Fox Business. Trump changed his mind, but of course blamed others for this unwise decision.

The abandonment of our Kurdish allies ranks up there as a betrayal of our trust. As conservative pundit David Brooks said on Friday, how does it make South Korea feel, being surrounded by China and North Korea, to have to rely on the US led by such an untrustworthy person? Noted columnist Christine Flowers announced this week she is leaving the Republican Party because of this move and the rationalization by Trump supporters. Let me keep it simple – Trump screwed people that fought on our behalf.

Finally, after the testimony under oath by Marie Yovanovitch, Fiona Hill and others, a picture has been painted by these reputable public servants that the US president has been running shadow diplomacy through his personal attorney Rudy Guliani. Setting aside these efforts are designed to dig up dirt on the president’s opponents, we have more than a few people representing our government in positions of import who have not been vetted by the Senate, including but not limited to. Guiliani, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. With Trump’s chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, confirming what these state people testified under oath, we are left with a simple fact. The US president broke the law and abused his power. Do not let his sycophants try to whitewash this – it is wrong.

Keeping with this “Soggy Sunday” theme as rain pelts the president’s actions, as Creedence Clearwater Revival sang, “who will stop the rain?”

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Misfit foods repurposed

So much of our food is thrown away leading to waste as well as methane producing landfills. On CBS Morning News on Saturday, October 12, two companies were highlighted that are repurposing imperfect or misfit foods. These are foods that get passed over by restaurants and grocers due to blemishes, unusual shapes, or less than expected color. Per CBS:

“USDA guidelines separate fruits and vegetables into grades based on things like size and color. Large volume retailers, including supermarkets, often follow those strict beauty standards. That’s led to 10 million tons of cosmetically imperfect or unharvested food being lost each year.

But one man’s trash has become another man’s treasure for Ben Chesler, who saw ‘imperfect produce’ as the perfect recipe and name for a new business model.

‘The goal was really to fix a part of the food system,’ Chesler said. ‘Starting with produce and then eventually moving into the wider food system, we could solve the environmental impact of all the food going to waste, we could make food more affordable for people and we could start to take a small bite out of this whole problem of food deserts where we could actually deliver healthy produce to people for more affordable than the grocery store.’

The ugly produce movement has grown into a competitive field with companies like Misfits Market and Hungry Harvest all fighting for a share.”

Not only are these repurposed foods saving waste, they are helping consumers save money. Plus, it is a sustainable model. Some distributors threw food away rather than donate it to food pantries because of the trucking and loading/ unloading costs.

From the Imperfect Foods website (see below):

“Imperfect Foods was founded in 2015 with a mission to reduce food waste and build a better food system for everyone. We offer imperfect (yet delicious) produce, affordable pantry items, and quality eggs and dairy. We deliver them conveniently to our customers’ doorsteps and pride ourselves on offering up to a 30% discount compared to grocery store prices. Our customers can get the healthy, seasonal produce they want alongside the grocery staples they rely on, without having to compromise their budget or values. We’re proving that doing the right thing for the planet doesn’t have to cost more, and that shopping for quality ingredients can support the people and resources that it takes to grow our favorite foods.”

From the Misfits Markets website (see below):

“A common misconception is that fruits and vegetables only look strange if something is wrong with them or they are genetically modified (GMO). Quite the opposite: All-natural produce is apt to look funkier than the picture-perfect kind that is engineered in a lab. Unfortunately, misfit fruits and vegetables are often rejected by grocery stores and supermarkets due to natural imperfections or variations in size. A watermelon that has its weight distributed oddly may develop harmless scarring. Carrots grow into each other and look twisted. Peppers get blemishes from the ground. Apples fall and get bruised. All are perfectly normal, nutritious and tasty, and they shouldn’t be discarded. The produce we source may also be a misfit for reasons beyond an ugly appearance. Sometimes a farm’s customers may have over-ordered an item that they requested be prepped a certain way—e.g., just the root without the green—or they can no longer afford to pay for an order of normal produce. We’ll pick up the slack so that farmers still make money from excess produce and nothing goes to waste.”

Please check them out and see if they serve your area.

https://www.imperfectfoods.com/

https://www.misfitsmarket.com/

Wednesday walkabout – October 9, 2019

It looks like a good day for a walkabout. As I walk, I will ponder a few random musings.

I said this then, but will reiterate it now. The five states who canceled their Republican presidential primaries may want to reconsider. A poll reported by The Washington Post noted an increase to 28% of Republicans who support an impeachment inquiry. And, 18% of Republicans support the removal of Donald Trump as president. That is almost 1 out of 5 Republicans.

For those trying to figure out Brexit, our friend Jill has had three guest British bloggers (Roger, Colette and Frank) who have offered detailed summaries of Brexit. Their perspectives and context are excellent. If Brexit moves forward, please join me in a wish for a planned exit. A “no-deal” Brexit will add many challenges to a complex process. Politicians who hope it will go well should be remlnded hope is not a strategy. See below for three links.

Americans are a largely uninformed body of people. We care too much about entertainment and sports to delve into global news or even domestic news for that matter. So, the news we are screwing over Kurdish people in Syria is probably not registering with many. Simply, the Kurdish forces were the “tip of the spear” to defeat the ISIS caliphate. Now, we are abandoning them because the president lacks an understanding of that history. The Kurds are an enemy of the Turkish leadership, so it is a delicate issue. The dilemma is the president lacks the delicate touch.

Greta Thunberg continues to impress people across America and the world, while unsettling climate change deniers. She has toured America popping up at a climate change student strike in Iowa, then meeting with Native Americans regarding their pipeline concerns. Kim Kardashian is outspoken with her admiration. This is informational only because of her sphere of influence. Yet, another denier made a tongue in cheek threat to this sixteen year old advocate. Regardless of one’s position, threatening anyone, much less a 16 year old, is beyond poor form.

Threatening name-calling, labeling, and denigrating are short-cuts to people who don’t have a good argument. They are code words to influence less informed people. So, my advice is when you hear or read such, dig deeper, especially focusing on the opposing argument.

https://jilldennison.com/2019/10/08/-the-brexit-conundrum-colettes-view/

🇬🇧 The Brexit Conundrum — Roger’s View

🇬🇧 The Brexit Conundrum — Frank’s View

Republicans for the Rule of Law condemn Trump behavior (and obstruction) with Ukraine

As reported in Huffington Post this weekend, a group called Republicans for the Rule of Law is encouraging Republicans to remember their better angels. Here is a reprint:

“Now, dozens of Republican lawmakers have been targeted for TV and digital ads in a $1 million campaign that will begin running this weekend in their home districts. Among the first subjects are Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.).
The advocacy group behind the ads, Republicans for the Rule of Law, is a project of Defending Democracy Together, an organization that counts conservative commentator and noted Trump critic William Kristol as a co-director. Other directors include Linda Chavez, who served in the Reagan administration, and Christine Todd Whitman, who served as Environmental Protection Agency administrator under President George W. Bush.

‘Republicans in Congress must condemn this behavior without reservation,’ Chris Truax, a legal adviser for Republicans for the Rule of Law, said in a statement to HuffPost. He continued:

‘It is no longer about whether Republicans believe President Trump or whether they support his policies. It’s about whether they support his admitted abuse of power and his efforts to secure a foreign government’s help in an American election.’

The black-and-white 30-second ads are similar, but customized for each lawmaker. ‘The country is in crisis,’ the ads warn. They slam Trump’s actions as an ‘abuse of power’ and warn it will happen again ‘unless Republicans … stand up and say it’s wrong.'”

This article speaks volumes. Please help the message get heard. My hope is Republicans will listen to these Republicans.

 

Wednesday walkabout once again

It is a Greenwich time Wednesday, so I thought I would meander over several paths on my walkabout. So, get out your hiking boots and let’s go for a walk.

On one path, I thought of the passionate advocacy of the young kids over insufficient climate change action. Greta Thunberg is a hero to our planet and her efforts should be applauded. A couple of months ago a conservative Australian pundit decided to attack her person making fun of her having Asperger’s syndrome. He was roundly and rightfully criticized.

It was followed up yesterday by a Fox News guest speaker who equated Thunberg’s Asperger’s with a mental illness and was roundly and rightfully denounced even by the Fox network. Then there is the US president who likes to denigrate people tweeting “tongue-in-cheek” how happy she looked. Many of us had predicted the president would act true to form because he simply cannot help himself from picking on critics. And, he called himself the “Chosen One” recently. Chosen by whom for what?

Down another path, I thought of poor Boris being ruled against by the UK high court for canceling parliament for so long before Brexit. Right now, the UK is so ill-prepared for Brexit, that who would think canceling parliament could even resemble a good idea. Yet, while Boris is short on doing his homework, he is never bashful. Let me say this for the umpteenth time, Brexit is not the best of ideas in the view of many financial people, but I understand the rationale. Yet, please do not let people that don’t know any better convince the UK a “no-deal Brexit” will be OK. It will be about as big a disaster as can be imagined. Brits should be worried that the US president thinks it will be OK as he is as studious as Boris.

Moving on to another path, the US president does not think it is wrong to try and strong arm a country for dirt on an opponent. He also does not think it is wrong to avoid the whistleblower rules. Both of these are crimes. I will not be surprised to learn that the departures of Dan Coats and Sue Gordon, two well thought of Intelligence leaders, in August are related. When people say the Mueller report cleared Trump, it did not. He obstructed justice and would have done more if some folks followed his orders. He continued to obstruct Congress after then. Yet, the Mueller report also showed a lot of poor action and behavior on his staff in courting Russian officials. Mueller did not delve far enough, but I feel he would have found more. But, what he did find showed sloppiness that was easily taken advantage of.

As I said last week to staff of Republican Senators, what will the Senator have to rationalize next week, next month or next year about the president? And, what may have scared them the most is when I said he or she won’t know if the sin has already been committed or will be committed in the future. The whistleblower stuff had already been committed. That should scare the hell out of Republicans. And, should because they have fed this monstrous behavior. The president is a clear and present danger to our democracy, our planet and the Republican party.

 

 

You can’t comb over climate change

“You can’t comb over climate change,” the sign read at the Climate Change strike yesterday. This metaphor speaks volumes about a huge problem that a certain person in leadership continues to hide like thinning hair.

The kids get it. Their passion and acknowledgement of the existential threat to our present and future is even applauded in halls of government. Yet, it shames these legislators who still do not act because their funders tell them not to.

I am both a tree-hugger and a capitalist. I have actually said this to legislators in open forum, which usually draws a chuckle. Yet, i am more than gesting. I left the Republican Party a dozen years ago in large part due to their ostrich-head-in-the-sand stance on climate change. My thesis is I could not be a member of a party that is ignoring the greatest threat facing our planet. There is no Planet B.

The cost of failing to act now will dwarf the cost of action. But, the economics go deeper. The cost of renewable energy is more on par with fossil fuel costs from a production standpoint. When all costs are factored in – acquisition, environmental degradation, transportation, burning, maintenance, health, litigation – the cost of renewables is actually much cheaper than coal and cheaper than natural gas. The dropping costs of renewables continues to drive the increase in their use. Iowa actually gets over 35% of its electricity from wind energy, eg. Even Texas gets over 16% of its electricity from wind.

Being a capitalist, the place for investment is in growth industries, not retrenching ones. Coal has been in demise for the entire decade. Solar jobs are 5X more than coal jobs. And, per the recently passed oil tycoon, T. Boone Pickens, natural gas was needed to buy time before wind and solar decreased in cost. He said this in the first half of this decade.

So, the future financials favor renewables. Yet, then we must add in that climate change thing. We must address the heating planet being worsened by humans. If we don’t, it is more than just our kids we need to worry about. We need to worry about us.

The kids get it. Adults, are you paying attention?

From where I sit

The following is a letter I forwarded to my local newspaper. The timing is due to yet one more letter I read which portrays critics of the US president as just not liking him or Democrats who want to change the outcome of the election.
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As an independent and former Republican, it troubles me how easily the US president convinces people that his critics just don’t like him, are Democrats or both. From where I sit, Trump’s worst enemy looks back from the mirror when he shaves. It is not his critics who are regularly untruthful, bully people, denigrate media and opponents, and believe they are above the law. It is not his critics who consistently lie about who pays the tariffs (it is importers not China), nor who invents stories like India asking him to broker a discussion with Pakistan over Kashmir, which was denied by India within an hour. From where I sit, the biggest purveyor of fake news, by far, is the one who tweets so much.
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In the latest Trump episode involving a whistleblower who has “credibly” raised an issue per the Inspector General’s office, Trump tweeted how could someone think he would say something improper to a world leader? The answer is because you have done it several times before – think siding with Putin over his intelligence leaders in Helsinki, think lying to the Australian PM, think repeating the same comment to the German Chancellor eleven times before realizing what she had been saying.

Please feel free to use the above letter, modifying it as you see fit.