Planting trees is a good start

I read this week House Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy is pushing for a bill to require the planting of a million trees. Some members of the Republican party are now openly admitting climate change is a problem after over twenty years of varying degrees of denial.

The rationale is to two-fold. These members realize younger voters know climate change is a problem to deal with. These members also are pushing a carbon capture narrative to permit the unabated use of fossil fuel energy.

This is a good start for the Republican party, but a necessary strategy has two vital components:

1) take more carbon out of the atmosphere

2) put less carbon into the air

Focusing only on one or the other is half the battle. Fortunately, coal is on the demise in most places around the world. In the US, more coal-fired plants have been retired under Trump’s tenure than under the last three years of Obama’s. With all his bluster, Trump cannot stop the demise.

The key is to diminish natural gas, which has less carbon impact than coal, but creates a larger methane and water problem. While methane has a shorter life than carbon, it is more potent a problem.

We should embrace planting more trees. We should also increase mangrove areas near seashores which absorb a lot of carbon and protect against rising tides. And, as noted in the documentary “Ice on Fire,” there are a number of other carbon eating measures.

These with increasing solar, wind, and tidal energy sources and continued urban and agricultural climate efforts will help put less carbon in the air. The answer is all of the above and more.

Forget the original Jesus, follow the new savior

It saddens me the US president is the most corrupt and untruthful president in my lifetime, including Richard Nixon. It further saddens me that some Christian leaders are whitewashing his indecency saying he is God ordained. Really?

At the National Prayer Breakfast last week, the US president followed a speaker who rightfully shared the teachings of Jesus about loving your enemies. He was followed by the US president, who forewarned the first speaker that he might not like what the president was about to say.

The president then proceeded to trash and ridicule all of his critics. With disdain, he took aim at Senator Mitt Romney denigrating his use of a faith to come to a conclusion the president did wrong. He then ridiculed Speaker Nancy Pelosi for saying she would pray for the president.

Conservative author and pundit David Brooks has described the president as lacking empathy and common decency. When we need someone to galvanize Americans or lament over a tragedy, he is not up to the task. He has followed the Machiavelian tactics of dividing and conquering. Even at a prayer conference.

I am not alone in saying the president is a threat to our democracy, running the country in a regal fashion. Yet, he is also a threat to the teachings of Jesus that Christians adhere to.

What may have been even more sad than a corrupt and indecent person trashing and ridiculing his enemies are two things. First, Mitt Romney delivered a heartfelt speech about voting his conscience following his religious upbringing. Second, after the president trashed Romney, people at the prayer conference cheered.

Jesus said to treat people like you want to be treated. The new savior said to make people fear you and destroy your critics.

A few thoughts on a rainy Tuesday

It seems like we cannot escape the rain, but at least it is better than ice and snow. Take care and drive safely. Here are a couple of thoughts on this rainy Tuesday.

In the first Harry Potter movie, one of Potter’s dorm mates won his group extra points by standing up to his friends when they were about to do something wrong. The headmaster noted standing up to one’s friends shows more courage than standing up to one’s enemies. Senator Mitt Romney should be awarded more points for his political courage for standing alone as he spoke truth to power. Like Romney, the public servants who testified under oath and at great risk showed courage when they knew they would be punished by “he who should not be named.”

There is an old saying “one should never argue with a street preacher.” Why? If someone is going to stand on a corner and yell for several hours, they may be a tad zealous. Online or on social media, it is hard to identify the street preachers (a metaphor for zealous people). Their views are given too much weight, especially when they are elected officials. Unfortunately, with gerrymandering and tribal politics, some authors of ludicrous statements are better left ignored. When an official advocates killing people for their beliefs, that is not only asinine, it is hate speech. I wish the press would ignore much of the BS spewed by the US president, yet they feel obligated to report it.

Since my computer seems to be hiccupping this morning, let me leave you with those two thoughts. Have a great day.

Pandora’s Box – abbreviated version

Below is a abbreviated version of my recent post on opening Pandora’s Box. I shortened it to send to my local newspaper. Please feel free to adapt and use. I feel the Pandora’s Box metaphor is apt.

“Republican Senators may now be fully opening Pandora’s Box, since they acquitted the US president with no formal admonishment. They may not ever get a chance to put the president back in the box. I believe the evidence is pretty compelling that the president is every bit as guilty and more. Sadly, he has dragged others into his mess, as is his modus operandi.

What they are missing because of fear and blind allegiance is this is the point of reckoning where they could have saved their own party and our democracy. We are not a kingdom. As an independent and former GOP and Democrat voter, I do not care what party is represented in the White House. But, when the incumbent dishonors the position to the point where 63% of Europeans do not trust him, trusting Putin and Xi more, what does that tell you? Taking the US president at his word is fool’s errand.”

A few Wednesday wanderings

It is a good day to go for a hike and see where I may wander. I am thinking of the JRR Tolkien line “Not all those who wander are lost.” Although, sometimes I feel I am lost in a country that has lost its compass. Here are a few thoughts to ponder while I wander.

I read that Senator Rand Paul read the name of the whistleblower in the senate yesterday. I left Paul a message after I read this. The gist is to tell him I have applauded him when he has been bipartisan and when he has shown political courage to push back on the president. I defend his right to do what he thinks is best. But, reading the name of the whistleblower on the floor of the senate is extremely poor form. It places someone in danger. We protect whistleblowers for a reason. Plus, I watched a parade of honorable diplomats testify under oath and at great risk of their concerns over Ukraine’s fledgling democracy and what they believe Trump did to use them for personal gain.

I saw where the president’s approval rating has increased to 49% under one poll with an average of 43.6% This shows me two things. People are not paying attention as they are told to look the other way. It also tells me the economy is propping up Trump’s numbers more than they should be. I have said for ten years, the president gets too much credit and too much blame for the economy. I am glad it continues at a pretty good clip, but it has been so doing for going on 128 consecutive months, and Trump has only been president for going on 37 months.

From the testimony I have seen and read, the obstruction of justice by the president and the refusal to seek the truth, I feel the president is guilty as charged. Another reason to know this is he is saying he is not, but his excuses keep changing. I have long grown weary of weak-kneed GOP sycophants rationalize the toddler’s tantrums and truancy. In my view, these folks put loyalty to this imposter king ahead of loyalty to the constitution. And, people need to know this. Fortunately, there is even a Republican group spending money to shed light on this poor stewardship.

Those are the three thoughts of the day. Have a great rest of the week.

Disappointment – letter to a GOP Senator

Senator Burr, as an independent and former Republican, I have voted for you in the past. I have applauded you when you have gone out of your way to be bipartisan, especially with your and Mark Warner’s handling of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

I did not expect the Senate to remove Donald Trump, even though the testimony I have seen and his actions to block evidence and witnesses indicate someone who is guilty. The why question I want an answer to is why did the White House try to bury the infamous phone call, if it was so perfect? And, frankly, I am troubled that we have a shadow diplomacy going on which keeps our diplomats in the dark. I would say this if the person was Mother Teresa, but Rudy Giuliani is a far cry from her exemplar.

What does trouble me is the insistence that the president did nothing wrong and the Senate’s lack of interest in getting at the truth. I have concerns that we have a national security risk in the White House. It is already clear, that he feels empowered to be regal. We are not a kingdom.

So, I am disappointed in your stance. What troubles me further, is many Republicans know that Trump is guilty, yet they cannot say it. The rationalization of his corrupt and untruthful actions and statements is wearisome and numbing. My question to you and other GOP leaders, is what will you have to defend next week, next month, and the months thereafter? Adam Schiff asked an important question that the GOP needs to heed – do you want to know now or later? To be brutally frank, the GOP may want to rethink allowing Bill Weld and Joe Walsh on the primary ballots in all states.

That is my two cents. I will not be voting for the junior Senator from NC nor will I vote for the incumbent president. I would consider Weld or Walsh as a candidate, but do believe they need a fair chance, which the president has denied. I want to look up to my president and expect what he says is truthful. Neither of these apply to Donald Trump.

Witnesses would help – draft plea to Senators and press

In addition to hearing from John Bolton, it would also be interesting to hear why Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats submitted his resignation on July 28, 2019 and why his well-respected right hand Sue Gordon was forced out in August, 2019. The timing of their departures is concerning and reinforces my concerns over the heightened national security risk by the alleged White House actions in Ukraine.

This independent and former GOP voter would also like to hear from Rudy Giuliani, Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence and his aide whose testimony was denied. We need to get to the bottom of this regardless of whose party is in the White House.

We cannot have a president acting the way the incumbent does and is alleged of doing. The nonpartisan GAO determined the withholding aid to Ukraine is illegal. Plus, 63% of Europeans find the US president untrustworthy, a worse ranking than that of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jingpeng. What does that say about us if we did not hold the president to account?