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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

There are two laws in Missouri that really go against each other.  The first is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  The second is Missouri’s 72 hour waiting period and “informed consent” law about abortion.  This problem is coming to a head.

A woman who belongs to the Satanic Temple wants an abortion.  She went to Planned Parenthood and filed an exemption form stating that the 72 hour waiting period places an undue burden on her religious beliefs.  Planned Parenthood rejected the exemption form based on Missouri’s 72 hour waiting period and “informed consent” law.  The woman, called Mary Doe in court documents, and the Satanists have filed suit over the denial.

In Missouri, and several other states, the waiting period has no medical or scientific basis.  It is merely a forced waiting period so the woman can digest the “informed consent” material they are forced to endure.  This material has no medical or scientific background or need either.  Most of the material is intended to make a woman feel guilty about her choice, thus forcing her to change her mind.

The Satanic Temple says that is a violation of the RFRA.  Spokesman Lucien Greaves says that “in our tenets, we hold that one should make decisions based on the best scientific evidence available and that a woman’s body – anyone’s body – are subject to ones own will.”  He claims that the state mandated material is not scientifically based, is nothing more than state-propaganda designed to sway an individual’s decision, and therefore is against their religion.

That puts the 72 hour waiting period and “informed consent” law in conflict with the RFRA.  The really weird part of this story is that the Hobby Lobby case at the Supreme Court opened the door for this conflict to happen.  In the Hobby Lobby case, Hobby Lobby argued that certain contraceptives were abortifacients.  They are not abortifacients, yet Hobby Lobby argued that they believe they were and therefore should not be forced to provide them in their health coverage.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby.  In essence, the court ruled that even if the science does not support your claim, as long as you hold “deeply religious beliefs” about your argument, you are right.  Which brings us to the “informed consent” law in Missouri.

The Satanic Temple is saying that they believe that the material being forced upon women is not scientifically based and inaccurate.  Under the Hobby Lobby ruling, they only need argue they have a “deeply held religious belief” that the material is bogus and therefore, they are correct.

There have been other challenges to the waiting period laws that have failed.  However, this is the first one using the RFRA as a reason the waiting period laws are invalid.  I know that not many people are going to support the Satanic Temple.  However, it is a religion, whether or not you agree with them, and therefore should be protected under the RFRA as well.

The other sad part of the story is that the Satanic Temple cannot get a pro-bono lawyer to take up their case.  So, they are forced to look for donations to continue this case.  I am extremely surprised that the ACLU doesn’t take up the case.  So, I ask the ACLU to please explain why you aren’t taking up this case.

The ruling in this case has a lot of ramifications.  None of them, in my opinion, are positive for the Conservative Christian right who are behind these anti-abortion laws.  If the courts rule in favor of the Satanic Temple, what does that mean for everyone else?  Would these waiting period laws be stricken?  Probably not.  More likely, the state legislature would change the waiting period laws to remove any religious exemptions from them.

Taking that step would indicate that they really don’t believe in the RFRA they so dramatically scream about when it suits their desires.  It would also prove that they are only interested in forcing their beliefs on everyone else, religious freedom be damned.

If the court rules against the Satanic Temple, there would be a legitimate argument that the court is “defining what is religion and what isn’t.”  That would also be bad for everyone.  If the court rules that the Satanic Temple isn’t a real religion, which religion will be next?

Yes, this case is one that is worth watching. The arguments put forth by the state to defend their waiting period law will allow the world to see just how insincere they are about religious freedom.  It will open up the can of worms that prove their arguments about religious liberty is one-sided and hypocritical.

To be frank, I hope this turns out to be a real dilemma for the Christian right.  It will only accelerate the movement away from religion recent polls are indicating is happening.  Then, maybe, we can have legitimate discussions about our issues and not have religious bellicose drowning out potential solutions.

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Tennessee obviously want to lead the way in the anti-woman agenda bill competition.  Of course, just passing such anti-woman bills is not enough.  They also have to call women liars and cheats.  Then the get to call doctors as money-grubbing sloths only interested in the abortion “business” for money only.

This all started with HB 977.  In this bill, the GOP wants to make women wait 48 hours and attend “counseling” before having an abortion provided.  This is simply another attempt by a GOP controlled state to make women go through nonsensical non-scientific “counseling” before having the abortion they, their families, and doctor have all agreed to.

See, women are not allowed to make up their own minds on such subjects.  The GOP obviously believes that women are simply too stupid to make any decisions by themselves.  No, once they make their decision, the GOP must abuse them with “counseling” that is ridiculous and meaningless.  Unless, of course, you want bully a woman into changing here mind.

Still, Rep. Craig Fitzhugh (D) proposed an exemption for victims of rape or incest.   Needless to say, GOP lawmaker is Sheila Butt went bonkers.  According to Rep. Butt, this is just a political stunt.  She said:

This amendment appears political because we understand that in most instances, this is not verifiable. Let’s make sure these women have the information and the understanding to act.

This nice “Christian” lady from Tennessee believes that you cannot verify that a woman was raped or a victim of incest.  Apparently, every time a woman claims she is a victim of one of these horrendous crimes, she is simply lying in order to get around this abysmal law.

Fitzhugh then had the unmitigated gall to suggest that women are actually able to comprehend both the magnitude of deciding to terminate a pregnancy and the gravity of rape and incest.  He said:

I just don’t think women take something like rape or incest lightly. And I can’t imagine any person would take advantage of that type of situation. Fortunately or unfortunately, it may not happen much. But it is certainly a condition that women need to be protected from, and that we should not give them a more burdensome process because their pregnancy is a result of one of these two actions.

Unfortunately, Rep. Butt and the other GOP butts in the house voted to “table” Fitzhugh’s amendment.  So, it won’t be part of the bill which is surely going to be signed by the state’s biggest GOP butt, the Governor.

But, don’t think that his is the only instance of Rep. Butt showing off her ignorance.  Earlier Fitzhugh offered a different amendment.  He wanted allow doctors to exempt patients from the 48-hour waiting period for mental health reasons.  Rep. Butt once again showed her “Christian Charity” on this matter.  She said:

Putting this psychological harm bypass into the bill is really a loophole for the abortion industry. It allows someone who is going to profit from abortion to get the waiting period waived.

Just to be clear about all of this.  According to Rep. Butt, every woman who claims to have been raped or a victim of incest is a liar.  Every doctor who wants to grant an exemption to this “waiting period” is simply out for the money.  It is really nice to see just how sympathetic this woman is to other women.

Bills like these are simple attempts to legislate specific religious beliefs into law.  They serve no other purpose.  Other than attempting to control the lives of women.  It is open season on women across the nation.

As I wrote yesterday, none of this nonsense being vomited up by conservatives has anything to do with religion or religious beliefs.  It is all a simple way to keep women down and under control.  And it stinks.  And it is wrong.  In my humble opinion, the GOP is using “terrorism” against women to deny them their civil rights.  But don’t worry, even if you believe they are correct, once they get women “back in their place” they will come after you, too.

 

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It is very easy for people on the left to poke fun at our conservative brothers.  It seems that almost every day some conservative says something that most rational people would consider inappropriate.  It also is true that almost every day a conservative controlled state passes another law that infringes on the rights of its citizens, all in the name of “liberty.”

There has been a lot of talk about these so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, anti-abortion bills, one state even passed a law that allows for carrying concealed guns without a license!”  Conservatives are continually railing about the “red menace” still threatening our way of life.  They argue the Iran Nuclear Deal is “giving in” to Iran.  They continue to harp that the ACA is bad for your health, although they don’t have any alternative to offer.

Conservatives deny that climate change is real.  There are states like Florida that actually ban public workers from using the words “climate change.”  They claim that man has had no influence on the weather.  Texas conservatives are hugely against doing anything about “climate change” all the while the western end of their state is getting hotter and drier by the day.

But, rather than poking fun at these conservatives, I think it would be better to try to understand them, just a little.  That is the only way to really fight back and gain the support of the American People.  See, conservatives are really living in the past.  Conservatism by definition favors the status-quo and hates progress.

Face facts, do you really think that all of the crying about evolution and not teaching the bible in school has anything to do with religion?  No!  It has to do with the fact that conservatives want to remain in a time when bad things that happen like drought, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes could all be handled by saying it was “God’s will.”  If you allow science to teach something other than “God’s will” you don’t have any basis for your fantasies.

As I said once before, the phrase “it’s God’s Will” is a convenient excuse to believe that nothing is really anyone’s fault.  That explains their consistent denial about climate change.  They want you to believe that man is not helping the climate to get warmer, it is “God’s Will.”  Therefore we just have to put up with it.

Conservatives use the abortion battle to say “life begins at conception.”  But what they are really saying is that they want to be able to tell women what they are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do.  The last thing a conservative wants is for women to decide for themselves or for that matter even think for themselves.  In our days of yore, women were subjugated to the will of men.  That is how they want it to be in the future.

As a result of their backwards thinking, they have nothing to offer America except fear.  The Red Menace is still a threat.  ISIS is coming to America to kill us all in our sleep.  Gay couples are destroying the American family and the institution of marriage.  None of this is true, but they do make for great headlines.  Especially aimed towards other conservatives who are afraid that tomorrow will be different from today.

So, how do we fight against such backwards thinking?  We need to call them out for their stupidity, yes, but we also need to educate the populace on how this kind of backward thinking is ruining our economy, defense, and country.  Let’s look at climate change as an example something the DOD even says is a threat to national security.  See, everyone who is fighting the conservatives on climate change are making the wrong arguments.  If you really want to see a change in our energy policies, you need to hit them where it will hurt the most.  People’s pocketbooks!

Those who are arguing that fossil fuels are hurting the planet are correct.  But, they don’t take the argument far enough.  They only talk about how climate change is changing our planet.  That is serious enough, but if you want to get everyone on board, you need to show that changing our energy policies to renewable energy will actually create a boom to our economy.  You need to show that these conservatives are really stopping the creation of millions of jobs that cannot be outsourced.

Using renewable energy, like wind and solar power, helps reduce the costs of energy for every single American.  It reduces energy costs for manufacturing and other businesses.  It creates jobs that cannot be outsourced.  It creates education opportunities so people who currently work in the fossil fuel industry, like coal miners, can learn a new trade and secure economic stability in the future.

I don’t know a single business owner who would not like to see their electric bill cut.  I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t like to see their heating and air conditioning bill cut.  This can happen if we stop using fossil fuels whose costs are subject to the whims of Wall Street.

Of course changing our energy policies costs money.  We need to rebuild our energy infrastructure.  We need to upgrade our electric producing plants.  We need to reeducate our workers so they can benefit from the changes.  However, in terms of return on investment, we would probably recover these costs in less than 20 years.

It doesn’t matter to me if the rest of the world is going to follow us or not.  In my opinion, they will be forced to follow us because using renewable, cheaper energy will make America more competitive in the global market.  It will allow us to restore our manufacturing base at a lower cost, thus creating even more jobs.  More people working at livable wages means more tax dollars coming into the Federal coffers.  More money in the treasury will help pay off our debt.

The conservatives want to eliminate things like SNAP, WIC, and welfare.  What better way to eliminate the need for these programs than to create an environment where people can actually get a real job that cannot be given to someone in China?  What better way to help the poor than teaching them a trade that they can earn a livable wage with?

But no, conservatives would rather fall back on their tried and true method of claiming that climate change is “God’s Will.”  They are not interested in creating a better future for our country.  They are not interested in creating a better future for our children.  They are only interested in living in the past.  That is where they feel safe.  That is where they feel in control.

It isn’t hard to show the economic benefits that the average American can acquire if we change our policies.  Just look at what we gained from NASA and the space program?  Hell, we never had Tang before the space program.  We didn’t have personal computers either.

The benefits of changing energy policies would have just as much benefit to the average American as the space program had.  Maybe even more because these policy changes would put money into people’s pockets.  It would create job security.  It would return our manufacturing base.  It would create more research into things like cars that don’t need to burn gasoline or be limited to a few hundred miles on a battery charge.

It is time we show the American people that conservatism is holding back our economic growth.  It is holding us back from a future that would be far better than the present.  Be honest, you are not going to win the argument by telling people that New York City will be underwater in 100 years.  The people today won’t be around then, and frankly don’t care.

But, if you tell them they will gain economically by a shift in energy policies, if you show them that their children will have a more secure lifestyle, they will listen.  It doesn’t matter if you earn $1 Billion per year or $10,000 per year.  It is all about personal economics.  That is where we need to take the battle.

Naturally the conservatives will use the argument that it will “cost too much.”  But, the American people have shown in that past that if they benefit from changes, they won’t care how much it costs.  They will want it.  That is how you beat conservatives and take our country into a better future for our citizens.

 

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We have seen the headlines and we have heard the radical right claim that there is a war on Christians.  What better way to deflect your war on democracy than to put the blame on democracy?  If you really pay attention, that is exactly what is happening in this country right now.

A term you have probably never heard before, I am willing to use right now.  Our country, our very democracy, is under attack by a “Radical Christian Agenda!”  Yes, you have all heard a similar phrase used by the right against gays, blacks, liberals, etc.  As in “Radical Homosexual Agenda.”  The truth is, Radical Christians are the real villains who have a radical agenda that will fundamentally change our country.

The other day, Mike Huckabee told an Iowa news radio station the “military is waging war on Christians.”  Really?  The military is probably the most secular organization in the country.  Yes, there are homophobes, Islamaphobes, and pure xenophobes who are in the military.  But, as an organization, the military does not force anyone to believe in any religion.  That is the problem as Mike Huckabee sees it.

The self-anointed prophet, Bill O’Reilly, has been crying about a “war on Christians” for years now.  He started with his ridiculous “war on Christmas” and it has just gotten worse over the years.  He claims Christians are the truly “moral” people in the country.  Sorry Bill, I was taught that purposefully lying is not “moral.”  Quite the opposite.  So, until you fess up to your deliberate lies over the years to make yourself look good, keep quiet about morality.

All of these so-called “restoration of religious freedom” bills around the country really have nothing to do with “religious freedom.”.  The people who are introducing these bills in the various states don’t give a rat’s ass about religious freedom.  What they really want is the right to discriminate against, segregate, and even kill those who don’t believe in their radical Christian beliefs.  If you think I am exaggerating, look at the proposed ballot initiative in California that calls for the “putting a bullet in the head” of homosexuals.

The real goal of this Radical Christian Agenda is to eliminate our democracy.  They want to establish a dictatorship in America that would rival the most gruesome dictatorships in history.  Their goal is to establish a society where their group are the only ones who can say what is civil rights and what is not.  They want to be able to determine that discrimination can only be defined as you not following their radical Christian beliefs.

If you desire to “fit in” you will have to adopt their beliefs.  You will have to accept that same-sex marriage is illegal and homosexuals need to be “eliminated.”  You will have to accept that abortion is illegal and that your belief otherwise will just get you put in jail.  You will have to accept that only white evangelical christians will have the right to vote.

In order to justify their goals, they are quick to point out the atrocities that ISIS is committing in other countries.  What they fail to tell you is that is exactly what they want to do right here.  Only it will be the Christians who are committing the atrocities.

They want to shut down our border with Mexico.  They want to eliminate immigration to any group other than “white European Christians.”  As far as these people are concerned, White Christians, especially White Evangelical Christians are the “supreme race” and therefore are the only people who deserve rights.

The election in 2016 will be a turning point for our country.  If the Radical Christian Agenda wins, it may be the last general election we ever have.  If you don’t believe me, just listen to the wonderful “candidates” the Republicans are fielding.  Listen to Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Scott Walker and you will hear this Radical Christian Agenda being spouted daily.

The only real “attacks on Christians” are the backlash you hear when someone tries to use their “religious beliefs” as an excuse to discriminate against someone.  That is not an attack against “religious beliefs,” it is an attack against bigotry!  If your religion tells you it is okay to be a bigot, I suggest you find another religion.

On the other hand, you see these Radical Evangelical Christians attacking homosexuals, women, blacks, Latinos, and non-Christians.  These same-sex marriage bans, anti-abortion bills, anti-immigration bills, and voter suppression bills all show who the true attackers are and what they are after.

They attack science and education.  They hate evolution and want to ban it from our schools.  They hate America’s true history and want to ban all of the “bad” stuff from history classes.  They want to keep women subjugated to the will of men.  In their eyes, women are only around to have babies, and nothing more.

Anyone who stands up for the rights of others is not a “true American.”  Anyone who stands up for peace and negotiated treaties to maintain that peace is a “supporter of terrorism.”  They are the only ones who are allowed to determine what the truth is.  Your truth is wrong.  Your beliefs are wrong.

There is nothing in the teachings of Jesus that says it is okay to discriminate against anyone.  In fact, just the opposite is true.  He preached peace and harmony among men.  He told you to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  He told you to “turn the other cheek.”  The ministry of Jesus was love, not hate!

You can mark my words here.  If you are not part of the Radical Evangelical Christian cult, you will be persecuted as much as the rest of us should they gain power.  You will discover that their meaning of “religious freedom” is that you must follow their religion.  Otherwise, you will be considered an “outsider” too.

As the campaign season starts ramping up, please listen to these preachers of the Radical Christian Agenda carefully.  They are lying to you and believe you are stupid enough to buy into their hatred.  History is full of examples of what happens when the public swallows these kinds of lies.  We must fight to ensure America is never included in that horrible history!

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As soon as the framework for a nuclear deal with Iran was announced, the right-wing went to war against the President.  What else is new?  As you remember, they started firing volleys before any deal was even announced.  Remember their letter to Iran?

But, things have gotten a lost worse since the deal was announced.  According to the right-wing, we are “giving away the house” with the deal and getting nothing in return.  It will surely mean that Iran will be nuking Israel within two months of signing any deal.

Of course, Netanyahu hit the talk shows yesterday complaining that this was a bad deal.  He claims that Iran is going to be able to have a free hand in making nuclear bombs if the deal is finalized.  But, he let loose with a few quotes that somehow makes his argument sound hollow, at least concerning the actual deal.  According to Netanyahu, the deal is bad because it does not force Iran out of the terrorism support game.

On ABC’s “This Week” he said:  “They’re not going to use it for schools or hospitals or roads,” Netanyahu said of the potential economic boost from sanctions relief. “Martha, they’re going to use it to pump up their terror machine worldwide and their military machine that is busy conquering the Middle East now.”

That would make the real concern for Israel’s Prime Minister not a nuclear bomb being achieved by Iran, but rather their support of terrorism.  That is a fair concern.  Israel does face many dangers and has many haters in the region.  But, one thing Netanyahu could do to help calm down a lot of this hatred is to sit at the negotiating table with the Palestinians and work out a peace deal recognizing the Palestinian State.

Of course that would mean he would have to stop the settlement program on the West Bank and that would piss off his own right-wing.  Since Netanyahu has publicly stated that there will be no “Palestinian State as long as I am Prime Minister,” the prospects of calming down the Mideast problems are slim to none.

Which brings us back to the deal’s framework that was announced.  I will be honest, as Republicans say, “I am not a scientist,” and most of this deal requires some scientific knowledge about nuclear material to fully understand it.  But, from what I understand of the deal, the so-called experts say it will hold back Iran from gaining any nuclear weapons for at least 10 years.  Some on our side of the Atlantic think that is too short and that we should just bomb the facilities.

Well, John Bolton – who places more faith than anyone in the power of bombs to solve problems – says that an enthusiastic application of explosives to Iranian nuclear sites could set the program back a whopping three to five years.  Call me silly, but 10 years seems longer than three to five years.  Besides, who knows what the two sides will look like after those ten years?  Things could be good enough to go back to the negotiating table.

Of course the whole deal is going to be dependent on whether or not Iran agrees to the verification process that will be necessary.  The one thing Ronald Reagan said that I do agree with is “trust but verify.”  Somehow, I think that if that policy was good enough to negotiate with the Soviet Union who was far more powerful, it should be good enough to negotiate with Iran.

There is nothing in the framework that would preclude sanctions to be imposed again if Iran breaks the deal.  That is the hammer that the world can use against them to ensure their compliance.  Besides, the sanctions do not immediately come off.  Iran needs to comply with the deal first.  What was announced was a “framework” not an actual finalized deal.  That still needs to be hammered out.  This can still fall apart.

Yet, the Republican Presidential Candidates all hate the deal.  Most have even gone so far as to say they would scrap it on the first day in office if elected.  One of their biggest claims against the President is that our “allies don’t trust us” anymore.  What better way to gain their trust than to break our word on you first day in office?

Remember, this deal is not just with the U.S.  It is with the 5 plus one nations.  These nations include France, Germany, Britain, Russia, and China.  Their support is critical in making any deal with Iran stick.  If the U.S. decides not to go along with it and everyone else does, Iran will still have the vast majority of sanctions lifted by these other nations.  We will not be able force to Iran to the table again because acting alone won’t be enough to affect their politics or economy.  As a result, Iran would become even more dangerous than it already is.  And, it would be our fault.

Finally, what other options are there?  This question has been raised to these candidates and they don’t want to answer the question.  When asked what they would do if there was no deal or if they scrapped it, they don’t offer up anything.  The reason they don’t offer up anything is because the only other alternative is war.

Yes, there are basically two ways to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.  One is through diplomacy, which is always tricky, and the other is through an invasion.  After almost 14 years of war, Americans are not ready for another one in the Mideast.  If you think Iran’s military is a pushover, you better think again.

The real reason the Republicans are so against this deal is not because it is so bad, it is because they don’t want a deal with Iran.  Their puppet-master in Israel is telling them that the only answer is war with Iran.  And, they are willing to fight the war for him.

As a result, we are getting more of the same fear-mongering about Iran that we got about the old Soviet Union.  It appears that our conservatives aren’t happy unless there is some kind of cold or hot war going on somewhere.  And, in order to keep their fear-mongering alive, they are even willing to break our word with our allies.

What a wonderful way to conduct foreign policy.  Break your word to you allies, and bomb your enemies.

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Climate change is something that can rile up almost anyone on both sides of the issue.  We have seen the peak winter arctic ice at its lowest levels in history this past winter.  The planet has just suffered through its warmest winter in history.  The GOP is still arguing that climate change is a hoax, and are looking to defang the EPA from doing its job in protecting our air and water.

Maybe it is time to stop talking about pollution being the cause of climate change, and refocus it back to pollution being a health hazard instead.  Maybe, if politicians are bombarded with complaints from constituents that pollution from coal-burning electric plants, or other manufacturing is affecting their health, they might listen.  But then again, I doubt that will happen either.

There are two cases pending in two different courts that exemplify this to a tee.  Two lawyers Brendan and Nessa Coppinger apparently live in a row house in Washington, D.C.  They have sued their neighbor for smoking in his own house.  That is right, they have sued their neighbor for smoking in his own house.

“This is a health concern,” Nessa Coppinger, who is 38 and pregnant with her second child, told the Washington Post. “We don’t smoke. We don’t allow smoking in our home. We have smoke in our house all the time.”.  In the law suit they are seeking damages in the amount of $500,000

D.C. Superior Court Judge Ronna Lee Beck ordered that all smoking, of all substances, be banned in the neighbor’s home until the lawsuit is resolved.  Of course, this whole mess raises intriguing questions about a person’s right to smoke in his own house.  Or, for that matter what rights a homeowner really has when it comes to his own property.

Now, this may all seem like something reasonable.  Except for one thing.  Records indicate that Nessa Coppinger, an “environmental lawyer” — often litigates against the environment, including cases in which she’s defended industry clients against people besieged by pollution.

Suncoke Energy, Inc. is being sued by four Ohioans.  The plaintiffs claim that a local metallurgical coke plant, operated by a subsidiary of the billion dollar corporation, “emitted and released blue/gray Noxious and Hazardous Substances-containing clouds or haze,” which poisoned their water, soil and, yes, air, with just about everything one might consider to be a health concern: “sludge-like deposits, strong odors, particulates, lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium, creosote, coal-tar pitch, coal-tar pitch volatiles, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (e.g., benzo(a) pyrene and chrysene) (“PAHs”), sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, dioxins, volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”), hydrochloric acid (“HCL”), volatiles, carbon monoxide, benzene, flue gas, chemical clouds and haze, other solid and hazardous wastes, other hazardous substances and pollutants, and mixtures containing such substances.”

The lawyer defending the billion dollar giant is none other than Nessa Coppinger.  The plaintiffs reported experiencing unpleasant odors infiltrating their properties, claimed to suffer respiratory symptoms from the smoke and said they “are concerned and apprehensive about risks to their and their family members’ health from their past and ongoing exposure to said substances.”  No court order has prohibited the plant from spewing the pollutants, as alleged, onto its neighbors’ property.  This lawsuit has been ongoing for five years.

So we have a lawyer who is seeking $500,000 from a neighbor because his smoking in his own house is seeping into her house causing “second-hand smoke” issues defending a company who is polluting its neighbors with even more toxic pollutants.  The biggest difference is that the “smoker” is smoking within his own house.  The company polluting its neighbors are not polluting inside their own facility.  Rather they are openly polluting the entire area.

If this sounds rather familiar, remember the Exxon CEO who, last year, joined an anti-fracking lawsuit after nearby drilling activity threatened to lower his own property values.  The same Exxon CEO who claims that fracking is perfectly safe and won’t cause harm to the environment or property values.

I firmly believe that these cases point out the simple fact that the fight to protect polluters has nothing to do with climate change or anything like it.  It is to defend the billion dollar companies that are killing our planet and us.  But, as long as it happens to someone else, it is okay.  Just keep it from our neighborhood.

That is why the GOP will continue its stupidity on climate change and its attack on science and the EPA.

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The Canadian Senator is still talking about climate change as if it were a fairy tale.  He shared his thoughts with Seth Meyers on late night television the other day.  On the show he said:

I just came back from New Hampshire where there’s snow and ice everywhere. And my view actually is simple. Debates on this should follow science and should follow data. And many of the alarmists on global warming, they’ve got a problem because the science doesn’t back them up. And in particular, satellite data demonstrate for the last 17 years there’s been zero warming, none whatsoever. It’s why, you remember how it used to be called global warming, and then magically the theory changed to climate change?  The reason is it wasn’t warming. But the computer models still say it is, except the satellites show it’s not.

Hey, someone on the Republican side actually said “debates on this should follow science and should follow data.”  However, I suggest that Mr. Cruz actually use the full science and data when he talks about climate change.  He has cherry picked the last 17 years to claim there has been no “warming.”

He has failed to say how come, then, that 13 of the hottest 14 years on record all came since 2000.  He also failed to mention that this last winter was the warmest than any winter in history.  I know he says that he just came from New Hampshire where there was “snow and ice everywhere.”  But as most people recognize, weather is not the same as climate.

Additionally, the satellites do show that the climate has been warming by an average of .2 degrees per decade since 1980 when satellite records began.  Now, maybe Cruz doesn’t think that .2 degrees per decade is showing any “warming” but when you add that all up since 1980 that means the planet has warmed by almost a full degree.

We already know that sea ice is melting.  We already know the glaciers are shrinking.  What does Senator Cruz thinks is causing all of this ice to melt?  Does he think that not “warming” will cause ice to melt?  Anyone with half of a brain knows that ice melts when it gets too hot to stay as ice.

But why are Cruz and the Republicans trying to claim that climate change isn’t real?  All you need do is look at the House’s proposed budget.  In this budget they scream about “government red-tape” is causing jobs to be lost.  Yet the only example they use is the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules on carbon emissions from burning coal.

We all know how much Republicans hate the EPA.  So this not anything unexpected.  But, when you take into consideration the consistent attack on global warming as being a big hoax, it is easy to see how their budget favoring polluters would be difficult to defend if they actually said climate change was real.

Our own Department of Defense has said that climate change is a real national security threat.  You know, the same Department of Defense that Republicans want to give more money to.  The same Department of Defense that is supposed to figure out what threats our national defense faces in the future in order to plan for them.  They say that climate change is a “national security threat” to our country.

DOD is smart enough to know that if people around the world start going hungry or thirsty due to major drought, they will look for those resources elsewhere.  And, that won’t be by buying it from another country.  It will be by invading another country.

It is being reported that California, which is suffering its worse drought in history, has about one year’s worth of water left.  What happens if that water runs out?  California isn’t alone in suffering from drought either.  Cruz’s own state of Texas is suffering from drought as well.  Especially in its western regions.

But instead of looking at the science and the data, Republicans are more interested in keeping the cash flows going to polluters.  They are more interested in their donor base than they are in the American people.  Over the years, pollution has caused public health problems.  Things like asthma increased because of pollution.  That was one of the biggest reasons Richard Nixon formed the EPA in the first place.

Now the science is telling us that pollution is causing the climate of our planet to change.  Sea temperatures are rising, causing sea ice to melt and making tropical storms more powerful.  The overall temperature of the planet is rising causing glaciers to melt.  Sea levels are rising threatening small things like islands and the majority of the state of Florida.

Yet the Republicans want you to believe that “climate change” is a hoax.  Hell, Florida even banned its government employees from using the term “climate change.”  How’s that for hiding our head in the sand.  Of course, if climate change keeps going, a lot of Florida will be under water so there won’t be any sand to stick your head in.

The one thing that I have never understood about this argument is the lack of initiative by the gas, oil, and coal companies.  The amazing thing is that none of them are doing anything about shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energies.  These are the companies that get huge tax subsidies from the government.  They already have infrastructure in place, yet they are reluctant, at best, to help wean us off of fossil fuels and onto renewable energy.

You would think that forward thinking executives at these companies would see the economic benefits of having their companies take the lean in moving the country to renewable energy.  I am not an economist, but it would seem to me that would help ensure their viability in the future, when their product runs out.

One example is several car companies have been experimenting with hydrogen run vehicles.  The major stumbling block to this technology becoming a reality is the infrastructure necessary is lacking.  Yet the oil industry hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon to get the infrastructure in place or even produce the hydrogen itself.  To me that is very short-term vision at best.

But then, if Republicans are going to continually say climate change is a hoax and keep passing budgets friendly to these companies, why should they change their vision?  Forget about the idea that renewable energy systems means real middle-class American jobs that cannot be outsourced.  Talk about creating jobs!

Unfortunately, scientists are not going to be able to change the debate on climate change.  Republicans hate scientist from the get go.  It is up to us, the citizens, to hold their feet to the fire on climate change.  It is our lives that are being affected by it, and it is up to us to make a change in the debate.

As long as Republicans feel “safe” in getting re-elected with the help of their contributors, they will never change on the issue.  We must force them to face losing the next election before they will act.  On the other hand, if you remain silent, nothing much is at stake.  Just the future of your children and grandchildren.

 

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