March, 2018

Mar 18


There are people who disdain voting–some use one excuse for taking responsibility, some use another. Some say it’s because they’re fed up with “the two party system”–when we don’t have one. There are various parties, the Green Party with the dreaded Jill Stein, the Libertarians with the dreaded libertarians, the Socialist Party, and so on. They have failed to capture enough support to take over from the top two, is all. . .Then there are people who disdain voting because “it changes nothing”. This is sheer ignorance. If Gore had been (proven) elected, in 2000 there would have been no Iraq war. Obama’s policies were, overall, very different from Bush’s and Trump’s. He accomplished some good things. I will not engage in the tiresome listing of contrasting policies, despite some overlap, between Democrats and Republicans–you can research it. The difference is dramatic. But is the Democratic Party worth supporting?

Some people feel that there’s no one to vote for, that Democrats once meant something but they’re now ineffective, timid, and some of them are treacherous right-leaning “blue dogs”. 16 Dem senators recently voted, it’s true, to weaken Dodd-Frank. But they’re not the mainstream of the party. Anyway, I agree that the Democratic party, though a thousand times better than the Republican party, is troubled, indecisive, divided, and sometimes too much in the bag for big money. And voting for the Greens would simply give the Republicans more seats by default. So what’s the alternative?

There are those who are working to simply take over the Democratic party, to unify it around policies that are clear-cut in the defense of the working poor and the middle class, in the defense of the environment, in a desire to scale down the military to a sane (still effective) size, in their plan for firm banking regulation and an increase in taxes on the 1% and corporations…There is, for example, Young Democrats of America…Check out

The GOP was taken over by radical-right activists. Progressive activists can take over the Democratic party–and they’re more in line with what America wants.

Don’t dump the Democratic Party. Take it over.

Mar 18

A Response from Senator Murray on Scott Pruitt & the Trump EPA

From Senator Patty Murray in response to a note I sent her asking that Dems do more about Pruitt and Trump’s version of the EPA. I assume this is a form letter about Pruitt but it does address most of what I raised with her.

Dear Mr. Shirley:
Thank you for writing to me regarding oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I appreciate hearing from you. Since his confirmation, Administrator Scott Pruitt has been singularly focused on undermining the core mission of the EPA. The Administration has taken steps to roll back the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule, which effectively denies the consensus that climate change is a real and present danger and in turn makes communities in Washington state and across the country more vulnerable to environmental harm than ever before. While deeply disappointed, I am ultimately not surprised that this Administration is doing exactly what we feared—taking one action after another to diminish critical environmental protections and undercut progress, jeopardizing our most valuable natural resources for future generations.

To make matters worse, the Administration has installed reckless and unqualified individuals to lead key EPA offices charged with keeping our air and water clean and safe. Despite the President’s promise to “drain the swamp,” Administration officials have slowed the enforcement of toxic chemical regulations and the oversight of hazardous materials usage in favor of prioritizing the demands of coal and chemical company executives. Further, I remain troubled by allegations of waste and misuse of taxpayer funds within EPA, including reports of Administrator Pruitt racking up high-cost travel expenses, directing the installation of an unprecedented customized communication booth for personal use, and employing a partisan opposition research organization to monitor press activity.

Rest assured that I will keep working with my colleagues to provide the congressional oversight of the EPA that is so critical, including standing firmly against irresponsible and shortsighted cuts to the agency’s budget. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to not be distracted by the tweets and sideshows and to pushback against the Trump Administration’s all-out assault against our environment. I am committed to continuing our efforts to restore Puget Sound, protecting bedrock environmental laws like the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, and rejecting unqualified nominees for critical posts at the EPA and across the government.

Mar 18


“A self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she walked her bicycle across a street in Tempe, Arizona, Sunday night, according to the Tempe police.”–CNN

I favor self-driving cars (as an option) if they get the technology right but they haven’t done that. They’re rushing this tech on us before it’s ready. They’re testing them on public roads, rather than at special sealed off tracks (which can be rigged to simulate pedestrians and traffic surprises). So we’re the guinea pigs here….and someone has died. For one thing, they “don’t do well”, it appears, in bad weather. Well what the hell. If they suck in bad weather they’re not ready for prime time. Bad weather is routine. Also the article tells us: “For self-driving cars, dealing with pedestrians and bicyclists is a challenging task.” And that’s how this young lady was killed. They can’t deal with pedestrians?! Then who said they could put it on the road. What, are we supposed to run screaming out of the cross-walk if a self driving car is spotted? What the HELL.

This new industry should be STOPPED until they are able to make the cars safer than human drivers. They can if they invest the time and money. But they’d rather risk our lives.

Mar 18

Banks TRULY SUCK Even Worse Than I Thought…

Went to bank to see about putting half my checking account in a savings account.Turns out that NOW savings accounts commonly only offer LESS THAN ONE PER CENT (significantly less!) in returns. Money markets, not much better. One percent, often. Two if you’re lucky. The young banker told me it really started with the housing / banking crash ten years ago. Used to be 5 to 7 per cent, and I don’t mean a generation ago.

NOW…check this out (so to speak)…the nation has a crisis of people in debt. Not enough people are saving money. They get into debt and save nothing. Screws them up, bad for consumers all round. So the banks are being really irresponsible not offering an incentive to save money. So that means people are going to get deeper in debt…to whom? Usually, to banks. . . What, the banks don’t care about consumers, not really? You say that’s no revelation? Right. I just didn’t know it was that bad. Banks SUCK even worse than I thought and that’s something.

Mar 18

Why Should We Boycott Youtube? Because, School Shootings.

I am going to bite the bullet and boycott youtube. I like having access to youtube for quick movie trailer reference, and especially for songs. It’s like my home jukebox. I’ve gotten good at finding the higher-quality recordings, there are good mixes, and it’s quick. But I will give it all up until they get rid of Alex Jones’ youtube channel, due to his support of “school shootings aren’t real” crisis-actors hogwash. This conspiracy idiocy, promulgated by twitchy fringe slaves of the NRA, hurts the families of those who were killed at the school in Florida, and at Sandy Hook, and elsewhere, and creates an extra barrier to concerted work to control assault weapons and improve background checks on gun ownership. Much pressure is being put on youtube over this–see the link below–and we all need to add to it.

Now, my boycotting them is not going to register on their radar. But I just want to be able to live with myself on this and take part in a sort of tacit and unofficial boycott that I hope will become more widespread and known.

AND if you go to the basic youtube page and scroll down, look on the lower left you’ll see a place to click to send them feedback. I sent them a note demanding they ditch Alex Jones on the basis of his massacre-conspiracy toxicity. You could do that too. Also you can go to The Alex Jones Channel on Youtube then select “About” then hit the flag to report it.Then you fill out the form. If you search it for “Parkland” for example you’ll find video he supports all about the “false flag” crisis actors blah blah. You can report him for endangering children by turning people’s attention away from the real danger of real school shootings, also endangering the families of people who are murdered who receive death threats from these loons, and you can make a comment at the end of the report telling youtube it should be ashamed for making money off these dangerous lies.

Please do share this suggestion in any way at all with people.

Check out this story. The link might take you down the page so scroll up to the top for the story.