How Much Land Did He Take?

Bears_Ears
(cc) Mike McGlew Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

If fossil fuels are the Holy Grail for the Trump administration—and his emphasis on “energy dominance” suggests they are—there is far more at stake than the 2 million acres the president rescinded from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante’s monument designations. More than 120 million acres of protected land—larger than the state of California—are situated over rich reserves of oil, coal, and gas … Now We Finally Know How Much Federal Land Could Be at Stake in Trump’s Rush for More Drilling, Mother Jones, December 5, 2017 by Rebecca Leber

 

Leber’s article includes an interactive map that shows:

  • Federally Protected Land
  • Coal Fields
  • Oil and Gas Fields
  • Oil and Gas Basins

for the entire United States. It’s quite an amazing map that can be zoomed into the local level. It would not surprise me if the reduction of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante is just the first of many more attempts to grab undeveloped, protected lands with fossil fuel “resources.”

If you wish to make a donation to support the litigation that has already begun, please consider these worthy groups:

 

Tax Bill and Churches

National Cathedral
National Cathedral, Washington DC, (public domain)

 

In a nod to the religious right, the tax package repeals the Johnson Amendment that prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations – including tax-exempt churches, trusts and charities – from endorsing or opposing political candidates. What’s Included in the GOP Tax Bill May Surprise You Nov. 30, 2017 by Katelyn Newman

What is the Johnson Amendment?

The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the U.S. tax code, since 1954, that prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Section 501(c)(3) organizations are the most common type of nonprofit organization in the United States, ranging from charitable foundations to universities and churches. The amendment is named for then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, who introduced it in a preliminary draft of the law in July 1954. Wikipedia

Banana Republic

Banana_Peel
(cc) Max Ronnersjö

In the recent past many pundits thought that the United States was heading toward joining the ranks of banana republics. Today the writing is on the wall, we now have what has been missing, a tinhorn dictator.

Like other tinhorn dictators, Trump has no use for the essentials of democracy. He openly attacks a free press and has a house press of his own, Fox News, and soon, quite possibly, Time Inc., the acquisition of which has been partially financed by the Koch brothers. More, there are allegations that he may using the levers of government to punish his press opponents, using the Justice Department’s antitrust suit against the proposed AT&T purchase of Time Warner to try to force the divestment of CNN. “America the Banana Republic” November 29, 2017 by Neal Gabler.

The article, “America the Banana Republic”, provides a refresher course about the meaning of banana republic. It’s a good read.

Disaster Fatigue

2017 fires
(cc) 2017 Dicklyon Aerial view of smoke from the 2017 fires in Napa and Sonoma Counties, California, viewed from near the south end of Lake Berryessa, nearest to the Atlas fire and looking toward the Nuns fire. Point Reyes is visible in the distance.

Fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, rolling back the Clean Air Act, Harvey, Irma, Maria, defunding the EPA, Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, California, climate change denial becomes policy, sexual harassment, World War III, floods, droughts: If you follow the news you have heard about all of these incidents. It gets to be overwhelming. In this country alone hundreds of thousands of people are being worn down by the constant barrage of bad news. This country has been through this to some extent before, for example during the Depression and during the late 1960s and the Viet Nam War. However, today people are plugged in and it takes effort to avoid the news. We don’t have to wait for the delivery of the morning newspaper. We can follow “the news” constantly online.

Grist has an article about “disaster fatigue/compassion fatigue/secondary trauma syndrome” (After the disaster comes disaster fatigue. Here’s how to fight it. October, 2017 by Ask Umbra).

Humans aren’t made to process an unlimited amount of trauma. In fact, we’re wired to protect ourselves against it. . . . seeing so much destruction and feeling incapable of doing anything leads to a kind of moral distress.

We all need to take a step back, breathe deeply, and take a break. Taking care of ourselves is a priority in times like these. Let’s make it a habit.

Another Blow to Food Safety

Codex

The U.S. Codex Office is moving from USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to USDA’s Trade and Foreign Affairs Office and that may not be such a good thing.

The Codex Alimentarius, aka the “Food Code”, is a set of standards, guidelines and codes designed to protect food quality and safety. One example is the safe level of veterinary drug residues in meat and poultry.

Is the Trump regime again sidelining the food safety standards in the U.S.? That seems to be the case. The op-ed by Dr. Richard Raymond is well worth reading. Bit by bit our policy infrastructure is being pulled apart in insidious ways.

Are we emphasizing trade goals over food safety? Was the new USDA undersecretary for trade and foreign agriculture affairs the first announced USDA nominee after Secretary Perdue?

The answer to both questions is yes, and is confirmed by the lack of an Undersecretary for food safety who might have advised against this move, and even campaigned in the halls of Congress to maintain the status quo, a status that had very high international respect.
Moving Codex Out of FSIS Will Boost Trade, Not Food Safety
Food Safety News, Sept. 21, 2017, by Dr. Richard Raymond

An Interview Not To Miss!

Trump
(cc) 2015, Michael Vadon

 

Solipsistic reality means that the only reality he’s capable of embracing has to do with his own self and the perception by and protection of his own self. And for a president to be so bound in this isolated solipsistic reality could not be more dangerous for the country and for the world.

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: Robert Jay Lifton and Bill Moyers on ‘A Duty to Warn’
Renowned psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton on the Goldwater Rule: We have a duty to warn if someone may be dangerous to others.
Bill Moyers, Sept. 14, 2017