It was a good day

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The weather was great and the temperature was close to if not over 80 degrees.

The group from New Bedford boarded the bus and headed to Boston with time to spare. Who knows how Saturday traffic would be.

The crowd gathering on the Boston Common was not big when we arrived, but people kept coming as the official start time for the Boston Climate Mobilization approached.

Tables were set up along the walkways with information on various climate groups, school programs, books, reports, and climate related activities.

Unlike last week at the Science Rally, the ground was dry as it had not been raining and was not threatening to, so I grabbed a spot in front of the band stand to have a good view.

After some real good music to warm up the crowd, the Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, minister for ecological justice at the Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain , began the official event with the words,

“We are here today because there is no Planet B.”

Ain’t that the truth.

As I was sitting with my signs a man came up to take my picture and reminded me, and I recognized as such, that he was the scientist last weekend who complimented me on having a more relevant formula for resistance on my sign than he had on his.

And he was not the only “familiar face” I got to talk to. I re-met many people from last week.

I was later asked what the value of the day was.

Well, first, if you add Boston to the other Climate actions around this country alone, there was a visual of the number of people who are taking climate science seriously and aren’t fooled by those who hope people will accept that somehow science is “elite”.

Secondly, there was a lot of information in one place that people may not have known was out there and could be taken home and digested.

And third, as in my case, meeting the people I had met the week before assured me that I was not some fringe person, but an informed one among many informed people.

I have to admit I am glad I am retired or these weekly actions and the one I held on my own at the federal building in New Bedford concerning Trump’s betrayal of his supposed support of GLBT Americans would be things I could not attend. But, next Saturday is a free day with no action of any sort.

So far.

But not too worry.

Monday, May 1st there is a gathering at the federal building in New Bedford just down from my apartment  where I had recently unfolded my chair, set up my poster, and flew my Rainbow Pride Flag to give out my pamphlet explaining Trump’s four betrayals of the GLBT Community.

Monday has been called A Day Without Immigrants.

When it comes to Immigrants, both documented and undocumented, there have been actions taken against our friends, family, and neighbors that in some cases have caused irreparable damage. The purpose of the gathering is to send a message to educate our local politicians, police force, ICE, immigrant community, and anyone willing to listen that immigrants are not the enemy, and to show support to those among them who know that already an have chosen to act accordingly.

In spite of revisionist history, New Bedford has always been a Sanctuary City going back to Frederick Douglass’s time here, and should remain so.

So a different day and a different sign.

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Not impressed with his hollow words

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The headline read,

“Marco Rubio comes to the defense of gay men in Chechnya in a fiery speech”.

Like many people, I would assume, this was not only quite surprising, but very brave on his part as he had said on the senate floor,

‘We should never, ever tolerate human rights violations against any person for their political views, their religious beliefs, or their sexual orientation.’

He was speaking about Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and that republic’s heinous acts against gay and bisexual men.

He went on to say,

 “Unfortunately this is not a new reality for those living under the brutal tyranny of the Chechen leader, who, by the way, happens to be a loyal ally of Vladimir Putin. There have been reports in the past of similar abuses.

Even The United States and other responsible nations should do more to ensure that all people are protected, and those who harm them are held responsible. We should use our voice on the global stage to call attention to these horrifying acts and to ensure that they are condemned in an appropriate way and ultimately in the hopes that they will be stopped.”

In his RNC acceptance speech Donald Trump had said he would protect GLBT people from harmful foreign ideologies.

On face value, both these men appear to be making supportive statements about GLBT Americans, but condemning a foreign country for its abuse of GLBT people is a bit convenient though.

Chechnya is 7011 miles from the West Coast of the United States and 5539 from the East.

The distance from the floor of the Senate to Dupont Circle in Washington DC is 3.5 miles.

Marco Rubio is from Miami, Florida, and South Beach is less than 10 miles away from downtown, while Orlando, where the Pulse Nightclub is, is about 236 miles away.

In short, he lives close to Gay people.

And what is his record on those who live close to him?

Rubio has consistently opposed marriage equality mainly on religious grounds based on one specific religion, and he thanked Speaker John Boehner for spending taxpayer dollars to protect the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

“I want to thank Speaker Boehner and the House Republican leadership for taking action to defend this critical law that was enacted by a bipartisan majority in Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. It is unfortunate that President Obama decided to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act. While much of the debate in Washington is focused on creating jobs and growing our economy, we should not sit by while this administration makes profound and regrettable decisions based more upon the politics of the day than the words of our Founding Fathers. This law protects one of our most sacred institutions and because of the House’s actions today, it will be defended.”

While running for president Rubio said that the most important thing the president could do would be to appoint a Supreme Court justice who will overturn marriage equality, and he opposed making sexual orientation a protected class under civil rights laws.

“It is the current law. I don’t believe any case law is settled law. Any future Supreme Court can change it. And ultimately, I will appoint Supreme Court justices that will interpret the Constitution as originally constructed.”

Rubio voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would have given GLBT Americans explicit protection from discrimination in the workplace.

When it comes to GLBT protections against discrimination he has said,

“By and large I think all Americans should be protected, but I’m not for any special protections based on orientation.”

How is Gay people having the same job protection as other employees “special”?

Rubio’s office said he

“opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because it goes far ‘beyond protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

When Rubio attended  a policy awards dinner for the Florida Family Policy Council, he threw his support behind the group’s “Ignite an Enduring Cultural Transformation” campaign whose goal is to raise large amounts of cash for “groups that intend to pass anti-gay marriage amendments, curtail abortion rights ,and  ban ‘transgender bathrooms’”.

The head of the Florida Family Policy Council, the group that Rubio supports, John Stemberger, has made these dismissive statements at various times.

  “There is no significant history or problem or issue with discrimination based upon sexuality in Orange County [Florida] .To the contrary, this community is very tolerant and even accepting of gay and lesbian neighbors.”

A statement that ignored people’s reality and experience there because theirs wasn’t his.

“If the BSA departs from its policies on allowing openly homosexual scoutmasters and boys in the program it could destroy the legitimacy and the security of this iconic institution. I pray that the BSA does not open a can of worms that would cause a mass exodus from a program that America needs now more than ever.”

“It’s really important that we distinguish between a mere same-sex attraction, which by the way 20-25 percent of young boys as they are growing up will experience some sort of gender ambiguity or confusion, or just needing to wonder who they are, needing affirmation, that’s not uncommon at all. But what’s horrible is to have the society and schools and even parents, which is tantamount to abuse in my judgment, saying ‘oh he is special, he must be gay, he must be gender confused, let’s let him explore.’ That is just absolutely nonsense and it’s an abuse to the child. We need to be reaffirming that child of their God-given biology that they are special, made in His image, and help them understand these things. So we’re not going to turn away a kid like that, but we are not going to tolerate activists. We are not going to tolerate someone who is ‘here and queer; loud and proud,’ all of that nonsense, that is completely inappropriate in a program where there’s children.”

Rubio even went so far as to threaten to oppose his own immigration bill if it included provisions for same-sex couples.

“If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I’m gone. I’m off it.”

. “This immigration bill is difficult enough as it is. If that issue is injected into this bill, this bill will fail. It will not have the support. It will not have my support.”

He not only supports the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which would allow government employees to discriminate against GLBT people under the guise of “religious liberty”, but was an original cosponsor.

‘We should seek a balance between government’s responsibility to abide by the laws of our republic and allowing people to stand by their religious convictions.”

“Religious liberty is the right to live according to your religious teachings and to have the opportunity to spread it to others, instill it in your children and live it in your everyday life. Those of us of the Christian faith understand we are called to be Christians in every aspect of our lives and we are called to influence the culture around us. In the new American Century, we need a president who understands that protecting religious liberty means understanding the Constitutional principles of the right to exercise your faith in every aspect of your life. If I’m president, we are going to have Supreme Court Justices, who we appoint, that will defend liberty and we’re going to have a Justice Department that will protect ALL Americans from discrimination”.

“There’s no doubt that we need to be extra vigilant now about protecting the religious liberties of Americans and that includes having a justice department that’s vigilant about ensuring that those who hold traditional values are not being discriminated against. That includes reversing any administrative decisions made by this President that force religious, or religious motivated entities. You may not be owned by a church, but you are a religious school, or your mission is to spread the Gospel and adhere to God’s teachings ensure that people in the private sector and the not-for-profit sector are being protected in living out their faith….. Well, the executive orders would be to reverse the executive orders the President has made on things like gender equality in restrooms….These sorts of things you’ve seen in Illinois for example, but also ensure that we’re not doing anything that at any part in our government that is putting organizations that are motivated by their faith or organized around their faith from having to violate the tenants of their faith and that includes government contractors. There are many government contractors and small companies who provide services to the government who are faith-based people, and they are, they are being compelled to sin by government in their business conduct. That is not something we should be supporting.”

Rubio vowed to repeal “every single one” of President Obama’s executive orders especially those that protect GLBT people from discrimination, and he said he would do that on “Day One”.

“On my first day in office, they’re gone.”

“The executive orders would be to reverse the executive orders the president has made on things like gender equality in restrooms. You’ve seen some local districts and others been forced to provide girls access to a boys’ bathroom and so forth. These sorts of things you’ve seen in Illinois for example, but also ensure that we’re not doing anything that at any part in our government that is putting organizations that are motivated by their faith or organized around their faith from having to violate the tenants of their faith and that includes government contractors. There are many government contractors and small companies who provide services to the government who are faith-based people, and they are being compelled to sin by government in their business conduct. That is not something we should be supporting.”

He has also raised money in Florida for a key backer of conversion therapy. Psychologists have condemned Conversion therapy as a form of abuse, and some states, like New Jersey and California, have banned it. The American Psychiatric Association says it is at best ineffective and at worst can “reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.”

Rubio recorded robocalls for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), and He has helped raised money for the Florida Family Policy Council, whose leader said being gay is an “artificial, social construct” that is “dangerous.”

He opposes allowing GLBT couples to adopt. He claims that such families are a “Social experiment” to which children should not be subjected.  When it came to GLBT people adopting foster kids he said,

“Some of these kids are the most disadvantaged in the state. They shouldn’t be forced to be part of a social experiment.”

When it comes to GLBT people in the United States, he has claimed that those who object to being denied services that are not denied to others are being intolerant of those who deny them.

When it is based on religion, people should simply accept discriminatory treatment.

Chechnya’s treatment of Gay men is based on religion.

In elementary school we were always “ransoming pagan babies”. At least once a month the nuns would collect coins from students that would be given to the missions to provide food and clothing to kids in foreign countries. We never saw any of those kids, not even a picture, but we always felt good that we were helping someone.

It never crossed out little minds that while we were helping someone far away, there was really something wrong when we made fun of the poor kid with the horrible lunch from home who might have really appreciated the apple or Hostess Cupcake we had no problem throwing way because our brown bag lunch was just too much.

We watched the occasional 16mm film where we saw the squalid living conditions of the children in Africa and cringed at the way they were being treated by the colonists, but many of us had no problem making fun of or verbally abusing Walter Corey because he lived in the poor section of town and was charcoal black.

It looks good that Marco Rubio is so concerned for Gay people thousands of miles away, but it would be more impressive if he was not so quick to want to keep Gay people at home from having their full rights as citizens, allow them to be subjected to discrimination in the name of religion, or wasn’t so glib in reducing GLBT people to mere “issues” and their families to “social experiments”.

Charity begins at home, “Little Marco”.

 

Never Again?

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World War II had just ended and pictures of concentration camps were beginning to circulate. People were justifiably horrified by the numbers who had been killed and the pictures of the emaciated inmates.

There were rumors that some people in charge of the allied countries, even the pope, had known what was going on, and this caused further outrage.

“Never Again” became the theme of those who were horrified by the actual holocaust and the rumors surrounding the behind the scenes machinations.

“Never Again” became the theme of monuments and museums, and in the initial years there was a strong, but somewhat selective application of the phrase.

Gay men who had been imprisoned and who had worked in the camps, many eventually dying from the experience, were left out of the story. Unlike the others, surviving Gay men were not released because  of the rationalization that they had not been arrested for the same reason as the Jews, but, rather, because they had violated Nazi Germany’s Law 175 that made Homosexuality a crime, and in spite of what they suffered in the camps, still needed to do prison time for that crime. The same people who had made being Jewish a crime against the state had done the same with Homosexuals, but when the war ended one law was condemned, while the other accepted.

The Gay inmates from the concentration camp were made to stay behind and clean up the very camps they had been held in, and unlike all other survivors were not compensated until many years later after a long battle, and it was a fight to have Gay victims included in museums and on memorials.

They too had suffered, but they were simply and easily ignored.

Never Again?

Just as then, news of Gay men facing arrest, torture, killings, and concentration camps is coming out, but these things are being ignored. The truth is uncomfortable.

Novaya Gazeta had originally reported that Gay men are being held in two jails in the villages of Argun and Tsotsi-Yurt in the Chechnyan region of Russia.

However, evidence of a further four prisons has been uncovered bringing the number to at least six prisons in the region.

Novaya Gazeta also claims that the men are only released once their families offer bribes to police.

Some who have been released have shown signs of torture and beatings.

Some were only released because they were dead.

The paper detailed a meeting of over 15,000 people headed by Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s leader, at which the paper was condemned for its reporting on this.

Sir Alan Duncan,  Great Britain’s Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, told parliament:

“Human rights groups report that these anti-gay campaigns and killings are orchestrated by the head of the Chechen republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. He has carried out other violent campaigns in the past, and this time he is directing his efforts at the LGBT community. Sources have said that he wants the [LGBT] community eliminated by the start of Ramadan. Such comments, attitudes and actions are absolutely beyond contemptible.”

Sir Duncan has also verified that President Kadyrov had made the threat in local Russian language media which was seen by the UK government.

The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for the Kremlin to investigate.

However a spokesperson for Vladimir Putin has said the Russian president has no reason to believe the attacks are genuine, but this is based solely on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s telling him not to believe the “provocative” articles which he described as a “massive information attack using the most unworthy methods, reality is distorted, attempts are being made to blacken our society, lifestyle, traditions and customs.”

What is supposed to happen “Never Again” began with indifference toward what people were hearing was happening to a particular group of people who were different. Since it was not “us” just “them” it was just accepted, and people chose to deny it was happening until that could no longer be done.

That’s how this is starting.

Six prison camps for people only because they are Gay is Six too many. One would be too many.

This is something the United States, headed by a president who said,

“As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology”

needs to get in front of.

Gay Americans travel.

We ay “Never Again”.

Do we mean it?

If no one ever tells you you are wrong. you will never accept when you are

 

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In October 2016 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Donald trump gave a speech in which he announced,

“On Nov. 8th, Americans will be voting for this 100-day plan to restore prosperity to our country, secure our communities and honesty to our government. This is my pledge to you. And if we follow these steps, we will once more have a government of, by and for the people. And importantly, we will make America great again. Believe me.”

 What he was referring to was his “Donald J Trump Contract”.

His website explained that that his “100-day action plan to Make America Great Again” was

“a contract between myself and the American voter — and begins with restoring honesty and accountability, and bringing change to Washington.

On the first day of my term of office, my administration will immediately pursue the following:

Six measures to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, DC:

-propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.

-a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).

-a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.

-a five-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.,

-a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.

– a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.

Seven actions to protect American workers:

-I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.

-I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

-,I will direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator.

-,I will direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately.

– I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.

– lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.

-, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.

Five actions to restore security and the constitutional rule of law:

-cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama.

-begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution.

– cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities.

-begin removing the more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back.

-suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered “extreme vetting.”continued on the back

I will work with Congress to introduce the following broader legislative measures and fight for their passage within the first 100 days of my Administration:

Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act

End the Offshoring Act American Energy and Infrastructure Act

School Choice and Education Opportunity Act

Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act

Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act

End Illegal Immigration Act (build the Wall)

Restoring Community Safety Act

Restoring National Security Act

Clean Up Corruption in Washington Act

I will work with Congress to introduce the following broader legislative measures and fight for their passage within the first 100 days of my Administration:

On November 8th, Americans will be voting for this 100-day plan to restore prosperity to our economy, security to our communities and honesty to our government.

This is my pledge to you. And if we follow these steps, we will once more have a government of, by and for the people”.

He later asked his hugest rallies in the history of rallies to “imagine what we can accomplish in the first 100 days of a Trump administration.”

He fell far short of his promises and has now tweeted

“No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!”

What had been his touted game plan has now become “the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days” as if that time frame had been imposed on hm hen he was actually the one constantly setting it.

As the 100 Day approaches and Trump has found he has yet to deliver, along with his portrayal of the 100 Days as somehow ridiculous now, instead of being able to point to his accomplishments, he has come up with a list of thing other people have done, claiming them as his own.

What is left of the White House Website claims,

“In his first 100 days, President Donald J. Trump has taken bold action to restore prosperity, keep Americans safe and secure, and hold government accountable. At an historic pace, this President has enacted more legislation and signed more executive orders than any other president in over a half century.”

“With a focus on rebuilding the military, ending illegal immigration, and restoring confidence in our economy, the President is keeping his promises to the American people.”

But checking with his contract with the American people, the facts do not back this up.

White House emails claim that even FDR only signed 9 Executive Orders while history shows he had signed 99, and the White House has claimed Trump has created 500,000 jobs, jobs created by Obama.

In reality, during the first 100 Days President Trump has major legislative accomplishments, and what he has accomplished makes up only about half of what he claimed he would be able to do because he is Donald Trump and no one knows more than he how to get things done.

Trump has signed 28 bills into law with thirteen aiming to undue Obama’s policies and several being “minor or housekeeping bills”, but no major pieces of legislation.

He has issued 24 executive orders, 22 presidential memorandums and 20 proclamations which is not so many as to be able to claim he has done the most of any president in his first 100 days.

After initially being surprised it his job to hire the White House staff and make other appointments, he is behind on that with many crucial administration positions still vacant.

He has bombed some placed, but bluffed on his armada heading toward North Korea

Trumps has basically accomplished nothing, and his initiatives like executive orders have been stayed by courts with his big legislative promise to repeal and replace Obamacare failing even to come to a vote even with his party controlling both houses of Congress.

His promises and lack of delivery, while claiming success, reminds me of that Girl Scout who takes a lot of cookie orders, gets praised at the big meeting for high sales figures and boasts about them, but never brings you the cookies.

Many of his supporters put me in mind of the people who never get their cookies, but can’t wait for that Girl Scout to come back the next year so they can order the Thin Mints.

Tax payers as hostages

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To keep our people safe we need to build a wall to keep the “bad hombres” out, and we would further punish the country sending them because we would make  Mexico pay for the wall they made us need.

But, when Mexico said they would not pay for the wall, it was decided that the people of the United States would pay for the wall, and somehow Mexico would be made to reimburse the cost.

The people of the United States weren’t thrilled with this because there was no guarantee that this reimbursement would actually happen, and we could end up having paid for a wall we were told someone else would pay for.

So now, in order to have us pay for the wall and do so with no room to complain, the president intends to have the cost of the wall included in the must pass budget, and if the bill does not pass we will be hit with a government shut down and will not have access to certain governmental programs during that time.

And the second step would be to refuse healthcare reimbursements  which will mean people will not have the cost of medical services being paid to providers, and, as not too many people will work for free. health care services will be withheld as reimbursements will be tied dollar for dollar to the wall.

For each dollar that goes to the wall the same amount will go to healthcare reimbursement.

We are going to be held hostage by our own domestic bad hombre.

 

Move forward, not back

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The Acushnet River on the South Coast of Massachusetts is shaped like a long, narrow megaphone.

At the narrow mouthpiece end is the rather rural town of Acushnet. As the river broadens on its way to Buzzards Bay there is the densely populated industrial city of New Bedford on the west side whose shore is dotted with old factory buildings and the Port of New Bedford, while on the East shore is the more rural Fairhaven with its docks, shipyards, and marinas, and at the end there is a gated seawall to protect the harbor from storms.

Fairhaven is flat compared with New Bedford which rises from its shore in a slow graceful hill looking East with the downtown area and historic district hugging the foot of the hill by the water’s edge that harkens back to its early days.

The port of New Bedford is a working port where, along with its massive fishing fleet, large cargo ships deliver products on a regular basis.

The energy companies, Eversource and Spectra Energy, are asking the state to allow it to build two giant LNG storage tanks, and that’s drawing the ire of some local residents in Acushnet, and along the shores of the megaphone.

The tanks would be roughly 170 feet high and over 200 feet in diameter, would store up to 6.8 billion cubic feet of LNG, doubling the power company’s current total capacity throughout its tri-state service area from 4.7 to 11.5 billion cubic feet. and would be fed by a 3-mile pipeline running through parts of Freetown, another rural town on the narrow end of the Acushnet. They are also asking that customers pay the $600 million cost of construction by increasing their rates even though the LNG that would be stored would be shipped along the 4 miles of the River past New Bedford and Fairhaven out to sea and to other places.

While LNG itself isn’t explosive, it is highly flammable, and with vapors heavier than air, it can travel long distances and will flashback to an ignition source.

If there were an accident at the tanks, an ignited explosion would barrel through the megaphone to the Bay spreading to both shores as it progressed.

If the same were to happen with an LNG tanker ship that has to travel approximately four miles from the tanks pasy the seawall to the bay, things on both shores would have it a little rough. Besides New Bedford’s densely populated North End residential district, there are three schools within miles of the site.

A local group called South Coast Neighbors United, or SCNU, wants to stop the expansion.

The group believes that consumers should not be asked to pay $6.6 million to build an unnecessary fracked gas pipeline that won’t lower electricity bills. They would prefer that the state should encourage energy efficiency measures that will lower electricity bills, things like more insulation, better windows, energy efficient appliances and light bulbs, and that, as the upgrade would produce higher profits, the utility companies should be required to invest in those upgrades if allowed.

Others, seeing how fracking has caused an unacceptable increase in earthquakes in Oklahoma, not only oppose the fracking process, but don’t want the proposed fracking fields in Pennsylvania to recreate Oklahoma’s problems in another state.

Rather than increase reliance on fossil fuel for the benefit of corporations, those opposing the tanks would like to see the state grow its renewable energy industry.

If forced to, the corporatioms will adapt.

Even if an explosion does not do as much damage as might think to my new home town, I have driven through the town of Acushnet, an as it is a nice rural town close to the city, when it is blown away, I will miss it.

Kim and Trump play war guys

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Since a lot of people have recently been worrying about the start of World War III and, perhaps, its being a nuclear war, it would be considerate of the person instigating the fear to be kind enough to present something real as they promote the fears.

North Korea, suffering from a need to build its self-esteem is constantly talking about wiping its enemy, the United States, off the map.

They let it be known that they are developing nuclear bombs, may have the rockets to send them off, and may even have the ability to reach the United States, or at least an ally of it that is close to them.

Our multiple draft dodging president who is convinced he knows more than all the generals and has more military knowledge than the troops because he went to a military boarding school seems to be in the same self-esteem building need as North Korea.

He wants to be in charge of the world’s strongest army with all the best and latest toys, and has shown on two occasions, so far, that he loves dropping bombs because it makes him look tough..

So as one power hungry person attempts to build his self-esteem, the other one is attempting the same thing, but in the name of the making America great again.

Things are always good in threes, so after shooting off59 missiles into Syria and then dropping the Mother Of All Bombs, Trump decided to show North Korea he would be just as tough on them, and declared he had sent an Armada toward North Korea.

He’s on a machismo roll.

People began to fear that this could start a nuclear world war.

And so people are worried.

But then, an interesting fact came out.

While he may have said he was sending an armada, Trump didn’t put any battle ships on his game board.

He said he was sending the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier that is in no way as large as he ego, and a bunch of other ships to let Kim Jong Un know he was tough.

But, while people worried and watched, the armada didn’t seem to be showing up in the time it should have taken it to arrive, it still has not.

The reason is simple.

The strike group was actually sailing south on its way to Australia when it was redirected to the Western Pacific Ocean, and was last seen in the Indonesian Strait that is thousands of miles south of North Korea.

The whole theatrical show piece was planned for the anniversary of the birth of Kim Jong Un’s  grandfather, the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, because this would be the perfect time for Kim to make some dramatic gesture and Trump wanted to scare him out of it.

The date has come and gone, and the Vinson was not there at the expected time.

“We are sending an armada, very powerful,” Trump had announced on Fox News.

So, was he bluffing and gambling the bluff would work with Kim backing down, and was it right to put the world in danger in the process?

Kim Jong Un saw that the threatened armada did not materialize, so will he buy the next bluff and act?

It seems that to sound tough, Trump engaged in a little naval name dropping, again forgetting that people could and do check on things.

Or, was it made clear that with all his bluster, Trump cannot produce?

Our allies, who are close to North Korea, must feel real safe now that the president was caught bluffing.

Rally for Science

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This Saturday, April 22, there is a Rally for Science on the Boston Common starting at 1 p.m.

Who would have thought that in 2017 people would have to rally to show a United States president that science and knowledge are important to the American people.

To date, besides claiming that “Climate Change” is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to help business, he ordered the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove references to Climate Change from their websites, and imposed gag orders on the Department of Agriculture and a freeze on EPA grants.

Regarding the EPA, any data collected by them–including information that is of direct consequence to people’s health and that of the planet- must first be vetted by politicians, many of who have begun their comments on science with the words, “I am no scientist, but…..” –

Trump’s EPA transition team member Myron Ebell called environmentalists “the greatest threat to freedom and prosperity in the modern world”, and then Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma, with his history of suing the EPA for anything that would protect the people of his state got appointed the head o the EPA.

One-fifth of scientists in the U.S. are immigrants, whose lives were affected by the Trump travel ban.

“In my relatively long career I have not seen this level of concern about science…This immigration ban has serious humanitarian issues, but I bet it never occurred to them that it also has scientific implications.”

And Steven Hawking has even said he no longer feels welcome in the United States.

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Trump wants the federal government to stop doing science in the public interest, and wants an end to fact-based discourse when the facts run counter to right-wing ideology.

Boston is a city involved with science. Just look at the universities and medical centers that have produced so much good for people the world over.

The Rally for Science has these goals:

 

  • Publicly funded scientists should feel free to communicate about their research, data sets, and interpretations of their work as they see fit. Public outreach, education, and accessibility of scientific knowledge should be encouraged as an extension of this goal.
  • Funding: Publicly funded scientific agencies are vital for public safety and continued scientific research, development, and application. These agencies should determine their own funding allocations and overall monetary distributions from the government for scientific endeavors should not decline.
  • Policy: Public policy should be informed and guided by evidence-based scientific research, local scientific knowledge, and mainstream scientific consensus.
  • Literacy: Initiatives to promote the public’s knowledge about scientific topics, understanding of how scientific research is conducted, and how to consume media about scientific studies must be supported for all age groups and demographics.
  • Improvement: Scientific institutions and systems play a role in public distrust, lack of representation, and unequal benefiting in the fruit of scientific endeavors. Addressing these issues is vital if we want to encourage the public and their elected representatives to continue funding scientific research, trust that research to inform policy, and promote education and literacy.

The organizers want to make science accessible to everyone and encourage people from diverse backgrounds and experiences to pursue science careers.

As the organizers’ web site states

“All persons have the right to pursue and enjoy the fruits of science regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, religion or lack thereof, political affiliation, or socioeconomic status. Science belongs to all people, and should be done for all people.”

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Groups from MIT, Tufts, Boston University, Boston University Medical Campus, Harvard, Northeastern, Medical Community (MGH), the Association for Women in Science, Kendall Square Tech & Innovation, and Mass General will participate.

Groups concerned about science, like Religion for Scientific Freedom, Pause for the Planet, People with HIV, friends, ACT UP Alumni, and Supervised Injection Facilities in MA NOW (SIFMA NOW) Coalition will be there too.

My own organization, We Won’t Go Back New Bedford, will be there because, as our statement says,

“we realize that for coastal communities like ours, sound, scientific research supports the foundation of our economy and culture. We are cleaning up New Bedford harbor, studying fish populations, monitoring water quality, cleaning up our beaches, saving the whales — all of these initiatives are put in jeopardy when research is denied because of a political ideology and scientific study is disregarded and undermined. We will not allow this to happen.”

And so we rally for science and for us, the ones who benefit from it.