#426 How Spineless Can Republican Senators Get?

Welcome to a discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

ENTRY #426: OK, I know there have been other entries in the blog about behavior of Republicans under Trump. I’ve tried to be polite and attribute the irrational behavior to brainwashing. But, these days the brainwashing label seems too polite, especially for those Republicans who supposedly had a brain before Trump.

Let’s start with Mitt Romney. Background includes a father who was head of American Motors, then governor of Michigan – and a good one – and finally Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under Richard Nixon. Throughout his career George Romney was considered a moral, upright, straight shooter. You’d think some of those genes might have been passed on to the son.

Mitt Romney’s education was stellar – Cranbrook Schools in Detroit, Brigham Young undergrad and Harvard Business School (MBA) and Stanford Law. Like his father, Mitt Romney spent time in business (investment banker), then governor of Massachusetts. From all reports, he got good marks as governor, including creating what became the foundation for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Along the way he remained a high-profile member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Following a failed bid for presidency, Romney was elected senator from Utah which has a high population of Mormons.

So why would a governor with his pedigree sell out to a huckster, philanderer from Queens, who kowtowed openly to the Russians? Why would a guy with his pedigree buy in to the corrupt behavior of some immoral, unethical senator from Kentucky?

In a throwback to the McCarthy era, “Have you no decency, Senator Romney?“ You don’t need the money. Why would you be willing to spoil your reputation by aligning yourself with a couple of scumbags?

Of course, Romney is not the only allegedly principled Republican to follow instructions from Trump and McConnell. Where is the senior senator from say North Carolina, Richard Burr? Burr, who was chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, claims to be ethical and straightforward. He’s also retiring. Why does he continue to bow to Trump and McConnell?

And the list goes on and on. Republican senators seem to have turned into a bunch of whores. Calling them whores is an insult to those working in the sex trade. At least those in the trade know what they’re doing and are upfront about it. Stormy Daniels looks like Mother Theresa compared to Republican senators.

What’s the most galling, and what’s going to end up being the nail in the coffin for the 5th US Revolution, is a refusal by Republican senators to criticize anyone or group associated with the January 6 insurrection, including Trump and members of Congress. Let’s count the closed-mouthed Republican senators: 1,2,3,4,5,6…48,49,50.

By any standard those who participated and/or enabled the January 6 insurrection should be tried as traitors. The definition of a traitor is “a person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc.” Now, tell me why those involved in the insurrection don’t fit that definition, starting with Trump. All involved tried to overthrow the government?

Lest anyone think the far-right insurrectionist-genie is going to go back in the bottle post Trump, I suggest you visit a proctologist and have your head relocated to the appropriate part of your anatomy. We are going to have the Revenge Revolution. And, based on behavior and actions by Republicans, the revolution could start in earnest with the 2022 election.

Other Topics. Interested in more info about climate change, what’s required to electrify a fleet of cars/trucks, what it was like to work day-to-day with Lee Iacocca and an array of other topics? Visit another page of this website, https://usrevolution5.com/jrd-thought-comments/

#425. Republicans: “I Get to Buy but You Have to Pay.”

Welcome to the some discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

For many years, Republicans have promoted the idea that the government should be run like a personal household. Don’t spend more than you earn.  In that ideal Republican household, if you pay your debts on time everything will be OK.

Despite the assertions, even most Republicans don’t live in their ideal household.  For example, the vast majority of people buying a home don’t pay cash.  Rather they secure a mortgage for 3-4x their annual income and then repay the mortgage (loan) over 25-30 years.  If home buyers were required to pay the cost up front, very few people would own homes. 

“But home buying is different,” you say, “because buying a home is an investment. And you still have to pay back the loan, even if it takes 30 years.”

True. So why do Republicans insist that government expenditures for infrastructure — roads, bridges, transit, airports, etc. – have to be paid for out of this year‘s budget? Isn’t a road that will last at least 50, if not 100 years, with some maintenance, an investment, just like the house?

Now, let’s turn to paying for purchases. If a household buys groceries, some computer equipment, office supplies, maybe some clothing and puts the purchases on a credit card, the household still owes the money.  And the credit card company still has to be paid, right?

Apparently Republicans don’t think so.  During the Trump administration, Republicans deliberately decided to reduce household revenue – income to the government – by reducing taxes on the wealthy.  Then, rather than reducing expenditures because income was less, the Trump administration continued to buy lots of stuff and put those purchases on a credit card.

Now it’s time to pay off the credit card. And guess what? Republicans in the Senate and the House are saying, “Nope, the credit card debt is not our problem.  Even though we ran up the debt, we Republicans refuse to pay.“

What if everyone ran their household like Republicans?  Cut your income, continue to buy goods and services on a credit card, then refuse to pay the credit card company (lender)?  How much more credit do you think the lender would be willing to provide?

The approach taken by Republicans is pure Trump.  Anyone who has lived or worked in New York sometime in the last 40-50 years is likely familiar with how Trump operated his businesses.  Trump ran up debts, blamed the vendors and then refused to pay. 

After getting stiffed by Trump, lenders in the US refused to do business with him.  As incoming president, from all indications, his primary sources of capital were from Deutsche Bank and the Russians. 

Republicans, now the party of Trump, have adopted the same mantra – “Screw you. Not my fault.  I’m not paying. The debt is your problem.”  Mitch McConnell seems to be first in line kissing the Almighty Donald’s screw-the-creditors debt ring. 

The Republicans, who claim to be the party of savvy business people and fiscal responsibility, seem willing to allow the US to default on its debt for the first time in US history.  “Relax,” you say, “You’re blowing any debt default out of proportion.” 

If you are a Republican and support the actions of Trump and/or Mitch McConnell, why don’t you go ask someone how easy it is to get credit after they’ve defaulted on their debt? If someone who’s defaulted can get credit at all, the loan comes with lots of restrictions and a stiff interest rate.

So why are the Republicans behaving so irresponsibly? My only conclusion, as I’ve stated the number of times in various blog entries, is the Republicans have been brainwashed.

If they’re not brainwashed, why would Republicans pay debts they incurred while Trump was in office, then not pay debts incurred while Trump was in office after Biden became president? Trump’s debts are Trump’s debts.  You just can’t ignore then, unless, of course, you’re a Republican.    

Ok, let’s assume the Republicans are just playing politics by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. You’d think if someone was taking such a stand, they’d ask for something in return.  But like Trump, who has demonstrated repeatedly to be one of the world’s worst negotiators, Republicans are not asking for anything in return.  Rather Republicans are willing to put a gun to their heads of all Americans and fire away for no particular reason.

Republicans are so brainwashed, apparently they think only Democrats will suffer if the US defaults on its debt. Republicans are taking the same approach to addressing climate change. The rise in the earth’s temperature will only affect Democrats. 

From the beginning of the Obama administration, Republicans have categorically opposed whatever the Democrats proposed, no matter how many Republicans might benefit and no matter how much the proposal would protect US interests.  The answer to every idea from Democrats has been “No!”

Republicans ask yourself, “With a response of ‘no’ by Republican leadership regardless of the proposal, whose best interests are Trump and McConnell supporting? The best interests of US citizens?”  If you said “yes,” you’ll believe almost anything.

The behavior of Trump and McConnell is not benefiting the US but benefitting the Russians and the Chinese. “That can’t be,” you say.  Well, I say, take another hard look and then follow where Trump and McConnell are getting their money.

The Trump businesses (and thereby the family) have been funded by the Russians for some time. Mitch McConnell, through marriage to Elaine Chao – Secretary of Transportation in the Trump administration – is tied to Chinese money. You keep thinking about the connections and follow the money.

More later, especially how the behavior increases the likelihood of a 5th US Revolution, the Revenge Revolution.

Other Topics. Interested in more info about climate change, what’s required to electrify a fleet of cars/trucks, what it was like to work day-to-day with Lee Iacocca and an array of other topics? Visit another page of this website, https://usrevolution5.com/jrd-thought-comments/

#424 Republicans, Help Me Understand Your Rationale, Please

Welcome to the some discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

I keep asking myself what I think is a straightforward question. “How can anyone who is a principled Republican remain with the current Party? “

Look, whatever your political leanings, no party will match up perfectly with your beliefs. Most of the time the difference is one of a few degrees. The proposed legislation seems OK in general but a bit too liberal or a bit too conservative for your personal beliefs.

What keeps baffling me is not a few degrees difference but a Republican Party that is 180° from a Republican Party that was based on long-held principles. A Republican Party that now supports actions that are 180° from the foundation of the US democracy.

Republicans, please help me understand why invading the US Capitol with the expressed intent of overthrowing a certified election, killing a sitting vice president of your own party, and wanting to assassinate members of the opposing party should be viewed as “patriotic.“

Tell me why the invasion of the Capitol is not an insurrection. Tell me why the insurgents should be praised rather than sent to prison? Tell me why you support members of Congress who claim to be patriots, but support insurgents?

Tell me why you call yourself “fiscally conservative” when your party voted a tax cut under Trump that ballooned the Federal deficit and transferred huge amounts of money from the middle class to those who were already wealthy?

Tell me why are you call yourself “conservative” when your Party supports increased oil and gas drilling, a known source of major pollution and the primary contributor to global warming. Recall the EPA was established by a Republican president.

Tell me why do you think the US was founded as a Christian country, when settlers left England to seek religious freedom? And, oh yes, there is that silly old Constitution. You know, where Amendment I reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” I guess you want to ignore parts of Amendment I and reinterpret Amendment II.

Please tell me why more Republican governors do not support vaccines, or wearing a mask to protect the citizens against a COVID infection? Mmm, seems the highest rates of infection, hospitalizations and deaths are in states where Republican governors would rather endanger the citizenry instead of protecting it.

Well, principled Republican, if you don’t have solid answers to these questions, or the answers seem contrary to your personal beliefs, then why are you still a Republican?

If your response is, “I’ve always been a Republican,“ then take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Do I really want to be affiliated with this type political party?“ If the answer is “yes,” could you explain to me your rationale?

And you’re explanation can’t be, “You’re a hard-core liberal, you won’t understand.” I grew up in a Republican household, and until Trump, had voted for at least one Republican candidate for a major office in every single election since I was 18. When you have an answer about staying with the Republican Party, please let me know. Thanks.

Interested in more info about climate change, what’s required to electrify a fleet of cars/trucks, what it was like to work day-to-day with Lee Iacocca and an array of other topics? Visit another page of this website, https://usrevolution5.com/jrd-thought-comments/

#423 Coincidences about 09/11

Welcome to the some discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

Since this week is the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I thought it might be interesting to look at some notes that I made about the event. The notes I found were dated June 2006, roughly 5 years after 09/11/01. 

The hand-written notes were titled “Coincidences about 09/11” and consisted mostly of questions.  By early September 2021, most of the questions have yet to be answered.  With any kind of luck, some of the soon-to-be-released classified material around 09/11 will provide some insight. 

Following is a list of bullet points that I had jotted down. Some minor edits have been made for clarification.  Any explanatory comments re the intent of the question is noted in brackets.

June 30, 2006  Notes titled “Coincidences about 09/11”

  • 17 of 19 hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia
  • Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the Middle East [Technically Iran is #2 but Iraq is a close 3rd.]   
  • President Bush had a ”deer-in-the-headlights” look when told the news about the first plane crashing into the Trade Towers. No one reacts that way if they are truly surprised.   [He was at a grammar school reading a book to maybe 2nd graders, in Texas I think.]
  • Immediately after planes hit the Pentagon and crashed in Pennsylvania, all air traffic in/out of the US was grounded.  Yet, the Saudi‘s were given an exemption.  Why?
  • The Saudi‘s left the US on 09/12-13. Seems like a pretty quick exit, especially when everybody else was grounded.
  • All other Muslims with even the most remote connection to the hijackers were being held in the US while the Saudi‘s, who had obvious connections, were allowed to leave.
  • The Bush family has been long-time friends with Saudi royal family.
  • [Post 09/11]  US invades Afghanistan [Why Afghanistan if the hijackers were Saudis?]
  • [Post 09/11]  US invades Iraq. [Why invade Iraq when none of the hijackers was from Iraq or was there any connection to Iraq?]
  • Iraq, with Saddam still in power, could reduce the oil price by increasing production. The lower price would reduce Saudi wealth accumulation.
  • Bush’s personal wealth increased from ~$4.0 to ~$10.0 while still in office.  [Estimated wealth as of maybe 2004 or 2005.  Likely some disclosure form but no reference in the notes.]  Since his salary is $400k per year, where did the money come from? 
  • The invasion of Iraq smells.  The invasion seems to have been planned before 09/11.  Iraq, without Saddam and under US control, could provide Saudi Arabia a great geographic buffer from Iran.  Plus if the US controls Iraq, then the US controls the oil reserves and production.  

Seems like a lot of coincidences.  However, even with certain material about the Saudi’s and 09/11 being declassified, the questions about 09/11 likely will not be answered.

Comments and/or your questions welcome.

Interested in more info about climate change, what’s required to electrify a fleet of cars/trucks, what it was like to work day-to-day with Lee Iacocca and an array of other topics? Visit another page of this website, https://usrevolution5.com/jrd-thought-comments/

#422. I’m Stumped. Why Not Get Vaccinated? Looking for Real Reasons.

Welcome to the some discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

I am stumped. What do we, societal we, have to do to get people to at least understand the importance of credible information and the importance of assessing risk?

The topic at hand is Covid.  Covid presents a significant risk to the individual, the individual’s family and a risk to society. Assessing the risk is fairly straightforward math. If you are unvaccinated, the chances of getting infected with the Delta variant, even with some precautions, are high.  Once infected the odds of a serious illness are much lower.  However, the consequences of a serious illness are significant.  In addition, among those infected, 25% or more may suffer long-term health consequences, the severity and scope of which are unknown since this strain of Covid is recent.

For those willing “to play the odds” with Covid, let’s apply the same odds (or even better odds) to a different situation – say air travel. If you’re an anti-vaxxer, would you get on an airplane where one out of every 20, 50 or even 100 flights crashed? And the consequence of the crash was death for everyone on board?

If one of every hundred flights crashed, say in Charlotte, there would be 6-7 crashes per day. I suspect the anti-vaxxers would find this rate too risky and refuse to board aircraft.

Yet, people who insist on not getting vaccinated are assuming the same risk as the 1:100 airline crash.  Why?  Like I said, I’m stumped.  For anti-vaxxers, take a look in geographic areas where a large percentage of the population is unvaccinated.  What’s happening?  Hospitals are at capacity. Funeral homes are beyond capacity and the funeral homes are hiring refrigerated trucks to hold bodies.

The simple solution to reducing risk of Covid is getting vaccinated. Why the resistance?  I’m stumped.  This past week two people I’ve known for some time both indicated they have refused to get vaccinated. Their rationale varied slightly but in essence was “I’m concerned about the risk of this“ or “…the risk of that“ or the vaccine “did not kill the virus“ or “I have credible information from the internet that proves…something or other.”

The “proof“ cited by one of the two was a YouTube video from an MD, well supposedly an MD. The anti-vaxxer posted the link to the “MD” on Facebook. A couple of days later, Facebook noted the information cited was fake and covered the picture of the “MD” and broke the link.  I suppose the anti-vaxxer’s retort to blocking the post was Facebook has been in the pockets of the “deep state.“

As far as risk of the Covid vaccine, yes, there is a risk. All vaccines and all medications carry some risk.  But the risk of the vaccine is slight.  The risk of a severe side effect is less than the risk of a severe side effect from birth control pills.  Wonder how many anti-vaxxers want to ban birth-control pills?

The real issue is the degree of risk of the vaccine versus the degree of risk without the vaccine. Using the airline example, the risk of a serious health issue or death with a Covid infection is at the very best 1:100, while the risk of a health issue stemming from the vaccine is 1:1,000,000+. 

If the difference is so striking and so obvious – for anti-vaxxers 6-7 airline crashes per day in Charlotte versus 1 crash every 4 years for those vaccinated – why are so many people continuing to resist getting the vaccine? Neither of my contacts is stupid. So why the resistance?

As noted in several blog entries beginning with Trump’s nomination, I think Trump supporters have been brainwashed. Trump’s behavior was the antithesis of everything the Republican Party and the religious conservatives stood for. Yet, Trump won the Electoral College vote in 2016 and the vast majority of those who voted for him the first time did so again in 2020. Many Trump voters continue to believe the election was “stolen.“   If you ask a Trumpster “stolen by whom?” or “stolen how?” there is never a specific answer.  Always some reference to some vague, hard-to-define conspiracy.

The brainwashing and the conspiracy logic also applies to Covid. Don’t get a vaccine, because you will…well, we know there’s a conspiracy out there someplace.  Big pharma and Bill Gates, and maybe George Soros, are in cahoots.

The only time reality seems to set in for an anti-vaxxer is when in ICU and on a ventilator. Then the anti-vaxxer finally awakens from the brainwashing by stating, “Gee, maybe I should’ve gotten the vaccine.“

Unfortunately, the brainwashing is likely to continue.  The primary source of the brainwashing, Fox News, continues to promote the alleged stealing of the election, and the alleged conspiracy surrounding the vaccine.  While no conspiracy has ever been defined, “We anti-vaxxers all know Dr. Fauci lies and is a bad guy.”  The Fox solution to Covid?  Don’t get the FDA-approved vaccine but take ivermectin, a drug of no value for treating Covid but used among other applications to deworm animals.

Soon we should be hearing Tucker Carlson and his ilk telling Fox viewers, the forest fires, droughts, hurricanes, heat domes and the other extreme weather incidents are just those 1:100 or 1:1000-year events so don’t worry about climate change.  The claims about climate change are a hoax.  Keep burning that fossil fuel because CO2 is good for the atmosphere.  Don’t trust the scientists.  Trust Fox.”  And throughout these lies, the brainwashed will continue to bow to the king of BS.

What does the brainwashing mean for the Revenge Revolution? The short answer is the Revenge Revolution is still coming.  Originally I thought the Revenge Revolution would be based on economic disparity with the “have-not’s” revolting against the “have’s.”

While there still might be economic disparity between the two sides, the different sides seem to be evolving toward those citizens willing to sacrifice for the common good against those who refuse.  The same disparity in willingness to sacrifice seems to hold when discussing climate change.  The economic disparity results from education. For both the Covid vaccine and climate change, a higher percentage of people with more educated seem to understand the causes of both and the need for society-wide actions to reduce the risks. 

If the democracy is to survive the Revenge Revolution, only one side can win. And it’s not the side of conspiracy theorists and climate-change deniers. More to come.

Comments, questions, suggestions, criticisms welcome.

Interested in more info about climate change, what’s required to electrify a fleet of cars/trucks, what it was like to work day-to-day with Lee Iacocca and an array of other topics? Visit another page of this website, https://usrevolution5.com/jrd-thought-comments/

 

  

#421. Climate Change: Overview of Steps to Start Solving

Welcome to the some discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

If you still believe climate change is a hoax, then quit reading this blog entry.  You’ll be pulling out your hair by the end.

In the real world, climate change exists.  In the real world, the consequences of not addressing climate change are catastrophic.  If society does not begin taking major steps immediately to reduce CO2 emissions, the primary contributor to the earth’s warming, there is a distinct possibility of a huge die-off in the earth’s population in the next 100-150 years. 

Just for reference, the current concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere (parts per million) is the highest since 3-5 million years ago, long before the evolution of modern man.  The high concentration has changed the curve of the earth’s natural warming and cooling cycle.  Based on historical patterns, the earth should be in the very early stages of a cooling cycle.  Instead, the earth’s temperature continues to increase.

No matter what we do, the earth’s temperature is likely to rise for another 50-75 years.  During that period the US and virtually every other country will experience more intense heat domes, rising oceans, more intense rainstorms, more flooding, more droughts, more fires and a severe strain on the agricultural sector’s ability to grow and harvest crops consistently. 

In addition, because of the shift in the jet stream caused by warmer temperatures in the Artic, areas of the southern US could experience heretofore rare severe winter cold snaps.  This all sounds like fun, huh?

How do we begin slowing the increase in earth’s temperature and eventually get earth back to the normal cycle of temperature variation?  The simple answer?  US society needs to have the will and commitment to fix the problem we helped cause.

Interestingly and fortunately, the technology exists today that can help make a major leap toward slowing the increase in temperature.  Also, technology is in development that can slow the increase even more.

If we have the technology, then why doesn’t the US just implement it?  What’s the issue when everyone would benefit?

Welcome to a country where logic and commitment to the common good seem to have vanished.  There is no better example of vanished commitment than willingness to be vaccinated for Covid.  A substantial portion of the US population refuses to get vaccinated even though the unvaccinated are at very high risk of being infected. 

The anti-vax groups offers a range of unsubstantiated medical claims and the usual array of conspiracy theories, including an effort by “government” to bend the will of the people, which will lead to more government takeovers, of course.

The extent of the selfishness of this group is hard to overstate.  The group insists a requirement to be vaccinated would impinge on their “freedom.” Yet, when the anti-vaxxers become infected with Covid, the group demands immediate medical attention.  I guess the group has forgotten their “freedoms” and the organized medical community resulted from actions taken by that bad old federal government.   

In addition to the anti-vaxxers, there are many companies, especially in the fossil-fuel industry, that refuse to accept any responsibility for global warming.  While we might not have known in 1900 how much drilling (methane release), then burning fossil fuels (CO2) could contribute to global warming, we have known about the linkage and the potential problem for at least 50 years.      

Another category of deniers sits in Congress, mainly from Republican-dominated states, and in particular from states with fossil-fuel resources.  One senator from such a state stated that producing oil and gas was not the contributor to global warming.  The real problem was burning the oil and gas.  OK, there are some products that use oil and/or as a feed stock.  However, a substantial portion is burned and creates CO2.  If the companies continue producing oil and gas at the current rate, unsold inventory will fill storage capacity quickly.  Then what, senator?

Without getting into a long dissertation, here’s a list of actions that could begin meaningful progress toward mitigating the effects of climate change.  The US needs to step up before we start negotiating with other countries to do the same.  More discussion about the proposed steps in coming entries. (The recommendations are excerpts from a paper I wrote as part of a group of MIT alumni working on practical solutions to climate change.)

  • Because the US is so polarized politically, a “9/11” or “Pearl Harbor” moment beyond the UN Report and record heat seems necessary to gain broad public support for addressing climate change and encouraging Congress to pass necessary climate legislation
  • Federal mandates requiring 100% electric usage in transportation, major industries, commercial building /homes, agriculture by a certain date are likely the only solution to ensure compliance across key sectors.  More in coming entries why a “free-market” solution likely will not work in time.
  • Even with a “Pearl Harbor” moment and mandates for electric, widespread education of the public will be necessary
  • The president or Congress should activate the Defense Production Act of 1950 to ensure electrified products are produced in quantity adequate to meet mandates
  • Federal government financial support for infrastructure and cost reduction programs will be required in all sectors, including provisions for “buy-back” of banned products
  • Renewable sources of electricity – solar, wind, hydro – likely will be inadequate to meet substantially higher base-load demand.  Nuclear power will be required.  Fusion is superior but commercial fusion decades away.
  • Accelerating timeline for widespread hydrogen availability will help achieve zero-emissions in aircraft, long-haul trucking as long as hydrogen not derived from fossil fuel
  • Students, grammar school thru college, and those under age 30 in 2021 can be a major influence on changing public attitudes and spurring legislation      

Comments, questions, suggestions, criticisms welcome.

Interested in more info about climate change, what’s required to electrify a fleet of cars/trucks, what it was like to work day-to-day with Lee Iacocca and an array of other topics? Visit another page of this website, https://usrevolution5.com/jrd-thought-comments/

 

  

#420. It’s My Right to Get Covid.

Welcome to the some discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

ENTRY #420: “Don’t tell me to get vaccinated you communist. It’s my right to get Covid. And it’s my right to make you pay for all of my medical bills.

Besides, getting Covid would be fun. Just think about what’ll happen?  I hope I’m one of the lucky ones with Covid who gets to go to the hospital. And if I’m real lucky, I’ll get a spot in ICU.

Think of all the staff that’ll be at my service in ICU.  The attention I’ll get from the staff puts to shame anything the Ritz-Carlton has to offer.  

Plus, in ICU I’ll get to take a bed that could have been occupied by someone who claimed to have an emergency. You know, someone pretending to have had a heart attack, or a stroke, or claiming to have been in a severe auto accident. I’m important so I deserve the bed more than any one of ‘those people.’

When I get out, what I’ll do is declare bankruptcy and stiff the hospital and all future patients for the bill.  If I stay in ICU long enough the hospital bill could be $1 million.  How many people do you know who have stiffed the hospital for a million bucks or more? 

After I’m out, then maybe I’ll be lucky and turn into one of those, uh, I think they’re called ‘long-haulers.’  Someone who has symptoms for a long time. The exciting part of being a long-hauler is no one knows what symptoms will occur, when they’ll occur, and for how long.  Tell me that isn’t exciting.

If I don’t get out, then I’ll be part of the group that seems to get all the media attention.  You know, the people who supposedly died from Covid. But unlike many of the people on the list, my death will be real. No fake news about me.

See why I’m excited? See why I refuse to wear a mask and why I refuse to get vaccinated? If I did either one, I might miss out on an exciting adventure.  People who get vaccinated are such dullards.”

——————–

OK, why the satire?  A few days ago, an anti-vaxer had the audacity to claim that the person asking someone to do something for the common good – i.e., getting vaccinated – was being selfish.  Excuse me anti-vaxer, but asking someone to doing something for the common good is not being selfish. 

Refusing to do something for the common good – maybe not littering, supporting people who are in true need, not being rude and a list of other reasonable behaviors – is being selfish.  But selfish people think the world revolves around them.    

So grow up anti-vaxer.  Put on your big-boy pants and quit acting like some whiny 2-year-old.

#419. Has Covid Taken Away Logical Thinking?

Welcome to the some discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Rnd the author? . More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

This past week or so, I’ve been struck by a seemingly endless stream of the illogical comments. Maybe Covid has caused society to regress mentally.

My observations and questions may offend some readers. If you are one of those readers, no offense intended.  I think we, that is societal we, need to be asking some difficult questions if we want to make meaningful progress toward practical solutions.  If we don’t address the elephant in the room, of which there are several, proposed solutions will be more like a Band-aides when major surgery is needed. 

I flipped a coin to decide which set of illogical statements/actions should be addressed first.  Republicans won the toss.

Illogical comments from Republicans seemed to center on:

  1. “Election was stolen from Trump!”
  2. “Events at the Capitol January 6 were like an ordinary group of visitors.”
  3. “Covid-19 vaccines are bad for you.”

If you actually believe any of these claims, then you are living in a dream world.  Ask yourself, “Where am I getting information?”  “Is the information credible?”  “Why do I believe it?”   “Would I or do I use these same sources of information for other parts of my life?”

Part of the illogic from Republicans is the claim there are two sets of facts.  No, folks, there’s one set of facts.  People might interpret the facts a bit differently but interpretation is different than claiming there are two sets of facts.

Ask yourself, if Trump and Tucker Carlson on Fox claimed the moon was made of green cheese, would you believe them?  If you believe what comes out of Trump’s or Carlson’s mouth, then you might as well believe the moon is made of green cheese. Much of what either of them says has no basis in fact and completely fabricated.

The idea there was widespread voter fraud is beyond ridiculous.  Even Republican officials in Republican-dominated states said there was no voter fraud.  So why all the effort to suppress voting?  Obviously Republicans are afraid of losing the majority to “those people.”  Well, my friends, big lies and suppression don’t last forever.  And when the 5th US Revolution happens, the Revenge Revolution, those continuing to support Trump will lose more than you would have without all supporting all the lies.

As far as not getting a vaccine, did you get vaccinated against polio?  Against the mumps?  Against measles?  If you don’t believe in vaccines, go talk to someone who’s had Covid and see what the experience was like.  Then ask yourself, “What’s the risk to my long-term health of getting Covid vs the essentially infinitesimal risk with getting vaccinated?”  BTW, the risk of a serious side effect from birth-control pills is higher than the Covid vaccine. 

OK, enough questions for Republicans.  If past is a prologue, no amount of logic will stimulate thinking among Trump supporters.   

Let’s move the other side of the aisle.  Questions, comments observed during last week or so include:

  1. “We need more affordable housing.”
  2. “Housing values in minority neighborhoods are lower than comparable houses in white neighborhoods.”
  3. “Tax rates are higher in certain cities with a higher percentage of blacks and browns.”
  4. “We need better schools in minority neighborhoods.”

Each statement, when taken individually, seems logical.  The problem occurs when one tries to develop a solution that addresses even two of the statements. 

Just take statements #1 & #2.  Few doubt that more affordable housing is needed.  Where should that housing be?  If you want as many people as possible to benefit, then start putting housing in areas where existing home prices are more affordable.  But that option becomes less attractive if somehow values of houses in minority neighborhoods need to increase to match white neighborhoods.  If homeowners in minority neighborhoods want comparable values to predominantly white neighborhoods, then there will be less affordable housing and the problem of available affordable housing will get worse not better.  

So, take your pick.  Want more affordable housing, or do you want values to be the same as in white neighborhoods?  BTW, for anyone who has studied home prices, there are huge disparities between comparable houses in white neighborhoods.  The value of a house is more than the physical structure. 

Take statements #2 & #3 &#4.   Tax rates are based cost of services divided by the value of the tax base.   Most of the cost of city services is fixed – police, fire, refuse, administration, schools, etc.  In most states, a large portion of a city’s revenue is generated by property taxes. 

If the cost for most city services and for schools is fixed, and the value of the house is less, then the property tax rate – amount per $1,000 assessed valuation — must increase. If you want a lower tax rate, then what services are you willing to give up?  If you want better schools, then the tax rate is going to be higher.  Ever wonder why taxes are so, so high in areas with top-notch public schools?  Schools are expensive.  The solution is to have more tax-paying businesses and higher-value homes in the city as a whole.  Don’t get hung up on values neighborhood to neighborhood.   

Another set of comments heard this past week or so focused on how slavery in the US continues to affect blacks. Is slavery the reason or the excuse?  Let’s think about this.  Slavery was abolished 150+ years ago.  That’s equal to 6-7 generations.

A question.  “Why is it that every other immigrant or ethnic group in the US, many of whom arrived 50+ years after slavery was abolished, has managed to pull themselves up economically? And it’s not that many of these immigrant groups we’re not shunned or discriminated against.

Irish Not Apply

Look at a sign typical of the early 20th Century.Some groups also suffered from neighborhoods being redlined.  For decades Jews were often excluded from neighborhoods by redlining, excluded from country clubs, etc.  Oh, BTW, there’s never been a Jewish president, even though there’s been a black president.

So why have blacks stayed at the bottom of the economic ladder? Is slavery the reason or the excuse?  Blacks need to look in the mirror and ask themselves that question.  And take some time before answering.  More next entry.

#418. Republicans, Patriots or Parrots?

Readers: The entries in this blog are built around the assumption there will be a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

I continue to be struck by how the Republican Party has only one answer to any proposal. “We can’t do that,” sometimes phrased as “That won’t work!”

Like a parrot with a very limited vocabulary, the “can’t”/”won’t” response is never followed by a suggestion how to correct what is perceived to be the problem with an idea.  No Republican seems to have any meaningful ideas on how to solve problems.  Pardon me, the “Republicants” do have one recommended solution no matter what the problem is.  The solution is, “Cut taxes for the wealthy because…”  Why would cutting taxes fix the problem?  Oh, it doesn’t matter why.  And it doesn’t matter to Republicants there is ZERO empirical evidence to support their logic.  For Republicants, the answer is, “Just cut taxes.”

A few days ago I watched a hearing held by the House Select Committee on Climate Change. My interest was twofold. One, I’ve spent much of the last 30 years focusing on developing practical solutions to help reduce emissions, primarily CO2 emissions.  A current project is working with a group of fellow MIT alumni on that very issue. The second reason I watched was one of the people testifying has been a longtime colleague and wanted to view his testimony.

Of the three people testifying that day, two had real-world experience in implementing practical solutions to reduce CO2 emissions.  While their party affiliation was not discussed in the testimony, because they were working to reduce CO2 emissions, some Republicans on the committee, maybe all Republicans, apparently thought the two were some of “those liberals.”

The third person testifying was a climate-change denier.  Ironically, in his remarks he actually raised a couple of valid points about issues that need to be addressed. But like most every Republicant inside the Beltway, he offered no solutions.

One Republicant House member decided no serious questions were necessary and instead used his 5 minutes to put on a good show for his right-wing constituents. Some of his diatribe included, “We can’t afford the Green New Deal. The Green New Deal won’t work! Instead, we need to build more roads to reduce congestion.”

Building more roads is not a solution to climate change. Whether or not you believe in science, burning gasoline creates CO2.  CO2 is a major contributor to climate change and global warming.  Climate change is real and no amount of denial, diversion or blaming someone else will stop the impact.

I’m sure many climate-change deniers don’t care, but the Green New Deal is a set of ideas and not any legislative proposal. From a Republicant perspective, I guess the country cannot afford to even discuss new ideas.  Why?  Yikes, discussions might lead to answers.   

Republicants claim to be objective and fiscally responsible, well at least when a Democrat is president.  So let’s just look at the cost of addressing climate change.  The cost of climate change maybe can best be described by a commercial from the 1970’s/1980’s for FRAM oil filters, “You can pay me now or pay me later.”  Except the payment for climate change will be exponentially greater the longer we wait.

In addition, the cost of waiting will also include excessive loss of human life, excess loss of wildlife, and may result in an uninhabitable earth. But no, let’s not discuss climate change.  Let’s deny climate change and pretend it doesn’t exist. 

While we’re pretending climate change doesn’t exist, let’s pretend the FBI or some liberal group, you know that Antifa group, stormed the Capitol 01/06/21 to make Trump look bad.  Since someone else was responsible, let’s investigate it.  No, no, I really meant to say “Let’s not investigate the Capitol insurrection.  Well, I’m not sure what I mean other than “no.’”   (Republicants have a selective memory problems as well.  Saying “no” to examining the cause of the insurrection seems a bit different than the wild enthusiasm by Republicants to investigate Benghazi.  Jim Jordan, cat got your tongue?)   

“Quit trying to confuse me.  Here’s what I know.  Instead of spending money on addressing climate change, America should spend more money on roads and drill for more oil.  Our politicians should start acting like real Americans should act and quit acting like a bunch of liberal wimps.  Stay tough and keep saying no, just like we did when Obama was president.”

This kind of “Always say no” mentality is a major contributor to why the US is headed for a 5th Revolution and why I’ve labeled the revolution the Revenge Revolution.  Always saying “no” and never offering ideas inhibits progress.  Always saying “no” would have resulted in America not taking the lead in the development of the automobile, aircraft, space exploration, communications, computers, the internet and a host of other technologies and large-scale projects, including the interstate highway system.  FYI, Republicants interstate highways are roads. 

Just saying “no” is a strategy for decline.  And the decline affects more than climate change.  Republicants continue to say no to having more people vote, to examining acts by the Trump administration that compromised national security and to a host of other important issues.  And Republicants claim to be patriots.  Mmm, Republicants seem more like parrots. 

Booklets you might find interesting:

  • Revenge Revolution — description of what form the revolution might take, 20 01 07 Start of Revolution
  • Who took out the Donald?  Who/what groups are most likely to “take out” Trump? The booklet was written early in the Trump administration but still worth a read. Who Took Out the Donald Entries with Update
  • Working with Lee Iacocca after he left Chrysler, 2019Q3 Iacocca Personal Observations
  • GM EV1 — behind-the-scenes events affecting development and introduction of the GM EV1, the first modern electric vehicle. 2020Q1 GM EV-1 Story Behind the Story Booklet  Note: in January 2021, GM announced that by 2035 all light-duty cars and trucks sold by GM worldwide will be electric. “Automotive News” had a special section published Earth Day 2021 about the GM EV1. Lots of celebration about the engineering accomplishments, and rightfully so. Little, if any insight why the GM EV1 was cancelled.
  • #417. Juneteenth Holiday. Help or Hinderance?

    Readers: The entries in this blog are built around the assumption there will be a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.”

    On June 17th, 2021 President Biden signed legislation declaring June 19th a Federal holiday. The holiday recognizes the Emancipation Proclamation. The date coincides not with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation but with the day in 1865 when the last area of the US – West Texas – was informed of the Emancipation Proclamation.

    The legislation passed the House of Representatives with 14 dissenting votes. The Senate vote was 100 to zero, with the bill structured as a proclamation that did not require individual Senators to vote.

    The apparent widespread support for Juneteenth in an otherwise fractured Congress would seem to bode well for future legislation aimed at addressing inequities in society – voting rights and education, for example.

    My view is just the opposite. While many on the right likely would characterize me as “one of those liberals,” and by their definition the characterization would be correct, I think Republicans allowing the legislation to pass with virtually no opposition will end up showing their underlying beliefs by slowing passage or refusing to pass most, if not all, future rights-type legislation.

    In a way, the Democrats and especially the black community, have been snookered by the Juneteenth holiday. By allowing a Federal holiday to honor the Emancipation Proclamation, Republicans now have a retort to any future rights legislation. “You got a Federal holiday for Juneteenth. That’s enough.”

    Worse for blacks in particular is the holiday could evolve into a backlash among many non-black voters. With Juneteenth, there are now 11 federal holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King’s birthday, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, 4th of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

    One holiday is associated with a particular religion, Christmas. Two holidays are associated with honoring those who defended the country – Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  Four holidays are somewhat related to the founding of the country – 4th of July, Columbus Day, Presidents Day and Thanksgiving. One holiday for workers, Labor Day.

    None of the holidays listed so far is directed at any particular ethnic group. However, 2 of the 11 holidays are – King’s birthday and Juneteenth. Whether categorizing the holidays as “ethnic”-type holidays is fair or appropriate, some people will do so. In addition to two holidays associated with blacks, there is an entire month devoted to black history. At some point voters may say, “No more.  I had nothing to do with slavery or Jim Crow laws.  Time for blacks to quit whining and start committing to fixing their problems.” 

    A spreading backlash may already be starting.  Although a single data point, what’s happening in Charlotte, NC may help portend the future.  Background – although Charlotte lies south of the Mason-Dixon Line, by most standards Charlotte would be considered a moderately liberal city.  In the last few months there has been an increasing push by a number of blacks to force the school board to balance the ethnicity of: (i) teachers with the student population; (ii) student population among the schools.

    The county encompassing Charlotte, Mecklenburg, threatened to withhold 10% of its school funding until the school board presented a plan that ensured students were learning.  Duh, folks, let’s start with who’s responsible for the student wanting to learn.  What’s that old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”  

    Trying to force balanced ethnicity in classrooms and ethnicity of teachers and then force accountability on teachers might look good on paper and gain political points, but the actions do not addresses the underlying cause of the poor student performance.  Without a commitment to education by the black community, balancing students and teachers by ethnicity will have little effect.

    Measuring teachers for performance against a teaching metric is valid.  Trying to measure a teacher’s performance by the performance of students is a no-win for teachers, and a good approach to making sure the most qualified teachers go elsewhere. 

    Ensuring students learn is an excellent societal goal.  But let’s be honest about who’s responsible for the behavior and commitment of the students.  The responsibility starts at home, and if the home is not being responsible, then those in the family and support community must take up the slack.

    On a somewhat cynical level, implementation of some demands by the black community and actions by Mecklenburg County seems to imply a desire to return to Plessy v. Ferguson, which approved “separate but equal” education.  No, I haven’t joined the far right. But what we, societal we, need to discuss honestly is what will solve the problem at hand.

    Most of the discussions about inequality in schools, jobs and even sometimes voting rights seem to focus on optics and not substance.  Juneteenth is a perfect example of what I label as “optics.”

    What problem was solved by declaring Juneteenth a Federal holiday? Nothing.  While blacks might feel better there has been some overdue recognition of the Emancipation Proclamation, nothing fundamental has changed. If you think the holiday is the beginning of a sea change, ask yourself, “What fundamentally has changed for blacks since Martin Luther King’s birthday became a Federal holiday?”

    Let’s see what has changed: key portions of the Voting Rights Act were not renewed; innumerable bills have been introduced in state legislatures that are intended to suppress voting rights; the US now has a Supreme Court that has shifted far right.  Keep thinking about all the gains made been made since King’s birthday became a Federal holiday. Then compare the list to a list of inequities still exist or have reemerged.  Creating holidays maybe a step backwards, not forward.