Impeachable: Denying Climate Change

Trump’s Worst Impeachable Offense Hurts the Whole World

By Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan/ Democracy Now/ November 7, 2019


You can run from the climate crisis, but you can’t hide. On the front lines of this global environmental calamity, entire communities are being consumed by fire, submerged by typhoons and hurricanes, or baked under the sun amid historic droughts. President Donald Trump, the climate change denier in chief, has formally begun the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. Originally signed by President Barack Obama in 2015, the accord established a cooperative, global path to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees F) above preindustrial levels. The United States is now the only nation on the planet that has pulled out of the agreement. A new statement signed by over 11,000 scientists from over 150 countries warns of “untold suffering” unless global society undergoes a “major transformation.” Trump’s denial of the climate crisis is unconscionable and should be added to the articles of impeachment against him.

One Trump official with a role in both the climate crisis and in the impeachment proceedings is Wells Griffith, currently a special assistant to the president and senior director for international energy and environment for the National Security Council, serving under departing Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Griffith is a longtime Republican operative who served as deputy chief of staff to Reince Priebus when Priebus was chair of the Republican National Committee.

Wells Griffith’s appointment to the Department of Energy makes sense; his family has run a gas station in Mobile, Alabama, for over 50 years. Griffith moved from pumping gas to pushing coal, successfully negotiating the sale of 700,000 metric tons of coal from Pennsylvania to Ukraine in 2017.

He then showed up as the top representative of the Trump administration at the U.N.’s “COP 24” climate conference in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018. The U.S. held just one public event during the two-week summit, which Griffith chaired, promoting fossil fuel and nuclear energy. Amid mocking laughter and a walkout by protesters, he stated, “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.”

Afterward, we approached Griffith in a large central hall of the convention center (which was designed to look like the coal mine that it was built on top of) to ask questions for the “Democracy Now!” news hour. To our shock, rather than answering, he bolted, first walking quickly, then running away. Cameras rolling, we ran after him, asking questions as we weaved in and out of the crowd of climate negotiators, scientists and activists.

“Do you agree with President Trump calling climate change a hoax? Can you talk about why the U.S. is here, since President Trump is saying he’s pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord? Can you talk about why you’re pushing coal?” He dodged our questions, but did accuse us of harassing him. “A reporter asking you a question, sir, is not harassment,” we replied.

Just this Tuesday, Wells Griffith continued his refusal to answer questions when he failed to appear before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s closed-door session of the Trump impeachment inquiry.

While public testimony is expected to begin next week, an unrelated court case is wrapping up in a New York state courtroom. New York is suing ExxonMobil, alleging the fossil fuel giant defrauded its investors for years by understating the risk that climate change posed to shareholder value. Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil and Trump’s first secretary of state, testified at length under oath. He repeatedly claimed he could not recall details when grilled by the New York state attorneys.

Outside the courtroom, 30 children participating in the Fridays for Future weekly climate strike engaged in a die-in. Thirteen-year-old Maria Riker told us, “We held the die-in for 42 minutes, one minute for each of the 42 years that Exxon was aware of the dangers of climate change but lied about it.”

Tillerson’s successor, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, announced Monday, via tweet, “Today we begin the formal process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.” Trump declared that the U.S. would withdraw in June 2017, but legal procedures in place when the agreement was signed have prevented the formal exit until now.

In response, founder and author Bill McKibben said on “Democracy Now!,” “The fossil fuel industry had its most profitable years in the last three decades. On the other hand, we’re now missing half the sea ice in the summer Arctic. The Great Barrier Reef is half-dead. The oceans are 30% more acidic. California is on fire more weeks than not. We’re in deep, deep trouble.”

The climate crisis imperils the planet. To deny it is impeachable, the highest of high crimes and misdemeanors.


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Media Madness

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The Non-Sunshine State

Has the climate crisis made California too dangerous to live in?

By Bill McKibben/ The Guardian/ October 29, 2019

As with so many things, Californians are going first where the rest of us will follow

The San Francisco skyline is shrouded in smoke from wildfires in the north part of the state.

The San Francisco skyline is shrouded in smoke from wildfires in the north part of the state. Photograph: Jose Carlos Fajardo/Associated Press

Monday morning dawned smoky across much of California, and it dawned scary – over the weekend winds as high as a hundred miles an hour had whipped wildfires through forests and subdivisions.

It wasn’t the first time this had happened – indeed, it’s happened every year for the last three – and this time the flames were licking against communities destroyed in 2017. Reporters spoke to one family that had moved into their rebuilt home on Saturday, only to be immediately evacuated again.

The spectacle was cinematic: at one point, fire jumped the Carquinez Strait at the end of San Francisco Bay, shrouding the bridge on Interstate 80 in smoke and flame.

Even areas that didn’t actually burn felt the effects: Pacific Gas and Electric turned off power to millions, fearful that when the wind tore down its wires they would spark new conflagrations.

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Intergalactic Exchange Student

Just in case anyone is interested…..Now on Amazon as a Kindle ebook…….

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By Arlen Grossman

Published at OpEd News, October 5, 2019


Democracy, if we ever truly had it, is rapidly disappearing in America today. If most people want background checks for guns, universal health care, a higher minimum wage, action to limit climate change, and higher taxes for the wealthy, which they do, the government will not allow these to happen. Same for most other important issues, both locally and nationally.

The reason is because our favored political system, capitalism, and its inevitable corollary, greed, has increasingly devoured what we used to call democracy (or republic, if you prefer). As everyone knows, money is power, as well as being the symbol of success in our consumer culture.

America's Value System
                                                            America’s Value System

                                                                (Image by 401(K) 2013)   Details   DMCA

Here’s a challenge: name an important problem in America today that is not caused or exasperated by capitalistic greed. I maintain it will be very hard to do. That is because those who control our country, big corporations and billionaires, dominate Congress and other decision-making institutions in the United States. They make the rules.

Let me make clear that capitalism, also called free enterprise or the free market, the basis of our economic system, is not inherently bad. In fact, there is no other economic system that has proven to be more innovative, creative, and productive than capitalism. But without the necessary checks and balances, unrestricted capitalism becomes out-of-control capitalism, which has led us to where we are today, an America that has lost its bearing and is floundering in a sea of debt, poverty, injustice, and fear.

Think about it. Climate change, poor health care, mass shootings, environmental destruction, computer breaches and hacking, easily available pornography, election fraud, financial crimes, poverty, and of course, nuclear weapons and wars, can be instigated or worsened by greed. There may be a few problems and issues unrelated to money and greed, but not many.

Being essentially amoral, and human nature being what it is, an unregulated free market will invariably fall prey to the forces of greed. It will inevitably spin out of control and turn into a voracious monster, plundering everything in its path. That is what is happening right now in this country, with a few powerful corporations and billionaires accumulating an unprecedented and disproportionate share of this great country’s wealth, leaving the rest of us scrambling to pick up what few crumbs we can find.

All the little stuff, the outrage of the week, the big news story of the day, the latest screw-up by a famous politician or celebrity, it’s all a distraction (don’t forget, the major media is owned by a few big corporations). If we don’t fix the systemic problems, our slide into the junk heap of history is inevitable.

More than just our smaller paychecks, failing schools, bloated military, and the other results of the Darwinian drift of our economy, the worse damage out-of-control capitalism has done has been to our psyche. It has eviscerated our collective soul, purging Americans of our most decent instincts and values. We have been left with a country that is no longer offering the promise of the Great American Dream, and is no longer a beacon of hope and possibility for the rest of the world. Instead, America is all about greed, materialism, and the accumulation of wealth.

Where once Americans cared about each other, we now distrust one another. Where once we strived to erase poverty, we now ignore or disdain it. Where once peace was a priority, we now unquestioningly accept perpetual war. Where once we were concerned for civil liberties, we now look the other way as our privacy and rights disappear. Where once we valued truth and facts, we now ignore them in favor of winning an argument or scoring a political win. Where once we cared about improving lives, we now give priority to accumulating money and cutting taxes.

Can this be changed? I wish there were an easy answer. Unfortunately, the billionaires and big corporations seem to have already won. They have the most power and influence in our country and, because of lobbying and legalized bribery in government, control the media and the politicians who can effect change.

A major overhaul of our political and economic systems is desperately needed. Where it will come from is, at this time, unclear. But if we don’t rein in the excesses of capitalism, we will become like the Romans, just one more failed empire for future students to read about in history books.

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Scary Word


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UkraineBy Thom Hartmann/ September 24, 2019

Trump’s Ukrainian extortion scandal is metastasizing across his administration. It’s now apparent that his Chief of Staff played a role in stopping the money that Congress had appropriated for Ukraine to defend itself, and that Mike Pence communicated part of the implied threat, to the Ukrainian president. If impeachment goes forward, it should not be limited to Trump.

It’s time for a major house cleaning, and that means impeaching Pence as well., which, according to the Constitution, puts the Speaker of the House in the White House.

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In case you might be interested, I’ve written a silly, quirky book for middle age readers (age 8-12). For more information, click here:

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The End

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Welcome, Mr. VP

PenceVP Pence came for a quickie Labor Day weekend visit to a remote area of Vermont, which happened to be down the road from my wife’s family’s summer home in Hubbardton. I felt I wanted to greet him as he drove by. I even made the local newscast (they screwed up my name):

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