It is a time of fear in the face of freedom, a time of an emptying country and swelling cities, a time for the widening of previous roads and the opening of new paths, yet a time when these paths are mined by knowing algorithms of the all-seeing eye. It is the time of the warrior's peace and the miser's charity, when the planting of a seed is an act of conscientious objection. These are the times when maps fade, old landmarks crumble and direction is lost. Forwards is backwards now, so we glance sideways at the strange lands through which we are all passing, knowing for certain only that our destination has disappeared. We are unready to meet these times, but we proceed nonetheless, adapting as we wander, reshaping the Earth with every tread. Behind us we have left the old times, the standard times, the high times. Welcome to the irregular times.
Today, Mike Huckabee announced the beginning of his own campaign for the republican presidential nomination in 2016. He has made it clear that he has no intention of doing anything as President to deal with the severe environmental problems that we face.
Like Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee goes to lengths to avoid using the word “environment”. Huckabee does talk about energy, though, and offers a simple policy: Do “anything and everything” to give Americans more energy to burn.
Anything and everything is a big category. It includes:
– Rubbing our hands together really fast to heat our houses in the winter
– Shipping snow from Alaska to air condition houses in Arizona
– Sending Great Lakes water all the way to California to relieve the drought there
– Burning garbage
– Putting children on treadmills to generate electricity instead of sending them to school
– Replacing the internal combustion engine with those cars from the Flintstones where your feet stick out the bottom
– Building nuclear power plants in residential neighborhoods
– Ovens fueled by cow pies
– Whale oil lanterns
– Sending slaves to work down in coal mines
When Mike Huckabee says that he supports an “anything and everything” energy policy, he’s saying that he would support these kinds of methods of producing energy. His idea is an anything-goes society in which individuals and corporations can do whatever the heck they want to make energy cheap and abundant.
For a presidential candidate who claims to support family values, it’s a shockingly amoral policy, and we know what the consequences will be: The Earth stripped bare, waters filled with toxic sludge, air filled with deadly fumes, industrial accidents, mass extinctions, and a life for all but the most wealthy that is cruel and short.
A mature leader is willing to do the work of distinguishing between good ideas and bad ideas. A responsible leader has standards to judge which plans are worth pursuing and which are foolhardy. A reasonable leader does not simply say yes to every cockamamie scheme that comes along.
Mike Huckabee’s Anything and Everything Energy Policy is a symptom of sloppy thinking and indifference to suffering. Huckabee ought to be ashamed of himself for even suggesting it.
Yesterday, Ben Carson formally announced that he is going to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. So, Carson has his presidential web site up and running, so that we can see where he stands on the issues – if he takes a stand at all.
These are the things that Ben Carson lists as the important issues of the 2016 presidential campaign:
– Balanced Budget Amendment
– Keep Gitmo Open
– Keep Faith In Our Society
– Protecting Innocent Life
– Russia And Lessons Learned
– Protect The Second Amendment
– Stand By Israel, Our Bulwark Middle East Ally
– The American People Deserve A Better Tax Code
There are serious problems with the issues that Ben Carson chooses to address. It isn’t the role of the federal government to “keep faith in our society” – in fact, the Constitution, the fundamental legal document of our nation, makes it clear that the government is supposed to stay out of issues of religion. Maintaining an infamous prison system that operates outside of our legal system is an disturbing issue for any presidential candidate to prioritize.
Ben Carson chooses to ignore the issue of environment degradation entirely. That may play well to his political base, but it doesn’t serve our national interest. Any leader who isn’t willing to confront these threats isn’t qualified to be President.
When Carly Fiorina announced her 2016 presidential campaign on Periscope this afternoon, voters were ready to ask her about serious issues. Instead of answering them, Fiorina choose to spend time talking about her favorite ice cream, and whether hot dogs qualify as sandwiches, and whether she prefers unicorns to mermaids. Then, after just a few more minutes online, Fiorina announced that she just wouldn’t have any more time for questions, and signed off.
No kidding. Below is the audio, for you to hear for yourself.
Carly Fiorina, on the other hand, made herself known by taking the strong corporation of Hewlett Packard and, during her time as CEO, reducing the stock value to half of what it had been – and then awarding herself a 40 million dollar retirement package. After that catastrophe, Fiorina was shunned by the business world, so she turned to a political career, taking her massive fortune to earn a massive loss in the polls in her campaign against U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. Though Fiorina has tens of millions of dollars, she still hasn’t paid her aides from that campaign.
Carson or Fiorina – who will be the bigger train wreck as a presidential candidate?
Q. Are you supporting an independent candidate for President in 2016? A. No. Please do not assume that any of the signatories to the Change the Rule letter are committed to voting for an independent candidate in 2016. Individually, we may each decide that the Democratic or Republican candidate is superior. What each of us wants is the same thing the American people want: the restoration of honest competition in the way we select our president, as required by the law.
Organizers of Fast For The Climate are choosing not to eat anything on the first day of every month, “showing their strength of commitment by going without food once a month to call for world leaders to do more to solve the climate crisis”.
According to the organization, thousands of people are participating in the fast, but how does not eating food for one day a month help to stop climate change? “It’s a rich personal experience, it gives a sense of revival, and cleansing, and joyfulness.” says one participant.
Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for President in the United States, is taking part in the monthly fast. She explains her involvement in the video below.
Every year, the first Saturday in May is World Naked Gardening Day. That’s today, this year.
And have you heard anyone at your local garden center say, “Happy World Naked Gardening Day”? Probably not, and if we follow the logic of the American Family Association, that would mean that there is a War On World Naked Gardening Day.
From the World Naked Gardening Day web site: “Why garden naked? First of all, it’s fun! Second only to swimming, gardening is at the top of the list of family-friendly activities people are most ready to consider doing nude. Moreover, our culture needs to move toward a healthy sense of both body acceptance and our relation to the natural environment. Gardening naked is not only a simple joy, it reminds us — even if only for those few sunkissed minutes — that we can be honest with who we are as humans and as part of this planet.”
Honest? To be honest, I’m not sure my knees would feel very good if I were to kneel on the ground while doing the weeding for more than 5 minutes. My bare feet wouldn’t feel very good pushing a shovel into the ground either. Does it still count as naked if I wear knee pads and boots?
What exactly is “fun” about gardening naked? Do people who garden naked let out shouts of “woo hoo” while they’re putting seeds in the ground?
I’m also wondering about how being naked relates to our natural environment, in terms of gardening. Being naked is being totally natural for a human being, but gardening isn’t natural. A gardened environment is an artificial environment, so it seems more akin to wearing clothes than to being naked.
Finally, there’s the sunburn factor. The natural thing for the body of a person of European ancestry, such as myself, to do, after exposure to 2 to 3 hours of sunshine, which is the minimum that any good gardener would put in on a nice Saturday like today, is to burn, to blister, to peel.
Would I still be naked if I put on sunscreen?
Can anyone who actually participated in World Naked Gardening Day today explain these finer points?
On Thursday, Senator Bernie Sanders, who has been serving in Congress for the last three decades, announced that he will be running for the Democratic Party nomination for President in 2016. This announcement disrupted the establishment Democratic Party narrative, which held that Democrats had all decided to support Hillary Clinton for President, before a single primary or caucus ballot was cast.
In this email, Bob Fertik does a little awkward shuffle to preserve the impression that Democrats.com isn’t taking sides in favor of any candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, while also not disrupting the sense that really, behind the neutral posture, we all know that Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee.
Bernie Sanders has requested a message to Democrats.com supports, says Fertik, implying that, you know, the message wouldn’t be sent out about Sanders unless the special request was made. But hey, the email says, some of you may not want to hear about any other candidate besides Hillary Clinton, so we’ll offer you that option.
Fertik didn’t offer any such option for Bernie Sanders, to only receive emails about Bernie Sanders, and not about other Democrats candidates. The link offered by the Democrats.com email only provides for an opt-in to Bernie Sanders emails, without excluding emails about other Democratic candidates.
Then, to make the point that Bernie Sanders is regarded as an unwelcome outsider especially clear, Fertik offers a special link for Democrats.com followers who don’t want any emails about Bernie Sanders, but still want emails about other Democratic candidates. Note that there isn’t any option given for Democrats who aren’t interested in Hillary Clinton. The only opt-out made available by Democrats.com is an opt-out of emails promoting Bernie Sanders.
Democrats.com, Fertik says, “will make our audience available to Hillary Clinton and the other candidates on the same terms” – except that Democrats.com won’t allow people to block emails about Hillary Clinton. All Democratic candidates are equal at Democrats.com, you see, except for Hillary Clinton, who is more equal.
During its nine-year history, the privatized-presidential-election corporation called Americans Elect has taken on many names: Americans Elect, Change the Rule, Level the Playing Field, Unity08, Unity12 Task Force. In a post yesterday about the group’s resurrection for 2016, I noted how its recent activity featured a “charitable donation” to a mysterious 501c4 corporation called “The Chamberlain Project” that formed within a month of the formation of “Level the Playing Field” by Americans Elect executives.
Cara McCormick stands at the middle of these circles of activity, serving as a corporate officer for Americans Elect and “Level the Playing Field” and The Chamberlain Project. Cara McCormick’s business Smart Campaigns and “Level the Playing Field” are, according to campaign finance records, the sole monetary contributors to The Chamberlain Project.
According to those same campaign finance records, The Chamberlain Project has spent its money on just one enterprise in Maine — a political one. On November 6 2014, The Chamberlain Project sent $10,000 to Maine’s Committee for Ranked Choice Voting. On December 3 2014, The Chamberlain Project sent another $10,000 to the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting.
The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting did not exist as a registered political group in the Maine campaign finance system until October 28 2014, meaning that it formed just a week before The Chamberlain Project sent it its first infusion of cash. The Chamberlain Project was the single largest contributor to the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting in 2014.
Guess who chipped in an additional $4,000 contribution in cash and more than $1,600 in in-kind support to the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting in Maine on October 29, October 30, and November 1, 2014? Guess who filed the paperwork to establish the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting as a political committee in Maine? And guess who is the Treasurer for the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting? It’s just one person, and you already know the name: Cara McCormick.
Why did “Level the Playing Field” send money to a group formed by its officer for the sole purpose of in turn sending money onward to a ranked choice voting advocacy group — a group that was founded on the money it and its officer sent? I don’t know, but I suspect the answer will be interesting. It’s time for me to look up some addresses and see if I can find out. I’ll be sending some letters tomorrow — but in the meantime, the fun of following this money trail has been its own reward.
“THIS IS WHO WE ARE. A GROUP OF SEEKERS. A SOCIETY OF WOMEN AND MEN SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS. ALL WITH ONE COMMON THEME — GREAT RESEARCH WITH REAL IMPACT.
WE GO ABOUT OUR DAYS WORKING FOR THE GREATER GOOD. SOMETIMES ALONE. SOMETIMES IN COLLABORATION WITH THE COMMUNITY. OTHER TIMES WITH INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS. WE ARE DEDICATED TO OUR INDIVIDUAL CAUSES AND THE UNIVERSITY WE SO PROUDLY REPRESENT.
WE ARE STRONG. WE ARE COMMITTED.
WE ARE THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY RESEARCHERS.”
Is this an effective way to promote scientific work?
Liberal Buttons, Political Bumper Stickers and Sweat-Free Shirts
To keep our voices independent of moneyed interests, the writers of Irregular Times have never accepted money for advertising on this website. But we still have to pay the bills! To help cover our expenses, we sell our own designs of liberal activist bumper stickers, buttons and sweatshop-free shirts.