Idiocy about wildfires; idiocy about asbestos; pure idiocy

Bob Plain at R.I.Future.org writes—Incumbent Democrats face two-front campaigns:

Politics makes for strange bedfellows, observed Charles Dudley Warner in 1850, and it seems true enough this campaign season in Rhode Island as the highest-profile incumbent Democrats are each taking fire from not only Republicans, but also the progressive left. Sometimes even on the same issues. […]

Governor Gina Raimondo faces the most-obvious two-front campaign for re-election. She has left-leaning Matt Brown and all four conservative candidates attacking her policies and performance. Brown and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, the front-running Republican, have both portrayed her corporate tax incentives, which Raimondo says are needed to attract and retain businesses, as crony capitalism and/or corporate welfare – depending, perhaps, on which wording plays better with one’s base.

“Governor Raimondo’s agenda of paying out-of-state companies taxpayer money—transferring wealth from the public to wealthy corporations—has taken a system that creates massive inequality and exacerbated it,” Brown said in a recent statement. A few days later, Fung said in a statement, “Where is the oversight by the administration to make sure the taxpayers aren’t being taken for a ride with these hidden taxpayer costs that lie in her extravagant corporate welfare deals.”

Raimondo will have to best Brown in the Democratic primary – if not a debate before then – if she’s to face off against anyone in the general election. Heated primaries against more progressive men has been a mainstay in her campaigns for governor. In 2014 she beat both then mayor of Providence Angel Taveras and Clay Pell, both of whom ran to her left, before beating Fung, with an assist from Bob Healey, in the general election. Prior to Raimondo, the last time a Democratic candidate for governor faced a primary was 2002, when Myrth York narrowly beat Sheldon Whitehouse for the nomination.

James at BlueNC writes—Open letter to David Rouzer:

Dear Congressman Rouzer.


We read on your website that you consider yourself an advocate for working people. You even say you are concerned about public health crises, like the opioid epidemic. So I’m writing to ask, “Why the hell are you supporting a president who will literally kill hundreds of thousands of people by allowing asbestos back into US consumer products?”

  • FACT: Dr. Donald Trump, Ph.D. in Nothing, has declared asbestos is safe. His EPA will now allow asbestos back into US products and building materials.

  • FACT: 100% of real scientists agree that asbestos is fatally dangerous. Millions of people have died or been disabled from asbestos exposure.
  • FACT: Russia is the only country in the world exporting asbestos to the United States.

Congress has a moral and legal obligation to keep Americans safe. But as far as we can see, you and other Republicans in Congress are doing absolutely nothing to rein in the president.

Please explain your inaction.

Inveniam Viam at MN Progressive Project writes—Endorsing Richard Painter for US Senate:

Let me be clear at the outset – given nearly any other scenario that I can imagine, I would be supporting and endorsing Tina Smith for the US Senate.

Instead, I’m endorsing Richard Painter. (Insert cries of derision and outrage here).

The reason is simple: Richard Painter is a better candidate and will make a better US Senator for the people of Minnesota.

MN Progressive Project

And Richard Painter, unlike Tina Smith, wants Donald Trump impeached and imprisoned. That’s a BIG plus for me, even if Painter didn’t support many of the progressive policies I believe in. But he does. He comes at them from more of a wonkish angle than I would take, but he gets there in the end all the same. For example, he supports single-payer because it makes the most economic sense. For me, health care is a human right and we can pay for it by eliminating corporate welfare.

I’ve said before, here on MNPP, that if two candidates of different gender stack up roughly equally, I’ll preferentially support and vote for the woman. That’s because, as a member of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, I believe in Democratic principles of political representation. With only 23 members of the US Senate currently women, we need to double that figure to achieve something close to gender equality. So I’d much prefer not to replace Smith with Painter, if it were avoidable.

But this US Senate race is another situation where the party leadership has jammed their preferred candidate down our collective throats and expects us, as always, to fall in line.

Sean Kitchen at Raging Chicken Press of Pennsylvania writes—Daryl Metcalfe Makes Fundraising Pitch Because His Opponent “is a Homosexual:

Pennsylvania’s biggest bigot and Chairman of the House State Government Committee, Daryl Metcalfe, is asking donors for help because his opponent, Dan Smith, “has already attracted national attention because he is a homosexual… I need your help as I prepare for the fall fight!”

Raging Chicken Press

You did not misread that.  That’s exactly how Representative Daryl Metcalfe ended a fundraising letter that he sent out to his supporters.

Chairman Metcalfe came under scrutiny late last year after feverishly proclaiming his heterosexuality when Democratic Co-Chair Matt Bradford glanced his arm while talking in committee.  In 2013, Metcalfe tried to silence openly gay State Representative Brian Sims citing “god’s law” when In 1780, more than two hundred years before Roxanne Hitchcock published a glossary of the oil and gas industry, the unfortunately-titled Lube Lingo, an Irish actor and elocutionist named Thomas Sheridan (who also happened to be the godson of Jonathan Swift) defined the word “petrolium” in his book, A General Dictionary of the English Language.

Lamar White Jr. at Bayou Brief of Louisiana writes—The Devil’s Ransom: Big Oil and the Louisiana Gulf Coast

Sheridan’s dictionary- really more of a thesaurus- is now considered a foundational text in contemporary Western civilization, even though its author remains a relatively obscure historical footnote.

“Petrolium,” according to Sheridan, can be defined by an almost messianic metaphor: “floating on the water of springs.”

state blogs, The Bayou Brief

Oil doesn’t walk on water, but Sheridan is right: It definitely floats, and because of its unique properties, here in Louisiana, trillions of dollars have been extracted deep underground and deep under the ocean in order to fuel, literally, an enormous segment of the American and global economy, even if it is at the expense of the sustainability and viability of  the entire Gulf Coast ecosystem.

Hitchcock, in Lube Lingo, uses another, more sinister euphemism to define petroleum: “The devil’s tar.”

Sims was speaking about the Defense of Marriage Act on the House Floor.

Then in 2015, Metcalfe invited a white nationalist to speak at a committee hearing that would make English the “official language” of Pennsylvania.  Representative Metcalfe cut off the microphone of former State Representative Leslie Acosta when she began speaking Spanish.  A few days later, Metcalfe the proclaimed on the House Floor that he was the victim of reverse racism by saying “whoever made the assertion he was white was actually the racist.”

desmoinesdem at Bleeding Heartland of Iowa writes—Reynolds dumped Medicaid adviser who asked tough questions:

“It’s not certain to me that [my son] Matthew is safe with a Republican governor and a Republican legislature,” David Hudson told the Des Moines Register’s Tony Leys after Governor Kim Reynolds declined to reappoint him as co-chair of Iowa’s Medical Assistance Advisory Council. “And I say that as a lifelong Republican! Because I just don’t see the governor asking the right questions and doing the right thing for my son.”

state blogs

By dumping Hudson and another council member who spoke out about problems related to Medicaid privatization, Reynolds has once again shown she is unwilling or unable to engage with facts on the ground related to Iowans’ health care. […]

A state ombudsman’s report and a major investigation by [the Des Moines Register’s Jason] Clayworth have shown how “Iowa’s Medicaid maze is trapping sick and elderly patients in endless appeals.” Yet Reynolds continues to claim managed care will improve delivery of services to Iowans while saving the state money. She has discounted calls for a thorough audit of the program as politically motivated.

El Sonambulo at Delaware Liberal writes—Tom Carper In His Own Words: Why He Should No Longer Be Senator:

When Tom Carper ran against Bill Roth in 2000, he made age the issue while claiming that age was not the issue. Of course, age wasn’t the issue, said Carper. Energy was.  Don’t believe me?

Delaware Liberal

Read this piece on that race from 2000. Won’t take you long to find the money quote.

Here’s how Tom ‘Let Me Drop Down And Give You 10. Pushups That Is’ Carper described why he should be Senator:

“Whether a person is 59 or 69 or 79 is not so important, the important thing is the energy they have and the ability to function effectively for the next six years,” Carper has said. “I’ve got a lot of energy. I go real hard day and night.”

And he did. But now, he’s Shufflin’ Tom. His appearances are carefully stage-managed by his staff. Selective and limited. Often holding a giant prop check. Rarely engaging in a substantive policy conversation. He is now running against a multi-tasker like Kerri Harris, who has faced and understands challenges that Tom the former Golden Boy never had to face.  If this race is about energy, Tom Carper has run out of gas somewhere and is fumbling with his cellphone. 

Jon Sokolow at Blue Virginia writes—Eating Your Own: Trump Loving Fossil Fuel Union Attacks Democrats, Other Unions, Environmentalists and Anyone Who Stands Up for Planet Earth:

On July 26, an impressive group of Democratic members of the Virginia General Assembly wrote a letter to Governor Northam opposing the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines. The legislators called on Northam to direct Virginian’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to stop deferring to a blanket federal standard known as “Nationwide Permit 12,” because it bypasses state water quality guidelines. 

Blue Virginia blog

[… ]on August 3, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ordered a complete halt to all construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, citing the Fourth Circuit’s decision.   Three days later, on August 6, the Fourth Circuit revoked two federal permits for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and noted that, without those two permits, “ACP, should it continue to proceed with construction, would violate FERC’s certificate of public convenience and necessity.”

As a result, both pipelines have been stopped dead in their tracks, at least temporarily.

Enter LIUNA, the laborers union, which on July 24 sent its own preemptive attack letter to all Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly.  LIUNA’s letter was a vicious and false attack on Democrats, environmentalists and anyone else who opposes the pipelines. It was signed by Dennis Martire, a LIUNA Vice President who reportedly earns more than $300,000 per year, plus expenses, many times more than the workers he purports to “represent.”

Martire’s talking points mirrored an April letter from Charlie Jackson, who is a lobbyist for Dominion Energy but, as we have described here, poses as a LIUNA “union” lobbyist when it suits him. Jackson pockets are lined with corporate cash, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, American Electric Power and ExxonMobil.

Bill Orr at Blue Jersey writes—With midterms approaching, NJ’s election system is critical infrastructure that deserves more protection

Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, said on Thursday the government has “seen a willingness and a capability on the part of the Russians” to hack into the American election infrastructure, including voter rolls and voting machines. Nonetheless, a July report from the Committee on House Administration -Democrats indicated NJ remains in Tier I – the five States that have the most serious election security vulnerabilities.


In a fascinating and frightening insider book, THE PERFECT WEAPON: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age, NYT reporter David Sanger describes probing and scanning of US electoral systems over many years and more so in 2016 in NJ and other states. In one state passwords that belonged to elected officials had been stolen. In Illinois there was the fear that hackers could delete voters from the polls. As an example were the Russians to decide to support Trump ally Tom MacArthur’s election, it is not inconceivable they would try to remove registered Democrats from the rolls. Homeland Security said they had seen similar probes into the system of roughly three dozen states. Sanger points out that in New Jersey “with no paper trail backup, even if a post election audit is conducted there is no viable way to confirm that the votes were reported the way the ballots were actually cast.” […]

Fortunately our machines are not connected to the internet. Nonetheless, the House report indicates the $9.8 million NJ has received in federal grants “is not nearly enough to replace voting machines throughout the state, that NJ must begin to purchase new machines and conduct audits, and the voter registration system needs to be upgraded.”  

Pete Talbott at The Montana Post writes—Trump, Zinke fiddle and tweet while California burns:

The largest wildfire in California recorded history has consumed more than 283,800 acres, to date. Here’s what Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke tweeted:

Fires across the west are burning hotter and more intense. The overload of dead and diseased timber in the forests makes the fires worse and more deadly. We must be able to actively manage our forests and not face frivolous litigation when we try to remove these fuels.

Yeah, it’s “frivolous litigation” that’s responsible for the inferno. No mention of climate change. Not even a nod to the dead residents or firefighters or 1600 structures consumed by flames. Not even a “thoughts and prayers.”

Montana Post, state blogs

He is right about the hotter and more intense fires in the West. Otherwise, he’s completely wrong.

“It is our changing climate that is leading to more severe and destructive fires,” Scott McLean, deputy chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told Huffington Post. […]

It’s California wildfires now but it will be Montana, again, in the not too distant future. The summer of 2017 was just a taste. That Zinke panders to Trump and industry instead of confronting the real cause of wildfire years (formerly known as wildfire seasons but that term no longer applies) is unforgivable. That he is a native Montanan is the ultimate insult.

William Tucker at Miscellany Blue of New Hampshire writes—White nationalists and neo-Nazis step out of the shadows: ‘Trump has changed the game’:

On the day thousands of Granite Staters attended March for Our Lives rallies around the state and joined with survivors of the Parkland, Florida school massacre to demand action against gun violence, a counter-protest of sorts was taking place in Hooksett.

Miscellany Blue

There, in the parking lot of the Bass Pro Shops, white nationalists and neo-Nazis quietly distributed anti-Semitic flyers demanding to know, “Why are Jews after our guns?”

“Operation Gun Grabbing Kikes” was the first national campaign carried out by Daily Stormer Book Clubs, loosely-connected groups of white nationalists led by Andrew Anglin, the man behind the website the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “the top hate site in America.”

The goal for the operation, Anglin wrote, was to “Raise awareness about who is trying to take away the gun rights of good Americans, leaving them defenseless to the ugly colored hordes they are forcing into our country, against the will of the actual Americans (White people).”

Anglin describes Stormer Book Clubs as an “IRL [in real life] troll army” of like-minded men organized “to prepare for the coming race war.”

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