Sunday, March 24, 2019

The AG has released his summary of the Mueller Report

Attorney General William Barr has released his summary of the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

You may certainly count me among those who watch the events of our National political life quite carefully and were surprised by the conclusions of Mueller's report.

The short version is this: Mueller found no actionable evidence about trump and his staff conspiring with the effort by Russia to help him get elected.

And as to the matter of whether trump obstructed justice or not, the report neither recommends charges nor exonerates the President.

You might say this is like a draw in a soccer game.

One wonders what in the world it would take to prove an Obstruction of Justice charge.

You may also count me among those who find it very troubling that AG Barr decided that an obstruction charge for his boss was not warranted in less time than it usually takes a middle-schooler to write a book report.

That is a real head-scratcher.

For more about that specific angle to this story, click right here.

Barr's letter with his summary was addressed to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Judiciary Committees in both the House and the Senate and you can read it in its entirety by following this link.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

The EPA and Environmental Policy

If you’re familiar with this blog at all, you know that environmental issues are a very big deal to me.

If you care about our planet, no doubt you’ve made sure that the way you go about living your life reflects that attitude of caring. Caring about the Earth on which we all depend.

No doubt you also think that public policy should be made and be carried out in ways that favor the Earth. Ways that, if they don’t actually help our planet, would at least not harm it.

Well, if you feel that way, you’d definitely be at odds with the way our policies about the environment are being made and being carried out right now.

If you’d read this far, some thought relating to the EPA most likely has popped into your head.

And yes, how the EPA goes about its business is a very big deal.

If you’re not quite sure what the EPA does or whether its work actually matters, this article from Nat Geo would be a big help.

It’s a fairly quick read. I recommend it highly.

Public policy matters. It matters a lot!

It’s time to step up our game. The welfare of our Planet and the survival of our species depend on us and what we do. Our elected officials are not only not helping, they’re making it harder for concerned citizens and Earth defenders to do anything.

The sad truth is that this will not change unless we force those in power to make the changes.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Florida's New trump-loving Governor did what?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a big-time supporter of Donald trump. That was the cornerstone of his primary campaign when he was in a serious fight with fellow conservative and Florida Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam to get the nomination on the Republican side.

You can count me with the environmentally-minded voters who believed at the time that the election of DeSantis was going to mean, at minimum, four more years of of disastrous policies for the environment in the Sunshine State. And for the everglades, in particular.

I am very surprised and incredibly relieved to say that those fears were unfounded. I'm delighted to report that DeSantis has shown in at least three ways, that he's for real about standing up to Big Sugar in Florida and doing all he can to protect our fragile, beleaguered environment here in the Sunshine State.

What I mean, specifically: he issued executive orders to reverse some of Rick Scott's horrible policies affecting Florida's ecosystems.

He sacked pretty much everyone who served on any of Florida's five water management boards and replaced them with people who actually care about environmental issues and were not lackeys of Big Sugar.

And he immediately beefed up funding for efforts to clean up the Everglades. That included a strong commitment by the State to get the project to complete the Everglades reservoir taken off the back burner.

In an opinion piece published on January 11th, Carl Hiaasen, writing in the Miami Herald, summed up some of these happy and completely-unexpected developments in this editorial. It's a good place to start if you'd like to see why many folks in Florida are happily admitting that they had Gov. DeSantis pegged all wrong as far as our state's environmental issues are concerned.

I still believe that Florida's interests writ large would have been better served by the election of Andrew Gillum.

But I also believe that it's always appropriate to give credit where credit is due and I'm delighted to say that Mr DeSantis has--at least up to this point in his time as the state's chief executive--definitely proved that he is a strong friend of Florida's environment.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Earth: The Good News and the Bad News

It may sound like the lead-in to a joke, but that cliche does perfectly sum up where we are right now with the environment. Where we are as far as taking actions which are desperately needed today, to be more precise.

The bad news first: the situation is dire. That's an understatement. There are thousands of studies and documents to substantiate just how bleak the situation is for our planet.

And here's another study for good measure.

The good news is that the nascent Sunrise Movement is a huge potential, not only to change the conversation, but to prod us into taking some very, very necessary actions.

Or to slow down all the foot-dragging, at the very least.

The Guardian published an article last week to highlight the work being done by this largely youth-led movement; it's well worth the next few minutes of your time.

The Earth is our common home. She is not dying. She is being killed! We cannot afford to go on with the status quo.

As you no doubt know, there are very committed, well-financed interests which are going all out to muzzle the voices calling for action and to stifle any change.

We'll always have that to deal with.

But getting more and more committed friends of the Earth on-board for the fight--including the people who are being galvanized by the Sunrise Movement--may at least give the Earth a fighting chance.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The Poser Prez swings and misses in Vietnam

When donald trump's much-ballyhooed summit with North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un wrapped up last weekend, it was crystal-clear once more that he sucks as a deal-maker.

tRump was hoping to come home with some kind of deal he could crow about. The two leaders had been widely expected to come to an agreement whereby KJU would scrap--or at least mothball--some part of North Korea's nuclear program and trump, in exchange, would roll back some sanctions.

The theory being that if the two "concessions" were at least roughly proportional, trump and his despotic man-crush could both proclaim a win-win and they could toast one another at the awesome fete which was supposed to have capped off the whole charade.

It didn't happen. Neither the North Koreans, nor team trump had done the homework that would have made such an outcome even remotely possible.

The joint American-South Korean announcement that made the cessation of joint military exercises official did nothing to make Kim more willing to deal.

The announcement merely helped to cement the belief on the part of most Americans that trump gave away the store on the issue of the war games and whether or not they'd continue.

The majority of Americans who declined to swill trump's nasty Kool Aid have known since before the election that his supposed skill as a negotiator was nothing more than an act.

It's instructive to remember that before this debacle in Hanoi there was trump's groveling and ass-kissing in Helsinki.

With each spectacular failure of trump's seat-of-the-pants, incompetent forays into foreign policy, more and more Americans--including many who voted for this malevolent moron--are seeing him for who he truly is.

A petty, hateful con man who hasn't the slightest clue on how to carry out even the simplest of Presidential tasks.

This is a man who shouldn't be trusted with a shopping list for a trip to Kroger's. Much less with negotiating deals with the likes of Putin or Kim Jong Un.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile