The Sky Is Falling!

There is much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth in liberal circles today.  It is reminiscent of so many other moments during Barack Obama’s presidency.  It’s like a game of paranoid telephone.  Some pundit somewhere warns that if Obama does something, something else might happen that would be bad.  Before you know it, that has become “Obama did this and the bad thing is going to happen!”  Not long after, it is “Obama, in league with the Devil himself, has opened the gates of hell and demons are pouring out!!!”  Remember when Obama made a deal with Republicans to extend the debt ceiling and completely caved to all their demands, destroying everything that liberals have fought and died for over the years?  Of course you don’t.  As soon as it became obvious that he had completely snowed the Republicans, tricking them into cutting all their own pet programs while leaving ours intact, you completely forgot your panic and moved on to the next imaginary crisis that was about to be caused by something Obama might do.

The latest liberal Chicken Little episode concerns Fast Track and the TPP negotiations.  Based on an 18 month old Wikileaks release of a preliminary draft of one section of the treaty, liberals have decided, en masse, that Obama has gone over to the dark side and created NAFTA on steroids to appease his corporate masters.  First of all, none of the people screaming about this treaty know what is in it.  They just know what they are afraid might be in it, or, in the case of certain politicians, what it might possibly contain that they can use to frighten uninformed voters into sending them money.

People complain that the negotiations are secret.  There is a very good reason they are secret.  Negotiations involve give and take, asking for more than you want so you can come close to what you need.  Giving in order to get.  They would be absolutely impossible with 350 million Americans kibitzing from the sidelines.  That is why we elected the people who are doing this.

But, you say, Obama wants congress to pass Fast Track and let him have whatever he wants with no oversight!  No, grasshopper, that is not what Fast Track is.  There will be 60 days, two whole months, during which every single word of the treaty will be public.  We will all be able to go through it, see what is actually in it, pick it apart, analyze it, and, if it really sucks, ask our representatives to vote against it, because in the end, they will still get to vote on it.  Of course they can’t amend it.  It is a negotiated treaty.  Amending it is tantamount to throwing it in the trash and starting negotiations over again.  Fast Track just makes them own up to the fact that they want to kill it.

“What about all those patent protections for the evil corporations?”, you say, referring back to that 18 month old preliminary draft of one small portion of the deal, “What about that?”  Don’t you want American companies to be protected from copyright violation by China, and other Asian countries known for their intellectual property theft?  Should we just eliminate patent protection?  Really?

“What about companies being able to sue the United States (or other countries) If their business is damaged by local laws?  Doesn’t that threaten our sovereignty?” This is also from that 18 month old preliminary draft, so we don’t yet know exactly what is in it, but there are provisions like it in every trade deal in existence, and the US has never been successfully sued.  Remember, this will be pored over and vetted by every single member of congress and their staff.  If the sky is really falling, they can vote it down.

I voted for this president because I trusted him to do what is in the best interests of our country, and because I think his ideals are significantly in line with my own.  I see no benefit in speculation as to what might happen if he takes some imaginary action.  Judging from the way he has conducted his presidency thus far, I think we are in good hands.

Bernie And Hillary

Hillary’s speech today

I’m going to vote for Bernie Sanders.  Then I’m going to vote for Hillary Clinton.  I’m going to vote for Bernie in the primary, because I want the United States to have a no-bullshit, in your face advocate for ordinary people, civil rights, and democracy.  I want a president who owes nothing to Wall Street, and who hasn’t sold out ideals for cash.  I want a president who doesn’t pay lip service to the dominant religion of this country.  I want a president who will reverse the right wing maneuverings of the past couple decades, implement a public works program to put Americans to work rebuilding America, and save the middle class while raising the working poor.  You can hear Bernie’s influence on Hillary in her speech today, just a month after his announcement.  A vote for him in the primary will strengthen that influence on candidate Clinton and president Clinton.  Bernie enjoys a 15% level of support among Democrats in recent polls, against Hillary’s 60%.  He is not going to win.  He is not going to run as a third party candidate either, thank goodness.  He understands that outside of a parliamentary system, third and fourth parties are just spoilers, drawing votes from the candidate who most closely aligns with them, pushing the election in exactly the opposite direction.  In countries which have multiple parties, everyone votes their heart and then has their heart broken after the election as the inevitable compromises and coalitions are made.  In America, we vote our heart in the primaries, and then combine with a coalition of like-minded people to vote on a compromise that we are all aware of when we cast our general election ballot.  I like our system.  I understand that an atheist socialist isn’t going to be president in this overwhelmingly religious nation still afraid of the Russians.  I will still vote for Bernie in the primary, because that vote reminds Hillary of the ideals she and Bill espoused in the 60’s and 70’s.  I believe she will be a decent president, one who moves the country in a positive direction, if not as dramatically or abruptly as I would like.  I believe she will appoint good judges to take us through the coming decades, and I believe she will stand for most of what I believe in.  So I say, RUN, BERNIE, RUN!!!  Push Hillary in the right direction, because either she will be our next president, or America will go the way of Wisconsin as the Koch brothers suck us dry.  Push her, because we need more than a place-holder between Obama and whomever comes next, we need someone who will shake up the status quo.  Push her, because even though you will never be president, you can make our next president more like you.


P1013689smOld news, right? Well here’s something you may not be aware of. The actual number of bees in the country has not declined. That’s right. The actual number of honeybees in the country has not declined.  What has happened is that seasonal die-off numbers have gone up, especially in the summer, due at least in part to nicotinoids, a pesticide produced by Bayer, but also to a number of other factors.  What is rarely reported is that despite the increased die-offs, beekeepers have compensated by starting new colonies with new queens at a higher rate.  This does not discount the danger of bee loss.  This compensation can not be sustained, either economically or even biologically, as die-off rates have steadily increased.  It does mean it isn’t too late, however.  We can still curb the use of nicotinoids, protect habitat, and fund research to find ways to combat the mites and viruses that are also killing bees.  In the meantime, beekeepers are taking up the slack, but it is very expensive.