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Day 234 – No…Really. Climate Change is Not Fake News, Mr. President.

Day 234 – No…Really. Climate Change is Not Fake News, Mr. President.

Photograph from Raw Story

Dear Mr. President,

As I watch the hurricanes lined-up one after the other, each an extraordinary “100 year storm,” I wonder how much longer you will be able to ignore global climate change.  When will it dawn on your government that having “100 year” storms arriving within days of one another is, well, extraordinary?

Will your big business-oriented administration ever consider the potential costs of unregulated manufacturing, gas and oil production, and dangerous chemical plants to the relatively benign costs of cleaning up and protecting the environment?

Due to lack of regulation the west is ablaze with wild fires; millions of acres of forests and grasslands destroyed, oxygen- generating trees burned to the ground.  American citizens, your friends out west, are wearing masks in order to breathe.

Houston is under water.  Florida is currently totally engulfed in Hurricane Irma. Two “once in a lifetime” hurricanes are not far behind…four major storm disasters within six weeks?

Your administration’s idea of leadership in view of these horrific natural disasters is to cut the funding for FEMA, deregulate further the industries polluting the environment, and pulling out of the Paris Accord.

These outrageous policies are only in one of your agencies of government.  You have given stewardship for every key function to individuals who are not only ignorant of their responsibilities, but in some cases only want to destroy and dismantle their area of trust.

The CEO of the Nestle Company stated a while back that “water is not a right” and is given free rein to pump 400 gallons per minute of groundwater from the aquifer in Evert, Michigan to increase profits..  All the while in Flint, Michigan people are still drinking polluted and discolored water. Their children will pay the price for ingesting the iron and led that runs through it.

Our government has been purchased by corporations for private profit. Oil and gas lobbyists write our environmental laws, the people in charge of our education department include some convicted of education fraud and are led by a person who has never attended public school.  I could go through every part of your government and identify how you have turned our democracy into a kleptocracy…starting with you.

Republicans do not represent the American people, and our current politics only focus on enriching the rich, impoverishing the poor, and treating everyday Americans as a bunch of sheep to be sheered.

Please reconsider your future legacy – false praise today is fleeting.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 231 – You Know You Are Destroying Things for Your Kids and Grandkids Too, Right? Your Money Bubble Only Stretches So Far.

Day 231 – You Know You Are Destroying Things for Your Kids and Grandkids Too, Right? Your Money Bubble Only Stretches So Far.

Photograph by Fflav

Dear Mr. President,

In reviewing your Presidency, I realize you are a phenome – a man walking around without a heart, soulless, humorless, hate filled, self-absorbed, ignorant, delusional and a compulsive liar.  In your desire to be the biggest, flashiest, loudest, most profane you have revealed your essential nature exceedingly well.

You were the kid who pulled the wings off flies, fried ants with magnifying glasses, and cut the legs off living frogs. You were the teenager who drove out of your way to kill the squirrel running across the road and to crush the turtle headed for the pond. You were the young man dodging the draft, assaulting women, and scamming your business investors. You are known for your skill at financial bankruptcy. Now we know you are morally and spiritually bankrupt as well.  In any other situation, you might be institutionalized in a mental hospital or confined in prison. But, here we are.

The only things it appears you care about are your children. So, let’s go there.  Mr. President, your children require air to breath, food to eat, and water to drink.  Money will be able to buy these vital resources for a while, but when the air and water are totally fouled, and crops fail due to climate change, your children will starve, too.

Hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, increasing earthquakes, tidal waves, and acid rain don’t discriminate.  There isn’t a little circle of private privilege that will save your children.  They will die, too. Nuclear and hydrogen bombs don’t stop mid-air because your children are in their path. They will vaporize, too.

All of your amazing, fabulous, expensive, glittering properties – they will crumble in the face of a hydrogen bomb, the earth shattering quakes caused by fracking, or the flooding, hurricanes, and tornadoes already caused by climate change.  Your assault on the natural world will be felt by your grandchildren.

You actively seed and feed hatred and social chaos. As the saying goes, you will reap what you sow. Your hatred will rebound to you and yours ten-fold.  You consider American Nazis to be “good people.” (Do you know that your grandchildren are Jewish?) You destroy families with unbridled ICE raids tearing children from the arms of their parents. (Do you know that your party is supposedly “pro-family”?)  Your assault on democracy and on citizens goes on and on and on.

Mr. President, we plead with you to do one thing to protect your family, your properties, your wealth, and perhaps reduce your prison sentence for treason.  Please, resign. Quit. Walk away. Claim victory and enjoy the years you have left.  You’ve made the history books. You’ll be remembered.

You’ve destroyed the good achieved by President Obama. You’ve undercut international friendships and alliances. You’ve turbo-charged the destruction of the environment. You’ve terrified minorities and embolden thugs.  You’ve achieved your objectives.  Please, for the sake of humanity, resign.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 227 – Perhaps You and Scott Pruitt Could Share a Nice Salad of Chlorphyrifos-Treated Vegetables, Mr. President? No? Good Enough For Us, But Not For You? Huh.

Day 227 – Perhaps You and Scott Pruitt Could Share a Nice Salad of Chlorphyrifos-Treated Vegetables, Mr. President? No? Good Enough For Us, But Not For You? Huh.

Photograph by Earth Justice

Dear Mr. President,

You promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington D.C.  You have not kept your promise.  Instead, you have increased the size of the swamp by pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement and filling the White House and government posts with oil and gas polluters.  You have surrounded yourself with climate change deniers and administrators who are in direct opposition to the very protections their positions demand of them.

For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, Scott Pruitt, recently decided to avoid banning a dangerous pesticide, chlorpyrifos.  I find this outrageous.  Chlorpyrifos was outlawed 17 years ago for residential useIt is still sprayed on foods like corn, wheat, apples, strawberries, and citrus, in spite of the fact it causes damage to children’s developing brains and nervous systems.  Anyone living in agricultural communities can be affected by this toxic pesticide.  It is in their food, drinking water, and air, and in the soil around their homes, schools, playgrounds, and work places. Studies have demonstrated “a strong correlation to chronic illness associated with autoimmune disorders after exposure to chlorpyrifos” and that it can have a significant negative, long-term impact on nearby bodies of water.

Chlorpyrifos is only one of the many poisons foisted on U.S. and world citizens.  Herbicides, particularly glyphosate found in Roundup and other plant killing concoctions, created by Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Syngenta, etc., are probably carcinogenic. These pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals are not confined to the fields in which they are used.  They contaminate adjacent fields, soil, water, and the air we breathe.

If you really want to “drain the swamp,” I suggest you take on what’s really important, which is placing real, independent scientists in positions to help create policies that will change our current course.  The course we’re on is leading to the demise of the planet and its inhabitants.  Surely the devastation in Houston has made you rethink climate change.  Surely you’ve lived long enough to know that depleting the soil of nutrients and replacing them with chemicals and genetically modified plants does not nurture us.

Stop diddling with “health care” and twitter.  Stop catering to your “base” and become a president for all citizens.  Remove corporate lobbyists from government.  Stop the collusion of the EPA and the USDA with corporate interests in the pharmaceutical, agriculture, oil, and gas companies.  Our planet and its inhabitants are in crisis.  No one is immune to this crisis.  Do something to change what’s happening.  Drain the swamp of government officials whose primary concern is profit and power.  Without a planet, profit and power will be meaningless.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 226 – Climate Change is Real, Mr. President. Stop Listening To The Money-Grubbing Sycophants Who Tell You Otherwise.

Day 226 – Climate Change is Real, Mr. President. Stop Listening To The Money-Grubbing Sycophants Who Tell You Otherwise.

Photograph from the United Nations

Dear Mr. President,

I know you were kinda sorta joking when you suggested that maybe someday you would be immortalized on Mount Rushmore, but, here’s the thing: despite the rather pathetic nature of your presidency so far, there’s still a chance. Despite your failure to honor more than a trivial few of your campaign promises (Remember when you promised to help Flint? Remember when you promised to replace Obamacare with something better? Remember when you promised to build “a safe zone” for Syrian refugees? Remember when you promised that you wouldn’t take vacations?), you could still make yours a historically significant presidency. Like Abraham Lincoln, like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, you’re in charge of a country in crisis, its very existence threatened.

Under Lincoln, our nation confronted the horror of slavery, fought a war to hold itself together, and began a long struggle to fulfill the promises laid out in the Declaration of Independence. Roosevelt inherited a country in the midst of a devastating economic depression brought on, in part, by incredible income inequality, and even while fighting to restore prosperity to the American people, joined the fight against the then totalitarian nightmares of Germany and Japan.

Today, we face not only the most excessive income inequality since the Great Depression, but also the existential threat of global climate change. While it would be ridiculous to claim that climate change somehow “caused” Hurricane Harvey, we can see in its fury and its destructive power a hint of our planet’s future if we fail to act: more and more frequent extreme weather events. More “500-year storms.” More flooding in some places. More drought in others.

This is a crisis, Mr. President. This is a threat not only to our nation’s existence, but that of every nation.

This is your opportunity. And it feels strange to say that, to frame this sort of potential environmental devastation as an “opportunity,” but that’s what it is: a chance to lead. A chance to truly “make American great again,” not by building a wall or by privatizing education or deregulating more industries, but by leading the world in the fight to confront and deal with climate change.

That’s why, even if it’s not a surprise in light of your decision to withdraw from the Paris accords, it’s so disappointing to read the White House memo describing your research and development budget priorities. Government funding of research is a clear way that a nation can signal what it values, what its priorities are as it moves into the future, and how it plans to grapple with the issues and problems it is facing and will face. Beyond a token of “renewable energy sources” in a section on “American Energy Dominance,” the memo shows no evidence that your administration is taking the threat of climate change seriously.

Yes, we need to promote and fund research to ensure our nation’s security and our people’s health, but we also must signal clearly and unequivocally our commitment to our planet’s future. We must promote and fund research that seeks to better understand climate change and to develop ways to mitigate its potentially devastating effects on our population and our economy.

What’s it going to be, Mr. Trump?

Wouldn’t it feel nice to be the hero, for once?

A legacy of deregulation, of an economically crippled nation, of misspelled tweets and of immature feuds with actors and news agencies will not land you in the pantheon of great presidents.

Your presidency isn’t even a year old yet, but we cannot afford for you to procrastinate any longer. We need a leader. We need someone with the courage and the wisdom to confront what we’re facing. And we need that person now.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 162 – In Which We Grade Your Environmental Actions. And You Get a Negative Score. Surprise!

Day 162 – In Which We Grade Your Environmental Actions. And You Get a Negative Score. Surprise!

Photograph from the Bureau of Land Management

Dear Mr. President,

National Geographic has an ongoing list of nearly forty items pertaining to direct attacks your administration has made on the environment. I think that we both can agree that National Geographic is not “fake news.” I do wonder sometimes, however, if you think science is “fake.”

In any case, since ratings are so dearly important to you, I’m going to walk you through some of your official actions on National Geographic’s list and compare them with public opinion. This letter focuses on Federal Lands, but fear not – forthcoming letters will cover issues such as climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency, budget cuts, pipelines, drilling, and more!

When your actions are comparable to public opinion, you’ll get a +1. When they are contrary to public opinion, you’ll get a -1. Let’s begin!

Signed resolution allowing coal dumping in streams, overturning the Obama-era “Stream Protection Rule.” Production from this type of mining is on the decline (15% since 2000). In 2016, Pew Research Center reported that nearly 60% of Americans oppose expanding coal mining further in any way. In 2016, 61% of Americans were concerned with potentially drinking polluted water, a 6% increase from the previous year. Overturning this is preposterous, and wrong, and Americans know it. -1

Allowance of lead bullets on federal lands, known to poison wildlife. Review of the Sage Grouse ordered to determine if it poses a threat to plan to increase drilling on federal land. NOAA removes whale protections from fishing nets. Under Obama, 40% of Americans thought that there were “the right amount” of wildlife protections. 39%, meanwhile, thought there were not yet enough protections. An overwhelming 90% of Americans support the Endangered Species Act. We can protect our environment while having a healthy economy! -1

Review of National Monuments leading to proposed shrinkage of Bears Ears National Monument. Nationally, there is overwhelming support for Bears Ears, with companies such as Patagonia taking stands to protect it. In Utah itself, the polls vary drastically, as 65% of Utah is already federally owned. However, National Monuments fall under the care of the National Park Service, from which the #RESISTANCE movement was born out of. 77% of Americans believe that the U.S. benefits from the National Park Service, 55% saying they personally benefit from them. As of January 2016, 49% of Americans thought the government is doing too little to protect these lands, while 46% said the current protections were fine. Given the state-level scandal of Bears Ears, I’ll be more generous this time -.5

Donated salary to National Park Service. Many Americans thought this was not enough, especially considering the proposed budget cuts. But, overall, seemingly no ill will here. I commend you for showing some generosity. +1

This round, you receive a -1.5!

In conclusion I ask only that you truly listen to what the American people, especially young Americans, want from their federal government. Perhaps it will improve your score for next time.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 154 – The Handmaid’s Tale Should Not Remind People of Your Administration, Mr. President.

Day 154 – The Handmaid’s Tale Should Not Remind People of Your Administration, Mr. President.

Photograph by Tom Blunt of cover of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Dear Mr. President,

One Friday night nearly twenty years ago, my college roommates went out and I just wasn’t up for it. Hardly was I up for studying either, so I looked over our bookshelf in hopes something would spark my interest. I picked up The Handmaid’s Tale. I put it down only after reading the final page.

This novel struck me as no other ever had. These were my formative years as an activist, a feminist, a believer in equality; Margaret Atwood’s words helped solidify the importance of paying attention to the government and its true impact on its people.

I have often told this story when asked to choose my favorite book (and as a high school English teacher, it happens a lot). Yet what I cite as most disturbing about the novel is not the militaristic government, the destruction of individuality or families, or even (as horrifying as it is) the legalized – and required – rape of young fertile women by their “Commander.”

What scares me most about this novel is just how fast Gilead, the dystopian society of the novel, was created. The adults remembered what life had been. They did not believe every aspect of life could change before they realized every aspect of their life had changed.

As you may know, Hulu just finished its first television season of The Handmaid’s Tale. I was a bit leery when I first heard about this, but upon learning that Atwood was involved and read interviews with the cast, I had complete faith in the adaptation. The show blew me away. I know reading isn’t your thing, but I hope you are at least willing to watch it.

The writers and directors so beautifully integrated the flashbacks of life previous to the regime change. Again, this is what scared me most. Life looked familiar, completely relatable. Little by little the government started intervening; little by little rights started disappearing, namely because the human race was dwindling. Society had destroyed itself nearly to sterility. This is where I truly see the eventual parallel to Gilead: your steadfast push to poison our environment.

Already you have called climate change a hoax despite all true scientists showing the opposite. But it’s not solely your words. Your actions are taking us closer to the contaminated world of Gilead.

Your support of the Dakota Access Pipeline shows your ignorance as to how our actions impact the Earth. How many other places in our country will you be willing to destroy for profit? Land is poisoned.

You propose to cut the funding of the Great Lakes, funding that would benefit those in Flint, Michigan. These citizens – these children – suffer from horrendous amounts of lead. The damage from this lifelong impact is still developing, but children have been showing developmental issues. Water is poisoned.

Then there is your highly disliked choice to exit the Paris agreement. This is not about “massive redistribution of United States’ wealth to other countries.” You just don’t feel the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  You refuse to listen, to work together. Air is poisoned.

Without land, water, and air, we have nothing, Mr. President. Nothing.

I will continue to do as I can to sustain our earth, allowing her to work for all of us, but she needs your help too.

Mother Nature, I’m sorry this is happening, yet I also know you’re strong. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

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