Driving dirty air

The Republican Party, which is now Donald Trump’s Republican Party (DTRP), has long heralded itself as the party of less big government and more local control. They’ve argued that states, cities, and counties know what is best for them and they should set standards.

DTRP dislikes car emission standards set by California’s elected leaders  so much so that a court battle looms over the state’s ability to set standards for vehicles, which California began doing in 1966.

In fact, the emission standards have worked so well that 13 states adopted California’s standards, meaning that car and light truck manufacturers have already designed their products and factories to meet emission standards which keep air cleaner. It also means consumers are buying these cars and trucks. Tough emission standards didn’t serve as a death-blow to auto sales in those states.

The same can be said for gas mileage standards.  DTRP wants to reduce mileage standards for vehicles, but that doesn’t mean consumers will race out to buy something new to drive. Consumers expect and demand good mileage, safety features, and low emissions.

Manufacturers couldn’t, and wouldn’t, retool their factories in an afternoon to produce gas-guzzling, dirty emission spewing cars just because the DTRP says it is ok. In fact, just two months ago, four manufacturers agreed to meet  continue to meet California’s vehicle standards.

A quick survey of the popularity of electric vehicles, hybrids, and high-efficiency gas fueled cars and trucks, would remind manufacturers that consumers want and expect cleaner running, higher mileage, vehicles. Both domestic and foreign car companies continue to offer best selling models with hybrid versions, and are also re-introducing retired versions of hybrids, because if they don’t, customers will drive past those dealerships on the way to others who offer what they want.

Donal Trump’s Republican Party can deny all kinds of reality and science, but car dealers won’t deny the reality of their bottom line. Profits are increasingly driven by consumers who buy cars using less or no gas, and emitting as little air pollutants as possible.

Car standards aren’t set at the White House any more; they are determined by consumers with their wallets in dealer showrooms and at gas pumps.

 

 

McConnell finds his voice

After weeks of political laryngitis on the government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) found the will to say that fellow Republican Rep Steve King (R-Iowa) should “find another line of work.”

During a recent interview lasting almost an hour, King said he doesn’t understand how white nationalist, pro Western civilization, and white supremacist language are offensive. Trump says he “hasn’t been following” the fallout over King’s most recent statements. Perhaps Trump’s lack of interest, or outrage, reflect his own comfort with King’s views?

Steve King
(Congressional photo)

In the mean time, King has been stripped of committee appointments by his own party. Without  committee assignments to craft and vote on bills as they are developed, King’s ability to robustly represent Iowa’s only Republican district in Congress has shrunk to hoping he can find anyone in his party to lobby for his district as bills move towards the House floor. James Clyburn, (D-South Carolina) will introduce a call to censure King in the House.

King has announced 39 district town hall meetings this year. I’m not sure those meetings, due to certain protests and counter-protests, will even happen. The country, and the world, will be watching.

Two things about this election

There are two things I’ve thought before the election and remain committed to as we wait for more votes to be counted.

1. Georgia needs to change our Constitution to require a Secretary of State to resign if running for a different office. Changing the Constitution shouldn’t be the path to solving every problem, but it is the only way to address the less than above-board election this year, and protect future contests.

2. Yes, Nancy Pelosi has raised lots of money for Democrats, and yes, she corralled Democrats during difficult issues (Democrats say Pelosi has eyes in the back of her head, knows who is in the room, and how they will vote at any given moment). When do we make room for a new leader like this if not now? Could Pelosi be an interim Speaker with a transition plan to pass the gavel, as suggested by my friend and former Congressional candidate Carol Miller of New Mexico? With a wave of newly elected “firsts” across the country, it is time to pass the role of Speaker to someone with solid knowledge of the House and Congress. There is a role for Pelosi, but it shouldn’t be as Speaker of the House.

Hear the candidates with your own ears!

Early voting is underway across Georgia with hotly contested races for Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Insurance Commissioner, and of course Congressional districts. Being an informed voter requires doing the homework, and one of the best ways to do that is to listen to the candidates themselves. I love political pundits and editorial columns more than most people, but someone else’s coverage of what a candidate says isn’t the same as hearing them yourself (or reading their policy positions on their web sites).

Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Atlanta Press Club are hosting multiple candidate debates that are free and easy for the public to access online. Watch live or find them later on demand, or do both to go back and make sure you are clear on what was said, or just as important, what wasn’t said.

Whether you’ve made up your mind or not, these debates are good opportunities to learn more about the candidates. Time consuming? Sure.

But Georgia state senate and house members, and US House members, have a total of 17,520 hours on the clock during the two years as your representative. Four year representatives are in for 35,040 hours. Invest a little of your time over the next few days to know the candidates better.

 

Check the dictionary

The Friday Photo
January 13, 2017

I did some checking on definitions last night. Carl Bernstein, who, with fellow reporter Bob Woodward, earned a Pulitzer Prize for the Washington Post after uncovering and reporting the Watergate break-in and resulting coverup, tagged Donald Trump’s campaign manager and staffer Kellyanne Conway, as the incoming administration’s Propaganda Minister. Bernstein bestowed that title following her complex and unsuccessful verbal gymnastic routine with Anderson Cooper over Trump’s media event on Wednesday.

I googled Propaganda Minister and the second listing was:

Jospeh Goebbels

Jospeh Goebbels served Adolf Hitler as the Reich Minister of Propaganda of the Third Reich.

Kellyanne Conway, staffer for Donald Trump (photo posted on RawStory credited to CNN)

Another word getting lots of use in recent months is gaslighting. Wikipedia definition: Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of manipulation through persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying in an attempt to destabilize and delegitimize a target. The online resource goes on to offer examples: Sociopaths and narcissists frequently use gaslighting tactics. Sociopaths consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but typically are also convincing liars, sometimes charming ones, who consistently deny wrongdoing. Thus, some who have been victimized by sociopaths may doubt their own perceptions. Some physically abusive spouses may gaslight their partners by flatly denying that they have been violent.

Gaslighting may occur in parent–child relationships, with either parent, child, or both, lying to each other and attempting to undermine perceptions. Gaslighting also occurs in examples of school bullying. The word gaslighting is often used to describe the tactics of the President-elect. Teenvogue, of all places, had an excellent editorial on Trump’s tactics.

Donald Trump, photo credit The Politics
Forum

Van Jones put his finger on it last night

Last Thursday I drove to Hendersonville, North Carolina for an annual event called Life Is A Verb Camp. On the way home Sunday afternoon I opted for less interstate and more two lane roads.

In addition to the fall-colored leaves I saw lots of Trump/Pence signs, which really didn’t surprise me as a fellow Southern rural citizen. What had been floating around in the back of mind for a long time began to move more to the front of my thoughts; how are the polls capturing the rural voter? Are they getting to us at all? Am I underestimating the urban turnout?

Last week Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight polling and punditry kept setting aside the poll numbers at a certain point in his figuring, which dogged me about who people say they will vote for and what they will do in the privacy of the voting booth.

Last night Van Jones put his finger on what I was thinking: white-lash. It has been a large and unspoken element in the room on top of the anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Semitic, anti-woman, my version of Christianity is the only one, anti-choice, denying access to affordable health care, putting profits before our natural resources, loosening gun control laws, and the list goes on and on.

I live among the voters who showed up in force at the polls and elected Donald Trump and Mike Pence; white rural Americans.

It should not be a surprise to readers of Rural and Progressive that I write from a perspective that there are two Americas, an urban and a rural America. Many rural Americans harbor some level of racism. I’ve heard it and seen it. For some people that has been the unspoken driver behind opposition to all-things Obama. And it brought people out in force to elect a TV personality whose favorite line is, “You’re fired.”

Yesterday white rural America told Donald Trump and Mike Pence, “You’re hired.”

I may live in rural America, but the not so subtle racism and divisive values espoused by Trump and Pence are not my values. And they aren’t the values of every rural American.

I’m no less proud of being a Hillary supporter today than I was yesterday, because I believe in a country where diversity is valued and celebrated. That’s the country I will continue to help build.

Try this on for size

Trump supporters, male and yes, female, are burning up Twitter with the hashtag #repealthe19th. The 19th Amendment gave women the vote. Multiple polls show that if only women voted in November, the slam-dunk for Clinton/ Kaine, and probably most Democratic Congressional candidates, would be deafening.

I have a suggestion for men and women who think repealing the 19th Amendment is a good idea: sit this election out and see how that feels.

Git yur guns, boys!

What started after the 2008 election with the election of a black man to the White House, threatens to come full circle to a full-on “take back the government” uprising if Hillary Clinton is elected. Jimmy Arno of Georgia is just one of many who say they will be, I don’t know, marching to Washington, D.C., to lead some type of revolution if the election doesn’t go their way. Militia member Charles Keith Cobble claims they screen their fanatic members to make sure they aren’t KKK folks, but really, this type of “background check,” as Cobble calls it, is a farce.

In his conversation with Ryan Lentz of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, Adam Ragusea of GPB rightly makes note that white people carrying guns are usually called militia members, and brown people are called terrorists.

The fear gripping white people, primarily poorly educated, lower-income men (I am making a broad statement and I am not going to go down a rabbit hole with anyone on it), started with racism, and now it has expanded to include women. Donald Trump fed this type of mindset. He started with birtherism, and has woven in a complete and utter disrespect for women into his mixture of hatred and fear.

It bears repeating: we withstood the resignation of one President, and a 5-4 Supreme Court vote for another one. Electing Hillary Clinton will not be the worst thing to happen to this country. And it certainly won’t be worth starting a civil war over.

 

 

And the winners are…..

Current leadership in the Georgia General Assembly never fails to disappoint. This year’s session has been a catalog of hate-baiting legislation against LGBTQ citizens and people of faith (and no faith). Rape victims have been dismissed, and Georgia’s Guns Everywhere mentality threatens campuses across our state.

Creative Loafing Atlanta didn’t wait until the end of the session to announce this year’s Golden Sleaze Awards. If you want to hear keen political analysis of this year’s General Assembly session in Georgia, tune in to GPB’s Political Rewind at 3:00 this afternoon.

 

Ted Nugent thinks I ought to be shot

NRA board member Ted Nugent thinks I ought to be shot because I am a liberal, no, make that Liberal. Being a Liberal seems to be his only criteria.

That’s right- Ted Nugent is now calling for law abiding Americans to be shot between the eyes like a rabid dog if they are Liberals. 

It sure does raise some hard questions.

What if you’re kind of liberal about the environment but not so liberal on tax breaks for the middle class? If you might be leaning towards Liberal, would cutting an arm off be enough to get your thinking right, or would it have to be an all or nothing policy?

Gee, before you know it, people would be afraid to question authority or speak out about anything for fear of being shot.

To clarify his thoughts, Nugent told Alex Jones, host of The Alex Jones Show on Infowars, “America, you got to cleanse this country.”

“Cleansing,” when referring to entire groups of people, is a scary scary idea.

Cleansing is what happened to Jews in Nazi Germany. Cleansing is what happened in Bosnia. Cleansing is what happened in Rwanda.

The threats to our country from terrorist groups like ISIL are real. The threats within our borders from people like Nugent, the KKK, Planned Parenthood opponents,  and their ilk, are just as real, and maybe bigger, than those from any number of foreign groups.

Have we as Americans lost sight of recent history, or are we so certain “it will never happen here” that we are laying the groundwork for the very thing we think is impossible?

The needle hasn’t moved much since last year

This was originally posted last year on September 11. We continue to be a badly broken country in too many ways. No photo today.

How we have failed since September 11, 2001

Tonight President Obama will address the nation about ISIS and any actions that we may take in response to the horrific murders of Americans and innocent civilians at the hands of terrorists.

Tomorrow there will be an observance in my community, and many others, to honor the thousands of lives lost to hate and terrorism, and to support the families and friends who knew someone they loved would never return home again.

Since September 11, 2001 we as a country have talked a lot about being kinder to one another and being a better country. Yet 13 years later this is what consumes us as a country:

  • fighting about allowing two consenting adults of the same-sex to legally marry each
  • failing to take care of the thousands of veterans who have defended our country, many of whom returned with horrible wounds from the Middle East since September 2001
  • allowing private corporations to decided which forms of legal birth control they will cover for employees through company based health insurance because some corporations should have the same privileges as churches
  • granting corporations the same rights as citizens so businesses can pour money into elections and our representatives’ pockets
  • making it harder for citizens to exercise their right to vote
  • subsidizing corporations with huge tax breaks while their employees working full-time never earn enough to break the poverty barrier
  • denying the hard facts of science because profits should come before cleaning up the mess we’ve made of the entire planet
  • deporting children
  • complaining about failing schools while slashing teacher pay and testing our children to death
  • sitting by silently while racism and sexism are displayed proudly
  • being sure we can take our assault rifles into the grocery store
  • we pay for and support violence on playing fields, in the movies we watch, video games we buy, music we listen to, and television shows we watch, but we react with horror when students are sprayed with bullets in their classrooms, women are drug from elevators by their hair, students are bullied, children and women are raped as well as being forced into prostitution
  • too many among us are convinced that their brand of faith should be followed above all others, and if necessary the rights of other citizens should be denied because they choose to worship differently, or not at all

We absolutely should remember and honor the victims of September 11th’s violence. I’m just not convinced we are a country that is a better reflection of the democratic values and freedoms which terrorists intended to destroy 13 years ago.

Nikki Haley has no time for poetry

Newly inaugurated South Carolina’s Governor Nikki Haley didn’t have time for two minutes of poetry written for her second swearing-in yesterday. Marjory Wentworth, South Carolina’s poetry laureate, has written poems for the last three gubernatorial inaugurations. This year Haley decided that two minutes couldn’t be spared for an original poem written by Wentworth.

Marjory Wentworth
Marjory Wentworth

In the past, according to NPR, Wentworth chose themes of nature and animals for previous ceremonies. For Haley’s second ceremony Ms Wentworth penned a poem focused on elements of South Carolina’s history, including its ports where slaves were shipped in for sale. And where the Confederate flag still flies next to the state’s flag at the state capital.

Wentworth is invited to read her poem at a ceremony organized by the state’s NAACP chapter on Martin Luther King, Jr Day next Monday, which she will do. In the meantime, U. S. Rep James Clyburn, who represents South Carolina’s 6th Congressional District, read the poem yesterday from the floor of the House of Representatives. Wentworth’s poem is included in NPR’s coverage.

Victims are not volunteers

This letter was sent to The Sandersville Progress in response to owner Bob Tribble’s column.

Bob Tribble’s column on August 26, 2014 included a statement that isn’t accurate regarding the child victims of convicted Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Tribble wrote,”Some lost their virginity involuntarily by a man whom they once trusted.”

Victims don’t “voluntarily” do anything during a crime. None of Sandusky’s child victim’s “volunteered” to give up their virginity anymore than they willingly volunteered to be sodomized in the Penn State locker room showers.

I don’t care what Tribble thinks about whether Penn State’s players were unfairly penalized by the NCAA sanctions. 

What I do care about is the fact that the person who profits from owning the legal publishing organ for Washington County, believes that a victim of rape or other sexual assaults, and a child victim at that, could voluntarily participate in those acts. 

Rape is a crime. Victims aren’t volunteers.

Bob Tribble is wrong to state otherwise. 

 

 

Don’t tread on me

The Friday Photo
July 18, 2014

Jody Hice, Mike Collins

Jody Hice and Mike Collins, the Republican candidates vying for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, expound on the rights of citizens above big government. Eager supporters of both campaigns have let their enthusiasm trample the property rights of private citizens.

Both campaigns have placed signs on private property belonging to my family without our permission. We destroyed the one belonging to Hice before I could get a picture, but I found another one just like it, in the public right of way on Hwy 15, where it doesn’t belong either.

Both campaigns are doing more than wasting donor dollars on signs that will be thrown away as soon as they are found on our property; they are trespassing.

In the wee hours this morning

A couple of months ago I began posting links to news items on Rural and Progressive’s Facebook page. I was sleepless in the wee hours of the morning so I skimmed the news and found some interesting things that I shared there.

If you are on Facebook please like the page, and share or comment. If you aren’t on Facebook, you can check my Twitter feed @kghcummings I also post there, and the two platforms don’t always overlap.

Here’s what I found at o’dark thirty today:

circular firing squad

you can’t make this stuff up 

Republicans complain to state ethics commission they eviserated 

It isn’t about honoring heritage. The war is over. Really.

cv_Large
Georgia has issued a new car tag featuring the Confederate flag, with $10 dollars of the $80 fee going to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who will use the revenue for “educational activities” and preservation efforts.

What century is this Georgia?

January 17, 2014

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources can’t seem to get warnings right in regards to the coal chemical contamination that continues to leave citizens looking for a glass of fresh water. Georgians should be aware that neither our state’s Environmental Protection Division or Department of Community Health issued warnings about health risks during the largest fish kill in our state’s history on the Ogeechee River in May 2011. That was left up to the counties.

Speaking of unpermitted dumping and our rivers, U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood signed an order yesterday approving the settlement between the Ogeechee Riverkeeper and King America Finishing over the fish kill referenced above. The Savannah Morning News says, “Wood’s order ends that legal dispute while allowing King America to deny culpability.” A handful of private citizens are still pursuing the company in other legal action.

Week One and Republican legislators under the Gold Dome are considering giving Federal gun control the finger and with legislation that would provide a “hall pass” to violate laws and regs. Creative Loafing covers it.

The Peach Pundit said yesterday that a possible restoration of funds for “charity hospitals” in Georgia might be in the works. The Pundit wrote, “making sure that charity hospitals–especially in rural Georgia–don’t close due to lack of funding could complete the hat trick that lets Deal remain in the governor’s mansion for another four years.” Serving patients who require Medicaid does not make a facility a “charity hospital.” And FYI, hospitals in Atlanta, Athens, and Savannah are not rural hospitals. They may serve rural patients, but they are urban/metro providers.

Restoring the backbone of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 might happen with a bipartisan bill introduced by yesterday. And yes, it would apply to Georgia.

Tennis players and fans roasting on the barbie has re-ignited the climate debate since the polar vortex.

Being present

This year I will sign petitions, write letters, and call elected officials about the things that matter to me. And this year I will be more present in my beliefs by showing up.

I began yesterday in Decatur at a “We Do” event organized by the Campaign for Southern Equality. The couple in this video, filmed by the GA Voice, speaks volumes about why I want to be more present in what I believe: