"Record heat fuels wildfires across America," ABC News, May 28, 2012; "Half of continental U.S. in drought," Fresno Bee, July 17, 2012; "Glacier breaks off a huge iceberg," Fresno Bee, July 18, 2012; "Drought persists across the U.S.," Fresno Bee, July 20, 2012. These are just some of the recent headlines following frequent unprecedented tornadoes, floods and climate disruption across the U.S. and the world.
How many canaries in the coal mine need to die before we get it? It's a sure bet many who lost their livelihoods and homes in those catastrophes now have changed their mind about global warming. It's the same ol' story. If it happens to someone else, it is a hoax. If it happens to you, it's real. Why do some cling to the global-warming-is-a-hoax line, especially when we know that campaign is heavily funded by the fossil fuel industry?
The Disclose Act legislation (S. 3369) requires tax exempt groups involved in political advertising to reveal who their donors are if they contribute more than $10,000. The Supreme Court Citizens United ruling allows anyone, foreign or domestic, to contribute unlimited money in our elections. This means our politicians, and therefore our government, can be bought by the most wealthy Americans, wealthy foreigners and foreign governments. If they are going to own us, can't we at least know who they are? Senate Democrats proposed this legislation and unanimously voted for it. Why did Republicans unanimously vote against it?
The NRA sent a letter to U.S. Senators containing these words, "... we strongly oppose the Disclose Act and will consider votes on this legislation in future candidate evaluations." As a purported champion of liberty and freedom, isn't it a threat to liberty and freedom to keep secret who buys our elections? And what did they mean by considering their vote in future candidate evaluations? Was that a threat that if they did not vote the way the NRA wants, they would destroy their political career? Why is the NRA opposed to the Disclose Act?
The Bring Jobs Home act (S. 3364) would eliminate tax deductions that companies may take when moving workers and equipment overseas, but establish a new 20% tax deduction for companies bringing jobs back to America. This is an incentive to bring outsourced jobs back. In the last decade 2.4 million jobs have been sent overseas. If American jobs are a top priority, why did Republicans vote against the bill?
In a June 27, 2012 article, "The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal," Fortune Magazine's six month investigation revealed there was no "walking guns" operation as claimed by ATF agent John Dodson. In fact, according to Fast and Furious ATF supervisor David Voth and extensive research, those guns were legally purchased by "straw" buyers, who in turn, sold them to Mexican drug cartels. Because of the legality, ATF's hands were tied. Guns are so easy to buy in Arizona that Sinaloa drug cartel had made Phoenix its gun supermarket and recruited young Americans as its designated shoppers or straw purchasers. In Arizona, a straw purchaser can buy hundreds or thousands of guns and then resell them. If Darrell Issa is so concerned about ATF agent Randall Terry's death and gun trafficking, why isn't he focused on making straw purchasing illegal in Arizona?
Mitt's father, George Romney, released 12 years of his tax returns. He said, "... one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul." Why won't Romney release enough returns to show how he's conducted himself over the long haul?
Finally, Carol Derry in her letter to the editor, "Wrong place, time and audience," thought it was inappropriate for me to suggest putting veteran's health, suicide, homelessness, care, unemployment and family issues on the Freedom Fest agenda. Let me first say that we are on the same side and both have the best interest of veterans at heart. I just don't understand why this is the wrong time, wrong place and wrong audience to feature these problems. Doesn't this show that we are aware and we care? Doesn't this significantly enhance veteran appreciation and acknowledgment?