What Would Nellis Say?

April 2022

UN Climate Report:  It’s ‘now or never’ to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

A new flagship UN report on climate change released on April 4, 2022 by U.N. News indicates that harmful carbon emissions from 2010-2019 have never been higher in human history, is proof that the world is on a “fast track” to disaster, with scientists arguing that it’s ‘now or never’ to limit global warming to1.5 degrees.

In an April 4th Earth Day Video Message UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres reacting to the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) insisted that unless governments everywhere reassess their energy policies, the world will be uninhabitable.  

Unless action is taken soon, some major cities will be under water, Mr. Guterres said in his video message, which also forecast “unprecedented heatwaves, terrifying storms, widespread water shortages and the extinction of a million species of plants and animals”.

According to a April 4th NY Times report the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the United Nations, warns that unless countries drastically accelerate efforts over the next few years to slash their emissions from coal, oil and natural gas, the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, will likely be out of reach by the end of this decade.

What would Nellis Gray say?

When I was a kid, we worshipped scientists and the amazing advances that they were making to improve everything in our lives…from the medicines they invented to cure all sorts of deadly diseases, to putting men on the moon. Every human on the planet benefitted from their endeavors.

 

Today, right-wing media and our former president display their complete ignorance by denying the science behind most of the dilemmas we face today and the nightmares we will endure in the future. Covid was no worse than the flu and masks were an invasion of your rights and injecting Clorox into your veins was better than taking the vaccines. Some of these geniuses brandish their cellphones, which track everything they do in life, and scream about imagined microchips in the serum that would allow the government to track every vaccinated citizen.

 

Big Oil (and coal) could not exist without battalions of scientists and engineers but the enormous profits they are earning preclude any effort to decrease the pollution their products create. They will wring every penny out of every drop of oil they can pump out of the ground until there is no more to dredge. The real question is - will any of their customers still be alive when they’ve finished raping the Earth and destroying the environment? 

 

 

Kevin McCarthy’s Lie Puts G.O.P. Hypocrisy on Trump on Display.

The Republican leader’s false claim that he never urged President Donald J. Trump to resign — disproved by an audio recording of the comments — drew little outrage from members of his party.

Representative Kevin McCarthy’s denial of disparaging comments he made about President Donald J. Trump after the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, exposed a widely known but seldom seen phenomenon in Washington: the hypocrisy of Republicans who have privately scorned Mr. Trump while publicly defending him according to an April 22, New York Times report.

Mr. McCarthy, the California Republican who is campaigning to be speaker of the House if his party wins the majority in November, had dismissed as “totally false and wrong” a report that he had told fellow G.O.P. leaders he would urge Mr. Trump to resign from office after the riot. But an audio recording of the conversation revealed Mr. McCarthy’s denial to be a lie.

For Mr. McCarthy, the immediate political problem was not being caught in a lie. In the Republican Party, which has coalesced around Mr. Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him, falsehoods have become routine and even accepted.

Some of Mr. Trump’s fiercest defenders on Capitol Hill have long criticized the former president and his family members behind closed doors, venting about his erratic policy decisions and tweets while expressing their total fealty in public. The release of the audio of Mr. McCarthy’s comments was a rare moment where the duplicity was on display.

Mr. McCarthy spent Friday morning working the phones, calling members of his conference to gauge their level of concern about the recording. A source familiar with the conversations said his team had also been asking rank-and-file members to post tweets supporting Mr. McCarthy for speaker.

There were few expressions of outrage from Republican members of Congress about their leader — one who would be in line to succeed the president if he achieves his aspiration of being speaker of the House — having been caught in a falsehood. They appeared to be following the lead of Mr. Trump.

What would Nellis Gray say?

McCarthy is totally unqualified for the Speakership, because he won’t stand up for what he claims to believe. One has to wonder whether he is as delusional as his disgraced idol and mentor in believing that the extreme right-wing of the party will support his tarnished dream? The caucus prefers racist morons like Taylor-Green or Gaetz or Jordon. The rest of the world sees him as a spineless jackass with a big ego and nothing to back it up.

Top oil and gas companies increase lobbying spending amid global energy crisis.
 

The top oil and gas companies spent more than $12.4 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2022 — about $1 million more than they spent by this time last year — as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upends the global energy market according to an April 21, Open Secrets report.

The war in eastern Europe has driven up gas prices and spurred concerns among some state and federal lawmakers over energy security and independence. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and more than 20 other senators signed onto a letter last month urging President Joe Biden to address the administration’s energy policies in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Recommendations in the letter include reviving the Keystone XL pipeline, expediting oil and gas production on federal lands and the Gulf of Mexico, and encouraging financial institutions to support U.S. oil and gas companies. 

Open Secrets reviewed lobbying disclosures from the five oil and gas companies that have, historically, spent the most on lobbying. During the first three months of 2022, the companies spent millions lobbying Congress on a range of issues and bills, including Biden’s stalled Build Back Better legislation, carbon capture and sequestration, federal oil and gas leases, and hydrogen, an alternative, and potentially green, fuel source being pushed by big oil and gas companies, according to filings. 

Koch Industries, a Kansas-based refinery conglomerate owned by the Koch family of conversative mega-donors, spent the most on lobbying — nearly $3.3 million, up from $2.6 million in 2021. 

What would Nellis Gray say?

The Kochs and their cadre of billionaire partners are at the heart of the conspiracy to dismantle the government and eliminate the middle class, so their investment in controlling their elected lackies to increase their profits and decrease their taxes is paying off handsomely.

 

Certainly the price of gasoline is being affected by the crisis in Eastern Europe but I don’t have any illusions about the corrupt oil industry jacking those prices to line their own pockets at everyone else’s expense. The profits that Big Oil is revealing are far beyond their historical norms.

 

Media gets it wrong on Elon Musk and Twitter: The issue is oligarchy, not "free speech".


Just a few weeks ago many influential figures on the U.S. right loved, just loved Vladimir Putin. In fact, some of them still can’t quit him. For example, Tucker Carlson, while he has grudgingly backed off from full-on Putin support, is still blaming America for the war and promoting Russian disinformation about U.S.-funded bioweapons labs according to a March 10, 2022 Paul Krugman New York Times column.


For the most part, however, America’s Putin lovers are having a moment of truth. It’s not so much that Putin stands revealed as a tyrant willing to kill large numbers of innocent people — they knew or should have known that already. The problem is that the strongman they admired — whom Donald Trump praised as “savvy” and a “genius” just before he invaded Ukraine — is turning out to be remarkably weak. And that’s not an accident. Russia is facing disaster precisely because it is ruled by a man who accepts no criticism and brooks no dissent.


On the military side, a war Russia clearly envisioned as a blitzkrieg that would overrun Ukraine in days has yet to capture any of the country’s top 10 cities — although long-range bombardment is turning those cities into rubble. On the economic side, Putin’s attempt to insulate himself from potential Western sanctions has been a debacle, with everything indicating that Russia will have a depression-level slump. To see why this matters, you need to understand the sources of the right’s infatuation with a brutal dictator, an infatuation that began even before Trump’s rise.


Some of this dictator-love reflected the belief that Putin was a champion of antiwokeness — someone who wouldn’t accuse you of being a racist, who denounced cancel culture and “gay propaganda.”


Some of it reflected a creepy fascination with Putin’s alleged masculinity — Sarah Palin declared that he wrestled bears while President Barack Obama wore “mom jeans” — and the apparent toughness of Putin’s people. Just last year Senator Ted Cruz contrasted footage of a shaven-headed Russian soldier with a U.S. Army recruiting ad to mock our “woke, emasculated” military.


But we’re now relearning an old lesson: Sometimes, what looks like strength is actually a source of weakness.


Whatever eventually happens in the war, it’s clear that Russia’s military was far less formidable than it appeared on paper. Russian forces appear to be undertrained and badly led; there also seem to be problems with Russian equipment, such as communications devices.


These weaknesses might have been apparent to Putin before the war if investigative journalists or independent watchdogs within his government had been in a position to assess the country’s true military readiness. But such things aren’t possible in Putin’s Russia.


The invaders were also clearly shocked by Ukraine’s resistance — both by its resolve and by its competence. Realistic intelligence assessments might have warned Russia that this might happen; but would you want to have been the official standing up and saying, “Mr. President, I’m afraid we may be underestimating the Ukrainians”?


On the economic side, I have to admit that both the West’s willingness to impose sanctions and the effectiveness of those sanctions have surprised just about everyone, myself included.


Still, economic officials and independent experts in Russia should have warned Putin in advance that “Fortress Russia” was a deeply flawed idea. It shouldn’t have required deep analysis to realize that Putin’s $630 billion in foreign exchange reserves would become largely unusable if the world’s democracies cut off Russia’s access to the world banking system. 


But again, would you have wanted to be the diplomat telling Putin that the West isn’t as decadent as he thinks, the banker telling him that his vaunted “war chest” will be useless in a crisis, the economist telling him that Russia needs imports?


The point is that the case for an open society — a society that allows dissent and criticism — goes beyond truth and morality. Open societies are also, by and large, more effective than closed-off autocracies. But nobody can tell the strongman that he’s wrong or urge him to think twice before making a disastrous decision.


Which brings me back to America’s erstwhile Putin admirers. I’d like to think that they’ll take Russia’s Ukraine debacle as an object lesson and rethink their own hostility to democracy. OK, I don’t really expect that to happen. But we can always hope.

What would Nellis Gray say?

Musk could care less about “Free Speech”, unless you define that freedom with endless lies and mountains of absurd mis-information being spewed by the right-wing through all forms of media that our oligarchs bought and control. 

 

This is about power and the exclusive federation of billionaires who are intent on maintaining control of the campaign to dismantle our society. They have been investing billions to dominate our national conversation for decades, pitting us-against-them at every opportunity. Twitter, Facebook, and all the rest can’t be ‘democratic’ platforms while everything they publish is controlled by small unregulated groups who profit from controversy.

 

We grew up with real journalists who provided real facts to support their reporting. Today’s fake news begins with, “We haven’t verified this information yet but…” and proceeds with complete and utter nonsense. The media platforms and the television/newspaper conglomerates need to be dismantled and replaced with competent news sources that are restricted to reporting stories based on verifiable facts instead of rumors and blatant lies.