hungeski's blog

Blogs Aid Defenders of Democracy

pillarsOfDemocracy.png"Everybody knows who Donald Trump is; let's show him who we are," said Joe Biden during the presidential campaign. Yes, we do know who Donald Trump is -- a destroyer of democracy. And, yes, we did show him who we are -- defenders of democracy. During our fight to get from the destroyer's victory in 2016 to the defenders' victory in 2020, we drew from the armory of democracy -- the free press. From there we armed ourselves with factual information and thoughtful analysis from its hundreds of reliable news publications.

Mitch McConnell Fails Oath of Office

mcconnellTeamTrump.jpg

Senator Mitch McConnell, as majority leader, gets a salary of $193,400 from the U.S. taxpayer. But he fails to do his job. Consider the oath of office that McConnell, and every civil servant, takes:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Well, it seems McConnell fails to "faithfully discharge the duties of the office." Here are four notable cases.

A Little Light for the Clouded Enlightenment

Image: On Jeopardy facts win; The Paragraph

The United States is the world's first liberal democracy, a product of the The Enlightenment. As such, the founders built it on the principles of unity, liberty, tolerance and equal rights. And they designed it to make policy based on factual knowledge and bathed in the light of reason. But, today, in the time of Trump, factual knowledge is getting clouded over in several ways.

World to Write Rulebook for Climate Action

Image: Kartowice, Poland (Wikipedia)

The annual world climate talks take place in Katowice, Poland, this week and next. For this year the goal is to come up with a rulebook for implementing the Paris Climate Agreement.

A major goal of that agreement, made in December three years ago, is to keep global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) above preindustrial average. As of last year, the planet stood at 1.0°C (1.8°F) warmer.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world's top authority on the subject, produced a report for use at the meeting. The report focuses on the 1.5°C goal.

Effects of Warming

Effects of warming as we go from present to 1.5°C warmer, and then to 2.0°C, include ever higher risks to society. From the IPCC report:

B.1. Climate models project robust differences in regional climate characteristics between present-day and global warming of 1.5°C, and between 1.5°C and 2°C (3.6°F). These differences include increases in: mean temperature in most land and ocean regions (high confidence), hot extremes in most inhabited regions (high confidence), heavy precipitation in several regions (medium confidence), and the probability of drought and precipitation deficits in some regions (medium confidence).

B.3. Climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C and increase further with 2°C.

Students Keep Aim True against Gun Violence

March for our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., March 24, 2018. (Phil Roeder from Des Moines, IA, USA (March for Our Lives)) (CC-BY)

Not long after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting massacre on February 14th in Parkland, Florida, many students of the school organized to cut gun violence in the USA. And their aim was true and clear. One of the students that expressed that aim was Emma Gonzalez. Just three days after the massacre, she gave a famous speech, which wound up with:

Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS. They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don't know what we're talking about, that we're too young to understand how the government works. We call BS.

If you agree, register to vote. Contact your local congresspeople. Give them a piece of your mind.

Let's look at some of the facts that back up Gonzales's statements, and call to action.

Internet Freedom Fight Keeps On

Senate Votes for Internet Freedom -- to Reverse FCC and Keep Net Neutrality. (CSPAN)

Internet Freedom Status

The clock has ticked down on net neutrality, and its guarantee of internet freedom. We won that freedom in 2015, after internet users sent four million comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC then classified all internet service providers (ISPs) as common carriers, which, by definition, must treat all communications equally regardless of who it comes from, who it goes to, or what it contains. But last fall the new Trump Republican majority on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to take our hard-won freedom, and give total control of your internet connection to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), be it AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum, or any other. The FCC net neutrality kill order officially took effect June 11, 2018.

But the people's love of internet freedom endures. In a recent poll, 86% of persons stood against the FCC net neutrality kill order. That number includes 82% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats. That broad public support should brighten the outlook for internet freedom, as the fight continues on several fronts.

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