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024 – Sen. Orrin Hatch calls Donald Trump ‘one of the best’ presidents he’s seen in office (An editorial)

It’s been awhile since I last posted an editorial and quite obviously, lots has happened.  Heck, I could have posted my last editorial two days ago and still, lots would have happened since even then.

But this one just is one of those otherworldly, bizarre kinds of comments that just stops you dead in your tracks.  In fact, Hatch said this about a week ago (Nov 29th) and I kind of remember hearing it then but it didn’t really sink in, because you just are inundated by so many other things.  Oh yeah, now that I think of it, something else rather newsworthy happened on that same day – Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI!  I guess one could be forgiven for letting Hatch’s comment pass … at least momentarily.

But for crying out loud, how completely brain-dead do you have to be to say something so completely senseless as that?  Ok, you could be writing for Breitbart, or you could be a member of the Alt-Right, or you could be an avid listener of Alex Jones’ Infowars.  If you are, then I might be forced to understand.  Of course, if you do fall into one of those esteemed categories, that also unequivocally validates my brain-dead theory.

Trump is just getting more and more unhinged, even if I thought that might not even have been possible.  Those comments of his about that not being his voice on the Access Hollywood tapes shows that he is going completely off the rails.

024 - Hatch says Trump is the best President - The tape is very real

Then declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel and moving the embassy just shows total disregard for any sort of awareness or common sense.  That one will likely have real, serious and likely immediate consequences.  If that does not result in increased conflict and the loss of human lives, both in the Middle East and in other parts of the world, I would be shocked.

Trump’s lawyers appear to be almost as off the rails as he is, as well.  Dowd’s declaration that Trump cannot obstruct justice, and Sekulow’s claim that there is no law against “collusion” clearly represent a change in strategy from “I did not obstruct justice, and I did not collude with Russia” to “I’m the President, and even if I did those things, screw you!”

024 - Hatch says Trump is the best President - Greetings from Reality

The totally balls-less Republican Congress will never do anything.  Mark my words, if Roy Moore wins that Senate race next week, they won’t even have the balls to kick him out of the Senate.  The only solution is for the Democrats to regain control of the House and Senate next year.  That may not be everyone’s ideal situation, but it is the only way this complete nightmare of a human being, and I use that term as lightly as is humanly possible, will ever be removed from office.

Regaining control of the Senate is even the more important of the two.  Can you imagine the deliciousness of a Supreme Court vacancy occurring after the 2018 elections?  What do you think the chances are that a Democratic Senate would let Trump get hearings and a vote for his next nominee?  Stick that one where the sun never shines, McConnell!

024 - Hatch says Trump is the best President The Lying King

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Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive one of History’s Most Iconic Extinct Creatures (A Book Review)

I was wondering if anyone may have seen a recent episode of Madam Secretary on NBC?  One of the fictional, but based upon possible actual events, plotlines was an outbreak of small pox that was linked to exposure due to Russian drilling in the permafrost of Siberia.  Discussions of that led to a discussion of the critical importance that the permafrost, or rather the continuing existence of an unmelted permafrost, has to the long term survival of our planet.

One of the solutions discussed for preventing permafrost melt was the reintroduction of the ancient Woolly Mammoth to regions covered by the permafrost.  That sounds like science fiction since the Woolly Mammoth is extinct.  However, in an homage to Jurassic Park, there are credible efforts currently being made to combine the DNA of the Woolly Mammoth with a current day Asian elephant in order to produce a live Woolly Mammoth.  In part, this has been made possible by the discovery of Woolly Mammoth remains buried deep within the permafrost.

Here is an internet article relating to a find in October of 2015 …

https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/611035/Scientists-bring-woolly-mammoth-back-LIFE-discovery

Woolly - Mezrich picture and books

This is a review of an excellent book available from author Ben Mezrich:  Woolley:  The True Story of the Quest to Revive one of History’s Most Iconic Extinct Creatures.  That book will also soon be made into a motion picture by 20th Century Fox.  Harvard graduate Mezrich has written many books, starting with “Threshhold” which he wrote in 1996.  Perhaps his best known work to date is The Accidental Billionaires:  The Founding of Facebook.  That book was adapted to the big screen by Aaron Sorkin (creator of TV’s The West Wing) and made into the hit movie The Social Network.

Here is a brief, but very informative interview that Ben Mezrich did with CBS This Morning (5:01) …

 

Think this is just some sort of Jurassic Park pipe dream … or perhaps even a potential nightmare?   Here is a You Tube video of a conversation between Ben Mezrich and Dr. George Church – American biologist, chemist and geneticist, where they discuss the possible real-life version of Jurassic Park involving the Woolly Mammoth (18:38) …

 

This book recounts the life of George McDonald Church.  It  describes his involvement in, among many other pursuits, bringing the Woolly Mammoth back from extinction in order to prevent  the catastrophic melting of the permafrost that covers up to 20% of our planet.

While the de-extinction of the Woolly Mammoth is at the heart of this book, the book also introduces some of the other researchers, referred to as “Revivalists” who join Church’s team or work beside him.  Besides the Woolly Mammoth project, some of Church’s other projects currently in process include the introduction of malaria-proof mosquitos and the reversal of the human aging process – nothing like thinking big, right?

Two of the main collaborators with Church are Stewart Brand and his wife, Ryan Phelan.   When Church first met them, an interesting anecdote is that he found them to be creators of a specially designed glass with a UV coating that is visible to birds and prevents them from crashing into the glass. The UV coating is modeled after a spider’s web, which is designed so that birds won’t fly into the web.  As Brand said to George Church, “Spiders teaching people how to protect birds.  Pretty heady stuff.”

Woolly - Cameos

Why was the Woolly Mammoth chosen as the focus of Church’s research?

Interestingly, when the idea of being able to regenerate a previously extinct species became a feasible reality to Church, the extinct passenger pigeon was also a candidate for the initial focus of his research.  The Woolly Mammoth was chosen after Church met Sergey Zimov, a Russian scientist and researcher, and became aware of the Mammoth’s great potential for contributing to saving the planet as we know it.

It was at an October 2012 meeting of scientists at the headquarters of the National Geographic Society in Washington DC that Church met and listened to Zimov recount the research being done by Zimov and his son Nikita in the far off reaches of Siberia.  Zimov had been conducting experiments on how to save the permafrost that, as previously mentioned, covers perhaps 20% of the world’s land surface.  The most crucial fact explained by Zimov is that the survival of the permafrost is of paramount importance to the future of the planet.  Should the permafrost melt, enough carbon dioxide and methane gas would be released into the atmosphere to irreversibly affect global warming.  That information held the key to Church’s quest to find a reason to make the Woolly Mammoth the initial focus of his plan to regenerate an extinct species.

Why is the Woolly Mammoth crucial in the fight against global warming?

Without mammals present, like the Wooly Mammoth, to trample and till the soil above the permafrost, as well as to expose the permafrost beneath the snow, the permafrost is melting and the temperatures in the Arctic regions are increasing at twice the rate as they are in other areas of the world.  Once melted, the permafrost would release the tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide and methane gas trapped beneath it.  Exposure of the permafrost to the elements was crucial so that it would remain continually frozen by the frigid air of the Arctic.  But the arrival of man precipitated the extinction of the Woolly Mammoth thereby removing one of the main protective elements for the permafrost.

One of the questions I had while reading Zimov’s theory on the importance of maintaining the frozen permafrost is “How do we know that there is so much carbon dioxide and methane under the permafrost?”  Please read the following brief article that explains why both methane and carbon dioxide are so abundant under the permafrost.

https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/frozenground/methane.html

Zimov’s success in combating the melting permafrost

In a small area of Siberia that Zimov calls Pleistocene Park, with the reintroduction of animals that still exist, such as bison, reindeer and moose, as well as using things such as tractors, bulldozers and even an old World War II tank, Zimov has mimicked the presence of the beasts that had once roamed the Arctic and protected the permafrost.  Since they began in 1988 (two years before Michael Crichton wrote Jurassic Park), Zimov’s experiments have been successful in lowering the permafrost temperature in Pleistocene Park by 15 degrees.

But what Zimov did not have was any way to accumulate enough of those present day animals to have any type of significant effect on the worldwide permafrost.  Even his bulldozers and tank couldn’t replicate everything a Woolly Mammoth could do.  As Zimov told the group of scientists, “Unfortunately, they don’t create dung.”  That became the reason and driving force behind Church, Brand and Phelan’s quest to resurrect the Woolly Mammoth.

How will the Woolly Mammoth be brought back?

The key to this project is to combine the DNA of an elephant, an Asian elephant in particular, with the genetically modified DNA of a Woolly Mammoth, and the elephant would then give birth, but not to a cloned, or to a modified elephant, but rather to an actual Woolly Mammoth.  Initially, the researchers were met with skepticism and rejection from zookeepers as they tried to acquire tissue samples from live elephants.  The story of Jurassic Park  was well known and there was widespread fear that the project’s goal, intentional or not, was to either change the elephant into a Woolly Mammoth or to potentially create one of the genetic monsters made so famous in Jurassic Park.  Eventually, stem cells obtained from an elephant’s discarded placenta, harvested immediately after birth, would partially fulfill this need.

The team’s search for a source of Asian elephants led them, somewhat surprisingly, to the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus.  They were in the process of retiring their elephants from their shows in 2013 and were intrigued by the research of Church and his team, rather than being put off the way many zoos were at that time.  In a sort of Quid Quo Pro, Church and his team are working on developing an anti-herpes virus to combat the virus that is killing many of the Asian elephants that they needed so badly to host their Woolly Mammoths.

One of the key elements I found fascinating, and reassuring, in my reading of this book is the overriding principle that seems to guide this research by Church.  As in the case of finding a cure for the herpes that threatens the Asian elephant, Church is very determined that their research will benefit the existing elephant population, and is not in any way intended to replace them with Woolly Mammoths.  They have even gone so far as to come up with a synthetic elephant uterus so that female elephants would not have to deal with the inevitable and emotional loss of their young as early attempts would likely fail.

The end of the book implies Mezrich’s optimistic prediction that a Woolly Mammoth may exist in as few as three years.  As Church himself says in one of the interviews, his expectation is that it will happen within the next century.  Either way, they both seem certain that this will happen and that it will help save the permafrost.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that no matter how successful the efforts are to bring back the Woolly Mammoth from extinction, that is in no way the sole answer to the global warming that threatens our future existence.  If we save the permafrost, it will only prevent that from, on its own, negating any other benefits that will have accrued from our other necessary efforts to combat the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  Those efforts must and will continue in spite of the head-in-the-sand mindset of the current U.S. administration.

 

Woolly - cartoon 2

 

 

 

023 – Holy Mother.  Did you see any of Lou Dobbs’ latest interview with Trump?  (An editorial)

I debated whether to put this in just a Facebook post or to write a brief editorial for my blog, and then just reference the editorial in a Facebook post the way I normally have been doing.  However, since many of my blog followers are not Facebook Friends, I wanted to be sure and share this one with them as well.

Here’s just a wild guess.  Readers of my blog and my Facebook posts are probably not regular watchers of Fox News.  I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb in that assumption.

Dobbs’ entire interview on Fox is other-worldly, from an alternate universe … I am struggling to put it into any kind of frame of reference.

As Stephen Colbert said in last night’s monologue, “Dobbs was pleasuring Trump so vigorously, that Mike Pence told mother to change the channel.”

Here is Stephen Colbert’s complete monologue from Thursday, Oct 26th.  His reaction to Dobbs’ interview is right at the beginning.

 

THAT is what 30-35% of America regularly watches to get their “news”.

When absolutely, without question, the most disgusting person you can think of, hears that interview and then says, “Wow, now THAT was REALLY disgusting”, then I think you get the idea.

When Putin sees that interview, even he will have to say, “We can’t put that on RT.  Not even Russians would believe it!”

 

Here is the wholly indigestible, 45 minute interview that Lou Dobbs did with Trump on Weds night.  Watch it at your own risk, and be particularly wary if you have a full stomach when you do … because it won’t be full for long.

022 – Sorry Gen. Kelly. You just voided your free pass. (An editorial)

I must admit that I am among those who up until now, had considered that since he took over as Trump’s Chief of Staff, General Kelly has at least tried to be “one of the adults in the room”.  He quite obviously has not been able to exercise any personal control over Trump, but most had at least thought that the situation would be a lot worse around Trump if Kelly was not in that position.

In light of Kelly’s news conference from Thursday, and his subsequent failure to apologize for his comments about Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, which included a blatantly incorrect report of what she said back in 2015 at the FBI building dedication, Gen. Kelly has now effectively voided the free pass that he has been given by many, including myself.

He has now also allowed to go unchallenged, Sara Sanders comments at the press conference today (Friday), which falsely claimed that Gen. Kelly was not referring to the Congresswoman’s speech, but was instead referring to her comments afterwards.  That is so classic Trump.  Move the target.  Then instead bring up some unverifiable claim, which I can virtually guarantee will never be verified, much like so many other unsubstantiated claims that have been made by this President.

If this was Trump alone, then to use President Reagan’s immortal words, “There you go again.”  It’s a playbook we know only too well.  But this was not Trump.  It was the supposed “adult in the room”.  Actually, Kelly was initially pretty good in that press conference yesterday.  He came across as empathetic, which he is.  His comments included using virtually the same words that Congresswoman Wilson said that Trump used on the phone with the Gold Star parents.  But when Kelly said that his own son “knew what he was getting into when he joined the one percent”, Kelly said it with true empathy.

Kelly also clearly implied that Trump said those same words to the family “as best that he could”.  Therein lies the rub – “as best that he could”.  When Kelly said those words, he had true empathy.  But when Trump said it, how could he say it with empathy when empathy is something he very likely has never felt for anyone other than himself in his entire life?

Any other human being, much less a President, would have given the Gold Star parents another call and at least told them that he did not intend to offend them, and that he was sorry if he had.  But you knew damn well that would not be the way Trump would deal with it.  Instead, he claimed that the Congresswoman lied about what he said, and since the parents backed the Congresswoman up, he therefore also accused the Gold Star family of lying as well.

Getting back to Kelly’s press conference, if Kelly had left it there, and of course if his boss had not tweeted more garbage later that evening, this situation might have been largely mollified.  But he didn’t.  Kelly went on to now famously call Wilson an “empty barrel” and cited her speech in 2015 as evidence of that.  That claim was proven clearly false by substantial video evidence released today, including the full speech Wilson made back in 2015.

Gen. Kelly’s statement about what Congresswoman Wilson said, and her actual words from the speech (3m34s) …

 

I would never expect Trump to admit the possibility that he was wrong, but I might have expected Kelly to admit his mistake.  But he has not done that either.

There has been much speculation as to how a few of those around the President, namely his generals, would eventually be dragged down into the mud that their boss continues to wallow in.  Well, chalk up another notch in your gun, Trump.  You have reduced a decorated, four-star marine general, and a Gold Star parent, into just another of the many surrogates who lies to cover your ass.

That is not to excuse General Kelly at all.  He must take responsibility for his failure and he can certainly no longer be given any benefit of the doubt simply because of his previous career and his perceived personal integrity.

I am personally very curious to see what Kelly’s next move is, if in fact there will be one.  As one commentator noted, this really started when Trump threw Kelly under the bus by using Kelly’s private acknowledgement to Trump that he had not received a personal call from Obama, as evidence that Trump was justified in his false claims about Obama.

Unless I have really misread Kelly, there is no way that it was his decision on his own to go out there and do that press conference.  But at the very least, he agreed to do it.  Then how could he have made such an egregious error as the completely false accusation against the Congresswoman’s comments back in 2015?  And why on Earth did he even bring that up in the first place, even going so far as to use the “empty barrel” comment?  All of that clearly smacks of Trump.  The fact that it was poorly verified also smacks clearly of Trump.

Just once, I wish someone would finally throw up his or her hands and say “No more of this.  I can’t be a willing part of this any longer.”  If Kelly really has the personal integrity that many have thought he had, then this all has to be tearing him to pieces.  Maybe this will be the last straw.  But even if he resigns over this, I can be almost certain that he will continue to be a good soldier and fall on his sword, rather than call out the President.

Think of what this must be like – to have spent a life in service to your country, and to have risen to one of the highest positions of authority, only to be brought to your knees by someone who is not fit to even shine your shoes.

When will this madness end?

 

Congresswoman Wilson’s full speech at the FBI dedication back in 2015 (9m02s) …