An Open Apology To Joe Walsh


I owe Joe Walsh an apology. I’m a left leaning Democrat, and during the run up to the 2016 election your name came to my attention, mostly on Twitter. My ability to have a civil disagreement was beginning to erode with the rise of Trump and his piggish rhetoric. Trump looked like a clown to me, but I didn’t fully grasp the gravity of his dictatorial Pied Piper allure, but it was becoming clearer. And Joe Walsh was helping that clarity.

I have never been one to use the dangerous hyperbole of calling politicians with whose policies I disagree a dictator, or a Hitler. In fact I often defend the likes of George W Bush from such attacks. Bush was no dictator and certainly no Hitler. But as time went by it became clear that Trump wasn’t just an ordinary callous, classless, one-hit-wonder fluke.  He’s the real thing. A dictator in the making, now he simply needs support. And he’s getting it, he’s getting it from spineless people like Ted Cruz, and true believers alike.

While questioning authority is something everyone has the right to do and should do, when the truth is evident, but is unfavorable to one’s cause, one does not attack the institution. In Trump’s position that makes him reminiscent of a despot, and his supporters sympathizers at best, thugs at worst.   I absolutely despised his supporters for supporting him.  It destroyed my once cool ability to have civil discourse, to simply disagree and try to reach out. I even lamented that your name blackened one of the greatest guitar players in history. 

But I was very wrong. While Boebert, Greene, Geatz and nearly the entire body of the GOP is vying for a seat at a despotic table, something else is going on. In months past Americans have been watching Walsh and many others, in vested interest in where this country is heading and I, for one, came to the conclusion that, much like John McCain, Liz Chaney and a few other ostracized Republicans, you care about a country that is free; where people can live under a rule of law, and shape the landscape in collective effort. One can see the humanity in Walsh and the pain of having lost his party, and most of all the bravery of standing up for this country against a tide that’s turning in a dangerous direction. This small band of Republicans have pulled me from an extreme edge to a place of common ground where, when we disagree we simply try to reach out. I say this knowing full well that, in the immortal words of Strother Martin, some people you just can’t reach. 

I don’t know if he actually reads these things but if so I just wanted to offer not only an apology but thanks, thanks for defending this country.

Before all this, in the 2008 general election I had, for the first time in my life, the opportunity to cast a vote for my choice knowing that if he lost, I would be happy with the other guy. That of course was Obama and McCain. It was a win-win. What happened? It’s probable that I would cast a vote for the other person if Joe Walsh were in a race where I was a constituent, on policy matters. However you, Mr. Walsh have my undying support and admiration as an American. You’re a good man, I look forward to seeing your Tweets in the future, and listening to White Flag podcast.  And by the way, don’t sweat the name. That variety of rock-n-roll kickassery suits you.


The Party of Treason

Have you ever heard the philosophy that states “if someone tells you, and shows you who they are, believe them”? Trump has been telling us, yelling to us, and showing us that he’s a wannabe dictator who will use racism, hatred and fear mongering rhetoric and tactics to achieve power. He has expressed open admiration for other despots around the world.

(Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

There was never a good excuse for supporting Trump as a political leader, he proved himself right out of the gate to be the antithesis of true American values. The first red flag indicating he’s a dictatorial leader was when he disparaged an entire race of people by stating falsely that Mexicans coming over the border are rapists, drug dealers and murderers. He further implied that Mexico as a country was purposely sending “their worst” people to the U.S. The implication of course is that very few if any Mexican immigrants are good people. 

Same goes for Islam, he spent much of his Twitter time and public appearances spreading false information about Muslims, that thousands of them were cheering and celibrating 9/11, he pushed for a travel ban to and from Muslim countries, suggested we shut down the nations mosques or at least spy on them. 

He encouraged violence and intimidation against dissenters and the reporters. 

These are all things a dictator does without even mentioning the vulgar personality traits that would usually sink a candidate. But as Trump himself observed about his bizarre followers, he wouldn’t lose a single one even if he shot a person on 5th Avenue. He knows what kind of base is supporting him. 

He has since proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only would he lie, cheat and steal to get power, but he would also engage in a coup d’etat to keep it. Add traitor to the list of Trump’s undesirable traits. 

He spent the months leading up to the election grooming his willing base for a possible violent overthrow of the U.S. government by reinforcing certain key falsehoods. He demonized the press as a conspirator working with the Democrats, he has attacked the integrity of the election system by stating hundreds of times that it’s rigged against him. 

He thought he could rig the system himself by installing rabid loyalists, or at least people he thought were blindly loyal, in key positions to “legally” overturn any result that didn’t reelect him. 

He thought his appointees on the Supreme Court would overturn any undesired election results. He was wrong. 

He thought U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr would conjure up some fabricated evidence that would overturn the election. Wrong. 

When all else fails, lead an insurrection. 

What any would-be dictator needs to successfully overthrow their government is large grassroots support from the population, support from loyalists in key government segments, and support from the military. He has the support of some 75 million Americans as evident by the election results. He has the support of nearly all the Republicans in congress. 

He doesn’t have the courts, and he couldn’t get the military. Thank God. Because that’s how close we came to living in an Orwellian nightmare with Trump as president for life. 

In November 2020, after the election Trump took the highly unusual step of firing three high ranking Pentagon officials and replacing them with Trump loyalists. Apparently he thought that would give him the military. He was wrong.  

A rally was being organized for Jan 6, the day congress would officially confirm the electoral results making Joe Biden the next President of the United States. Trump promoted the rally, dubbed StopTheSteal, in public and on Twitter stating “massive amounts” of evidence will be presented to prove the election was stolen. In true dictatorial fashion however, no evidence was then, or ever been presented. 

On January 6, 2021 Trump addressed a crowd that he had been priming for months to believe the election was stolen. Like a mob boss, he encouraged them to march on the capitol and fight, carefully crafting his words to be sure he himself would never be implicated in what was likely to be treason. But everyone in the crowd, and indeed the watching world knew what he meant. 

Trump insinuated that he would march with them, an act a true revolutionary would have done but instead, being a coward he went back to the safety of the White House to watch the scene unfold on FoxNews. Insulated from prosecution while his foolish supporters get hunted down and arrested by the FBI. 

While the Capitol was under attack Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were communicating from a bunker with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan begging for the deployment of his troops that he said was ready, willing and able to go with one exception; they needed permission from the Pentagon. The Pentagon was being held back by the White House. For nearly two hours Trump sat on the Maryland National Guard, presumably waiting to see if his mob could occupy the Capitol, presumably not concerned that Pelosi and Pence could end up swinging from a rope. 

And now, 6 months later the North Carolina Republican Party convention allowed Trump to give a speech where he continued his dangerous false narrative that he’s the rightful president, and Republicans in congress are blocking an investigation into the attack on the Capitol. 

Donald J. Trump is a traitor to the United States and frankly so is anyone who still supports him, after all this everyone should know better. Yet he currently has the support of the GOP. 

The Republican Party is now the Party of treason.

President Trump Sabotages America’s Institutions

Every U.S. president falls under the intense scrutiny of the media, a spotlight that magnifies every word and action, past and present. And now with social media like Twitter you get to know a guy pretty good. President Trump in his first term has proven for the most part to have two driving motivators; the economy and himself, the former is directly linked to the latter. He is pro-Trump and pro-business. This president cares about little else, he knows historically people vote according to their bank accounts.

It’s his obsession with power and big business that makes his so dangerous. President Trump has linked his self image of greatness to the economy above all other and he measures the economy by how rich the rich are getting. Balancing the economy with all the other concerns, like the environment to name just one, takes precision, and costs money.
Lots of money.

The apparent remedy to the burden of balance is to undermine or even destroy the institutions that keeps big business in check. The president is afforded the right to appoint the heads of these agencies and this president, along with conservative members of congress are installing people with the sole purpose of running these agencies into the ground.

Take for example:

The word protection in the name Environmental Protection Agency is a huge red flag for those who would make money from activities that dirty up our water and air. The EPA has been a thorn in the side of polluters since Richard Nixon created it 50 years ago.
Trump’s first pick for director, Scott Pruitt resigned in scandal and went on to become a coal promoter for Alliance Resource Partners, L.P, and a lobbyist for Sunrise Coal.
Enter Scott Wheeler, a climate science denier like his predecessor. Mr Wheeler worked as a coal lobbyist for Faegre Baker Daniels, a law firm who represents coal producer Murray Energy.
Trump has spent his entire first term deregulating the energy industry at the expense of our environment, being clean costs the fossil fuel industry a lot of money.
Here’s a list of terrifying rollbacks tracked by the Brookings Institution:

This agency has come to the scientific conclusion that climate change is happening and human activity is a significant factor, so naturally Trump would like to appoint a science denier to that post. Unfortunately for the president it’s not easy finding a qualified scientist to fit that bill, a Trump ally will just have to do. Jim Bridenstine was nominated in September 2017 to head the agency to heavy criticism for falling well below the scientific standards set by previous administrators, and for being a vocal critic of prevailing consensus on climate change. He was confirmed strictly by Republicans in a 50-49 vote in April, 2018.
However, it seems the plan backfired on the president and his allies in congress. One month after Bridenstine’s confirmation in May, 2018, he turned a 180 in a town hall speech at NASA headquarters as reported by The Atlantic he said, “I don’t deny that consensus that the climate is changing,” he said. “In fact, I fully believe and know that the climate is changing. I also know that we humans beings are contributing to it in a major way. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. We’re putting it into the atmosphere in volumes that we haven’t seen, and that greenhouse gas is warming the planet. That is absolutely happening, and we are responsible for it.”
That’s gotta hurt.

The Department of the Interior for those who don’t know manages about 75% of federal lands and natural resources. Trumps first appointment to position of Secretary of the Interior was Ryan Zinke, another one that ended on scandal leading the way for the current Secretary David Bernhardt. As one could guess, Bernhardt is a former lobbyist for Brownstein Hyett Farber Schreck, a lobbying firm with a client list including oil and gas energy and exploration companies, and notably the Independent Petroleum Association of America, as well as other mining interests. The Trump Administration is accelerating mining and oil drilling on public lands as well as uranium extraction and plundering forests.

Office of Air and Radiation
William Wehrum is an attorney and lobbyist for such polluters as Koch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute among others and served as assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Air and Radiation until he was forced to step down for ethics violations, mostly interacting with former clients to discuss government regulation related to their industry.
The new administrator Anne Idsal isn’t a lobbyist or a corporate attorney and is relatively unknown.

Taxpayer funded public schools are literally centuries old. But of course conservative forces in the United States would rather have a for profit system and what better way to undermine public education than to appoint to the Department of Education a vastly underqualified person who’s known not for education as much as for advocacy of private schools. Betsy DeVos, the current Secretary of Education is just such a person. DeVos has been an advocate of school vouchers, that essentially takes taxpayer money from public schools and funnels it to private schools, for decades. Upon landing in the Secretary position she has ambitiously worked toward the largest school voucher assault on public schools in U.S. history. Like many of Trump’s dubious nominees, the Senate vote to confirm was far from overwhelming and in this case Vice President Mike Pence had to break a 50 – 50 tie.

The first Postmaster General was appointed by Benjamin Franklin in 1775 and is one of the few agencies authorized by the U.S. Constitution. It’s the epitome of an American institution.
Although the USPS is a government agency it’s self sustaining and takes no taxpayer money to function. For a couple decades Republicans have strongly advocated the privatization of the agency, essentially dismantling it in favor of a for-profit system in spite of operating for over 200 years.
Trump’s pick for Postmaster General is just the man for the job. Louis Dejoy has exactly zero prior experience at the Post Office and in fact had invested in UPS (which he divested). Aside from having interests in competitors and sub-contractors like XPO, DeJoy’s main function seems to be hamstringing the effectiveness of mail delivery, he’s slowing the operation down. Normally one could conclude that kind of leadership is designed to sabotage not only the profitability but the public image of the agency, leading to the argument that it should be privatized. However in 2020 there is an added motive; it’s believed that because of the COVID-19 pandemic a certain segment of the population may vote by mail. That demographic is Democtrats who may be interested in reducing public exposure by avoiding the polls. Voter suppression is an added bonus in Republicans effort to destroy the U.S. Postal Service.

All this and the attempt to stack the U.S. Supreme Court with ultra right-wing conservative judges so incase any lawsuits concerning these changes make it that far will be struck down. Trump is far and away the most dangerous person to ever take residency in the White House and likewise, the true colors of the Republican Party are showing with their quiet complicity. Apparently to make America again is to set us back a century or so.

Voter ID is a useless red herring. Here’s why.

    Here’s the thing with voter ID, it does virtually nothing. VID is a slight-of-hand trick, a distraction of political convenience. I’d like to see somebody, anybody prove voter ID would change the outcome of any election anywhere by preventing in-person fraud. It won’t. Here’s why:
Voter ID will address in-person voting directly at the polls in real time ONLY. That’s it. That’s all. No election in U.S. history has ever been decided or influenced by in-person voter fraud. There’s a reason for that, it doesn’t happen on any notable level. That’s right folks it doesn’t happen much.
     I’m not against voter ID as long as every American gets ID easily and for free. But I am indifferent to it because it’s a red herring. Voter ID won’t do shit. Nothing. Why? Because there’s nothing for it to do. It’s a solution without a problem. Voter ID at the polls will not address the real fraud because real electoral fraud is systemic.
I would like to see anybody prove me wrong here.
     ID will not address disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, intimidation, ballot manipulation by a poll volunteer or election official, ballot destruction by an official, software tampering, mail-in fraud, etc. Only in-person fraud does ID address and while systemic electoral fraud continues on and on, I guarantee your average poll volunteer has a better chance of being struck by lightening than countering in-person voter fraud.
Once you wrap your mind around the fact that in-person voter fraud or voter impersonation is nearly non-existent, and ID prevents only that, then the question why the push for ID laws must be burning in your brain. Why?
Could it be that requiring photo ID would disenfranchise the poorest Americans by the hundreds of thousands? People in poverty face the problem of living miles away from an office that issues state ID’s, they often lack transportation, many offices in poor areas are open a couple days a week. Who do the poorest among us vote for traditionally? Who is the primary pusher of voter ID laws? It doesn’t take Detective Columbo to figure this out.
     Voter ID laws not only do nothing to prevent electoral fraud but are another example of systemic voter suppression.

#MeToo where are you?


Recently a hashtag concerning Joe Biden has surfaced echoing a popular mantra in our society. #IBelieveTaraReade is making the rounds on social media and possibly growing legs, the question is when will the Me Too movement catch on?

Tara Reade is former staff assistant for Joe Biden when he was a Senator in 1993. Lately she has been giving a graphic account of sexual assault involving the 2020 presidential candidate to any media outlet who will listen.

If one were to search any of the varieties of Tara Reade hashtags one finds there are already a lot of Bernie supporters jumping on this grassroots trend (taking into account that some on any side may be fake). They’re still holding steady with the Me Too mantra of “I Believe Women” and are using Biden’s own words against him because he as well has been quoted saying to the Washington Post, “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time.” The movement doesn’t leave room for much else, only I Believe, that’s it. If there is more  they’re not very good at articulating it.

The consequence of the Me Too movement’s I-believe-women-unconditionally attitude was painfully obvious from the start and predictably it seems it may come back to bite them. It was just a matter of time before a high profile Democrat would be accused of sexual misconduct, decades after the fact, with no physical evidence and very little or no eyewitness evidence. Literally one persons word against the other, and a compilation of the accused persons dubious character traits; like shoulder rubbing and hair sniffing for example.  So what is the portion of the Me Too crowd who has thrown their support behind Biden to do now?  Will they believe Tara Reade unconditionally and throw Biden to the curb? Some of them may, but not a peep from any high profile supporters so far. And many rank and file supporters have actually accused her of being a Russian asset, and have accused Bernie supporters of blowing this up for political gain. Sound familiar?

Bernie supporters aren’t handling this any better however. They’re forcefully using the Me Too mantra of unconditional belief to destroy a political rival only this time it’s a rival in their own party.  All it takes is an accusation. What will it take for them to realize this is a two-way street? What will they do when a person who they are giving their full-throated support to is accused in such a way? Will they throw their guy away or will they call it a political hit job? It would be no surprise if they chose the latter. That’s politics for you, what’s good for the goose is never the same for the gander is it?

Trump supporters are also getting in on the act, rubbing Me Too in everyone’s face who doesn’t viciously attack Joe Biden. Another reason the extreme and unfair stand of the movement is self defeating. They should have seen this coming, after all it was truly a matter of time that their integrity would be tested on their own turf. Bernie supporters and hard line Me Too advocates would be smart to take note. Of course if Trump supporters had any shame they would sit this one out since their guy, the pussy grabber has been accused by more than 50 women of sexual misconduct and caught red handed paying off a porn star with whom he cheated on his pregnant wife. Talk about having not a square inch of real estate to stand on.

The point is this, the Me Too movement isn’t wrong on merit. Women should be taken seriously when alleging sexual misconduct, rape, abuse, assault, harassment, at home or in the work place. Women in general deserve for Tara Reade to be taken seriously, and Reade deserves to have an impartial and thorough investigation on the strength of only her word. But that’s all ones word can get. The rest has to come with an investigation that either uncovers proof of misconduct or not.

Either way however, at this point the Me Too movement is largely silent on this one. No mainstream outrage. Not yet.

We’re There For The Oil, Folks


President Donald Trump. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo

In the latest reality TV episode of Trump Goes to Washington the President made a curious admission. On more than one occasion in the last few days President Trump has repeated in one context or another, “we’re there for the oil” when asked about troops in Syria.  At a press conference with Turkish president Erdoğan Trump declared “We’re keeping the oil, we have the oil, the oil is secure, we left troops behind only for the oil.”

The big irony of this president is that he tends to tell the truth rarely but when he does, he wasn’t supposed to. The fact that the U.S. is in the Middle East and Africa solely for the natural resources is the worst kept secret in Washington. Of course they keep up the facade that our troops are there to for a number of honorable reasons, for this they maintain a grab bag of deceptive go-to talking points. The first one is the term “national interests”, which is of course a euphemism for financial interests. Other misleading items in the bag include national security, American freedom, the Constitution, democracy (home or abroad), human rights, and fighting terrorism among others.

The Pentagon is doing it’s duty by pushing back on the presidents blunder by going out of it’s way to clarify the U.S. position that we’re actually there to fight ISIS. That’s only a partial truth. They want us to believe the fight against ISIS is a stand alone issue because…we just don’t like terrorism. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We fight terrorism in the region because they tend to disrupt our extraction of resources. We’re there for the oil, folks.

Even far right talking head and Trump cheerleader Laura Ingraham tried to rein in the president during an exchange on The Ingraham Angle, she sounded more like she was coaching him.

“Not taking the oil, they’re not taking the oil,” Ingraham said.

“Well, maybe we will. Maybe we won’t,” Trump said.

“They’re protecting the facility,” Ingraham said.

“I don’t know. Maybe we should take it, but we have the oil. Right now, the United States has the oil. So they say he left troops in Syria. No. I got rid of all of them other than we’re protecting the oil. We have the oil,” Trump said.

This president can’t take a hint. Much like targeting and destroying cultural sites, another thing Trump threatens to do, outwardly plundering resources with the military is a war crime. Trump doesn’t know enough about foreign policy or international law to even be involved; after three years as POTUS he’s still grossly unqualified to be president.

Bottom line, Trump mistakenly let the cat out of the bag. Our freedom and the integrity of the U.S. Constitution in no way hinges on our presence in the Middle East or Africa. We aren’t there for human rights, or to encourage democracy. Quite the opposite. It’s far more common for the U.S. to prop up and coddle dictators who will in exchange allow our oil companies carte blanche within the borders of their country.

“We’re keeping the oil, we have the oil, the oil is secure, we left troops behind only for the oil.” — A rare truth escapes the lips of President Trump.

Jussie Smollett may have been behind his own attack, but that doesn’t get Trump supporters off the hook.

It appears the Chicago police suspect Jussie Smollett of possibly having a part in his own assault, where Smollett claims two men attacked him and used racial and homophobic slurs. Since the Jan 29 attack, police have made two arrests but released the two men  saying more investigation was needed in light of new evidence. According to CNN two inside law enforcement sources say they believe Smollett may have paid the two, one of which Smollett worked with on the show Empire.

Jessie Smollett denies the new development in the case and has expressed frustration over the matter. He also denies claims that he ever said the perpetrators were wearing MAGA hats.

Conservative media, Trump supporters on social media and bloggers have latched on to the story in its current state of development as further proof that the public perception that Trump supporters are mindless bigots and homophobes is being unfairly crafted by celebrities and left wing activists and is perpetuated by willing accomplices in the so-called fake news media.

The thought that Trumps supporters are being unfairly maligned by hoaxes is a fantasy.  All one need do to realize a crystal clear illustration of what a Trump supporter is would be to follow Trumps own Twitter feed. And yes, his supporters are guilty by association. There are literally dozens of documented accounts of Trump encouraging or condoning acts of violence against dissenters and members of the press, which of course makes a few fakers insignificant compared to the magnitude of the real thing.

A hoax far from exonerates the culture of hatred being encouraged by rhetoric from this president. People should indeed be aware of such fakes, they have no place in our discourse, however neither does using them as an exercise in misdirection. Both sides have supporters who behave badly on occasion, but I can think of only one person who brazenly encourages violent behavior. Trump CLEARLY encourages and condones violence. Nobody should be surprised when it happens. You won’t find a single other person to say “kick the crap out of them, I’ll pay for your defense attorney”.

The examples go on and on.

It can’t be pointed out enough that not the fake news media, nor the shadowy deep state, nor does Obama or members of academia, or the corrupt scientific community write daily on Trumps Twitter account. Nope, he’s a lying, illiterate, vile, pig all on his own, every day without exception, with nobody else, and no grand conspiracy to blame. It’s just him and his Twitter alone. He’s the fly in his own ointment. He’s his own troll.

If a Trump supporter can suspend his or her own integrity enough to be lead by a guy who tries to scare us into following him by claiming that an entire race of people are largely to blame for rape and murder to the extent that a border wall will produce a significant drop in those crimes, then fine.  But it’s not the media or anyone else making Trump sound like a racist when he tells such lies. And likewise it’s not the media or anyone else who makes Trumps followers look like racists for supporting him.

The Devil We Know: A Review

The Devil We Know is a documentary like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s a terrifying look at  the chemical industry’s impact on the environment and human health. It sounds like a familiar story on the surface, chemical company dumps waste in the river and lies to the local town until they get caught. The end.

devil we know

Don’t make the mistake that this is the case here. It’s not hyperbolic or even melodramatic to say the actions of DuPont and 3M have implications that literally reach every corner of the world, affecting nearly every living creature; a point this film goes to length to drive home. This film highlights a group of compounds produced first by 3M and later by DuPont and others that are now in the blood of 99% of people around the world. The short name for the chemical, C8 is used in hundreds of products because of it’s non-stick qualities, most notably but far from limited to Teflon and Scotchgard.   

The film begins with an ominous home video and voice from Parkersburg West Virginia farmer Wilber Tennant, who sold a large parcel of his farm land to DuPont for discharge of “non hazardous waste”.  They go back to Mr. Tennant’s video throughout  the movie. 

To tell the complex story that spans decades and has a large cast of characters the film creates a vehicle of three major people: Rob Bilott, Bucky Bailey and Joe Kiger.   

Rob Bilott is an attorney who first gets involved by agreeing to represent Wilber Tennant in a lawsuit against Dupont for the contamination of his farm downstream from the Dupont plants waste runoff. Mr Tennant has video of frothing stream water, dead fish and deer, and his cattle. The cattle is shown, with the farmers narration, with tumors on their bodies, black teeth and eye deformities, Mr. Tennant exclaiming, “they’re born that way, I’ve never seen anything like it”. The Tennants and DuPont quietly settled on an undisclosed sum in 2001. Mr. and Mrs. Tennant would die of cancer a few years later. 

Joe Kiger and his wife Darlene get a letter Lubeck Public Works in 2000 informing the residents  of Parkersburg that a chemical called ammonium perfluorooctanoate also known as PFOA, or C8, was found in samples of well and drinking water.  The letter described the  unregulated chemical as “persistent, slow to be eliminated from the blood steam”. The term persistent is a euphemism for a chemical the is bio-resistant, it can’t be broken down. Not by sunlight, not with heat, not with microbes. It never goes away. You’re born with it, you die with it. Chemists working with the development of C8 gave it the nickname “Devils Piss”.   The letter assured residents that the level of exposure in the water was well under DuPont’s standards for safety. The chemicals found in their water are completely harmless.  Turns out legally speaking, the letter comes with a time stamp. From the time the letter is sent there is a two year statute of limitation for lawsuit among the people who receive the letter, this information was not disclosed. Joe Kiger like most people in Parkersburg took LPW and DuPont at their word until it started to become clear that something was happening to their town. Mr. Kiger began to notice the dogs in the neighborhood were developing tumors and even some of the kids teeth were turning black. He started contacting different agencies and the EPA sent him a letter abstract of the Tennant case, mentioning the condition of the cattle, tumors, black teeth, deformed eyes. The letter included Rob Bilott’s name and contact info.   

Around that time 3M, the producer of C8 and Dupont’s supplier had come to the conclusion that the chemical was too dangerous and was to phase out it’s production by 2002. This would cost 3M $300 million. That same year DuPont took this as an opportunity to produce the chemicals themselves and began production in Fayetteville N.C.  The 3M announcement along with the news that DuPont would be continuing production caught the attention of Rob Bilott who then began to send his files to the EPA asking them to investigate the PFOA chemical.  DuPont tried and failed to get a gag order against Bilott. According to an internal DuPont communication Bilott had shared “130 of our worst documents” to the EPA. And that was just from the Tennant case. Documents found in discovery from the Tennent case (and a lawsuit to come) show that 3M and DuPont conducted studies as far back as the 1960’s that show these chemicals would likely do serious damage to the environment and cause cancer and other illness in animals and humans. One rather frightening comment in a report said “C8 could be affecting DNA”. 

The film portrays another person, Bucky Bailey, who’s mother worked for DuPont making Teflon in their plant. Bucky was born having only one nostril and deformed eyes. They weave Bucky’s story in throughout the film to great affect. In spite of his deformities and the more than 30 operations to address them, Bucky displays incredible strength, an enduring faith in humanity and and a quite touching aura of genuine happiness. His existence is marked with tragedy yet, as with most people the complexity of life offers him so much more; like parents who stand by him with fierce love and loyalty, he gets married and with his wife makes the incredibly tough decision to a child of their own. Bucky Bailey would be named in the class action lawsuit to come.        

Class Action 

Rob Bilott was already on DuPont’s trail, and when Joe Kiger contacted him it opened up a floodgate. They decided a class action lawsuit would do the best by everyone involved. This is where it gets interesting. The discovery process which includes letters, emails, internal documents, depositions uncovers a mountain of information going back decades and shows what 3M and DuPont knew and when they knew it.  One document shows a DuPont communication discussing the decision whether to go the 3M route and spend millions developing another chemical or take their chances with what they had. The memo describes C8 as “the devil we know”. The decision was made to go forward essentially with a cover up. The lawsuit would eventually include six water districts and 70,000 people. 

Doing scientific study was nothing new to DuPont but when Bilott starting turning up the heat the company began to employ measures that add up to little more than public relations. They used any scientist they could find to publicly announce that C8 was harmless. They also used their power in the government, specifically by employing Mike McCabe who in 2000 was the Deputy Administrator to the EPA. His firm, McCabe and Associates were hired as consultants to DuPont in 2003.  Communications circulating  throughout DuPont indicates they were feeding the EPA with comments that the EPA should include in public statements.  They had to resort to this because the decades of studies by their own scientists showed they knew of the damage they were doing. 

In one such study done in the late 70’s DuPont wanted to test the blood of their employees against a control group of uncontaminated blood. They started out with archived blood but there was a problem, the archived blood they got was also contaminated. They the began to search by using volunteers from men and women, old and young, all contaminated. They expanded their search across the planet, all contaminated with C8.  They finally found an uncontaminated control group, in archived blood of army soldiers from the beginning of the Korean War. They had to go back to the early 1950’s to find uncontaminated blood because since then they had managed to infect the entire planet with C8. Another study conducted by DuPont involved gathering water samples to see how far their chemicals from the plant were reaching. They found high concentrations of PFOA as far as 40 miles from their plant contaminating much of the Ohio River Valley.    

As the film progresses it goes into great detail of DuPont’s influence over the towns they inhabit, a major part of the community not just by employing every other person in it but by making a conspicuous presence in their schools, churches, community centers and local media. Right down to the names of some of the roads, DuPont is everywhere. 

In 2005 DuPont agrees to settle the lawsuit for $343 million dollars. However the plaintiffs who could have taken the money and walked decide to counter with a different offer; they’ll take the money and set up a science panel to study the effects of C-8 on their community and under the settlement if any illness is linked, anyone diagnosed with such illness could further pursue legal action against the company. DuPont rolled the dice assuming that no study could be done large enough to produce conclusive a link between C8 and human illness.  They were wrong. 

Parts of this film feel like a horror movie rather than a documentary but when it sinks in that 3m and DuPont have managed to, in the words of one attorney, permeate the living world with C8, you realize that no fictional movie can rival the reality of DuPont. This film is a strong indictment of the business practices and moral compass of a company that put it’s own well being in the form of profits in front of the health and lives of not only the people in proximity of the plants, people who receive the highest exposure, but indeed every living person and creature on the planet.  You, everyone you have ever known and everyone you ever will know have C8 in his or her blood. 

Chemical company dumps waste in the river and lies to the local town until they get caught. In order to reduce exposure to lawsuit they create a spin off company called Chemours and produce a different non stick chemical called GenX which is already showing up in waterways. And is known to cause cancer in rats. 

The end?


Want to know more? Go to The Devil We Know 

As the credits roll at the end they give “very special thanks” to a lot of people and groups including Sharon Lerner of The Intercept. You can find her series on this subject here The Teflon Toxin 




Cons Really Reaching on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Bronx Roots


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Congresswoman of New York’s 14th congressional district  

Conservatives are getting sensitive lately. They take issue with bad language, they’re disturbed by all the bullying and mocking, and they’re incensed by all the lying in politics.  Specifically concerning lies told by the newly sworn-in Democrat from New York’s 14th congressional district Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who as some of you may know left a lasting impression on incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley by losing a shoe in his arse on his way out the door.

cortez's shoes

 One of these shoes is now part of an exhibition at the Cornell Costume Collection titled “Women Empowered: Fashions from the Frontline.” The other is forever lost in Joe Crowley’s ass.

The lie conservatives are so worried about concern claims on the Congresswoman’s website and other social media of her ties to the Bronx. The problem: It’s not a lie. Not even close. The Daily Mail brought up residency and the district where she went to school and conservative America Talks Live host John Cardillo zero’d in on her in an attempt to discredit her Bronx girl image. In doing so Cardillo crafts his attack in a way that leads one to believe Cortez has no ties to the Bronx other than being born there and that she is really a privileged, spoiled rich girl who has fabricated the story of her roots to better, yet fraudulently connect with constituents in the 14th district which includes the Bronx and Queens.  His attacks on Twitter include using a pic of her childhood home.


Aside from being wrong about the college, (she attended Boston University) he’s purposely misleading people about her own representation of her upbringing.  She never said she lived in the Bronx or went to school there; she never denied living in Yorktown. Her narrative is that her parents decided when she was 5 years old that she would be better off in school district other than the Bronx. They moved from the Bronx to a middle class home in Yorktown Heights where she went to school, then BU. None of this is a secret. It doesn’t take much looking to see that Cardillo’s insinuation that Cortez is lying about her ties to the Bronx is false.  She says on her campaign website that she went to public school in Yorktown and she split time between that life and her extended family who lived in the Bronx.

But conservatives pointed out that the website changed the wording of that narrative after she was called out by them in order to cover up the truth. Again that is a lie. They did indeed change the wording however they didn’t change in any way the meaning or point of the narrative, see for yourself.  Official website

The original statement said, “She ended up attending public school 40 minutes north in Yorktown, and much of her life was defined by the 40-minute commute between school and her family in the Bronx.”

The statement now reads, “She ended up attending public school in Yorktown, 40 minutes north of her birthplace, as a result, much of her early life was spent in transit between her tight-knit extended family in the Bronx & her daily student life.”

That’s a cover up? My question to conservatives: is that all you got? This and mocking her for dancing in college is the best you can do?  I think you’re in trouble.


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A Letter to Anti-Trump Conservatives

The 2016 election cycle must be the strangest anyone in America has seen. Ever. Hillary Clinton is a politician to the core with more than her share of baggage but nothing new there. It’s Donald Trump who’s turned this election into a rather bizarre freak show and moderate conservative voters are baffled as anyone. How could this guy have made it this far?  I’m here to tell you it was inevitable. The vast majority of conservative Americans have been waiting for Donald Trump for years, even decades and here he is like some kind of strange Pied Piper.  For years we’ve had to endure right-wing pundits such as Rush Limbaugh and all the rest wax on about how if only a real conservative with balls would show up on the scene. Someone with the guts to stand up to the so-called left-leaning media. Someone to ignore political correctness and just say it like it is. Someone who will put good Christian values in front of all others. A person who will save America from Mexicans and Muslims, from the gays, from a lot of uppity Black Lives Matter thugs,  from healthcare. A guy who can remind a woman of her place. A candidate who will save Christmas for Chrissake!

Good ‘ol conservative Americans wanted him and they got him.

This however leaves a lot of people who thought conservatism was a good thing staring at the TV in disbelief.  We all watched while Trump destroyed Fox News. He steamrolled the GOP. We watched in amazement while he brutally insulted republicans like Cruz, Christie and Rubio and then turned them into hypnotized puppets. But Trump didn’t turn his supporters into puppets. He didn’t hypnotize anyone and if fact is a manifestation of American conservatism. He’s a symptom. They created him; not the other way around.

Bottom line, if you moderate conservatives feel like you’re suddenly on the outside you’re wrong; there’s nothing sudden about it. You’ve always been on the outside you just didn’t know it.