The News in Brief Extreme weather displaced 7 million people so far this year making 2019 the most disastrous year in decades….Preparing for disasters has become a multimillion-dollar enterprise for developers. They are now buying old missile silos and remodeling them as underground condos where people can hide when the big catastrophe comes….Speaking of developers, did you know that Steven Craig, developer of the Outlets at San Clemente, donated $991,880 to help unseat democrats in California? And speaking of looming disasters, storing nuclear waste now costs taxpayers $7.5 billion a year. San Onofre alone has 1,773 tons of highly radioactive plutonium and uranium sitting on our beach for the indefinite future. Each of the 123 canisters could release more deadly Cesiium 137 than 1000 atomic bombs. (There are over 3000 such canisters nationwide.) Meantime, Southern California Edison has turned off 50 emergency sirens in Orange and San Diego County
Trump vowed to shrink the trade deficit but instead he increased it. The trade deficit is now running about $481 billion, way above what it was last year. Donald Trump and the Republicans have caused the national debt to soar to $22 trillion, a new record…..Who benefited from the 2017 Republican tax cut legislation? It was advertised as a boon to low income people but instead it has become a giant boondoggle for the wealthiest Americans which is what the Republicans intended all along. Take Jared Kushner, Chris Christie, and Anthony Scaramucci for example. They use tax incentives supposedly designed for the poor and instead these super-rich developers racked in huge profits, not by building low-income housing as they were supposed to do but instead by developing high end hotels and apartment buildings….As for Trump’s fake “charity,” a judge ruled that there was a “shocking pattern of illegality” designed to raise a slush fund Trump could use to promote himself. A judge fined him $2 million and shut down the scam….Did you know that the 400 richest Americans now pay a lower tax rate than the middle class?
Moving on to the environment, Trump has rolled back rules for energy efficiency in light bulbs. With more than 6 billion lightbulbs in use, Trump wants us to use the old energy wasteful bulbs…. Gas companies vent or flare enormous amounts of excess gas they cannot sell. Gas companies released more than 350 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere last year, about the same as the emissions of 75 million cars….A loophole in laws governing the leasing of public land for oil and gas has allowed Chevron, Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil and others to avoid $18 billion in taxes….Trump has decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement which was designed to help combat climate change, a world-wide agreement signed by about 200 countries. The United States now joins countries like Russian, Iran, and Iraq who have failed to ratify the Paris Agreement….An iceberg in Antarctica the size of the island of Oahu was recently shed into the ocean….Trump’s EPA has moved to weaken regulations on how much toxic pollution coal companies can dump into the nation’s waterways….Trump has announced plans to weaken vehicle emission and fuel efficiency standards so it will be legal for cars to produce more pollution….The U.S. Interior Dept. long blocked the plan by rich corporate farmers to raise the Shasta Dam. Scientists regarded this project as environmentally damaging, cost-prohibitive, and illegal. That was before Trump. His new interior secretary David Bernhardt is pushing the plan through at a taxpayer cost which may reach one billion dollars. Guess what Bernhardt’s previous job was? Lobbyist for California’s wealthiest farmers who want the dam raised to get more water for themselves….Finally, here is Trump’s new policy for National Parks: Cut their budgets and commercialize them for private profit.
Now the military bad news, not counting surrendering Syria to Russia and Iran. Guantanamo costs taxpayers $13 million per prisoner… The U.S. Navy Zumwalt class destroyer program has cost taxpayers $22.5 billion so far. It has produced only 3 ships….Are you familiar with the recent trial in San Diego of Edward Gallagher? Other Navy SEALS testified that he killed prisoners of war and took trophy photos with the corpses. He also used his sniper rifle to kill young girls and old men. The result of the trial: The Navy court acquitted him. President Trump congratulated him.
In the last election, Trump campaigned on ending corruption in Washington, but once in office he threw open the doors for perhaps the worst corruption in memory. Example: Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation who is married to none other than guess who, Mitch McConnell. How does she spend her time? According to reports, much or her time and effort is spent using DOT to benefit hubby in Kentucky. She also directs government business toward Foremost, a shipping company owned by, you guessed it, her own family….Dept. of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (net worth $5.4 billion and owner of 2 helicopters and 8 boats) was fined $100,00 by a judge for defying a court order to stop forcing students defrauded by the for-profit Corinthian University to pay back debts. Betsy is using her office to trash public education and promote for-profit private education…. Senate Republicans are blocking $255 million in funding for minority colleges….Meanwhile, Trump wants to cut school lunch programs for the poor. This could send a half a million children to school with no lunch….And did you know that bullet proof backpacks for kids are now in high demand….Scientists say the white extremist ideology is a common theme for mass shooters.
Finally, 81% of evangelicals voted for Trump and 25% of Americans still can’t make up their mind about impeachment.