Written Feb 10 2017
One year in the 1970s, a poor harvest in Brazil led to a shortage of coffee beans and soaring coffee prices in the United States. It also led to an inventive scam beginning with teeny-tiny classified ads in the back pages of magazines. The ads purported to sell coffee trees. Why (they asked) should you depend on those inept Brazilian farmers for one of life’s necessities when you can buy coffee trees, plant them in your own yard, and voila! you’ll have fresh coffee every single day?

Anyone who bought coffee saplings and faced the inevitable disappointment was incapable of grasping the obvious: the United States is a nation of coffee drinkers. So if coffee trees could grow in the U.S. climate, why were we buying coffee from Brazil? Why hadn’t American farmers been raising coffee trees all along? I don’t drink coffee, but even I figured that out.

Trump voters remind me of the Americans who were gullible enough to fall for the coffee-tree scam. Because he has a bottomless need for adoration, Trump told them everything they wanted to hear. That is, taxes will go way down, Hillary will go to jail, high-paying factory jobs will come back to the United States, immigrants will be rounded up and expelled, “radical Islamic terrorism” will never threaten America again, we can be as politically incorrect as we want to be, and “we’re gonna win so much, you’re gonna get tired of winning.”

They lapped it all up because they have a desperate need to believe in magic. Apparently they’ve never asked themselves why, if this wish list is so easy to enact, it hasn’t all been done long, long ago; or if it hasn’t been done, who is responsible and what is their motive in not doing it; and can someone who offers absolutely no specifics really have a plan.

Eight years ago some of the people who eventually voted for Trump were sneering at Democrats, accusing them of regarding Barack Obama as their Messiah. That they have placed the exact same or stronger faith in Trump has escaped them completely.

Written by Angela Stockton


Author Michael Lewis followed Obama around for six months to write a profile for Vanity Fair. I saw him answer this question at a talk at Berkeley recently and fortunately it was recorded on Youtube. You can watch it on the video around 26:30.

Lewis is a generally a fair and sharp writer but he’s pretty positive about Obama in general after spending a great deal of time with him. Here’s my rough transcript of what he said.

“I will tell you this. The people who work for him love him. Love him. It isn’t worshipful they just really love the guy. And it is because he treats them well. He treats people very well.

“The Secret Service that protect him love him. He wears this watch that’s this goofy looking watch. It looks like a scuba diving watch. Its got all the knobs and you look over it and you expect to see an odometer on it. It is so out of character because everything about him is so spare and minimalist. At some point I said, ‘You know, your watch just doesn’t fit you. It is an odd thing that you have that watch. That watch is a geeky, dorky watch. And you’re kind of cool and that’s kind of odd.’ And he said, ‘I’ll tell you about this watch. When I was running the campaign–the first campaign–Michelle and I just started inviting the Secret Service in. They weren’t getting fed when they were watching me. So we would have them in.’ And they said–I don’t know if I can say this–previous Presidents didn’t treat them that way. And the Secret Service pooled their money to give him this watch. And he wore it because of that.

“He has that kind of loyalty. Not just from the people who protect him but the people who work for him feel that way too. He creates–and I watched him do this for me–a safe place for people to operate in. They don’t feel like they are going to be backstabbed or they are going to be subject to the whims of some kind of whimsical leader. They feel safe with him.

“I could see this because whenever I would walk in a room [while working on the profile], it became an unsafe evironment for the people who were in it. And he was very careful to either say ‘Michael, you’ve got to leave’ or ‘Michael’s here and he’s going to put away his notepad and this is totally off the record.’ So he didn’t pander to me and made it comfortable for the people who worked for him. So he’s that way.”

Written by: James Cham


A long time ago, New York had a thriving ice business.

Ice ruled the world before the electric refrigerator. It was necessary for any sort of food preservation outside of canning or drying. Strong, hard working ice men would venture onto the frigid upstate freshwater lakes every winter, carrying giant metal saws. They would break up the thick ice into movable blocks using technique that was likely handed down through generations. Many died out there in the winter wastelands, but they were replaced to complete the necessary winter harvest. The fruit of their labor was taken to caves and storehouses to be preserved through the summer, sating the ever growing demands of New York City and all of the other Hudson Valley communities.

Ice was a community staple. It directly employed thousands. Nobody could have predicted that it would ever be replaced, and the livelihoods of countless people hinged on the market for lake ice. The secondary market was also gigantic. There were the delivery men, distribution companies, steam liners delivering ice to the cities, and manufacturers of ice boxes.

Gas refrigerators existed as early as the 1850s, but real competition came with the electric age. Early household electric fridges started appearing in the 1920s, replacing the ice blocks, the clunky delivery, the hard working ice men, and an entire industry which now looked antiquated and incredibly cumbersome. Today, it is unthinkable that we would have to buy an ice subscription to keep our food cold.

Trump will not bring back coal, any more than he’ll bring back the once thriving ice industry. Coal is dirty, inefficient, polluting and dangerous. As other energy sources beat it on price, it will die just like any other redundant or inefficient industry, and leave the legacy of coal miners in the history books with the ice harvesters.

Nobody but a complete dictator could bring back coal or ice, and then only by forcefully banning the alternatives. None of us want to live in a reality where this is possible.

This isn’t to say society should be heartless. We should retrain those coal workers to do jobs that aren’t obsolete. What we shouldn’t do is pretend that we can uninvent modern society to coerce people into voting for a certain party.

Coal is in its dying days, whether Trump says so or not.


Exxon, Chevron face criticism for pushing repeal of SEC rule
For years the oil industry has appealed to the executive branch and courts to de-fang a U.S. rule forcing Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and other producers to disclose their payments to foreign governments.

Now, the Republican takeover in Washington is handling it for them.

The House of Representatives is set to vote this week on killing a Securities and Exchange Commission edict that requires publication of overseas payments by oil, natural gas and mining companies. The industry says the rule, part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank act, gives global rivals a competitive edge. Backers say it will help keep payments to foreign nations in government coffers, not private pockets.

“To roll it back would be a complete abdication of U.S. initiative and leadership on issues of corruption,” said Daniel Kaufmann, president of the Natural Resource Governance Institute, an international transparency watchdog.

The SEC rule, set to take effect next year, is one of a series of Obama administration regulations Republican lawmakers are trying to reverse using the Congressional Review Act, a law that allows Congress to undo regulations with a simple majority vote.

Congress also plans to vote this week to kill rules curbing methane venting and mountain-top mining. To do so, both chambers must pass a resolution disapproving the rules, which the president would then have to sign. While President Barack Obama would have reliably vetoed such resolutions, President Donald Trump is likely to sign it.

Trump argues that curbing regulations is key to unleashing investment by U.S. companies. He pledged to rescind two existing regulations for each new one that’s issued.

by Catherine Traywick of Bloomberg News January 30, 2017, 5:00 PM MST


House Republicans have voted 235-180 to overturn an Obama administration that blocked Social Security disability recipients with mental disorders from buying guns. Less than two weeks into Trump’s presidency and Republicans have given the mentally ill easier access to guns.
How stupid are these house republicans. Don’t they remember Sandy Hook? Don’t they recall all they said about stopping those with mental difficulties from purchasing weapons. Have they catered to once again letting the NRA control their votes..



Tar Sands 101
The Tar Sands “Gigaproject” is the largest industrial project in human history and likely also the most destructive. The tar sands mining procedure releases at least three times the CO2 emissions as regular oil production and is slated to become the single largest industrial contributor in North America to Climate Change.

The tar sands are already slated to be the cause of up to the second fastest rate of deforestation on the planet behind the Amazon Rainforest Basin. Currently approved projects will see 3 million barrels of tar sands mock crude produced daily by 2018; for each barrel of oil up to as high as five barrels of water are used.

Human health in many communities has seriously taken a turn for the worse with many causes alleged to be from tar sands production. Tar sands production has led to many serious social issues throughout Alberta, from housing crises to the vast expansion of temporary foreign worker programs that racialize and exploit so-called non-citizens. Infrastructure from pipelines to refineries to super tanker oil traffic on the seas crosses the continent in all directions to allthree major oceans and the Gulf of Mexico.

The mock oil produced primarily is consumed in the United States and helps to subsidize continued wars of aggression against other oil producing nations such as Iraq, Venezuela and Iran.


Donald Trump has now implemented a ban on immigrants from several countries he deems as being involved in terrorism and therefore will not be allowed into the US.

It i s interesting to note that since the attacks of 911 none of these countries were involved in any of the terrorist attacks in the USA.

The 911 breakdown of attackers was 15 Saudis, one Egyptian, one Lebanese and two from the Union of Arab Emirates.

The Dec 22 2001 Shoe bomber en route to Miami from Paris was conducted by Richard Reid a citizen of the United Kingdom.

The 2009 Fort Hood attack was conducted by an American born Muslim

The Dec 25th 2009 underware bomber attack en route from Amsterdam to Detroit was 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian citizen.

The Dec 5th 2015 attack at San Bernardino. The perpetrators, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple living in the city of Redlands, targeted a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health training event and Christmas party, of about 80 employees, in a rented banquet room. Farook was an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, who worked as a health department employee. Malik was a Pakistani-born lawful permanent resident of the United States.

The June 2016 gunman behind the terrorist attack that killed 50 people at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando was Omar Mateen, 29, from Florida, a US citizen of Afghan heritage.

It is interesting to note that none of the above attackers were from the countries that Trump has banned immigrants and refugees from as per executive order of January 28th..

Those countries are: Libya, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Yemen

For a listing of all terror related attacks in the US since 1865, click on the following link.

USA Attack Incidents


Arlene Dickinson says Kevin O’Leary’s latest “misogynistic” jab at her proves exactly why Conservatives are better off without him as leader.
On Global TV’s morning show on Thursday, the businessman responded to Dickinson’s harsh evaluation of his Conservative leadership bid by dismissing her as an “emotional” woman.
“Arlene is a very passionate woman, very emotional. She was never able to separate her emotions from her investment decisions, which is why she did so poorly on that show,” he said of the businesswoman and former “Dragon’s Den” judge.
Dickinson, who has been named one of Canada’s most powerful women, said her former co-host’s remarks should raise alarm bells for Conservatives.
“There is absolutely nothing about his statement that surprises me,” she told The Huffington Post Canada in an email Thursday.
“It’s the same dismissive, misogynistic rhetoric I heard on Dragon’s Den for seven years. Here’s the blaring alert for Conservatives across the country.”

Arlene Dickinson and Kevin O’Leary starred together on CBC’s “Dragon’s Den.” Dickinson also wrote a fiery opinion piece for Maclean’s magazine in response to his comments. The businesswoman, who previously called O’Leary “opportunistic,” said the Tory hopeful changes positions based on whatever is convenient. “When he’s in the United States filming Shark Tank, he calls Boston home. Now that he’s in Canada running for office, he calls Toronto home,” she wrote. “It’s no wonder he doesn’t know the difference between Capitol Hill and Parliament Hill.”
She also denied O’Leary’s claim that she plans to run for the Liberal party. “I’ve publicly declared several times that I’m not running for any political party.”