F**k The Planet

Back in 1992, when I became Executive Director of Indiana’s ACLU, I made it a rule to avoid using the word “outrageous” (a term which had evidently been a favorite of my predecessor), because I believed–and still believe– that when you label every policy or court decision with which you disagree outrageous, pretty soon no one pays any attention to you. You become the crank who cries wolf.

On the other hand, sometimes “outrageous” fits. It was the very first word that came to mind when I read this recent news item from PBS.

GENEVA (AP) — Almost every country in the world has agreed on a legally binding framework for reducing polluting plastic waste, with the United States a notable exception, United Nations environmental officials said Friday.

An agreement on tracking thousands of types of plastic waste emerged at the end of a two-week meeting of U.N.-backed conventions on plastic waste and toxic, hazardous chemicals. Discarded plastic clutters pristine land, floats in huge masses in oceans and entangles wildlife, sometimes with deadly results.

The framework will affect a broad range of products and industries, including health care, technology, aerospace, fashion, and the food and beverage industry. Refusing to get on board won’t allow the few non-signatory countries, like the United States, to escape its impact, because most of them ship plastic waste to countries that have signed on.

Norway led the initiative, which was first unveiled in September. As the report noted, the relatively short period of time from introduction to approval was a blistering pace by traditional U.N. standards–especially for an agreement that is legally binding.

The refusal of the Trump Administration to sign on to yet another global agreement–one that we will necessarily obey anyway–is simply a way of giving the middle finger to science, the United Nations, and our allies. It’s of a piece with Trump’s constant efforts to roll back domestic environmental protections. The President sneers when the threat of climate change is raised, and when it comes to protecting citizens from environmental hazards, his EPA demonstrates weekly that it is firmly in the pocket of chemical and fossil fuel companies.

The Trump Administration’s entire approach to environmental policy deserves to be labeled “outrageous.”

Contrast this fast and loose approach by people who evidently don’t care about the world their grandchildren will inhabit to the campaigns of the Democrats running for President, all of whom give evidence of taking environmental issues seriously.

Look, for example, at Jay Inslee’s campaign.

Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA), candidate for the Democratic nomination for POTUS is near the back of the pack, polling at 1%. But his new Evergreen Economy Initiative is so very bold, matching the size of the response to the huge size of our climate crisis, that he has now moved into 2nd place in my own 2020 preferences. Warren is still first, but I hope she adopts a climate plan as bold as this. It dwarfs the Green New Deal.  The details are here.

It is not socialist, and does not rely entirely on governmental central planning, but it is a WWII sized effort based on the original New Deal.  It aims to revitalize Labor by repealing all “right to work” laws.It invests $9 Trillion in infrastructure (super high speed rail, better/smarter power grids, zero emission vehicles, green buildings, water conservation, etc.) and green energy production. It aims to get to a zero emission economy by 2030. The plan includes a carbon tax and plans to cap methane emissions and HFCs.

There is a “G.I. Bill” component aimed at coal communities to help them transition to new technologies and not be simply left behind (as they are now with all the coal plant closings).I think there needs to be a similar effort for places Alaska and the Gulf Coast to be quickly weaned off oil & natural gas.

Governor Inslee is highly unlikely to secure the Democratic nomination, but a number of the provisions of his bold initiative are likely to find their way into the platform of whoever does become the nominee.

Sometimes, the consequences of our choices in the voting booth aren’t terribly clear. That won’t be a problem in 2020. No one who cares about the environment, or the future of the planet (or, for that matter, human decency) can justify a vote for Trump or his enablers.

That word I tried so hard to avoid–outrageous– accurately describes both this utterly corrupt administration and the voters who continue to support it.


  1. Before calling Trump’s presidency an “utterly corrupt administration,” we better define corrupt. Or does the word corrupt also have a scale from left to right?

    According to the dictionary, corrupt means “having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.”

    Well, that would define our entire government — would it not?

    Who did Obama hire to fix the banking crisis? The Banksters who set up the mess.

    Big Health Insurance and Pharma all heavily pad democrats who vote against reducing the cost of healthcare.

    Let’s admit, using the word “corrupt” to define our government is as meaningless as your rule on using the word “outrageous.”

    When the rights of corporations exceed the rights of humans, by sheer definition, we are corrupt. Their powers are maintained by funneling vast amounts of cash to the political class and the corporate media.

    This has been known for decades, yet we still want to single out Trump as “corrupt”?

    His corrupt methods are just more crude than some other criminals. Think of the movie original Godfather. They were all gangsters and corrupt by definition. They only had different styles and motives.

    Both Michael and Sonny Corleone were corrupt, but one used his fist while the other used his brain. Michael was polished — Sonny was not.

    Some movie-goers liked Sonny, while others liked Michael’s style.

    They were both corrupt gangsters. 😉

  2. “The refusal of the Trump Administration to sign on to yet another global agreement–one that we will necessarily obey anyway–is simply a way of giving the middle finger to science, the United Nations, and our allies.”

    It is Trump alone whose signature is missing from those global agreements; Trump is a “majority of one” backed by his personal “silent majority” led by Mitch McConnell and upheld by those three monkeys, “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” comprising the Republican party. Their active inaction has long passed the “outrageous” limit and move nearer and nearer to genocidal limits.

    “No one who cares about the environment, or the future of the planet (or, for that matter, human decency) can justify a vote for Trump or his enablers.”

    The comment above describes the Electoral College members in red states who appointed Trump to the presidency while being in actuality a minor number of voters nationally. If anyone can come up with a term above and beyond the word “outrageous” to describe the times we are struggling to survive…please post it here in all capital letters for us to pass along to others.

  3. Jo, considering the last thirteen days of storms and tornadoes the word APOCALYPIC comes to mind.

  4. The important aspect of the administration’s refusal to sign on to the agreement about plastics is that for the most part, plastics are made from petroleum, and petroleum provides a major component of the revenues of the fossil fuel industry.

    So when Trump’s minions refuse to do something about plastic, they are not thumbing their noses at science; they are kissing the rings of the Koch brothers.

  5. How about: Despicable, Vile, Abhorrent, Repugnant or Abhorrent are words that come to mind as an option to outrageous.

    I would agree with Todd, “When the rights of corporations exceed the rights of humans, by sheer definition, we are corrupt. Their powers are maintained by funneling vast amounts of cash to the political class and the corporate media.”

    Todd, is also right concerning style. President Agent Orange is upfront, there is no disputing his intent of his favoritism toward the chemical and fossil fuel industries. The other side of the coin is the toothless response during the Flint Water Crisis, by Obama’s EPA. It seems incredible that in the 21st Century there was not a strict set of rules and regulations for testing water safety before Flint’s water supply was switched.

  6. Theresa; excellent choice of term to describe this entire sitting administration.

    Pascal; Kroger stores are gradually ceasing use of plastic bags nationally. For well over a year I have been using 2 cloth grocery bags purchased at my local Kroger but have found no more. The first time I used them, the cashier placed groceries into plastic bags and then into my cloth bags. I explained that oil is used in the manufacture of all plastics and that it plastics are not biodegradable, thereby being destructive to the environment. She and the people in line behind me looked at me as if I had suddenly gone crazy. I have seen no one else using cloth bags anywhere I shop; since I began recycling I have been amazed at the many day-to-day items we all use (think newspapers and cardboard packaging) can and should be recycled. I have little actual trash to be picked up weekly…which causes another problem locally.

    Indianapolis contracts with a company to purchase our trash to burn as fuel; due to recycling the city is not keeping up with its promised amount of trash they contracted to provide. The answer to one problem leads to another problem…and don’t forget the loss of forested areas to provide paper bags. Does anyone know if Gov. Holcomb signed the bill the legislature passed allowing Indiana farmers to grow hemp? This would be a source of sturdy reusable bags and other item now in plastic packaging as well as providing a cash crop for our farmers. Just sayin’

  7. Let’s see, a refusal to sign onto an agreement to do something to fight climate change from the guy who cited climate change as the reason he needed the Irish Government’s permission to build a sea wall around his golf club there? Is it any wonder the Norwegians don’t want to emigrate to this s…hole country?

    Clearly we need a new approach. If we can show how these deals will positively affect his own bottom line, I’m sure he would even shove the prime minister of Montenegro aside to be able to be the first to sign.

  8. An excellent article from the Guardian – You are what you eat.

    f you live in the US, your grocery store is full of substances banned in Europe. Use our handy tool to find out what they are and how to avoid them.

    When filling a shopping basket, you might well expect your items to be free of possibly harmful ingredients. But American groceries often contain added substances that are more tightly regulated – or simply banned – in other countries.

    Food in the US, in contrast to Europe, can be made with new chemicals that haven’t passed a government safety evaluation. As a result, Americans may consume over 10,000 additives, thousands of which have been introduced without the government’s knowledge. The FDA and EPA defend the chemicals in our food as safe or safe in limited amounts.

  9. Sad and self destructive creatures, that’s my definition of humans. In this hyperbolic age putting weight and meaning back into language might help. But when so much of what passes for news is really human interest entertainment, this has crept in over the past 35 years, and taken root; is it a surprise that critical thinking is in short supply? The lines between reporting and promotion are nonexistent. It is so easy for media to simply investigate a press agencies packet and parrot the contents. Laziness that lets new drugs seem more wonderful than they are. See current reporting on cancer treatments. Look at the ad time that Big Pharma buys and wonder why for profit medical care system is failing so many. Sports. Everest climbers, lost hikers, celebrities,may be interesting but not relevant or elucidating. The blame falls on editors that choose to not weigh what’s important and yield to a profit driven business model instead of public responsibility. Noise that lets big businesses get away from accountability. Our rightful ire unfocused so meaningful change cannot occur. Citizens also need to multiple source the information they receive. Otherwise we are Roped dopes.

  10. Over the next 2 years we will see the stark contrast between Trump maneuvering towards totalitarian leading Republicans lusting after power, and Democrat candidates trying each in his/her own way to restore the US to the pre-eminent position among nations that we have been running away from for the last 2 1/2 years with Nancy and Chuck leading the Congressional charge to halt our retreat back into the past.

    It’s high drama with stakes that couldn’t be higher for the future of humanity.

    It’s not about capitalism vs socialism both of which are part of our economic reality. It’s about going backwards or forwards; towards the past or the future; plutocracy vs democracy; being led by our base instincts or the magnificent body of knowledge of reality science has never stop building.

    Every one of the many Democrat candidates has something worthwhile to pay attention to in terms of how. They all have their advantages and disadvantages with useful analysis being based on probability to oust Republicans as thoroughly as possible. Petty politics have to remain so for those committed to save the Republic.

    Then the fight for our national life will begin.

  11. All of Gov Inslee’s ideas sound wonderful, but even if he were to be elected President by some miracle we all know that without the power of Democrats ruling both houses of Congress the Republicans will put a Democratic president in a choke hold just like they did Obama.

    Somehow, we have got to figure out a way to gain back control of both houses too if we want to have any hope of saving this country.

  12. Todd makes the point again that both political parties are corrupt. Agreed. However, the democrats at least take a position on climate change and the environment; the republicans stare silently at the American public and do nothing. I’ll take my chances that a democratic administration and senate majority will be a significant improvement over the status quo – corruption and all.

    MCLV: I was just complaining last night that a 2 minute “story” on local NBC affiliate Channel 13 about the new line up on America’s Got Talent falls short of news. Who cares about what is going on in WAshington or the rest of the world?

  13. Theresa,

    Considering 500 tornadoes in the last 30 days the word EXTINCTION comes to mind.

  14. daleb, this mornings the Channel 13 news page carries not a word about the Trump Administration’s inaction on the latest world attempt to do something about climate change, but they do highlight a story about how some poor family’s home was blown away but their bible was left untouched. They were soooo blessed.

  15. No one who cares about the environment, or the future of the planet (or, for that matter, human decency) can justify a vote for Trump or his enablers.
    That word I tried so hard to avoid–outrageous– accurately describes both this utterly corrupt administration and the voters who continue to support it.

    I continue to struggle with having a close family member who continues to support Trump and his policies. I wrote a rather lengthy email to this person a few days ago in which I copied Sheila’s Blog on the British view of Trump and I concluded my email with this: I am totally baffled by this [continued support] and very saddened by your support of such a heinous character. It makes me wonder . . . .

    I have not had any reply. I am asking the other readers of the blog out there to share with me how you have handled this situation. I vacillate between sorrow and anger.

    Thanks in advance for your insights and suggestions.

  16. No one who cares about the environment, or the future of the planet (or, for that matter, human decency) can justify a vote for Trump or his enablers
    That word I tried so hard to avoid–outrageous– accurately describes both this utterly corrupt administration and the voters who continue to support it.

    I continue to struggle with having a close family member who still supports Trump. I wrote a rather lengthy email to this person a few days ago in which I copied & pasted Sheila’s blog about how the British view Trump and I concluded with this: I am totally baffled by this [continuing support] and very saddened by your support of such a heinous character. It makes me wonder . . . .

    I have not had any reply. I am asking other commenters out there to share how you have handled this situation. I vacillate between sorrow and anger. It greatly distresses me since this person is my last family member left in our generation. Thanks in advance for any insight and wisdom you can share with me.

  17. OUTRAGOUS! Simply OUTRAGOUS! Overt bellyaching by members of the ultra liberal aclu. The sky is falling university dedicated morons. Take another valium

  18. Kathy M,

    Life long friends and I have parted ways over their hate filled support of trump and I see it as good riddance. I feel no loss whatsoever.

    Seeing them for who they really are has been quite revealing. I did not know how bigoted they were and that they were such white supremacists. They will never change and I feel no need to tolerate them.

    Hopefully, you will be able to accept sometime soon that choosing not to worry about whether or not those people get along with you or are in your life or not is just not worth worrying about.

  19. I have reluctantly accepted that there are people willing to destroy this beautiful planet for a fistful of dollars. What I can’t fathom is their willingness to condemn their own children and grandchildren to a miserable and greatly diminished life. They are greedy heartless monsters.

  20. Thank you Sheila,

    Years ago the late astronomer/astrophysicist Carl Sagan had a very thought provoking television show called “Cosmos” where Sagan, in his very unique and engaging way, sought to describe the universe which he did a wonderful job of doing. One of the episodes of that show and it may have been the last one featured a hypothetical survey of our solar system by an alien race that was exploring this particular part of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

    When they came to our planet, Earth, they found that the planet had once had a thriving civilization and was teeming with life of all sorts but that it no longer was the case. Given their investigation they concluded and the evidence they found that we had destroyed ourselves and our planet via a nuclear catastrophe. At that time I was still writing papers related to that subject, thinking all along, how flat stupid it would be if we actually did the unthinkable and had destroyed ourselves. Sagan presented it in very stark terms which was sort of unique at the time because no one else really did except in foreign policy and strategy-related professional journals along with a few commercially successful films, most notably “The Day After”.

    As stupid as a nuclear war would be given the casualties that would be suffered but also the environmental effects that would follow because of all the particulate contamination of the atmosphere, no one at that time thought that we could do something even more stupid than that. Right now, the inanely stupid government that we currently have seems to be hell bent on doing exactly that, essentially rendering this planet uninhabitable for all life perhaps by the end of this century.

    It is just unconscionable for us to withdraw the scientific resources and capabilities that we have that should be used to help mitigate the ever increasing greenhouse effect that this planet is experiencing. This attitude is even more stupid than the strategies for nuclear war, which are very hard to top, since it all revolves around money as if money is more important than breathable air, ambient temperatures that are habitable by not only man but all the other life forms on this planet, and having enough food to eat in the right places globally.

    I have a three great nephews, two are close to being two years old and the third being only six days old. What kind of a world bar we leaving to them as well as their parents who are in their late twenties all because of greed? Multiply them by millions and millions of families around the world that will all suffer greatly because of this who will look back at us while in the chaos that our inaction will inflict upon them as they wonder what the hell was wrong with us. We have to make sure that this grossly ridiculous and avoidable scenario will not befall them.

    As Carl Sagan also said frequently we have to be good stewards of this planet and that’s going to involve a lot more than we currently are doing and also allowing to be done that is contrary to any semblance of good sense. As it seems to be with so many things that are going horribly wrong these days it will be up to all of us to fix them provided that we have both the gumption and moxie needed to do so.

  21. Kathy M-SC,
    Sorry that you have a close family member who is a supporter of the president. It would be very difficult to distance yourself in that situation. Seems like the only thing you can do is not talk politics, but I find it extremely hard to do that. I am thankful I don’t have family like that, but I had to unfriend several Facebook friends from my hometown, whom I have known since kindergarten, when I discovered their obnoxious posts. It hurts, and I will probably not return for any reunions, because the last one-the 50th-was very awkward. I feel it is not worth the effort, personally. Too toxic and not good for our health–mental and physical. Good luck.

  22. Here comes pushback on today’s scandalous public statement by Bob Mueller.

    Mueller took the easy way out to stop the speculation. I wonder how Trump manages it. He can’t do anything right. See if you don’t think Mueller was near weeping in the knowledge that he didn’t tell all and that he knows the President can and will be indicted for obstruction and other high crimes.

    I am outraged that Mueller, who knows all, so cavalierly continues the conspiracy.

    I’d hide in the wings if I were Bob Barr.

  23. Nancy & Nita —
    Thank you for your responses.
    Unfortunately, I am unwilling to severe ties with my brother over Trump. Because I am very outspoken, over the years I have managed to prune away friends and acquaintances who found my progressive views untenable. And that’s OK as I have many friends who are compassionate and thoughtful. It’s just the thought of spending time with a person who watches FAUX Noise and thinks sports is the only form of entertainment — well, I just wonder how we both came from the same household. Although, my parents were rigid Republicans and I was the “black sheep” of the family. They are both long gone now and I wonder what they would think of Trump.

  24. Hey Todd, are you serious! What kind of babbling BS are you pushing out? You compare the Obama administration and the Trump administration on the same plane of existence? For someone who claims he’s so transparent, Trump isn’t even close to opaque, more like lead. His shenanigans with his Mistresses, his hidden realestate deals with foreign governments, is booking foreign Representatives at his hotels for government business, his bankruptcies, his absolute disdain for anyone who is not white, which is evident in his business dealings obviously. Donald Trump decries presidential harassment all the while forgetting that he harassed Barack Obama endlessly by using the birther movement that Trump wholeheartedly embraced. Then Trump complains about illegal immigrants all the while using them for is demolition projects on property that he’s acquired. And let’s not forget his hotels and all of the legal immigrants that he has used for cheap employment. And why not all of Donald Trump’s trinkets that promotes Donald Trump, LOL, and that are made in Asia. Donald Trump, a person who complains about eminent domain and then used it twice in his business dealings. Donald Trump, a draft dodger who supposedly supports the military? Now that’s a joke! Donald Trump, the clown who claimed Barack Obama was a terrible student and then threatened his own educational institutions with lawsuits if they revealed his school records. Whenever you hear Donald Trump roiling about somebody and throwing out insults, those are what he feels and knows about his personal being, then tries to deflect it towards others. Donald Trump, a person who has read Adolf Hitler’s speeches and uses many of Hitler’s tactics in his speaking engagements. Donald Trump, a person who embraces and praises the enemies of this country while demonizing our national defense and clandestine organizations. man, I could go on and on, and if any other president in history was involved in just a small fraction of what Trump is involved in, and has been involved in, Mitch McConnell would be begging for impeachment proceedings to start. The Republicans are going to end up regretting what they’ve done and what they’ve allowed, because Trump has set a new bar, as low as it is, for other presidents to follow.
    So, is this person Todd Smekens really Donald Trump? I’d put money on that one, LOL.

  25. Well, Todd, you’re right; “corrupt” is too weak a word to describe the type of criminal activity in which Trump is engaged.

    And “outrageous” is much too weak, also.

    It is moments like this that I want to invent new words — usually new curse words.

    Then I realize that there is a word that is perfect to describe Trump, if only people realized the brutal connotations of that word. What word is it?

    CAPITALIST. Which is another word for Sociopath.

    Peruse a smear of those HOW TO GET AHEAD books for sale in book stores. Make a list of all the evil selfish vices those books tell you that are necessary to become rich. Then examine a few psychology books that list and describe the attributes of a sociopath. Compare the attributes of a rabid capitalist with the attributes of a mad dog sociopath, and you will find zero deviation and complete correlation.

    Trump is a mad dog capitalist with all the attributes of a rabid sociopath…and vice versa.

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