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Mountain Mule

Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Colorado Springs
Home country: Colorado
Current location: the Four Corners
Member since: Thu Dec 1, 2016, 02:27 PM
Number of posts: 997

About Me

A survivor of the Great Election Day Hack Attack, so this is not my first ride at the DU rodeo. Given the events of the past year, I have resigned my US citizenship and I await notification about my request for asylum in the Navajo Nation about 20 miles south of my current location. My current country is the bright blue state of Colorado. I have dedicated myself to the destruction of the current oligarchy under which the US is now governed. Direct Democracy is true Democracy!

Journal Archives

Bolivia Is Fighting Major Forest Fires Nearly As Large As In Brazil

Six volunteer firefighters use machetes to cut a path through the vines and underbrush of the Chiquitano forest in Bolivia's eastern lowlands. They're approaching the leading edge of a fire that's been burning for hours.

They attempt to smother it with shovelfuls of dirt and water they carry on their backs in tanks normally used to fumigate crops. But the smoke is getting thicker, the heat stronger and swirling winds push the flames forward. Realizing they are overmatched, José Zapata, the only trained firefighter among the group, orders his men to pull out.

"The fire was coming from many sides," Zapata explains as he leads a hasty retreat to the relative safety of a nearby road. "We could have gotten trapped."

Bolivian firefighters, army troops and volunteers have been working nonstop for the past two months amid some of the worst fires in the country's recent history. President Evo Morales, who is running for reelection next month, has suspended his campaign to deal with the expanding disaster.

On Saturday, regional officials estimated nearly 6 million acres of forest and savanna have been torched since August. Eduardo Forno, who heads the Bolivian chapter of Conservation International, says that is almost equal to the area burned this year in the Amazon rainforest in neighboring Brazil, a country eight times larger.


The bad news never stops these days.
Posted by Mountain Mule | Wed Sep 18, 2019, 12:04 PM (1 replies)

U.S. officials knew bomb-sniffing dogs were dying from neglect in Jordan. They sent more.

Source: Washington Post

Mencey, a pointy-eared, caramel-colored Belgian Malinois, was ready to sniff out bombs when he arrived in Jordan in July 2017.

The 3-year-old did not get much of a chance. Mencey was bombarded with ticks and sandflies while under Jordanian care, and he was evacuated back to a facility in Virginia. A vector-borne disease ravaged his body. His kidneys failed. And less than a year after he left, Mencey was euthanized at the same facility where he trained to help secure a country that ultimately killed him.

The State Department sent dozens of highly skilled explosive-detection dogs to Jordan, even after the agency assessed a high degree of mistreatment and failure to care for the animals in 2016, according to an inspector general report concluded last week. It ultimately led to their early deaths and crushed their spirits so brutally that the dogs “lost the will to work,” the report says.

At least 10 dogs provided to Jordan died of “various medical problems” out of at least 100 canines sent there between 2008 and 2016, the report found, and surviving dogs were starved in kennels smeared with feces and dirt. Dogs were overworked in the desert, suffered hip dysplasia and other conditions. Engorged ticks ringed their ears.

Read more: https://beta.washingtonpost.com/science/2019/09/16/us-officials-knew-bomb-sniffing-dogs-were-dying-neglect-jordan-they-sent-more/

Warning! The pictures and commentary which accompany this story are not for the faint of heart. I am sick to my stomach after reading this. Never mind the fact that these dogs are literally worth their weight in gold, continuing to ship them off to countries where they will be treated in the cruelest possible ways is simply immoral. I'll be writing my elected representatives and everyone else I can think of about this. It figures that something this awful would happen under the administration of a president* who has no problem caging children. The cruelty never stops if you happened to be named Trump.
Posted by Mountain Mule | Mon Sep 16, 2019, 07:27 PM (12 replies)

Crazy Like FOX... Dems Should Follow Bernie Across the Cable DMZ

It is the riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma for all who lean left: how is it possible that Donald Trump’s sins, deceits, criminal acts, vile behaviors, racist bloviation, misogynist bile, xenophobic rants, impeachable offenses, and now broadside volleys against the Constitution have had, in aggregate, no discernible impact on his approval rating?

Theories abound. Some involve arrogant estimates about the IQs and education of Trump supporters, but a modest amount of googling can shoot these theories to pieces. There is the theory that many Trump supporters care only about the strong state of the economy and stock market. Other theories hold that Trump gives voice to the anger of Americans who feel that their government has failed them.

But there is of course another factor, and it is profound. And that is the fact that millions of perfectly intelligent Americans choose to get their news from Fox News, and each and every day they are provided an aggressively curated version of the day’s events. If you want to know a want to know a big reason why Donald Trump’s approval rating is immutable, the answer lies there...

All of which brings me to a recent flash of brilliance from contrarian Bernie Sanders.

Sure, we can worry that Bernie's ideological rigidity and uncompromising rhetoric could lead to damaging rifts in the Democratic Party. But it is fair to argue that he has been the pre-eminent thought leader for the Party over the past four years... creative, perceptive, original, and way out in front of the party's sharp shift to the left.

A few weeks ago Bernie participated in a town hall-style television event broadcast on Fox News. Bernie’s town hall in the other team’s town was particularly notable as the Democratic Party had recently announced that it would refuse to allow Fox News to host any of the televised debates in the Democratic primary season.

This time, it’s sure not crazy Bernie. Bernie is right and the Democratic Party leadership is crazy...

So Bernie Sanders decided to go behind enemy lines and speak directly to Trump's base. He realized that allowing the base to listen exclusively to Sean Hannity was to acquiesce to the polarization that fuels Trump's power.

If you don't shake the faith of Trump's base, he keeps his Senators, he keeps his job, and he keeps crushing the checks and balances that make our nation a democracy governed by the rule of law.

We must try to get to Trump's base.


The excerpt above is taken from today's blog post on Born to Run the Numbers. It's a bit long but well worth the read. I'm posting about it NOT because I'm a Sanders supporter - I am undecided. However, I am a huge supporter of the Democrats, and I believe that by taking the battle to the enemy, we may gain some converts. Fox viewers are mostly on auto-pilot - they keep their TV's tuned to all Fox, all of the time - thus they never are exposed to the real world.

When Bernie appeared on Fox, this all changed and some Foxers were actually applauding Bernie! I bet they would applaud Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren or any of the other Democrats now running in the primaries.

What's the worst that could happen if Kamala Harris had an interview with Fox? The audience would automatically reject her and her ideas? BFD. Foxers do that now. But what if Kamala (or Joe or Pete) actually caused some of them to stop and think? Thoughtful people vote Democrat these days. Why not give it a shot?
Posted by Mountain Mule | Thu May 9, 2019, 01:56 PM (12 replies)

Hickenlooper's March 26 Op-Ed in the WaPo - Great stuff!

I think Hickenlooper brought up some good points. Here are some excerpts from his editorial:

Climate change is a defining challenge of our time, and yet we have a president who is taking us in the wrong direction. He withdrew our country from the Paris climate accords. He is expanding drilling on public lands. He is forfeiting our country’s leadership, changing our national symbol from the eagle to an ostrich, burying our head in the sand in the face of this global threat...

Amid this technological innovation, we need to ensure that energy is not only clean but also affordable. Millions of Americans struggle with “energy poverty.” Too often, low-income Americans must choose between paying for medicine and having their heat shut off. Their situation is all the more urgent given the ongoing attempts by President Trump to cut programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program...

That is why I support the concept of a Green New Deal — the idea that we should launch multiple major federal initiatives to tackle climate change and reorient our economy around clean energy. The idea has been around for at least a decade and will be one of my highest priorities as president.The federal government should also build on what we have done in Colorado. In 2014, we became the first state to impose its own regulation on methane emissions, which are 25 times worse for climate change than carbon dioxide, and we did it by working with both environmentalists and industry. We implemented new standards for low-emission vehicles and expanded Colorado’s renewable energy standard, doubling the goal for rural electric producers. We also built public support for unprecedented expansions of light rail and the retrofitting of buildings to save energy. At the same time, we created more than 10,000 clean-energy jobs — just as we can create millions of clean-energy jobs across the country if we take the right steps.

more - [link:https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/26/john-hickenlooper-green-new-deal-sets-us-up-failure-we-need-better-approach/?utm_term=.80fa6c4260d7|

I love that changing our national bird from the eagle to the ostrich. LOL!

As a former geologist, Hickenlooper knows where-of he speaks - probably more than any other democratic candidate to enter the fray so far. He knows the energy industry; he understands the science of global warming and he has plenty of empathy for those who struggle to make ends meet in these times of austerity for the common folk and free rides for the billionaires.

What's not to love?
Posted by Mountain Mule | Tue Apr 2, 2019, 09:08 PM (1 replies)

Trump proposes a $4.7 trillion budget with domestic cuts, billions for wall

Source: Washington Post

President Trump proposed a $4.7 trillion budget plan Monday that stands as a sharp challenge to Congress and the Democrats trying to unseat him, the first act in a multi-front struggle over the role of government that threatens to consume Washington for the next 18 months.

The budget proposal dramatically raises the possibility of another government shutdown in October, with the inclusion of an additional $8.6 billion to build sections of a wall along the U. S.-Mexico border. Trump’s ask for yet more wall money — beyond the spending he is already seeking under a “national emergency” declaration at the border — infuriated Democrats.

The budget also calls for a significant increase in military spending, causing problems with some Republicans who are uneasy about how it is allocated. If lawmakers and Trump don’t reach a spending agreement by the end of September, many government operations will grind to a halt.

Trump’s “Budget for a Better America” also includes dozens of spending cuts and policy overhauls that frame the early stages of the debate for the 2020 election. For example, Trump calls for a series of changes that would reduce total spending on the program by roughly $845 billion over 10 years for Medicare, the popular health care program for the elderly that in the past he had largely said he would protect.

- more

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/trump-proposes-47-trillion-budget-with-domestic-cuts-86-billion-in-wall-funding/2019/03/11/de11cfa4-43fe-11e9-90f0-0ccfeec87a61_story.html?utm_term=.30cb485fd47e

There is no end to Trump's avarice. That wall is a real estate developer's wet dream. And most certainly, tRump is positioning himself for a huge lovefest with his base of cult members and a hatefest toward everyone else.
Posted by Mountain Mule | Mon Mar 11, 2019, 02:15 PM (8 replies)

'Unacceptable': Coast Guard's top officer criticizes lack of payment in government shutdown

Source: The Washington Post

The Coast Guard’s top admiral said Tuesday that members of the armed forces should not be expected to shoulder the burden of the partial government shutdown, citing the “anxiety and stress” it is causing military families as their pay is withheld.

Adm. Karl Schultz, the Coast Guard commandant, said that he is heartened by the outpouring of support Coast Guard personnel have received across the country but expects more.

“Ultimately, I find it unacceptable that Coast Guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donations to get through day-to-day life as service members,” he said, speaking on a video posted to his Twitter account.

The comments marked the admiral’s most forceful remarks about the shutdown since it began 32 days ago amid a dispute over President Trump’s demands for funding for a southern border wall. While the majority of the U.S. military is part of the Defense Department and has funding, the Department of Homeland Security and its agencies, including the Coast Guard, are affected by the shutdown.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2019/01/23/unacceptable-coast-guards-top-officer-criticizes-lack-payment-government-shutdown/?utm_term=.ae251fdb15b3

I am glad to see a high ranking officer of the Coast Guard finally speaking out! Can you imagine if the Army or Navy had been impacted the same way? Cadet Bone Spurs belongs at the bottom of a Bayou somewhere.
Posted by Mountain Mule | Tue Jan 22, 2019, 10:48 PM (6 replies)

800,000 is terrible, but 37,000,000 is catastrophic

I can't even imagine how difficult it must be to be one of the 800,000 government workers who are getting laid off with no pay or forced to work for free. Not all government workers will get back pay either - especially those who are considered "independent contractors." Many of them won't get so much as a dime.

Making America "Great" by turning American workers into slaves for - oh, two or three months, maybe two or three years. But all you Federal workers are just fine with this. We know this because the malignant narcissist in the White House came on TV and told us so. Or maybe he tweeted that one. It's so hard to keep up these days, especially when your mind keeps obsessing about going hungry along with 38 Million other Americans who must depend on food stamps (SNAP) that will lose their funding in 3 weeks when February rolls around.

Me, I'm 67 but I became disabled when I was 51. The catastrophic medical bills cut through my savings like a hot knife through butter. These days I get by on a tiny social security check, a housing voucher and SNAP. There's no margin for error in my monthly budget. I consider it to be a good month when I manage to hit the 30th with my rent and electric bills paid up; my Internet didn't get turned off (not this time, anyhow); and some eggs, bread and coffee to tide me over until there's money on my SNAP card again.

I volunteer as an advocate with the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition when I'm able to. I could tell you all so many heartbreaking stories about low income disabled people around here. There's the woman a judge sent to the county jail for being a schizophrenic. She languished there for months with no evaluation and certainly no treatment. I know of more people than I can count who are disabled and homeless who camp on the public lands.

And I will never forget the woman and her son with Downs Syndrome. She was trying to leave her abusive husband and had managed to finally escape the little fundamentalist Mormon town they had been living in. Mother and son also camped out in a trailer on public land. CCDC had been trying to arrange for housing and medical care for both of them. Then one day the local social services office told the Mom that she and her son did not qualify for food stamps. That poor woman was so beaten down that she went into hysterics at the news and threatened to kill herself. Terrible, terrible situation.

Many people in my small town on Colorado's mostly rural Western Slope aren't doing as well as I am. I am next door neighbors with both the Ute Reservation and the Navajo Nation. The poverty among many of the Utes and Navajo is simply heart breaking. Any time I want to start feeling sorry for myself, all I have to do is walk down the dirt road that leads to the mostly Ute town of Toawoc. It's like stepping into the third world. Folks who live there are largely dependent on programs administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), a Federal Agency which is now also going unfunded. Always hit the most vulnerable first, right?

We don't have any of those cool Colorado resort jobs around here. It's mostly low wage agricultural and tourist trade work. Retirees with decent pensions give the local economy a shot in the arm, but we need more than just shots. Sometimes I think we need a war. What will the people who depend on food stamps do come next month? Two of the local churches trade off on running the soup kitchen. What will happen to that soup kitchen when it becomes overwhelmed by the need to help all the people who suddenly no longer have the means to put food on their tables? The Federal commodities program which distributes food boxes to qualifying low income folk will not be funded either.

Then I try to imagine all the other communities both large and small; urban and rural all across the nations that will be experiencing the same frankly impossible situation that we will be here. Worst of all, little kids are going to go hungry. You can't just suddenly throw 38 million people at private charities and community soup kitchens that were already overwhelmed and expect that the hungry will get fed. Some of us won't.

Oh, how I despise Donald Trump.
Posted by Mountain Mule | Sun Jan 6, 2019, 04:54 PM (44 replies)
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