The Iranian oil tanker, Sanchi, sank on January 14th, after colliding with a Chinese cargo ship in the East China Sea. Over 135,000 tons of condensate, a ultralight crude oil, has been pouring out and burning for over a week. This may be the worst oil spill in 35 years, and it comes at a time when the Trump Administration is trying to open up drilling for oil on the east and west coasts of the United States.
IS ANYONE LISTENING?
Why are we drilling for oil when there is a finite amount of crude oil left in the world and it wreaks havoc with air quality, pollution, and climate change?
Better question: Why did Trump slap a 30% tariff on solar panels produced outside the US?
Answer: Trump is supporting the oligarchy by protecting the oil and coal industries’ bottom line -- PROFIT.
I have renewed faith in humanity. Albeit, I’m grabbing for straws, but, when I hear terrifying stats on melting ice caps, sinking ocean floors, and rising sea levels, I’ll take it! A year ago (can’t believe it’s only been a year since Trump took office – it feels like four!), the Trump administration FIRED the top climate scientists in the world. Seriously? But the amazing news is that Richard Moss, the former member of the Federal Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment, has pulled together several of the scientists who were fired last year to continue their research.
MUSIC TO MY EARS!
Even though the team is not funded by the federal government, they are banding together to continue their research to find solutions to our climate change problems. New York’s Governor Cuomo plans to help fund this research, and others will hopefully follow suit! I think that their research will probably find “real” solutions quicker because they won’t be fighting an uphill battle with a president and administration that doesn’t believe climate change is real.
The number of students who took the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) increased by nearly 20% this year. That’s the biggest jump in over 15 years. So why the sudden interest in law?
As students have watched the Trump administration flagrantly misuse the law since January 2017, these students are starting to see the necessity for laws. Hmm. So whether or not you’re wanting more government, we are going to have more lawyers in the future. I think environmental law is going to be a booming industry soon.
Seems like we’re all on edge because we really don’t have control of our future due to the lunatic in the Oval Office. As I flip channels, the news centers around uncovering lies and announcing really scary scenarios about him on the brink of starting a nuclear war, building oil pipelines, and restarting the coal industry.
Our tension fills the air and unfortunately our children often feel our stress. When parents have such uncertainty, it leads to self doubt in our children.
Here’s a list of 10 books (compiled by Melissa Taylor) for preschoolers to help them get to know and love themselves – despite the world around them.
Be Who You Are!
by Todd Parr
The Things I Love About Me
by Trace Moroney
I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem
by Jamie Lee Curtis
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
By Patty Lovell
By David McKee
Giraffes Can’t Dance
By Giles Andreae
The Sneetches and Other Stories
By Dr. Seuss
You’re Here for a Reason
By Nancy Tillman
Red: A Crayon’s Story
By Michael Hall
By Robert Munsch
If you’re like me, you’re numb from the onslaught of drastic cuts to the protections that we’ve worked so hard to establish over the past half century. We don’t know who voted for Trump and simply can’t believe that there are that many stupid people out there who would actually vote for someone who will hurt them. How can these same people watch Trump strip them of medical care, environmental protection, and civil liberties and continue to cheer him on? After pondering this for weeks, I just read an interesting article “Why Facts Don’t Change our Minds” in The New Yorker that helps make sense of this phenomenon. I’ve summarized it here:
Once an opinion is formed, these impressions are remarkably perseverant, according to Stanford researchers in 1975. In other words, even presenting real facts – pure scientific evidence – may not change the person’s opinion. Since Trump took office, we read about this every day.
According to Harvard cognitive scientists, Mercier and Sperber, “One implication of the naturalness with which we divide cognitive labor,” they write, is that there’s no sharp boundary between “one person’s ideas and knowledge” and “those of other members” of the group. So when someone is influenced by the people around them, herd mentality kicks in and the entire group becomes strong advocates for their shared belief. But when you separate the members and individually ask them to explain the impacts of their proposals, many are not able to. It turns out that they often don’t fully understand the issues and can’t defend their beliefs without their crowd. When they were asked to rate their opinions about the same issue again, their enthusiasm for it significantly dropped. Hmm.
That said, this type of community knowledge can be very dangerous. Sloman (Brown University) and Fernbach (University of Colorado) suggest that we spend less time pontificating about the perils of our government, and more time working through the implications of policy proposals. Then we might realize how clueless we really are, and we’d moderate our views. This may be the only way of thinking that can shatter the illusion of explanatory depth and change people’s attitudes and beliefs.
Naturally, this is easier to assume that the other side should stop pontificating and listen to our arguments and facts, but it’s something that we all need to do. I’m not backing down on fighting the many atrocities that are taking place today; I’m simply going to listen more carefully so I understand what is really going on. My hope is that if everyone did this, we might join forces to ensure that the majority of Americans benefits from policies being placed – not the corporations and special interest groups.
The words we use determine what people hear. Using the power of the word – linguistics – we can win back our democracy. By tweeting lies and repeating them over and over again, Trump reaches and influences millions of people who are too busy and stressed to vet out the truth. So to beat him at his own game using his skillful techniques, we shouldn’t attack and repeat what he says (because that just reinforces it in everyone’s minds), instead, we should state what the public needs and frame our message in terms of the public good.
I’m reading George Lakoff’s book Don’t Think of an Elephant to learn how to use linguistics to frame your message. Lakoff sent his piece called “Understanding Trump” to the entire Clinton campaign management team and PAC (Political Action Committee) to help them understand Trump’s skillful brainwashing techniques last year - but nobody was listening. So now, I think the world is listening.
Lakoff suggests that we do 2 things:
(1) Create a citizen’s communication network that lays out our values, and
(2) Train leaders and media how to frame their messages from a positive point of view.
What’s good for the public actually goes against everything that Trump is doing, so this will be easy to do. Read Lakoff’s book Don’t Think of an Elephant to better equip yourself whether you’re posting on social media or running for President of the United States.
Did you know that only 4% of our president’s statements were completely true? He is a compulsive liar. According to Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist, “When we are overwhelmed with false, or potentially false, statements, our brains pretty quickly become so overworked that we stop trying to sift through everything.” When we’re barraged with a stream of lies (sounds like what we’ve been dealing with for the past year), this cognitive overload makes us give up deciphering what is true and what is false.
We inevitably absorb some of the lies, and this onslaught of untruths become normalized in our brains and we just begin to accept them as truths and reality. By repeating these lies over and over again, people believe they’re true. This effect is known as an “Illusory truth” and has been demonstrated by recent FAKE NEWS.
But here’s the really disturbing part about lies. Even when the truth comes out to refute a lie, just the act of countering the lie actually reinforces the lie! Yup! The brain hears the first part about the subject but the argument proving that the subject was wrong often gets lost. So even when there is a deluge of evidence to prove that the statement was a lie, just the act of using those key words reinforces the lie in your brain. Retracted information can actually continue to reinforce the opposite position.
Think: Hillary’s emails. After the original accusation about illegal emails, every statement made to defend her just further burned a guilty opinion in the public’s mind. Then when Comey conveniently brought up the question of Hillary’s emails just before the election (without any further proof or new evidence), the public heard it as yet another claim about her guilt – even though it was completely unfounded.
Worst of all: The onslaught of lies becomes normalized. Not sure what will become of American government in the next 4 years. I am trying to wrap my head around what this research means and how to state the truth and be heard.
As a Japanese American, I worry about how President Trump can bypass Congress by using the EXECUTIVE ORDER privilege to “protect America.” I am a 3rd-generation American; my parents were both born in Los Angeles and their parents were born in Japan. In 1942, my mother’s family was incarcerated in Rohwer, Arkansas and forced to leave their home and business (Yamasa) in Los Angeles, while my father’s family was incarcerated in Manzanar, California. My entire extended family lost all of their properties, businesses, and personal possessions as they only had a few days to pack up and leave their homes. They lived behind barbed wire for over 3 years.
Then-president Roosevelt signed the infamous Executive Order 9066 in 1942 (following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor), which allowed him to set policy without congressional approval – avoiding public debate and opposition. With just a few days’ notice, all 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans living in the United States were required to relocate to one of 10 internment centers in the United States.
Why? Americans were angry about the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and needed to point their hatred and prejudice toward something tangible. While Japanese Americans were and are 100% Americans like Irish Americans, German Americans, and the other European Americans, they looked like the enemy – the Imperial Japanese from Japan. Even though the government claimed to fear espionage, not one Japanese American was ever caught doing any such activity. As a matter of fact, the Japanese American 442nd infantry regiment was the most decorated combat team in WWII. Talk about patriotism: They fought for America while their families were incarcerated. Wow.
As I write this blog, Trump has announced his first executive order: building his wall on the border with Mexico. He is using tax-payer money to start his wall but claims that he’ll have Mexico pay for the rest of the wall (with a 20% tax on all imports from Mexico as part of the Border-Adjustment VAT). This also means that he is hiring an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 10,000 immigration officers. With just 34,000 beds available for immigration detention, it looks like private prison companies will be utilized to handle the 8 million undocumented workers.
It’s been 75 years since Roosevelt issued the Executive Order 9066. We as Americans need to stand up for our rights and unite to prevent any deliberate attack on any group of people. Today it’s undocumented workers – will it be Muslims tomorrow? I’m worried about how Trump will use his Presidential Executive Order privilege to discriminate and further divide this nation.
While I have anticipated the worst scenario for Trump’s anti-Climate Change agenda, I was hopeful that he might consult the experts before moving forward on his campaign promises. But that did NOT happen. In order to fund his promises of building roads, schools, and public infrastructure, Trump plans to do the unconscionable:
1.Eliminate CLIMATE ACTION PLAN and WATER of the US RULE
Claims = By getting rid these plans, increase American wages by $30 billion over 7 years.
Reality = Trump is getting rid of energy regulations and giving oil, shale, and natural gas companies free reign to produce dirty, polluting energy.
2.FRACK America to get methane (natural gas) out of shale wells across the US
Claims = America has untapped domestic energy (our personal properties and federal lands!)
Reality = To get the methane, oil companies will drill thousands of wells using one million gallons of water with known chemical carcinogens in EACH WELL, destroying personal property and federal parks. This will contaminate our drinking water. See Gasland.
3.Revive the COAL INDUSTRY in America
Claims = Trump says that mining coal is clean (seriously?) and the coal industry is hurting (good!).
Reality = There is no such thing as “clean coal;” it’s an oxymoron. Let's create American jobs building clean, sustainable energy, not dangerous and polluting coal energy!
4.Create ENERGY INDEPENDENCE by FRACKING for national security
Claims = Drilling for natural gas on our soil gives us independence from OPEC
Reality = We need to stop using oil, natural gas, and coal to mitigate Climate Change, and develop clean energy from hydrogen, solar, and wind.
It’s time to step out of our comfort zones and take action. Call your senators to stop Scott Pruitt from heading the EPA and Rex Tillerson from becoming our Secretary of State. Then, support energy reform. I’ll be posting Kids 4 Hydrogen’s recommendation for an energy solution this week. Curious? Check out our website at www.Kids4Hydrogen.org to see a viable energy solution that can meet our pressing deadline to reduce CO2 within 10 years.
See the America First Energy Plan