Galloping towards the Apocalypse

Democrats and progressives have been celebrating their electoral gains in the House of Representatives and in local and state races.

But Republicans will gain one or more seats in the U.S. Senate, and 85 year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg just had a bad fall and broke some ribs.

If the Supreme Court rules that that Trump can fire Mueller or that the House of Representatives can’t investigate Trump, that would cause a constitutional crisis and result in massive civil unrest.

Such rulings are more likely now that Kavanaugh has been confirmed and will be even more likely given the likelihood that Trump will get to appoint a third Supreme Court Justice.

Trump has already threatened to bring the government to a halt if Dems investigate him.

The question is: would voices of sanity in the Supreme Court (maybe Chief Justice Roberts) realize that a highly partisan ruling about investigations of Trump could result in a constitutional crisis?

The right is so deranged, living in a fantasy world of fake news and conspiracy theories. I fear for the future of the nation.  Hopefully Roberts and others on the Supreme Court will realize that the nation’s future is at stake.

For an example of craziness, consider: Matthew Whitaker: acting attorney general said judges should be Christian “Trump’s replacement for Jeff Sessions to lead the justice department said judges needed a ‘biblical view of justice’.”  Whitaker has also expressed skepticism about the Mueller investigations.

Another example: Spokane GOP leader authors ‘Biblical Basis for War’ manifesto calling for end to abortion, same-sex marriage and death of enemies who disagree. FBI investigating Washington state rep. for manifesto urging ‘all males will be killed’. But the legislator, Matt Shea, won re-election.

Another example: Right-wing Evangelical letter opposing Faithful America, containing conspiracy theories and distortions.  The letter, signed by over 4000 right wing Christians denounces, in part:

1. A growth industry trafficking in human baby organs and body parts, funded and defended by the Democratic Party.

2. The abandonment of a biblical view of marriage that protected and liberated children and adults from centuries of pagan slavery, poverty, polygamy and non-life-giving sexuality.

3. The Transgender agenda including gender “reorientation” of our children, also being forced on our neighbors, businesses, schools, military and churches.

4. Socialism, higher taxes and government regulations. These policies stifle human creativity, productivity, family stability and generosity. Such policies increase joblessness, welfare dependency and national debt.

Faithful America also reports: “In Georgia, the Republican candidate for governor used his position as secretary to state to purge more than 1.5 million voters from the rolls and shut down hundreds of polling places – likely enough to decide the election.”  Such voter suppression tactics are widespread.

Is it true that 1.5 million voters were purged in Georgia?  According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 500,000 voters were recently purged.   “Since 2012, according to federal and state data, Georgia has removed about 1.4 million people from the voting rolls.”

Whatever the exact number, such blatant voter-disenfranchisement is despicable and warrants an organized national response.  Boycott of Georgia?

North Carolina and other states enacted similar policies.

Given all this craziness, this well-written article seems quite plausible: America’s Next Civil War.  “The United States shows all the warning signs of impending social and political collapse.”   The article describes the extreme divisions in American politics and the failure of major institutions. It envisions the outbreak of violence.

So, progressives don’t have a lot to be pleased about. What’s more, this article, Progressives’ plan for victory just took a gut-punch. Now what do they do?, suggests that progressives flipped few seats in the 2018 election. “Despite a good night for congressional Democrats overall, nearly all of national progressive groups’ star candidates fell short in their contests in red or purple districts and states, potentially slowing the momentum the emboldened left had enjoyed since Hillary Clinton’s loss two years ago.” (Or is that story biased?)

The far left — meaning those who regarded Hillary and the Dems as the “lesser-of-two-evils” and refused to vote for them — may be correct that the mainstream Dems were helping the GOP set the U.S. on a path towards environmental, budgetary and military destruction. But at least the Dems were doing so slowly. Realistically, the mainstream Dems are centrists and, generally, hawks, but they’re not deranged like the Republicans.  They would have protected the EPA, the Supreme Court, the separation of church and state, gay rights, labor rights, etc., etc.

The Republicans are galloping towards the Apocalypse, or a Second Civil War.

Progressive Dems — many of them young women — won many races. So there is hope. But can the center hold or will the nation further split into warring factions of Trumpian Republicans on the one hand, and Democrats and other leftists on the other?  Furthermore, can the Left heal the divisions between the Democrats and the radicalizing socialists fed up with the corporate, centrist Dems?  If the socialists would join forces with the progressive Dems, together they could together kick out the corporate Dems and reform the Democratic Party.

Salomon’s campaign, and special interests, spend over $235K to unseat progressive State Senator Maralyn Chase

Stand For Children and Washington Realtors Political Action Committee, together with Jesse Salmon’s campaign, have spent over $235,000 to unseat Senator Maralyn Chase, according to the Public Disclosure Commission website.

This PDC page lists independent expenditures for the Jesse Salomon campaign, reproduced below:

In addition to benefiting from those Independent Expenditures, the Salomon campaign itself spent $158,810.66. (source)

Direct (non-independent) contributors to the Salomon campaign include Monsanto, Chevron, and Merck.

Stand for Children cloaked their identity on some flyers by donating to REALTOR PAC for hit flyers. See this article for more on the weird web of connections between SFC and REALTORS PAC.

What does Stand [for Children] stand for now?

  • Closing neighborhood schools
  • Expanding charter schools
  • Evaluating teachers using unreliable standardized test scores
  • Replacing teachers with “online learning”

Who does Stand really speak for? Not parents. Not children.

SFC is a front for corporations, hedge funders and investment bankers who have thrown their wealth behind a national campaign to destroy teachers unions and privatize our public schools. Bill Gates, the Walmart family, New Profit venture fund, J P Morgan Chase, etc. have donated millions to SFC over the past 2-3 years, allowing it to expand to Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

Local one-percenters who donate to Stand For Children include Connie Ballmer, Jeff Bezos, Vulcan Inc., and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The PDC website is not always clear.  Viewing various of their pages reveals more and more about the web of donations.

Stand for Children’s and WA Realtors’ suspicious campaign spending

According to the state Public Disclosure Commission, STAND FOR CHILDREN PAC spent $456,189.36 in 2018, much of it for “MAILER Independent expenditures” and “DIGITAL Ad Campaign Independent Expenditures.” Here’s a partial list of their expenditures.

Itemized expenditures: 456,189.36

…..

“Stand for Children  is a front for corporations, hedge funders and investment bankers who have thrown their wealth behind a national campaign to destroy teachers unions and privatize our public schools. Bill Gates, the Walmart family, New Profit venture fund, J P Morgan Chase, etc. have donated millions to SFC over the past 2-3 years, allowing it to expand to Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.” More about SFC here: http://parentsacrossamerica.org/parents-know-the-truth-about-stand-for-children/
You can see the candidates SFC supported in 2018 here.

This query page at the PDC website says that STAND FOR CHILDREN WASHINGTON PAC paid $32,250.00 to WA REALTORS PAC, in 2018.

WA REALTORS PAC, 2018

Cash contributions: 1,096,130.38
In-kind contributions: 90,878.50

Top 45 contributors to this campaign

Amounts shown are aggregate totals of cash and in-kind contributions.

Why is STAND FOR CHILDREN giving money to the realtors’ PAC?

WA REALTORS PAC spent  $1,697,622.64 in 2018.  What are they trying to buy?

Jesse Salomon, candidate for State Senate in the 32nd LD, is a beneficiary of spending by both these PACs. According to this PDC page, Salomon received:

Friends of Cindy Ryu, Elect Jesse Salomon and Elect Lauren Davis used the deceptive name, “Democratic Team” to hide their identities to contribute “Est 28K.”  All of these are listed under “Contributions to Salomon.” I wonder if it’s a campaign violation for other candidates to mis-identify themselves as ‘Democratic Team.”

Unlike her opponent, Senator Chase does not rely on deceptive negative ads, nor take the big bucks from Monsanto, Chevron, Merck and pro-charter school privatizers such as STAND FOR CHILDREN.

Trump’s strategy

A friend says: Just in case there’s any doubt at this point about the game Trump plays. From Anthony Scaramucci (who still supports Trump) on Friday:

“What he likes doing, and what I tried to present at CNN yesterday and that ended up with the headline, “Scaramucci calls Trump a liar,” what he likes doing, he likes saying very provocative things, and in the case of lighting up the media, he likes saying very inaccurate things, cause he knows the media will jump on him like a hall monitor in middle school and reprimand him. And he knows that his base loves it when the media reprimands him. It galvanizes them. It gets them angry. It brings them to the fore, and he’s doing that to try to get them to participate in the vote on November 6th. And so, you can hate him for that, you can hate me for explaining it, but in my mind, he’s intentionally lying, as opposed to just lying lying. As it relates to a nationalist, he’s saying the word nationalist, cuz he’s hoping that somebody that really understands that word that hates him will get up on the television and say this SOB is a militant nationalist. And his base, they enjoy it. They don’t mind it. And now you guys can be upset about that, but that’s what it is.”

Uncle Sam on the Lam

by Lansing Scott

Uncle Sam drinking
Drunk Uncle Sam is on the lam. He escaped from DC and has been hitchhiking across the country, sleeping under bridges, & drinking his Thunderbird for months now. Hes almost reached Vancouver, BC, where he will formally apply for political asylum.

Asked to explain his sudden departure from his job as personification of the United States of America, Sam said, “Are you fucking kidding me? Like anybody would want this job right now? They wanted me to lead a campaign encouraging ICE agents to separate babies from their mothers. That was the final straw. Luckily Id skipped town before they could make me recruit support for that rapist judge Kavanaugh.”

Asked why he was seeking political asylum in Canada, Sam said, “I’ve been in an abusive relationship with this government. I cant take it any more! Were all in serious danger unless we vote against Republican control of government on Nov. 6.”

Pointing his finger at the camera, drunk Uncle Sam said, “I WANT YOU to get out the vote in this election! Im not fucking kidding! DO IT!”

On political struggle and spiritual acceptance

Ady Barkin wrote an essay in The Nation, I’m Dying. Here Is What I Refuse to Accept With Serenity, about politics, spirituality, and dying. At age 32 he was diagnosed with ALS, and within a few years he was unable to feed himself. He dictated the essay to a friend because he was unable to write or type. He wrote:

Like many people suddenly confronted with agonizing loss, I looked for answers in Buddhism. Pema Chödrön teaches us that when the ground disappears beneath your feet, the solution is not to flail around in a desperate attempt to find a handhold; it is to accept the law of gravity and find peace despite your velocity. Leave the mode of doing and enter the mode of being. Accept things as they are, rather than yearning for them to be otherwise.

Such radical acceptance is in tension with my identity as a movement builder. Activism is precisely about not accepting the tragedies of this world, but rather on insisting that we can reduce pain and prolong life. Social justice means creating a stable floor beneath our feet and then putting a safety net under that, to catch us if it suddenly vanishes: universal health insurance, affordable housing, unemployment benefits. Being part of a progressive political movement is about fighting back and building toward a better future. “Acceptance” is not part of our vocabulary.

The theologian Reinhold Niebuhr—whose most famous disciple, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., would become the patron saint of American organizers—sought to resolve this tension in his Serenity Prayer: asking for the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change what can be, and the wisdom to know the difference.

This is something I have wondered about for a long time: how to harmonize letting go and selflessness, on the one hand, with the obligation to work — indeed fight — for what is right and just.

For the things that we can  change (for the better) we are obligated to fix them; since we know that we can change them, it’s presumably not that difficult.  The challenging issues are the ones on the borderline between what we can change and what we can’t.    It’s not just a matter of wisdom. It’s also a matter of action: we don’t know if we can change them if we try, but try we must.  And we may stumble or go in the wrong direction, since our information is imperfect.

Barkin concludes his article like this:

Sometimes, though, our struggle is not enough. ALS destroys my body, no matter how many medicines I take or exercises I do. Sometimes, oftentimes, white supremacy, violent misogyny, and rapacious capitalism rip apart our families and destroy lives, regardless of how well we organize. And sometimes, oftentimes, our stories are not powerful enough. Despite our best efforts, Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed, and will do lasting damage to America and its people.

Yet it is in these moments of defeat that hopeful, collective struggle retains its greatest power. I can transcend my dying body by hitching my future to yours. We can transcend the darkness of this moment by joining the struggles of past and future freedom fighters. That is how, when we reach the end of our lives and look back on these heady moments, we will find peace in the knowledge that we did our best.

There is a seeming paradox embedded in the third part of Niebuhr’s prayer, because the wisdom to know the difference between what we can and cannot change can only be earned through struggle. Neuroscientists seek a cure for ALS because they do not accept its inevitability. Organizers rage against the machines of capitalism with that same determination. It is only by refusing to accept the complacency of previous generations that the impossible becomes reality. For me, Niebuhr’s prayer is most true if rearranged: Collective courage must come first, wisdom second, and serenity at the very end.

Buddhist teacher and author Jack Kornfield wrote an essay  Dharma & Politics on the same topic.   He calls on people to act from a place of love and peace. Find peace within and then go out into the world.

The Buddha’s teachings of compassion and wisdom are empowering; they encourage us to act. Do not doubt that your good actions will bear fruit, and that change for the better can be born from your life. Gandhi reminds us: “I claim to be no more than an average person with less than average ability. I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have if he or she would simply make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith.”

The long arc of justice is slow.  Despair is not an option. Selfless sacrifice is needed.  We must fight without becoming monsters ourselves.  But how to retain inner serenity in the midst of our sacrifices and struggles — both personal and societal — requires wisdom and maturity indeed.

I’m glad, by the way, that Kornfield descends from his spiritual heights — concern for one’s spiritual growth can be selfish, though they say that meditating for hours a day for years is for the benefit of others too — and addresses social justice: “America has sometimes confused power with greatness.”  “[I]f we envision the fulfillment of wisdom and compassion in the United States, it becomes clear that the richest nation on the earth must provide healthcare for its children; that the most productive nation on earth must find ways to combine trade with justice; that a creative society must find ways to grow and to protect the environment and sustainable development for generations ahead.”

Political activism may be a form of Karma Yoga (service). But because of the overall ugliness, anger, and impurity of politics — no politician is perfect — political activism doesn’t feel spiritual.

The Logic of Lesser-of-two-evilism

Suppose you are being held hostage by deranged criminals who give you an ultimatum: tell them your bank pin number, social security number and other identifying information, or they’ll rape your wife and daughters and mutilate you.

As a matter of principle, you oppose giving away your money to criminals — a clear evil. But you realize that the alternative is worse. So you settle for the lesser-of-two-evils.

Here’s another example. Suppose you’re terminally ill and in constant pain. You can’t walk, enjoy food, or enjoy sex. Your doctors tell you that your condition will worsen. In such a case, ending your own life might be the lesser-of-two-evils.

Here’s a more whimsical example: you’re a young man “in love” with a woman who insists that you marry. You kinda think marriage is evil, but the alternative — being alone — is worse. You settle for the lesser-of-two-evils, marriage.

Now for a serious, political example. Suppose that you lived in Louisiana in 1991 and had to choose between virulent racist David Duke and flawed, corrupt corporate Democrat Edwin Edwards in the race for the governor. Not a pleasant choice. But, as did a broad coalition of Louisianans, you could, with a clear conscience, vote for the lesser-of-two-evils, Edwards. That example is from Alfred Reed, Jr’s convincing article Vote for the Lyinc Neloiberal War Monger: It’s Important.

Quoting from that Reeds article again:

I assume readers get the allegorical point of that story [about Louisiana]. Just to drive it home, here’s another, more dramatic one that Harold Meyerson adduced last month in The American Prospect: in the early 1930s, as the National Socialists gained strength, Ernst Thälmann, the Chairman of the German Communist Party held to the line that the Social Democrats were a greater threat to the working class and to the possibility of revolution than were the Nazis. The Communists’ conflict with the Social Democrats was both not without justification and mutual. Some Communists believed that the elements of the working class who were drawn to the Nazis, e.g., those in Ernst Röhm’s Brown Shirts, could be won from them. In 1931 some sought to collaborate with the Nazis to bring down the weak Social Democrat government. In expressing the conviction that the Social Democrats were the main danger in German politics, Thälmann uttered the quip that has long outlived him as a cautionary device: “After Hitler, our turn.” His point was that a Nazi victory would expose them as fraudulent with no program for the working class. What Thälmann didn’t count on was their success at criminalizing and liquidating all opposition. He died in a concentration camp.

Indeed, many leftists who hate the Democrats often say similar things about the Democratic Party: they’re as corrupt as the Republicans.  Or they even claim that the Democrats are more dangerous, because they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. I hear such claims all the time online, particularly on OpEdNews. (I expect comments to that effect on this article.) Proponents of such claims say that the Democrats are as bad as the Republicans because  — take your pick — Bill Clinton approved NAFTA, Bill Clinton overturned Glass-Steagall, Barack Obama prosecuted whistle blowers, Barack Obama supported drone wars, Barack Obama continued the Bush bailouts of Wall Street, Hillary Clinton was hawkish, etc., etc.

I am convinced those people are wrong.  Yes, those Democrats pursued some evil policies. But the Democrats are much better than the Republicans: on women’s rights, on the environment, on taxation, on gay rights, on unionism, on education, on the Supreme Court, on civil rights, on voting rights, etc., etc. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a right wing troll or is deluded.

Gore was an environmentalist and a moderate Democrat. Bush and Cheney launched the immoral and disastrous war in Iraq; they transferred trillions to the rich and gutted environmental regulations.

Obama did many bad things, but he’s nowhere near as bad as Bush, Cheney, or Trump. I needn’t tell you how much damage Trump and the GOP Congress are doing now.

So, in response to:

Warning to Democrats for 2020

I suggest:

Welcome to Bust

I could show dozens of other examples of how Trump is far, far worse than Hillary would have been. Only on militarism is it unclear whether Trump is worse. Hillary is a neocon. But Trump may start a war with Iran, North Korea, or China; and he is giving billions more to the military. And he is pulling out of the nuclear arms treaty with Russia.

But I understand where such Bernie-or-Busters are coming from.

Virtue scale

If we could rate politicians on a scale of virtue, with 0 being pure evil and 100 being pure good, we might rate dictators such as Hitler and Stalin in the low single digits. (They didn’t murder everybody.) Let’s say Dick Cheney is a 10, George W. Bush is 15, Bernie Sanders is 75, Dennis Kucinich is 85. What’s Trump? 20? What’s Hillary? 30? 40? 50? 60? What’s Obama? 40? 50? 60? Your ratings will differ. But given your ratings, suppose you’re voting in an election in which the two leading candidates are on the evil side of the scale: under 50. Suppose that one candidate scores a 10 (very evil) and the other scores a 35 (somewhat evil). Would that difference be enough to warrant voting for the lesser-of-two-evils? How about if their ratings were 10 versus 48? 10 versus 15? 30 versus 40?

Perhaps it would take a 20 point spread for you to vote for the lesser-of-two-evils.

Of course, the logic of lesser-of-two-evilism should take into account not just the two leading candidates but also third-party candidates, their chances of winning, and, most importantly, the effect of our votes on future elections. Such considerations greatly complicate the reasoning and weighing of effects.
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If the third-party candidate has a decent chance of winning, then it might be a risk worth taking to vote for her.

In 2000 and in 2016, everyone knew there was virtually no chance that Nader or Stein would win.

But someone can argue it’s better to vote for a third-party candidate because that will send a message to the future: we will not vote for an evil candidate — at least not one who scores less than, say, 45.

Such reasoning is like a sacrifice: I’m willing to suffer for the next four years (or next 40 years, realistically, given the judicial picks) so that future politicians will think twice before crossing a line.

Such a strategy might work. It can be quite costly. It’s not clear that future politicians will hear the message. I suppose it’s like the decision a general in a war needs to make: should I sacrifice these troops to set us up for victory in the future.

I suspect, though, that the votes by leftists for Nader in 2000 and for Stein in 2016 sent the following message to Democrats: “We Nader and Stein supporters are fools. Ignore us.”

There’s yet another way to view lesser-of-two-evilism. Instead of looking at the consequences of your vote, look at the virtue of the candidates. In such a case, one could have a principle: I will not vote for candidates who are less than, say, 40 on the evil scale, no matter how evil the more evil candidate is.  Such a view of voting largely ignores consequences.  It’s not a view that I support. How about you?

Repugs, Dumbs, and Dumbers: a rant

Repugs, Dumbs, and Dumbers: American politicians

If you have half a brain and half a conscience you know that most Republican politicians promote repugnant policies that increase inequality, bankrupt the economy, destroy the environment, and promote militarism. They lie, distort and resort to racism, xenophobia, dirty tricks and criminal activity.  They put children in cages. They antagonize our allies and cozy up to Putin. Still, tens of millions of Americans have been brainwashed to vote for them.

The mainstream Dems are far from perfect on policy — they’re often too hawkish and too compromised by corporate money — but they’re far better than the Repugs. Unfortunately, the Dems are usually dumb. Bill Clinton was dumb enough to ruin his presidency by having an affair with Monica Lewinsky, by getting caught, and by lying about it.  He also unnecessarily sold out — on NAFTA and on dismantling Glass-Stegall and welfare programs — thereby causing Nader and progressives to oppose him.

Hillary was so dumb she forgot to campaign in the swing states.

Obama had the chance to prosecute the Bush administration war criminals and the Wall Street crooks. Instead, he wanted to “look forward.” He should have looked forward to Trump. He prosecuted the whistle blowers, not the war criminals. He compromised early and often. He was a great orator and was much beloved by the people, who, in 2008 were disgusted with Republican criminality and stupidity. But Obama didn’t fight and didn’t lead. He allowed the Repugs to set the narrative and to Swift Boat both him and Hillary.

Here’s a particularly outrageous example of Obama’s dumb choices.  As reported in Politico (Biden: McConnell stopped Obama from calling out Russians), three weeks before the 2016 election, Obama and Biden wanted to inform the American people about Russian interference in the election. But they allowed Mitch McConnell to veto the announcement.

Biden said he and former President Barack Obama worried that without a united front of bipartisanship, speaking out before the election would undermine the legitimacy of the election and American institutions in a way that would play into the Russians’ larger ambitions. (source)

This is the same Joe Biden who, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that was holding hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, decided against allowing women other than Anita Hill to offer testimony about Thomas’s sexual harassment.

Why don’t Democrats fight?

Republicans in Congress had opposed virtually every policy position of President Obama. The Senate threatened filibusters on numerous bills. In March of 2016, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court; the Senate, under the leadership of Mitch McConnell, refused to hold hearings on the nomination. Yet three weeks before the 2016 election, Obama and Biden still wanted to be bipartisan and still deferred to Mitch McConnell?!

There are dozens of similar inexplicable cowardice or excessive moderation on the part of Obama. See this petition.

If Obama is a closet conservative, then some of his choices make sense. But from a purely political, strategic point of view, many of his choices were just dumb and naive.

As for Nader and Stein, their stubbornness, and that of their supporters, led to the election of Bush and Trump. They did not help the progressive cause at all. They’re now laughingstocks.

I might even include Bernie Sanders among the Dumb group. He unnecessarily calls himself a “Democratic Socialist” when, in fact, he’s really a social democrat.

Let’s hope the Dems stop being dumb. For now, they’re all that’s left to save us from the Repugs.

Here come the anti-I1631 ads from the oil companies

The Western States Petroleum Association sent me a glossy attack ad about the carbon tax initiative:

Anti-I-1631 ad from the Western States Petroleum Association

Inside the fold, it warns of higher prices.

Just this morning I got email from the YesOn1631 group saying:

Big oil is trying to buy this election.

Chevron has contributed $500,000.
Tesoro has contributed $4,362,827.
BP has contributed $6,443,709.
Phillips 66 has contributed $7,201,187.

More than $20 million has been contributed to spread LIES about Initiative 1631. They are just going to keep digging into their deep pockets to keep us down — we have to fight back.

It is noteworthy that while BP is one of the companies donating to the anti-I-1631 effort, Royal Dutch Shell decided not to get involved, according to the Seattle Times. “Shell, which operates the state’s second largest refinery, in Anacortes, has opted to sit on the sidelines of what has emerged as one of the most expensive initiative battles in Washington history. If approved, Initiative 1631 could serve as a model for other states.” But the oil companies now at least acknowledge that climate change is a real problem caused by burning of fossil fuel.

Fireplaces burning in the summer when it’s 90 degrees!

Yesterday in downtown Bellevue, I attended the Bellevue Arts Festival and popped into Lincoln Square South and other stores to cool off. I looked into the classy Hotel W and saw that they were running gas-powered fireplaces:

This is despite the fact that it was about 90 degrees outside.

I see other buildings in downtown Bellevue doing the same thing.

I suppose they do it for the mood. But what a waste!