Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s Interview On CNN’s State Of The Union Show

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Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese appeared on CNN’s State of The Union show (07/31/22) for a wide ranging interview that touched on among other things climate change, and specifically, his pledge that Australia will achieve net zero carbon emission by 2050.

Asked whether Australia’s 2050 goal will be thwarted because of reluctance by India, China and the United States to come together, and address climate change with the urgency it deserves, PM Albanese responded(video at 0:38): “Well, I certainly hope not, and I’m very optimistic. At the Madrid NATO Summit, I had discussions with world leaders and also of course at the Quad leaders meeting, and I regard people as being very prepared to take much stronger action. There’s a greater recognition now as well, that dealing with the challenge of climate change represents also an economic opportunity. We will see the greatest transformation that we have seen in our economy since the industrial revolution, with the shift to clean energy, and clean energy will of course see jobs being created at the same time, something that the Biden administration recognizes, something that our European friends certainly recognize as well.”

Asked about the growing threat from China, and specifically, a troubling poll that shows 75% of Aussies believe China will attack Australia within the next 20 years, PM Albanese responded (1:44): “What we are preparing for is strengthening our alliances. We want to have good relationships with China and cooperate where we can, but we’ll stand up for Australian values where we must, and that is my approach to the relationship with China. Clearly it has changed in recent years. Under [President] Xi, China has become more forward-leaning, more aggressive in the region. We have strategic competition.”

Asked whether Australia would defend Taiwan if it was invaded by China, PM Albanese punted, saying he did not want to deal with hypotheticals. He then went on to say(2:38): “Australia supports a One China policy, but we also support the status quo when it comes to the issue of Taiwan, that people respect the existing structures which are there. I believe that clearly is in the interest of all parties, and I have taken the view as well, that it is not in the interest of peace and security, to talk up those issues of potential conflict.”

Asked what Australians think about “the health” of democracy the United States in light of the ongoing January 6th investigation, PM Albanese responded (3:57): “Democracy in the United States remains strong. The United States remains a beacon for the world in terms of democratic nations, I firmly believe that. And whilst the assault on democracy that we saw on January 6th was of real concern to all those who hold democratic processes dear around the world, the fact that you are having an open and transparent process, these hearings are being broadcast to the world, indeed underlies, in my view, the strength of U.S. democracy, the strength of those institutions.”

Asked what America can learn from Australia regarding how to deal with gun violence, PM Albanese responded(5:26): “In Australia we had a bipartisan response to the Port Arthur massacre, and we haven’t had once [mass shooting] since, and I just say that people should look at our experience. It’s up to the United States as a sovereign nation what direction it takes of course, but the truth is that Australia’s experience shows that less guns, particularly less automatic weapons, the less crime occurs, and the less tragedy occurs.”

Asked whether he supports the growing sentiment among Aussies to break away from the Queen of England and become a republic, PM Albanese responded(6:24): “Well, I do support a republic, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the Queen, who has presided over the Commonwealth for 70 years, it’s quite an extraordinary achievement. Our priority this term, is the recognition of First Nations people in our constitution. Our history didn’t begin in 1788 with the arrival of the British First Fleet, it goes back some 65,000 years with Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander people, the oldest continuous civilization on the planet. It should be a source of great pride, and my priority is getting that constitutional change done first.” Hmm, very interesting.

Bottom line folks, interviews with world leaders are always interesting(at least to Your Truly-a nerd), because they give you a glimpse into how others view/deal with the same issues confronting us here in the United States. I think reasonable people will agree that by far, the biggest takeaway from PM Alabanese’s interview, is how politicians in Australia came together to stump out mass shootings after the Port Arthur massacre(1996). Simply put, there is zero excuse for the nonsense we get from Congress, when it comes to addressing gun violence in the United States. Zero!!

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Al Gore Says This Should Be A Moment Of Global Epiphany Re Climate Change

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Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore appeared on ABC’s This Week show (07/24/22) to discuss the growing problems caused by climate change. Gore, you’ll remember was already warning about this problem way back in 2006, through his popular documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. With almost all the predictions in his documentary realized, Gore now says this “should be a moment for a global epiphany” re climate change.

Al Gore told host Jonathan Karl(video at 0:53): “Scientists have predicted these extraordinary and catastrophic events for going on decades now, and the fact that they were dead right, maybe a little  conservative even in their projections, should cause us to pay more careful attention to what they are warning us about now. They are saying that if we don’t stop using our atmosphere as an open sewer, and if we don’t stop these heat-trapping emissions, things are going to get a lot worse. More people will be killed, the survival of our civilization is at stake.”

Gore then dropped a major bombshell telling host Jonathan Karl(1:35): “Behind me you see a picture from the International Space Station, that shows how thin the atmosphere is. We’re putting another 162 million tons into it every day, using it as an open sewer, and the accumulated amount now traps as much extra heat as would be released by 600,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs. That’s why the heat records are being broken all the time now, that’s why the storms are stronger, why the ice is melting, and the sea level is rising, and why the droughts and fires are hitting us so hard, and so many other consequences, and they are predicting now, up to a billion climate refugees crossing international borders in this century. We have got to act.”

Asked whether President Biden should declare a climate emergency, the former VP punted, adding that there are other things the Biden administration can do via the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA). He said the EPA can limit emissions from power plants and vehicles, adding that the recent Supreme Court decision “did not take all their power away.” Gore added that the Biden administration could stop allowing drilling for oil and gas on public lands, and that President Biden could appoint a new head of the World Bank to replace “the climate denier that leads it now, appointed by his predecessor [Trump].”

Another very notable thing former VP Gore said was(4:26):“The International Energy Agency(IEA) has said that we should have zero new drilling for oil and gas reserves. We’ve already got enough to incinerate the planet. We’re seeing this global emergency play out, and it’s getting worse more quickly than was predicted. We have got to step up. This should be a moment for a global epiphany.”

Interestingly, Gore, who knows a thing or two about election outcome controversy, was asked about the ongoing January 6th investigation. Gore said(5:31):“I would like to say the[Reps]Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney, and every single member of that Committee have performed an amazing service to our democracy. I think these hearings have been the most persuasive and effective since the Watergate hearings so long ago, and I think we’re seeing a huge impact on public opinion in our country too. They’ve done an incredible job.”

Bottom line folks, Al Gore is the classic example as to why leadership matters. Reasonable people can reasonably disagree as to whether he really lost the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush. The can be no disagreement however, that with Gore as President, America would have tackled the climate crisis with the urgency it deserved, saving many lives and livelihoods in the process.

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Pressure Mounting On GOP Senator Mike Lee To Come Clean Over His Role In Overturning 2020 Election

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Interesting segment on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show(04/19/22) looked into the intense pressure building on Senator Mike Lee(R-UT) from his hometown newspapers, for him to come clean over his involvement with efforts to assist former President Trump to overturn the 2020 elections, and specifically, his role in the fake electors scheme. As Maddow correctly pointed out, public statements attributed to Sen Lee regarding Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 elections are in stark contrast with his newly released private text messages, which clearly show his deep involvement with the fake electors scheme.

It appears Sen Lee’s hometown newspapers have seized on this glaring discrepancy between public “constitutional conservative” Mike Lee, and private insurrectionist Mike Lee, and are demanding that the Senator finally come clean about his involvement with Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 elections. The newspapers have zeroed in on the Utah State Republican Convention scheduled for Saturday(04/23/22, for Sen Lee to finally come clean about this issue.

Maddow referenced an editorial from a leading Utah newspaper(video at 4:15): “Just today, the Salt Lake Tribune has released a new editorial under this headline, Saturday’s Utah State Republican Convention would be a great place for Mike Lee to come clean…It’s past time for Mike Lee to start fessing up to all he knows about the plot to set aside the results of an honest and fair election in order to keep Donald Trump in power. We know Utah’s Senior Senator had a much greater role in that plot than he has previously acknowledged. His constituents deserve a much more detailed accounting of what went on and the extent of Senator Lee’s participation in it. Yesterday would be a great time for Senator Lee to come clean. Saturday’s State Republican Convention would be a really good opportunity for that too.”

Bottom line folks, it is very encouraging to see the media in Utah pressuring Senator Lee to come clean about his involvement with Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. To date, there has been been very little individual accountability for members of Congress who were clearly involved in Trump’s illegal efforts to overturn the 2020 elections and hopefully, this is the beginning of some much overdue reckoning for members of Congress. It would be great if Texas newspapers would also inquire into whether public “constitutional conservative” Ted Cruz was likewise, a private insurrectionist.

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Did Koch Industries Bribe Cornyn As Texas AG?

An interesting Texas Monthly piece from way back in 2000 suggests that then Texas Attorney General John Cornyn went easy on the powerful Koch industries after they polluted Texas waters in return for their support for him during his 1998 campaign.

John Cornyn was a judge at the Texas Supreme Court from 1991 to 1997 and was elected Texas Attorney General in 1998. Prior to his stint at the Texas Supreme Court, Cornyn was a judge at the Texas 37th District Court.

According to the Texas Monthly piece, pipelines belonging to Wichita-based Koch Industries leaked oil products into the waters of Texas and several other states. The federal government went after Koch Industries for violations of the Clean Water Act and several states including Texas joined the lawsuit. Texas attorney General at that time was Dan Morales (Cornyn’s predecessor). AG Morales is famous for the major win he scored against the Tobacco industry that netted the Lone Star state a staggering $17.3 billion in fines from Big Tobacco.

It is against the backdrop of AG Morales’ win against Big Tobacco that Koch Industries backed John Cornyn’s candidacy for Texas AG–in essence to shield themselves from having to pay astronomical fines to the Lone Star state as Big Tobacco did. So you say, “OK @Emolclause you’re really grasping at straws here. Cut to the chase and explain how Koch Industries recruited Cornyn to avoid paying astronomical fines to the Lone Star state after polluting its waters.” Here it is in a nutshell.

As the Texas Monthly piece correctly points out, going after Big Tobacco, Big Oil etc in court usually involves very complex litigation that requires a battery of “cream of the crop” attorneys. Needless to say, such attorneys charge astronomical fees for their services–fees that most state elected officials(AGs) feel uncomfortable paying using taxpayer funds. What most states end up doing therefore (at least before AG Cornyn came along) is that they enter into agreements with these smart attorneys whereby the attorneys take on the complex litigation without any payment from the state in return for a share(percentage) of the fines they recoup from the offending company. In the case of Big Tobacco for example where Texas netted an astronomical $17.3 billion in fines, the attorneys in the case ended up getting paid a whopping $3.3 billion.

AG Morales attempted to duplicate his success against Big Tobacco in his fight against Koch Industries by using the same technique of a battery of smart attorneys not paid by the state. Koch Industries backed Cornyn’s campaign for Texas AG in 1998, donating $5000 to his campaign. Cornyn went on to win the election in 1998 and when he became AG, immediately began fighting the practice of using “outside” lawyers for complex litigation like the one the state was pursuing against Koch Industries. Cornyn wanted only state attorneys(from the AG’s office) to handle the complex litigation against Koch Industries and others–an obvious legal advantage to the big companies. He used the straw argument that the staggering $3.3 billion paid to attorneys in the Big Tobacco case should have ended up in the state’s coffers instead.

What ended up happening is that the high-powered attorneys AG Morales had lined up to go to trial against Koch Industries left and the Lone Star state was forced to accept a paltry $35 million settlement from Koch, a settlement that deeply angered environmentalists. Most experts agree that had Cornyn allowed Morales’ attorneys to take Koch to trial, they were looking at a possible $225 million or more in fines. Obviously some of the $225 million would have gone to pay the attorneys’ fees but the Lone Star state would still have ended up with more than the paltry $35 million “slap on the wrist” settlement Cornyn got. Therefore Koch essentially backed Cornyn as AG in order to save themselves from paying astronomical fines to the state for polluting its waters. Sad indeed!!

Cornyn when confronted about this “slap on the wrist” settlement against Koch industries reportedly answered that it was “pretty darned good for a Republican.” In other words he did not aggressively pursue Koch Industries as much as he should because they traditionally supported Republicans.

Even more troubling is the fact that Cornyn assailed his GOP primary opponent in the Texas AG race for engaging in the exact similar conduct he was now excusing–taking money(contributions) from a company the Texas AG’s office was pursuing in court. This means Cornyn knew what he was doing was unethical but did it anyway.

It also cannot be left unsaid that the Texas Monthly piece accused John Cornyn of “playing politics with the law at the expense of the public interest.”  This is especially instructive now that he is running for reelection in 2020. Hopefully his Dem challengers will dig into this excellent Texas Monthly piece to dig up other troubling aspects of John Cornyn’s political career

Bottom line, Texas has always been assumed to be a reliably “red state” by much of the national mainstream media and indeed by some establishment Democrats. Yours Truly challenged this notion back when nobody thought Beto O’Rourke had any chance against Ted Cruz and we saw what happened. The same needs to happen with John Cornyn, whose long record both in Texas politics and as U.S. Senator provides ample oppo-research fodder for his prospective Dem challenger. Yours Truly will certainly do his part to expose John Cornyn for the corrupt politician he has always been, beginning with this shady deal he did for Koch Industries against the best interests of the Lone Star state.

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Unmarked And Unfenced EPA Super Fund Site In Texas

A shocking Fox26 Houston report says that the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) has for years ran an unmarked and unfenced super fund site in the Texas city of Cypress located 24 miles north west of Houston.

According to Fox26 Houston a negligent Texas dry cleaning company dumped the dangerous chemical tetrachloroethylene, a carcinogen, at this unmarked and unfenced site in Cypress Texas for 14 years(1988-2002) and the carcinogen has since sipped into the area’s water wells. Numerous Cypress Texas residents have since been diagnosed with cancer related to the chemical meaning this is a serious and existential environmental hazard. Environmental activist Pam Bonta says, “We are seeing a lot of cancer and illness. We requested that they [EPA] revisit this. We demanded that they get it cleaned up because people are dying, bottom-line.”

Another environmental activist Becky Romano said “You walk on the property and you just smell the gas. You feel it in your body and it just makes you sick.”

Even more troubling, it appears the Texas company dumped this dangerous chemical right around the corner where a Cypress strip mall is currently located. Given the number of people that frequent such strip malls in small cities like Cypress, it is fair to assume that there are a lot of Cypress residents still being exposed to this carcinogen on a daily basis. EPA says it will take two years to make the site safe.

Bottom line the dangerous environmental situation playing out in Cypress Texas once again underscores the need to reign in the EPA especially in GOP-controlled states like Texas where the push for deregulation is literally endangering people’s lives. Hopefully House Democrats will soon haul in EPA officials responsible for this Cypress super fund site for some tough grilling as to how a site as dangerous as this is not even fenced and clearly marked as such. This is gross recklessness for which someone at EPA should either be fired or criminally prosecuted.

How Koch Brothers Paid Gov Abbott To Pollute Texas

Few people know this fact but in 2001 Koch Petroleum Group pled guilty to covering up environmental violations at one of their refineries in Corpus Christi Texas–essentially admitting that they knowingly polluted the Texas atmosphere and then lied about it.

Since then the Koch Brothers have embarked on a rigorous campaign not to bring their industries into compliance, but to do away with environmental protections altogether. To that effect they have enlisted the services of Texas Republicans to peel away environmental protections that were put in place for the public’s safety. You would think any sane Texan would advocate for a cleaner environment and urge Koch industries to strive for better emission standards. Well, not the Texas GOP. In the same way the Texas GOP has backed the Koch Brothers/ALEC mission to do away with Medicare/Medicaid under the guise of “Balanced Budget”, they are also helping them pollute the Texas environment under the guise of “deregulation”.



What the Texas Republicans fail to tell their supporters is why the regulations were enacted in the first place, the obvious answer being for public safety. Take for instance the deadly explosion that happened at Texas’ West Fertilizer Company in 2013 that killed 15 people and wounded 226 others. After a federal investigation, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board concluded that the explosion was caused by the Ammonium Nitrate the company had on storage. The Chemical Safety Board added that the incident at West Fertilizer was a result of violations by the company, chief among them its failure to disclose to local authorities and the public that the chemicals they had on storage created a massive fire hazard. The Chemical Safety Board suggested that Texas do better on chemical disclosure to avert another chemical disaster.

However, a few months after the West disaster the Koch family sent then Texas AG Greg Abbott “donations” for his Texas Gubernatorial bid and just like that all the chemical disclosure reforms that were suggested by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board went out the window. Instead Greg Abbott started touting the ridiculous idea that requiring chemical companies to disclose what they had on storage would make it easier for terrorists to strike. Think about that folks, after the Koch family gave money to Greg Abbott he totally abandoned the public’s safety concerns, even after 15 people had been killed and 226 others wounded. In essence Koch Brothers paid Abbott to allow chemical companies to hide dangerous chemicals from the public, even though they knew 15 people had just died as a result of such failure to disclose.

Fast forward to 2017 and a similar chemical disaster happens, this time at the Archema Chemical Plant in Crosby, Texas after Hurricane Harvey. Turns out Archema much like West Fertilizer, failed to disclose that it was storing large amounts of Sulphur Dioxide, contrary to what U.S. Chemical Safety Board had suggested after the 2013 West disaster but in keeping with Gov Greg Abbotts directive that they didn’t have to disclose because of fear of terrorism. I mean this was a classic case of Gov Abbott’s policies putting people’s lives in danger.

Strangely, nobody has ever held Governor Abbott to account over his deadly and inexplicable policy towards chemical disclosure and whether donations from  the Koch family influenced his strange policy. The hapless Mainstream Media, with the exception of the wonderful Kiah Collier, lets Gov Abbott get away with this dangerous policy that will undoubtedly lead to further Texas deaths.

Think about that folks, because of the Koch Brothers, Gov Abbott will not allow Texans to know what dangerous chemicals are stored near their neighborhoods, their children’s schools, etc. A Texan for example would like to know whether there are toxic materials stored in an area before say purchasing a home in that area. Texans are denied all this because Koch Brothers tells Gov Abbott not to allow it. But not to worry folks, Yours Truly will make sure Gov Abbott’s DEADLY CHEMICAL POLICY GOES AWAY, whether the Koch Brothers like it or not

Bottom line Dems must expose how Governor Abbott and other Texas Republicans have sacrificed the public’s safety for the enrichment of their Super Donor Koch Brothers. 

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