Bits ‘n’ Pieces: July 8, 2021

By Lorraine H. Marie
Reader Columnist

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

Latest disinformation and conspiracy theory: Donald Trump will be reinstated as president in August. According to Politico, the Department of Homeland Security is worried about the potential for violence when it does not occur. A recent Monmouth poll reported that 32% of Americans believe Joe Biden is president due to voter fraud — the same percentage found in November. 

Hundreds of North Americans died from heat-related illnesses due to the massive heat wave that hit the Pacific Northwest and southwest Canada in recent weeks, Yale Climate Connections reported. A high of 121 degrees Fahrenheit was registered in Lytton, B.C. That province reported 486 sudden deaths, triple the norm for this time of year. Many had underlying health conditions and died alone, without help from air conditioning or fans. Most records were broken by 9 degrees Fahrenheit. As of June 29, a full 81% of the West sweltered under “exceptional drought” conditions.

Annapolis, M.D.’s downtown area flooded 65 times in 2019. Since then, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the city has sued fossil fuel companies to damages for their significant role in climate-driven damages.

With bipartisan support Maine recently signed into law the nation’s strongest restrictions on bee-killing neonicotinoids. According to, the new law prohibits use of neonics for residential landscapes. Toxic neonics used on plants contaminate nectar, pollen, soil and groundwater long after use. Scientific evidence links them to massive die-offs in both honeybees and native bees.

Even with glyphosate removed from Roundup, it still kills bumble bees at a 96% mortality rate, according to a new study found in the Journal of Applied Ecology. 

Five congressional Republicans helped negotiate an infrastructure bill that includes funding for road and bridge repairs; replacing lead pipes to some 10 million households; modernizing the electric grid; capping methane leaks on corporate-abandoned wells; upgrades for railroads, airports and public transportation; and high-speed internet to rural areas. The bill lacks some measures Republicans resist, like investing in human infrastructure such as child care and clean energy, and upping the corporate tax rate, but those are included in the American Families Plan. Biden said he will not sign one without the other. According to historian Heather Cox Richardson, the bills are reminiscent of post-WWII Congress, when attention was turned to infrastructure, civil rights and social safety nets.

Raising the corporate tax rate to 28% will still be less than what it was before the administration of ex-President Donald Trump, according to Americans for Tax Fairness. That increase can raise $4 trillion for federal revenues.

Plans have been announced in Congress to ask CEOs of fossil fuel companies to testify about their role in blocking congressional action on climate change, Democracy Now reported. The action follows the release of a video of two top lobbyists discussing Exxon’s efforts. Those interviewed thought they were being recorded by recruitment consultants. 

Speaking freely, the lobbyists admitted to working hard to undermine the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan, which includes increases in taxes for large corporations and emissions reductions. Those the lobbyists cited as likely to help them undermine climate restoration efforts included Republican lawmakers and a few moderate Democrats. The lobbyists said their corporation’s motivation was investments and shareholders.

Jessica Reznicek, 39, was recently sentenced to eight years for damaging equipment at the Dakota Access Pipeline in Iowa, plus $3.2 million in restitution. She had faced up to 110 years in prison. Salon reported that Reznicek said she acted out of concern for contamination of Iowa’s drinking water and waterways that empty into the Gulf of Mexico, because the pipeline has a history of leaks. 

In an editorial, The Nation pointed out that oil companies have so far largely escaped blame or had to pay any substantive penalties for “the immense damage they have done” while placing profits over the climate emergency. 

More than 100 other nonviolent pipeline activists against Line Three were arrested last week and face felony charges. They chained themselves to equipment and barricaded roads, according to The Guardian.

Blast from the past: “More powerful than any army is an idea whose time has arrived.” — Chinese proverb

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