(None of the views expressed here represent Change Agent positions)

Observations from the Cheap Seats

July 18, 2024 – No surprise the two major stories this week are the attempted assassination and the Republican Convention in Milwaukee. I predicted there would be plenty of conspiracy theory stories from the wrong wing. I was right.

The Secret Service is getting plenty of attention. That’s good. It’s too early to jump to conclusions. Although many are. I’ll wait for the final report if there is one. Interesting the young man who apparently did the shooting was not a known wacko. Just a kid who allegedly was bullied in school. I’m sure there is a lesson there if we, as a society, pay attention.

The Republican Convention was created and put on Trump style: Loud speeches adoring him; anger, rather than substance on Immigration, Foreign Policy and other topics. Basic message: “Trump wonderful. The other people horrible, borderline evil.” His people are fired up. Probably close to frenzied. Not sure that level of frenzy can sustain itself.

Meanwhile, it appears many Democrats are leading Biden to the exit ramp.  It must be very hard on him. Whether he is OK or not is no longer the issue. The PERCEPTION is that he isn’t. Even if respected medical people came forward saying he is OK, the perception will not change.  I’ve never met Joe Biden. Never been in a room with him.  My sense is he is a decent man, loves his family, including the flawed member. He loves our country and the people in it. He has made his share of mistakes… Clarence Thomas for one. On balance, his service has been honorable, compassionate, and passionate. I think he has been a good leader in very difficult times. If he does exit, I hope he receives a standing ovation from both sides of the divide.

Final observation: Our Governor’s comments about the assassination attempt were typically low brow.  She no longer surprises. She continues to disappoint. The Independent Rick Knobe


Carbon Pipelines Are a (Dangerous) Scam

July 14, 2024 – I’ve preached this enough I should write it down. Carbon pipelines sound really good at first blush, but they are really meant to allow Big Oil to continue burning fossil fuels.  Big Oil is a big supporter of carbon pipelines.

However, we and Big Oil have known since 1979 (that’s 45 years & counting) that it is the continued burning of fossil fuels that has almost entirely caused the Climate Crisis, and all the extremes the world is now facing from fires to floods to new and crazy weather. Besides being purely an artifice of Big Oil, carbon pipelines are dangerous.  One leaked in 2020 and could have wiped out an entire small town, sending dozens to the hospital, causing a virtual “zombie apocalypse.” https://www.npr.org/2023/05/21/1172679786/carbon-capture-carbon-dioxide-pipeline

I don’t know how to tell you to vote on Referred Law 21 (the pipeline thing).  I’m just here to say that the entire notion of a carbon pipeline is a scam, devised to keep the profits rolling in for the Fossil Fuel Industry. It’s become a new profit center for them.

You know as well as I that our only solution is to STOP burning fossil fuels. It’s really too bad the vote isn’t going to be Yes or No for the pipeline itself. That would be too easy.  If they can’t fool you, they’ll buy you. **from Van Carter


Change Agents Founder sounds off regarding Supreme Court’s Immunity Ruling

July 1, 2024 – They may be the highest court in the land, but based on numerous recent decisions I can’t refer to them as “Supreme.” I’m not a lawyer nor a Constitutional scholar, so my thoughts are coming from the cheap seats. To me, if a President pressures other elected or government officials to do things “his way” – in this case violate the law – it’s a no brainer… NO IMMUNITY. 

Trump’s numerous attempts to pressure VP Pence to not certify election results and his calls to Georgia asking officials there to find him votes are clear election interference violations. His coordination with his minions is clearly a conspiracy. Trump and his people have bastardized the system. His desire to delay has been honored by too many, including a Federal Judge in Florida and six of the poorly named “Supremes.” Justice delayed is Justice denied.” For all of us. I feel we are destroying ourselves from within.

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.” The Independent and frustrated Rick Knobe


Joe Needs to Recuse Himself

June 27, 2024 – The first debate of 2024: I just finished watching Joe Biden, who for the first time seemed like no more than an old man who had to work to remain in the moment.  Along with lying Donald Trump, who uttered essentially nothing of substance and who became more senseless himself as time ticked. I came away with concurrent new thinking:  Just about any Democratic candidate can beat Trump in November.  And… Joe is done for.

I never thought that anyone but Joe could take on Trump successfully, but now, with Trump’s baggage and his inability to be cogent on any subject other than immigration (and even there he doesn’t shine)… I realize that any solid candidate will beat him.

It’s seven weeks until the Democratic Convention.  No nominee has been named. 

I have thought for some time that the sensible long-term plan for Dems would be for Joe to win and then, in a year or two, resign putting Kamala Harris in the seat.  I’ve been pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to make the full four years.  But after tonight, I have strong doubts about his making it to November. I love Joe Biden.  I’ve loved him for a long time, despite his shortcomings.  He has always been there for the common folks.  There are few issues over which we might disagree. But the Joe I saw tonight simply must step aside.   For the good of the party.  For the good of the nation.  For all our futures.  And believe me, there are those hardy souls at the upper levels who are already broaching this thinking with him.  And I’m sure he retains enough of his marbles to hear the truth in what they will tell him.  And I’m hoping he will instigate such a change in course.

There are several names that come immediately to mind: Kamala Harris, Wes Moore, Mayor Pete, Gretchen Whitmer, Sherrod Brown. With Harris and Moore, we would really be separating the wheat from the chaff.  The racists (mostly all of MAGA) would be beside themselves.  But the question of Blacks and Hispanics would be settled as would, I believe, the Women (the abortion issue looms large).  How fitting it would be to consign these people to hell with the very people they want to put (keep?) on the sidelines. I am hoping that Joe turns out to be the great statesman he has shown the promise of becoming.  It is no shame admitting that age has caught up and become a factor.  I admit it about myself.  I hope he can, too. We did not just see a bad debate performance. We witnessed a sea change.

It’s seven weeks until the Democratic Convention.  No nominee has been named.

**from Van Carter


June 2024 – To the folks complaining about how partisan investigations and prosecutions have become:
These days the people being investigated and charged with crimes surrounding the attempts to overthrow the 2020 election are all political types. Some are elected officials, or were. And they are Republicans. Are they being prosecuted because they are Republicans?

No! They are being prosecuted because there is enough evidence to support the charges of criminal activity! Please note many people around Trump have been found guilty or pleaded guilty as charged. More cases are pending.
These cases are NOT an attack on Republicans. These cases ARE an attack on alleged criminal activity.
Those being charged happen to be Republicans.
In the past, there have been numerous Democrats charged with crimes. In fact, currently there is a U.S. senator in court charged with felonies. And a Congressman. And the sitting President’s son.
It is obvious to me the leaders of the “law and order” party haven’t been following the law and have been, and continue in, promoting disorder.
Our justice system is not perfect, but it is better than the chaos being promoted by those screaming and threatening.
There are two things critical to the survival of our country, and us: Unrigged elections and a judicial system which functions free of intimidation and threats.
Please don’t allow the screaming and threats to prevail.    Speak up… and VOTE
from The Independent Rick Knobe