Wealthy ‘NIMBY’ libs in Pelosi’s SF district raise $60G to fight center for city’s homeless

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/san-franciscos-wealthy-in-pelosis-district-raise-60g-to-oppose-homeless-shelter-as-city-struggles-with-homelessness

Wealthy ‘NIMBY’ libs in Pelosi’s SF district raise $60G to fight center for city’s homeless

March 29, 2019

Rich San Francisco residents in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s congressional district have collected more than $60,000 after starting an online crowdsourcing campaign to wage a legal challenge against a proposed center for the city’s homeless.

The campaign, called “Safe Embarcadero for All,” was launched March 20 after San Francisco Mayor London Breed proposed a 200-bed homeless Navigation Center in the city’s most desirable location, the Embarcadero along the coast of San Francisco Bay, earlier this month.

“The planned location for Mayor Breed’s #megashelter is home to thousands of families, visited by millions of tourists and at the center of some of San Francisco’s most iconic events – including the San Francisco Marathon, San Francisco Giants stadium and on one of the busiest bicyclist paths in the city,” reads the site posted by the group opposing the construction.

The campaign shamelessly raised over $60,000 and is on track to reach the desired $100,000 goal, with the money used to pay attorney Andrew Zacks, who often represents property owners, to help the dissatisfied “Not In My Backyard” residents in the neighborhood.

More than 130 people have chipped in, although many did so anonymously. The biggest donation came from an unknown resident who gave $10,000 to the cause.

A Fox News review of records found that multiple individuals – bank executives, professors and authors – who donated to the GoFundMe page have also contributed to Democratic political groups, including thousands of dollars to the Democratic National Committee, MoveOn, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and other left-leaning organizations.

One of the donors, Jerome Dodson, who has since scrubbed his $1,000 contribution to the campaign, is reportedly a chairman of a “responsible investment fund” that seeks to make “a positive impact on society,” according to the Washington Free Beacon. The investment fund executive donated to Democratic candidates and groups over the years, including Pelosi and Hillary Clinton.

Fox News reached out to Pelosi’s office, asking whether she offered her support for the project designed to combat homeless in her own district.

A competing GoFundMe campaign was started in support of the project for the homeless in the city, attracting a $5,000 donation from GoFundMe itself. The effort so far has garnered nearly $33,000 in donations – surpassing a set goal of $30,000.

San Francisco’s mayor, meanwhile, slammed the group opposing the construction in a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“People want us to address the challenges on our streets and help our unsheltered residents into housing, and I am committed to doing the hard work to make that happen,” Breed said.

“But it’s incredibly frustrating and disappointing,” she added, “that as soon as we put forward a solution to build a new shelter, people begin to threaten legal action.”

March 29, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) talks about the Green New Deal

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK27NZon11w

March 29, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

The Nation: The Real Costs of Russiagate

https://www.thenation.com/article/the-real-costs-of-russiagate/

The Real Costs of Russiagate

Its perpetrators, not Putin or Trump, “attacked American democracy.”

By Stephen F. Cohen

March 27, 2019

The very few of us who publicly challenged and deplored Russiagate allegations against candidate and then President Donald Trump from the time they first began to appear in mid-2016 should not gloat or rejoice over the US attorney general’s summary of Robert S. Mueller’s key finding: “The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election.” (On the other hand, those of us repeatedly slurred as Trump and/or Putin “apologists” might feel some vindication.)

But what about the legions of high-ranking intelligence officials, politicians, editorial writers, television producers, and other opinion-makers, and their eager media outlets that perpetuated, inflated, and prolonged this unprecedented political scandal in American history—those who did not stop short of accusing the president of the United States of being a Kremlin “agent,” “asset,” “puppet,” “Manchurian candidate,” and who characterized his conduct and policies as “treasonous”? (These and other examples are cited in my book War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate, and in a recent piece by Paul Starobin in City Journal.) Will they now apologize, as decency requires, or, more importantly, explain their motives so that we might understand and avoid another such national trauma?

Shortly after Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union, in 1985, he released a banned film, Repentance, that explored the underlying institutional, ideological, and personal dynamics of Stalinism. The film set off a nationwide media trial and condemnation of that murderous era. Though Russiagate has generated in America some Soviet-like practices and ruined a number of lives and reputations, it is, of course, nothing even remotely comparable to the Soviet Stalinist experience. By comparison, therefore, some introspective repentance on the part of Russiagate perpetuators should not be too much to ask. But as I foresaw well before the summary of Mueller’s “Russia investigation” appeared, there is unlikely to be much, if any. Too many personal and organizational interests are too deeply invested in Russiagate. Not surprisingly, leading perpetrators instead immediately met the summary with a torrent of denials, goal-post shifts, obfuscations, and calls for more Russiagate “investigations.” Joy Reid of MSNBC, which has been a citadel of Russiagate allegations along with CNN, even suggested that Mueller and Attorney General William Barr were themselves engaged in “a cover-up.”

Contrary to a number of major media outlets, from Bloomberg News to The Wall Street Journal, nor does Mueller’s exculpatory finding actually mean that “Russiagate…is dead” and indeed that “it expired in an instant.” Such conclusions reveal a lack of historical and political understanding. Nearly three years of Russiagate’s toxic allegations have entered the American political-media elite bloodstream, and they almost certainly will reappear again and again in one form or another.

This is an exceedingly grave danger, because the real costs of Russiagate are not the estimated $25–40 million spent on the Mueller investigation but the corrosive damage it has already done to the institutions of American democracy—damage done not by an alleged “Trump-Putin axis” but by Russsigate’s perpetrators themselves. Having examined this collateral damage in my recently published book War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate, I will only note them here.

§ Clamorous allegations that the Kremlin “attacked our elections” and thereby put Trump in the White House, despite the lack of any evidence, cast doubt on the legitimacy of American elections everywhere—national, state, and local. If true, or even suspected, how can voters have confidence in the electoral foundations of American democracy? Persistent demands to “secure our elections from hostile powers”— a politically and financially profitable mania, it seems—can only further abet and perpetuate declining confidence in the entire electoral process. Still more, if some crude Russian social-media outputs could so dupe voters, what does this tell us about what US elites, which originated these allegations, really think of those voters, of the American people?

§ Defamatory Russsiagate allegations that Trump was a “Kremlin puppet” and thus “illegitimate” were aimed at the president but hit the presidency itself, degrading the institution, bringing it under suspicion, casting doubt on its legitimacy. And if an “agent of a hostile foreign power” could occupy the White House once, a “Manchurian candidate,” why not again? Will Republicans be able to resist making such allegations against a future Democratic president? In any event, Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign manager, Robby Mook, has already told us that there will be a “next time.”

§ Mainstream media are, of course, a foundational institution of American democracy, especially national ones, newspapers and television, with immense influence inside the Beltway and, in ramifying synergic ways, throughout the country. Their Russiagate media malpractice, as I have termed it, may have been the worst such episode in modern American history. No mainstream media did anything to expose, for example, two crucial and fraudulent Russiagate documents—the so-called Steele Dossier and the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment—but instead relied heavily on them for their own narratives. Little more need be said here about this institutional self-degradation. Glenn Greenwald and a few others followed and exposed it throughout, and now Matt Taibbi has given us a meticulously documented account of that systematic malpractice, concluding that Mueller’s failure to confirm the media’s Russiagate allegations “is a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media.”

Nor, it must be added, was this entirely inadvertent or accidental. On August 8, 2016, the trend-setting New York Times published on its front page an astonishing editorial manifesto by its media critic. Asking whether “normal standards” should apply to candidate Trump, he explained that they should not: “You have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century.” Let others decide whether this Times proclamation unleashed the highly selective, unbalanced, questionably factual “journalism” that has so degraded Russiagate media or instead the publication sought to justify what was already underway. In either case, this remarkable—and ramifying—Times rejection of its own professed standards should not be forgotten. Almost equally remarkable and lamentable, we learn that even now, after Mueller’s finding is known, top executives of the Times and other leading Russiagate media outlets, including The Washington Post and CNN, “have no regrets.”

§ For better or worse, America has a two-party political system, which means that the Democratic Party is also a foundational institution. Little more also need be pointed out regarding its self-degrading role in the Russiagate fraud. Leading members of the party initiated, inflated, and prolonged it. They did nothing to prevent inquisitors like Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from becoming the cable-news face of the party. Or to rein in or disassociate the party from the outlandish excesses of “The Resistance.” With very few exceptions, elected and other leading Democrats did nothing to stop—and therefore further abetted—the institutional damage being done by Russiagate allegations. As for Mueller’s finding,the party’s virtual network, MSNBC, remains undeterred. Rachael Maddow continues to hype “the underlying reality that Russia did in fact attack us.” By any reasonable definition of “attack,” no, it did not, and scarcely any allegation could be more recklessly warmongering, a perception the Democratic Party will for this and other Russiagate commissions have to endure, or not. (When Mueller’s full report is published, we will see if he too indulged in this dangerous absurdity. A few passages in the summary suggest he might have done so.)

§ Finally, but potentially not least, the new Cold War with Russia has itself become an institution pervading American political, economic, media, and cultural life. Russiagate has made it more dangerous, more fraught with actual war, than the Cold War we survived, as I explain in War with Russia? Recall only that Russiagate allegations further demonized “Putin’s Russia,” thwarted Trump’s necessary attempts to “cooperate with Russia” as somehow “treasonous,” criminalized détente thinking and “inappropriate contacts with Russia”—in short, policies and practices that previously helped to avert nuclear war. Meanwhile, the Russiagate spectacle has caused many ordinary Russians who once admired America to now be “derisive and scornful” toward our political life.

The scarce good news it is that some Russian officials hope Mueller’s Russiagate exoneration of Trump will enable the president to resume his attempts to cooperate with Moscow. The bad institutional news is that Congress has invited, on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s initiative, NATO’s secretary general to address it on April 3. That figurehead has announced a renewed attempt to bring the former Soviet republic of Georgia into the military alliance. The last such attempt led to the US-Russian proxy war in Georgia in 2008. When it was tried in Ukraine in 2013, it produced the still ongoing Ukrainian civil and proxy war.

The editor of The New Yorker, itself an ardent Russiagate publication, asks whether “the moral and material corruption [Trump] has inflicted will be with us for a long while.” Perhaps. But the institutional costs of Russiagate are likely to be with us for even longer.

March 29, 2019. Tags: , , , , . Donald Trump, Media bias. Leave a comment.

Smollett may still face new legal trouble; Obama connections suspected in dropping of hoax charges

https://www.foxnews.com/us/smollett-may-still-face-new-legal-trouble-obama-connections-suspected-dropping-of-hoax-charges

Smollett may still face new legal trouble; Obama connections suspected in dropping of hoax charges

March 27, 2019

SMOLLETT MAY NOT BE IN THE CLEAR YET: Despite the hate crime hoax charges against him being dropped Tuesday, “Empire” star Jussie Smollett still may face new legal trouble …  An investigation into a death-threat letter the actor supposedly received prior to an alleged Jan. 29 attack against him has been handed over to the FBI, Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told Fox News. Cook County, Ill. First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats told reporters that prosecutors dropped the case because Smollett forfeited a $10,000 bond payment and did community service.

The decision to drop charges against Smollett stunned and outraged Chicago police and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who called the series of events “not on the level” and a “whitewash of justice.” Some critics have wondered whether Smollett’s high-powered connections led to the dropping of charges. Messages exchanged between Tina Tchen, an attorney and former chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama, and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx are attracting increasing scrutiny.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/who-is-tina-tchen-the-attorney-linked-jussie-smollett-messages

Who is Tina Tchen, the attorney linked to Jussie Smollett messages?

March 26, 2019

Tina Tchen, the attorney and former chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama, has garnered scrutiny after messages traded with Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx — about the alleged hoax linked to actor Jussie Smollett — emerged shortly before prosecutors dropped all charges against Smollett on Tuesday.

Tchen started practicing law in 1983, after she graduated from Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law, and currently leads the Chicago branch of Buckley LLC. In between, she worked in the Obama White House, first as the director of the Office of Public Engagement and later as the first lady’s chief of staff.

Given her comprehensive legal background, her influence on the investigation into the allegations of fraud against Jussie Smollett has raised eyebrows in the Windy City.

Public records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times showed that Tchen sent Foxx an early-morning text on Feb. 1 saying she “wanted to give you a call on behalf of Jussie Smollett and family who I know. They have concerns about the investigation.” Three days earlier, Smollett had said two men attacked him on the way home.

Later that day, the Sun-Times reported that a relative of Smollett sent Foxx a text, sparking a relationship that eventually led to Foxx recusing herself from the investigation and prosecution. Foxx also was shown to have emailed Tchen: “Spoke to [Chicago Police] Superintendent [Eddie] Johnson. I convinced him to reach out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation. He is reaching out now and will get to me shortly.”

Prosecutors on Tuesday abruptly dropped all charges against Smollett after the “Empire” actor — accused of faking a racist, anti-gay attack on himself — agreed to do volunteer service and to let the city keep his $10,000 in bail, in a decision that sparked outrage among Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, among others. The prosecutors gave no detailed explanation for why they abandoned the case only five weeks after filing the charges and threatening to pursue Smollett for the cost of a monthlong investigation, adding that said they still believe Smollett concocted the assault.

Tchen’s motivations for reaching out to Foxx were unknown. Other links between the two were unclear. Tchen did not respond to multiple interview requests from Fox News and her office declined requests for comment.

Questions about any legal or ethical impropriety remained unresolved. The Illinois ethical code for attorneys’ states: “A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.”

Jim Grogan, the deputy administrator and chief counsel at the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, said the law typically applies to attorneys who obfuscate and encumber the legal process by wasting the court’s time. He’s not aware of any precedent in Illinois regarding an attorney who has no clients in the case.

It’s unclear if Tchen was representing anyone in the Smollett family when she reached out to Foxx.

“The fun thing about that rule is that it’s so broadly written,” Grogan said. “You’ve got to say to yourself, what’s my role as a lawyer being involved in all this?”

Tchen started her tenure in the White House in 2009 with an appointment to the Office of Public Engagement. Over the next eight years, she would serve as assistant to the president, chief of staff for Michelle Obama, and executive director of the Council on Women and Girls.

In Sept. 2017, Tchen was made partner at Buckley LLC, where she heads the Chicago office and represents a slew of big-name clients. The firm’s website described Tchen as a “leading voice in the national conversation on fighting sexual harassment, gender equality and discrimination.”

Recently, the Southern Poverty Law Center selected Tchen to lead an investigation into workplace harassment and “advise us on workplace culture issues.” In recent weeks, the SPLC has faced an upheaval of leadership after questions arose regarding alleged sexual harassment, gender and racial discrimination at the progressive nonprofit.

Throughout her career, Tchen has accumulated a number of awards. She’s won the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement award from the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession and the Women of Achievement award from the Anti-Defamation League, among many others.

Tchen is also a childhood friend of Chicago first lady Amy Rule. The two grew up together in Beachwood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. Rule has kept a quiet public profile during Emanuel’s tenure. She hasn’t sat for many public interviews or made many appearances despite her husband’s notable position. Rule could not be reached for comment.

March 27, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , . Barack Obama, Fake hate crimes. 1 comment.

It’s official: Russiagate is this generation’s WMD

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/russiagate-is-wmd-times-a-million

It’s official: Russiagate is this generation’s WMD

The Iraq war faceplant damaged the reputation of the press. Russiagate just destroyed it.

By Matt Taibbi

March 23, 2019

Nobody wants to hear this, but news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is headed home without issuing new charges is a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media.

As has long been rumored, the former FBI chief’s independent probe will result in multiple indictments and convictions, but no “presidency-wrecking” conspiracy charges, or anything that would meet the layman’s definition of “collusion” with Russia.

With the caveat that even this news might somehow turn out to be botched, the key detail in the many stories about the end of the Mueller investigation was best expressed by the New York Times:

A senior Justice Department official said that Mr. Mueller would not recommend new indictments.

The Times tried to soften the emotional blow for the millions of Americans trained in these years to place hopes for the overturn of the Trump presidency in Mueller. Nobody even pretended it was supposed to be a fact-finding mission, instead of an act of faith.

The Special Prosecutor literally became a religious figure during the last few years, with votive candles sold in his image and Saturday Night Live cast members singing “All I Want for Christmas is You” to him featuring the rhymey line: “Mueller please come through, because the only option is a coup.”

The Times story today tried to preserve Santa Mueller’s reputation, noting Trump’s Attorney General William Barr’s reaction was an “endorsement” of the fineness of Mueller’s work:

In an apparent endorsement of an investigation that Mr. Trump has relentlessly attacked as a “witch hunt,” Mr. Barr said Justice Department officials never had to intervene to keep Mr. Mueller from taking an inappropriate or unwarranted step.

Mueller, in other words, never stepped out of the bounds of his job description. But could the same be said for the news media?

For those anxious to keep the dream alive, the Times published its usual graphic of Trump-Russia “contacts,” inviting readers to keep making connections. But in a separate piece by Peter Baker, the paper noted the Mueller news had dire consequences for the press:

It will be a reckoning for President Trump, to be sure, but also for Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, for Congress, for Democrats, for Republicans, for the news media and, yes, for the system as a whole…

This is a damning page one admission by the Times. Despite the connect-the-dots graphic in its other story, and despite the astonishing, emotion-laden editorial the paper also ran suggesting “We don’t need to read the Mueller report” because we know Trump is guilty, Baker at least began the work of preparing Times readers for a hard question: “Have journalists connected too many dots that do not really add up?”

The paper was signaling it understood there would now be questions about whether or not news outlets like itself made galactic errors by betting heavily on a new, politicized approach, trying to be true to “history’s judgment” on top of the hard-enough job of just being true. Worse, in a brutal irony everyone should have seen coming, the press has now handed Trump the mother of campaign issues heading into 2020.

Nothing Trump is accused of from now on by the press will be believed by huge chunks of the population, a group that (perhaps thanks to this story) is now larger than his original base. As Baker notes, a full 50.3% of respondents in a poll conducted this month said they agree with Trump the Mueller probe is a “witch hunt.”
(more…)

March 24, 2019. Tags: , , , , , . Donald Trump, Media bias. Leave a comment.

Trump Didn’t Call Neo-Nazis ‘Fine People.’ Here’s Proof.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2019/03/21/trump_didnt_call_neo-nazis_fine_people_heres_proof_139815.html

Trump Didn’t Call Neo-Nazis ‘Fine People.’ Here’s Proof.

Steve Cortes

March 21, 2019

News anchors and pundits have repeated lies about Donald Trump and race so often that some of these narratives seem true, even to Americans who embrace the fruits of the president’s policies.  The most pernicious and pervasive of these lies is the “Charlottesville Hoax,” the fake-news fabrication that he described the neo-Nazis who rallied in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 as “fine people.”

Just last week I exposed this falsehood, yet again, when CNN contributor Keith Boykin falsely stated, “When violent people were marching with tiki torches in Charlottesville, the president said they were ‘very fine people.’” When I objected and detailed that Trump’s “fine people on both sides” observation clearly related to those on both sides of the Confederate monument debate, and specifically excluded the violent supremacists, anchor Erin Burnett interjected, “He [Trump] didn’t say it was on the monument debate at all.  No, they didn’t even try to use that defense. It’s a good one, but no one’s even tried to use it, so you just used it now.”

My colleagues seem prepared to dispute our own network’s correct contemporaneous reporting and the very clear transcripts of the now-infamous Trump Tower presser on the tragic events of Charlottesville.  Here are the unambiguous actual words of President Trump:

“Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group.  But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.  You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures you did.  You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”

After another question at that press conference, Trump became even more explicit:

“I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.” 

As a man charged with publicly explaining Donald Trump’s often meandering and colloquial vernacular in highly adversarial TV settings, I appreciate more than most the sometimes-murky nature of his off-script commentaries.  But these Charlottesville statements leave little room for interpretation.  For any honest person, therefore, to conclude that the president somehow praised the very people he actually derided, reveals a blatant and blinding level of bias.

Nonetheless, countless so-called journalists have furthered this damnable lie.  For example, MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace responded that Trump had “given safe harbor to Nazis, to white supremacists.”  Her NBC colleague Chuck Todd claimed Trump “gave me the wrong kind of chills. Honestly, I’m a bit shaken from what I just heard.” Not to be outdone, print also got in on the act, with the New York Times spewing the blatantly propagandist headline: “Trump Gives White Supremacists Unequivocal Boost.” How could the Times possibly reconcile that Trump, who admonished that the supremacists should be “condemned totally” somehow also delivered an “unequivocal boost” to those very same miscreants?

But like many fake news narratives, repetition has helped cement this one into a reasonably plausible storyline for all but the most skeptical consumers of news.  In fact, over the weekend, Fox News host Chris Wallace pressed White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on why Trump has not given a speech “condemning … white supremacist bigotry.”  Well, Chris, he has, and more than once.  The most powerful version was from the White House following Charlottesville and the heartbreaking death of Heather Heyer.  President Trump’s succinct and direct words:

“Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Despite the clear evidence of Trump’s statements regarding Charlottesville, major media figures insist on spreading the calumny that Trump called neo-Nazis “fine people.”  The only explanation for such a repeated falsehood is abject laziness or willful deception.  Either way, the duplicity on this topic perhaps encapsulates the depressingly low trust most Americans place in major media, with 77 percent stating in a Monmouth University 2018 poll that traditional TV and newspapers report fake news.  In addition, such lies as the Charlottesville Hoax needlessly further divide our already-polarized society.

Instead of hyper-partisan, distorted narratives, as American citizens we should demand adherence to truth — and adherence to the common values that bind us regardless of politics. In the words of our president: “No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God.”

March 24, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , . Donald Trump, Media bias, Racism. Leave a comment.

Idiots who support bans on fracking and restrictions on new pipelines say it’s “unexpected” that New York has a shortage of natural gas

One of the most simple and basic signs of intelligence is the understanding that actions lead to consequences.

In New York, some people are showing a basic lack of understanding of this concept.

In New York state, fracking is banned, and new pipelines have been prohibited in certain locations. The natural and logical outcome of these policies is that the state has a shortage of natural gas. Developers who had been planning to build new housing will not be allowed to hook up the new housing to receive natural gas.

Despite this obvious action-reaction event, the New York Times just reported that this inability to hook up these proposed new homes for natural gas is “unexpected.”

Here are the exact words as reported by the New York Times: (the bolding is mine)

YONKERS – Across the suburbs north of New York City, clusters of luxury towers are rising around commuter rail stations, designed to lure young workers seeking easy access to Manhattan. In all, 16,000 apartments and condominiums are in the works in more than a dozen towns, along with spaces for restaurants and shops.

But the boom unfolding in Westchester County is under threat — not from any not-in-my-backyard opposition or a slumping real estate market.

Instead, it is coming from something unexpected: a lack of natural gas.

Con Edison, the region’s main utility, says its existing network of pipelines cannot satisfy an increasing demand for the fuel.

As a result, the utility has taken the extreme step of imposing a moratorium on new gas hookups in a large swath of Westchester, including for residential buildings planned in Yonkers, White Plains and New Rochelle.

But is this shortage really “unexpected”?

Not for anyone who understands that actions have consequences.

The same article states:

There is an ample supply of natural gas in the United States, but opposition to building or expanding interstate pipelines has caused delivery challenges in the Northeast, according to industry officials.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo lives in Mount Kisco, a town included in Con Edison’s moratorium, and wants the state to move away from fossil fuels toward cleaner energy, like wind. He has banned fracking, a process to extract gas from shale rock, and two years ago his administration rejected a major interstate pipeline project, saying its construction would endanger wetlands.

A person would have to be a complete idiot to support these bans and restrictions, while simultaneously being surprised that there’s a shortage of natural gas.

All of this reminds me of this scene from the movie Casablanca:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjbPi00k_ME

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to end the use of fossil fuels over the next 10 years. I’d be curious to hear whether she supports or opposes letting the developers of this proposed new housing in New York hook up the housing to receive natural gas.

March 21, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Environmentalism. 1 comment.

Star Wars fan film: Birth of a Monster

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0OfGeDkSlM

 

March 16, 2019. Tags: , , , . Movies, Star Wars. Leave a comment.

Bernie Sanders in the 1970s urged nationalization of most major industries

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/14/politics/kfile-bernie-nationalization/index.html

Bernie Sanders in the 1970s urged nationalization of most major industries

March 14, 2019

Bernie Sanders advocated for the nationalization of most major industries, including energy companies, factories, and banks, when he was a leading member of a self-described “radical political party” in the 1970s, a CNN KFile review of his record reveals.

Sanders’ past views shed light on a formative period of his political career that could become relevant as he advances in the 2020 Democratic primary.

Many of the positions he held at the time are more extreme compared to the more tempered democratic socialism the Vermont senator espouses today and could provide fodder for moderate Democrats and Republicans looking to cast the Democratic presidential candidate and his beliefs as a fringe form of socialism that would be harmful to the country.

Aspects of Sanders’ plans and time in the Liberty Union have been reported before, but the material taken together, including hundreds of newly digitalized newspapers and files from the Liberty Union Party archived at the University of Vermont, paint a fuller portrait of Sanders’ views on state and public-controlled industry at the time.

In a statement to CNN, Sanders campaign spokesman Josh Orton said, “Throughout his career, Bernie has fought on the side of working people and against the influence of both the powerful ultra-rich and giant corporations who seek only to further their own greed. The record shows that from the very beginning, Bernie anticipated and worked to combat the rise of a billionaire ruling class and the exploding power of Wall Street and multinational corporations. Whether fighting to lower energy prices or expand access to capital for local development, Bernie’s first priority has always been — and will always be — defending the interests of working people across the country.”

After moving to Vermont in 1968 several years after graduating college, Sanders became an active member of the left-wing Liberty Union Party. Under the Liberty Union banner, Sanders, then in his early 30s, ran for governor of Vermont in 1972 and 1976 and as a candidate for US Senate in 1972 and 1974. Sanders, also served as chairman of the party from 1973-1975. During this time, Sanders and Liberty Union argued for nationalization of the energy industry, public ownership of banks, telephone, electric, and drug companies and of the major means of production such as factories and capital, as well as other proposals such as a 100% income tax on the highest income earners in America. Sanders also rejected political violence and criticized the anti-democratic nature of communist states such as the Soviet Union.

“I favor the public ownership of utilities, banks and major industries,” Sanders said in one interview with the Burlington Free Press in 1976.

In his career as a US Senator, Sanders has backed away from such ardent calls for nationalization, but maintained similar rhetoric on wealth inequality.

In one 2015 speech, he said he didn’t want the government to take over private business or “own the means of production.” But his early views are notable because they are far to the left of the current Democratic party and most candidates running for office.

Sanders left the Liberty Union Party in 1977, over what he said was the party’s lack of activity between elections. Sanders said in his farewell that workers would need to take control for the country to be sustained.

“The function of a radical political party is very simple,” he said. “It is to create a situation in which the ordinary working people take what rightfully belongs to them. Nobody can predict the future of the workers’ movement in this country or the state of Vermont. It is my opinion, however, that if workers do not take power in a reasonably short time this country will not have a future.”

The energy industry

In 1973, during his time as chairman of the Liberty Union Party, Sanders took to a Vermont paper to oppose Richard Nixon’s energy policy and oil industry profits, calling for the entire energy industry to be nationalized. Consumers at the time had been facing steep price increases and heavy shortages as a result of the OPEC oil embargo.

“I would also urge you to give serious thought about the eventual nationalization of these gigantic companies,” Sanders wrote in a December 1973 open letter to Vermont Sen. Robert Stafford that ran in the Vermont Freeman. “It is extremely clear that these companies, owned by a handful of billionaires, have far too much power over the lives of Americans to be left in private hands. The oil industry, and the entire energy industry, should be owned by the public and used for the public good — not for additional profits for billionaires.”

Electric and telephone utilities

Efforts to push for public ownership of Vermont’s utilities like telephone and electric companies played prominently in Sanders’ political career in the 1970s. Sanders ran for Senate in a January 1972 in the special election and governor in that year’s November election, registering in the low single digits in both races.

When he launched his first campaign for the Senate in 1971, Sanders said state utilities needed to be run by the state of Vermont on a nonprofit basis and that if revenues exceed expenditures they could be used to fund government programs and lower property taxes. In 1976, Sanders went even further: calling for the state to seize ownership of Vermont’s private electric companies without compensation to investors. He defended his proposals routinely by pointing out that municipally owned utilities, not uncommon throughout the country, often had lower consumer prices.

Utilities like the Green Mountain Power company and the New England Telephone company had been steadily pushing, successful and unsuccessful at times, for approval from state regulators for rate increases. Sanders was particularly incensed by a proposed 27% rate hike by the New England Telephone company, and it became a rallying cry for his political campaigns.

In 1973, as chairman of the Liberty Union Party, Sanders had organized boycotts to stop proposed rate increases from New England Telephone company. Sanders’ efforts through the “The Vermont Telephone Boycott Committee” — a committee he coordinated that year — proved successful in blocking NET rate increases. Newspapers commended Sanders for efforts when the rate increases were blocked by the state’s utility regulators.
Sanders would declare for the Senate again the following June in 1974 and for governor in 1976, and Vermont’s utilities would remain a major focus point of his campaigns and Liberty Union Party. Sanders’ rhetoric was strongest during his 1976 campaign for governor of Vermont, his last before he left the Liberty Union Party.

In a press release on his policy positions, Sanders campaigned on the public ownership of the state’s electric companies, without compensating the banks and stockholders.

“I will be campaigning in support of the Liberty Union utility proposal which calls for the public ownership of Vermont’s private electric companies without compensation to the banks and wealthy stockholders who own the vast majority of stock in these companies,” he said in a July 1976 press release. “I will also be calling for public ownership of the telephone company — which is probably the single greatest rip-off company in America.”
Sanders argued utility companies engaged in “economic blackmail,” saying the state gave the companies the right to charge “outrageous” rates for utilities or have consumers suffer from poor service.

Sanders’ comments went beyond the Liberty Union’s proposal for public takeover of state utilities, which said investors and bondholders with more than 100 shares would have to convert their holding to non-voting stock and income bonds which carry no fixed claim to dividends or interest payments.

Public ownership of banks, corporations and the major industries

Sanders’ policy proposals that year also included an ambitious plan to deal with companies attempting to leave towns.

“We have got to begin to deal with the fact that corporations do not have the god-given right to disrupt the lives of their workers or the economic foundation of their towns simply because they wish to move elsewhere to earn a higher rate of profit,” Sanders said in a press release in August 1976.
Sanders’ plan would require large businesses attempting to leave cities to get permission from the towns and the workers in them. If the company did not get that approval they would be required by law to pay a guaranteed two years of severance for workers and 10 years of taxes for the town.
Nationally, Sanders said, legislation corporations leaving cities would have to be dealt with by turning the means of production over to the workers.
“In the long run, the problem of the fleeing corporations must be dealt with on the national level by legislation which will bring about the public ownership of the major means of production and their conversion into worker-controlled enterprises,” he said.

Campaign literature that year from Sanders, including a 1976 brochure for the party, said, “I believe that, in the long run, major industries in this state and nation should be publicly owned and controlled by the workers themselves.”

Public control of the economy would become the key issue in his race. Speaking at one forum, Sanders called for workers to control of capital, factories, banks and corporations.

“There is a handful of people sitting at the head of the main banks controlling the destiny of underprivileged nations, the country as well as Vermont’s economy,” Sanders said. “That is not tolerable. That control cannot be held by them. We need public control over capital; and the capital must be put to use for public need not for the advancement of those who made the investments.”

In an interview with the Burlington Free Press, Sanders argued the richest two or three percent should not control capital.

“I favor the public ownership of utilities, banks and major industries. In Vermont we have some $2 billion of deposits in our banks,” Sanders told the paper. “In Vermont, as well as nationally, it is not tolerable to me that the control of capital would remain in the hands of the richest two or three percent of the population to do with it as they like.”

Sanders called that year in a policy paper for Vermont’s banking laws to be “radically” revised, so that the public and the state “determine in what manner our savings are invested so as to make Vermont a better place to live.”

Socialized medicine and public ownership of drug companies

Asked about healthcare, Sanders said there would need to be publicly-controlled drug companies.

“I believe in socialized medicine, public ownership of the drug companies and placing doctors on salaries. The idea that millionaires can make money by selling poor people drugs that they desperately need for highly inflated prices disgusts me,” he said.

Taxing assets at 100%

Heavy taxation of wealthy people played prominently into Sanders’ plans to pay for expanding government services.

In February 1976, Liberty Union put out a state tax proposal calling for a radical revamping of the system, including the removal of all taxes of sales, beverages, cigarettes, polls, and the use of telephones, railroads or electric energy. Tax rates for those earning more than $100,00 would be 33.47%, $50,000-$99,999 would be 19%, $25,000-$49,000 would be 13.56%, and $10,000-$14,999 would be 4%. Anyone earning less than $10,000 would pay no state income tax.

But Sanders’ rhetoric at times went much further.

During his 1974 Senate run, Sanders said one plan to expand government included making it illegal to gain more wealth than person could spend in a lifetime and have a 100% tax on incomes above this level. (Sanders defined this as $1 million dollars annually).

“Nobody should earn more than a million dollars,” Sanders said.

March 16, 2019. Tags: , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism. Leave a comment.

TEDx Talk: Michael Shellenberger explains why nuclear power is cleaner, safer, cheaper, more reliable, and more environmentally friendly than solar power and wind power

This 18 minute TEDx Talk by Michael Shellenberger is one of the best pro-nuclear power, anti-solar power, anti-wind power arguments that I have ever heard.

He cites a huge number of statistics to show that compared to solar power and wind power, nuclear power is far better for the environment, far cleaner, far better for animals, far safer for humans, far more reliable, far cheaper, and has a far smaller environmental footprint.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-yALPEpV4w

March 14, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Environmentalism. 2 comments.

Conservative, black teenage girl reads some of the racist, hateful, and profanity-laden messages that Democrats have sent her

The person in this video is a conservative, black teenage girl. She reads some of the racist, hateful, and profanity-laden messages that Democrats have sent her.

This video contains profanity and racial slurs. It’s definitely not something to play if you are at work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF9pV3mPTQw

March 13, 2019. Tags: , , , . Racism. Leave a comment.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she doesn’t recycle her plastic bags because her city’s recycling program is too “tough” for her to understand

On February 24, 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted a live video on her Instagram account where she was talking about different political issues while peeling and cutting sweet potatoes.

A guy named Gob Abierto posted several different excerpts from that video in a string of tweets at this link, which has since been deleted. I watched a bunch of those excerpts before the tweet string was deleted. The internet archive has a copy of the same tweet string at this link, but it doesn’t include the videos.

One thing that I remember from watching the excerpts is that Ocasio-Cortez tosses her plastic grocery bags and her sweet potato peelings into the same garbage can, which means that she didn’t recycle the plastic bags, and she didn’t compost the sweet potato peelings.

She also complained that they give her 10 plastic bags every time she goes to the grocery store.

She also said of plastic bags:

“I wish they didn’t exist.”

But no one forced Ocasio-Cortez to accept those plastic bags at the grocery store.

Millions of other Americas use reusable grocery bags that are made of materials other than plastic.

I’d be curios to hear Ocasio-Cortez explain why – if she hates plastic bags so much that she “wishes they didn’t exist” – she brings home 10 additional plastic bags every time she goes to the grocery store, instead of using the reusable, non-plastic bags that millions of other Americans use.

Here is a different video where Ocasio-Cortez says a similar thing. She states: (skip to 0:20)

“I can be upset that I get 10 plastic bags at the grocery store, and then have to toss out my plastic bags because the recycling program in the area is tough.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1EybnxYzKk

I think it’s incredibly hilarious and extremely hypocritical that someone who wants to hugely inconvenience everyone else by having the government embark on endeavors as gargantuan as banning fossil fuels, banning nuclear power, getting rid or airplanes, stopping cows from farting, and retrofitting every building in the country, is herself too lazy to do something as small and easy as buying reusable non-plastic bags, or to recycle the plastic bags that she does use.

For the record, I myself happen to believe that government mandated recycling of post-consumer garbage actually wastes more resources than it saves. My evidence for this belief is this New York Times article, which is called “Recycling Is Garbage.” It’s a great article, and I recommend that everyone read it.

March 9, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Environmentalism. 2 comments.

WATCH: Linda Sarsour gives orders to CAIR thugs who then block reporter from questioning Rep. Rashida Tlaib

https://www.conservativereview.com/news/watch-linda-sarsour-gives-orders-to-cair-thugs-who-then-block-reporter-from-questioning-rep-rashida-tlaib/

WATCH: Linda Sarsour gives orders to CAIR thugs who then block reporter from questioning Rep. Rashida Tlaib

March 7, 2019

Video has surfaced showing Islamic supremacist, anti-Semitic activist Linda Sarsour ordering associates to block a reporter from entering the office of Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.

Asra Nomani, a journalist and leader in the Muslim Reform Movement, documented her attempt to enter Rep. Tlaib’s office along with others and how she was physically blocked from entering.

https://twitter.com/AsraNomani/status/1103498928488697856

In the video, Sarsour is accompanied by Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamist outfit that was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood to support the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Awad, who has previously announced his support for Hamas, was accompanied in the video by at least one other senior CAIR official who is an avowed Hamas supporter.

Sarsour, speaking Arabic, then orders people in her entourage to block Nomani from entering Rep. Tlaib’s office.

https://twitter.com/ConfessionsExMu/status/1103529736846733313

Tlaib is very cozy with the Islamist organization. She is a regular at CAIR fundraising events across the country.

That same day, Sarsour was pictured in front of anti-Semitic Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s office. In the photo, taken by the radical-left, anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace group, she is flanked by the Hamas-supporting CAIR officials, Jinan Shbat and Nihad Awad.

https://twitter.com/jvplive/status/1103538535779319809

CAIR’s intimidation tactics in the halls of Congress, which is a public space, comes a day after the same tactic was employed to block a different reporter from asking Sarsour whether she recognizes Israel’s right to exist

https://twitter.com/RealSaavedra/status/1103428900799934464

March 8, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , . Islamization. Leave a comment.

Washington Post gives Hillary Clinton four Pinocchios for saying “… in Wisconsin, where the best studies that have been done said somewhere between 40 and 80,000 people were turned away from the polls because of the color of their skin…”

Hillary Clinton is not a stupid person.

However, much of the audience that she targets is stupid, which is why she recently, knowingly said the following lie:

“I was the first person who ran for president without the protection of the Voting Rights Act, and I will tell you, it makes a really big difference. And it doesn’t just make a difference in Alabama and Georgia; it made a difference in Wisconsin, where the best studies that have been done said somewhere between 40 [thousand] and 80,000 people were turned away from the polls because of the color of their skin, because of their age, because of whatever excuse could be made up to stop a fellow American citizen from voting.”

The Washington Post gave her four Pinocchios – its worst possible rating – for her statement.

Who would be stupid enough to believe such a ridiculous lie?

The same people who were stupid enough to believe that Jussie Smollett (or anyone, for that matter) would leave a noose around his neck for 45 minutes.

What Clinton, Smollett. and the many, many, many people who commit fake hate crimes (you can see a whole bunch of fake hate crimes documented here) are showing to the rest of the country is that the demand for racism, homophobia, etc., in the United States greatly exceeds the supply.

And that demand is not coming from Republicans, conservatives, or libertarians.

Instead, this massive demand for racism, homophobia, etc., is coming from liberals, progressives, social justice warriors, and others on the political left.

To normal people, it’s considered a good thing when people are happy and get along with each other.

But not to the social justice warriors.

To the social justice warriors, the worst possible thing that could ever happen is for people to be happy and get along with each other.

Which is why the social justice warriors are constantly making up so many fake hate crimes.

March 7, 2019. Tags: , , , , . Racism. 3 comments.

Kat Timpf recently gave a great explanation of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. Here’s the video and a transcript.

In this recent video, Kat Timpf gives a great explanation of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-hUGN_keWM

Here’s a transcript of what she said:

I just think AOC has completely lost her marbles.

I think she’s living in Bananaland.

Earlier this week, she called herself “the boss” for coming up with the Green New Deal.

How are you “the boss” for coming up with a plan that doesn’t work?

Are you sure that the Green New Deal is not like what you’re putting in your pipe and smoking every day?

I don’t understand.

I can come up with plenty of plans that don’t work.

How about we fly around on unicorns instead of airplanes?

How about instead of gasoline we use fairy dust we get from Tinker Bell?

How about we get Harry Potter to come over and wizard away all the emissions from the cow farts she’s so concerned about?

See, I just came up with three plans that don’t work.

Does that make me “the triple boss”?

Does she want us to just completely do away with all modern technology?

I don’t want to live like Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I don’t want to do my laundry in a basin.

I don’t want to only eat lettuce and carrots like some kind of [censored] bunny.

I don’t want to relive the Donner Party in the modern day because I had to take a horse and buggy to see my grandparents instead of a plane.

I don’t want to eat people, and I don’t want people to eat me.

AOC, do you want people to eat you?

No?

Then stop proposing [censored].

March 7, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

The Atlantic: Is This the End of Recycling?

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/03/china-has-stopped-accepting-our-trash/584131/

Is This the End of Recycling?

Americans are consuming more and more stuff. Now that other countries won’t take our papers and plastics, they’re ending up in the trash.

March 5, 2019

After decades of earnest public-information campaigns, Americans are finally recycling. Airports, malls, schools, and office buildings across the country have bins for plastic bottles and aluminum cans and newspapers. In some cities, you can be fined if inspectors discover that you haven’t recycled appropriately.

But now much of that carefully sorted recycling is ending up in the trash.

For decades, we were sending the bulk of our recycling to China – tons and tons of it, sent over on ships to be made into goods such as shoes and bags and new plastic products. But last year, the country restricted imports of certain recyclables, including mixed paper—magazines, office paper, junk mail—and most plastics. Waste-management companies across the country are telling towns, cities, and counties that there is no longer a market for their recycling. These municipalities have two choices: pay much higher rates to get rid of recycling, or throw it all away.

Most are choosing the latter. “We are doing our best to be environmentally responsible, but we can’t afford it,” said Judie Milner, the city manager of Franklin, New Hampshire. Since 2010, Franklin has offered curbside recycling and encouraged residents to put paper, metal, and plastic in their green bins. When the program launched, Franklin could break even on recycling by selling it for $6 a ton. Now, Milner told me, the transfer station is charging the town $125 a ton to recycle, or $68 a ton to incinerate. One-fifth of Franklin’s residents live below the poverty line, and the city government didn’t want to ask them to pay more to recycle, so all those carefully sorted bottles and cans are being burned. Milner hates knowing that Franklin is releasing toxins into the environment, but there’s not much she can do. “Plastic is just not one of the things we have a market for,” she said.

The same thing is happening across the country. Broadway, Virginia, had a recycling program for 22 years, but recently suspended it after Waste Management told the town that prices would increase by 63 percent, and then stopped offering recycling pickup as a service. “It almost feels illegal, to throw plastic bottles away,” the town manager, Kyle O’Brien, told me.

Without a market for mixed paper, bales of the stuff started to pile up in Blaine County, Idaho; the county eventually stopped collecting it and took the 35 bales it had hoped to recycle to a landfill. The town of Fort Edward, New York, suspended its recycling program in July and admitted it had actually been taking recycling to an incinerator for months. Determined to hold out until the market turns around, the nonprofit Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful has collected 400,000 tons of plastic. But for now, it is piling the bales behind the facility where it collects plastic.

This end of recycling comes at a time when the United States is creating more waste than ever. In 2015, the most recent year for which national data are available, America generated 262.4 million tons of waste, up 4.5 percent from 2010 and 60 percent from 1985. That amounts to nearly five pounds per person a day. New York City collected 934 tons of metal, plastic, and glass a day from residents last year, a 33 percent increase from 2013.

For a long time, Americans have had little incentive to consume less. It’s inexpensive to buy products, and it’s even cheaper to throw them away at the end of their short lives. But the costs of all this garbage are growing, especially now that bottles and papers that were once recycled are now ending up in the trash.

One of those costs is environmental: When organic waste sits in a landfill, it decomposes, emitting methane, which is bad for the climate—landfills are the third-largest source of methane emissions in the country. Burning plastic may create some energy, but it also produces carbon emissions. And while many incineration facilities bill themselves as “waste to energy” plants, studies have found that they release more harmful chemicals, such as mercury and lead, into the air per unit of energy than do coal plants.

And as cities are now learning, the other cost is financial. The United States still has a fair amount of landfill space left, but it’s getting expensive to ship waste hundreds of miles to those landfills. Some dumps are raising costs to deal with all this extra waste; according to one estimate, along the West Coast, landfill fees increased by $8 a ton from 2017 to 2018. Some of these costs are already being passed on to consumers, but most haven’t—yet.

Americans are going to have to come to terms with a new reality: All those toothpaste tubes and shopping bags and water bottles that didn’t exist 50 years ago need to go somewhere, and creating this much waste has a price we haven’t had to pay so far. “We’ve had an ostrich-in-the-sand approach to the entire system,” said Jeremy O’Brien, director of applied research at the Solid Waste Association of North America, a trade association. “We’re producing a lot of waste ourselves, and we should take care of it ourselves.”

As the trash piles up, American cities are scrambling to figure out what to do with everything they had previously sent to China. But few businesses want it domestically, for one very big reason: Despite all those advertising campaigns, Americans are terrible at recycling.

About 25 percent of what ends up in the blue bins is contaminated, according to the National Waste & Recycling Association. For decades, we’ve been throwing just about whatever we wanted—wire hangers and pizza boxes and ketchup bottles and yogurt containers—into the bin and sending it to China, where low-paid workers sorted through it and cleaned it up. That’s no longer an option. And in the United States, at least, it rarely makes sense to employ people to sort through our recycling so that it can be made into new material, because virgin plastics and paper are still cheaper in comparison.

Even in San Francisco, often lauded for its environmentalism, waste-management companies struggle to keep recycling uncontaminated. I visited a state-of-the-art facility operated by San Francisco’s recycling provider, Recology, where million-dollar machines separate aluminum from paper from plastic from garbage. But as the Recology spokesman Robert Reed walked me through the plant, he kept pointing out nonrecyclables gumming up the works. Workers wearing masks and helmets grabbed laundry baskets off a fast-moving conveyor belt of cardboard as some non-cardboard items escaped their gloved hands. Recology has to stop another machine twice a day so a technician can pry plastic bags from where they’ve clogged up the gear.

Cleaning up recycling means employing people to slowly go through materials, which is expensive. Jacob Greenberg, a commissioner in Blaine County, Idaho, told me that the county’s mixed-paper recycling was about 90 percent clean. But its paper broker said the mixed paper needed to be 99 percent clean for anyone to buy it, and elected officials didn’t want to hike fees to get there. “At what point do you feel like you’re spending more money than what it takes for people to feel good about recycling?” he said.

Then there’s the challenge of educating people about what can and can’t be recycled, even as the number of items they touch on a daily basis grows. Americans tend to be “aspirational” about their recycling, tossing an item in the blue bin because it makes them feel less guilty about consuming it and throwing it away. Even in San Francisco, Reed kept pointing out items that aren’t easily recyclable but that keep showing up at the Recology plant: soy-sauce packets and pizza boxes, candy-bar wrappers and dry-cleaner bags, the lids of to-go coffee cups and plastic take-out containers.

If we can somehow figure out how to better sort recycling, some U.S. markets for plastics and paper may emerge. But selling it domestically will still be harder than it would be in a place such as China, where a booming manufacturing sector has constant demand for materials. The viability of recycling varies tremendously by locale; San Francisco can recycle its glass back into bottles in six weeks, according to Recology, while many other cities are finding that glass is so heavy and breaks so easily that it is nearly impossible to truck it to a place that will recycle it. Akron, Ohio, is just one of many cities that have ended glass recycling since the China policy changes.

For now, it’s still often cheaper for companies to manufacture using new materials than recycled ones. Michael Rohwer, a director at Business for Social Responsibility, works with companies that try to be more environmentally friendly. He told me that recycled plastic costs pennies more than new plastic, and those pennies add up when you’re manufacturing millions of items. Items made of different types of plastic nearly always end up in the trash, because recyclers can’t separate the plastics from one another—Reed equates it with trying to get the sugar and eggs out of a cake after you’ve baked it. But because companies don’t bear the costs of disposal, they have no incentive to manufacture products out of material that will be easier to recycle.

The best way to fix recycling is probably persuading people to buy less stuff, which would also have the benefit of reducing some of the upstream waste created when products are made. But that’s a hard sell in the United States, where consumer spending accounts for 68 percent of the GDP. The strong economy means more people have more spending money, too, and often the things they buy, such as new phones, and the places they shop, such as Amazon, are designed to sell them even more things. The average American spent 7 percent more on food and 8 percent more on personal-care products and services in 2017 than in 2016, according to government data.

Some places are still trying to get people to buy less. The city of San Francisco, for instance, is trying to get residents to think of a fourth r beyond “reduce, reuse, and recycle”—“refuse.” It wants people to be smarter about what they purchase, avoiding plastic bottles and straws and other disposable goods. But it’s been tough in a place centered on acquiring the newest technology. “This is our big challenge: How do you take a culture like San Francisco and get people excited about less?” Debbie Raphael, the director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment, told me. The city passed an ordinance that required that 10 percent of beverages sold be available in reusable containers, and it is trying to make reuse “hip” through an online campaign and dedicated website, Raphael said. San Francisco and other Bay Area cities have banned plastic bags and plastic straws, but that option isn’t available in many other parts of the country, where recently passed state laws prevent cities from banning products.

But even in San Francisco, the most careful consumers still generate a lot of waste. Plastic clamshell containers are difficult to recycle because the material they’re made of is so flimsy—but it’s hard to find berries not sold in those containers, even at most farmers’ markets. Go into a Best Buy or Target in San Francisco to buy headphones or a charger, and you’ll still end up with plastic packaging to throw away. Amazon has tried to reduce waste by sending products in white and blue plastic envelopes, but when I visited the Recology plant, they littered the floor because they’re very hard to recycle. Even at Recology, an employee-owned company that benefits when people recycle well, the hurdles to getting rid of plastics were evident. Reed chided me for eating my daily Chobani yogurt out of small, five-ounce containers rather than out of big, 32-ounce tubs, but I saw a five-ounce Yoplait container in a trash can of the control room of the Recology plant. While there, Reed handed me a pair of small orange earplugs meant to protect my ears from the noise of the plant. They were wrapped in a type of flimsy plastic that is nearly impossible to recycle. When I left the plant, I kept the earplugs and the plastic in my bag, not sure what to do with them. Eventually, I threw them in the trash.

March 6, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , . Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

Trash marked for recycling is going to landfills instead

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GKr1Z6pDBU

March 6, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

Ocasio-Cortez’s mom moved to Florida to escape NYC’s property taxes

https://nypost.com/2019/03/04/ocasio-cortezs-mom-moved-to-florida-to-escape-nycs-property-taxes/

Ocasio-Cortez’s mom moved to Florida to escape NYC’s property taxes

March 4, 2019

The mother of soak-the-rich Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she was forced to flee the Big Apple and move to Florida because the property taxes were so high.

“I was paying $10,000 a year in real estate taxes up north. I’m paying $600 a year in Florida. It’s stress-free down here,” Blanca Ocasio-Cortez told the Daily Mail from her home in Eustis, a town of less than 20,000 in central Florida north of Orlando.

The mother of two — who calls herself BOC — said she picked Eustis because a relative already lived there, and right before Christmas 2016, she paid $87,000 for an 860-square-foot home on a quiet street that dead-ends at a cemetery.

Her daughter raised eyebrows with her pitch to hike the top marginal tax rate on income earned above $10 million to 70 percent.

She has also gotten behind the so-called Green New Deal, which would see a massive and costly government effort to address climate change the way Franklin D. Roosevelt launched the New Deal to rescue the US economy during the Depression.

March 5, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 4 comments.

Where did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez get her sweet potatoes?

http://tennesseestar.com/2019/02/27/commentary-where-did-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-get-her-sweet-potatoes/

Where did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez get her sweet potatoes?

by Jeffrey A. Tucker

February 27, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SUDG7FIFK8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-haN_2oztvw

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was trying to explain to me that the world is going to melt, we are all doing to die, and probably we shouldn’t be having any more children, but I was distracted by the dinner she was preparing on camera. She was carefully cutting sweet potatoes before putting them in the oven.

She put salt and pepper on them. Salt was once so rare that it was regarded as money. Ever try to go a day with zero salt? Nothing tastes right. That was the history of humanity for about 150,000 years. Then we figured out how to produce and distribute salt to every table in the world. Now we throw around salt like it is nothing, and even complain that everything is too salty. Nice problem.

Sweet potatoes are not easy to cut, so she was using a large steel knife, made of a substance that only became commercially viable in the late 19th century. It took generations of metallurgists to figure out how to make steel reliably and affordably. Before steel, there were bodies of water you could not cross without a boat because no one knew how to make an iron bridge that wouldn’t sink.

As for the oven in her apartment, it was either gas-powered or electric. In either case, she didn’t have to chop down trees and build a fire, like 99.99 percent of humanity had to until relatively recently. She merely pushed a button and it came on, a luxury experienced by most American households only after World War II. Now we all think it is normal.

I also presume that her house is warm in the dead of winter and that this is due to indoor thermostatically controlled heat. There are still people alive today who regard this invention as the greatest in the whole course of their lives. They no longer had to work two days to heat a house for one day. Again, one only needs to push a button and, like magic, the warmth comes to you.

The more interesting question is where she obtained those sweet potatoes. The store, I know. No one grows sweet potatoes in Washington, D.C. But where did the store get them? For many thousands of years, the sweet potato was trapped in distant places in South America; it somehow made its way on boat travels to the Polynesian islands, and finally landed in Japan by the late 15th century.

Only once boating technology and capital expenditure for exploration grew to reveal the first signs of prosperity for the masses of people did the sweet potato make it to Europe via an expedition led by Christopher Columbus. Finally, it came to the U.S.

But this took many thousands of years of development — capitalistic development — unless you want to see this root vegetable as the ultimate fruit of colonialism and thus to be eschewed by any truly enlightened social justice warrior.

Even early in the 20th century, sweet potatoes were not reliably available for anyone to chop up and bake, especially not in the dead of winter. Today Americans eat sweet potatoes grown mostly in the American South but also imported from China, which today serves 67 percent of the global sweet potato market.

How do we obtain them? They are flown on planes, shipped on gas-powered ocean liners, and brought to the store via shipping trucks that also run on fossil fuels. If you are playing with the idea of abolishing all those things by legislative fiat, as she certainly is, it is not likely that you are going to obtain a sweet potato on the fly.

I admit the following. It drives me crazy to see people so fully enjoying the benefits from private property, trade, technology, and capitalistic endeavor even as they blithely propose to truncate dramatically the very rights that bring them such material joy, without a thought as to how their ideology might dramatically affect the future of mass availability of wealth that these ideologues so casually take for granted.

To me, it’s like watching a person on IV denounce modern medicine — or a person using a smartphone to broadcast to the world an urgent message calling for an end to economic development. It doesn’t refute their point, but the performative contradiction is too acute not to note, at least in passing.

Now to this question about whether there should or should not be a new generation of human beings. After all, she points out, no one can afford them anymore because young people are starting careers tens of thousands of dollars in debt from student loans. She says there is also the moral issue that we need to take care of the kids who are already here rather than having more.

Truth is, she doesn’t really explain well why she is toying with the idea that it is a bad idea that people have kids. Let me suggest that it is possible that she is drifting toward the path of countless environmentalists before her and finally saying outright what many people believe in their hearts: humankind is the enemy. Either we live and nature dies, or nature lives and we die. There must be some dramatic upheaval in the way we structure society to find a new way. It’s the application of the Marxian conflict fable to another area of life.

Maybe.

In any case, those are big thoughts — too big, really, for a delightful cooking session after which a fancy meal beckons. We’ll get back to what AOC calls the “universal sense of urgency” following dessert.

March 4, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Economics, Environmentalism, Food. Leave a comment.

Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore says Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal would cause people in cities to starve to death

Patrick Moore is a co-founder of Greenpeace.

He just made this tweet regarding Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal: (original, archive)

The text states:

Pompous little twit. You don’t have a plan to grow food for 8 billion people without fossil fuels, or get the food into the cities. Horses? If fossil fuels were banned every tree in the world would be cut down for fuel for cooking and heating. You would bring about mass death.

I think Moore’s comment would have been more effective without those first three words.

I do agree with everything else that he said.

March 4, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Environmentalism. 3 comments.

Rashida Tlaib’s campaign paid her $17,500 in salary after Election Day, in possible violation of FEC rules: report

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/rashida-tlaib-faces-questions-after-data-shows-campaign-paid-her-17500-salary-in-two-weeks-after-election-day

Rashida Tlaib’s campaign paid her $17,500 in salary after Election Day, in possible violation of FEC rules: report

March 2, 2019

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., is facing questions after campaign records revealed she paid herself $17,500 as a salary after the midterm elections, in what appeared to be a violation of campaign finance rules, a report said.

Tlaib, a firebrand freshman Democrat from Detroit, has been facing scrutiny over her connections to radical anti-Israel activists and a profane call to impeach President Trump.

She caused uproar on Capitol Hill earlier this week by insinuating that Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. — her colleague on the House Oversight and Reform Committee — had used Trump family friend Lynne Patton, an African-American, as a racist “prop” during former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s appearance before the panel. (Later, Tlaib and Meadows were seen sharing an embrace on the House floor, after apparently resolving their differences.)

Yet the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) may land the radical congresswoman into hot water with questions on whether her campaign broke the rules after making salary payments to Tlaib after Election Day last year.

Tlaib’s campaign began paying her a salary of about $4,000 every month since May 2018 up until the general election Nov. 6 – a perfectly legal practice if the campaign chose to do so. But according to the filings, as first spotted by the Washington Free Beacon, Tlaib also paid herself $2,000 on Nov. 16 and a whopping $15,500 on Dec. 1 – weeks after the election was over, in an apparent violation of FEC statutes.

The FEC rules state that a general election candidate is allowed to dip into campaign coffers to give himself or herself a salary only up to the election date. The candidate can no longer draw a salary after the election date, or because of other reasons that ended the campaign.

“If the candidate loses the primary, withdraws from the race, or otherwise ceases to be a candidate, no salary payments may be paid beyond the date he or she is no longer a candidate,” the rules state.

A Tlaib ally, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., grabbed headlines last year after saying that due to the rules that prohibit the use of campaign funds to pay a salary after the election date, she would have trouble finding an apartment in Washington, D.C. until she began receiving a paycheck for her work in Congress.

“I have three months without a salary before I’m a member of Congress. So, how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real,” Ocasio-Cortez told the New York Times at the time.

Tlaib’s office didn’t respond to Fox News’ request for a comment and clarification of the nature of the salary payment.

An FEC spokesperson told the Washinton Free Beacon that candidates are allowed to make payments to themselves after the election — but only for activities that happened during the election period.

An election law and government ethics lawyer also told the outlet that Tlaib may have deflated her monthly payments during the campaign for political purposes while “knowing full well that she would make up any difference at the end by giving herself a lump sum payment.”

“That would let her skirt negative publicity, of the sort that Alan Keyes generated when he paid himself a sizable salary. An after-the-fact, lump-sum payment cuts against the purpose of the rule, which is to help the candidate pay for daily living expenses while campaigning,” the lawyer added.

March 3, 2019. Tags: , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Dem Proposals: ‘Numbers Sometimes Don’t Add Up, Emotional Appeal Trump Actual Analysis’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlsXrCpGh9s

March 1, 2019. Tags: , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Politics. Leave a comment.

Diamond and Silk Deliver Explosive Speech at CPAC 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9MXGUGwIp4

March 1, 2019. Tags: , . Politics. Leave a comment.