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Protecting our Environmental Resources
Updated: 22 hours 32 min ago

Center for Biological Diversity: NO BORDER WALL

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 15:43
“Now Donald Trump wants a wall across the entire 2,000-mile border. Trump’s wall would harm border communities, perpetuate human suffering, destroy thousands of acres of habitat and halt the cross-border migration of dozens of animal species. In fact, as revealed in the Center’s 2017 report A Wall in the Wild, 93 threatened, endangered and candidate species would potentially be affected by construction of a wall and related infrastructure spanning the entirety of the border. Center for Biological Diversity: NO BORDER WALL NO BORDER WALL More than 650 miles of barriers already exist along the border. These walls, fences and barriers cut through sensitive ecosystems, disrupt animal migration patterns, cause catastrophic flooding, and divide communities and tribal nations.

Now Donald Trump wants a wall across the entire 2,000-mile border. Trump’s wall would harm border communities, perpetuate human suffering, destroy thousands of acres of habitat and halt the cross-border migration of dozens of animal species. In fact, as revealed in the Center’s 2017 report A Wall in the Wild, 93 threatened, endangered and candidate species would potentially be affected by construction of a wall and related infrastructure spanning the entirety of the border.

This is a looming tragedy for the region’s diverse wildlife and people, as well as its rugged and spectacular landscapes. We’re fighting in the courts, in Congress and in our communities to stop Trump’s cynical attack on our beautiful borderlands.

 


Take our pledge to fight Trump’s border wall today. 

 

With headquarters near the border in Tucson, Arizona, the Center has worked to preserve and protect the remote beauty and amazing biodiversity of our borderlands for decades. We’ve been fighting against border militarization — including the border wall — since the late 1990s, using litigation to block unlawful border policy, grassroots lobbying to stop legislation that would exacerbate environmental damage, and creative-media and public-education campaigns to get out the truth about the real impacts of the hugely expensive, largely ineffective and environmentally devastating border wall.

We currently have three lawsuits in play on the border wall. In April 2017 the Center partnered with U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva in filing suit seeking a thorough analysis of the environmental impacts of border-security policy, including the border wall, under the National Environmental Policy Act. Another suit challenges the Trump administration’s waiver of more than three dozen environmental, public-health and tribal-sovereignty laws in order to rush border-wall construction. And a third suit seeks to force the administration to release documents regarding its border plans, thus far withheld from the public.

In May 2017 the Center partnered with the Tohono O’odham tribe in Mexico to file an endangerment petition for El Pinacate and Gran Desierto Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, just south of the border in the state of Sonora. A wall in that area would block cross-border migration of endangered Sonoran pronghorn and restrict access for the Tohono O’odham people, who travel across the border regularly for traditional and ceremonial purposes.

In July 2017 the House of Representatives approved the Trump administration’s $1.6 billion budget request to expand the U.S.-Mexico border wall, ignoring threats to protected wildlife refuges and border communities. Since then, the administration has been slowly moving forward with its plans —  and waiving dozens of laws along the way.

No Border Wall Resolution Campaign

The Center has helped launch a campaign to pass resolutions in states, cities and counties across the United States opposing the border wall, with 36 passed so far. Many of these resolutions contain provisions for jurisdictions to divest from companies that agree to design or build the wall. Numerous local governments have enacted No Border Wall Resolutions. If you’re an elected official or representative of a community or organization who’d like to get involved in our campaign to pass No Border Wall resolutions across the country, please contact Laiken Jordahl.

BACKGROUND ON THE BORDERLANDS

Joining the United States and Mexico, our borderlands to the south comprise one of the biggest ecosystem complexes in North America, with some of the least populated areas and the most important wildlife habitats remaining on the continent. This border region is host to a diverse array of threatened, endangered and rare species — including the Sonoran pronghorn, lesser long-nosed bat, Quino checkerspot butterfly, cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, and larger predators like jaguars, Mexican gray wolves and ocelots — and it contains millions of acres of public lands, such as Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Big Bend National Park, Coronado National Forest and Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

In the mid-1990s the U.S. federal government launched a strategy of militarization in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands that continues to this day. First the areas around ports of entry in El Paso, San Diego, and other urban areas along the border were hardened and walls were erected using solid steel panels from Vietnam War–era landing mats. This had the predictable effect of forcing undocumented migrants out into more remote areas to cross the border, where many died in harsh conditions. More than 7,000 people have died crossing the border in the past 20 years. Documents show that migrant deaths were a foreseen consequence of a conscious strategy to increase the difficulty and dangers of crossing the border as a deterrent to migrants.

The strategy of pushing migrant traffic into wild areas did not work to stem the flow of undocumented immigration — but it did vastly increase the amount of environmental damage it was causing, as both the flow of migrants and the resulting border-law-enforcement activities were pushed into formerly untrammeled sites.

Thousands of Border Patrol agents began driving off-road in remote areas, creating thousands of miles of new roads in designated wilderness and critical habitats for endangered species. As detailed in the Center’s A Wall in the Wild report, more than 2 million acres of designated critical habitat exists within 50 miles of the border and is in danger of being degraded and destroyed by the construction of a wall and related enforcement activities along the border.

In 2005 the U.S. Congress passed a clause in the REAL ID Act, which granted the secretary of Homeland Security the authority to waive any and all laws with regard to constructing walls and roads along the border. More than three dozen environmental, public-health and tribal-sovereignty laws have since been waived using this authority, resulting in hundreds of miles of additional border barriers and roads being constructed with little or no environmental review. The Trump administration has already used this authority three times to rush border-wall construction, most recently in January 2018 in New Mexico.

The results of these waivers have been predictable. Without the thorough analysis of environmental impacts normally required by law, new border infrastructure has been constructed in ill-advised locations with poor engineering — resulting in massive flooding, erosion, and millions of dollars of damage to private property and public lands alike.

 

SPREAD THE WORD: Make sure your anti-wall posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram include the hashtag #NoBorderWall. RELATED CAMPAIGNS
Trump Lawsuit Tracker
Trump Action Toolkit
Sonoran Desert
Mojave Desert 
Borderlands and Boundary Waters
Sky Islands Conservation 
International Program

SPECIES
Jaguar
Mexican gray wolf
Ocelot
Mexican spotted owl
Mexican bobcat
Quino checkerspot butterfly
Chiricahua leopard frog
Cactus ferruginous pygmy owl
Southwestern willow flycatcher
Desert pupfish
Desert kit fox 

MEDIA
Press releases
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DOCUMENTS AND PUBLICATIONS
January 2019 comments against proposed border wall construction in San Diego
• Center report: A Wall in the Wild
July 2017 FOIA request
June 2017 lawsuit and July lawsuit expansion
June 2017 notice of intent to sue over species threats


Contact: Laiken Jordahl

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Social Inequality: Whatever You Paid to Watch Netflix Last Month Was More Than It Paid in Income Taxes All Last Year: $0

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:19
Today we had news Amazon not only paid NO taxes but got Millions in rebates……. “When hugely profitable corporations avoid tax, that means smaller businesses and working families must make up the difference. ”   Whatever You Paid to Watch Netflix Last Month Was More Than It Paid in Income Taxes All Last Year: $0

“Netflix posted its largest-ever U.S. profit in 2018­­—$845 million—on which it didn’t pay a dime in federal or state income taxes,” writes ITEP senior fellow Matthew Gardner. In fact, the streaming giant received a $22 million return.

by Jon Queally, staff writer Netflix CEO Reed Hastings delivers a keynote address at CES 2016 at The Venetian Las Vegas on January 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images) Netflix CEO Reed Hastings delivers a keynote address at CES 2016 at The Venetian Las Vegas on January 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

 

Whether you paid $8.99 for basic, $12.99 for standard, or splurged for the $15.99 premium package so you would have the privilege of watching endless streaming shows and movies on Netflix last month, a new analysis shows you still paid much, much more than the company paid in federal and local income taxes for the entire year.

“When hugely profitable corporations avoid tax, that means smaller businesses and working families must make up the difference.” —Matthew Gardner, ITEP senior fellow. According to Matthew Gardner, senior fellow at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), “The popular video streaming service Netflix posted its largest-ever U.S. profit in 2018­­—$845 million—on which it didn’t pay a dime in federal or state income taxes.”

Not a dime. Not one penny.

“In fact,” noted Gardner in a blog post on ITEP’s website on Tuesday, “the company reported a $22 million federal income tax rebate.” So even if you paid Netflix nothing last month because you chose not to subscribe—or maybe you were enjoying an introductory free-month trial—you still didn’t make out better than the online giant.

Citing the specific impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which the Republicans in Congress passed and Trump signed into law in December of 2017, Gardner explains that because companies are finally releasing their complete 2018 earnings reports—which Netflix did last month—the public is finally getting a look at just how well some of the nation’s most profitable corporations are making out.

While GOP leaders like former House Speaker Paul Ryan sold the bill to the voting public by promising lower corporate rates would be offset by the closure of loopholes, Gardner says Netflix is a test case for how bogus those promises were. “Many corporations are still able to exploit loopholes and avoid paying the statutory tax rate,” he explains, “only now, that rate is substantially lower.”

He continues:

Netflix’s tax avoidance should come as no surprise to those who followed the debate leading up to the passage of the new tax law: A 2017 ITEP report identified Netflix as one of 100 profitable Fortune 500 corporations that paid a 0 percent federal income tax rate in at least one profitable year between 2008 and 2015. In fact, Netflix did it twice, and paid an average tax rate of 13.6 percent over the eight-year period, meaning that the company sheltered more than half of its profits from the 35 percent federal income tax rate in effect at the time.

Leading up to the 2017 tax battle, the hope of reformers was that Congress would take a fiscally responsible approach and weed out loopholes that made Netflix’s tax avoidance possible. Instead,  GOP leaders who championed the law and President Trump chose to focus on cutting the corporate tax rate as far as possible—from 35 to 21 percent—while leaving in place special breaks and loopholes.

“Netflix appears to be every bit as unaffected by corporate tax laws now as it was before President Trump’s ‘reform,'” Gardner concludes. “This is especially troubling because Netflix is precisely the sort of company that should be paying its fair share of income taxes. With a record number of subscribers, the company’s profit last year equaled its haul in the previous four years put together. When hugely profitable corporations avoid tax, that means smaller businesses and working families must make up the difference.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don’t survive on clicks. We don’t want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can’t do it alone. It doesn’t work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.

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Categories: G2. Local Greens

Got Community? February 16th, WWW annual Sonoma County Meeting on Land Use Policy

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:04
We invite the community to an open, fact filled discussion on land use policies. Sonoma County planners are rewriting the General Plan for 2020, still tweaking cannabis regulations, winery event regulations (postponed) and the Local Coastal Plan due this spring. These policies will affect the county for generations to come. Speakers include Laura Waldbaum, Ernie Carpenter, Rue Furch, Tom Conlon and more. These speakers have decades of experience in our county on land use policies. The event is free.

Wine & Water Watch is a Sonoma County Tomorrow group.

 

 

We’ll cover how to get involved now for optimum input and what we need to watch for. What’s that old expression, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu”? Equality and many voices will make our county great.  Hope to see you there.

Graton Community Club

8996 Graton Rd Graton, CA.

1pm-3pm

For more info please leave comment on website or Facebook

ERNIE CARPENTER BIO: Fiscal conservative and social liberal.

Ernie Carpenter received his BA from San Francisco State and Master of Social Work at Berkeley in 1969. Ernie has lived in Sonoma County since 1969. He is a psychiatric social worker and an original Social Advocates for Youth staff. Ernie served on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors 1981-1997 representing the West Sonoma County. He is a former Coastal Commissioner, Planning Commissioner, Supervisor and current muckraker. He has an ongoing interest in progressive drug policies and government and currently works as a consultant on environment and government.

RUE FURCH BIO:Rue has worked for years with local farm groups, seeking to protect family farms. She was Project Manager for the Sonoma County Farmlands Group and has worked with the California Association of Family Farmers. She was a leader of the Santa Rosa and Sebastopol Urban Growth Boundary campaigns, which fought to protect agricultural land from city sprawl.Her belief in neighborhood-friendly planning led to involvement in Courtside Village, the first Santa Rosa mixed use development to create a complete community of homes, shops, and parks. She also worked with the Santa Rosa Neighborhood Coalition, Concerned Citizens for Santa Rosa and the Sonoma County Community Foundation Advisory Committee. She was a moderator of the Marin-Sonoma County Transportation Committee and a member of the Hwy. 101 Corridor Advisory Committee.

Rue has served as a county planning commission for 16 years and has a reputation for doing her homework and asking tough questions. She was appointed by two West County supervisors, and has twice been the Commission’s chairperson. She recently chaired a statewide conference on responsible water use and succeeded in prioritizing water resources in the county’s new general plan. Among her many awards,

Rue was named California Woman of the Year by the state Assembly, 2006 Upstream Swimmer Award by Sonoma County Conservation Action, Environmentalist of the Year by the Sonoma County Conservation Council, County Planning Commissioner of the Year by the California County Planning Commissioners’ Association and received the Agent of Change Award from Concerned Citizens for Santa Rosa.

 

LAURA WALDBAUM BIO: Laura Waldbaum in an environmental activist. For the past 20 years she has been working to implement changes to County policies and influence land use decisions to protect fish habitat in the Mark West Creek Watershed. She has been involved with litigation opposing several County land use decisions, has served on the County’s “working group” to modify the Vineyard & Orchard Site Development Ordinance and is currently a member of Sonoma County’s Cannabis Advisory Group representing the environment. 

Tom Conlon (Sonoma Valley) is an applied anthropologist and an expert in energy-efficiency social marketing. His clients have included Southern Edison, the California Energy Commission, the Electric Power Research Institute, and The World Bank (Jamaica). He is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz and Sonoma State University, and has founded several ‘green’ businesses, including one acquired by Autodesk in 2008. A Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Tom represented District 1 on the Sonoma County Climate Action 2020 Stakeholder Advisory Group, and he has served on the boards of other local organizations including the Economic Development Board’s Business Environmental Alliance, the Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley, and Transition Sonoma Valley. In the late 1980’s he helped initiate the Organic Market News and Information Service and early drafts of the California Organic Foods Act (1990). Tom provides strategic, technical, and website support to Wine and Water Watch.

 

 

Annie Dobbs-Kramer: 

Community Organizer | North Bay Organizing Project (NBOP)

Annie Dobbs-Kramer is a community organizer with the North Bay Organizing Project in Sonoma Country California. She has been organizing for the last 9 years. Her work centers on the intersection between environmental and social justice organizing to build deep democracy in our communities. The main focus of her organizing is creating space for women to empower themselves.

NBOP is an grassroots, multi-racial, and multi-issue organization comprised of over 20 faith, labor, environmental, student and community-based organizations based in Sonoma County. In this conversation we will learn about their campaign, Roots, Roof, and Refuge, and why they created the women-led Justice for the Environment Taskforce to embark on a campaign for the Rights of Nature.

The Rights of Nature identifies ecosystems and natural communities not merely as property, but as entities that have an independent right to exist and flourish. Laws recognizing the rights of nature thus transform the status of natural communities and ecosystems from things to be owned into rights-bearing entities with privileges that can be enforced by people, governments, and communities.

 

 

 

Categories: G2. Local Greens

What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food | Kendra Klein and Anna Lappé | Opinion | The Guardian

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:04
“When you choose organically-grown products, you’re guaranteed they were not grown with chlorpyrifos or the roughly 900 synthetic pesticides allowed in non-organic agriculture. Many of these pesticides are now understood to cause cancer, affect the body’s hormonal systems, disrupt fertility, cause developmental delay for children or Parkinson’s, depression, or Alzheimer’s as we age. “ What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food | Kendra Klein and Anna Lappé | Opinion | The Guardian

A study helps answer a question many of us ask when deciding whether to buy organic food: does it really make a difference?

  A study shows that eating organic can dramatically decrease the pesticides you’re exposed to. Photograph: Dave Martin/AP

When Andreina Febres, a mother of two living in Oakland, California, signed up for a study evaluating whether an organic diet could make a difference in the amount of pesticides found in her body, she didn’t know what researchers would find. But her family, and the three others across the country that participated, would discover that they all had detectable levels of the pesticides being tracked. They would also discover that after only six days on an organic diet, every single person would see significant drops in those pesticides, including several linked to increased risk of autism, cancer, Parkinson’s, infertility, and other significant impacts on health.

“It’s good to see that just after a week there was a dramatic drop,” Febres said after seeing the results. “I would love to get those pesticides out of my body and my family’s bodies.”

This just-published peer-reviewed study helps answer a question many of us ask when deciding whether to reach for the conventional or organic option at the store: does organic really make a difference? The results say yes, a big difference. Choosing organic can protect you from exposure to toxic pesticides.

Does organic really make a difference? The results say yes, a big difference

This study, led by researchers at University of California, Berkeley and Friends of the Earth, and co-authored by one of us, tracked pesticide levels in four families from across the country for two weeks. The first week, the families ate their typical diets of non-organic food; the following week, they ate completely organic. Urine samples taken over the course of the study were tested for pesticides and the chemicals pesticides break down into, called metabolites.

The results? Of the 14 chemicals tested, every single member of every family had detectable levels. After switching to an organic diet, these levels dropped dramatically. Levels across all pesticides dropped by more than half on average. Detectable levels for the pesticide malathion, a probable human carcinogen according to the World Health Organization, decreased a dramatic 95% .

Malathion was just one of the pesticides found in this study that are part of a group called organophosphates, which have long concerned public health experts because of their impact on children’s developing brains. Created as nerve agents in World War II, organophosphates have been linked to increased rates of autism, learning disabilities, and reduced IQ in children. The organophosphate chlorpyrifos, found in all of the family members, is so worrisome to public health that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) planned to ban it in 2017 – a proposal dropped by the Trump administration. In the wake of inaction from the administration, Hawaii passed the first state level chlorpyrifos ban in 2018; and Representative Nydia Velázquez introduced a federal bill to ban it.

This brings us back to the case for organic. When you choose organically-grown products, you’re guaranteed they were not grown with chlorpyrifos or the roughly 900 synthetic pesticides allowed in non-organic agriculture. Many of these pesticides are now understood to cause cancer, affect the body’s hormonal systems, disrupt fertility, cause developmental delay for children or Parkinson’s, depression, or Alzheimer’s as we age. This study shows that eating organic can dramatically decrease the pesticides you’re exposed to.

Organic for all, is that too radical of an ask?

But we know providing people with information about the benefits of choosing organic foods is not enough. Far too many of us don’t have the choice. Today, billions of our tax dollars are subsidizing pesticide-intensive agriculture while organic programs and research are woefully underfunded. This misdirection of public dollars is one of the reasons many people across the country still don’t have access to, or can’t afford, organic food.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has argued that in a modern, moral, wealthy society, no person should be too poor to live. We believe it follows that in such a society, none of us should be too poor to afford food raised without toxic chemicals and that all of us should be able to support a food chain that protects the health of farmers, farmworkers and communities who are otherwise on the fron-tlines of pesticide exposure.

As another mother in the study put it: “Health should not be limited to your income, your education, your race, your gender, or your geographic location. I think everyone has the right to clean, organic food.”

Organic for all, is that too radical of an ask?

  • Kendra Klein is senior staff scientist at Friends of the Earth-US, a national organization working to create a more just and healthy world. Anna Lappé is a national best-selling author and co-director of Real Food Media. Together, they have collaborated on Organic for All
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Categories: G2. Local Greens

Analysis Shows Exposure to Monsanto’s Glyphosate-Based Roundup Increases Cancer Risk by More Than 40%

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:53
Crony capitalism at it’s worse: “The EPA has argued that studies linking glyphosate to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are flawed—but as The Guardian reported, that argument may fall apart with the release of the latest analysis: Three of the study authors were tapped by the EPA as board members for a 2016 scientific advisory panel on glyphosate. The new paper was published by the journal Mutation Research /Reviews in Mutation Research, whose editor in chief is EPA scientist David DeMarini.” Analysis Shows Exposure to Monsanto’s Glyphosate-Based Roundup Increases Cancer Risk by More Than 40%

“The future will wonder just what we thought we were doing blanketing the world in this poison.”

by Julia Conley, staff writer

Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is the most heavily-used agricultural chemical in history. (Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr/cc)

A far-reaching new scientific analysis found that the weed-killing chemical glyphosate is far more dangerous than U.S. government officials admit,  showing a 41 percent increased risk of developing cancer for people who have frequent exposure.

Five scientists at the University of Washington conducted the study—analyzing all published data on glyphosate and its link to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from 2001 to 2018—and are now “even more convinced” that the chemical is behind many cancer diagnoses, according to Lianne Sheppard, one of the study’s authors.

Focusing on people in each study who had high exposure to the herbicide, the researchers concluded that “the link between glyphosate and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is stronger than previously reported,” said the University in a press statement.

“From a population health point of view there are some real concerns,” Sheppard told The Guardian.

Those concerns are compounded by the fact that Monsanto—the maker of the widely-used weedkiller Roundup, which contains glyphosate—and the EPA continue to deny that the chemical causes cancer, even as lawsuits against the company which cite the scientific connection continue to pile up.

Monsanto is currently appealing a court ruling from last August, in which the company was found liable for causing a groundskeeper who frequently used Roundup to develop cancer. The company is facing more than 9,000 other lawsuits as well.

The EPA has argued that studies linking glyphosate to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are flawed—but as The Guardian reported, that argument may fall apart with the release of the latest analysis:

Three of the study authors were tapped by the EPA as board members for a 2016 scientific advisory panel on glyphosate. The new paper was published by the journal Mutation Research /Reviews in Mutation Research, whose editor in chief is EPA scientist David DeMarini.

The findings are consistent with international researchers’ analysis of the connection, study co-author Rachel Shaffer said in a statement.

“This research provides the most up-to-date analysis of glyphosate and its link with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, incorporating a 2018 study of more than 54,000 people who work as licensed pesticide applicators,” Shaffer said. “These findings are aligned with a prior assessment from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which classified glyphosate as a ‘probable human carcinogen’ in 2015.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don’t survive on clicks. We don’t want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can’t do it alone. It doesn’t work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.

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Categories: G2. Local Greens

Trump admits border ’emergency’ declaration was inspired by conservative media

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:42
And he’s off to Mar-a-Lago for golfing today after staff releases 60% of his time spent watching TV…..did you elect Hannity or Limbaugh to govern our country? Trump admits border ’emergency’ declaration was inspired by conservative media Trump credited Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson for the move. Josh Israel Feb 15, 2019, 12:10 pm President Donald Trump on Friday announced plans to circumvent Congress and declare a “national emergency” to build his proposed southern border wall, admitting his thinking on the issue had been inspired by several far right talk show hosts.

President Donald Trump on Friday announced plans to circumvent Congress and declare a “national emergency” to build his proposed southern border wall, admitting his thinking on the issue had been shaped by several far right talk show hosts. (PHOTO CREDIT: CNN screenshot)

NBC News posed the question during a Rose Garden press conference to address the emergency declaration, asking Trump “to what degree some of the outside conservative voices helped to shape [his] views” on the issue.

Trump did not hold back, praising the influence of Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Tucker Carlson, as well as ultra conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.

“Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I do, not of me. If I change my views, he wouldn’t be with me,” he began. “Rush Limbaugh, I think he’s a great guy. He’s a guy who can speak for three hours without a phone call. Try doing that sometime. For three hours he speaks. He has one of the biggest audiences in the history…this guy is unbelievable. Try speaking for three hours without taking calls. Taking calls is easy. ‘Okay, I’ll answer this one and I’ll answer that one.’” 

He continued, “Laura [Ingraham] has been great. … Tucker Carlson has been great.”

He added that fellow conservative media figure Ann Coulter had not influenced him, saying he “[did] not know her,” despite the fact that Coulter had introduced him at several past campaign rallies. Coulter has recently been critical of many of Trump’s policy decisions, tweeting early Friday morning that “the goal of a national emergency is for Trump to scam the stupidest people in his base for 2 more years.”

Back in December, Trump blew-up a bipartisan deal to avert the most recent partial government shutdown — after signaling to congressional negotiators that he would sign it — after Coulter, Limbaugh, and other conservative talking heads criticized the deal.

The president on Friday did not offer specifics on his emergency declaration or his plan to finance the wall, but noted he would siphon funds from elsewhere to pay for it, saying projects like military on-base construction, which would be affected by the financial shake-up, “Didn’t sound too important to me.”

He also admitted the decision would invoke a number of legal challenges, but expressed optimism that he would emerge victorious in the end.

#Ann Coulter, #Border Wall, #Donald Trump, #Immigration, #Laura Ingraham, #Politics, #Rush Limbaugh, #Sean Hannity, #Talk Radio, #Tucker Carlson

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Categories: G2. Local Greens

OPINION: Trump’s impeachment ‘should be initiated immediately’ after he declares national emergency: legal scholar

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:33
Everything he touches, he destroys……environment, social equity.  Impeachment Petition to Congress from Move-On: https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/congress-begin-impeachment  OPINION: Trump’s impeachment ‘should be initiated immediately’ after he declares national emergency: legal scholar


15 Feb 2019 at 09:59 ET

While Democrats are preparing to propose a joint resolution challenging President Donald Trump’s expected national emergency declaration in order to obtain funding for a border wall, one legal scholar  is among those arguing  the time has come to pursue a far more direct and effective method of combating the president’s lawlessness: impeachment.

With Trump’s national emergency declaration expected Friday morning, international law professor Francis Boyle said there is no time to lose.

“This should be initiated immediately,” said Boyle. “All you need is one brave member of the U.S. House of Representatives to meaningfully assert that body’s Power of the Purse. Trump’s indications that he will override that legislative power and the seeming acquiescence by some Democrats is illegitimate and dangerous and subverts a fundamental premise of the Constitution.

Boyle—who worked closely with former Rep. Henry Gonzalez (D-Texas) to introduce a resolution to impeach President George H.W. Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors after he initiated the first Gulf War—said Congress has a solid case for bringing charges against Trump over his violation of the U.S. Constitution:A Bill of Impeachment could consist of articles including for (1) violating Article 1, Section 7 of the United States Constitution: “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives…” (2) Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law…” (3) It also violates the Federal Anti-Deficiency Statute.

With Trump preparing to unilaterally take control of government funds by declaring a national emergency, Boyle said, lawmakers’ “most direct remedy is impeachment.”

Journalist John Nichols, who has advocated for impeachment as “the cure for a constitutional crisis,” was among those who agreed with Boyle on social media, arguing that the U.S. is indeed in a state of national emergency as Trump has claimed—just not an emergency that will be fixed with a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

John Nichols @NicholsUprising

I agree with President Trump that there is a national emergency. We just have different responses to what we deem to be a crisis.

He favors a wall.

I favor impeachment.

Peter Gleick, a climate scientist and advocate for impeachment, wrote on Twitter Thursday evening that looking back at the Trump administration, future generations will likely be baffled if lawmakers fail to impeach the president.

Peter Gleick

@PeterGleick

Honestly, what’s it going to say to us and future generations if we DON’T impeach Trump?

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Amazon To Pay $0 In Federal Taxes In 2019: Report

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:13
Yep, the system is rigged to big political donors. We just gave Amazon $129 million rebate that came from health funding, schools, defense….second huge company in 2 weeks to get rebates. US tax payers have to make up the difference.  “When Congress in 2017 enacted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and substantially cut the statutory corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, proponents claimed the rate cut would incentivize better corporate citizenship,” the report continued. “However, the tax law failed to broaden the tax base or close a slew of tax loopholes that allow profitable companies to routinely avoid paying federal and state income taxes on almost half of their profits.” Amazon To Pay $0 In Federal Taxes In 2019: Report The tech giant reportedly used various tax breaks and credits to claim a $129 million rebate on $11 billion in profits last year. By Antonia Blumberg

Amazon almost doubled its profits from $5.6 billion in 2017 to $11.2 billion in 2018, but the company isn’t expected to pay a cent in federal taxes this year, according to a new report.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic policy released its findings Wednesday after examining the company’s corporate filings. Amazon reported a $129 million federal income tax rebate for 2018, equaling a tax rate of negative 1 percent. (The federal corporate income tax rate is 21 percent.)

“The fine print of Amazon’s income tax disclosure shows that this achievement is partly due to various unspecified ‘tax credits’ as well as a tax break for executive stock options,” the report stated.

This would be the second year in a row that the company has avoided paying federal taxes, despite being valued at a whopping $1 trillion.

Corporations have more rights than citizens. All the $ breaks and no accountability.

“When Congress in 2017 enacted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and substantially cut the statutory corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, proponents claimed the rate cut would incentivize better corporate citizenship,” the report continued. “However, the tax law failed to broaden the tax base or close a slew of tax loopholes that allow profitable companies to routinely avoid paying federal and state income taxes on almost half of their profits.”

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Contrary to claims by President Donald Trump that Amazon is a “no-tax” company, it actually does pay some taxes. In 2017, the company paid a combined total of $412 million in federal, state, local and foreign taxes. In 2015, it paid $273 million. Amazon charges consumers sales taxes in all 45 states where such taxes exist, plus Washington, D.C.

But Amazon did appear to be on the hunt for tax breaks in 2017 and 2018 when it was shopping for a new location to house its second headquarters. City officials eager for Amazon’s attention offered up a slew of tax breaks and credits to lure the company.

When it announced last year it would split the new headquarters between New York City and Arlington, Virginia, with an additional operations center in Nashville, Tennessee, Amazon was poised to collect billions in performance-based incentives between the three cities.

Amazon on Thursday announced it was canceling plans for a New York City-based headquarters.

FULL STORY & COMMENTS

 

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Got Community? February 16th, WWW annual Sonoma County Meeting on Land Use Policy

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 12:03
We invite the community to an open, fact filled discussion on land use policies. Sonoma County planners are rewriting the General Plan for 2020, still tweaking cannabis regulations, winery event regulations (postponed) and the Local Coastal Plan due this spring. These policies will affect the county for generations to come. Speakers include Laura Waldbaum, Ernie Carpenter, Rue Furch, Tom Conlon and more. These speakers have decades of experience in our county on land use policies. The event is free.

Wine & Water Watch is a Sonoma County Tomorrow group.

 

 

We’ll cover how to get involved now for optimum input and what we need to watch for. What’s that old expression, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu”? Equality and many voices will make our county great.  Hope to see you there.

Graton Community Club

8996 Graton Rd Graton, CA.

1pm-3pm

For more info please leave comment on website or Facebook

ERNIE CARPENTER BIO: Fiscal conservative and social liberal.

Ernie Carpenter received his BA from San Francisco State and Master of Social Work at Berkeley in 1969. Ernie has lived in Sonoma County since 1969. He is a psychiatric social worker and an original Social Advocates for Youth staff. Ernie served on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors 1981-1997 representing the West Sonoma County. He is a former Coastal Commissioner, Planning Commissioner, Supervisor and current muckraker. He has an ongoing interest in progressive drug policies and government and currently works as a consultant on environment and government.

RUE FURCH BIO:Rue has worked for years with local farm groups, seeking to protect family farms. She was Project Manager for the Sonoma County Farmlands Group and has worked with the California Association of Family Farmers. She was a leader of the Santa Rosa and Sebastopol Urban Growth Boundary campaigns, which fought to protect agricultural land from city sprawl.Her belief in neighborhood-friendly planning led to involvement in Courtside Village, the first Santa Rosa mixed use development to create a complete community of homes, shops, and parks. She also worked with the Santa Rosa Neighborhood Coalition, Concerned Citizens for Santa Rosa and the Sonoma County Community Foundation Advisory Committee. She was a moderator of the Marin-Sonoma County Transportation Committee and a member of the Hwy. 101 Corridor Advisory Committee.

Rue has served as a county planning commission for 16 years and has a reputation for doing her homework and asking tough questions. She was appointed by two West County supervisors, and has twice been the Commission’s chairperson. She recently chaired a statewide conference on responsible water use and succeeded in prioritizing water resources in the county’s new general plan. Among her many awards,

Rue was named California Woman of the Year by the state Assembly, 2006 Upstream Swimmer Award by Sonoma County Conservation Action, Environmentalist of the Year by the Sonoma County Conservation Council, County Planning Commissioner of the Year by the California County Planning Commissioners’ Association and received the Agent of Change Award from Concerned Citizens for Santa Rosa.

 

LAURA WALDBAUM BIO: Laura Waldbaum in an environmental activist. For the past 20 years she has been working to implement changes to County policies and influence land use decisions to protect fish habitat in the Mark West Creek Watershed. She has been involved with litigation opposing several County land use decisions, has served on the County’s “working group” to modify the Vineyard & Orchard Site Development Ordinance and is currently a member of Sonoma County’s Cannabis Advisory Group representing the environment. 

Tom Conlon (Sonoma Valley) is an applied anthropologist and an expert in energy-efficiency social marketing. His clients have included Southern Edison, the California Energy Commission, the Electric Power Research Institute, and The World Bank (Jamaica). He is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz and Sonoma State University, and has founded several ‘green’ businesses, including one acquired by Autodesk in 2008. A Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Tom represented District 1 on the Sonoma County Climate Action 2020 Stakeholder Advisory Group, and he has served on the boards of other local organizations including the Economic Development Board’s Business Environmental Alliance, the Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley, and Transition Sonoma Valley. In the late 1980’s he helped initiate the Organic Market News and Information Service and early drafts of the California Organic Foods Act (1990). Tom provides strategic, technical, and website support to Wine and Water Watch.

 

 

Annie Dobbs-Kramer: 

Community Organizer | North Bay Organizing Project (NBOP)

Annie Dobbs-Kramer is a community organizer with the North Bay Organizing Project in Sonoma Country California. She has been organizing for the last 9 years. Her work centers on the intersection between environmental and social justice organizing to build deep democracy in our communities. The main focus of her organizing is creating space for women to empower themselves.

NBOP is an grassroots, multi-racial, and multi-issue organization comprised of over 20 faith, labor, environmental, student and community-based organizations based in Sonoma County. In this conversation we will learn about their campaign, Roots, Roof, and Refuge, and why they created the women-led Justice for the Environment Taskforce to embark on a campaign for the Rights of Nature.

The Rights of Nature identifies ecosystems and natural communities not merely as property, but as entities that have an independent right to exist and flourish. Laws recognizing the rights of nature thus transform the status of natural communities and ecosystems from things to be owned into rights-bearing entities with privileges that can be enforced by people, governments, and communities.

 

 

 

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Santa Rosa Southwest Greenway public hearing hursday, February 14, 2019 at 4 pm, City Council Chambers at City Hall, 100 Santa Rosa Ave.

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 12:02

Show Your Support!

Show your support for the Southeast Greenway this Valentine’s Day by attending the public hearing for the Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR), scheduled with the Planning Commission on Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 4 pm. The meeting will be held in City Council Chambers at City Hall, 100 Santa Rosa Ave.

The public hearing will focus on the revised sections of the Draft EIR, which address Transportation, Circulation and Noise.

The Southeast Greenway Campaign Committee has reviewed the Revised Draft EIR and concluded that the analysis appears to be both realistic and thorough. Our Campaign Co-Chair will be making brief comments, including thanking the staff and consultants for their diligence in preparing this analysis of future traffic and circulation scenarios.

The Planning Commission Meeting Agenda, Staff Report and attachments are now available on the City’s web site at https://santa-rosa.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. Scroll down until you see the Planning Commission Meeting for February 14th.

The full Revised Draft EIR is available for review and download at www.planthegreenway.com/documents under the heading, Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report. The Executive Summary (Chapter 2) provides a synopsis of the environmental impacts from the Greenway project.

Please join us at this important meeting and wear GREEN. This is our opportunity to show support for the Greenway, to share our comments on the revised EIR, to hear feedback from the Planning Commission, and to learn more about the opinions and concerns of other members of the public.

Please note that the public hearing for the updated Santa Rosa Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan is also scheduled for this meeting as the last item on the agenda.

Sonoma Land Trust, a 501(c)3 public charity, is the fiscal sponsor of the Southeast Greenway Campaign. Contributions to the Southeast Greenway Campaign are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Friend on Facebook | Forward to a Friend Southeast Greenway Campaign
PO Box 9122, Santa Rosa, CA 95405
Website: www.southeastgreenway.org | Email: info@southeastgreenway.org

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Unhinged Mike Pence Warns of ‘New Holocaust’ as Team Trump Tries to Rally EU Leaders for War With Iran

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 11:59

Europe is having nothing to do with the lies, they’ve been there before (IRAQ).  Wag the Dog? Distraction from Trump Administrations growing problems? 

“Pompeo and Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton have been accused of fomenting unrest in Iran in the name of forcing regime change. Last month, just days after Pompeo delivered an “arrogant tirade” vilifying the country, it came out that Bolton had ordered the Pentagon to draw up military strike options against Iran. Earlier this week, Bolton marked the 40th anniversary of Iran’s 1979 revolution with barely veiled threats. Each move has provoked warnings that “the drums of war are beating.”

 

Unhinged Mike Pence Warns of ‘New Holocaust’ as Team Trump Tries to Rally EU Leaders for War With Iran

“Can someone remind me how things turned out the last time the U.S. pushed flimsy evidence of a nuclear weapons program in the Middle East and tried to bully its allies into supporting its policy?”

by Jessica Corbett, staff writer 42 Comments

Vice President Mike Pence spoke at a U.S.-led summit about the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday. (Photo: VP/Twitter)

Speaking at a U.S.-led conference about the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday, Vice President piled on the potent anti-Iran sentiment surrounding the conference by demanding that European Union (EU) allies withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump ditched last year, and accused Iran of plotting a “new Holocaust.”

“Instead of recognizing the U.S.’ failed Iran policy, Pence is doubling down in his search for an excuse to go to war.”
—NIAC

Pence accused Iran of being “the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world” and “the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East” while attempting to shame European leaders over their recent “effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions…against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime.”

His speech was met with a mix of frustration and alarm:

NIAC

@NIACouncil Instead of recognizing the U.S.’ failed policy, Pence is doubling down in his search for an excuse to go to war. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-summit-pence/pence-calls-on-eu-to-withdraw-from-iran-nuclear-deal-idUSKCN1Q31PT … Joe Cirincione

@Cirincione Seriously? https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/middle-east-conference-opens-with-warnings-that-all-problems-originate-in-iran/2019/02/14/f369b38c-fef1-4851-9875-57cea74947f6_story.html …

What’s up with Pence standing behind the Israel flag?

Pence urges Europeans to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal, warns of more sanctions

At a conference, Pence accused allies of working to “break” U.S. sanctions against “that vile regime” in Tehran.

washingtonpost.com In addition to Pence, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani—who is officially representing a group of Iranian exiles rather than the Trump team—are all attending the summit and have made threatening remarks about Iran. While the Trump administration has tried to claim the conference is not just about policy toward Iran, observers have characterized that claim as ridiculous: As Pence noted in his Thursday address, rather than siding with the Trump administration and ditching the nuclear deal—officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—EU leaders have accepted assurances from the U.N. watchdog that Iran has been compliant and continue working with the Iranians to salvage the deal. The Trump administration, meanwhile, has ignored global calls for returning to the agreement and increasingly ramped up tensions by exiting a decades-old bilateral treaty and reimposing economic sanctions.

Pompeo and Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton have been accused of fomenting unrest in Iran in the name of forcing regime change. Last month, just days after Pompeo delivered an “arrogant tirade” vilifying the country, it came out that Bolton had ordered the Pentagon to draw up military strike options against Iran. Earlier this week, Bolton marked the 40th anniversary of Iran’s 1979 revolution with barely veiled threats. Each move has provoked warnings that “the drums of war are beating.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don’t survive on clicks. We don’t want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can’t do it alone. It doesn’t work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.

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Categories: G2. Local Greens

Elliott Abrams Lied to Rep. Ilhan Omar and Congress

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 11:47

“So Abrams is just as willing now as he was 30 years ago to mislead Congress. But what’s most ominous is that — given that he sees El Salvador as a “fabulous achievement” — he presumably would see a similar outcome for Venezuela as a fabulous achievement as well.

“No one who even marginally believes in democracy, human rights, and the self-determination of peoples can count Abrams as an ally, as his actual record amply demonstrates,” said Velasco. “Anyone who does so is either willfully ignorant or worse, complicit in the very crimes they say they are trying to combat in Venezuela.”

Elliott Abrams Lied to Rep. Ilhan Omar and Congress

Rep. Ilhan Omar Went After Elliott Abrams for Lying to Congress. Then He Did It Again.


February 14 2019

Elliott Abrams, President Donald Trump’s special envoy for Venezuela, appeared before the House Committee on Foreign Relations on Wednesday.

About two hours into the hearing, committee member Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., noted that Abrams pleaded guilty in 1991 to withholding information about the Iran-Contra affair from Congress. “I fail to understand,” Omar said, “why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful.”

Omar’s skepticism was well-founded: Just moments later, Abrams told her several egregious lies.

Abrams’s most notable lies occurred during this exchange about his actions as assistant secretary of state in the 1980s during the Reagan administration:

OMAR: On February 8, 1982, you testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about U.S. policy in El Salvador. In that hearing, you dismissed as communist propaganda reports about the massacre at El Mozote in which more than 800 civilians, including children as young as 2 years old, were brutally murdered by U.S.-trained troops. During that massacre, some of those troops bragged about raping a 12-year-old girl, girls, before they killed them. You later said that the U.S. policy in El Salvador was a “fabulous achievement.” Yes or no, do you still think so?

ABRAMS: From the day that President Duarte was elected in a free election, to this day, El Salvador has been a democracy. That’s a fabulous achievement.

 

FULL STORY & GREAT COMMENTS HERE: https://theintercept.com/2019/02/14/ilhan-omar-elliott-abrams-hearing/
Categories: G2. Local Greens

‘Don’t Listen to This War Criminal!’: Peace Activists Arrested at Elliott Abrams Hearing on Venezuela

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 11:41

“Abrams, a neoconservative who has been called the “Assistant Secretary of Dirty Wars” for his work in the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, was selected as special envoy after the Trump administration—following reports of secret meetings with rebellious military officers about overthrowing President Nicolás Maduro—officially recognized self-declared “Interim President” Juan Guaidó last month.” 

‘Don’t Listen to This War Criminal!’: Peace Activists Arrested at Elliott Abrams Hearing on Venezuela

“Venezuela needs negotiations, not a coup or military intervention. Don’t let Abrams take us down a path of war.”

by Jessica Corbett, staff writer

Members of activist group CodePink staged a protest at a hearing for U.S. special envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams to testify before House Foreign Affairs Committee on Feb.13, 2019. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“Don’t listen to this war criminal!”

So declared CodePink peace activists on Wednesday, as Trump-appointed special envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams testified before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, before they were ushered out of the room and arrested.

“Venezuela needs negotiations, not a coup or military intervention,” said CodePink national co-director Ariel Gold, the first to be arrested, as she decried ongoing U.S. intervention in the Latin American country. “Don’t let Abrams take us down a path of war.”

Abrams, a neoconservative who has been called the “Assistant Secretary of Dirty Wars” for his work in the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, was selected as special envoy after the Trump administration—following reports of secret meetings with rebellious military officers about overthrowing President Nicolás Maduro—officially recognized self-declared “Interim President” Juan Guaidó last month.

Since then—and despite outcry from anti-war campaigners, members of Congress, and more than 70 academics and experts—the administration has steadfastly supported Juan Guaidó, imposed sanctions on the state-owned oil company, and repeatedly threatened military action.

“Setting up a parallel government with Juan Guaidó is illegal, irresponsible, and sets Venezuela on a path toward civil war,” CodePink activist Caroline Debnam, who was also arrested, warned in a statement. “Instead of exacerbating the tensions, the U.S. should be supporting with efforts of Mexico, Venezuela, and the Vatican to mediate the crisis.”

With her hands restrained behind her back by Capitol police on Wednesday, Gold also noted that other nations have offered to help facilitate negotiations and emphasized that “this is what we should be supporting—not a coup, not the possibility of military intervention.”

Abrams, Gold added, “is a war criminal and should not be testifying before Congress.”

Kei Pritsker, another CodePink activist on Capitol Hill Wednesday, agreed: “Look at the history of Elliot Abrams throughout Central America and the Middle East, creating wars, chaos, and mayhem on behalf of U.S. corporations. He should be tried for war crimes, not testifying in the U.S. Congress.”

Activists with the organization have also called out other members of the Trump administration for fomenting unrest and actively working to overthrow Maduro’s government. Last month, they interrupted a speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a meeting of the Organization for American States (OAS).

Last week, CodePink protested outside the home of National Security Advisor John Bolton—another holdover from past neoconservative administrations—who recently suggested that if Maduro doesn’t step down soon, he may find himself locked away in a U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don’t survive on clicks. We don’t want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can’t do it alone. It doesn’t work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.

$15 $27$50 $100$250Other Share This Article

 

FULL STORY & COMMENTS

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Industrial Agriculture Poisoning Wells and Streams

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 10:20
“The plight of rural residents dependent on groundwater without city water options was recently covered by the Wall Street Journal, which reported that6 “One in seven Americans drinks from private wells, which are being polluted by contaminants from manure and fertilizer.”

Industrial Agriculture Poisoning Wells and Streams

February 6, 2019 Mercola.com

by Dr. Joseph Mercola       

Animal waste and fertilizer runoff are two of the largest contributors to water pollution and contamination. Rising productivity on industrial factory farms is single-handedly impairing drinking water supplies across the country, polluting with key culprits like nitrogen, phosphate, insecticides and pesticides.

In the Midwest, Iowa is the leader in U.S. corn and soy production and a major producer of hogs, eggs, cattle and chickens raised in concentrated animal feeding operations(CAFOs).1

Over 55 percent of the rivers and streams in the state fall short of federal water quality standards and in the greater Des Moines area, the water filtration system that cost more than $4 million to install in 1991, now costs $7,000 a day to run.2 According to environmental journalist Mark Shapiro,3 water prices have risen 10 percent each year to cover the rising cost of filtration, and the system still can’t keep up with a nitrogen in the water supply.  While awaiting the installation of a new filtration system, people in the state have been plagued with an increased risk of cancer4 and birth defects,5 believed to be linked to the nitrogen-contaminated drinking water. 

The plight of rural residents dependent on groundwater without city water options was recently covered by the Wall Street Journal, which reported that6 “One in seven Americans drinks from private wells, which are being polluted by contaminants from manure and fertilizer.”

Groundwater Contamination Rising Across America

The high levels of productivity in America’s food system supply has taken a significant toll on the environment. The industry was not designed to protect the very earth it depends upon. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), agriculture is the leading cause of poor water quality.7

The National Water Quality Assessment8 showed pollution from agriculture was the leading source of impairment to water quality, the third largest source of impairment to lakes and the second largest source of impairment to wetlands. 

These agricultural activities generally occur in the absence of a conservation plan and are generated from poorly located or managed CAFOs, overgrazing, plowing, and the improper application of fertilizer, according to the EPA.9

These factors affecting groundwater and poorly managed soil can be changed using regenerative farming practices. Unfortunately, the damage caused by industrial farming and CAFOs to water supplies across America is significant, and will take time to recover from.

America’s Polluted Water a Direct Result of Industrial Farming

David Cwiertny, director of the University of Iowa’s Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination, says,10 “The worst-kept secret is how vulnerable private wells are to agricultural runoff.”

New York Times national correspondent Jack Healy calls rural America’s polluted water,11 “Their Own Private Flint.” He reported on groundwater contamination in Wisconsin where residents now refuse to drink the water, won’t brush their teeth and dread taking showers. 

These fears and frustrations are the result of budget cuts for environmental enforcement, inspections and weakened pollution rules. Among some of the factors producing contaminants are larger industrial factory farms producing larger cows, shifting crop mixes and increasing amounts of waste products.

In Iowa the legislature dismissed bills to block new large-scale hog operations,12 while in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin, a judge allowed Kinnard Farms to expand based on the condition they take steps to prevent contamination, already at high levels based on their current rate of production.13

Read the Full Article

 

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Whale Watching Adventure February 23, 2019 from 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 09:54
Love your coast…great opportunity to appreciate all of natures wonders and how lucky we are to live on the coast of California.  Whale Watching Adventure February 23, 2019 from 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Gualala Point Regional Park

42401 Coast Highway 1 Gualala, CA 95445 38.75912194, -123.5231194 Google Maps Directions Local Weather

It’s that time of year again! Grab binoculars and a warm coat to observe the annual whale migration passing through ocean waters just off the Sonoma Coast. This 2-mile round trip hike begins at the visitor’s center and continues towards the bluffs where we will try to spot spouts, tails, and breaching whales. Free. Parking $7 or free for Regional Parks members.

For more information, contact Kristina Stanton by email at Kristina.Stanton@sonoma-county.org or by phone at (707) 539-2865.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Feb. 23rd: Regional Parks Hosts Community Meeting for North Coast Trails

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 09:43
Regional Parks Hosts Community Meeting for North Coast Trails

Santa Rosa, CA  –  February 13, 2019  –  Sonoma County Regional Parks invites the public to a Feb. 23 informational meeting for two trails planned on the North Coast. Park planners will provide updates on a 1.1-mile trail proposed for the Kashia Coastal Reserve north of Salt Point State Park and a .9-mile trail proposed for Stewarts Point Ranch.

The projects will be built on trail easements conveyed to Regional Parks as part of the properties’ conservation agreements. The trails will provide new public access to coastal bluffs and will be part of the 1,200-mile California Coastal Trail network, which is planned to one day connect Oregon and Mexico.

The meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at Fort Ross School, 30600 Seaview Road, in Cazadero. Planning staff will present information on the acquisition of the trail easements, biologic resources, geologic conditions, cultural significance, and preliminary trail alignments. The public will have an opportunity to review trail plans and provide comments.

Subsequent steps in the development process include finalizing the trail design, conducting environmental reviews, acquiring regulatory permits and securing grant funding for construction.

About Sonoma County Regional Parks

The Sonoma County Regional Parks system includes 56 parks, beaches, and trails. Regional Parks’ mission is to create healthy communities and contribute to the county’s economic vitality by acquiring, developing, managing, maintaining parks. Regional Parks preserves natural and cultural resources and offers opportunities for recreation and education that enhance the quality of life and well-being of residents and visitors.

###

Contact Information

Mark Cleveland

Senior Park Planner

Regional Parks

Email: Mark.Cleveland@sonoma-county.org
Phone: 
(707) 565-2041

 

 

 

Categories: G2. Local Greens

The False Choice Between Economic Growth and Combatting Climate Change

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 17:36
The False Choice Between Economic Growth and Combatting Climate Change

By Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker

06 February 19


Last year, the U.S.’s carbon-dioxide emissions increased by an estimated 3.4 per cent, the second-largest gain in the past two decades. (photo: Fernando Moleres/Panos Pictures/Redux)

In 1974, the economist William Nordhaus described the transition from a “cowboy economy” to a “spaceship economy.” In the former, he wrote, “we could afford to use our resources profligately,” and “the environment could be used as a sink without becoming fouled.” But, in the spaceship economy, “great attention must be paid to the sources of life and to the dumps where our refuse is piled.” He added, “Things which have traditionally been treated as free goods—air, water, quiet, natural beauty—must now be treated with the same care as other scarce goods.” Toward the end of his landmark paper, “Resources as a Constraint on Growth,” Nordhaus discussed the possible adverse effects of energy consumption, most notably the “greenhouse effect.” From a “rough calculation,” he found that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide would increase by more than forty per cent in the next sixty years. “Although this is below the fateful doubling of CO2 concentration,” he wrote—scientists had already predicted that such a doubling could cause the polar ice caps to melt catastrophically—“it may well be too close for comfort.” He was prescient. We are now dangerously on track to hit his estimate, four hundred and eighty-seven parts per million, by 2030.

In the United States, after three years of decline, carbon-dioxide emissions increased by an estimated 3.4 per cent in 2018, according to a report released earlier this month by the Rhodium Group, a private climate-research firm. The authors blame two main factors: a particularly cold winter and fast economic growth. In the past two decades, the only greater annual gain in emissions was in 2010, when the economy was rebounding from the Great Recession. Historically, emissions have aligned with the ebb and flow of the economy. In 2018, economic growth was driven by a higher demand for energy, trucking and air travel, and industrial activity. Companies were manufacturing more stuff, including steel, cement, and chemicals. The carbon intensity of the power sector, meanwhile, did not decline fast enough to offset all those demand increases. As has been common since Nordhaus’s 1974 paper, the report seems to pit controlling climate change against a growing global economy.

The picture could have been much different. Nordhaus went on to publish a series of foundational studies on the economics of climate change. In 1992, he created an integrated economic and scientific model that could be used to determine the most efficient ways to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. His work—and that of many other economists who followed his lead—showed that a low tax on carbon, set to rise slowly over time, could be enough to keep emissions at reasonable levels, saving us from climate change at little, if any, cost. A “spaceship economy” could thrive if governments made sure that companies paid an appropriate price for the environmental damage they caused—what would come to be called the social cost of carbon. Companies that were most easily able to reduce their level of pollution would be incentivized to make the greatest reductions, and to invest in cheaper and better pollution-reduction systems.The dirtiest activities would be the most costly. The tax would promote innovations in new forms of power generation and, eventually, a widespread adoption of clean-energy technologies. The way to break the chain was to reimagine how we fuel the global economy. “It’s absolutely the case that emissions and growth can be decoupled,” Marshall Burke, an assistant professor in Stanford University’s Department of Earth System Science, told me. He pointed to research plotting how thirty-five countries, including the United States, did, in fact, experience economic growth in the past fifteen years while reducing their emissions—and not solely due to recessions. But the decline was not nearly enough. “The technology is available to have faster economic growth while reducing over-all emissions,” Trevor Houser, the head of Rhodium Group’s energy and climate team, and one of the authors of the report, told me. But the switch to nuclear and renewables needs to happen more rapidly. “It takes policy. It won’t happen through markets alone,” Houser said.

In October, Nordhaus and another economist, Paul Romer, won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for, respectively, “integrating climate change” and “technological innovations” into “long-run macroeconomic analysis.” The timing of the announcement from Sweden was painfully ironic. Hours earlier, the United Nations had released its dire report warning that, if climate change’s worst impacts were to be avoided, the nations of the world had about a decade to revolutionize the energy economy. “The policies are lagging very, very far—miles, miles, miles behind the science and what needs to be done,” Nordhaus said after receiving the prize. “It’s hard to be optimistic . . . We’re actually going backward in the United States, with the disastrous policies of the Trump Administration.” The Obama Administration had, in its final years, partially incorporated concepts that Nordhaus had helped to develop, such as putting a price on the economic harm that results from every additional ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. The price was set at forty-five dollars a ton, and used in both regulatory cost-benefit analyses, which undergirded new fuel-efficiency standards, and the Clean Power Plan, which would have propelled a faster retirement of coal-powered electric plants and a broader transition to renewables. Just as such policies were “beginning to bear fruit,” Houser said, “that whole framework was dismantled.” Under Trump, the social cost of a ton of carbon is as little as one dollar.

As emissions keep growing, and climate change advances, there is less and less time to make the necessary cuts. “The pace we needed to decline was already much larger than what was happening,” Houser told me. “Now we have to go even faster to meet our Paris Agreement target by 2025”—on average, a 2.6-per-cent reduction in annual energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions in the next seven years. “That is considerably faster than at any point in history,” he said. And it will need to go even faster if declines in other greenhouse gases, including methane and hydrofluorocarbons—which endure in the atmosphere for much shorter amounts of time than carbon dioxide but are much more potent—do not keep pace.

A modest carbon tax of the sort Nordhaus proposed decades ago—one that was then palatable to conservatives—will therefore no longer bring us anywhere near the Paris Agreement targets. But it’s one of many weapons in the arsenal that policymakers need to employ. “The real challenge is finding ways to reduce emissions and maintain economic growth on the timeline demanded by the nature of climate change,” Kenneth Gillingham, an associate professor of economics at Yale University, told me. But, as much as the costs of climate mitigation will undoubtedly increase, the question is whether the benefits of mitigation exceed those costs. “It’s a straw man—and terrible economics—to just point out the costs while ignoring the benefits,” Burke said. He and two co-authors published a paper in Nature last May that shows that the economic benefits of mitigation are going to be much larger than previously believed. Cooler temperatures would help maintain and grow productivity, and reducing carbon emissions means reducing air pollution—specifically particulate matter, or soot—which brings immediate health benefits. They found that keeping global warming to one and a half degrees Celsius (which is nearly impossible at this point), as opposed to two degrees Celsius, would potentially save more than twenty trillion dollars around the world by the end of the century, and significantly reduce global inequality. Beyond two degrees, they wrote, “we find considerably greater reductions in global economic output.” If nations met their commitments under the Paris Agreement, the world would still see the average global temperature rise by two and a half to three degrees Celsius, which, according to Burke’s paper, would result in a fifteen-to-twenty-five-per-cent reduction in per capita output by 2100. “To just complain about the costs of this transition and ignore the benefits, as is common in the discussion from this Administration,” Burke said, “is some pretty poor cost-benefit analysis from an Administration that prides itself on economic savvy.”

As a small but growing coalition of congressional Democrats, led by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have outlined as part of their Green New Deal, transforming the energy sector—and, really, the entire economy, in a just and more equitable way—will require some sort of carbon tax (preferably a “fee and dividend” approach, which distributes tax revenues as rebates directly to citizens), and also new regulations and huge investments. “We can decarbonize the electric sector at a fairly low cost,” Gillingham told me. “That’s where some of the cheapest emissions reductions are to be found.” Extensive government subsidies could hasten the spread of renewables—specifically, solar, wind, and batteries—and offset any rise in emissions elsewhere. As Gillingham said, “We might want to be careful about fighting climate change by preventing people from staying warm in the winter. If a winter is really cold enough, emissions increases are to be expected.” Still, there are ways to reduce the use of fossil fuels in heating; utilities, for instance, can create incentive programs so that homeowners have a motivation to replace their boilers with electric heat pumps.

Houser told me that total emissions are expected to remain flat in 2019. Economists and other market observers predict that over-all economic growth will be slower, and the full impact of recent cuts to coal-plant capacity (2018 was a near-record year) has not yet been recorded. Still, in the absence of major policy changes—which is mostly dependent on a new President who makes climate policy a top and urgent priority—there is almost no chance that the U.S. will achieve the average emissions cuts necessary to meet the Paris targets by 2025. Houser told me that our only hope would be extremely favorable market and technological conditions. “If, over the next couple of years, no more nuclear power plants retired”—more than a dozen are scheduled to retire in the next seven years—“wind, solar, and battery prices fall far faster than the currently most optimistic projections estimate, it is possible that we could come pretty close to meeting the Paris Agreement targets,” he said. States, cities, and private organizations would also have to pick up a tremendous amount of slack from Washington. Even warmer winters would help. “Everything would really have to light up in the right direction,” Houser said. “It’s also, of course, possible that, if there was a massive global recession, we’d see a significant decline, too. But that’s not the reason we want emissions to decline.”

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New Legislation Aims to Avert Arctic Giveway to ‘Corporate Polluters’ Sneaked Into GOP Tax Scam

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 17:24
d “This bill calls a halt to the administration’s headlong rush to sell off this special wilderness to corporate polluters,” said” John Bowman, senior director for federal affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “And it preserves the fundamental human rights of the Gwich’in people whom these lands have sustained for thousands of years, and who—among two-thirds of all Americans—oppose drilling in the Arctic Refuge.”  New Legislation Aims to Avert Arctic Giveway to ‘Corporate Polluters’ Sneaked Into GOP Tax Scam

Announcement comes as scholars warn fossil fuel drilling in Arctic refuge “would contribute to the escalating crises of climate change and biological annihilation.”

by Andrea Germanos, staff writer 7 Comments

A member of the Porcupine caribou herd, which conservation groups say would be horribly impacted if fossil fuel exploration and extraction takes place in ANWR’s coastal plain. New legislation sponsored by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) aims to make sure that doesn’t happen. (Photo: G MacRae/flickr/cc)

Conservation groups are cheering the introduction on Monday of a measure to stop fossil fuel extraction in a section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

“This bill calls a halt to the administration’s headlong rush to sell off this special wilderness to corporate polluters,” said John Bowman, senior director for federal affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “And it preserves the fundamental human rights of the Gwich’in people whom these lands have sustained for thousands of years, and who—among two-thirds of all Americans—oppose drilling in the Arctic Refuge.” 

The legislation is a renewed effort by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), and would repeal a provision included in the GOP’s 2017 tax bill (pdf). Denounced as “a Big Oil polar payout,” the provision opens the refuge’s coastal plain to oil and gas exploration and drilling.

“I have seen the coastal plain,” said Stan Senner, vice president for bird conservation at National Audubon Society, “and it makes no sense to drill for oil in this unique landscape. Even one season of exploration, to say nothing of full-scale development, will scar it for decades.”

The impact could be “catastrophe,” said Erik DuMont, public lands campaign director for Environment America.

“Drilling in this area would likely displace the Porcupine caribou herd from their prime calving grounds, leading to a decrease in the survival rate of the calves and decimating the overall size of the herd. But that’s just the start,” DuMont explained. “It would disrupt nesting grounds for dozens of species of migratory birds who flock there from every U.S. state and six continents. And, even just doing seismic testing, would likely cause irreparable harm to our iconic polar bears.”

The announcement of the new legislation comes the same day as a group of teachers and scholars detail their opposition to fossil fuel exploration and drilling in ANWR’s coastal plain.

“Ever since drilling proponents sneaked an Arctic Refuge leasing provision into the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Trump administration has been moving aggressively to rush through the required Environmental Impact Statement,” the group writes in an open letter. Summing up the catastrophic impact of the proposed extraction, they note:

Fossil fuel development in the Coastal Plain would devastate an Arctic nursery of global significance. It would violate human rights, jeopardize food security, and threaten the health and safety of Indigenous communities. It would contribute to the escalating crises of climate change and biological annihilation. The Arctic Refuge is an irreplaceable ecological treasure. Its fate should not be decided on an expedited timeline that prioritizes outcome over process to benefit the oil industry and its allies.

The letter will be submitted to the Bureau of Land Management on March 13, 2019, the last day to provide for public comment on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

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Senate Passes Sweeping Public Lands Bill Protecting 2 Million Acres

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 17:14
The package also expands five national parks, including Death Valley and Joshua Tree, and withdraws more than 300,000 federal acres from future mining, as The Washington Post reports. The public lands bill stands in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s agenda over the last two years. Along with a 2019 budget request that called for slashing LWCF by roughly 95 percent, to a budget of less than $9 million, the administration led the largest rollback of national monuments in history and has worked tirelessly to boost fossil fuel and mineral development on federal lands and waters. .” Senate Passes Sweeping Public Lands Bill Protecting 2 Million Acres 

by Chris D’Angelo

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in support of a bipartisan public lands bill that safeguards more than 2 million federal acres and permanently reauthorizes the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund, established in 1964 to protect natural areas and water resources. 

The measure, which includes more than 100 individual pieces of legislation, is said to be the largest public lands package in a decade. It establishes more than 1.3 million acres of new wilderness, protects hundreds of miles of rivers and trails, and creates four new national monuments.

“This is not only lands. This is water, this is sportsmen, this is conservation. This is about developing local economies,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who co-introduced the bill with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), said during a press conference following the vote. “This is about who we are as a country.”

The package also expands five national parks, including Death Valley and Joshua Tree, and withdraws more than 300,000 federal acres from future mining, as The Washington Post reports. ″Today is a very important day for public lands,” Cantwell said at the press conference. “It shows that there are bipartisan spirits alive in the United States Senate to support access for hunting, fishing and recreating to our public lands.”

The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 92 to 8. It now heads to the House for approval.

Often described as one of America’s most important conservation tools, the Land and Water Conservation Fund uses offshore fossil-fuel revenue to establish and protect parks, wildlife refuges, forests and important wildlife habitat. Funding for the program lapsed in late September.

“Today marks an overdue but critical victory for America’s most important conservation funding program and for protecting our wild lands,” Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, said in a statement Tuesday. “It’s encouraging to see the new Congress immediately moving bipartisan legislation that conserves our land and water for now and for future generations.”

The public lands bill stands in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s agenda over the last two years. Along with a 2019 budget request that called for slashing LWCF by roughly 95 percent, to a budget of less than $9 million, the administration led the largest rollback of national monuments in history and has worked tirelessly to boost fossil fuel and mineral development on federal lands and waters. 

 

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White House plans to strip disaster relief from California and Puerto Rico to build wall

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 16:05
White House plans to strip disaster relief from California and Puerto Rico to build wall build wall Laura Clawson Daily Kos Staff Tuesday February 12, 2019 · 7:46 AM PST

What does Puerto Rico need with disaster relief, anyway?

Even before congressional negotiators reached a deal that doesn’t build Donald Trump’s wall, the White House was looking for ways to go around Congress to find wall money. The plan is to avoid another politically damaging government shutdown or an equally politically damaging national emergency declaration by using executive orders to shift existing money to a wall—and, maybe as a bonus, the White House is looking at stealing money from California and Puerto Rico for the purpose.

Politico reports that there’s an “emerging consensus” to strip money from disaster relief for California and Puerto Rico—but not red Texas—as well as from flood relief projects in California. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s plan would also use unspent military construction funds. This plan faces internal White House opposition from racist troll Stephen Miller, as well as opposition from the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, and would surely face legal challenges.

Nonetheless, a “Republican close to the White House” told Politico that, while Trump remains unpredictable, “My guess is the president ends up using executive authority to try to reprogram funds” and “Then, in the coming months through some form of military funds, they start building parts of the physical barrier. He can start claiming that, despite Democrats’ intransigence, he has done something on the wall.” Even if he’s tied up in court—cue more complaints about the Ninth Circuit—and not much is happening.

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Comments:

PeterHug megisi

February 12 · 09:52:19 AM

Violation of Article II, Section 3

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

He can’t just magically decide to spend money appropriated by Congress for one thing on something else, in particular not if that something else has specifically FAILED to pass the House.

rugbymom cosliberal

February 12 · 10:00:18 AM

The First Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes PR, go figure, they sit there in February. . . .) does not have any Trump appointees on it. The most recent three appointments were all by Obama. The full panel includes one Puerto Rican and at least one person of color (from RI). Justice Souter sits by designation, and still has an office in Concord, NH.

This will not be a particularly Trump-friendly bench, IMO.

Christy1947 elwior

February 12 · 08:03:26 AM

The lawsuit that will result from his stealing disaster funds will only be strengthened by demo that it was done on a partisan basis, i.e. stripped from states that voted against him but not those that voted for him, like Texas.

genehomme

February 12 · 08:14:19 AM

The Repubs already stuck it to CA with their tax bill that extracted $$ that should have stayed in state to support programs that Californians want.  Enough with this income redistribution.

eyeswideopen PrahaPartizan

February 12 · 12:36:06 PM

Trump’s particular brand is referred to as “sadopopulism”.

FoundingFatherDAR nchristine

February 12 · 09:06:57 AM

except that the Carr and Camp fires were in GOP heavy areas of CA.  There’s already been blow back by locals about FEMA threatening to withhold fire cleanup funding if fire victims stay in RVs/trailers on their properties before cleanup is done.

lcbo greblos

February 12 · 11:42:30 AM

To be fair, the fact the funds are available means they aren’t being used for the purposes needed. The trump administration has been slow walking the release of them for ages — especially in relation to Puerto Rico.

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