Senator Sinema, Has Heads Shaking

OPINION:
Senator Sinema, Has Heads Shaking

Kyrsten Sinema is taking lots of money from big pharma

OPINION:

Senator Sinema, Has Heads Shaking

Are There Moles Within The Democratic Party?

By William Jones

A Minority of Two

Senator Kyrsten Sinema has emerged as one of the two biggest roadblocks to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan.  She left D. C.  recently for a fundraising trip to Europe. Sinema’s trip came amid ongoing negotiations over the bill and was a slap in the face to Democrats. Senators Sinema and Joe Manchin, are the lone Democratic senate holdouts blocking the President’s proposal. These two holding out against the majority of their party, is a big deal.

Just Tell Us What You Want

Bernie Sanders, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, recently criticized Sinema. Sanders just wants to know what she would support. Other senators have similarly accused Sinema of stonewalling her own party, refusing to define a position. President Biden is said to be “exasperated” after hours of talks with her. He and others have complained that Sinema doesn’t “move” from her position in negotiations and show so little respect, she often fails to  “return calls from the White House.”

Looking Across The Pond

Lawmakers are barred from raising money from foreign sources. However,  members of Congress occasionally travel overseas to solicit donations from Americans living abroad. Those overseas donors tend to be affluent and well-connected. Ms. Sinema’s office declined to tell reporters how long she would be abroad. They also declined to disclose what countries she was visiting, or how the trip was being paid for. No further information was provided regarding additional fund-raising for her campaign.

Big Pharma

Aside from looking for off shore money the Arizona senator has been soaking up donations from the pharmaceutical industry and other corporate groups who want to kill key parts of the bill. I am here to report she has continued to make time to meet with those donors.

$5,800 Per Seat

Last month, Sinema held a fundraiser with five business groups that oppose President Biden’s bill, charging attendees up to $5,800 to attend a 45-minute event. Earlier this month, Sinema left Washington to go to Arizona, where she attended a ritzy donor “retreat” at a high-end resort and spa, with no small donors in sight.

Refuses to Meet Constituents

Sinema’s refusal to engage elected members of her own party has extended to her constituents. Numerous constituents have complained that Sinema will not meet with them, either in her office or at a town hall. She has steadfastly refused to hold a single town hall since her election. Multiple groups within the sate of Arizona have already launched efforts to raise money in support of a Democratic primary challenger in 2024.

Hecklers Chase Sinema

Tensions have continued to rise between Sinema and her own constituents.  Arizona protesters repeatedly confronted the senator at several locations this month. Some even heckled her during a class presentation at Arizona State University and  then followed  her into a campus restroom. The Intercept reported that Sinema teaches an ASU class on fundraising, including topics like “how to cultivate large individual donors,” “opportunistic fundraising” and “corporate giving.” The topics alone leave little doubt as to her priorities.

Mounting Pressure Campaign

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the ‘moderate’ Arizona Democrat who has objected to the size and scope of President Biden’s sweeping legislative agenda, has been trailed all over the country by progressive activists in an effort to intensify public pressure on her.  Besides the bathroom incident, activists have followed her onto an airplane and even to the Boston Marathon.

Deeply Disappointing

The United States Senate is split 50 Democratic senators and 50 Republican senators. V.P. Harris is then available to provide the tie breaking vote. Democrats need every Democrat to stand united to pass any bill. These facts have greatly empowered both Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema as the party’s vocal holdouts. Ms. Sinema has pushed for the House to adopt a separate, bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill while the larger budget package is being negotiated. She called the delay in voting on the infrastructure package “inexcusable” and “deeply disappointing” in early October.

Conclusion

Kyrsten Sinema is on rocky ground with her electorate. Angry constituents are confronting her, she is pissing off the crowd in the White House, and she has angered nearly all of her fellow senate Democrats. Sometimes there isn’t enough money to save your reputation.  Sinema was sent to the Senate to work for her constituents not the drug companies. Wake up Senator Sinema. The country is begging for what is in this bill, do your part to make it happen.

 References

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/13/us/politics/kyrsten-sinema-fundraising-europe.html

https://www.salon.com/2021/10/14/kyrsten-sinema-ditches-senate-negotiations-for-fundraising-trip-to-europe/

Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?

OPINION:

Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?

OPINION:

Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?

Is it about the interests of West Virginians, fossil fuel, or himself ? 

By William Jones

Hackles are Up

West Virginia lawmaker Joe Manchin has been raising a lot of hackles amongst the Democratic caucus. Joe recently  announced that he wasn’t on board with the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. In fact, he said he was considering voting no when the package comes up for a vote. He wants everybody to slow it down and delay voting on it until 2022.

Last Best Chance

The Biden spending measure is vital. The opportunity is here to raise millions out of poverty and pass a substantive climate policy. The clock is ticking. The 2022 mid-terms are just around the corner.  Historically, the party out of power will re-take the House of Representatives, in the first two years of a new president’s term. So Manchin’s latest hairpin turn has attracted a lot of negative attention from his Democratic colleagues. As for Manchin, he can’t walk down the halls of congress without a flotilla of reporters following in hot pursuit, desperate to find out if he will continue to thwart his political party’s platform and his party’s president’s personal agenda.

Praise From the Press

Since his declaration, a piece in National Review has praised what it saw as Manchin’s fiscal instincts and willingness to stand up to fellow Democrats. A Brookings blog post argued that “his main concern that additional deficit financed spending adds to inflation risks is not unfounded.” A former adviser suggested to The Washington Post that Manchin is fundamentally mysterious and his vote is, as usual, unpredictable.

Counting the Money

Joe Manchin, though, made half a million dollars last year off his son’s coal company, meaning that coal paid him roughly three times the $174,000 salary he made last year as a public servant. Pundits don’t need to look much beyond that to understand what’s driving him.

And There’s More Money

Manchin has earned more than $4.5 million from Enersystems Inc. and Farmington Resources Inc., two coal industry companies he founded in the 1980s. He probably likes all the attention he’s getting, too. Maybe he fancies himself a champion of the forgotten man. But if on a given day you are trying to understand what Joe Manchin’s priorities are, it’s probably best to look to the priorities of the companies he’s gotten money from.

Lobbyists and Donations

In June, Exxon lobbyist Keith McCoy told the Unearthed, a Greenpeace investigative outlet, that Manchin was among their key targets and that he’s participated in weekly meetings with company operatives. Overall, though, he’s received more donations from coal, oil, and gas companies this campaign cycle than every other senator.  Manchin got $10,000 from Exxon Mobil for his 2018 reelection campaign. His top donor so far for the 2022 cycle is Tellurian Inc., a gas company.

In Compliance 

Manchin’s spokesperson recently said the senator is in full compliance with all Senate ethics and financial disclosure rules. He also stated that Manchin continues to work to find a path forward on important climate legislation that maintains American leadership in energy innovation and critical energy reliability.

Denials All Around

Manchin has also denied the weekly meeting allegations in the Unearthed report. Manchin is working to ensure that the bill’s $150 billion clean electricity measure—the Clean Electricity Performance Program—will “protect and extend the use of coal and natural gas.” The senator has made it clear that he does not support legislation that would eliminate the burning of those fossil fuels — particularly coal and natural gas.

Conclusion

Politics can be ego-driven as well as cash-driven: Many politicians after all, just want to guard their piece of the congressional sandbox and yelp whenever that territory may appear threatened. But money certainly talks in Washington, and the kind coming to Joe Manchin from the fossil fuel industry appears to be screaming out against a progressive and meaningful climate policy.

References

https://newrepublic.com/article/163723/joe-manchin-vote-fossil-fuel

 

Plastic Waste, A Global Concern

Plastic Waste, A Global Concern

Plastic pollution is a world catastrophe

Plastic Waste, A Global Concern

By William Jones

What is Plastic?

Plastic is a synthetic organic polymer made from petroleum.  Plastic is ideally suited for a wide variety of applications. Packaging, building and construction, household and sports equipment, vehicles, electronics, and agriculture; the uses are endless. It is cheap, lightweight, strong and malleable. Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year. Half of plastic products are designed for single-use; such as shopping bags, cups, and straws. While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become addicted to single-use or disposable plastic — with severe environmental consequences.

Oil, Natural Gas and Coal

More than 99% of plastics are produced from chemicals derived from oil, natural gas, and coal — all of which are dirty, non-renewable resources. If current trends continue, by 2050 the plastic industry could account for 20% of the world’s total oil consumption.

Worrying Trends

We produce about 300 million tonnes (metric tons) of plastic waste each year. That’s nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population. We’re seeing  worrying trends. Since the 1950s, the rate of plastic production has grown faster than that of any other material. We’ve also seen a shift away from the production of durable plastic, and towards plastics that are meant to be thrown away after a single use. These single-use plastic products are everywhere. For many of us, they’ve become integral to our daily lives.

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Electric Vehicle Basics

Electric Vehicle Basics

Electric Vehicle basics

Electric Vehicle Basics

By D.S. Mitchell

Worth Looking Into

The financial benefits of owning and driving an electric vehicle play out in the long run. To begin with, you’ll spend a bit more on the purchase price for an electric car, but you can make up for that cost with tax benefits and immediate savings on fuel. There are also local rebate options worth checking into. Electric vehicles are also really good for the environment, which is enough to convince buyers.

1.) Purchase Price: Government subsidies to off-set the higher sticker cost of an EV versus an ICE (internal combustion engine) are helping purchasers switch from a gas powered vehicle to an electric vehicle. Currently, tax rebates and auto maker incentives provide about $7,500 toward the purchase price of an EV. EV costs are continuing to drop, and Bloomberg has predicted that EV battery costs will halve by 2025. At which point electric and gas vehicles should be at price parity. A couple things to keep in mind about the EV tax credit include:

  • Tax credits are for owners only.
  • The federal tax credit is not available to those simply buying an electric car in order to resell it.
  • In order to qualify for the federal tax credit, the electric car must be mostly used within the U.S.
  • The manufacturer must be qualified for your car to be eligible.
  • The battery of the EV must be able to store at least 4 kWh of energy.
  • The battery must also be able to be charged by an external energy source.
  • An electric vehicle tax claim can be denied, the IRS always has that right.

Other tax credits, especially state and local, for electric cars apply to businesses. Sometimes, a business can enjoy tax exemption status of some sort as reward for owning an electric company car.

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The Electric Vehicle Revolution

The Electric Vehicle Revolution

The Electric Vehicle Revolution is here

Electric vehicles are the future, be ready. . . 

The Electric Vehicle Revolution

“Adoption of a new technology, like EV’s (electric vehicles) may seem slow or look like it’s never going to happen, until it passes a threshold. . . .and then it just takes off.” *Reda Cherif  

By D. S. Mitchell

Horse and Buggy Days

There is a growing understanding that gas and diesel-powered vehicles will soon join the horse and buggy and dial telephone. New studies support a rapid acceleration process and a gathering momentum of the coming EV tsunami. Surprising as it may seem, soothsayers predict that more than 90% of all passenger vehicles in the U.S., Canada, Europe and other wealthy industrialized countries will be EV by 2040. Some studies are even more bullish, predicting that by 2030, ninety percent of all U.S. vehicles will be EV. That is less than 9 years away.

A Big Culprit

One of the major sources of deadly air pollution, and a major factor in climate change, is transportation. In order to protect the climate and the health of our citizens it is imperative we modify the vehicles on our roads. A few years ago, transportation edged out power plants as the leading source of carbon emissions. We can end this catastrophe. Sources tell us a rapid shift to electric vehicles can cut more than 800 million tons of CO2 emissions every year by 2040, and cumulative reductions will reach 16.2 billion tons by 2050.

New Technology

The transition is going to happen fast because EV’s are better than gas vehicles. There is less maintenance, lower operating costs, and more power. A big factor in boosting sales of EV’s is that production costs are also coming down. The cost of an EV battery has dropped 86% in the last 10 years. In spite of chip shortages and COVID-19 challenges, Ford Motor Co. has been showing profits throughout 2021. Ford announced that its F-150 Lightening electric pickup has generated over 120,000 pre-orders since it was unveiled to great fanfare in May.

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In Support of Nuclear Energy

 In Support of Nuclear Energy

When ever nuclear power is mentioned there are many that question is use

In Support of Nuclear Energy

By Megan Wallin 

Controversial Power Source

Utter the word “nuclear” in a discussion about the environmental impact of alternative power sources, and you’re likely to garner some attention. While people are happy to indulge solar power, wind power, and other less controversial sources, nuclear energy has a less neutral effect—to put it mildly.

Is It Dirty And Dangerous?

The assumptions regarding nuclear energy range from “dirty” to “dangerous,” with only a scattered few endorsing its use. But, what is nuclear energy? Few can define it. The best answer I can give is, nuclear energy is essentially a zero-emission energy source generating power via fission. Through the process of splitting uranium atoms, heat released by this fission, creates steam to spin electricity-producing turbines which then produces energy for human use.

Research Shows Nuclear Energy Is Viable 

Nuclear energy reduced carbon dioxide emissions by at least 476 million metric tons, according to a 2019 Nuclear Energy Institute study. Energy.gov compares this type of impact to “removing 100 million cars from the road and more than all other clean energy sources combined.”  Additionally, NEI confirmed the efficiency of such practices, stating that wind farms require more than 250 times as much land in order to match nuclear energy plants, and solar plants require 75 times more land. When stored properly, nuclear energy  is also a space saver due to its density. Six decades worth of nuclear energy produced in the U.S. would fill fewer than 10 yards of a football field. And it can be reprocessed.

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Devastating Drought


The western United States is suffering under a 20 year drought leading to billions of dollars in lost agricultural revenues and out of control wildfires.

Devastating Drought

By D. S. Mitchell and William Jones

Western state drought: A trauma to the ecosystem

Life on Planet Earth

Water is a requirement for all life on earth, whether it be plants, insects, fish, birds, or human beings.  Beyond sustaining life, water is essential for our economic well-being. Water based activities make up a large part of the economy. For example, water shortages in agriculture have resulted in reductions in yield and revenue. Tourism and outside activities have declined. Water transportation is endangered in some areas. The fishing industry is suffering.

Lack of Precipitation

Continued low precipitation causes drought. Across the west and southwest, surface water (river, lake, stream and pond) is primarily a result of winter snows and rains. Then in the spring that snow melts and the snowmelt flows downstream from higher altitude areas until it is captured by dams and reservoirs. The water is stored and that is delivered gradually to the people and places that need it when then need it, theoretically. (farmers, urban areas).

Severe and Extreme

Severe, extreme, and exceptional drought conditions have become increasingly common throughout the western United States. The last 20 years has brought abnormally dry conditions to the region. These conditions have led to a wide range of problems. Agricultural production is down due to inadequate water for irrigation. The loss of bee hives threaten the pollination of crops and is in fact at a critical state. Many scientists are pointing to climate change and reduced water supplies killing not only bees but every other insect on the planet. Animals are dying because they have inadequate water to sustain them.  Entire industries are dying because of the drought. It is a worldwide problem, but dramatically visible in the western United States.

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“Fox News” and Shameless Bias

“Fox News” and Shameless Bias

“FOX NEWS” and Shameless Bias

“You see, the truth is Murdoch has become a cancer – an arrogant cancer – on our democracy,” K. Rudd,  former Australian PM

OPINION:

“Fox News” and Shameless Bias

D. S. Mitchell

“An Arrogant Cancer”

A democracy is dependent of diverse, reliable, independent, and accurate information. Kevin Rudd a former Australian prime minister has described Rupert Murdoch’s monopoly of Australia’s media as a “cancer on democracy,” that effectively serves “to chill free speech and undermine debate.” Mr. Rudd continued, “Murdoch has become a cancer – an arrogant cancer – on our democracy,” adding that over the past decade Murdoch has “viciously” campaigned against democracy in support of right wing, white  nationalism.

Politically Polarized and Manipulated News

The effect of Murdoch’s philosophy and his powerful media presence is not only effecting Australia, the UK but also the good ol USA, where media ownership has become increasingly concentrated in the hands of the few. The end result has been that Murdoch has deliberately encouraged politically polarized rhetoric and manipulated news for his own agenda.

Enemies In the Crosshairs
Rupert Murdoch through his company News Corp uses its power as a media Goliath to routinely attack his enemies whether it be in business or politics.  Murdoch uses his billions in wealth and power derived from that wealth as a media cudgel to “attack opponents in business and politics by blending editorial opinion with news reporting,” alleging that, as a result, those “who hold contrary views have felt intimidated into silence.”
Typical Strategy
This is very similar to what we see in the United States with Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and the Tuck.  According to Rudd, Murdoch with the strength of his cable viewing audience seeks “to maximize his political power in. . . defense of his ideological interests; one being climate change denial.”

James Murdoch, one of the 90 year old mogul’s sons  revealed recently he had quit his position on the board of New Corp because of “disagreements over certain editorial content … and certain other strategic decisions.”  Most particularly he pointed to the company’s coverage of Donald Trump’s presidency. He continued, “I reached the conclusion that you can venerate a contest of ideas, if you will, and we all do, and that’s important. But it shouldn’t be in a way that hides agendas,” James Murdoch said in a New York Times interview. It should be noted that James and his wife give millions to liberal causes and democratic candidates in direct opposition to his father’s espoused philosophy.

James Murdoch Should Know

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Elon Musk’s Bitcoin U-Turn

Elon Musk’s Bitcoin U-Turn:

Nothing But PR & Energy Politics

By Sonnet Gomes

I was so content with my current tiny investment in Cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin, till last night. When Elon Musk’s Bitcoin U-Turn simply throws me off the edge.

Musk’s Tweet on suspending vehicle purchase using Bitcoin not only struck a boult on me but also my itty-bitty crypto asset. No wonder I was enraged to see the price dropping, and my investment is fading away.

However, it took me a while to come to my senses (thanks to my wife for a late-night Coffee) and realize what is actually going on.

Musk’s Twitter Activity from Last Night

The entire Tweet, I am sure, will amaze almost anyone. Let’s look at a few lines of it first, and then I will dive deep into them.

  • “We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel” (O Boy, O Boy! we had no clue about it until the Tweet!)
  • “Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels, and we believe it has a promising future” (So Tesla and SpaceX are not dumping all its crypto assets because they are nothing but energy-guzzler carbon-emitting machines)
  • “Tesla will not be selling any Bitcoin, and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy” (He actually loves Bitcoin and keeping all the digital assets for future use. Wondering what it’s that? Well, the next Bitcoin big selling)

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Carbon Positive Landscaping

Carbon Positive Landscaping

Carbon Positive Landscaping

Carbon Positive Landscaping

By D. S. Mitchell

Past Behavior

I have been planting native species plants and using water conserving drip irrigation for at least a decade. But I want to take it to the next level. I opened the March/April 2021 issue of Sierra magazine and found an article that motivated me to get busy. To be carbon positive, just means  your landscape/plantings remove more carbon dioxide than they generate.  Planting a tree that will grow large can remove hundreds of pounds of carbon from the atmosphere over its lifetime. Conversely, adding a concrete patio can add hundreds of pounds of carbon to the atmosphere. Lydia Lee’s article offered some great suggestions on how to create a truly green landscape.

Do a Carbon Audit

There is a free carbon calculator at climatepositivedesign.com/pathfinder, just enter details about hardscaping, plants, and maintenance equipment into the free carbon calculator. For example, stone pavers score poorly because of the intense amount of energy required to cut and transport them. You can also download the Climate Positive Design Toolkit,  which lists 50 strategies for improving your landscapes footprint, such as planting bamboo.

Avoid Concrete

Concrete is essentially artificial rock. Using concrete for a walkway or a patio dramatically increases your garden’s environmental footprint. Concrete is created with cement which during manufacturing needs to be heated to 2,500 degrees F. It would be better to use decomposed granite or gravel when creating paths and patios. A new product, Trugrid (truegridpaver.com) is a permeable paving system that holds gravel in place. The product is made from post-consumer recycled plastic. It even allows rainwater to drain into the ground rather than run off.

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