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The Trump Train
Fake News or Fake President?
February 19, 2017 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Media / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
I know a lot of people have found watching the news both addictive and frustrating lately.
They're tired of hearing the president make unsupported false statements every week, and listening to the media rebroadcast or reprint or repeat these false statements before they go onto correct him.
Hitler Said Repeat a Lie Often Enough and it Will Be Believed
Why does the media give these statements life in the first place - by repeating them at all?
It just gives these untruths some sort of strange validation, especially to those voters who make their decisions based on the noise level of soundbytes, instead of doing the research needed to understand the serious issues of the day, and the candidates' positions on them.
Jefferson said that those who believe they can be ignorant and free - believe in something that never was and never will be.
It seems to me that all of us need to start refocusing our attention from the petty distractions of what appears to be a Celebrity Apprentice President all-too-real TV show, to the serious business of addressing the issues facing the nation.
The president seems to be setting the tone for this chaos with his outrageous statements and theatrics. And the media - as during the 2016 campaign - seem to be knee-jerk reacting to almost everything he says.
They are enabling the president to suck up all the news oxygen out of the nation because all we hear about is Trump, Trump, Trump. They cover his antics - like he's media crack.
Special Request of the American Press: Separate the News from the Mockery
If the only thing the Trump Administration offers at its press conferences is of entertainment value, then I recommend that the news organizations treat it as such and forward the video outtakes of the 'fake president's fake press conferences' - which make a mockery of the office - to the 'fake news' outlets - meaning the late night comedy shows.
Folks who don't stay up late to watch these shows, can now catch these fictitious news shows on Youtube. Stephen Colbert of the Late Show, Seth Meyer of Late Night, and Saturday Night Live all seem to be on a tear. It's funny - but then again - it's sad.
As for the news organizations, if you can't get anything of real substance out of the White House / Administration press briefings - then get out of your comfort zones and begin wandering the Capitol in search of the legislators, staffers, policy experts and industry experts who understand the issues and are working to address them. Put them front and center on the front page of your newspapers, websites and news shows, instead of the Trump Train.
By taking away the open mic you've been giving Trump since he began campaigning for the presidency, you will either influence him to start engaging in the issues and start acting like a real president - or begin marginalizing him - thus giving visibility to the people with the education, experience and knowledge to guide the nation in the right direction ... whatever that may be.
Special Request of the American People: Start Engaging in the Democratic Process
But we, the audience, are also part of the problem. Could it be that both Trump and the media are giving the audience 'what they (appear to) want' based on our behavorial response in watching, reading and clicking into the Trump Train News?
Perhaps it's time for us to tune out this show which parodies our system of government, while mocking us as a society. And maybe it's time to start listening to the advice of Mahatma Ghandi who said, "Live the change you want to see."
Instead of helplessly standing by, perhaps it's time for us to get involved at the grass roots level of the causes or issues we care about - on either side of the ideological spectrum. And maybe now is the time for us to get out from behind our computer screens so that we can infuse new energy into our own real lives. Spring is a good time for new initiatives.
Of course, then again, we could keep watching the Trump Train - if we want to keep this unreal TV show on the air - by continuing to contribute to its ratings success.
And even though our role in the process may sometimes feel insignificant, collectively we are each, one of the many deciders.
Special Presidents Day Request for Donald J. Trump
I have a special Presidents Day request to make of Donald J. Trump - and that is that you quit acting like a rich, spoiled brat and start acting like the president of the United States of America.
This request includes NOT encouraging the people who work for you (like Steve Bannon) telling the press to shut up, NOT ignoring 'tough' questions you don't like posed by members of the press who in some measure are asking the questions that many of us have, and most certainly NOT tweeting that the press is the enemy of the American people.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression / free speech / freedom of the press.
These sorts of statements made by you and your Administration, since you've taken office, might be expected of your good friends from less free countries, like RUSSIA - but NOT by the Leader of the Free World - which likie it or not - you are.
Either grow up quickly and quit embarrassing us - or please resign and let Mike Pence become the 46th President of the United States of America.
Have a Happy Presidents Day.
Transportation Alternatives Queens Activist Committee
Statement on the Fatal Hit & Run on 21st Street, April 6, 2016
The TA Queens Activist Committee and the many neighbors and organizations that have come together in the Coalition for Street Calming on 21st Street are deeply saddened by this loss of life on 21st Street. Foremost, the driver has to be found and held accountable. There are 4,000 hit-and-run crashes every year that result in injury or death in NYC, but only 1% of those are investigated by the NYPD's Collision Investigation Squad. We call on Mayor de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bratton, and the City’s district attorneys to put together an action plan to combat the scourge of hit-and-run crashes that places all of us at risk.
But the City also has to be held accountable. We are calling on NCYDOT to implement traffic calming on 21st Street that deserves the name. And we call on Councilmembers Costa Constantinides and Van Bramer to stand by our side to insist on these urgent improvements to prevent further loss of life and health.
21st Street feels like a highway that cuts through a residential neighborhood. We repeat: A residential neighborhood. With increasing construction along the corridor, this will worsen. There are many children and elderly who simply cannot cope with the insanity and ugliness of this street. They should not be forced to cope with a street that effectively prioritizes drivers’ desire to speed over the needs for safety of ALL other street users.
For more than two (2) years, TA Queens and the Coalition for Street Calming on 21st Street have requested a full “road diet” for 21st Street--street safety measures that ensure that this street accommodates EVERYONE and is appropriate for a residential neighborhood.
Just over a year ago, in March 2015, NYCDOT presented a plan to Community Board 1 in response to these requests from the community. The plan was approved by CB1—but with the explicit caveat that this is only a beginning and that we need more. We also welcomed these changes, but said then that it was not enough and more needed to be done to make this street safer.
The DOT plan does NOT include the following essential measures that were requested repeatedly:
• Traffic lights at 28th Ave, 30th Road, 33rd Rd, mid-block between 34th and 35th Ave, and 39th Ave.
• Bike infrastructure below Hoyt Ave to both make bicyclists safe and calm the street for pedestrians
• Safety improvements to the dangerous three-way intersection with 27th Ave and Astoria Boulevard
• Other measures to reduce speeding and help pedestrians cross, such as mid-street pedestrian island
The NYCDOT’s argument for not installing traffic lights is that the “federal warrants” for traffic signals are not met at these locations. These federal rules are clearly written for the benefit of car drivers in suburban areas, not for dense city neighborhoods like Astoria and Long Island City. Moreover, it is difficult to accept that the warrants are not satisfied by the deplorably unsafe conditions on this very busy North-South artery. We call on DOT to disclose the engineering study that justifies its conclusions. And if the warrants are insufficient to protect us on our city streets, then NYC DOT should join us in lobbying U.S. DOT to revise the warrants to properly address urban reality.
In any event, we cannot hide behind federal warrants and allow lives to be jeopardized. Even if NYC would not receive federal funding for such traffic signals, we must spend our own funds to protect our residents. In Manhattan almost every intersection has a traffic light, so it is very hard to accept the claim that somehow streets such as 21st Street in Queens do not require the same protections. Lives are literally at stake, and the City must take action now before anyone else is killed or seriously injured on 21st Street.
Peter W. Beadle, Chair, Transportation Alternatives Queens Activist Committee
Angela Stach and Steve Scofield, 21st Street Campaign
Jaime Moncayo, TA Queens Organizer
Posted April 11, 2016
Education Law Center says
Governor Cuomo Wrong on Receivership
To Governor Andrew Cuomo:
Last year, you insisted on enacting a receivership law that targeted schools as “failing” or “persistently failing” based upon Common Core test scores. You defined the law and the metrics that schools must meet in order to improve, metrics that many experts consider unreliable and inappropriate for use in prescribing top-down, punitive interventions. Using test scores as a high stakes metric is a blunt and ineffectual instrument as your most recent education task force concluded as it relates to teacher evaluations.
Now 70 out of 144 schools subject to the receivership law have met the metrics you defined in law. They are no longer priority schools and therefore no longer subject to receivership. Yet in negotiations you are currently seeking to force these schools back into receivership. You defined a set of standards that set expectations for these schools and their students— students who, as you have been quick to vocally point out, are overwhelmingly black, Latino and poor. Now that these schools and their students have met that standard, you wish to change it in order to keep these 70 schools classified as “failing.” Doing so would create a mockery of the entire receivership program as it would send the message to students and their schools that if they meet the bar for performance as defined in the law, then you will just redefine the bar.
Paragraphs 1a and 1b of New York Education Law 211-f, the receivership law, define
clearly two categories of schools are subject to the law: “failing” and “persistently failing.”
Paragraph 1a defines a “failing school” as a school designated as a “priority” school for
three consecutive years under the state’s accountability system. Paragraph 1b defines a
“persistently failing” school as a school designated as a “priority” school in the state’s accountability system for ten consecutive years (or the equivalent of “priority” school under the state’s previous accountability system, as the new system is not ten years old). The key to qualifying as either a “failing or “persistently failing” school is the requirement that a school be on the priority schools list for the specified number of consecutive years.
According to the state’s definition of priority schools, a definition that was already in place
when the receivership law was enacted, a school is no longer a priority school if for two
consecutive years student test scores are high enough to exceed the thresholds for
identification (their combined performance index score in ELA and math is higher than the
cut score to be a priority school). The schools that are no longer identified as priority schools made the progress necessary on the defined metrics in 2013-14 and again in 2014-15.
Therefore, the underlying designation justifying their placement on the “failing” or “persistently failing” list no longer exists for the 70 schools. These schools can no longer be defined as either “failing” or “persistently failing” pursuant to the language of the statute itself. Accordingly, they do not fall within the purview of the receivership law, NY Education Law 211-f.
According to your chief advisor and the architect of this policy, these schools must stay under receivership for three years regardless of any progress they make. This is not what the law says. What the law does say is “each school intervention plan shall be authorized for a period of not more than three years.”
The problems with using high stakes Common Core tests to grade schools as “failing” is underlined by the fact that there is a full school year data lag in the publication of these test scores. The improvement in these schools’ metrics was actually based upon test score outcomes for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. So in fact, if not for the data lag, these schools would never have been subject to receivership in the first place. The receivership law, the law ostensibly written to assist these schools, had absolutely no effect on the progress the schools made. These schools should be allowed to continue making progress following these locally-developed plans. They have a track record of success, as contrasted by the as-yet unproven receivership law.
Wendy Lecker / Senior Attorney
Education Law Center / Newark, NJ
Posted April 11, 2016 / Received 3/31/16
Brian F. Will of Queens Quiet Skies says
Applying the Principles of Resource Management to Airspace Conservation
Fisheries management is heavily scrutinized in the media and by stakeholders in commercial fishing communities. The general public seems to play a dual role in fisheries management, by lamenting the loss of historic fishing ports but also steadfastly determined to restore our aquatic marine resources. Having worked on the management side for 10 years, mostly as a freelance biologist, I have heard compelling arguments from both sides. Our ocean resources are a public resource with multiple user groups, and arguments are usually centered on how to fairly distribute an increasingly limited allotment of that resource. A fisherman’s allotment, or quota, is his livelihood, and management decisions can put his livelihood and community on the line.
Our airspace is also a public resource with multiple user groups. But unlike fisheries resources, when changes to our airspaces are implemented, you’ll find few public meetings, comparatively little scientific data and almost no stakeholder involvement. The allotment of our airspace is divided up among business and government interests with a bare minimum left for noise and pollution mitigation. Airspace is allotted in a one directional way, with no public dialogue, and not even a hint of a willingness to have one.
And our airspace is getting very crowded. Air travel demand will double by 2050, and airport operators from New York to London are calling for extra runways, reduced vertical and horizontal separation between planes and a condensing of flight routes. All this, and we’ll still have to make space for drones. These airspace changes have become necessary, we’re constantly told, to ensure our economic survival.
On the other side of the issue, as yet unheard, is the noise and particulate pollution burden that airspace overutilization has already caused. From Queens to Phoenix, many thousands of people are quietly realizing they cannot live amicably underneath the new superhighways in the sky. With a predisposition to expand and almost no space to do it, the aviation industry effectively cleaves off a small section of human habitat with every new route.
When it comes to our nation’s airspace, perhaps it’s time to take a cue from other conservation disciplines: we are over utilizing this resource, to the detriment of the general public, and it’s going to get worse. Like fisheries and many other public resources, airspace can and should be carefully managed and conserved. Equal stakeholder involvement should be incorporated into management decisions, and land use studies should be used to determine an equitable balance of airspace usage between all the relevant user groups.
If the general public would demand airspace management with the same fervor that they demand management of other resources, we might prevent the degradation of potentially hundreds of communities. Looking up at the sky 10 years from now, and finding that every open patch of air is filled with an aircraft or drone, it will have already been too late.
Queens Quiet Skies was established in 2012 to fight aviation noise pollution problems related to the FAA's NextGen project. The group lobbied intensively for a community aviation roundtable, Part 150 study, and a dramatic increase in noise monitors.
The group can be reached at https://www.facebook.com/QueensQuietSkies/ or directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian F. Will
Biologist & Vice President of QueensQuietSkies.us
Submitted February 22, 2016
Brian F. Will of Queens Quiet Skies says
Need For Straight Talk From FAA & Government Officials
Something that continues to frustrate members of the Queens community is the evasive dialogue of the FAA. It hasn't changed a whole lot in the 3 years since the FAA first implemented NextGen technology at both airports. FAA Administrator Carmine Gallo has appeared in Queens several times during that span, including a recent town hall meeting in Jackson Heights. Still, he has yet to engage in a transparent conversation about the drastic airspace changes that are taking place. When it comes to the FAA, it's always about the weather (or construction).
The reality is that there is a lot more going on above our heads than just weather. Here I will try to summarize some of the more important changes that Administrator Gallo and the FAA often neglect to mention:
1. The Recategorization of Wake Turbulence Separations (RECAT)
This initiative was implemented at LaGuardia airport in February of 2015. It was tied to the NextGen project, thus avoiding a proper environmental analysis. RECAT reduces the separations of planes on the same route, such as planes arriving over Jackson Heights into LaGuardia’s runway 4. The separations reduction under RECAT has gone from a standard of 5 miles of separation to as little as 2.5 miles.
The FAA maintains that LaGuardia will handle growth of passenger demand with larger aircraft, but the FAA’s RECAT fact sheet lists capacity increases as a benefit of RECAT. From the FAA’s website: “The new standards are significantly improving the efficiency of operations at Memphis, Louisville, Cincinnati and Atlanta. FedEx boosted capacity by 20 percent”
Yes, FedEx boosted capacity by 20%. And the Memphis airport increased its slot limit from 72 to 99 flights per hour. LaGuardia’s current restriction is at 71 flights per hour.
2. Lifting of the “Perimeter Rule”
The perimeter rule mandates that all LaGuardia destinations be within a 1,500 mile radius, thus keeping the airport’s planes of an equitable size and weight. Currently, there are no four engine jets at LaGuardia, largely because of the perimeter rule.
A lifting of the rule would likely bring A380’s and B787’s to LaGuardia. This is something that the Port Authority will decide, likely when the Part 150 study is near completion and can’t be included in the data. The FAA would also like the perimeter rule to end, and have consistently maintained that they will meet passenger demand with “larger aircraft”. The FAA has said this, even before lifting of the rule was being openly debated, which makes one wonder.
The larger aircraft would bring more engines lower to the ground, thus increasing noise. Heavier planes also have a lower takeoff trajectory and cannot turn efficiently, which brings us to the next new FAA initiative…
3. Optimum Profile Descent (OPD)
Above is an FAA rendition of how the NextGen satellite navigation system which will guide aircraft into LaGuardia’s runway 4 in the near future. Whether or not planes will slam into the runway at a 35 degree angle, as implied above, remains to be seen. The plane in the drawing doesn’t look like an Airbus.
Optimum Profile Descent could potentially bring heavier arriving planes closer to Jackson Heights than they already are. The FAA asserts that Optimum Profile Descent will reduce noise because it allows planes to glide right in.
The JUTES Climb is the route that terrorizes Jackson Heights on most weekends. It is a NextGen RNAV, thus it has never been studied for impact on the human environment. The Port Authority maintains that when capacity enhancing runway construction is finished, the route will subside. We’ll see.
But if it doesn’t, please know that there is an entry in the current LaGuardia Standard Operating Procedure which states: “avoid departing runway 22 to the maximum extent possible”. Runway 22 points directly at Jackson Heights and is the source of JUTES. The statement is in the runway selection guidelines and not the noise abatement section, which leads to the assumption that the FAA is weary of departing too many planes over the area’s very tall structures.
5. The FAA’s “hidden” noise data
A 2013 FAA funded study “Residential Exposure to Aircraft Noise and Hospital Admissions for Cardiovascular Diseases”, published by Harvard University’s School for Public Health, revealed that the FAA produced noise contours for 89 U.S. airports out to 55 DNL in the year 2010.
MSP Fair Skies investigated the possibility of acquiring all of this data through FOIA requests, as the FAA had never publicized the data. Using the FAA noise data that they received, they produced a map for LaGuardia Airport. The map is available here, in one of MSP Fair Skies superb documentaries: http://mspfairskies.com/videos/
It is the first map of our area that shows noise exposure out to 55 DNL (average decibel level over a 24 hour period). It clearly shows 55 DNL extending from runway 4 all the way into Brooklyn!
Below are two additional noise exposure maps, shown side by side for comparison. Prepared by Boeing and the Port Authority, the maps show the growth of our 65 DNL noise burden over a ten year period.
6. Lastly, a word about “quieter engines”
When the perimeter rule disappears, the number of engines on many planes will increase from two to four. With RECAT, the frequency of noise events will increase. Optimum Profile Descent and larger aircraft could bring the noise source, the engines, closer to the receiver. With the number of slots poised to increase and LaGuardia inching towards 24 hour operations, there is a potential of:
(24 hours) X (81 planes per hour) X (4 engines) = 7776 engines per day.
Quieter engines are great, and should be supported, but not without putting other noise abatement scenarios in proper perspective. Quieter engines are not a cure all, and industry will have to make some concessions. Whether it be noise mitigation flight routes, curfew, late night exceptions, maintenance of slots, altitude restrictions or something else, technology alone will not bail us out.
Brian F. Will
November 3, 2015
Editor's Note: This was sent to us in response to a story we published about a meeting held in Queens to address airplane noise in NYC.
Queens Chronicle says
Keeping Jamaica Bay alive, on film and for real
Here at the Queens Chronicle, the next installment of “Star Wars” isn’t the only film years in the making and set for release in the months ahead that we’re eagerly looking forward to.
No, while we enjoy the events of a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away as much as anyone, we’re thinking closer to home and can’t wait for the first full screening of “Jamaica Bay Lives,” the documentary about our favorite big estuary by environmentalist, author and former Chronicle Editor-in-Chief Dan Hendrick. He expects the film, now nearing the end stages of production, to be ready this fall. He hopes to show it on public television, at film festivals and in the communities that surround the bay.
You could hardly find a better topic for an environmental documentary film in New York City. Jamaica Bay has a long and often tortured history and is full of contradictions, but remains vitally important to the ecology of not just the city but really the entire Eastern Seaboard.
Of course it was not always protected as well as it is now, and more must be done to restore it as much as possible. That’s one of the major reasons Hendrick’s film is so important — to draw more awareness and, perhaps, funding and other resources to this 18,000-acre wetland estuary that’s home to hundreds of species of birds, beasts and fish. It is, as he points out, the city’s largest open space, bigger than Central, Prospect and Van Cortlandt parks combined. It’s nearly the size of Manhattan, and occupies almost one-tenth of the city’s entire geographic area.
For a long time it was abused, a dumping ground ringed by landfills and industry. To some degree it still is. On its eastern end, Kennedy Airport is one of the two dozen busiest in the world, with all the pollution that brings. On its western end, Floyd Bennett Field used to be an airport. On the western side of the Floyd Bennett peninsula is Dead Horse Bay, named for just the reason you’d imagine: It’s where they used to dump the bones of the horse carcasses processed there. Charles Park in Howard Beach certainly needs a major cleanup but it’s got nothing on Dead Horse Bay’s Bottle Beach, an utterly filthy stretch of shoreline filled with garbage from a landfill dating back a century. Four sewage treatment plants empty into Jamaica Bay.
Yet the estuary and much of its wildlife survive, demonstrating the power of nature against the worst mankind can throw at it. And for the last several decades, they’ve had a lot of help. Master planner Robert Moses got thousands of acres declared parkland in 1938 and thwarted proposals to build an industrial port and make more landfills. After the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge was established, one Herbert Johnson worked to save and restore the nesting grounds of shorebirds and waterfowl that call the bay home.
In more recent times, the government and environmental groups such as the American Littoral Society, NYC Audubon and the Trust for Public Land have worked together on restoration projects ranging from the rebuilding of the disappearing marshlands to plain old volunteer beach cleanups. Birds in particular are thriving, with the bay being a key stop for many that migrate along the Atlantic Flyway, though sadly, some have been killed out of concerns they could disable planes. And Hurricane Sandy certainly took its toll on the marshes and more.
This is the wondrous place explored in “Jamaica Bay Lives.” The film’s stars, Hendrick says, are four activists working hard to protect the bay: Don Riepe, Dan Mundy Sr., Dan Mundy Jr. and Barbara Brown. But it’s the bay itself that gets top billing. We’re sure the movie will be a fitting tribute to this gem in our midst. Don’t miss it.
by Queens Chronicle Updated August 27, 2015
Posted Here September 2, 2015
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Copyright Law Change Alert: Pending Legislation May Curtail Your Ownership Rights
July 5, 2015 / Queens Notices / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz. Click the Queens Notices link to view proposed overhaul of copyright laws which would significantly curtail the ownership rights one has to their own work. It includes a bit about how you can help by sending a notice to the government regarding this effort to overhaul copyright law.
According to the report, the law would weaken content creators' ownership rights and thus their ability to monetize their creations. They also allege that the big internet companies are pushing this. We surmise that this is because the big internet companies are using everyone's content, collecting revenue for organizing and distributing it, and not compensating the content creators for the use of it. This may leave a huge outstanding, unestimated legal liability on their balance sheets.
The weakening of copyright laws has disturbing societal implications as well, as it completely destroys the economic incentive for artists, filmmakers, writers, journalists, photographers, actors, recording artists and software developers to invest their time and resourcess in the creation art, film, journalism, photography, music, software and other media content and entertainment. And in doing so, paves the way for considerable consolidation and control over freedom of speech and what media and entertainment content we as a society consume.
The net effect of the law is to curtail content creator ownership rights, and thus in some good measure transfer the ability to monetize content from the content creators to the content distributors. But it's not too late for you to do something about this.
The deadline for comment is July 23rd, 2015. Click Queens Notices and scroll down to first notice. There are links there to the authors of the report, as well as instructions and links to making a comment to government officials. Is retaining ownership rights to your work worth 10 to 15 minutes of your time?
"Many hands make light work." Chip in and make your concerns heard.
Going Solar Will Solve Many Of America's Biggest Problems
Transitioning to solar has the potential to narrow America's trade deficit, reduce America's government deficit, increase America's employment, reduce the probability of trade or military wars with China, and reduce America's carbon footprint.
Most armed conflicts take place in locations that are in or adjacent to large oil production locations or along strategic passageways for oil. It's worth noting that there are rising tensions in the South China Sea over signficant oil & gas resources there. Some believe these rising global tensions may lead to WWIII. As is true in all wars, many innocent men, women and children die. This is going on right now, as as fighting continues in Crimea, Gaza, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, Nigeria & D.R. Congo.
Most of these Middle Eastern, African and impending Asian conflicts would likely be resolved if solar and wind energy were the nation's / world's primary energy sources. Instead of fighting over the remaining fossil fuels on the planet and their safe transit into use; let's use the solar and wind technologies we have already mastered, to prevent future military conflicts and mitigate the current ones.
Reduction of our reliance on oil / fossil fuels should be the nation's primary goal as it will:
1) reduce our trade deficit by enabling us to produce more or all of our own energy, thus cutting our reliance on imported oil,
2) enable us to reduce our military spending and hence overall government spending, deficits and taxes by reducing our need to guard oil production and transit ways around the world,
3) keep us out of other people's wars - which would be far easier to settle - if the riches and strategic importance associated with oil began and continued to decline,
4) provide a cleaner environment and slow climate change by reducing our consumption and hence the pollution of fossil fuels and
5) provide more domestic jobs as we could become a clean and net energy producer.
So why don't we do it?
Because those who profit from the current state of affairs will do whatever they can to slow or prevent this change from occurring because it will reduce their wealth and the future value of their holdings.
These not-so-special interests primarily consist of: a) those who profit from wars or the perceived threat of wars like the defense contractors; and b) those who profit from the heavy American reliance on fossil fuels like the big oil companies.
Both the oil companies and the defense contractors use American taxpayer dollars to fund their wealth by: a) collecting hundreds of billions of tax dollars for defense equipment investments and b) demanding that a signficant portion of American Armed Forces budgets [time, manpower and equipment] be directed toward the protection of American oil company transit ways and holdings abroad. They argue that this is because oil is a strategic asset. That is currently true, but it wouldn't be if America transitioned to solar and wind energies.
So in summary, we can mitigate some of the inhumanity of war, lower our trade deficit, lower our government spending, lower our taxes, become energy self-sufficient, pollute less, slow global climate change and increase domestic employment by accelerating our transition to solar and wind energies.
We can transition from fossil fuels to regenerative energy sources by using the same approach used to curb smoking nationally. Educate the public about how to transition and put economic incentives in place to support the transition. This means slowly, like cigarette taxes, commit to increasing taxes on oil consumption by some dollar or percent amount every year. Then take these funds and use them to provide tax deductions and business incentives to move to renewable / regenerative fuels and energy conservation through more energy efficient autos, solar powered homes and the like.
Posted April 1, 2015
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