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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Dec 1, 2011, 12:59 PM
Number of posts: 7,830

About Me

FDR Populist Progressive who believes the environment trumps all. We\'re sinking the only ship we\'ve got, and govt leaders are ignoring it.

Journal Archives

Well stated. Here's an example of that~

......Over the last two years, private equity firms and hedge funds have amassed an unprecedented real estate empire, snapping up Spanish revivals in Phoenix, adobes in Los Angeles, Queen Anne Victorians in Atlanta, and brick-faced bungalows in Chicago. In total, Wall Street investors have bought more than 200,000 cheap, mostly foreclosed houses in some of the cities hardest hit by the economic meltdown. But they're not simply flipping these houses. Instead, they've started bundling some of them into a new kind of financial product that could blow up the housing market all over again.

No company has bought more houses than the Blackstone Group, one of the world's largest private equity firms. (Its many investments include Hilton Hotels, the Weather Channel, and SeaWorld. Among its institutional investors are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, and JPMorgan Chase.) Through its subsidiary, Invitation Homes, Blackstone has picked up houses through local brokers, at foreclosure auctions, and in bulk purchases. Last April, it bought 1,400 houses in Atlanta in a single day. In Phoenix, some neighborhoods have a Blackstone-owned home on just about every block. As of November, Blackstone had acquired 40,000 houses, most of them foreclosures, worth $7.5 billion. Today, it is the largest owner of single-family rental homes in the nation.

Blackstone's deep pockets—$248 billion in assets under management and a $3.6 billion credit line arranged by Deutsche Bank for buying houses—allow it to outbid individual buyers, driving up local real estate prices and pushing families out of the market. "You can't compete with a company that's betting on speculative future value when they're playing with cash," says Alston. "Institutional investors are siphoning the wealth and the ability for wealth accumulation out of underserved communities," adds Henry Wade, cofounder of the Arizona Association of Real Estate Brokers.

But buying houses cheap and then waiting for them to appreciate isn't the only way Blackstone is making money on these deals. It wants your rent check, too. In November, after many months of hype, the firm released the first-ever rated bond backed by securitized rental payments........


This is just wrong, and we can count on Hillary and any other conservative to do nothing to curb it. Bill Clinton enabled it to begin with, after all. RWrs do what they do.

The Hidden Villain of Global Warming—The Pentagon

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Common Dreams
The Hidden Villain of Global Warming—The Pentagon
Gar Smith


From November 30 to December 11, delegates from more than 190 nations will convene in Paris to address the increasingly visible threats of climate disruption. The 21st Conference of the Parties (aka COP21) is expected to draw 25,000 official delegates intent on crafting a legally binding pact to keep global warming below 2°C.

But it is difficult to imagine the delegates reaching this goal when one of the largest contributors to global-warming has no intention of agreeing to reduce its pollution. The problem in this case is neither China nor the United States. Instead, the culprit is the Pentagon.

The Pentagon occupies 6,000 bases in the US and more than 1,000 bases (the exact number is disputed) in 60-plus foreign countries. According to its FY 2010 Base Structure Report, the Pentagon's global empire includes more than 539,000 facilities at 5,000 sites covering more than 28 million acres.

The Pentagon has admitted to burning 350,000 barrels of oil a day (only 35 countries in the world consume more) but that doesn't include oil burned by contractors and weapons suppliers. It does, however, include providing fuel for more than 28,000 armored vehicles, thousands of helicopters, hundreds of jet fighters and bombers and vast fleets of Navy vessels. The Air Force accounts for about half of the Pentagon’s operational energy consumption, followed by the Navy (33%) and Army (15%). In 2012, oil accounted for nearly 80% of the Pentagon's energy consumption, followed by electricity, natural gas and coal.

Ironically, most of the Pentagon's oil is consumed in operations directed at protecting America's access to foreign oil and maritime shipping lanes. In short, the consumption of oil relies on consuming more oil. This is not a sustainable energy model.

The amount of oil burned—and the burden of smoke released—increases whenever the Pentagon goes to war. (Indeed, human history's most combustible mix may well prove to be oil and testosterone.) Oil Change International estimates the Pentagon's 2003-2007 $2 trillion Iraq War generated more than three million metric tons of CO2 pollution per month.

Yet, despite being the planet's single greatest institutional consumer of fossil fuels, the Pentagon has been granted a unique exemption from reducing—or even reporting—its pollution.

The US won this prize during the 1998 Kyoto Protocol negotiations (COP4) after the Pentagon insisted on a "national security provision" that would place its operations beyond global scrutiny or control. As Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat recalled: "Every requirement the Defense Department and uniformed military who were at Kyoto by my side said they wanted, they got." (Also exempted from pollution regulation: all Pentagon weapons testing, military exercises, NATO operations and "peacekeeping" missions.)

After winning this concession, however, the US Senate refused to ratify the Kyoto Accord, the House amended the Pentagon budget to ban any "restriction of armed forces under the Kyoto Protocol," and George W. Bush rejected the entire climate treaty because it "would cause serious harm to the US economy" (by which he clearly meant the U.S. oil and gas industries).

Today, the Pentagon consumes one percent of all the country's oil and around 80 percent of all the oil burned by federal government. President Barack Obama recently received praise for his Executive Order requiring federal agencies to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, but Obama's EO specifically exempted the Pentagon from having to report its contribution to climate chaos. (As a practical matter, the Pentagon has been forced to act. With battlefield gas costing $400 a gallon and naval bases at risk of flooding from rising seas, the Pentagon managed to trim its domestic greenhouse-gas emissions by 9 percent between 2008-2012 and hopes to achieve a 34 percent reduction by 2020.)

According to recent exposés, Exxon executives knew the company's products were stoking global temperatures but they opted to put "profits before planet" and conspired to secretly finance three decades of deception. Similarly, the Pentagon has been well aware that its operations were wrecking our planetary habitat.

In 2014, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel identified climate change as a "threat multiplier" that will endanger national security by increasing "global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict." As far back as 2001, Pentagon strategists have been preparing to capitalize on the problem by planning for "ice-free" operations in the Arctic—in anticipation of US-Russian conflicts over access to polar oil.

The Pentagon's role in weather disruption needs to become part of the climate discussion. Oil barrels and gun barrels both pose a threat to our survival. If we hope to stabilize our climate, we will need to start spending less money on war.


(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Bold for emphasis is my own.)

Just one more reason to fight for peace, not oil.

Some incredibly informative, & deeply disturbing, posts on Third Way's overtake of our party

If anyone is interested in the manner in which the Democratic Party went conservative on US~

The Third Way: 'Why are Democrats affiliated with this group that wants to gut Democratic Programs?'

Third Way Founders Jon Cowen & Jim Kessler tell us: Economic Populism is a Dead End for Democrats

Elizabeth Warren's response to Third Way Criticisms: 'Oh Please'

So who's our boss now? Who has our politicians firmly in hand?

(Still appreciating the research here, Sabrina & MadFloridian!!)

Very disappointing reply from my liberal senator re: fracking.

Dear Ms. (Riverlover):

Thank you for getting in touch with me about natural gas drilling.

I share many of your concerns over energy development in our state. Ohio is poised for an energy boom. Previously unreachable natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica shales can now be recovered through hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” If done right, the push for Ohio’s natural gas can mean cleaner air, good paying jobs, and an influx of much needed economic activity in rural and Appalachian Ohio.

However, before rushing head-first into a new round of energy development, we must ensure that natural gas development guarantees safe environmental practices, good jobs for Ohioans, a fair deal for landowners, and sustainable, long-term economic growth for our communities. We cannot afford to settle for the environmental degradation, unemployment, and boom and bust economy that has too often followed energy development in our state.

The Marcellus and Utica shale deposits are not going anywhere. They will be developed. Now is the time to ensure that jobs are created for Ohioans, our environment is protected, landowners are treated fairly, and our state receives its fair share of natural gas revenues.

I appreciate hearing your concerns on this topic and welcome your suggestions for how these critical resources can be developed in our state’s best interests.

Thank you again for writing.


Sherrod Brown

United States Senator

I think this was in response to something I sent from the Sierra Club, months ago. The last time I remember writing him was to unsubscribe from his email list after he endorsed Clinton over Sanders & O'Malley...

In other news~

Frackfree Mahoning Valley members to participate in Tuesday anti-fracking rallies

Two Studies Highlight Risks of Fracking-Released Methane

Researchers have linked US fracking to higher rates of cancer and heart conditions

Fracking Waste Puts Public at Risk, Study Says

It’s Official: Oklahoma Experiences More Earthquakes Than Anywhere Else in the World

Instant poll has Bernie Sanders winning debate with whopping 83 percent support

Instant poll has Bernie Sanders winning debate with whopping 83 percent support

..... Time magazine conducted an online instant poll following the debate on Nov. 14, and viewers were in the corner of the senator from Vermont.

With 83 percent of the vote as of press time, Sanders was the obvious winner according to over 21,000 people who cast their vote. Clinton was far behind with 12 percent support, and O'Malley finished in last with five percent of the vote.....


And Bernie won on twitter as well~

Many media outlets who are in with Hillary can say otherwise, but we know who won.


Keystone XL: Not dead yet?

Keystone XL: Not dead yet?
By Timothy Cama - 11/10/15 06:00 AM EST
The Hill

President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL oil pipeline might not be the end of the road for the controversial project.

TransCanada Corp. has pledged to explore its remaining options for building the Canada-to-Texas pipeline, including filing a new application with the State Department.

“There is a chance it’s not dead,” said Steven Paget, an analyst at FirstEnergy Capital in Calgary, Alberta.

In a Friday statement, TransCanada declined to offer specifics about its next steps. But observers say the main options are filing an international challenge under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), seeking an act of Congress to override Obama or waiting until a new president takes office in January 2017 to file for a new permit.

....snip.....Freshman Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) is asking his colleagues in Congress to sign a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to hold off any efforts to stop Keystone, reroute it away from the United States or otherwise change it. “After President Obama leaves office, decisions such as approval of the Keystone XL pipeline will fall upon his successor,” the letter says. “Simply put, if the American people choose a president who supports building Keystone XL, that president can reverse this misguided decision and authorize the project the day he or she takes office.

...Paget noted that TransCanada has a big financial stake in what happens to Keystone next; the developer has already sunk $2.6 billion into the project....snip....The Canadian Press reported in August that TransCanada was actively exploring its rights under NAFTA if Obama rejected the proposal.

The company has certain economic rights under the 1994 treaty, and it could ask a tribunal to mandate compensation from the United States for rejecting the pipeline, or even require that the project be approved....


NAFTA, the anti-Democracy, job-killing gift that keeps on giving!

Green group endorses Hillary Clinton, and feels the Bern

Green group endorses Hillary Clinton, and feels the Bern
By Juliet Eilperin November 9 at 7:37 PM

The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund’s endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton Monday has prompted a backlash from many of its members, who argue Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) deserved the nod.

The endorsement, which was first reported by The Washington Post, marked the first time in more than three decades that the group had endorsed a presidential candidate before a single primary vote was cast. The group’s board Chairwoman Carol M. Browner, who served as the Environmental Protection Agency administrator under President Clinton and advised President Obama on climate change during his first term, said Hillary Clinton won the endorsement because she was best prepared to advance environmental priorities in office....

But the move touched off a furor among Sanders supporters, who noted that he had a 95 percent lifetime rating from LCV compared to Clinton’s 82 percent. While the group does not evaluate governors, the third Democratic presidential contender, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, received an A-minus rating from LCV’s Maryland affiliate for 2007-2008 and a B-plus for 2009-2011.

Backers of Sanders posted a slew of comments on Facebook and Twitter, suggesting that the League of Conservation Voters’ federal political action committee had made a politically expedient choice.....

Several vowed to withhold future donations to LCV in retaliation for the move and either give the money to other environmental groups, or Sanders himself........

Read in full~

I didn't take to twitter, I just looked in my inbox for the latest email from them, unsubscribed and left feedback on my thoughts on their backing a candidate before the primary and without input from their supporters. I left some links to articles on Hillary's ties to BigOil and fracking and stressed how vital it is now to have someone lead who realizes that in order to stem this sixth mass extinction we're experiencing right now, we need radical change.

There are many incredible environmental organizations out there doing great things. I don't want to waste my money on one that's only in it for political posturing.

GO Bernie!!!

Don't Underestimate Bernie's Brand

Don't Underestimate Bernie's Brand
by Nigel Hollis 8:01 AM ET
The Atlantic

Like many new and different brands, Bernie Sanders has a message that resonates with supporters. But just as big brand managers make the mistake of dismissing new competition, the media has discounted Sanders’s chances of nomination. Indoctrinated by years of “business as usual” both groups assume that history will repeat itself; they assume that the frontrunner has the upper hand; they assume that the parameters of success are fixed and what has worked in the past will work in the future. The real challenge when forecasting future success—for brands or politicians—is to test existing assumptions, not simply to accept them at face value.

Detractors of Sanders’s campaign often write off his early popularity by contending that his supporters are little more than a grumbling and ultimately powerless economic minority. This group, according to critics, may make a lot of noise in the beginning, but it has neither the staying power nor the voter turnout to truly impact an election. But Sanders’s early success is far more indicative of a serious disillusionment with the American Dream and a discredited political mainstream. The cultural and economic context does not merely allow for Sanders’s popularity; rather; it gives grounds to his resonance.

Sanders’s message of economic and social fairness is resonating with Americans in exactly the same way that many successful brands do—by addressing societal tensions. Sanders, for example, tapped into a public that felt trapped after the Great Recession. Similarly, Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty succeeded by addressing the idealized portrayal of female beauty in popular culture that many women found unobtainable and demeaning. IBM has found success with its promise of making the world a Smarter Planet through technology, and Chipotle is appealing to those who may not agree with the practices of big agriculture.

Audi, Under Armour, and Apple have gained traction by taking their differences and making them meaningful and salient to a wider audience. People find it difficult to agree that a brand is relevant and appealing to them if they are unfamiliar with it, but they will readily admit that it is different. The trick is then to demonstrate how that difference is relevant to more people. This logic equally applies to the presidential race....

Read in full here~

I really don't like couching Bernie's run in capitalistic terms, it just doesn't seem right. But I found this interesting, and hopeful.

GO Bernie!!!

I hope this works out for them. And the drilling doesn't trigger an earthquake...

When I lived in that region, we used to go to Montserrat for hiking every so often, about 10 years after the volcano destroyed half the island. The volcano destroyed the airport, so the only way to go was by boat. Its an incredibly beautiful island, so devastating what happened to it.

The tropical forest portion we used to hike looked like this (these pics don't capture the incredible beauty, but you'll get an idea)~

Once, they were allowing certain cab drivers to take tourists through a portion of Plymouth, the capital. It looked like this, still, 10 years later~

This video shows the destruction to Plymouth~

This video shows Montserrat's comeback~

Given the responses here,

or lack thereof, I'd say you're most likely (& sadly) spot on.

Or maybe this just isn't much of a LW gathering place after all.

Hard to say.
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