Key Democrat 'at the center' of Illinois' $140 billion in unfunded liabilities

[Editor's note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Politics.] By Adam SchusterReal Clear Politics Corrupt politicians. Public pension debt. In Illinois, both of those phrases are redundant. Standing at the crossroads of those shameful bits of local lingo is one man: Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. TRENDING: Undercover journalist turns the tables, sues Planned Parenthood for defamation Madigan’s corruption could no longer be ignored when he was implicated in the federal bribery case against utility giant Commonwealth Edison. His guilt in building the state’s economic collapse requires a longer look. Madigan is the longest-serving statehouse speaker in U.S. history, starting in 1983. Since 1998, he’s also been the chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois. Those dual roles let Madigan accumulate more concentrated power over public policy than any state leader in the country. For more than three decades, Madigan has been at the center of virtually every bad decision that gave Illinois its soaring debt and crashing credit. In 1980, Illinois had just $4.5 billion of pension debt and top-rated AAA credit. Today it has the nation’s worst pension crisis with nearly $140 billion in unfunded liabilities and the nation’s lowest credit rating, just one notch above junk status. Many politicians share the blame, but Madigan has been the constant. He sponsored the major legislation or allowed the bad bills to pass. Madigan owns Illinois’ failing finances. Even before he was speaker, Madigan was part of Illinois’ foundational mistake on pensions. Madigan was a delegate to the 1970 constitutional convention. He voted for the pension clause that states government retirement benefits cannot be “diminished or impaired.” Based on that clause, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned pension reform in 2015 and stated it prevents any effective pension reforms unless the Illinois Constitution is amended to nullify it. Since then, Madigan’s majority has repeatedly doled out unaffordable but politically advantageous retirement perks the clause permanently locked in place. The speaker and his allies hid the costs from taxpayers and pushed off the day of reckoning with dangerous pension funding games and debt. Madigan was a House sponsor of Senate Bill 95 in 1989. That legislation created the 3% compounding retiree raises that Moody’s Investors Service said was “key to the growth in the state’s net pension liabilities.” It also gave politicians new ways to spike their pensions, adding $41,000 annually to the pension of state Sen. Emil Jones, its Senate sponsor. Politicians and government unions receiving these benefits are key Madigan allies, with the latter putting $10 million during the past 26 years into campaign committees run by the speaker. Public policy gains appear to motivate Madigan less than a drive to grow and maintain his own power. Illinois saw that in 1994, when Madigan surprised the Democratic candidate for governor, Dawn Clark Netsch, by publicly backing the pension funding plan of her Republican rival, then-Gov. Jim Edgar. Netsch had planned to use inaction on pensions against Edgar. Madigan, who had endorsed Netsch’s opponent in the primary, was trying to shore up union support in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to protect his majority from a Republican wave. Those two years were the only gap in his speakership. For Madigan, it’s not about people. It isn’t about the party. It’s about power. While Madigan and Edgar both wanted to demonstrate action on pensions, the “Edgar ramp” that took effect in 1996 was really a big can-kick that lowered pension costs during Edgar’s term but backloaded and raised them for his successors. It also violated standards set by actuaries by targeting 90% funding instead of 100% and by doing it over a too-long, 50-year period. Madigan then sponsored an early retirement program in 2002 that allowed more than 11,000 state employees to retire as early as age 50 with full benefits. It cost taxpayers $2.3 billion. One year later, he supported former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s plan to sell $10 billion in pension bond debt. The phony balance-sheet improvement those bonds created was used to justify $1 billion pension payment holidays in 2006 and 2007, supported by both Madigan and top government unions. The speaker did support an attempt at pension reform in 2013, but since the Supreme Court blocked that effort in 2015, Madigan has used his procedural powers to prevent debate on a constitutional amendment that would enable 2013-style reforms. House rules give the speaker sole authority to decide when or whether legislation gets called for a vote. Whenever Madigan does leave his seat of power, many frustrated Illinoisans will breathe a sigh of relief. That will also be the time to begin the hard work of undoing Madigan’s dual legacies of corruption and debt. Two places to start are amending the Illinois Constitution’s pension clause and replacing the House rules that Madigan used to craft Illinois’ infamous culture of corruption and pit of debt. These reforms would prevent another Madigan-style ruler. They would allow long overdue financial solutions to take root in Springfield. They are Illinois’ best hope to rewrite its lexicon: detaching politicians from corruption; unhooking pensions from debt. Adam Schuster is director of budget and tax research at the Illinois Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research organization that promotes responsible government and free market principles. [Editor's note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Politics.]

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The Criminal Prosecution of Boeing Executives Should Begin

Mish Talk | September 18, 2020 Damning details of purposeful malfeasance by Boeing executives emerged in a Congressional investigation. FAA, Boeing Blasted Over 737 MAX Failures On Wednesday, the Transportation Committee Blasted FAA, Boeing Over 737 MAX Failures The 238-page document, written by the majority staff of the House Transportation Committee, calls into question whether […]

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Leak reveals $2tn of possibly corrupt US financial activity

Among those named in reports is Paul Manafort, former political strategist for Donald Trump Thousands of documents detailing $2 trillion (£1.55tn) of potentially corrupt transactions that were washed through the US financial system have been leaked to an international group of investigative journalists. The leak focuses on more than 2,000 suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed with the US government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Continue reading...

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Leaked Treasury documents reveal how dirty money moves through global banking system

Thousands of leaked government documents covering at least $2 trillion worth of transactions reveal how some of the world's biggest banks knowingly moved around the money of oligarchs, terrorists and criminals, with few consequences, according to a massive investigation by BuzzFeed News, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and hundreds of other news organizations. The big picture: The investigation, published on Sunday, examines more than 2,100 suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed by banks and other financial firms with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN. Key findings: "Five global banks — JPMorgan, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon — kept profiting from powerful and dangerous players even after U.S. authorities fined these financial institutions for earlier failures to stem flows of dirty money," the ICIJ writes. "U.S. agencies responsible for enforcing money laundering laws rarely prosecute megabanks that break the law, and the actions authorities do take barely ripple the flood of plundered money that washes through the international financial system," the ICIJ reports. "Big banks shift money for people they can’t identify and in many cases fail to report suspect transactions until years after the fact."BuzzFeed News adds: "These documents, compiled by banks, shared with the government, but kept from public view, expose the hollowness of banking safeguards, and the ease with which criminals have exploited them. Profits from deadly drug wars, fortunes embezzled from developing countries, and hard-earned savings stolen in a Ponzi scheme were all allowed to flow into and out of these financial institutions, despite warnings from the banks’ own employees.""Laws that were meant to stop financial crime have instead allowed it to flourish. So long as a bank files a notice that it may be facilitating criminal activity, it all but immunizes itself and its executives from criminal prosecution. The suspicious activity alert effectively gives them a free pass to keep moving the money and collecting the fees."By the numbers, per BuzzFeed and the ICIJ: BuzzFeed received thousands of secret government documents more than a year ago. Among the leaked documents were 2,100 SARs, totaling more than 22,000 pages. BuzzFeed shared the SARs with the ICIJ and more than 400 journalists from 110 news organizations in 88 countries.The documents provide information on more than 10,000 people and organizations in at least 170 countries and territories.More than 250 SARs referenced people with addresses in the U.S. At least 120 people referenced in the SARs had addresses in Russia. Individuals or organizations with addresses in the U.K., China, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Canada and Ukraine appeared in at least 20 reports each. In total, the SARs flagged more than $2 trillion in transactions between 1999 and 2017. The documents include SARs filed by nearly 90 financial institutions. The 10 most common banks were Deutsche Bank, Bank of New York Mellon, Standard Chartered, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, HSBC, Bank of China, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citibank. JPMorgan Chase flagged "more than $335 billion in suspicious activity, relating to more than 100,000 wire transfers 'sent, received or processed' over the course of a decade-plus by MKS, a Switzerland-based company that trades precious metals."The ICIJ notes that the "FinCEN Files represent less than 0.02% of the more than 12 million suspicious activity reports that financial institutions filed with FinCEN between 2011 and 2017." What they're saying: According to BuzzFeed, the banks mentioned in the reports could not comment on individual transactions due to privacy laws, but many did provide general statements in response to questions about the investigation. Bank Policy Institute President Greg Baer said in a statement: "It does not make sense that the basis for media allegations that banks knowingly hid illegal activity consisted solely of Suspicious Activity Reports that those banks filed alerting law enforcement to that very activity. Clearly, there is more to this story, but unfortunately the reporting failed to unearth it, and the banks are legally prohibited from telling their side. In some cases, if the past is any guide, that story likely includes law enforcement asking a bank to keep open an account it has identified as suspicious so that law enforcement can track where the money is going and gather further evidence to support an arrest and conviction."Institute of International Finance President Tim Adams, a former Treasury official, said in a statement: “The findings of today’s reports once again emphasize the need to pursue intelligence-led changes for financial crime risk management - driven by meaningful improvements to public-private sector cooperation and cross-border information sharing, coupled with the use of technology - to enhance the global anti-financial crime framework,” said Tim Adams, IIF President and CEO. “I hope these findings spur urgent action from policymakers to enact needed reforms. As noted in today’s reports, the impacts of financial crime are felt beyond just the financial sector – it poses grave threats to society as a whole.”Go deeper: Read the full FinCEN Files investigation

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Deadly Terror Networks And Drug Cartels Use Huge Banks To Finance Their Crimes. These Secret Documents Show How The Banks Profit.

Thousands of secret “suspicious activity reports” offer a never-before-seen picture of corruption and complicity — and how the government lets it flourish. View Entire Post ›

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Walmart to raise wages, paying staff up to $30 per hour

(WRDW) If you’re one of the millions of workers affected by the pandemic and you’re looking for a job, you might want to consider Walmart. The company says 165,000 hourly workers will be receiving a pay raise in order to motivate and empower employees to assist customers better. Next month, hourly team members will start between $18 and $21 per hour, and pay could even go all the way up to $30 per hour at select supercenters. Read the full story ›

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Tax-dodging easements described as 'purple mountain travesty'

[Editor's note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Investigations.] By John F. WasikReal Clear Investigations For ecologically minded landowners, land conservation easements have long been a win-win, allowing them to protect sensitive property from development and get a tax break. But in recent years many of them have also become abusive tax dodges, costing the U.S. Treasury billions of dollars. Here’s how they work: Speculators buy undeveloped land that qualifies for the program. They then inflate the valuation of the property and sell shares in it to investors lured by the promise of a big deduction after the land is donated for preservation. More than 30,000 Americans have invested in these limited partnerships, many of whom are unaware of the potential tax penalties. The total amount of deductions claimed by taxpayers using these vehicles over the years is believed to exceed $230 billion, according to documents from the Senate Finance Committee. That total is nearly the amount the federal government annually spends on the combined budgets of the Education, Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs departments. TRENDING: In the end, the rioters are Obama's army The owner of a small San Francisco-area tech firm told RealClearInvestigations that he was sold $300,000 in easement interests in 2016 and 2017 by an investment adviser. He was “guaranteed” that for every dollar he invested, he would receive $4 in tax write-offs. At the time, though, he was unaware the IRS and U.S. Tax Court were challenging the deductions. After an audit by state and federal tax agents, he was fined $1.4 million in penalties and back taxes. “I’ve always been conservative about my taxes,” said the man, who insisted on anonymity. The syndicated easement interests “were an outright scam. Tax authorities audited every aspect of my life, which caused me a great deal of stress and many sleepless nights. I feel cheated.” The practice has triggered major enforcement actions by the IRS and other agencies. The IRS created a special task force late last year to crack down on the abuse, which is an extraordinary measure given its shrinking enforcement budget in recent years. Conservation easements are longstanding and popular tax incentives. Some 56 million acres are “protected” through easements, although the total has included questionable donations for farms, resorts, and golf courses -- including Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles. An expanded write-off for these easements was added to the U.S. tax code nearly 40 years ago. Tax experts believe most of these lands, especially those held directly by private individuals, are appraised fairly. They also say that the charities that receive properties are not involved in appraising the land or confirming the stated value. “Most conservation easements are done for legitimate purposes,” says Lori Faeth, spokesperson for the Land Trust Alliance, which represents conservation groups that employ environmental easements. “The vast majority of them are done for the right reasons. There are relatively small number of bad actors, although the abuses are stunning.” It’s the syndicated, heavily promoted packaged vehicles that employ outrageously excessive land valuations – and resulting write-offs – that have triggered investigations and lawsuits. “Syndicated conservation easements are like a land mine in an investor’s portfolio,” said Joshua Kons, a Hartford, Conn.-based lawyer representing investors nationwide stung by the broker-sold easement investments. The harm occurs “because once an audit is triggered, the financial damage to the investor is far greater than the amount of the initial investment itself.” Kons estimates that thousands of investors who bought the packages may owe “tens of billions” in unpaid taxes and penalties. “The investors may not even get final notice [from the IRS] of the disallowance until later in time," well after an audit begins, Kons added. “The tax matters partners” – that is, packagers of the easement vehicles – “usually say, `We are being audited, but don’t worry, we disagree and will fight it.’” The easement abuses have also attracted the attention of Congress. A recent report by the Senate Committee on Finance found that they “involve land valuations that appear so inflated above their original purchase prices that they cannot reasonably be characterized as anything other than abusive tax shelters.” In a rare, bipartisan agreement, Republican committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking Democratic member Ron Wyden joined forces. “This is part of a larger pattern of wealthy tax cheats ripping off the American people because they know they can get away with it after years of cuts to the IRS budget,” said Wyden. More than 20 companies that sell the easement vehicles were being probed in the Senate report and by the IRS, requiring review of hundreds of thousands of pages of documents. In a lawsuit filed earlier this year against one of them, the Atlanta-based conservation easement syndicator EcoVest, the U.S. Department of Justice alleged that the company and others selling the easement packages were not telling the truth about the true taxable value of the investments, causing clients to take “improper and grossly overvalued federal tax deductions.” EcoVest denied wrongdoing and defended its practices. Robert McCullough, the firm’s chief financial officer, told Bloomberg Tax that it has worked with broker-dealers and financial advisers “who know that the DOJ allegations are false, and so EcoVest’s business has continued.” When the company was first marketing the easement vehicles, it even provided spreadsheets for investors to determine how much they would receive in tax benefits. EcoVest did not respond to RCI’s request for a comment. The easement packages are sold as interests in complex, pass-through entities such as limited partnerships with the promise of large write-offs that offer up to nine times the initial investment. Although some 60 brokers of these partnerships have warned investors that the IRS views them unfavorably, they have sold them anyway. It’s highly suspect that any legitimate investment will double your return quickly, so the promised performance of syndicated easements has raised hackles among under-resourced regulators for years. A 2017 Brookings Institution study observed: “This obscure tax provision has proved difficult to enforce. Some donors abuse the provision by applying grossly inflated appraisals [of their property] to the value of the easement to increase their charitable deduction or by taking donations for their easement that do not fulfill bona fide conservation purposes.” Combining conservation and outsized tax write-offs, however, proved to be a powerful marketing formula: When brokers started to promote easement vehicles that syndicated the deductions, the amount of write-offs diverting income from the U.S. Treasury tripled from about $1 billion to $3 billion from 2012 to 2014 alone, according to IRS figures. The current amount of questionable easement deductions is believed to be at least 10 times that number, noted the Land Trust Alliance. Brokers and other sellers also profited handsomely from selling the syndicated vehicles: One investor offering noted compensation (expenses and fees) to selling firms of 6.5%, which is highly profitable. In contrast, you can buy a tax-free, exchange-traded fund and pay as little as 0.07% annually for annual expenses, often paying little or no commission. The national marketing network of these vehicles involved more than 1,500 accountants, attorneys, financial advisers, real estate brokers and appraisers and wealth managers. There are nearly 170,000 conservation easements in the U.S. To put the easement number in perspective, if you subtracted the more than 45 million acres of national park land in Alaska alone, the combined acreage of private conservation easements easily exceeds park service holdings in the lower 48 states. Again, although easement deductions – when done properly – are legal, the syndicated bundles that package overly generous write-offs for other investors flaunt the tax code. The IRS calls them “listed transactions,” which marks them as tax-avoidance schemes that can target taxpayers for audits and enforcement actions. These vehicles are now among the 10-most litigated tax schemes. “There’s no reason a financial adviser should’ve sold these vehicles,” says attorney Kons. “They put their clients in harm’s way. I think the strongest liability cases are those where the investment was after October 30, 2016.” Yet with a generous tax break that Congress has expanded over the years for practicing environmental virtue comes attendant abuses. An IRS crackdown has resulted in a relatively small number of cases. The agency also has taken hundreds of investors to tax court, recently reaching a settlement forcing them to pay penalties and back taxes. The easement promotions even made the IRS’s list of most egregious tax scams in 2019, joining its “Dirty Dozen.” But due to cuts in the agency’s funding in past decades, the IRS was unable to keep up with tracking and shutting down the scams. The agency’s budget is at a 40-year low with audit rates at 0.45% of all returns, down from 0.59% in 2019. Its workforce is some 78,000 employees, down 30,000 workers since fiscal year 2010. While the IRS has been slowly automating its operations, it has fewer auditors now than it did in 1953. In its easements report, the Senate Finance Committee urged “Congress, the IRS and the Treasury Department to take further action to preserve the integrity of the conservation-easement tax deduction.” One law curtailing the abuses has been proposed, although it’s not known whether Congress will take it up this year. Sen. Grassley added: “The American tax system relies on fairness and good faith compliance. This isn't a partisan issue. Serious, fair enforcement of our tax laws is the best way to preserve that system and uphold our understanding that the law applies equally to all of us.” [Editor's note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Investigations.]

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Billionaire Chuck Feeney achieves goal of giving away his fortune

Irish-American mogul’s philanthropic foundation runs out of cash after 38 years Chuck Feeney has achieved his lifetime ambition: giving away his $8bn (£6bn) fortune while he is still around to see the impact it has made. For the past 38 years, Feeney, an Irish American who made billions from a duty-free shopping empire, has been making endowments to charities and universities across the world with the goal of “striving for zero … to give it all away”. Continue reading...

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Black and Pacific Islander momss get $1,000 a month through SF mayor's 'Abundant Birth' plan

Leftists are extremely concerned with the onerous concept of "systemic racism." They claim that black people and other minorities are unable to get ahead in this country (despite scores of successful minority individuals) because racist systems hold them down. In the name of "social and racial justice," therefore, Democratic leaders institute clearly racist policies in favor of minorities. The most recent example is San Francisco's new Abundant Birth Project, which will provide $1,000 per month to approximately 150 black and Pacific Islander women during their pregnancies and for six months after, according to The Hill. The goal is to eventually provide financial support for as long as two years after a child is born. TRENDING: Franklin Graham to lead prayer march in D.C.: 'Only hope for our country is God' While there is nothing inherently wrong with providing support to pregnant women and new mothers, this program ties participation to the race of the mother rather than any need-based criteria. That is the definition of a racist policy. San Francisco Mayor London Breed praised the Abundant Birth Project as the first of its kind. "Providing guaranteed income support to mothers during pregnancy is an innovative and equitable approach that will ease some of the financial stress that all too often keeps women from being able to put their health first," she said. "The Abundant Birth Project is rooted in racial justice and recognizes that Black and Pacific Islander mothers suffer disparate health impacts, in part because of the persistent wealth and income gap. Thanks to the work of the many partners involved, we are taking real action to end these disparities and are empowering mothers with the resources they need to have healthy pregnancies and births," she continued. In San Francisco, black and Pacific Islander infants are more likely to be born prematurely than white infants: 13.8 percent of black infants and 10.4 percent of Pacific Islander infants were premature from 2012-2016, compared to 7.3 percent of white infants, according to the mayor's office. However, the mayor's office did not provide any data to support that the disparity in infant mortality rates is due to the mother's race, as opposed to non-racial factors such as income. Indeed, Mayor Breed cited the wealth and income gap affecting black and Pacific Islander women as a significant motivator for the project -- but project participation does not appear to be limited to low-income mothers. Rather, it appears the sole criterion for participation is race. Thus, the policy seems to conflate "minority" with "poor," which is clearly a racist sentiment. Moreover, California already has resources in place for low-income pregnant women -- programs that are not bound by the mother's race. Covered California's website describes a number of state programs covering most or all of the cost of pregnancy and birth for low-income women. Of course, the left's response to claims that the Abundant Birth Project is racist is likely to be an assertion that "reverse racism" -- that is, racism against white people -- simply doesn't exist because of the "institutional power" held by white people. Never mind the fact that the legal barriers previously entrenched in this country to keep minorities from having the same opportunities as white people have long been removed. Never mind the fact that there is substantial evidence demonstrating that disparities in outcomes among racial groups are largely based on factors other than race. Never mind the fact that the only "systemic racism" legally allowed in the United States in 2020 actually cuts against white people in favor of certain minority groups -- for instance, affirmative action programs. Programs like the Abundant Birth Project may be well-intentioned, but they don't actually support long-term racial equality. Rather, they sow further division between Americans of different races. If the goal is greater racial harmony in San Francisco, and in America at large, the solution is for government to step away from race, not codify it into government and law. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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ALL Of MSM Is In On It! Fox News Host Stops Gingrich From Talking About Soros-Elected DAs

More and more, as each day goes by, it appears that even “right-wing” mainstream media is on this gigantic scam and making it obvious. A Fox News host actually stopped Newt Gingrich from talking about George Soros-funded and elected district attorneys in cities that are bringing due to looting and rioting. There is no more illusion of choice. The illusion is gone. We have no choice, they decide, we are supposed to obey. Harris Faulkner, a Fox News host, had Newt Gingrich on to discuss the damage being done by protestors funded by Geroge Soros. Along with Faulkner, a CIA spokesperson ganged up on former House speaker and political pundit Gingrich when he brought up the undisputed fact that George Soros funded candidates for prosecutors in riot-struck cities. There are just some things the public shouldn’t know about or focus on, and it sure appears that we are supposed to be kept in the dark about almost everything. This is one of the weirdest exchanges I’ve ever seen on TV. @newtgingrich correctly points out that George Soros threw an unprecedented amount of money into DA races all over the country to elect radicals and Fox News basically told him to shut up. WTF? pic.twitter.com/IxwcLG2gOH — Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) September 16, 2020 “The number one problem in almost all the cities is George Soros-elected, left-wing, anti-police, pro-criminal district attorneys who refuse to keep people locked up,” Gingrich told the hosts of ‘Outnumbered’ on Wednesday.  “Both [Kamala] Harris and [Joe] Biden have talked very proudly about what they call progressive district attorneys,” he continued. “Progressive district attorneys are anti-police, pro-criminal, and overwhelmingly elected with George Soros’ money. They are a major cause of the violence we are seeing because they keep putting the violent criminals back on the street.” NEWT SAYS TRUMP’S GONNA WIPE THE FLOOR WITH BIDEN AND WITH A VICTORY ‘DRAMATICALLY BIGGER’ THAN MOST EXPECT He was cut off by panelist Melissa Francis – who hosts her own show on Fox Business – saying “I’m not sure we need to bring George Soros into this.” Fellow panelist Marie Harf – who was a spokeswoman for the CIA and the State Department during the Obama administration – joined in, arguing that “George Soros doesn’t need to be part of this conversation.” “Okay, so it’s verboten?” Gingrich said, incredulous. After a long moment of awkward silence, host Harris Faulkner simply said “Okay, we’re going to move on.” Gingrich has tried to discuss Soros’ financing of violent left-wing groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter in a Fox News appearance recently. In early August, he told ‘Fox and Friends’ that Democrats are “owned by people who are financed by George Soros.” President Trump is Breaking Down the Neck of the Federal Reserve! He wants zero rates and QE4! You must prepare for the financial reset We are running out of time Download the Ultimate Reset Guide Now! Author: Mac SlavoViews:Date: September 17th, 2020Website: www.SHTFplan.com Copyright Information: Copyright SHTFplan and Mac Slavo. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to www.shtfplan.com. Please contact us for permission to reproduce this content in other media formats. SHTFPLAN is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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Cost of Living Continues to Rise RAPIDLY As Americans Struggle to Get By

Mac SlavoSeptember 15th, 2020SHTFplan.com The Bureau of Labor Statistics just released new data that says the cost of living is going up as the main street economy crashes and the dollar loses its purchasing power. This also comes as more and more Americans continue to struggle to get by in the aftermath of the government’s reaction to the scamdemic. The new numbers released are comparing the consumer price index, which is essentially the price of common things we pay for all averaged together, of 2019 to that of 2020. The number has gone up. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.6 percent in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.3 percent before seasonal adjustment. –BLS.gov Since the Federal Reserve, the central banks, is continuing to bail out corporations and create money out of thin air, inflation and costs for basic necessities will continue to rise. Some areas of the economy are being hit harder than others too. The cost of food has jumped in the Bay Area of California, propelled by meat, poultry, and fish prices that have skyrocketed, joining soaring electricity costs, according to a report by Mercury News. Meat, fish, and poultry prices have soared a whopping 17.4 percent over the past 12 months ending in August in the Bay Area. This means that these prices are at a super-heated pace that’s 11 times greater than the region’s cost of living during the same one-year period. Because the cost of living is going up as the economy is struggling for everyday folks, it’s important to make a plan. Preparedness should include financial emergencies. Even though the dollar is crashing, having a little extra money on hand to be able to pay 3-6 months’ worth of bills will help you get through tough times. All it would take to eliminate the middle class is one more lockdown. Financially Prepped: The Importance of an Emergency Fund President Trump is Breaking Down the Neck of the Federal Reserve! He wants zero rates and QE4! You must prepare for the financial reset We are running out of time Download the Ultimate Reset Guide Now! Author: Mac SlavoViews:Date: September 15th, 2020Website: www.SHTFplan.com Copyright Information: Copyright SHTFplan and Mac Slavo. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to www.shtfplan.com. Please contact us for permission to reproduce this content in other media formats. SHTFPLAN is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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Green agenda divides environmentalists into opposing camps

[Editor's note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Investigations.] By Vince BielskiReal Clear Investigations Icebreaker Wind, designed as the first offshore renewable power project in the Great Lakes, is backed by the usual supporting cast: energy development advocates and environmental groups like the Sierra Club and the Ohio Environmental Council. What’s surprising is that much of the opposition is coming from other environmental groups, including the National Audubon Society and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, that seek to protect birds from lethal collisions with turbines. They notched a victory in May when Ohio regulators ordered that the wind farm would have to shut down at night, a restriction that effectively kills the project unless an appeal is successful, according to the developer. The seven-year clash over Icebreaker exemplifies the growing tension among environmentalists as they weigh the costs of clean energy. The rapid rollout of renewable power is shattering old alliances, pitting green groups against energy projects meant to address climate change – a top priority of other environmental organizations. In a strange new twist, bird groups opposed to Icebreaker found themselves fighting side-by-side with local residents backed by coal mining giant Murray Energy Corp., an opponent of renewable energy mandates in Ohio. TRENDING: Cops say man paid $500 to BUY girl as sex slave Armed with litigators and wildlife experts, conservation groups have become formidable foes for the renewable energy industry that already faces headwinds from rural communities and the coronavirus recession that has slashed demand for power. In Maryland, a large coalition of environmentalists defeated a solar farm to protect a forest. In the California desert, they are jeopardizing several new projects to save an iconic tree. The battle is complicated by another fact: while the benefits of any single renewable energy project are negligible in affecting the global climate, the environmental costs, even if they are also small, are palpable. The Audubon Society lobbied for the nightime ban on Icebreaker’s operation to save an unknown but likely small number of birds. Yet the group rang the alarm bell in its 2014 climate change report, declaring that more than half of 588 North American species are endangered or threatened due to shifts in their geographic ranges. As green vs. green conflicts crop up across the country, leaders of these groups that are accustomed to collaborating are reluctant to talk about the tensions that now divide them. The Audubon Society, which isn’t normally press shy, turned down several requests to discuss its position of “conditional support” for Icebreaker. Leaders of Black Swamp and the Ohio Environmental Council did privately converse about their differences over the wind farm but details of those talks weren’t forthcoming. “It’s a difficult trade-off for environmentalists,” says Michael Gerrard, a professor of environmental law at Columbia who represents communities that want renewable energy projects. “Wind turbines and certain kinds of solar installations can kill some wildlife. But that’s a small part of the big picture. We need a massive increase in renewable energy to address the climate problem so those wishing to protect wildlife should be more flexible.” Environmentalists say that framing the issue as a tradeoff – birds or trees for clean energy – is wrong. They say the U.S. can have it all by locating wind and solar farms on rooftops, parking lots and degraded lands that have no other use. “Let’s think about how we build out wind energy wisely rather than move ahead at all costs,” says Mark Shieldcastle, a wildlife scientist at Black Swamp Bird Observatory who gave expert commentary on Icebreaker’s potential danger to birds. But that optimism isn’t shared by states aiming to cut carbon emissions to net zero in two decades. Although developers in New York and California are trying to site projects on less desirable property, there isn’t enough of it in the vicinity of transmission lines for the planned exponential growth in renewable energy projects. That means today’s mega wind and solar farms – a typical project covers several square miles – will inevitably disturb valuable ecosystems and wildlife and require trade-offs that some environmentalists are unwilling to accept. “To decarbonize the grid, rooftops, brownfields and landfills are not enough,” says Shannon Eddy, executive director of the Large-scale Solar Association in California. “We also need to build in deserts, co-locate on farmland and get creative and make tough choices about where projects can go.” In Maryland, environmentalists showed little interest in compromising on Georgetown University’s plan to put a solar farm in a forest. In a state with very little farmland available for renewable energy, Georgetown’s developer proposed clearing about 249 acres of mostly wooded property in Charles County for the project, while taking ambitious steps to minimize impacts to streams and wetlands. Environmentalists, however, were outraged at the idea of cutting down trees for a solar farm. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a Sierra Club chapter, Audubon in Maryland and other groups campaigned against it. They met with university officials and testified before the Maryland environmental department, which heard from more than 80 people. The university’s estimate that the solar farm would reduce greenhouse gases far more than the existing forest absorbs didn’t seem to matter. “There were too many ecological issues and consultation concerns with the developer to support this project,” says Rosa Hance, chair of the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club. “Generally, the Sierra Club does not oppose solar projects.” Maryland denied the permit last year, saying the developer failed to adequately address alternative sites and water quality issues. But Georgetown isn’t giving up. A spokeswoman says the university is committed to the robust deployment of renewable energy as part of its goal to cut fossil-fuel consumption. In California, environmentalists are making parts of the desert – one of the world’s best locations for solar energy – off limits to developers. First they protected the threatened Desert Tortoise. Now it’s the Western Joshua tree. The short, spike-leafed tree that populates the Mojave Desert is headed for extinction in coming decades due to climate change, fires and development, including solar farms, says Brendan Cummings, an attorney and conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. The center petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to make the tree, which is actually a yucca plant, a candidate for the endangered species list. On Aug. 20, the commissioners suggested that they would soon approve the petition – a move that would safeguard the Joshua tree while regulators study whether to designate it. “When planning solar projects, if there are Joshua trees there, it’s probably not a good site,” Cummings says. “The Joshua tree range represents a small fraction of the California desert, so there’s land that can be built on without touching a tree.” The solar industry adamantly opposes the petition. A half dozen solar farms totaling 1,400 megawatts – enough to power hundreds of thousands of homes -- that have permits or are in the process of getting them would be affected if the commission protects the tree. Some are slated to begin construction this year. The Solar Energy Industries Association and Large-scale Solar Association warned the commission in June that these projects would face costly delays and uncertainty, undermining California’s push to produce 100% of its power using clean sources by 2045. “SEIA and LSA cannot emphasize strongly enough the negative impact that advancing the Joshua tree to candidacy will have on solar development in California,” the groups wrote. In Ohio, bird conservation groups are threatening the future of wind power in the Great Lakes. The powerful winds that blow across the lakes make them ideal locations for projects like Icebreaker. If successful, the demonstration wind farm could turn Lake Erie into a renewable power mecca with more than 1,000 turbines and spur a buildout across the Great Lakes. But millions of migratory bats and birds such as thrushes and warblers ride those winds, mostly at night. The Icebreaker controversy is over how many animals it will kill amid sharp declines in most North American bird species, primarily from the loss of habitat because of development and climate change. Icebreaker’s small size and location reduces the danger for wildlife. Most migratory birds wouldn’t encounter its six turbines situated 8 to 10 miles offshore because they fly near land to avoid the long passage over the lake. Still, questions remain about the volume of birds that fly over the lake in the project area at night, when they can’t see the turbines, and if they descend low enough to collide with the long spinning blades that have a diameter of 413 feet. Icebreaker shows the difficulty renewable energy developers face in assessing the impact of wind and solar farms on wildlife, particularly birds, even when using state of the art scientific methods. After a range of studies were conducted, which mostly suggest that Icebreaker wouldn’t pose a big threat to birds, serious debates continue over the quality of the research. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo) tried and failed to answer the questions about avian exposure to its Icebreaker project because of the technical challenges of using marine radar to spot little birds flying at night, particularly during bad weather. While agreeing to conduct a better radar study, LEEDCo President Dave Karpinski downplays its importance, saying just because birds fly in the area of a wind farm doesn’t mean they will be killed by turbines. Karpinski says a better indication of Icebreaker’s risk is the actual number of birds killed at 42 wind farms operating in the Great Lakes region. A LEEDCo consultant found a small number of fatalities on average at the projects, and extrapolated that a maximum of 140 birds a year would be killed by Icebreaker. “That backs up our position that Icebreaker is a low risk to birds,” Karpinski says. But bird groups called this research flawed because of superficial methods used to search for the dead birds. “My review of several of those reports shows a series of manipulations that are designed to reduce estimated mortality,” says Black Swamp’s Shieldcastle, a former avian research specialist at the Ohio Division of Wildlife. “The truth is much greater, maybe magnitudes greater. The science has to be done with the highest standards possible because we are making decisions for the future of wind power in Lake Erie.” The staff of the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB), which considers energy projects for approval, was initially concerned about Icebreaker’s threat to birds and proposed in 2018 that its turbines would have to be stopped at night for most of the year. A few months later Karpinski testified that such a shutdown would spell the end of Icebreaker before negotiating a settlement agreement with the staff in 2019 to remove the restrictions. In exchange, Karpinski agreed to more safeguards, including proving to regulators that his group has developed technology to detect bird collisions offshore before it can build Icebreaker. Once the turbines are operating, if there are 21 or more detected bird strikes in a 24-hour period, LEEDCo will have to take steps to reduce the fatalities. Local residents, whose legal fees were paid by Murray Energy, joined bird groups in objecting to the agreement. Residents of the village of Bratenahl on Lake Erie said testimony showed there are no proven technologies to determine bird fatalities for offshore projects and that curbing the turbines at night would help reduce them. Attorney John Stock told RealClearInvestigations that Murray, which declared bankruptcy last year, “is not funding the Bratenahl residents’ opposition at this point.” For the past three decades, the OPSB has consistently voted to uphold settlement agreements negotiated by its staff, according to a person familiar with the board process. But last year that long precedent changed with the appointment of Sam Randazzo as OPSB chairman by Republican Governor Mike DeWine. Randazzo, who had been a longtime advocate of the fossil fuel industry and critic of renewable energy, unexpectedly delayed board votes last year for months on two solar projects that involved settlement agreements. In May, the board undermined Icebreaker. It rejected its staff finding that the project poses a minimal risk to birds and imposed the curb on nighttime operations for eight months a year until further studies show it’s not a big threat. The board noted that the Audubon Society supported its position. "The board under Randazzo’s leadership has a history of treating renewable energy projects differently than other energy resources,” says Miranda Leppla, vice president of energy policy for the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC). “The imposition of the poison pill in its approval of the Icebreaker contradicts clear and substantial evidence on the record.” Randazzo declined a request for an interview. The green vs. green struggle in Ohio isn’t over. The OEC and Sierra Club are appealing the board’s order for ignoring evidence that Icebreaker is a low risk project. The board could rule on the appeal as early as this month, and if it’s rejected, Icebreaker supporters can turn to the Supreme Court of Ohio. [Editor's note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Investigations.]

Continue Reading Green agenda divides environmentalists into opposing camps

WARNING: COULD GET NASTY FOR SILVER!

This article was contributed by Lior Gantz of the Wealth Research Group.  I know many want to hear that silver is ON ITS WAY to hitting $50/ounce at the SNAP OF A FINGER, but it might take a while for that to occur. In March, $30tn worth of stocks and bonds WAS SOLD, creating enormous demand for dollars. This squeeze caused the paper price of silver to drop to $12/ounce, EVEN WHILE the physical metal was selling for double that amount. The spread was big as it ever was. The return of liquidity to markets, ORCHESTRATED by the Federal Reserve, reassured businesses and individuals the world over that this isn’t a credit contraction. Instead, they can safely resume MARKET ACTIVITY and they did, with bullish fury. Millennials and, in general, retail investors, who have either been staying at home, laid-off or put on paid/non-paid leave, have been looking for ways to replace their NORMAL WAGES. They have turned to the stock market, a phenomenon that has pushed valuations for certain stocks to LA-LA-LAND. This recent correction in the NASDAQ has brought down some of the greed factor, but it’s still here and won’t be COMPLETELY DIMINISHING for the foreseeable future. Courtesy: Zerohedge.com Market forecasters thought that once the professionals STARTED SELLING, these retail traders would be shaken out and run back to their caves, but as you can see, hedge funds have begun buying, NOT SELLING. What’s really interesting is that the wealthy and the institutional money have been either SELLING or MARGINALLY BUYING throughout this period, certain of themselves that cash is better than owning stocks. While central banks have been SHOWERING LIQUIDITY, the wealthy have been sitting in the stands LIKE SPECTATORS, viewing the match from the sidelines. This has been A HUGE MISTAKE! Contrary to their tactic, we’ve not been fighting with the FED and, INSTEAD, have been buying LEFT AND RIGHT, which has resulted in MASSIVE GAINS. Courtesy: U.S. Global Investors Is it time to RECONSIDER BULLISHNESS? The true answer is that it’s an ETERNAL QUESTION that an investor ought to ask himself on a daily basis. We believe that the STRONG BOUNCE is largely over, in both silver and tech stocks. The justification for higher prices will come after the UNKNOWNS become known: Who will win the elections? American historian Allan Lichtman, who has correctly predicted all election results since 1981, save for Al Gore’s loss (cheated by voter fraud and voter count suppression in Florida, though), has predicted A BIDEN VICTORY- we shall see… If that happens, corporate taxes and probably CAPITAL GAINS taxes are going higher, thus companies will be worth less. Consider that possibility for a second, because it’s one reason that Ray Dalio is diversifying OUT OF U.S. EQUITIES and into other regions. Courtesy: Zerohedge.com Could anyone have predicted how much FANGMAN (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Nvidia) would be COLLECTIVELY WORTH, driving the indices into all-time highs, even while the other 490 companies are relatively flat? NO! This is the value of owning AN INDEX FUND! Now, though, with the index at all-time highs and with this HUGE BOUNCE back, the best investors are looking at the DICHOTOMY, which is to say that they’re investing in the distressed industries, which are cheap, not solely in the ones that enjoyed a STRONG TAILWIND from stay-at-home orders. With regards to silver, you can see that investors are taking profits, AT THE MOMENT (the red lines are monthly NET OUTFLOWS): Courtesy: Zerohedge.com This is GOOD if you understand that it means that there’s NO BUBBLE in silver, but it’s BAD if you leveraged and are overweight on silver at present. Silver is up more than 100% since March. Trade with AGGRESSIVE PATIENCE; in other words, let opportunities come to you! President Trump is Breaking Down the Neck of the Federal Reserve! He wants zero rates and QE4! You must prepare for the financial reset We are running out of time Download the Ultimate Reset Guide Now!

Continue Reading WARNING: COULD GET NASTY FOR SILVER!

Trump's drug plans 'will empower consumers'

[Editor's note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Health.] By Dr. Gerard GianoliReal Clear Health Now that the conventions are over, it’s time for policymakers to get back to the people’s work. One of their first tasks should be to examine the impact of President Donald Trump’s drug-related Executive Orders on vaccine innovation, development, and access. By signing Executive Orders to lower drug prices and authorize personal importation waivers for certain medicines, Trump eliminated secrecy between pharmacies, drug companies, and their middlemen, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM). PBMs frequently demand massive rebates from drug manufacturers, resulting in increased consumer costs at the counter. Trump’s transparency measure will empower consumers to know what they are really paying and incentivize the industry to slash prices as competition increases. However, Trump also pegged drug prices to those of other nations in an EO with a delayed implementation – until today. While pegging prices appears to be a good move politically and was clearly meant as a negotiating technique with the drug industry, a February 2018 report from his Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) lays out how price controls like the ones in the Executive Order hurt healthcare innovation. For example, expensive research & development isn’t paid for by other nations, but by U.S. consumers. The CEA report also noted that 70 percent of patented pharmaceutical profits in the OECD come from U.S. sales -- not nations with price controls. TRENDING: Another Nobel Peace Prize nomination for Trump Lowering drug prices through market forces like transparency and consumer knowledge are critical to keeping drugs affordable without sacrificing innovation. But a 2004 MIT study cited by Trump’s CEA discovered that government interventions like price controls significantly reduce drug innovation and production. Further research from the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution found price controls interfere with investments in new cures and treatments, reduce research and development, and result in fewer prescription drugs that are less available. This research is backed by real-world examples. The Boston Consulting Group found that when Greece, Belgium, and France each imposed market interventions to control pharmaceutical spending, getting drugs to consumers can take anywhere from nine to 12 months longer than necessary. The U.S. is faster at producing high-quality drugs because the private sector is empowered to research new ideas while the government functions in its proper role as an overseer. American innovation has resulted in more drugs overall for decades. According to a 2011 Milken Institute report, between 2001 and 2010, the U.S. produced 57% of the world’s new medicines. Revolutionary treatment drugs like Epclusa for hepatitis C show what advancements can be made when ingenuity is not impeded. Without profits, life-saving drugs will be few and far between -- including vaccines which are needed to combat the coronavirus. Just as the Nixonian gas price controls produced gasoline shortages and rationing, government rationing and reduced patient access may also become realities when the vaccines are approved for patient use. Trump’s price controls directly undermine what has made the American healthcare system so innovative even as his transparency EO puts the government in its proper role. The U.S. cannot afford to sacrifice medical breakthroughs and stifle private research incentives to help recover from the COVID-19 crisis. We must have quality testing kits, vaccines, and other COVID-19 related innovations as needed. Providers are already on the front lines and doing their best; price controls will force unnecessary constraints during the pandemic. The federal government and the private sector must fulfill their respective roles without abusing consumers through overreach and secrecy. Trump should follow his instincts on innovation and transparency, and ditch the price controls. Dr. Gianoli is a neuro-otologist at the Ear and Balance Institute and a clinical associate professor at Tulane University School of Medicine. [Editor's note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Health.]

Continue Reading Trump's drug plans 'will empower consumers'

Wildfires to get worse thanks to Clinton policies, says fire expert who predicted uptick in blazes

By Chris WhiteDaily Caller News Foundation Former President Bill Clinton’s land management rules and other liberal policies paved the way for future debilitating wildfires, fire expert Bob Zybach told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Zybach warned of potential disastrous wildfires shortly after Clinton signed a slate of rules in the mid-1990s that drastically reduced logging and road creation on federal lands. Zybach’s comments come as California, Oregon, and parts of Washington deal with catastrophic wildfires that have killed 26 people and destroyed buildings. Former President Bill Clinton made a significant change to federal land management nearly 30 years ago that created the conditions necessary for massive wildfires to consume portions of the West Coast, according to one fire expert who predicted the problem years ago. Shortly before leaving office in 2001, Clinton limited the ability of the United States Forest Service to thin out a dense thicket of foliage and downed trees on federal land to bring the West into a pristine state, Bob Zybach, an experienced forester with a PhD in environmental science, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. The former president’s decision created a ticking time bomb, Zybach argues. TRENDING: Another Nobel Peace Prize nomination for Trump “If you don’t start managing these forests, then they are going to start burning up. Thirty years later, they are still ignoring it,” said Zybach, who spent more than 20 years as a reforestation contractor. He was referring to warnings he made years ago, telling officials that warding off prescribed burns in Oregon and California creates kindling fuelling fires. Such rules make it more difficult to deploy prescribed burns, which are controlled burns designed to cull all of the underbrush in forests to lessen the chance of massive fires, Zybach noted. Years of keeping these areas in their natural state result in dead trees and dried organic material settling on the forest floor, which become like matchsticks soaked in jet fuel during dry seasons, he said. Zybach’s comments come as wildfires continue churning through parts of California, Oregon, and Washington, media reports show. Fires have killed 26 people in West Coast states since August, including 19 people in California, and have culminated in more than half-a-million people evacuating Oregon, a number representing roughly 10% of the state’s overall population. Roughly 100 massive fires are blazing Saturday in the West, including 12 in Idaho and nine in Montana, the National Interagency Fire Center said Saturday. All told, the wildfires have churned through more than 4.5 million acres in 12 states. Are leftist policies to blame for the severity of wildfires in the West? 100% (5 Votes) 0% (0 Votes) Shortly before leaving office, Clinton introduced the Roadless Rule that restricted the use of existing roads and construction of new roads on 49 million acres of National Forest, making it difficult for officials to scan the land for the kind of kindling that fuels massive conflagrations. The move was part of the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP), a resolution adopted by Clinton in 1994 to protect forests from being over-logged. Ten years before Clinton’s rule, the Fish and Wildlife Service placed the northern spotted owl on the Endangered Species Act, forcing the Forest Service to adopt a new policy that resulted in a greater reduction in timber harvests. The amount of timber removed from federal lands plummeted, according to data accumulated in 2015 by the Reason Foundation. An average of 10 million feet of timber was removed each year from Forest Service land between 1960 and 1990, the data show. Those numbers dropped between 1991 and 2000 and continued dropping — an average of only 2.1 billion feet of timber was removed from the land between 2000 and 2013, according to the data. That’s an 80% decline. “They’ve gone and left hundreds of thousands of acres of burnt timber, a fire bomb waiting to happen, standing in place because the black back woodpecker prefers that habitat,” Zybach said. “It’s great for lawyers, but it’s bad for people who breathe air or work in the woods.” “The prescribed burns are an ancient form of management for keeping the fuels down so these events don’t happen,” Zybach added, referring to Native American Indians who used controlled burns to ward away pests and prevent wildfires from licking their homes. The Clinton administration’s plan to turn forests in the West into pristine land free of human interference risked fueling “wildfires reminiscent of the Tillamook burn, the 1910 fires and the Yellowstone fire,” Zybach, who is based in Oregon, told Evergreen magazine in 1994, when the NWFP came into effect. Western Oregon had one major fire above 10,000 acres between 1952 and 1987, reports show. The Silver Complex Fire of 1987 snapped that streak after torching more than 100,000 acres in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness area, killing rare plants and trees the federal government sought to protect from human activities. Fire Experts Agree: Prescribed Burns Are Critical Overzealous fire suppression across California are helping to build up wildland fuels, which contribute to wildfires, according to Tim Ingalsbee, a fire ecologist who began a career in the 1980s as a wildland firefighter. The solution is “to get good fire on the ground and whittle down some of that fuel load,” he told ProPublica in August. “It’s just … well … it’s horrible. Horrible to see this happening when the science is so clear and has been clear for years. I suffer from Cassandra syndrome,” Ingalsbee said, referring to the Cassandra Syndrome, a Greek metaphor people use when they believe their valid warnings are not heeded. “Every year I warn people: Disaster’s coming. We got to change. And no one listens. And then it happens.” Other experts have made similar arguments in the past. Overgrown grasslands, forests, and woodlands contributed to California wildfires in 2017, Sasha Berleman, a fire ecologist, told High Country News that year. “I’m more certain than ever that there’s a lot we can do between now and the next time this happens to make it so that the negative consequences to people are nowhere near as dramatic,” she said. The devastating fires that ran through California’s wine country in October of 2017 killed 42 people and destroyed nearly 7,000 buildings, High Country News noted. The solution might be easier said than done. Nearly 20 million acres in California, or an area about the size of Maine, will need to experience controlled burns to limit catastrophic wildfires, a January study from Nature Sustainability found. Blaming Climate Change Former President Barack Obama suggested in a tweet Thursday that California’s wildfires are a result of climate change. “The fires across the West Coast are just the latest examples of the very real ways our changing climate is changing our communities,” Obama wrote in a tweet that included pictures showing how soot and ash from the wildfires are turning San Francisco’s sky bright orange. Obama isn’t the only prominent Democrat tying the fires to global warming. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, published a tweet Saturday that read: “The proof of the urgency of the climate crisis is literally in the air around us.” Schumer included a link to a Sept. 10 article from CBS blaming climate change for the fires. Zybach is not convinced. “The lack of active land management is almost 100 percent the cause,” he told the DCNF, noting that climate change has almost nothing to do with fire kindling gathering across the forest floors. Other researchers share his skepticism. “Global warming may contribute slightly, but the key factors are mismanaged forests, years of fire suppression, increased population, people living where they should not, invasive flammable species, and the fact that California has always had fire,” University of Washington climate scientist Cliff Mass told TheDCNF in 2018. Mass’s critique came as Mendocino Complex Fire was spreading across California on its way to becoming the largest wildfire in the state, engulfing more than 283,000 acres. This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected]

Continue Reading Wildfires to get worse thanks to Clinton policies, says fire expert who predicted uptick in blazes

Former ‘Big Brother’ Stars Speak Out Against Bullying Ian Terry

In the past, ‘Big Brother’ has faced criticism for bullying and racist behavior by cast members; however, this season’s episodes include moments where houseguests discuss racial injustice and other social issues to portray the ‘Big Brother’ house as a welcoming and inclusive environment.  “No matter what stage in life you are at, make sure you have the courage to speak up and say the right things.” #BBKaysar and #BBDavonne share a powerful moment in tonight’s episode of #BB22. pic.twitter.com/TlVZUcoIaQ — Big Brother (@CBSBigBrother) August 30, 2020 However, production has failed to show the bullying that has taken place this year. ‘Big Brother’ is a reality show competition where 16 people live in a house together for a couple of months to compete for a half a million dollars through physical and mental competitions. Each week, one housemate is voted off the show by their peers, and the last person left in the house wins the cash prize. Currently, the show features an all-star cast of returning players from previous seasons. The houseguests are under 24 hour surveillance through live feeds that anyone with a CBS All Access subscription can view at any time, but fans were outraged by what they saw this past Wednesday. Background Ian Terry is considered a legend in the ‘Big Brother’ world, as he won the 14th season of the show – beating one of the best players of all time, former winner Dan Gheesling. Terry is known for his intelligence as he is a strategic and analytical player.  As Terry returned for his second season of ‘Big Brother,’ he decided to be more open with the houseguests and public about living on the spectrum. During a casual conversation with a few houseguests, Terry explained how previous viewers and houseguests expressed their annoyance with his rocking movements that helped soothe him. With many of the current houseguests in shock that he has autism, Terry clarified that living on the spectrum does not define him as he lives a normal life with a great job, family, and girlfriend.  One thing you can take from #BBIan is that YOU define who you are and will be in this world. #BB22 pic.twitter.com/uw5n7IlwoJ — Big Brother (@CBSBigBrother) August 13, 2020 On national television, his fellow houseguests seem to be accepting of him, but from what viewers saw on Wednesday, that does not seem to be the case. What Happened? On a video from the live feeds, Memphis Garrett, Dani Briones, Nicole Franzel, Christmas Abott, and Cody Calafiore are seen mocking and laughing about Terry’s condition. The video starts off by Briones calling Terry a “roach,” and Garrett then refers to Terry as “a totally different human being.” Although Franzel interjects and says that Terry is now “confident,” Garrett claims that his confidence is “creepy.” As a bad joke, Briones tells Memphis that she will tell Terry to sit at the end of Garrett’s bed to scare him, and Garrett says if he does that he will “kick him in his teeth” and will excuse it as an “accident” as he will say he thought Terry was a ghost from ‘The Shining.’   Dani is really referring to Ian as a roach.Has she walked past a mirror lately?? Looking like a Charles Manson follower 🙄 Memphis is a scumbag #bb22 pic.twitter.com/265n6zB4Xs — 🐲𝕷𝖞𝖓🐉 (@LyndaShonubi) September 10, 2020 The bullying does not end there. Garrett goes on to imitate how Terry walks and talks, and says that he acts “weird.” Garrett, Briones, and Calafiore go on to discuss how they often do not understand Terry when he talks as he constantly uses big words and discusses random facts. Memphis, Donato, Franzel and Cody still making fun of Ian. Donato encourage Memphis to interrogate him.#bb22 pic.twitter.com/IrLH1yquCO — 🦈 DumpTrump 🦈 (@squalo) September 10, 2020 On a different occasion, Garrett mocks Terry’s rocking movements to Briones, Franzel, and Abott as he says that Terry stresses him out as he has “nightmares” of Terry’s rocking. When Garrett leaves, Briones says she agrees with Garrett and that Franzel is laughing because she does too. Abott also chimes in. So These Cunts @nicole_franzel @danidONAT0 @christmasabbott That’s Right I Said It , Making Fun Of Ian’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Is Another New Low For @CBSBigBrother #BB22 #Austism #IanTerry #NicoleFranzel #DanieleDonato #ChristmasAbbott pic.twitter.com/chcApZoHxu — TruthAndSarcasm (@TruthAndSarcasm) September 9, 2020 Later, Briones confides in Franzel furthering her agreement with Garrett as she says Terry’s constant rocking “stresses her out” and Franzel agrees. Dani & Nicole F were making fun of Ian's 'rocking' due to his autism which says freaks them out & can't look at him. Memphis described it like he is in a horror movie. Absolutely discusting behavior by these #MeanGirls Memphis & Christmas – shame on you all🤬😡 #BB22 pic.twitter.com/zMnYeh0cV1 — Real Talk Radio (@RealTalkRadio8) September 11, 2020 While these conversations are happening, Terry’s close friend and former ‘Big Brother’ winner, Nicole Franzel, is laughing and agreeing with what has been said, instead of protecting her good friend. It is not a secret that Terry and Franzel are friends outside of the house as they directly said it on national television and made a pact to take each other to the final two – though Franzel also has a final two deal with Cody Calafiore.  Fans’ Response These videos from the live feeds have outraged fans, and they are calling out the houseguests involved. Ian opened up to them about his autism. Ian told them how people last season made fun of him and how it hurt. Ian told them that kids like him watch him and look up to him. Ian explained how his stemming helps him. And they still make fun of him for it. TRASH #BB22 — CBS Reality Stan 🦖🌚 💕 (@Les971) September 9, 2020 memphis making fun of Ian and then Dani/Nicole laughing about it makes me feel a whole new level of anger. please someone put me in a room with them so i can beat tf out of them. that is NOT okay, NOT funny. Big brother producers, you better do something about this. — 『 Ashley Rose 』 (@luvelyashleyy) September 9, 2020 Me omw to the Big Brother house if these people don’t keep Ian out their mouth. pic.twitter.com/3Gf9o5UcOS — ✰ ian patrick terry stan ✰ (@DulceGHernandez) September 8, 2020 it’s so heartbreaking to see ian once again get made fun of in the big brother house. these people in the house are grown adults…grow up and stop acting like children. 🙄 #BB22 — JoJo (@Slasi18) September 9, 2020 Former Cast Members’ Response Not only are fans angry with this situation, but also former houseguests – including current cast members already evicted – are speaking up.  Janelle Pierzina and Kaysar Ridha are known as a power duo in multiple seasons of ‘Big Brother,’ but were both evicted early from this season as many saw them as a threat. At home, Pierzina and Ridha were outraged with the houseguests’ behavior towards Terry as they were close to him in the house. Riddha even helped Terry’s game by exposing people before he left. #BBKaysar gave the Houseguests a speech to remember on last night's #BB22! 😳 pic.twitter.com/RndSXP2sOk — Big Brother (@CBSBigBrother) September 4, 2020 Pierzina and Ridha took to Twitter to express their anger over the cast’s treatment of Terry. Absolutely disgusted! https://t.co/KODcFV1cZ5 — Janelle Pierzina (@JanellePierzina) September 10, 2020 Instead of laughing they should be standing up for Ian. He has a disability 😐 https://t.co/4Vwpusq4Wv — Janelle Pierzina (@JanellePierzina) September 10, 2020 Thank you for posting this. People on the spectrum are some of the best our society has to offer. I’m mortified by the actions of these Big Brother houseguests. Before leaving I reminded Ian to never let anyone laugh at him. Ever. Period. #BB22 https://t.co/fPmNRDgXWI — Kaysar Ridha (@KaysarRidha) September 10, 2020 Inside the BB house reflects society’s failures when it comes to our handling of diversity. We could use a lesson in empathy & awareness. Ppl who are neurodiverse & on the spectrum should be protected not trashed. I have zero tolerance on this issue #BB22 https://t.co/XFQjh3uMYh — Kaysar Ridha (@KaysarRidha) September 10, 2020 Also, Ridha and his fellow housemate Nicole Anthony went on Instagram Live to discuss the houseguests’ insensitivity toward Terry. Nicole A. and Kaysar speak on the people in the house making fun of Ian’s autism #BB22 pic.twitter.com/UDLw9oXVWV — cece (@sedmond91) September 9, 2020 Not only are players from this season voicing their frustration, but also are former houseguests from previous seasons including Kat Dunn, Ovi Kabir, and former winner Andy Herren. Strengths of autism include: • Strong long-term memory skills• Math, computer, musical, artistic skills• Thinking in a visual way• Punctuality• Honesty• Detail oriented• Independent thinking• Loyalty• Non-judge mental listening#bb22 https://t.co/g6sPAP1mUH — Kat Dunn (@itskathryndunn) September 10, 2020 I’m sorry Matt, but if you’re referring to Ian you’re missing the point. YES we want to protect Ian but we know he’s a grown adult. For me, this is about the thousands of viewers who are also on the spectrum, who have looked up to Ian and thought “I can do that too!” https://t.co/7wCWBr9MJF — Kat Dunn (@itskathryndunn) September 10, 2020 Memphis is talking about kicking the teeth in of Ian. The same man who asked the DR if he could give up his HOH letter (if he wins this week) to let Cody (whose grandfather just passed away) get a letter from his family. Despicable.#BB22 https://t.co/hbeBaK1c8o — Ovi Kabir (@TheOviKabir) September 10, 2020 Memphis is a real piece of shit for the way he talks about Ian and Ian’s autism. Inexcusable. #BB22 — Andy Herren (@AndyHerren) September 10, 2020 Consequences The houseguests may be isolated from the outside world, but they are receiving some serious consequences. Because of her participation in this situation, Franzel has lost multiple sponsorships including from Olay, Winery Chateau Ste. Michelle, and BlanQuil. We no longer have a business relationship with this person and have no plans for future work together. We have zero-tolerance for bullying and we do not support the behavior displayed by this person. — OLAY (@OlaySkin) September 10, 2020 Our connection with Nicole was made prior to her joining the current show. We took immediate action to review once we learned of the situation & have thus decided to end our collaboration now and in the future. We do not tolerate or condone discrimination or bullying of any kind. — Chateau Ste. Michelle (@SteMichelle) September 11, 2020 Nicole doesn’t seem to be doing the kind of social media influencing she was expecting #bb22 pic.twitter.com/RQwoKS8t7J — Tooms (@Tooms_BB) September 10, 2020 After losing these sponsorships and the mass amounts of tweets from fans, people seem to think that production had a conversation with Franzel because last night on the live feeds she is seen apologizing to Terry for being insensitive. #BB22 Nicole says she cares more about friendship with Ian than game, which is absolute horsesh!t, considering she split her side open laughing at jokes made about his autistic behavior. He tells her the only time he was like "what" was the BULLHORN and BB switches cams. pic.twitter.com/cx54c360hW — 🅱🅱 🅿🅸🆂🆂🅴🅳 (@BB_Pissed) September 11, 2020 Many ‘Big Brother’ viewers may be unaware of what has been going on as CBS failed to show the houseguests’ inappropriate behavior on Thursday night’s episode allowing many to still idolize these players. Only those who are active on social media or the live feeds have seen these cast members’ true colors. What are your thoughts on the situation? What do you think production should do to condemn bullying on the show?

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DHS Enters The Bribery Business, Offering Cash Prizes To Come Up With A Better Digital Wallet

Continue Reading DHS Enters The Bribery Business, Offering Cash Prizes To Come Up With A Better Digital Wallet

Boeing Finds Manufacturing Flaws with 787 Dreamliner

Boeing has warned of delivery delays, as the manufacturer is investigating yet another 787 Dreamliner production flaw. Over the past year, Boeing has identified three seperate manufacturing issues, prompting the FAA to further investigate. Latest Design Flaw While manufacturing the Dreamliner‘s horizontal stabiliser, engineers discovered that some components were clamped with greater force than specified, […] The post Boeing Finds Manufacturing Flaws with 787 Dreamliner appeared first on SamChui.com.

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The world’s central banks are starting to experiment. But what comes next? | Adam Tooze

With the spectre of deflation looming in the wake of Covid-19, radical new policies could revolutionise the world economy Are we seeing the end of the supremacy of the US dollar? With soaring government spending and gaping deficits are we on the cusp of a great surge of inflation? In light of the extreme financial measures required by the Covid-19 crisis and the alarming polarisation of US politics, the markets can be forgiven for asking such dramatic questions. But it is worth reminding ourselves that as recently as March, the whole world was crying out for dollars. And far from fearing inflation, the problem actually facing central banks is how to avoid sliding into deflation. Falling prices are a disaster because they squeeze debtors – think negative equity in housing markets – and create a vicious circle of postponed purchases, leading to falling demand and further deflation. Continue reading...

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Government Plans To Introduce 0.02% Tax On E-Commerce Transactions

It has been said that the government is planning to introduce a new tax on e-commerce transactions. The Deputy Communications and Media Minister, Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin has said that the tax will probably amount to RM0.20 for purchase amounting to RM1,000 and below. However, the deputy minister has said that they have not set […]

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President Trump: We’ll Return To Unprecedented Prosperity Through Our Pro-American Policies

Run time: 1 minute 29 seconds – Please watch The post President Trump: We’ll Return To Unprecedented Prosperity Through Our Pro-American Policies appeared first on The Hagmann Report.

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Hopes fading for coronavirus deal as Congress returns

2020-09-08T04:19:14ZWASHINGTON (AP) — At least there won’t be a government shutdown. But as lawmakers straggle back to Washington for an abbreviated preelection session, hopes are dimming for another coronavirus relief bill — or much else. Talks between top Democrats and the Trump administration broke off last month and remain off track, with the bipartisan unity that drove almost $3 trillion in COVID-19 rescue legislation into law this spring replaced by toxic partisanship and a return to Washington dysfunction. Expectations in July and August that a fifth bipartisan pandemic response bill would eventually be birthed despite increased obstacles has been replaced by genuine pessimism. Recent COVID-related conversations among key players have led to nothing. ADVERTISEMENTDemocrats seem secure in their political position, with President Donald Trump and several Senate GOP incumbents lagging in the polls. Trump is seeking to sideline the pandemic as a campaign issue, and Republicans aren’t interested in a deal on Democratic terms — even as needs like school aid enjoy widespread support. Poisonous relationships among key leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows give little reason for confidence about overcoming obstacles on the cost, scope and details of a potential relief bill. Pelosi recently referred to Meadows as “whatever his name is,” while the Meadows-run White House during a press briefing ran a video loop of Pelosi’s controversial visit to a San Francisco hair salon. Trump said Monday that Democrats “don’t want to make a deal because they think that if the country does as badly as possible ... that’s good for the Democrats.” “I am taking the high road,” he told reporters at the White House. “I’m taking the high road by not seeing them.” All of this imperils the chances for another round of $1,200 direct payments delivered under Trump’s name, the restoration of more generous unemployment benefits to those who’ve lost their jobs because of the pandemic, updates to a popular business subsidy program, and money to help schools reopen and states and local governments avoid layoffs. “I personally would like to see one more rescue package, but I must tell you the environment in Washington right now is exceedingly partisan because of the proximity to the election,” said GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at an appearance in Kentucky last week. “We’ve been in discussion now for the last month or so with no results so far. So I can’t promise one final package.″ ADVERTISEMENTMcConnell had been a force for a deal but does not appear eager to force a vote that exposes division in his ranks. Many Senate Republicans are also wary or opposed outright to another major chunk of debt-financed virus relief, even as GOP senators imperiled in the election like Susan Collins of Maine and Cory Gardner of Colorado plead for more. Republicans are struggling to coalesce around a unified party position — and that’s before they engage with Democratic leaders, who are demanding far more. The relationship between Pelosi and her preferred negotiating partner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, is civil but isn’t generating much in the way of results, other than a promise to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month by keeping a government-wide temporary spending bill free of controversy. That measure is likely to keep the government running into December. It’s likely to contain a bunch of lower-profile steps, such as an extension of the federal flood insurance program and a temporary reauthorization of spending from the highway trust fund. The decision for a “clean,” controversy-free stopgap bill, known as a continuing resolution, means that both sides will forgo gamesmanship that uses the threat of a government shutdown to try to gain leverage. Trump forced a shutdown in 2018-2019 in a failed attempt to extract money for his U.S.-Mexico border wall, while Democrats lost a shutdown encounter in 2017 over legislation to help immigrants brought illegally to the country as children win permanent legal status. “Now we can focus just on another relief bill, and we’re continuing to do that in good faith,” Vice President Mike Pence said Friday on CNBC. But if talks continue to falter, there’s little to keep lawmakers in Washington long, particularly with the election fast approaching. The Senate returns on Tuesday to resume its diet of judicial and administration nominations. The House doesn’t come back until Sept. 14 for a schedule laden with lower-profile measures such as clean energy legislation and a bill to decriminalize marijuana. Some Democrats are expected to continue to take advantage of remote voting and may not return to Washington at all.

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The GREATEST Wealth Strategy of All Time with Reshveen Rajendran

Reshveen Rajendran is a son to two loving parents and the Founder of a miracle working company. Top 3 Value Bombs: 1. The best way is to give even when you have nothing. 2. You should pick an income stream that lights your soul on fire. 3. The most powerful force in the world is love. Love your customers. Love your team. Connect, follow, and get to know Rashveen - Rashveen’s Instagram Sponsors: ZipRecruiter: Hiring is challenging. But there’s one place you can go where hiring is simple, fast and smart: ZipRecruiter! Try ZipRecruiter FOR FREE at ZipRecruiter.com/fire! Secrets Masterclass: Join the founder of ClickFunnels, Russell Brunson, for a FREE masterclass to learn the 3 secrets that will IGNITE your business in 2020! EOFire.com/secrets

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How to Invest in Coronavirus Vaccine Stocks

How to Invest in Coronavirus Vaccine Stocks  The Motley FoolHow Scientists Determine If A COVID-19 Vaccine Works : Shots - Health News  NPRRussia boasts coronavirus vaccine 'best in the world' after 'encouraging' trial results  Daily ExpressModerna Reports 71% Enrollment in Coronavirus Vaccine Trial  The Motley FoolDrugmakers seek to reassure public on coronavirus vaccine as concerns grow about political pressure  CNBCView Full Coverage on Google News

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1275: How to Discover Your Financial Grit by Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents on Overcoming Adversity & Tenacity

Jeff Rose discloses how we can discover our financial grit. Episode 1275: How to Discover Your Financial Grit by Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents on Overcoming Adversity & Tenacity Jeff Rose, CFP® is a Certified Financial Planner™, founder of Good Financial Cents, and author of the personal finance book Soldier of Finance. Jeff is an Iraqi combat veteran and served 9 years in the Army National Guard. His work is regularly featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Inc.com and Entrepreneur. The original post is located here: https://www.goodfinancialcents.com/financial-grit/ Please Rate & Review the Show! Visit Me Online at OLDPodcast.com and in  The O.L.D. Facebook Group and Join the Ol' Family to get your Free Gifts! Interested in advertising on the show? https://www.advertisecast.com/OptimalFinanceDaily --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/optimal-finance-daily/support

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