Pleasant Valley Winery

Pleasant Valley Winery


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

LA biggest city yet to approve $15 minimum wage

Supporters applaud during the minimum wage increase vote as the Los Angeles City Council votes to raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour by 2020. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes )

The city follows Seattle and San Francisco, with New York and Washington D.C. potentially on its heels -- and nobody knows for sure what happens next.

May 19 at 6:20 PM
Campaign for America's Future

The Los Angeles City Council voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, up from the current $9 an hour, making the city the largest in the country to set a target that has gone from almost absurdly ambitious to mainstream in the span of a few years.

The bill, which will need to clear a final vote, passed by a margin of 14-1. It comes in the wake of similar measures in Seattle and San Francisco, and as cities including New York and Washington D.C. consider raising their minimum wages to $15 as well.

All of the $15 minimum wages enacted thus far will be phased in over time -- Los Angeles's would start by stepping up to $10.50 by July 1 of 2016, and give businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 25 employees an extra year to comply.

The Council's vote is another victory for a coalition composed of labor unions, immigrant groups, community activists, and newly elected council members who seven months ago pushed through a $15.37 minimum wage for workers at large hotels. That move put those hotels in the position of arguing that the higher minimum should apply to all of the city's 3.88 million people.

Various economists have studied the effects of the higher minimum wage, disagreeing on what the impact will be.

One analysis commissioned by mayor Eric Garcetti of an earlier, similar proposal -- to boost the minimum to $15.25 by 2019 -- found that 542,000 workers would receive a raise, taking into account the ripple effects on those who already make more than that amount. The average wage would increase by 20.4 percent, said researchers from the University of California-Berkeley, with the largest increases in the food service, healthcare, retail, administrative and waste management services. The study anticipated minimal job losses, with a decrease of only 0.2 percent of the employment base by 2019 (which would likely be cancelled out by 2.5 percent annual job growth in the city). Overall verdict: The higher wage would have more positive than negative effects.
Then there's the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which funded a study in 2013 that looked at the impact of a $15 minimum. That analysis sets the proposal against the backdrop of the city's mounting income inequality, and argues that low income workers would quickly reinvest all of the $7.6 billion extra in wages they could receive with a higher wage floor. It would also have a positive impact on public finances, adding $152 million per year to the city's coffers, the study found.

The story is a little different when you ask the Chamber of Commerce, which ordered up an analysis of a plan to raise the minimum to $13.25 an hour. The business group highlighted Los Angeles City's position within a larger metropolitan area, which allows the higher wage to benefit people who commute into the city to work while paying taxes elsewhere. Businesses might choose to locate in the suburbs to avoid pricier labor. All in all, they forecasted that even that smaller increase would kill between 70,000 and 140,000 jobs over the next five years, with one-third of the losses impacting workers under the age of 25.

Those are the fears driving Mitchell Englander, the one councilmember to vote against the new minimum wage. He's a former police officer, and is running for L.A. County supervisor in 2016.

“There is no question in my mind that better pay for workers would provide myriad benefits,” Englander said, according to CBS Los Angeles. “I am not, however, convinced that a unilateral minimum wage increase serves the intended purpose and may, worse, have unintended consequences such as job loss, reduction in working hours, or make it impossible for entire industries to do business in the City of Los Angeles.”

Employers did negotiate one major concession, avoiding a proposed requirement that they offer 12 days of paid leave as well -- although that idea might come back before the end of the year.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

US Finally Admits Fracking Causes Earthquakes

A man works to clear up bricks that fell from his in-laws' home in Oklahoma in 2011. Earthquake frequency rose from 20 in 2009 to 585 in 2014. (photo: Sue Ogrocki/AP)
A man works to clear up bricks that fell from his in-laws' home in Oklahoma in 2011. Earthquake frequency rose from 20 in 2009 to 585 in 2014. (photo: Sue Ogrocki/AP)

By Heather Smith, Guardian UK

US Geological Survey backpedals on previous research on wastewater fracking-induced earthquakes that have shaken eight states in last seven years
s the US Geological Survey confirmed on Thursday, in the last seven years, geologically staid parts of the US have seen earthquakes like they haven’t seen for millions of years. And they were triggered by drilling for oil and gas.

The drilling – or rather, the process of injecting water deep underground – has been triggering earthquakes in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.

The most obvious question is: what took you so long, USGS? Over those seven years, other scientists have speculated about whether this rise in earthquakes has anything to do with the injection wells used by the fracking industry to dispose of the water used in the process.

For the most part, the report does not pin the blame on fracking itself – pumping large volumes of water, sand and chemicals into rock formations in order to free oil or gas – but rather on the associated process of injecting wastewater deep underground using injection wells.

The rise of fracking after 2005’s Energy Policy Act slightly preceded and coincided with the rise in earthquakes.

Oklahoma averaged a handful of earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater from 1975 to 2008.

Then, in 2009, it had 20.

In 2011, the number of earthquakes in the state rose to over 60, and Oklahoma was hit by its largest earthquake in recorded history – magnitude 5.7. Immediately after the quake Katie Keranan, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Oklahoma, partnered with scientists from the USGS and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory to install two dozen seismometers in Prague.

Within a year, Keranan had data that indicated that the pressure from injecting water deep beneath the earth had snapped three fault planes, one after the other.

Not long after, in 2012, an injection well was linked to quakes in Youngstown, Ohio.

The state’s governor issued an executive order requiring operators to conduct seismic studies before the state would issue well permits.

In that same year, David J Hayes, deputy secretary of the US Department of the Interior, wrote a public letter stating that USGS research showed that there were no conclusive examples that wastewater injection triggered major earthquakes, even when it happened near a known fault.

The USGS report published on Thursday does provide such examples.

Not every well triggers an earthquake. In fact, a relatively small number of wells seem to have caused the majority of earthquakes, according to a report led by Keranan, which found that out of the thousands of disposal wells in the central US, just four them induced 20% of the seismicity from 2008 to 2013 in the central US.

In September of 2013, the Society of Petroleum Engineers held an unprecedented meeting on “injection-induced seismicity”, though they did not invite the press or the public. The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma reached 103 in 2013.

In November of last year, the USGS and the Oklahoma Geological Survey co-hosted a workshop that included about 150 participants from academia, industry and government – the result of that meeting is the report that was released this week.

That year, 2014, the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma reached 585 in one year.

Compared to earlier statements, the USGS report is a sharp turnaround from its previous stance. But it’s still a relatively mild document – one that advises more research, rather than specific actions. The work of clarifying connections between injection wells and earthquakes has been left to people such as Keranan, who left Oklahoma shortly after the Oklahoma Geological Survey published a rejection of a study she had placed in geology, which linked the quakes to nearby disposal wells.


+29 # franpryor 2015-04-27 09:18
Finally, someone agrees with me. What are these oil tycoons going to do with all their money when there is nothing left? The earth is being raped. The food is being poisoned and the water polluted. Where do we go from here.
+7 # Granny Weatherwax 2015-04-27 14:11
Easy: whatever there is left, they will own it.
Not you.
Essentially this is the same as with Wall St: they may be making money on phony schemes, peddling imaginary value but the $$ they rake in is real and buys a real(ly huge) share of the real world, therefore it is indeed a "theft from the hungry who is not fed" (in the words of that great liberal Eisenhower).
+15 # fredboy 2015-04-27 09:41
Tycoons who are buffoons.

Slow murderers. Not just of the planet, but of the people who live near their mayhem.

Come on, Karma. Here's your chance!
+12 # PABLO DIABLO 2015-04-27 11:03
Plus, using millions of gallons of water per well. But, what the Hell, we got cheap gas to sell to Europe and try to cut those "evil" Russians out of the European market. Billions of gallons of water, numerous earthquakes, as yet a tally on health effects in the area (dead livestock for sure). The oil companies getting filthy rich. Isn't that the American way?
+3 # Dust 2015-04-27 13:16
Poor Midwest Tom. Whatever will he do now? Oh, that's right - accuse scientists, researchers, and everybody else of massive fraud and conspiracy to defeat true-blooded capitalist, Jesus-loving Americans.
+9 # Malcolm 2015-04-27 13:47
Even if fracking DIDNT cause earthquakes, even if the steel liners and cement seals WERE always installed correctly, even if certain drilling contractors DIDN'T have a propensity to water down their cement seals, even if ZERO oil and gas wells have polluted water pass AROUND these seals, even if casing welds NEVER failed, I'd still oppose fracking. That's because-accordi ng to the data I've read-the cement and steel is only expected to last about 100 years before failing.

What a despicable legacy to leave for our progeny! "Sorry, guys. Too bad all your groundwater is FUBAR". But really, don't you prefer drinking Coke?
+3 # Ken Halt 2015-04-27 17:39
There are many reasons that fracking is just plain wrong and should be banned. Some hardcore apologists want us to ignore the tapwater that can be set aflame, or the health problems of those who live near fracking sites, or the degradation of the environment, or the profligate use of water in dry states. That fracking-induce d earthquakes affect the safety of millions of people and their property in a broad swath of territory may focus enough public opinion to make a serious discussion of the merits of fracking imperative. "What fools these mortals be!" - W. Shakespeare
0 # RnR 2015-04-28 05:29
I would like an honest investigation into the effects of the vibrations caused by fracking and the effect of them planet wide. Are Nepal and the various earthquakes
and landslides and other eruptions of the shell of the planet related? Everything is.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Chomsky: Iraq War is the crime of the millenium

Prof. Noam Chomsky, linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist and activist. (photo: Va Shiva)
Prof. Noam Chomsky, linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist and activist. (photo: Va Shiva)

ajor American media organizations diligently parrot what US officials want the public to know about global affairs, historian Noam Chomsky told RT. To US leaders, any news outlet that “does not repeat the US propaganda system is intolerable,” he said.

The culpability of the West – namely the United States – for world affairs, such as the Ukrainian conflict or tensions with Iran, is another idea that is not permissible in leading American media, Chomsky said, adding that world opinion does not matter when that opinion counters US strategy. 

“The West means the United States and everyone else that goes along,” he said. “What’s called the international community in the United States is the United States and anyone who happens to be going along with it. Take, say, for example, the question of Iran’s right to carry out its current nuclear policies, whatever they are. The standard line is that the international community objects to this. Who is the international community? What the United States determines it to be.” 

He added that, “any reader of [George] Orwell would be perfectly familiar with this. But it continues virtually without comment.” 

Chomsky’s remarks came this week just before a congressional hearing that was officially titled ‘Confronting Russia’s Weaponization of Information.’ Of the meeting, House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ed Royce said, “The Russian media is now dividing societies abroad and, in fact, weaponizing information.” 

The social philosopher and MIT professor said, “if there were any imaginable possibility of honesty,” Rep. Royce could be talking about the American media. He pointed to a recent New York Times story that discussed reasons not to trust Iran amid the tentative agreement between Tehran and Washington, along with other major global powers, over the former’s nuclear ambitions. 

“The most interesting one is the charge that Iran is destabilizing the Middle East because it’s supporting militias which have killed American soldiers in Iraq,” Chomsky told RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky. 

“That’s kind of as if, in 1943, the Nazi press had criticized England because it was destabilizing Europe for supporting partisans who were killing German soldiers. In other words, the assumption is, when the United States invades, it kills a couple hundred thousand people, destroys the country, elicits sectarian conflicts that are now tearing Iraq and the region apart, that’s stabilization. If someone resists that tact, that’s destabilization.” 

Chomsky also related American media propaganda to recent moves by US President Barack Obama to reach out to Cuba, which the US has long considered a state sponsor of terror while instituting a harsh embargo regime. Chomsky said top American media outlets go to great lengths to pit Cuba -- and not the US -- as the isolated party in the Western Hemisphere. 

“The facts are very clear. This is a free and open society, so we have access to internal documents at an extraordinary level. You can’t claim you don’t know. It’s not like a totalitarian state where there are no records. We know what happened. The Kennedy administration launched a very serious terrorist war against Cuba. It was one of the factors that led to the missile crisis. It was a war that was planned to lead to an invasion in October 1962, which Cuba and Russia presumably knew about. It’s now assumed by scholarship that that’s one of the reasons for the placement of the missiles. That war went on for years. No mention of it is permissible [in the US]. The only thing you can mention is that there were some attempts to assassinate [Fidel] Castro. And those can be written off as ridiculous CIA shenanigans. But the terrorist war itself was very serious.” 

Obama has changed course on Cuban policy not for reasons pursuant to freedom or democracy, as is peddled in the US media, Chomsky said. 

“There is no noble gesture, just Obama’s recognition that the United States is practically being thrown out of the hemisphere because of its isolation on this topic,” he added. “But you can’t discuss that [in the US]. It’s all public information, nothing secret, all available in public documents, but undiscussable. Like the idea -- and you can’t contemplate the idea -- that when the US invades another country and the other resists, it’s not the resistors who are committing the crime, it’s the invaders.” 

As for international law, Chomsky said it “can work up to the point where the great powers permit it.” Beyond that, it is meaningless. Thus, is international law an illusion if the US picks and chooses -- while exempting itself -- from what is enforced? 

“To say that [international law is] dead implies it was ever alive. Has it ever been alive?” he said, citing US stonewalling of the world court’s demand in the 1980s that the US halt its war on Nicaragua and provide extensive reparations for damage done. 

“International law cannot be enforced against great powers,” he said. “There’s no enforcement mechanism. Take a look at the International Criminal Court, who has investigated and sentenced African leaders who the US doesn’t like. The major crime of this millennium, certainly, is the US invasion of Iraq. Could that be brought to the international court? I mean, it’s beyond inconceivable.” 

Chomsky said the so-called American Dream and US democracy are in “very serious decline,” as social mobility is among the worst among the richest nations. He added that, formally, the US retains a democratic veneer, but actual manifestations of democracy are dwindling. 

“Basically, most of the population is disenfranchised,” he said, referring to public polling. “Their representatives pay no attention to their opinion. That’s roughly the lowest three-quarters on the bottom of the income scale. Move up the scale, you get a little more influence. At the top, essentially policy is made. That’s plutocracy, not democracy.”


+32 # 1wolff 2015-04-20 10:02
I couldn't agree more. I have some ideas as to the war crimes trials the perpetrators of these acts should have.

Don't let 'em forget who did what and the disastrous results of their actions!
+15 # Radscal 2015-04-20 12:18
Yes. And those who deliberately covered up the War Crimes and Crimes against humanity should also have to pay for their actions.

Of course, that specifically includes former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and current President Obama who refused to permit investigations, let alone charges and trials.
+34 # danireland46 2015-04-20 10:32
Chomsky at 86 is still one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of our time. I agree completely that the invasion of Iraq was a worse crime than the Saudi backed attack on 9/11.
He adds, in the last paragraph, that the rise of the Plutocracy in what used to be our Democracy is another horror in our world. I would like to add the total corruption of justice in America ever since the SCOTUS Citizens United decision. We need to overthrow that Plutocratic obscenity before we can do anything else - WHY THE DELAY/
+27 # walt 2015-04-20 11:20
Excellent points made here, but the real source of our problems seems unmentioned, namely, the lobby that constantly pushes the USA into war. They did it with Iraq and they are doing it again. We've seen our Congress lobbied so much they were willing to undermine the President's peace negotiations, but the media as well is complicit with it all and they were too with the Iraq invasion. Add to it all that we have failed to take action for the lies told for the Iraq invasion and it looks like we are preparing to repeat the past.
+9 # John Escher 2015-04-20 11:31
Obama has Cambridge, Massachusetts ties. It seems inconceivable that he didn't try to enlist the intellects of people like Noam Chomsky rather than fly in their face in so many ways.

In this article there is comment involving George Orwell. Orwell is so much more potent when such comments come from the left.

Orwell himself was politically to the left.

But the right-wingers always try to claim him, A)for political reasons and B) because they always project their own worst character traits on others.

As Thomas Jefferson sagely said, "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

That would be the tyranny of big business as well as big government.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

50% of Fox News statements are lies


PunditFact recently confirmed what most of us already knew—Fox News lies, a lot. So here's a bit of advice: question everything, seek truth in all situations and if watching Fox News, definitely switch the station.

A recently released analysis by PunditFact revealed that out of every statement made by a Fox News host or guest, over half of them were completely false. What’s more, only 8% percent could even be considered “completely true.” 

But for anyone who regularly tunes into the conservative news show, such revelation is nothing new. PunditFact only confirmed what many have been aware of for a while now: Fox News lies – like, a lot. 

What might be most intriguing is that despite the blatant spin doctoring of the show, Fox News still captivates a large portion of the news watching audience. Programs like “The O’Reilly Factor” and “The Kelly File” cause a staggering amount of viewers to tune in on a regular basis, and given what we know about the content Fox shares, such is concerning.

Credit: AddictingInfo
As you can see, Fox’s statements range mostly between “Mostly False” all the way to “Pants on Fire”… and only 40% can even be said to fall into the category of “Somewhat True.”

But keep in mind it’s not just Fox that tends to weave more tales than truth…
Credit: AddictingInfo
MSNBC, for example, which some might call Fox’s liberal counterpart, is just as guilty of misleading its viewers. However, they also tell the truth more than they lie, and their “Pants on Fire” percentage is half of what Fox scored. 

CNN, however, ranked very well in comparison to the other news sites, gathering a 40% “Mostly True” score.
Credit: AddictingInfo
But before you decide to place all your trust in CNN and write off FOX, PunditFact urged a bit of caution:
The comparisons are interesting, but be cautious about using them to draw broad conclusions. We use our news judgment to pick the facts we’re going to check, so we certainly don’t fact-check everything. And we don’t fact-check the five network groups evenly. CBS, for instance, doesn’t have a cable network equivalent, so we haven’t fact-checked pundits and CBS personalities as much.
AddictingInfo brought to attention a great survey conducted by PublicMind out of Fairleigh Dickinson University. What was discovered is that “people who say they consumed no news” fared better on a current events questionnaire than people who had been using Fox News to figure out the current events of the world. Go figure. 
But if you truly are seeking to stay up-to-date on current events, NPR audience members were found to be most informed. 

In conclusion, question everything, seek truth in all situations, and if watching Fox News, definitely switch the station.


Bio: Amanda Froelich writes for True Activist.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

ZAZU Gypsie Jazz Band plays Payson Sunday

2 pm, Sunday May 17th,
Community Presbyterian Church,
800 W. Main St., Payson  
ZAZU Gypsie jazz band 
Mike Fowler-guitar
Ryan Vance-guitar
Alan Ames-violin,
Steve Douglas-bass
Gerry Reynolds-drums.
$5 donation includes refreshments
or call 602-619-3355.
This is the last performance of the 2014-15 jazz series.
Gypsie jazz, Manouche jazz, Django jazz, Gypsie swing ... call it what you will, it has the same unforgettable ingredients;infectious swing, melancholy, dark, and moody highlights, and improvisation with reckless abandon.

Leader Steve Douglas was influenced by Django Reinhardt,Stephane Grappelli and other notable early-eraEuropean jazz artists in forming this group.  A popular group throughout Arizona, you will not want to miss this performance.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Why you need to support minimum wage workers

Fast-food strikers protest at McDonald's on Livernois Street in northwest Detroit on April 14. (photo: Fight for $15)
Fast-food strikers protest at McDonald's on Livernois Street in northwest Detroit on April 14. (photo: Fight for $15)

The Courage of Low-Wage Workers on Strike

By Leo Gerard, In These Times
his is no plea for pity for corporate kingpins like Walmart and McDonald’s inundated by workers’ demands for living wages.

Raises would, of course, cost these billion-dollar corporations something. More costly, though, is the price paid by minimum-wage workers who have not received a raise in six years. Even more dear is what these workers have paid for their campaign to get raises. Managers have harassed, threatened and fired them.

Despite all that, low-wage workers will return to picket lines and demonstrations Wednesday in a National Day of Action in the fight for $15 an hour.

The date is 4/15. These are workers who live paycheck to paycheck, barely able to pay their bills, and certainly unable to cope with an emergency. They know the risk they’re taking by participating in strikes for pay hikes. They’ve seen bosses punish co-workers for demonstrating for raises. To lose a job, even one that pays poverty wages, during a time of high unemployment is terrifying. Still, thousands will participate Wednesday. That is valor.

Kip Hedges exhibited that courage. He’s a 61-year-old with 26 years of service as a baggage handler for Delta at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. He wanted better wages for young workers and a union. He said so in a video, noting that “probably close to half make under $15 an hour.” 

Delta fired him. The airline said he’d disparaged the company. Apparently Delta believes it has been disparaged if the flying public learns the truth about the way Delta treats workers.

Clearly, Delta planned to shut Hedges up and intimidate other workers. The message to his co-workers was clear: “You wanna talk about the paltry wages you get? Well, let’s talk about this pink slip.”

But when Delta messed with Hedges, it messed up big time. The firing failed to silence him. He continued to protest low wages. His co-workers rallied round him. The media covered his firing and his appeal. He looked like a low-wage worker hero. Delta looked like a vindictive heel.

Unlike Hedges, Shanna Tippen was no activist before she got fired from her minimum-wage job in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. She was just trying to get by, and falling short by about $200 a month. Her boss at the Days Inn where she worked as a night shift jack-of-all-trades asked her to talk to a Washington Post reporter who had dropped by the hotel to discuss the state’s newly instituted 25-cent increase to the federal minimum wage of $7.25. 

Tippen told the reporter, Chico Harlan, that she hoped the little bit of extra money would help her pay for her grandson’s diapers.

After the Post published the story, the manager of the Days Inn, Herry Patel, telephoned Harlan to complain about being quoted in it. Then he fired Tippen. She recounted it to Harlan: 

“He said I was stupid and dumb for talking to [The Post].” Even though, of course, Patel had told Tippen to talk to the reporter. Tippen continued: “He cussed me and asked me why you wrote the article. I said, ‘Because he’s a reporter; that’s what he does.’”

Patel told Harlan that Arkansas voters, who approved the pay increase in a referendum by 66 percent, should not have done it. “Everybody wants free money in Pine Bluff,” Harlan quoted him as saying. 

Patel apparently did not understand that Tippen performed work that kept the hotel running every night, which means she earned the money. The truth is that Patel, like so many other employers, believes that employees should work for free.

The Post and other papers wrote about Tippen’s firing, making her an icon for ill-treated, low-wage workers and Patel the personification of miserly bosses.

Worker-exploiting employers like McDonald’s, Chipotle and Walmart have shown themselves to be craven in the face of courageous workers’ wage protests as well.

Over the past few months, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has filed charges against McDonald’s and Walmart alleging they violated workers’ rights, including threatening retribution against those who participated in strikes.

In December, the NLRB in California ruled that Walmart illegally punished workers for striking and seeking to unionize. The judge determined that Walmart managers illegally intimidated workers by, for example, telling one, who had tied a rope around his waist to pull a heavy load, “If it was up to me, I would put that rope around your neck.”

In the Chipotle case, the NLRB ruled that a manager in St. Louis illegally fired worker Patrick Leeper for participating in Fight for $15 demonstrations and for talking about wages at work. After the decision, a company spokesperson told the news website ThinkProgress: “Generally speaking, it is always a top priority for us to remain compliant with all local and federal labor laws.”

“Generally,” Chipotle tries. Generally. Not in this particular case involving low-wage workers demonstrating for better pay. But, you know, generally Chipotle tries to obey the law.

In the original Washington Post story about the tiny increase in the minimum wage in Arkansas, Dominic Flis, whose company owns 18 Burger Kings in central Arkansas, said raising the minimum wage pushes up pay for other workers too. Here’s what he said:

“If somebody was already making $7.50, and minimum wage goes to $7.50, they’ll have some expectation of a raise as well,” Flis said. “And I have to maintain my workforce.”

The Brookings Institute calls this the ripple effect. The pay increase at the bottom ripples all the way up the pay scale.

Hedges, the fired Delta worker, put it another way: “a lot of the better paid workers also understand that the bottom has to be raised otherwise the top is going to fall as well.”

If for no other reason than self-interest, join the gutsy minimum-wage workers at a Fight for $15 eventWednesday. 


We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.
General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity.
Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.
- The RSN Team
-2 # MidwestTom 2015-04-16 06:32
In order to get a living wage for everyone, the economy has to have enough people working so that there is nobody left who will work for $7.50 per hour. If no one is applying for a job paying $7.50 the employer offering that job has to raise his or her offered wage to attract potential employees. Think North Dakota last year where McDonalds workers were making $15 to $18/hour.

The more hourly workers we let into this country, the more people there will be willing to work for minimum wages. There is an old hotel about 10 miles from here where young Latinos sleep four and five to a room, and look for day work to survive. Many of them get picked up in the morning and transported to jobs where they earn far less than what is called a living wage. As long as they and their kind are around , wages will not accelerate upward.
+1 # NAVYVET 2015-04-16 07:17
Yeah, Tom. Blame the immigrants! You forget that your ancestors (you and your "kind") all emigrated from somewhere else, unless you're Native American, and even their ancestors came over the Bering Strait about 30,000 years ago.
0 # elizabethblock 2015-04-16 08:32
I quote, again, a Native man who was in the (involuntary) audience of someone inveighing against immigrants:
"Except for me, you're all immigrants."
+1 # NAVYVET 2015-04-16 07:26
I went to our city's big rally yesterday (started out at a McDonald's)--was glad to see so many young people, including a marching band that was blasting the noise of about 8 enormous drums into the door of the place!

I'd made a new sign featuring a check made out to "Every Worker" guaranteeing $15 an hour. I DID NOT add "minimum wage" and when folks asked why I explained, "Let's try a 3 to 5 year experiment. EVERYBODY between 18 and 65 gets $15 an hour--CEOs, middle managers, all elected officials, Generals, Admirals, Seaman Apprentices, Privates, cops, factory workers, food service employees, store clerks, farmers, mom & pop shop owners, night managers, housewives, the disabled who can't work--EVERYBODY . That would even things out in a hurry. Let's not allow any other income--from investments, rents, legal fees, elected office, inheritance, offshore bank accounts, foreign factories, gifts--during that period."

Multiply it and the gross income comes to $36,400 a year, which is more than I ever earned with 2 Masters degrees! Even the superrich could live on that, though John McCain might need to default some of his houses (if he can find them) to families who need housing. Of course the Tea Party Repubs & Hillary BlueDogs would never allow it because it would cause their 1% donors to freak out. But I can dream.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

How do you believe in god with no evidence, but deny climate change with indisputable evidence?

The billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer. (photo: AP)
The billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer. (photo: AP)

Billionaire Environmentalist to Put GOP Presidential Climate Denier Candidates on 'The Hot Seat'

By Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch
08 April 15
here’s been some buzz lately about what the next step would be for billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer‘s group Next Generation. It hit the news last week that he was shutting down the group’s climate policy research arm, with speculation that he would shift resources to its political wing NextGen Climate (NGC).

Now we know. Monday NGC announced its first big campaign of the 2016 presidential election season, dubbed “The Hot Seat.”

“If you’re in a position that is different from 97 percent of scientists, that does raise basic competency questions in terms of whether people are going to want to give you the keys to the White House,” said NextGen Climate’s chief strategist Chris Lehane during a press call Monday.

The group describes the program as “a high-tech war room that will track Koch brothers-backed presidential candidates, put them in the Hot Seat for their science denial and support for policies that only serve the best interests of the Kochs, and press them on their plans to address climate change for the next generation.” It’s referring to the Republican presidential race as “The Koch Primaries,” tying the candidates to big-spending fossil fuel-billionaires Charles and David Koch, who have vowed to drop almost a billion dollars to put someone who serves their anti-climate interests into the White House.

The campaign will include TV and radio ad buys, billboards and social media, with college campuses and young voters a particular priority.

“America is at an energy crossroads, and there is nearly a billion dollars in money from the Koch brothers’ network standing in the way of real solutions that will move our country forward,” says NGC. “But there’s good news: Republican presidential hopefuls’ willingness to deny basic science and put our country at risk in their pursuit of the Kochs’ campaign cash is a serious liability with voters.”

The San Francisco-based group will set up satellite offices in DC and key presidential primary states to work on “making climate denial into a liability with voters and force these candidates to answer to the American people.” It’s been teasing the new campaign with billboards, truck-drawn mobile billboards and a plane that flew over the Iowa Agriculture Summit with a banner that said, “Jeb Bush: I’m Not a Scientist.”
NextGen Climate teased its Hot Seat campaign with this mobile billboard in New Hampshire. (photo: NextGen Climate)
NextGen Climate teased its Hot Seat campaign with this mobile billboard in New Hampshire.
(photo: NextGen Climate)
“From Iowa to New Hampshire, we’ll be ready to strike when Republicans deny basic science and refuse to show meaningful climate leadership for our country and our kids,” promises NGC. “NGC will expose the nexus between the nearly one billion dollars the Koch network plans to spend and the anti-science positions taken by Republican presidential candidates.”

Lehane didn’t attach a specific dollar figure to Steyer’s likely spending in the upcoming race, but said, “He has made it clear he will spend what it takes. It still is a drop in the big oil bucket compared to what the other side is spending. We’re up against the most well-resourced special interests I think in the history of democracy.

They will do whatever it takes to try to rig the system to keep in place an approach that generates enormous amounts of money for them regardless of its impact on our economic health, national security and the impact on our kids.”

NGC’s research showed that among Iowa voters, the Koch Brothers had a negative 16 favorability, and that 71 percent of likely Iowa voters said they would be less inclined to support a candidate bankrolled by the Kochs. They also found that among young voters in four battleground states, likely to make up about a third of 2016 voters, only 9 percent had a favorable view of the Koch Brothers and oil companies such as Koch Industries had a 15/58 favorable/unfavorable rating. Forty-one percent said climate denial would disqualify a candidate, no matter what their other positions.

The first batch of climate deniers NGC is putting on the Hot Seat include Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (the two official candidates), former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

Rand Paul announced his presidential bid in Louisville today, and NGC stood outside the event with its “lie detector test” to try to force him to reveal his positions on climate change. In the past he’s hedged and said that he’s “not sure anybody knows exactly why” climate change occurs and that the science behind it is “not conclusive.” He’s also said that someone who would tie extreme weather events like hurricanes to climate change is an “ignoramus.” Those statements undermine claims that Paul could have wide appeal to younger voters.

“If Senator Paul thinks he’s going to be ‘Nirvana’ or ‘Pearl Jam’ for these young voters, what is his plan to address an issue that is clearly one of their top concerns?” says NGC.

Of Bush, being pushed by supporters as the most “electable” candidate, Lehane said, “He claims not to believe in the science. I think it’s particularly interesting he is from a state that will be particularly impacted by [climate change]. I think it is really hard to run an electability campaign when you’re talking about the fact you need to generate more support from young voters when you are taking a position that is a defining issue for young voters—that is going to be a signifier as to why they shouldn’t support him.”

The popular media narrative about NGC’s 2014 spending—primarily Steyer’s and estimated at about $75 million—was that it didn’t yield much in the way of results. However, three of its seven priority candidates won, a decent record in what was a difficult election for progressive candidates overall. And unlike much of the money coming from the Koch Brothers, who have pledged to spend almost a billion dollars to elect a fossil fuel-friendly president next year, Steyer’s money is not “dark”—he’s been open about what he is spending and where.


+23 # Dust 2015-04-08 13:18
The idea that Ted Cruz would compare himself to Galileo for denying science is obscenely absurd.

The major difference, of course, is that Galileo could actually DO SOME F-ING MATH!!

Ted Cruz can't.
+11 # indian weaver 2015-04-08 14:27
So, why are the Democratic candidates so cowardly and ignorant (or whatever) that Steyer has to do this instead of them? Where are they? Hiding behind piles of corruption money? Where was Obama his entire presidential term in facing off with the Republican criminal climate deniers? It's not like they don't have massive ammunition to throw at the climate deniers! The Democrats deserve to lose for their cowardice, if nothing else. They may have a better position on ACD, but you rarely hear about it. We need Steyer's money behind a Third Party. Steyer could form and support the inception of a powerful Peoples' Party so we can finally dump all these inbred, sold-out, big mouths with no backbones (Democrats, Republicans, dumdum dubya and dick the prick, Obama et. al). [By the way, this article is the best news I've read in a long time. Suddenly, I have hope for We The People. Thank God for Steyer.)
+7 # VoiceOfReason 2015-04-09 00:47
WONDERFUL news!!! Kudos to Tom Steyer and his group.

Here are ten reasons we all should be very concerned about climate change: (Part one)

1. Science academies worldwide, 97% of climate scientists, and 99.9% of peer-reviewed papers on the issue in respected scientific journals argue that climate change is real, is largely caused by human activities, and poses great threats to humanity.
2. Every decade since the 1970s has been warmer than the previous decade and all of the 16 warmest years since temperature records were kept in 1880 have been since 1998. 2014 was the warmest year recorded and the last 330 months have all been warmer than the long term average for corresponding months. This means, for example, that July, 2014 was warmer than the average for all previous Julys since 1880.
3. Polar icecaps and glaciers worldwide have been melting rapidly, faster than scientific projections.
4. There has been an increase in the number and severity of droughts, wildfires, storms, and floods.
5. California has been subjected to so many severe climate events recently that its governor, Jerry Brown, stated that, “Humanity is on a collision course with nature.”
6. Many climates experts believe that we are close to a tipping point when climate change will spiral out of control, with disastrous consequences, unless major positive changes soon occur.
7. While climate scientists believe that 350 parts per million (ppm) of atmospheric CO2 is a threshold value for climate stability, the world reached 400 ppm in 2014, and the amount is increasing by 2 - 3 ppm per year.
8. While climate scientists hope that temperature increases can be limited to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), largely because that is the best that can be hoped for with current trends and momentum, the world is now on track for an average increase of 4 – 5 degrees Celsius, which would produce a world with almost unimaginably negative climate events .
9. The Pentagon and other military groups believe that climate change will increase the potential for instability, terrorism, and war by reducing access to food and clean water and by causing tens of millions of desperate refuges fleeing from droughts, wildfire, floods, storms, and other effects of climate change.
10. The conservative group ConservAmerica (, formerly known as ‘Republicans for Environmental Protection,’ is very concerned about climate change threats. They are working to end the denial about climate threats and the urgency of working to avert them on the part of the vast majority of Republicans, but so far with very limited success.
+6 # ericlipps 2015-04-09 05:03
All Republicans should be concerned about climate change, since if it's real (and I say "if" chiefly to reflect GOP skepticism, not my own) it will pose a direct threat to business interests far worse than that offered by mere regulation.
+3 # Pufferly 2015-04-09 07:36
I favor a Third Party entering the race with support from Tom Steyer, a party
with no baggage. The Democrats have been the Wimp Wing of the Rethugnicons for too long, and are irreversibly compromised and corrupted by money. I'll call it The Survival Party, because that's what it will be. We are today hell bent on extinction. Who will tell the children?
0 # PABLO DIABLO 2015-04-09 10:39
They believe in God without a shred of evidence, but don't believe in "climate change" with mounting evidence. But more important do they want to take a chance on whether it is real?