Kristallnacht Arrived

Three Reasons Arpaio Pardon requires Censure

I SUPPORT CENSURE AGAINST TRUMP FOR TREASONOUS ACTIONS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

With regards to the Arpaio pardon, I have mostly heard the two obvious reasons in the news:

1. It was a nod to Nazis and a bold endorsement for racial discrimination.

2. It was a flagrant, disdainful rebuff of the rule of law. Arpaio wasn’t a common criminal. He defied federal judges to break the fourth amendment to carry out his racial profiling.

However, I have heard much less about the third reason. The Mueller probe into Trump’s Russian connections is the case on point. Mueller is in the process of finding lackeys who will flip and turn over documents. In order to do this, he has to apply pressure based on federal laws that the lackeys have broken, then offer them leniency.

3. If Trump can pardon anyone at any time for any federal crime or misdemeanor, no one loyal to Trump ever needs to flip. Obstruction of justice 101.

Arpaio’s pardon is, by far, the most destructive attack on democracy since the night of broken glass (Kristallnacht).

It seems to me that we have gone beyond the point where Trump has consolidated enough power to effectively take over the government. Erdogan in Turkey and Maduro in Venezuela have done what many thought impossible.

NOW IS THE TIME TO CENSURE TRUMP FOR TREASONOUS ACTIONS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

RESIST!

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Useful Links:

Senator Schatz:
Senator Hirono:
Representative Hanabusa:
Email Tulsi Gabbard at TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov
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© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

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This Gun is Smokin

ADOPTION: That was the smoke.

When Trump Jr. recently tweeted and emailed his June 2016 contact with Russian, Natalia Veselnitskaya, he revealed a planned, campaign related meeting hinging on the pretense of the “missing” Clinton emails.

William Browder was a Russian oligarch. He was ousted from his country for attempts to expose corruption. Browder gave detailed testimony to the Senate Judicial Committee on Thursday, 7/27/2017.

Almost immediately after “Congress passed the Magnitsky Act” in 2012, an adoption ban was imposed by Putin’s Kremlin. The Act “targets Russian human rights abusers by freezing their American assets and banning them from entering the U.S..” The Act minimizes the effect of corruption and prevents Russian style corruption from spreading around the globe. The adoption ban was “the most sadistic thing” Putin could do.

Magnitsky, the man for whom the Act was named, was Browder’s lawyer. He was killed for exposing systemic corruption in the Russian kleptocracy.

It’s clear the interest and goal in that meeting was to repeal the Magnistky Act… It’s the one thing we can agree with certainty that happened in that meeting,” said Browder according to CBS News.

COMPROMAT

Russians are all about getting dirt, to bribe or to extort, on anyone who might be useful to them. They use this dirt as blackmail material; “compromat,” in the Russian language. Browder explains the WHY about dossiers which are kept on nearly everyone of political or economic importance.

When Browder chose to be a whistleblower, the Russians had their compromat ready. “[T]he $230 million he thought his business was paying in taxes to the Russian Treasury was misappropriated and funneled to those in power, at once making him a criminal and making Putin’s circle richer.

THE BAIT

During the 2016 elections, a Russian operative reveals an enticing piece of information to the Trump campaign, specifically, Trump Jr. They were in possession of “incriminating evidence” against Hillary Clinton. But they want something in return; the repeal of the Magnitsky Act.

We know the meeting date was set on June 7, 2016.

In a campaign speech the same day, Trump Sr. boasts about having damaging Clinton information.

On June 9, the group met in Trump tower.

Soft-pedalling, the Russians open the meeting with a reference to the adoption ban.

THE REAL-ESTATE DEAL MAKER

For Trump Jr. it was business as usual and would include quid-pro-quo, hush-hush, wheeling and dealing just like his father taught him. But Trump Jr. did not seem to understand the adoption reference.

If it was Trump Jr. alone, I might believe that he was totally ignorant that he was being played for compromat. He seems–from news reports–to have been not just ignorant, but negligently ignorant of the connection between adoption and Clinton emails.

But Trump Jr. was not alone in that meeting: Manafort, Kushner, Veselnitskaya, Akhmetshin, Goldstone and others. These are very smart people. They would have been fully aware that any exchange in this meeting would constitute collusion and should have been reported immediately to the FBI.

What was said? What information was exchanged? What agreements were made? Why didn’t anyone report this to the FBI?

Did Trump Jr. actually get something from that meeting? How did his father get hold of “damaging” information to use on his campaign trail?

How can anyone explain what went on in that meeting without using the word “COLLUSION?”

REQUIRES A BLIND EYE

Forty minutes after the June 2016 meeting, in a nasty retort–a hallmark of his campaign and the modus operandi of his Presidency–Trump Sr. tweeted “where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?

  • On June 15, 2016, hacked DNC files are leaked by known Russian hacker, Guccifer 2.0.
  • July 27, Trump Sr. “calls on Russia to release emails from Clinton’s private server that were destroyed.
  • One month before the election, Wikileaks begins to release a stream of emails, dominating headlines from trusted news sources with trivial but damning information about the Clinton campaign.
  • Right wing conspiracy theories go off the chart.
  • Anti-Clinton fake news saturates social media.
  • Richard Comey, then FBI Director, publicly reopens the Clinton email investigation 11 days before the election.

And the rest is history.

Corruption. Adoption. Retaliation. Torture. Murder. Hacking. Emails. Sanctions. Bribes. Extortion.

These dots are so close, they make an underline ===>>> COLLUSION!

Trump and his swamp need to be held accountable.

RESIST!

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INFORMATIVE LINKS

NPR: Businessman Paints Terrifying And Complex Picture Of Putin’s Russia

Politico: White House rushes to defend Donald Trump Jr. in Russia meeting scandal

CNN: Trump Tower Russia meeting: At least eight people in the room

USA Today: Timeline: Donald Trump Jr.’s interactions with Kremlin-linked lawyer

Recreating June 9: A very consequential day in the 2016 campaign

CBS News: Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian lawyer was about sanctions, financier tells Senate panel This blog was updated to include this CBS News link.
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© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

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Shrinks Should Shout

An article in New York Magazine (NYMAG.COM) today, 7/26/2017, makes a compelling case for psychiatrists to speak out against the President.

Because I have to remind myself: Psychiatrists are trained medical doctors who can prescribe medications. Psychologists focus extensively on psychotherapy. There are over 37,000 members in the American Psychiatric Association and there are over 100,000 licensed psychologists in the U.S.

Psychiatrists, in 1973, instituted an ethical standard called the “Goldwater Rule.” The rule prevents them from offering psychatric opinions on people whom they have not personally evaluated. The article posits that many psychiatrists follow the rule because of the history in the Goldwater/Johnson presidential race. The printing of survey results in a magazine were deemed “larded with over-the-top, unscientific language.”

There’s a simple fix. Any tentative diagnosis based on publicly available information “must be accompanied by the disclaimer that without evaluating a patient in person, an official diagnosis isn’t possible. This, in turn, would allow for a greater number of psychiatrists to weigh in on Trump’s hateful rhetoric and self-absorbtion.

One does not need to be a psychiatrist to see that Trump is a “dangerous lunatic.” But a larger chorus of reasoned voices can simply point out the obvious. He incites people to act on hatred. He is self-absorbed and everything has to be about him. He cannot control impulsive, demeaning statements to or about anyone. He values truth, science and education with disdain. His world is positive or negative, black or white, loves it or hates it. Like Smeagol, he can turn into Gollum on a heartbeat. Apologies to Gollum who could, at least, form full thoughts and sentences.

The Goldwater Rule prevents psychiatrists from engaging in free speech. It prevents them from contributing to the discussion we need to have, today, about Trump’s lack of fitness for the Presidency. It institutionalizes a rule that creates the society we all fear in the Martin Neimoller poem; “First they came.”

As a parent and volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America, I am outraged that Trump saw fit to abuse our children at the BSA Annual Jamboree. He treated them like captives. Goading his loyal following to a frenzy while the rest of us had to stand by and watch.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, neurosurgeons and anyone else who feels bound by ethical standards should realize the consequences of not breaking the Goldwater Rule.

RESIST!

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INFORMATIVE LINKS

NYMAG.COM: It’s Time to Retire the ‘Goldwater Rule’

How many psychologists?

Washington Post: Trump’s gratuitously political Boy Scouts speech, annotated

“First they came”


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© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

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Multimodal Transportation Credit

HAWAII IS UNIMODAL

That is; Hawaiians predominantly use cars to the detriment of other modes of transportation. We get plenty of encouragement. Commuters get bonuses for owning, personalizing and driving four wheel automobiles, often without any passengers. Pre-tax credits; including reimbursements for parking fees, bus passes or other mass transit fees, drive our vehicular economy. We raise the social expectation that cars are the equivalent of personal freedom and self-expression. Cars are not only the single acceptable mode of transportation, they become a status symbol, a cultural icon and a personal possession. Without a car, one is deemed lacking.

The societal impact has captured us. There are over 780,000 vehicles on Oahu. That’s nearly as many cars as the entire island population. All of these cars need to be parked somewhere during the day and then again at night. Twenty four hours a day–both moving and parked–cars dominate the streets. We sit in cars, sometimes for hours per day, in backed up traffic, squeezed between everyone else’s cultural icon and envying or scorning the worth of their status symbol. This endless, sit-down, do-nothing car-time leads to blocked arteries, high-blood pressure and early deaths. Yet, this is what we value–somehow–more than an active and healthy lifestyle.

BASIC NEEDS’ CREDITS

Hawaii is one of the few states that provides refundable tax credits for food and shelter to low income taxpayers.

The renters credit can get you $50 each qualified person in a household (HRS 235-55.7) and the food credit is worth up to $100 for each person on your tax return (HRS 235-55.85). Both the renters and the food tax credits put money back into the hands of low income taxpayers; the people most likely to spend that money on food and shelter.

These incentives reflect the values of a progressive, democratic and compassionate society that takes care of those less fortunate. Both credits provide a practical social benefit program that recognizes the needs of individual members of our community without creating status symbols or cultural icons that lead us into self-destructive behavior.

NO HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CREDIT

For all its progressive ideals, Hawaii lacks incentives for one of our most basic needs; to stay healthy and active throughout our lives. Our largely democratic and ethnically diverse Hawaiian population has little incentive for enjoying the outdoors and being part of the community.

Bicycles, scooters, skates and skateboards are purchased but soon left in the garage or attic to rust. Going to work under human power; to walk, to bike or other multimodal transportation, is not valued as much as driving a car.

To change these social norms–ingrained for decades–Hawaii needs a healthy lifestyle credit. I’m going to propose such a credit, but first we need to understand how the Master Bike Plan and the recently launched Bikeshare program have made our state ready to implement this–first in the Nation—Multimodal Transportation Credit.

BIKESHARE

Bikesharing is the common ownership of a bunch of bicycles. In Hawaii, the Biki bikeshare program is funded through a public/private, non-profit partnership. Donations to the program have given the people of Oahu over 1,000 bicycles for use by any and all. The program is designed to be self-sufficient and possibly even profitable. Such profits are to be used to improve the bikesharing program.

In theory, any person in Hawaii who needs to get from point A to point B will be able to hop on a Biki bike and get to where they want to go.

In practice, Biki costs more than taking The Bus; $3.50 for a 30 minute ride, and it’s limited to the most populated and tourist heavy areas of Honolulu. So, the question is whether “87 Biki stops with 1,000 bikes between Chinatown and Diamond Head” are enough to make the bikeshare program viable.

Wyatt Gordon, a former intern at Bikeshare Hawaii, said that, at $180 per year, Biki is the most expensive bikesharing program in the country. After studying similar programs across the country, Gordon found that they average about $85 a year. “The way the [Biki] pricing structure is now, I don’t see any locals really planning using this.”

However, with options like $15 per month for unlimited 30-minute rides, $25 per month for unlimited 60-minute rides, and $20 for 300 anytime minutes, the Biki pricing is extremely competitive against a $60 per month bus pass. At least for those who can ride a bicycle and don’t have to travel too far.

Car owners may also need to re-calculate the value they actually get from their vehicles. A car gets about 10 miles per dollar at $3 per gallon (assuming 30 miles per gallon). If you live 2.5 miles from where you work, one dollar gets you two round trip commutes. The $15 per month Biki pass is competitive. With 260 working days in a year, Biki’s $180 annual cost divides out to about seventy cents per day.

Plus no wear and tear on the car, no traffic congestion, no carbon emissions, the added benefits of exercise and time to enjoy this beautiful Hawaiian tropical paradise! A tax credit could be just the incentive we need to change our perspective and our behavior.

THE MASTER BIKE PLAN

The Honolulu Bicycle Master Plan has been around since 1999. Planners have envisioned–long-term–nearly 700 miles of bikeways, including 310 miles in the city. Their goals are based on societal issues such as healthy communities, sustainable practices, energy independence, and transportation economics.

The installation of the King Street protected bike lane proved that the carefully constructed pathway would act as a magnet for cyclists and would have negligible impact on automobile traffic. Barely two miles long, the protected bike lane nearly doubled the number of daily bicycle commuters within one year of its opening day.

People want to get out of their cars. They want to go to work, school, shopping and exercise. They want to improve their health, do something for the planet and participate in a solution.

If you already own a bike, you should be encouraged to ride it. Commute, exercise, enjoy the sunshine and marvel at how many double rainbows appear in our skies nearly everyday. If you already ride, you should be rewarded. If you think you should ride more, a tax credit might just be the incentive you need.

MULTIMODAL TRANSPORTATION CREDIT

A Multimodal Transportation Credit could provide a social, behavioral incentive for Hawaiian residents to improve their health. They may rent a Biki or pump up the tires on their own bicycle. The incentive should reward users for contributing to the success of the bikeshare program. Alternatively, it should help offset the cost of owning and maintaining one’s own bicycle.

Biki should provide user accounts which can be verified at the end of each year. Anytime a Biki bike is taken from a kiosk, the user’s fee can be tracked and logged for proof. Such paid fees can be verified.

Also, with the rise of personal fitness devices, smartphone apps easily track individual rides over the course of a year. From my own personal experience, using these applications makes you want to get out and ride more. Each ride is measured by GPS to within a tenth of a mile. A taxpayer need only attest to the registered bike number, the name of the fitness tracking software and the number of miles ridden each year.

Initially, the credit could be limited to $20 for individuals with adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $30,000, just like the renter’s credit. In subsequent years, the AGI limit and / or the actual credit could be increased by inflation or by some set amount.

While some might be inclined to cheat just for $20 of tax credit, each year every Honolulu taxpayer would get an education in the first-ever healthy lifestyle credit offered in the United States.

As the program is refined and matures into a measurable lifestyle changer for Hawaii residents, the Multimodal Transportation Credit can become the model for other States to aspire to having a healthier population.

PROPOSED LANGUAGE
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§235-55.? Income tax credit for multimodal transportation users.

  • a) As used in this section:
    • (1) “Adjusted gross income” is defined by section 235-1.
    • (2) “Qualified exemption” includes those exemptions permitted under this chapter; provided that a person for whom exemption is claimed has physically resided in the State for more than nine months during the taxable year; and provided that multiple exemption shall not be granted because of deficiencies in vision, hearing, or other disability.
    • (3) “Multimodal transport vehicles” include bicycles, electric bicycles (e-bikes), and self-balancing unicycles. All multimodal transport vehicles shall be registered in accordance with HRS §249-14.
    • (4) “Multimodal transportation” means a transportation infrastructure system designed to convey people by multimodal transport vehicles as well as bus, train, automobile, and other motorized transporation.
    • (5) “Bikeshare program” means a program sponsored by public and private dollars providing short-range transportation for commuters and visitors. The purchase of time on a Biki bike is not just a rental of a transport vehicle, but a contribution to a program intended to change social norms about living a healthier lifestyle.
    • (6) etc…
  • (b) Each taxpayer living within the State as a resident, who is not eligible to be claimed as a dependent for federal or state income taxes by another, and who files an individual net income tax return for a taxable year, may claim a tax credit under this section against the resident taxpayer’s Hawaii state individual net income tax.
  • (c)
    • (1) Each taxpayer with an adjusted gross income of less than $30,000 who has paid more than $100.00 to a bikeshare program during the taxable year for which the credit is claimed may claim a tax credit of $20; provided each taxpayer sixty-five years of age or over may claim double the tax credit; and provided that a resident individual who has no income or no income taxable under this chapter may also claim the tax credit as set forth in this section.
    • (2) Each taxpayer with an adjusted gross income of less than $30,000 who has used a multimodal commuter transport vehicle for over 200 days or over 500 miles during the taxable year for which the credit is claimed may claim a tax credit of $20; provided each taxpayer sixty-five years of age or over may claim double the tax credit; and provided that a resident individual who has no income or no income taxable under this chapter may also claim the tax credit as set forth in this section.
  • (d) The tax credits shall be deductible from the taxpayer’s individual net income tax for the tax year in which the credits are properly claimed; provided that a husband and wife filing separate returns for a taxable year for which a joint return could have been made by them shall claim only the tax credits to which they would have been entitled had a joint return been filed. In the event the allowed tax credits exceed the amount of the income tax payments due from the taxpayer, the excess of credits over payments due shall be refunded to the taxpayer; provided that allowed tax credits properly claimed by an individual who has no income tax liability shall be paid to the individual; and provided further that no refunds or payments on account of the tax credits allowed by this section shall be made for amounts less than $1.
  • (e) The director of taxation shall prepare and prescribe the appropriate form or forms to be used herein, may require proof of the claim for tax credits, and may adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91.
  • (f) All of the provisions relating to assessments and refunds under this chapter and under section 231-23(c)(1) shall apply to the tax credits hereunder.
  • (h) Claims for tax credits under this section, including any amended claims thereof, shall be filed on or before the end of the twelfth month following the taxable year for which the credit may be claimed.

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    INFORMATIVE LINKS:

    Honolulu Magazine, Honolulu’s First Bike Sharing Program

    ” You’ll buy a half-hour for $3.50 or, better, a $20 pass with 300 minutes on it. “Ride to lunch that day for 10 minutes, you have 290 minutes left to use,” says Trevino. “The pass never expires.””

    Civil Beat: Bikeshare Hawaii Will Start Rolling With A Fair Pricing Structure

    “… prices for casual users, with confusing fares and escalating overtime penalties, were the money makers. Confused users subsidize savvy “dock surfers” who link together rides from station to station always remaining under the 30-minute time limit….
    received a grant from the city and state totaling $2 million that cannot be used to purchase equipment. This grant has supported our planning, outreach, start up, launch and early operating expenses, and has not yet been fully utilized.”

    Hawaii News Now: As Honolulu bikeshare program nears debut, concerns about safety and affordability linger

    “Wyatt Gordon, a former intern at Bikeshare Hawaii, said the cheapest option for island residents is a $15 monthly pass, or $180 annually — the highest in the country. He studied similar programs in cities such as Boston, Denver and San Francisco, which average about $85 a year. “The way the pricing structure is now, I don’t see any locals really planning using this.”

    HNN Oahu has fewer registered vehicles

    HNL C&C Bicycle Program

    Honolulu Master Bike Plan.PDF

    King Street Protected Bike Lane

    Miles per Dollar Calculator

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    © Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

    The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

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The Plastics Economy Reform Act

A preamble

The first firm to figure out how to put a complete plastic recycling facility inside a shipping container is going to make a lot of money.

THE PERMANENCE OF PLASTIC

A plastic straw for your drink. A fork, a spoon. Plastic and Styrofoam wrap for your leftover foods. Single use water bottles sold by the caseload. Plastic packaging on every single cut of beef, chicken and pork you buy in the supermarket. Super-tough plastic encasing your 128 GigaByte thumb drive. And none of this ever gets used again. It’s permanent, yet goes directly into our trash.

That trash becomes a stream; an endless procession of plastic bags filled with plastic trash, thrown into a compacting truck and dumped in a landfill will billions of other pieces of plastic trash. Our once-touched possessions may blow away in the wind, catch on trees and fences, settle in rivers and waterways and eventually make its way down to the ocean; tattered, brittle and impossible to collect.

In our best economic model, plastics are recycled and reused. But who reuses used plastics?

ECOSYSTEMS ARE STRESSED

Plastic debris can be found floating in the most remote parts of the globe. Diatoms, shrimp and krill feed on microplastics. Sea birds feed plastic remnants to their chicks. Sea turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. Baleen whales filter buoyant clouds of plastic chips mistaking the toxic waste for their favorite foods.

Toxic compounds have made their way up the food chain and affect almost all edible forms of sea life from clams to tuna. Sharks, dolphins, seals, otters and whales are being caught up in discarded plastic netting found floating in gyres all over every ocean.

Today’s technologies are good at turning some used plastic into single use packages. Yet, much of this is shipped overseas to third-world markets. Third world countries have no regular trash service, yet single use plastics are marketed here in greater quantity than anywhere else on Earth.

Third-world rivers take all this unbreakable waste downstream and into the oceans in unimaginable quantities.

The human toll of plastics is unmeasured. Families, already living in poverty, burn free discarded plastic waste to light their wood fires and cook their freshly caught fish taken from contaminated waters; literally eating toxic food cooked over toxic fires. Young children dig through mountains of plastic and other waste to recover enough recyclable material to afford food for their families. Lung diseases and other easily treated medical conditions prevail and consume otherwise healthy people, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

MUST SEE DOCUMENTARIES

One need not take my word for these things. I want to point to two of the most powerful documentaries I have seen.

PLASTIC PARADISE, Angela Sun (2013): Hawaii’s own Angela Sun takes us on her personal quest to find the origins of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. She takes us from the origins of the most indestructible material ever created to the shores of Midway Atoll where sea bird carcasses reveal the toxic legacy of plastic. Think this doesn’t matter to you? The next time you reach for your receipt at the grocery store, your body will absorb minute amounts of Bisphenol A, a product of the plastics industry with long-term unknown consequences.

A PLASTIC OCEAN, Tanya Streeter (2016): Ms. Streeter, a free-diver who has witnessed the plastic in the ocean first-hand, is a new mother in this film, documenting the pervasiveness of plastic in our environment. From otters, seals, dolphins and sharks trapped in netting to baleen whales washed ashore with bellies full of microplastics. This film explores the succession of wildlife, from diatoms to blue whales that ingest and process a battery of toxic chemicals in microplastics. Our food chain and the entire web of life on our planet is being poisoned by single use plastics. With graphic footage of seabird parents regurgitating plastics into the mouths of their chicks, Ms. Streeter drives home the need for action against plastic pollution. (On Netflix now.)

MANDATORY RECYCLING

Mandatory recycling of plastic bottles laws have been passed in a handful of states. People in these states, at the very least, have acknowledged that plastic is permanent.

California’s mandatory commercial recycling program is based upon a 2008 statewide study which determined nearly 75% of solid waste was generated from businesses. In 2012, the governor signed legislation requiring businesses that generate more than 4 cubic yards of waste to arrange for recycling services.

“Recycling…It’s the law” is Connecticut’s tagline. Residents, businesses, public agencies and private institutions must all recycle. Connecticut law requires residents to be educated about items that must be recycled. Manufacturers of certain items are required to provide collection systems for used products to keep them out of the waste stream.

Massachusetts provides a series of recycling web pages that tell you just where to take your trash. Whether you have plastics, bottles, electronics or Styrofoam, this state wants you to know your rights and responsibilities as a consumer.

Plastic bottle bans and mandatory recycling laws have been passed in New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Other states, like Hawaii have passed plastic bag bans and bottle recycling programs.

However, no state has even proposed comprehensive economic reform to address the prevalence and permanence of plastic in our lives.

HAWAIIAN PLASTIC PROTECTION

The Hawaii Deposit Beverage Container Program has been active since January 2005. The success of our program is a lethargic 70% redemption rate with plastic bottles coming in at only 60% recycled in 2015. The container fee, a hidden 1% fee charged to beverage distributors is increased when redemption rates exceed 70%. This disincentive is likely one reason why recycling is not as effective as it could be.

It’s too early to tell how Hawaii’s plastic bag ban, in effect since July 2015, has helped our environment or our ecosystem. The City Ordinance (Ch9.Art9) failed to include any means to measure its effect. Though the scope was limited to ban specific plastic bags, there are already forces challenging the ban. City Council Bill 59 (2016), CD1 would give businesses the ability to use virtually any kind of plastic bag they choose. Without compliance data, proponents of the ban have no defense.

In 2015 and 2016, we became incensed that someone was putting plastic in our toothpaste and face-creams without telling us. Heck, I feel betrayed by 4 out of 5 doctors. Currently, Hawaii has no protections against microplastics or microbeads. In 2016, legislators proposed banning microbeads in four separate Hawaii bills, each with insightful preambles that used the best science to effectively communicate how plastics are having a very harmful effect on our planet.

This year (2017), SB1198 also proposes a ban on microbeads. But, seriously, microbeads are the tip of the plastic iceberg. Why aren’t we equally concerned about our bottles, plastic bags and milk crates that litter our ocean floor and wash up, broken on our beaches? Some of this stuff can be dated back to the 1940s and 1950s.

Our scattershot attempts at addressing plastics, so far, has provided us no protection from the toxic chemicals accumulating in our environment. We must create a plan to change people’s behavior and evolve to an economy which can accept the permanence of plastics in our lives. Only then can we responsibly deal with the consequences.

A RECYCLABLE ECONOMY

NewPlasticsEconomy.org points out that the plastics industry produces $80 to $120 Billion of packaging and other materials every year. Only 14% of this material gets reused and the rest goes into the waste stream. Globally, about a third of all plastic waste ends up spoiling our interconnected ecosystems. NewPlasticsEconomy wants to promote the idea that there is money to be made. If we can capture the lost value in these throw-away, indestructible materials, it will go a long way towards creating jobs, increasing the value of plastics and saving the environment.

With partners like Pepsico, Coca Cola, Dupont, BASF and Nestle, this organization is offering a $2 million prize to designers, scientists, academics and entrepreneurs to “create a plastics system that works.”

Part of that challenge needs to be taken on by governments like the State of Hawaii. Sure, we have a bottle fee and recycling program and now that plastic bags have been banned from supermarkets, we feel a little bit vindicated. But the truth is that today’s recycling programs fall far short of getting the most harmful forms of plastic from our environment.

PLASTIC PROPOSALS

The Four Post Table to a recyclable economy:
1) Consumer incentives,
2) Commercially viable products and businesses,
3) Sustainable plastic recycling research, and
4) Government incentives.

Consumer incentives need to engage a person with a compelling reason to divert plastic from the landfill. We need to broaden the scope of consumer incentives with a $.05 cents per pound incentive for plastic and other recyclable materials. Recycling centers should be authorized to accept and pay for such materials, such as bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts, Tupperware, Ziploc bags and other household plastic waste. The state should provide consumer education for how to handle mixed plastics, such as window envelopes and packaging where the plastic is glued onto paper or cardboard. And, what about that safety plastic around bottle caps. That’s pretty pure plastic. Where should it go in the waste stream.

Paper forks are real. A pack of 50 will cost $10 on Amazon. But the competition is stiff. For the same price, a business can get a box of 500 plastic forks. Can a local producer create a cheaper paper fork? Viable commercial products are a crucial part of the equation to a plastic independent nation. We need to consider incentives for the producers of the non-toxic, non-permanent single use item.

Plastic producers need disincentives, too. Manufacturers and resellers should be charged a per pound plastic recycling fee similar to the bottle fee. The fees collected should be directed towards establishing and maintaining a plastics recovery facility that pays for each pound collected. Such facilities are nearly turnkey possible with products like the “Green Machine.” Hawaii could provide a tax incentive for entrepreneurs willing to establish such a business.

Schools are hotbeds of innovation, yet they are underutilized as resources to solving economic and environmental crises like plastics. Scholarships and grants should be provided to encourage sciences that could yield breakthroughs in plastics or plastic replacement technologies.

Our state government can fund technologies, through tax credits, to help clean our environment of toxic waste material and produce useful by products. We could also be providing ongoing subsidies to make sure that such products and facilities are profitable in the long-run.

Here are a few of the ideas that could create a profitable plastic economy:

* Provide University assistance into research to miniaturize and improve the optical sorting technologies that can sort mixed plastics.
* Encourage research into turning used plastics into commercial grade products, like pothole fillers or road grade construction material.
* Establish business incentives that encourage the use of compostable single use items; forks, knifes, spoons and plates for takeout food.
* Fund university research into technologies that improve the recovery of used plastics, especially when they have been subject to extreme biodegradation.
* Establish a prize sponsorship with tax incentives for donors for figuring out how to convert toxic plastics into environmentally friendly and commercially viable products.
* The Hawaiian Islands are perfect test beds, with miles of ocean-bound viaducts and underground drainage systems, giving us ample opportunities to design and test plastic waste catchment systems.
* And, to round out the whole program, provide incentives for plasma waste converters to vaporize the remaining irreducible material to its component elements.

PLASTICS ARE HERE TO STAY

It’s not an understatement to say that the future of humanity is at stake. NewPlasticsEconomy predicts that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by the year 2050. This crisis has the potential to be one of the Great Filters that can end a civilization.

With President Trump formally withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords, it is up to individual states in the United States of America to re-assert the importance of all life on this planet. As Americans in the most ethnically diverse state in the Union, we cannot accept isolationism. We are all connected and this blue planet is ours to protect.

Passing comprehensive legislation aimed at establishing a sustainable plastics economy can empower individuals and their communities to tackle this world-wide problem now. Hawaii can lead the way!

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INFORMATIVE LINKS:

CalRecycle.CA.gov Mandatory Commercial Recycling

Connecticut DEEP. “Recycling…It’s the Law!”

Mass Waste & Recycling

The Association of Plastic Recyclers

The New Plastics Economy Project

The GreenMachine.com

Hawaii Plant Turns Trash into Energy Using Gasification

Hawaii Deposit Beverage Container Program

The Bottle Bill

Plastic Paradise, the movie

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© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Protecting Hawaii Revenue

President Trump and his kowtowing Congressional Republicans have threatened to repeal the federal estate tax, again. Most recently attempted under President George W. Bush, the estate tax bounced back in 2011 because it was expected to significantly increase the federal budget deficit beyond ten years; the Byrd Rule. If Trump signs a repeal, it will have the same ten year boomerang provision.

CIVILIZATION AND TAXES

The concept of a tax upon the transfer of untaxed wealth has survived since ancient Egyptian times. For over 100 years, the IRS has been empowered to collect the modern day estate tax. Because the tax addresses the end of life transfer of wealth and people don’t usually plan on dying within ten years, it is generally agreed that the tax should not be tampered with too often. Constantly changing the estate tax makes it very difficult to do estate planning.

Estate planning is a complex topic. The tax is comprised of various parts. There is a tax on the value of appreciated assets in the estate. There is a parallel tax on gifts given during a persons’ lifetime. Then there is a tax on transfers of wealth that skip generations. The various parts have to be coordinated or unified to prevent abuse. As complex as it is, today’s estate tax regime works very well to capture taxes that have never been paid.

THE KLEPTOCRATIC OLIGARCHY

For Trump, the estate tax works too well. The rich, powerful and greedy elite who have hijacked our government would have us believe that smaller government is better government. Yet, from executive orders that are personally enriching himself and his loyal followers to the grossly warped Republican party proposing to throw 22 million Americans off health insurance; Trump is creating a world in which extremely rich, conspiracy driven elites are consolidating power at the expense of those of us in the 99 percent who pay taxes.

Nationally, there is over $17 billion dollars per year at stake. That amount of money pays for more than a few government programs. In Hawaii, the IRS 2015 data tables show that we contribute over $23 million federal dollars to the estate tax pot of money. All our contribution would be lost if Trump were to repeal the federal estate tax.

A SIMPLE IDEA

Earlier this year, California’s Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) proposed legislation (Senate Bill 726) to redirect his state’s $4.5 billion federal estate tax contribution back to his home state. Wiener has an uphill battle against a 1980’s, voter-passed, anti-tax initiative. But his idea is simple.

If Trump repeals the Federal Estate Tax, states should recoup those federally earmarked dollars for their own use.

Here in Hawaii, this simple idea could occur with a simple legislative fix.

LOCAL NUMBERS

In 2015, Hawaii had 47 estates with over $457 million dollars potentially subject to federal estate tax. After allowable deductions, only 21 estates actually paid the estate tax. Keep in mind, these 21 estates represent 2 of every 1,000 people who died in Hawaii in 2015. They were the richest people on our islands. They benefited most from the capitalist-democratic-republic in which they earned and accumulated their wealth. They accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars upon which no tax was ever paid in their lifetimes. This is not the Tutu you knew.

I have nothing against rich people. We all seek to accumulate wealth, to have a healthy retirement and to leave some money for our children when we are gone. Most of us pay tax on the money we accumulate. Sometimes that money goes without tax, such as IRAs, pensions, the appreciation of a home bought 40 years ago, and stocks that were bought for a dollar but can now be sold for $100 or even $1,000 per share.

But more often, between payroll tax, income tax and myriad other consumer taxes, our tax rates are likely to eat away close to 40% of our income. For those Hawaiians who had to pay tax on their accumulated wealth, they paid $23 million on a total of nearly $460 million, most of which had never before been taxed. Their effective tax rate: about 5%.

PAYING OUR DUES

For those of us lucky enough to accumulate some wealth, our federal tax code already provides deductions of nearly $5.5 million (in 2017) to each individual to transfer to our children tax-free upon our death. Couples can double that number. For those of us in the bottom 99%, we pay tax on nearly all of our income. It’s only fair that a small tax comes due for people who have never paid tax. That’s what the estate tax is all about.

The current federal estate tax code is a reasonable balance between a simple tax and a fair tax. Repealing the estate tax would create giant loopholes for the super-wealthy to accumulate more wealth and pay even less tax. All you have to do is realize that Trump is at the helm of this ship. Any repeal of the estate tax will be neither simple nor fair.

Chapters 236D and 236E of the Hawaii Revised Statutes apply to Estate and Transfer Taxes. In general, the Hawaii taxable estate is tied to the value of the federal taxable estate. Should the Trump administration succeed in passing a repeal of the federal estate tax laws, Hawaii will no longer have a basis to compute tax on an estate.

TSUNAMI ALERT

You know that monthly siren you hear at 11:45am once per month? It’s not 11:45am and that alarm is not stopping!

In the event the U.S. Congress passes legislation repealing federal estate taxes, the State of Hawaii should adopt, in full and in addition to HRS §§236D & 236E, all provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 USC Subtitle B as existed before any repeal of such law.

It should be the intent of this new Hawaii Revised Statute to continue the federal estate, transfer and generation-skipping transfer tax laws explicitly to benefit the State of Hawaii. The new law should, as closely as possible, reflect the rules and regulations of the Internal Revenue Code as of the date of its repeal.

Hawaii residents will not incur a tax increase from this small, preemptive legislation. Rather, we will protect Hawaiian revenue with a replacement of the repealed federal estate tax. The mirror image State estate tax will accrue to the benefit of all Hawaiians for needs here on our islands such as healthcare, housing, education and transportation.

WHEN YOU’RE DEAD, YOU DON’T GET TAXED

Finally, no one pays a “death tax.” In the re-write, both federal and state laws should be purged to dispell the false and politically partisan myth of a death tax. It is an affront to every individual, alive or dead, to perpetuate the notion that a tax is levied upon one’s death. In every instance where a death tax is referenced, such tax should be properly named for the estate, inheritance, legacy, or succession taxes that are actually levied.

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INFORMATIVE LINKS:

Senate Bill 726, Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)

Some anti-estate tax nonsense from the far right

2015 IRS Statistics of Income tables represent the latest figures available

26 U.S. Code Subtitle B – Estate and Gift Taxes

HRS §§ 236D & 236E

It’s Time for a Bluexit | New Republic

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© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

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I Support Impeachment

The following letter is formatted for you to cut and paste to your representative. If you are unsure who your U.S. Congressional and Senatorial representatives are, use the U.S. House “Find your Representative” search feature and the “Find your Senators” feature at these links.
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TOPIC: Intelligence, Crime, Government
SUBJECT: I SUPPORT IMPEACHMENT
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Honorable Senator Schatz:
Honorable Senator Hirono:
Honorable Representative Hanabusa:
Honorable Representative Gabbard:

I SUPPORT A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR INTO THE TRUMP-RUSSIA CONNECTIONS AND I SUPPORT IMPEACHMENT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Our President of the United States of America has revealed classified information to Russian dignitaries and known Russian spies. This instant, we must acknowledge high crimes and misdemeanors.

Our President of the United States of America has consistently violated the Emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Our President of the United States of America has impaired and obstructed inquiries of the U.S. Department of Justice into Trump’s conflicts of interest and ties to the worst Russian mobs.

Our President of the United States of America has undermined the American executive branch and judicial system through malicious firing of civil servants, felonious intimidation of witnesses, demanding fealty from independent agencies, and demeaning the integrity of the departments of the U.S. government who SERVE the American people.

Our President of the United States of America has promoted religion in schools in contradiction of the First Amendment. He has appointed agency heads who have repealed regulations governing toxic chemical, such as chlorpyrifos, which have resulted in sickness and death. He has boldly promoted non-scientific, anti-vaxxer beliefs as whole communities are being sickened with Mumps and Measles. Trump has promoted a health care bill that will deprive tens of thousands of people the most basic of human dignities so that his friends can enjoy billions in tax breaks. Trump is promoting a deadly populist racism and has used the White Power fist on dozens of occasions.

Our President is not an American. Our President is the swamp.

A INDEPENDENT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR must be enjoined to get to the bottom of the Trump-Russia connections.

A Special Committee should be established to prepare the ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT against President Trump.

YOUR NAME
YOUR HOME TOWN, HI
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Links:

Slate: Articles of Impeachment
Senator Schatz:
Senator Hirono:
Representative Hanabusa:
Email Tulsi Gabbard at TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov
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© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Census Director Departs

The resignation of the Census Director, in charge since 2013, points to deep concerns for the 2020 Census under Trump.

On May 9, 2017, the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, John H. Thompson, tendered his resignation. According to U.S. Census web site, Thompson’s biography notes that he had been picked to “oversee preparations for the 2020 Census.” With just three years to go and a serious shortfall in funding for 2020 Census programs, Thompson, a 30 year government employee, made his move. Why now?

In his resignation statement he said he “plans to pursue opportunities in the private sector.”

Thompson is a statistician and an executive. My hunch is he applied an advanced algorithm to statistically determine the success or failure of the 2020 Census. If you account for factors such as congressional voting records over the last eight years, the abilities of Trump’s cabinet to get work done rather than dismantling the agencies to which they have been appointed, some additional problems outlined below and the likelihood of a personal twitter attack from Trump, the outlook for the 2020 Census looks dismal. But the outlook for the Director of the 2020 Census is Kobayashi Maru.

It is statistically likely that Thomas calculated NOW is the best time to get out.

CENSUS OBSTACLES

Let history not repeat itself.

In the 1941 Second War Powers Act, legal protections for confidential census data were repealed. This is a very important protection for people who are asked to self-identify on official U.S. Government Census forms. The FBI then compiled U.S. Census data to identify and intern over 100,000 Japanese Americans. About 15,000 Italian and German Americans were also interned. The confidentiality protections were restored in 1947, but this has not stopped racially and politically motivated actors from testing the protections. In 1980, FBI agents again tried to seize Census data.

Today, we have a President who obstinately defends immigration orders that specifically target the American-Muslim community. The White House wants to include an immigration status question in the long-form U.S. Census. Hackles raised I quote:

    If the Census Bureau included an immigration-related question on the ACS but not on the census itself, it would raise questions about whether the White House intends to use the information collected on both the ACS and census to track down and deport undocumented immigrants.

Trump does not have the best relationship with the FBI or any of the U.S. investigative agencies at the moment. But he is the Commander in Chief. How far will Trump go to get Census information? One can guess. Thomas probably has the statistics.

Now in charge of the United States Justice Department, the racially divisive Jeff Sessions is doubling down on punitive law enforcement measures. He is resurrecting the failed “War on Drugs” and promoting stricter sentences in criminal cases which have historically targeted minority communities. Draconian law enforcement practices have caused generations of families to live in poverty and without fathers. Sessions rolled back the Obama order to stop federal funding for for-profit prisons. The money spigot is open again. What better way to fill up those prisons than with targeted census data.

By the job description, the person at the head of the Census effort will be complicit in identifying people who this administration has already begun to target. Someone in Nazi Germany had to count the Jews and schedule the trains. The sword is double-edged. If the Census succeeds, you hand over this rich data trove to corrupt politicians whom you cannot trust. If the Census fails, you’re a political piñata. Thomas likely predicted both possibilities would be the crowning glory of his career if he stuck around.

Today in America, it’s just not a good time to be a Civil Servant.

CENSUS BATTLEGROUNDS:

LGBTQ groups are fighting to be recognized on the new long-form Census. Middle eastern groups are fighting to not be recognized.

Choosing battles is important.

This country is a few steps away from despotism. The latest straw on the scales was the firing of FBI Director, James Comey. In his interview with Lester Holt, Trump admitted that the firing was explicitly for the purpose of impeding the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia. The “despot to be” doesn’t seem to understand that foreign interference in American Democracy does not make America Great. We went from Jersey Shore to Klepto-Idiocracy in less than a decade. The orange man brought it. It’s still a reality TV show only, now, the stakes are a whole lot higher.

The U.S. Constitution does not require counting religious or political affiliations. It does not require a DNA based assessment of race and ethnicity that, for the most part, are social constructs which emerged less than 500 years ago. The Constitution does not even treat all people as whole, counting “the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

LGBTQ’s should be especially wary. The Census records self-identifying personal information. Dictators tend to single out individuals or groups for oppression. AG Sessions knows what he is doing by reviving the War on Drugs. He is making sure that the for-profit, private prison industry continues to be a profitable venture for its investors and his supporters. Identifying as LGBTQ could derail the whole progressive self-identification movement with a drastic curtailment of liberties. I hesitate to think that even more severe and harsh retribution could come from a ruling class devoid of moral or ethical values like Trump himself.

Middle eastern identification is also problematic. Currently, the concept of “white” or “Caucasian” includes original peoples of the Middle East or North Africa (MENA). “It includes people who indicate their race as “White” or report entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Arab, Moroccan, or Caucasian.” Self identification has many positive uses; such as for voter protections, English as a Second Language programs in schools and housing discrimination reports.

However, we must remain keenly aware that Islamophobic groups have tripled under the regime that Trump is promoting today. Some of those groups are heavily armed and are actively training against a hostile takeover of “Christian America.” Trump, the voter-fraud in chief, has just appointed Kris Kobach, whom the ACLU calls “King of Voter Suppression,” to lead a voter fraud commission.

Minority self-identification should not be a cause for fear; but it is.

I don’t have the answer, but I would say that the LGBTQ and MENA battle plans should be re-strategized in the light of current events.

THE CENSUS BUDGET

In 2010, the Census cost U.S. taxpayers more than any other census in American history. At over $12 billion, the 2010 U.S. Census cost about $42 per person. China did it for $1 and India did it for $0.40 cents. The GOP is hopping mad that projections for the 2020 U.S. Census could top $90 per capita.

Oh, and did I mention that Congress has determined that the 2020 U.S. Census should not exceed the $12B funding limit of the 2010 U.S. Census?

CENSUS PREPARATIONS:

In 2010, the Census Bureau successfully hired more than 630,000 workers from 12 regional and 343 local census offices at a time when unemployment in the U.S. was 9.5%. A very large number of those hires came from people laid off by the economic crash of 2008; an economy driven by “light-touch regulations,” as FCC Chair Ajit Pai likes to say.

After the 2008 crash and under the umbrella of the Obama recovery, Thomas was appointed to perform a similar task for the 2020 Census. New challenges for Thomas’ would include an unprecedented number of technological changes including the rise of cell phones, the fragmentation of social media, bubble mentality, fake news and hackers.

Today, the economy is humming along and unemployment is below 4.5%. But, funding to establish the the offices needed to hire the recruiters who would hire the Census Bureau staff was stalled during Obama’s lame duck session. For six years, the Just-Say-NO GOP refused to get any legislating done. They barely passed a continuing resolution for FY2017 that would only fund government operations at FY2016 levels.

The budget for FY2017 was fraught with high profile poison pills like defunding Planned Parenthood and abortion restrictions. Trump himself called for shutting down the U.S. government. The 2020 Census was a low-profile, low-priority issue. The hyper-partisan FY2017 Congressional Budget was finally passed on May 4, 2017. This budget barely increased funding for the 2020 Census ramping up efforts.

The GOP defiantly trumpeted that the 2020 Census budget was increased by $100 million. But–you guessed it–the GOP talking point is a lie. The Census budget request was an increase of $270 million. That means the 2020 Census is underfunded $170 million just when it needs to begin to build out its offices to recruit Census workers.

Trump’s 2018 budget is set to squeeze all vestiges of science and math from every government agency.

Historically, the Census requires foot workers to track down poor people who move frequently. In a planned money-saving move, the Census Bureau was supposed to use records from other government agencies, such as the IRS and the Social Security Administration, to update its address data and cut the number of foot workers needed.

Also to save money, the technological update includes the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is a new internet-based, long-form Census. It is supposed to be launched in FY2018 and is intended to reduce the amount of work required of field workers in 2020. However, development efforts for the online questionnaire have been stymied by the fast pace of internet technology and the critical lack of funding.

When the actual budget for these technological solutions increased by over 50% from 2013 to present, GOP legislators refused to give up a single additional dollar. The ACS is now raising grave new cybersecurity issues. This week’s world-wide cyber-attacks from the recently released NSA data breach should raise serious alarms that the online Census effort may be doomed before it even starts.

If all these Census preparation issues are not resolved, the 2020 Census will require far more foot soldiers to canvass neighborhoods and knock on doors. That $90 per capita the GOP is screaming about now is just the preface in an American horror novel.

Personally, I don’t wonder why Thompson quit. All the data points to a huge threat of a massive undercount.

SAME CENSUS DATA, DIFFERING WORLDVIEWS

Democrats are waking up to the unpleasant details of the new world order under Trump.

The White House is in a cloud of denial. Science, rational thought and even math are under attack. Even if one was to make a winning pitch directly to Trump regarding the importance of the U.S. Census, it would soon be drowned out by the right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists who control his thoughts.

White House budget office spokesperson, Coalter Baker said recently, “The increase proposed in the budget blueprint provides adequate funding for the Census Bureau to support IT system investments to conduct a modernized decennial census in 2020.” A quote worthy of a bubble in an Alt-Right comic strip.

The benefits to society of in-depth census data is not a song that would make an orange man dance. Perhaps, he would respond if we could show that the census data is the key to improve his show’s ratings.

To Congressional Republicans, an imperfect Census is the perfect way to suppress voters, to skew facts, and to make their own reality. They can show that trickle-down economics does work, higher prison rates improve your safety, fewer illegal immigrants mean fewer bad hombres on your streets, the government intrudes into personal lives more than ever and the Census Bureau is just another broken federal bureaucracy.

The GOP have a vested interest in seeing the 2020 Census fail.

For us, it takes a lot of imagination to perceive, much less than to believe in that worldview. But even “Thompson testified to a House committee last week that the 2020 Census was on track.” What a calculating man, careful not to burn bridges.

So begins the white-washing of the greatest, the most accurate, the most superlative Census of all time.

RAISING THE ALARM:

Ken Poole, Executive Director of The Association of Public Data Users (ADPU), wrote a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees on March 16, 2017. He expresses politely,

    We are concerned that a lack of appreciation for the critical importance of our Federal statistical and data systems may worsen, and are worried that, after years of insufficient funding, these systems face deeper funding cuts and further marginalization.

Poole’s letter is a quick, three-page analysis of the benefits to society from an accurate census. The decennial census is not just apportionment and redistricting. It’s evidence based decision making, targeting of limited resources, and designing programs for housing, health, education, economic development, transportation, and criminal justice.

Poole includes 25 pages of signatories. These are the people who rely on Census data to inform politicians who make policy decisions all across our great nation. If the Census fails, we all lose.

APRIL 2, 2020

In a far Northern corner of a Canadian village, he sits in his breakfast nook feeling the gentle, warm glow of solar rays heating up his planet. Former Director Thomas may look up from the headlines of his illegal and now banned copy of his imported New York Times, take a sip of his hot brewed coffee smuggled from Mexico to avoid the high tariffs of the debased U.S. capitalistic system, look with a reflective gaze towards the horizon and barely murmur the words, “I thought so.”

RESIST!

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USEFULL LINKS AND ATTRIBUTIONS:

Politico: Trump’s threat to the 2020 Census
Time: Census Director Abruptly Quits
Thompson Bio
The Atlantic: Why Did the U.S. Census Director Resign?
NPR: For Some Americans Of MENA Descent, Checking A Census Box Is Complicated
The Daredevils Without Landlines — And Why Health Experts Are Tracking Them
WP Census watchers warn of a crisis
APDU: Help Support Federal Data
ADPU: Letter to Appropriations Committee
Densho: German and Italian detainees
Kris Kobach, the ‘King of Voter Suppression,’

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I Support the U.S. Census

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TOPIC: Census, Civil Rights, Economy
SUBJECT: I SUPPORT THE U.S. CENSUS
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Honorable Senator Schatz:
Honorable Senator Hirono:
Honorable Representative Hanabusa:
Honorable Representative Gabbard:

I SUPPORT THE CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATED U.S. CENSUS.

THE 2020 U.S. CENSUS IS UNDER ATTACK

* Congress’ 2017 budgeting failures for FY2017 “forced the Census Bureau to cancel multiple field tests and delay opening field offices.”

* The FY2017 budget stalled the hiring of thousands of people and prevented the opening dozens of offices nationwide due to funding shortfalls. In Trump’s FY2018 budget, it’s worse.

* Federal agencies compile Census data to provide information about real people. Employment, transportation, agriculture, education and health decisions all rely on accurate Census information now at risk.

* State governments and local community organizations who use Census data to allocate scarce taxpayer dollars are at risk without adequate statistical analysis–the math–that comes after the Census data is gathered.

* Businesses, trade groups and local communities use Census data to open new stores, hire new employees, advertise products and services, and plan for business expansion. All are at risk with undercounted populations.

* The Government Accountability Office (GAO) added the 2020 census to its “high risk” list of programs and agencies.

* Trump’s hard line on immigration has instilled fear in the nation’s minority and immigrant communities putting Census counts at additional risk.

* Americans who are asked to respond to online Census surveys may become targets of hackers where an underfunded government agency is forced to provide cheaper internet-based solutions.

* Few Census workers will be trained to knock on doors when hard to reach people; the poor, immigrants and others fearful of government authorities, fail to fill out the online forms.

* A successful Census “provides a level of transparency for our economy that gives our country a competitive edge over other countries, and a failed census puts that at risk.”

I SUPPORT THE 2020 U.S. CENSUS.

YOUR NAME
YOUR HOME TOWN, HI
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Useful Links:

Senator Schatz:
Senator Hirono:
Representative Hanabusa:
Email Tulsi Gabbard at TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov
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© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Letter for Independent Special Prosecutor

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TOPIC: Intelligence, Foreign Affairs,
SUBJECT: DEMAND Trump-Russia SPECIAL PROSECUTOR
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Honorable Senator Schatz:
Honorable Senator Hirono:
Honorable Representative Hanabusa:
Honorable Representative Gabbard:

I SUPPORT the DEMAND for an INDEPENDENT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR to investigate the Trump administration’s connections to Russia, the hacking of the 2016 election, and its influence on our Democracy.

* The Republican Party has failed to conduct an impartial investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. This failure is a threat to democracy regardless of one’s party affiliation.
* Michael Flynn failed to disclose he was on the payroll of foreign governments and lied to the Vice President about communications with Russian operatives about Russian sanctions.
* David Nunes rightly recused himself after his partisan late night jaunts to the White House.
* Sally Yates testimony contradicts White House statements.
* U.S. Attorney General, Preet Bharara, was fired after pressing for the investigation into Russian hacking.
* James Comey was fired from the FBI after increasing pressure on the White House into the Russian investigation.
* Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the Russian investigation, is implicated in the White House decision to terminate Comey.
* Trump’s defenses of his reasons for firing Comey are absurd. He’s not defending Hillary Clinton. He’s like a caged and wounded animal lashing out at any one who comes too near.
* Trump is far too friendly with despots like the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
* Trump’s international business deals have him in deep. It appears more likely, now than ever, that he is panicking and hiding something that he needs to keep from the American public.
* Trump’s withholding of his tax returns is prima facie evidence that he is hiding a whole lot of important information from the American public.
* Trump’s entire inner circle at the White House is deeply implicated in Russian business deals that make it impossible for Trump to run the United States Government unless and until the truth comes out.
* Trump is eroding Democracy in a shroud of darkness. His unstable personality has the American public uncertain about anything that is true. The firings have gone too far. It won’t be long before Trump will be able to stage a coup d’etat just like Erdogan did in Turkey.

For these reasons, and many more transgressions of the Trump administration, I DEMAND A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO DO AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION.

YOUR NAME
YOUR HOME TOWN, HI
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Useful Links:

Senator Schatz:
Senator Hirono:
Representative Hanabusa:
Email Tulsi Gabbard at TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov
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