Tuesday, July 25, 2017


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Begin forwarded message:

From: Elizabeth Warren <info@elizabethwarren.com>
Date: July 25, 2017 at 5:20:15 PM PDT
To: <nick.ch2rd@gmail.com>
Subject: Persist
Reply-To: info@elizabethwarren.com

We still have time to stop the final passage of this bill.
Elizabeth Warren for Massachusetts

Senate Republicans don't exactly know how they're going to rip health care away from tens of millions of Americans – but they voted for it anyway today.

This vote isn't just irresponsible. It isn't just reckless. It isn't just cruel.

This vote is immoral. It goes against everything we stand for in this country – and everything we stand for as Americans.

But this fight isn't over – not by a long shot. We still have time to stop the final passage of this bill. We can still stop the Republicans from gutting Medicaid and taking away millions of Americans' health care so that America's richest families can get a tax break.

We're not going to whimper. We're not going to whine. We're going to fight back. All of us, including you.

History will judge us for what happens in the United States Senate this week. This is the week we must prove: the Senate doesn't just work for the billionaires and giant corporations, it doesn't just work for the lawyers and lobbyists, and it doesn't just work for one bought-and-paid-for political party – it works for the people.

Speak out, make your voice heard, and persist.

Thanks for being a part of this,





Calif. Lawmakers Extend Cap-And-Trade Program Through 2030 : NPR

Calif. Lawmakers Extend Cap-And-Trade Program Through 2030

David Greene talks to Gov. Jerry Brown about the program which sets limits on greenhouse gas emissions while issuing permits for emission of pollutants which companies can sell.


There may be gridlock in Washington, D.C., but Republicans and Democrats in California seem to be working together, at least on one issue. The state legislature voted to extend the state's cap-and-trade program, which sets limits on greenhouse gas emissions while issuing permits for emission of pollutants, which companies can sell. But despite the bipartisan effort, there were also critics on both sides of the aisle for the deal, as our co-host David Greene noted when he spoke with California's Democratic governor, Jerry Brown.

DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: You've been getting a lot of praise for this deal, including from former Republican governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. But there are critics who say you gave away too much to industry to get this deal. Is that fair criticism?

JERRY BROWN: No, not at all.

GREENE: Say - they say you took some power away from local regulators. There's a free allowance in there for some industry to be able to go slowly.

BROWN: Yeah. I would just say they could...

GREENE: I mean, are those things at least legitimate points that some of your critics are making?

BROWN: No. No. They're not even legitimate.

GREENE: Why not?

BROWN: They're completely and abysmally superficial. We have a well-running elegant mechanism to allocate carbon reduction through a pricing system. It works as a market. Now, the specific criticisms from the left - oh, we took away some local air authority to regulate CO2. CO2 does not cause local damage. It is a global pollutant. And that could be handled by one authority, the state Air Resources Board, using the mechanism of cap-and-trade.

In terms of free allowances, those are used to dampen down any price spike that might be occasioned by excessive, unusual activity in the carbon market. On the right side, The Wall Street Journal, they were mostly concerned about the effect on the election. Instead of talking about the common good or the science, they kind of put themselves in the shoe of one of these political consultants that worked for Republicans and said that because some Republicans voted for it, it'll be harder to use the issue against Democrats.

Well, that's unworthy of the existential nature of climate change. This is a balanced middle path embraced by Republicans and Democrats. So I would say any fair-minded review of our cap-and-trade system, of the vote, what it entails, I would say would - will be very positive.

GREENE: Is there a broader lesson that you take from this, in terms of political compromise, right now?

BROWN: Yeah. We listened to a variety of opinions from a variety of points of view. And some of the folk on the left said, oh, you can't talk to oil companies. Are you talking to the Chamber of Commerce? Are you talking to the Farm Bureau? That's just horrible.

And then on the other side, The Wall Street Journal and some of the Republican activists said, you're a Republican. You can't vote for something that a Democrat would support. Well, both of those, in my view, are forms of political terrorism that are conspiring to undermine the American system of governance.

GREENE: And do you hold people in your own party account - to account for that, as well? I mean, you hold people in your own party to account for that problem?

BROWN: Oh, we had some liberal character that had to vote no because he was worried about, I don't know, not having an overlapping regulation on CO2 at both the state and the local level. And the people who do the regulation didn't agree with him. It was an activist group that is so embedded in saying no and fighting for their cause that they don't see victory.

GREENE: Governor, it feels like your party is at a critical moment after this election, where there are some who say, we need to stick to liberal values, I mean, whip up support in a way the Tea Party did on the other side. And there are others who say the only way we're going to get things done is to sit down and build consensus with the Republican Party. I mean, what's your advice to the party right now?

BROWN: I would say the path of wise, prudent debate and agreement is the only path forward. Going to one extreme or the other, whether it's the Republicans and their Tea Party or the Democrats going left, that's not viable. I'm studying the history of the Social Democratic Party in Germany both before World War I and after. And that was a...

GREENE: This is, like, your bedtime reading right now?

BROWN: Well, I read considerably. I read not just at bedtime, but I read a considerable - a certain number of hours during the day and on the weekend. And no, it's not - I don't have little story books that I have by my bed stand, if that's what you're asking me.

GREENE: (Laughter).

BROWN: You know, the work of governor requires a wide knowledge of many, many things. But I would say history tells us that we need to find consensus. We need to swallow our own pet thoughts and build coalitions. That's the nature of parliamentary democracy, American democracy. And we're getting away from that. And the end product is always fanaticism, breakdown and a much darker future.

GREENE: You know, we started with a specific issue. Let me finish with a specific issue and that's health care. I mean, there are some in your party right now who are pushing as hard as they can for single-payer system. They say that is truly the future.

There are others who are saying, you know what, maybe this is the time to open the door to Republicans in Washington to hammer out some new version of the Affordable Care Act, something new, messy as it might be. What is your advice to the party on health care?

BROWN: Well, when I ran for president in 1992, I supported a single-payer system. I would say that the concept of a unified health care system, that's well worth thinking about and debating and inquiring into. But the idea that you could have one pathway doesn't represent the complexity we face - not only the complexity of delivering health care but the complexity of so many different political ideas. So I'd say, let's work together and find something that we can all live with.

GREENE: Do you see that moment coming?

BROWN: I do see that moment coming because the beauty of Trump and the beauty of the Republican failure on health care is that extreme partisanship in Washington - like, throw out the health care and take away health care from 20 million people - it's not going to work. And so I think space is being opened for a more generous, benign path forward.

GREENE: Governor Brown, always good talking to you. Thanks so much.

BROWN: OK, thank you.


MARTIN: California Governor Jerry Brown talking with our co-host David Greene.


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Massive Newhall Ranch Project Wins Approvals | San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Pass now when we know not enough water + gridlock frwy Nubia q

Half of the massive Newhall Ranch development project sailed through approvals Tuesday at a public hearing by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

All but one of the supervisors supported the Mission Village and the Landmark Village, two subdivisions that are part of Newhall Ranch, one of the largest projects proposed in L.A. County. The development would bring 21,500 residential units and 11.5 million square feet of commercial and industrial space to the Santa Clarita Valley. 

Entitlements of each project were approved individually. In total, the two subdivisions approved Tuesday will bring about 5,500 housing units and 2.5 million square feet of commercial space to the northern part of L.A. County, and would be developed by Five Point Holdings in Aliso Viejo.

The Newhall Ranch project was approved 10-plus years ago by the county. But last year, the state's Supreme Court determined that an environmental impact report prepared for the project by the Army Corps of Engineers and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife didn't sufficiently analyze potential greenhouse gas emissions and protection measures for an endangered fish species.

In response to the emissions issue, Five Point proposed to build Newhall Ranch as a zero-net greenhouse gas emissions community. Through measures within and outside the community, the plan was approved by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and L.A. County's Department of Regional Planning. Newhall's plan to protect the endangered fish during construction was also approved.

Chief Executive of Five Point, Emile Haddad, said in an interview with the Business Journal after the hearing that he felt proud of the approvals 

"This goes beyond getting another project approval," Haddad said. "This will be the standard in how you build communities and create housing without creating additional emissions."

Numerous businesses, business groups and others, including partners with Five Point on the net zero aspect of the project, spoke in support of the project at the hearing, largely commending the company on the net zero elements, which took center stage.

However, those opposing the project also spoke at the hearing, and questioned the sustainability of the net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The other concerns included whether the area had sufficient water to support the massive project.

"If we had had this project, I don't know how we would have made it through this last drought," said Lynne Plambeck, president of the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Sen. Ron Wyden Wants Jared Kushner To Testify In Public And Under Oath

I was reading this article on Huffington Post, and I thought you might be interested in reading it, too.

Sen. Ron Wyden Wants Jared Kushner To Testify In Public And Under Oath


DOWNLOAD_HUFFPOST.   First part not copied

Wyden said Monday that Kushner's 11-page written statement about four meetings he had with Russians during last year's presidential campaign and during the Trump administration's transition, which he failed to disclose on a security clearance form, "raises far more questions than it answers."

"He has an obligation to be transparent with all relevant documents to back up his claims," the Senate Intelligence Committee member said in a statement.

"More broadly, Kushner has repeatedly concealed information about his personal finances and meetings with foreign officials," he added. "There should be no presumption that he is telling the whole truth in this statement."

Wyden noted Kushner's statement was likely written with the help of a "clever lawyer" and may have been carefully crafted in the way it described the meetings.

Kushner will reportedly not be under oath during his scheduled appearances before the committees. Under federal law, however, it is still illegal to lie to Congress.

Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who are scheduled to meet with the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on Wednesday, will also not be under oath when they testify

"That's not good enough," Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said Sunday. "It should be under oath."

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said the investigation into Russia's interference of last year's presidential election ought to be "as transparent as possible."

"I think the public has a right to know the facts as we know them and if it's not endangering any of the assets we have with our intelligence community and how we secure our nation and keep it safe ― if those things aren't in jeopardy ― then we should have it as transparent as possible," he said Monday during an interview on MSNBC.

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When the (Empty) Apartment Next Door Is Owned by an Oligarch NYTimes jly 24 17

CreditMinh Uong/The New York Times

In Vancouver, British Columbia, the price of a single-family home has soared so fast over the last few years that even many well-paid local workers have been pushed out of the city.

In Miami and New York, new luxury apartments are rising rapidly, often sold to anonymous buyers, sight unseen. In Melbourne and London, housing shortages have worsened even as recently purchased homes appear to be sitting vacant.

In each of these cities there are at least some indications that what is troubling the housing market can be traced elsewhere — to Russian oligarchs, Brazilian bank accounts, Chinese businessmen. It's possible that foreign money isn't just driving up prices for penthouses; it may also be distorting the market, to the detriment of lifelong residents.

But the true extent of the phenomenon is maddeningly hard to measure. So are its broader economic effects. Local governments have barely attempted to track the cash influx. And each of these global cities has become attractive to investors partly because housing in them is scarce, making claims of insufficient supply and excessive demand all the more difficult to untangle.

It's clear that foreign cash is not the sole culprit for rising prices in cities that are also attracting young, educated workers and where land constraints and zoning policies have long thwarted construction. Yet it's also true that foreign money has surged into housing in the United States and other countries. Evidence suggests that in New York City, Vancouver and parts of California there is enough of it to create ripple effects that may disturb local residents.

Continue reading the main story

"We're not talking about an asset bubble in apples, or copper or something that you could easily forgo," said Josh Gordon, a professor in the School of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Worrisome things happen when one person's asset is another's shelter.

New data this week from the National Association of Realtors estimates that foreigners, led by the Chinese, invested $153 billion in housing in the United States in the year that ended in March, up a remarkable 49 percent from the previous year. Nonresident foreigners were responsible for half that total.

That is the largest sum since the organization began tracking foreign investment in 2009, and those purchases amounted to 10 percent of the dollar value of all existing-home sales in the United States last year. Nearly half of that money went into just three states: California, Florida and Texas.

"Without a doubt, foreigners are pushing up the prices in California and Florida," said Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. That is good for existing homeowners, he said, and it is positive for the American economy that foreigners are confident about investing here. But it also pushes first-time buyers out of local markets, Mr. Yun said.

Anger at who is causing that harm can stray uncomfortably close to xenophobia. But politicians and anxious residents often add that their real grievance is with foreign money, not foreigners. And maintaining that distinction is important if cities that have long prided themselves on being cosmopolitan want to continue embracing immigration while curbing speculation.

Setting aside the risks of money-laundering and tax evasion, a big influx of foreign capital poses two potential threats to a local housing market.

First, house prices rise faster than wages, until a good job no longer pays for access to nearby housing. Suddenly nurses and teachers find themselves living in a community that they can no longer afford. As the housing and labor markets become detached, a city can start to look like Vancouver, which has some of the highest housing prices, but lowest incomes, among Canadian metropolitan areas.

The second threat aggravates the first: If foreign buyers are looking for assets and not residences, a lot of that housing may sit empty. Neighborhoods begin to lose their neighbors, and local restaurants and shops lose their customer base, an eerie scene some corners of London have experienced.

Across an entire city, those costs outweigh the benefits of foreign investment, according to two finance professors, Jack Favilukis of the University of British Columbia and Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh of New York University. They modeled what happens when a market like New York City is shocked by an inflow of absentee out-of-town buyers.

Data they obtained from CoreLogic shows that the share of home purchases made by out-of-town buyers has increased steadily since 2004 in both metropolitan New York and Manhattan. More than one in 10 purchases in Manhattan now includes such a buyer (the "out-of-town" definition here doesn't distinguish between domestic investors and Russian oligarchs, but the effects are the same in the modeling, and the authors think of the problem as one of foreign money).

When they assume a worst-case scenario — all of these out-of-town purchases sit vacant — rents and home prices in the city rise, wages tick up thanks to new construction jobs, commute times for workers grow longer, and center city neighborhoods become less diverse as the wealthy move in. All else equal, they conclude, the rise in out-of-town buyers from levels seen a decade ago pushes home prices up in New York by about 1.1 percent. That may not sound like a lot, but the net effect is a negative one for the city's welfare, the researchers conclude.

"And then there are costs that are harder to quantify," Professor Van Nieuwerburgh said. "The texture of the city, the socioeconomic makeup of the city, is changing."

What, then, do you do about all of this if you are convinced that it's a problem? Vancouver instituted a 15 percent tax on home purchases by foreign nationals last year to discourage them, and Toronto has done the same. But that approach could miss money traveling through extended families, local middlemen or opaque corporations determined to hide a buyer's identity. And such a tax — if it's aimed at curbing properties that are purely investments and not residences — requires exceptions for legal immigrants who intend to work and make their homes in the city.

Rhys Kesselman, another professor at Simon Fraser University, has proposed an intriguing alternative: a property surtax tilted toward high-end homes that would be deductible against the owner's income tax. Local residents paying income taxes would effectively owe no surtax. Out-of-town investors, foreign or domestic, who don't work in the local economy would be hardest hit (with some concessions for resident retirees).

The elegance of that idea is that it doesn't require local governments to figure out who is foreign and who is not, or which homes are vacant and which are occupied. And it recognizes that the real problem isn't foreigners; it's speculation in the housing market that, these days, often tends to come from abroad.