The State of Farming in California—Good and Troubling

Did you know that Canada has a 275% tariff on dairy products from the United States?  Did you know that most countries has a 10% tariff on American cars—China has a 100% tariff on U.S. cars.  Yet, the media is faulting President Trump for admitting we are in a trade war—and fighting back.  The same media supported that job killing NAFTA, Paris Accords, AB 32—this and more is why America has to change policies.  Thanks to President Trump we have the highest employment in our nation and the lowest black and Hispanic unemployment in history.

I will admit I have just bought a four pound container of strawberries grown in Santa Maria—large, sweet, firm, and delicious!  Recommend them to everyone—oh, I got them for one dollar a pound!

Farm workers farming

Farm Report by the numbers

Sierra2thesea,  7/4/18

More strawberries: California is producing more strawberries this year than last. Mexico strawberry imports are small by comparison – around 38 million flats so for this year. California growers, as of July 2, have shipped 126 million flats compared to 113 million flats as of July 2, 2017. Production is up in the Santa Maria area with 40 million flats shipped so far this season compared to 38 million flats in 2017.

California Avocado shipments up Shipments of California avocados are up this year to 219 million pounds through July 1 compared to 160 million pounds this time in 2017. This year’s annual crop is expected to be 340 million pounds compared to just 216 million pounds the year before. Mexico has been increasing their acreage to about 220,000 acres compared to 168,000 acres in 2014. By comparison California has about 50,000 acres.

Trade Dispute hurts soybean prices The Wall Street Journal reports that soybean prices fell to the lowest point in almost a decade on Monday, as looming Chinese tariffs threatened to kill off demand from the U.S.’s largest customer. Futures for July fell 1.2% to $8.48 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, the lowest close since March 2009.

Trump say trade barriers hurt farmers. What about commodity prices? NBC reports that in a Fox Business interview, President Donald Trump singled out trade barriers as a reason for five “very bad years” for U.S. farmers. But agricultural economists blame low farm commodity prices — not trade barriers.

In fact, U.S. agricultural exports totaled $140.5 billion in fiscal year 2017 — the third-highest amount on record. And, as it has done for decades, the U.S. agricultural sector posted an annual trade surplus of $21.3 billion in 2017, up almost 30 percent from fiscal 2016.
“Farm incomes have dropped significantly since, but most of the blame for that should go [to] consistent, near record high production for most agricultural goods,” which has “lowered prices and incomes,” ag professor Chad Hart told us in an email. “Trade is more likely to be a bright spot for ag, rather than a barrier (as the aggregate data shows).”

Agricultural crime units in Tulare and Kern counties reported thefts of thousands of dollars of agricultural equipment this month, including tractors, all-terrain vehicles, utility trailers, farm implements and more. In Tulare County this year, farmers and ranchers have reported approximately $440,000 in heavy equipment theft; of that, $275,000 worth of stolen equipment has been recovered.

National Pork Producers Council says “America’s pork producers are hurting due to current trade disputes. Think about them this Fourth of July as you plan your food choices…and put some pork on your plate! #TeamPork”

 

Democrats Consider NEW TAX: Tax Profits on Home Sales!!!

Democrat5s are always looking for new things to tax—now they have found a mountain of new taxes.  Now they are thinking of taxing the profits from the sale of your home.  That would be a massive load of money—in spite of government homes increase in value—and government steals the profits.

“This widespread critique of SB 827 got me thinking about why nobody talks about those really profiting from land use decisions that inflate their property values: homeowners. Specifically, those homeowners whose neighborhood zoning prohibits new apartments. And who fight to keep it that way.

Cities believe developers must contribute a public benefit in exchange for the right to build housing—which many see as a public good. In contrast, homeowners who prevent housing in their neighborhoods make huge profits by artificially restricting supply—and cities require them to provide no public benefits at all.

There’s clearly a double standard at play here as to how we assess the beneficiaries of urban land use policies.”

As long as the Republican Party refuses to fight back, these items must be taken seriously.

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Should Cities Tax Huge Homeowner Profits From Stopping Housing?

by Randy Shaw, Beyond Chron,  4/10/18

 

Homeowners Reap Profits While Fueling Housing Crisis

“SB 827 provides potentially huge additional value to property owners throughout the state without concurrent value capture.” —-SF Planning Department, February 15, 2018

“This is not the right way to build housing,” Kim said. “This is a giveaway to landlords and developers without asking anything in return for a city and community.”SF Examiner, April 3, 2018

Scott Wiener’s SB 827 has provoked a huge debate over housing policy. The bill, which in many cases raises height limits along transit corridors, has been attacked for undermining local control over land use. It has also been accused of fostering gentrification, though the San Francisco Planning Department’s February 15 memo cited above found that SB 827 would increase affordable housing in the city overall.

Many critics of SB 827 also see it as a developer “giveaway.” They say it provides a windfall to property owners without the public receiving any “value recaptured” from owners whose property values will increase from being able to construct a taller building.

This widespread critique of SB 827 got me thinking about why nobody talks about those really profiting from land use decisions that inflate their property values: homeowners. Specifically, those homeowners whose neighborhood zoning prohibits new apartments. And who fight to keep it that way.

Cities believe developers must contribute a public benefit in exchange for the right to build housing—which many see as a public good. In contrast, homeowners who prevent housing in their neighborhoods make huge profits by  artificially restricting supply—and cities require them to provide no public benefits at all.

There’s clearly a double standard at play here as to how we assess the beneficiaries of urban land use policies.

Consider San Francisco’s Central Subway project. This roughly $2 billion project vastly increases property values along Chinatown and the other stations where public transit is currently undeserved. Yet I recall no public demands that these property owners provide any public benefits for this massive public expenditure which will greatly increase their property values.

San Francisco’s extension of the Third Street light rail played a key role in the rapid gentrification of Dogpatch. I don’t recall anyone calling for property owners in the Dogpatch neighborhood to share their increased property values.

San Francisco also routinely passes park bonds. This makes homes and apartments near the improved parks more valuable, yet the cost of these improvements are borne by owners citywide. Tenderloin property owners have gotten no increase in their property values from park bonds.

Big Homeowner Profits From Stopping Housing

But the real question about value recapture is why it is not applied to the downzoning of residential neighborhoods. I am referring to the single-family zoned neighborhoods in San Francisco and those whose zoning prohibits housing above three or four stories.

A developer who builds market rate housing adds to the city’s housing supply. And if the city has an inclusionary requirement, they are giving working and middle-class people the ability to live in a neighborhood and likely a city they otherwise could not afford.

In contrast, what public benefit do homeowners fighting to stop new housing confer? Nobody benefits from stopping housing but the current group of owners and their families.

And they’ve been making out like bandits.

Single family home prices in San Francisco went up 24% in the past year alone. The median single family home price is now $ 1.6 million. The average sales price of a Noe Valley single family home sold this February was $3.5 million. Noe Valley residents are particularly militant in stopping new housing—and they have reaped the profits to show it.

A new report released this week found San Francisco homes earned $60 per hour in equity. That’s four times more than the city’s minimum wage. And the home doesn’t even have to show up to work.

San Francisco and other cities could go a long way to building lots of affordable housing by attaching a surcharge to homeowner profits akin to those it applies to developers. The surcharge would only apply to neighborhoods where new apartments are banned. This would likely create an incentive for those now faced with paying public benefits to support allowing multi-unit buildings in their neighborhood.

This tax on homeowner profits would likely add more BMR units than the city has produced through other means. Just consider that over the past six years the average single family homeowner in San Francisco has seen their equity increase by 1 million. That’s $13,125 a month, every month for 6 straight years. Multiply that by the city’s 124,000 single family homes and that is a potentially staggering infusion of public subsidies for affordable units

When you consider that Prop 13 allows longtime homeowners to pay property taxes at a fraction of their home’s current value, the policy rationale for taxing profits on sale makes even more sense.

I realize that no politician who has to face voters will even suggest taxing homeowner profits reaped from stopping housing. After all, high voter turnout by homeowners underlies exclusionary zoning restrictions.

But if proposals to shift some of the huge public subsidies homeowners get from the mortgage interest deduction have become politically tenable, so should taxes on homeowner profits reaped from restricting housing supply in their neighborhoods.

We need to stop making believe that only developers are profiting from the urban housing shortage. Land use policies that restrict new apartments generate huge profits for existing homeowners. It’s bad policy to ask one group of property owners to return “value” to the public from land use changes while exempting others.

That’s a land use double standard. And it makes the urban housing crisis worse.

 

Travel Ban: U.S. Justice Foundation sides with Trump in court fight

President Donald Trump’s travel ban to protect America from foreign terrorists, already backed by a majority of Americans, is gaining key support from independent legal action organizations.

The U.S. Justice Foundation and nearly a dozen other non-profit public interest organizations are offering robust legal support for Travel Ban 3.0, building momentum for a showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court later this year. The narrowly tailored presidential order restricted nationals from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen from entering the United States, following a worldwide review of information-sharing practices.

American security is the president’s constitutional responsibility, and Trump’s actions as commander-in-chief fall within long-established legal precedents established under both Republican and Democratic administrations, the U.S. Justice Foundation argues.

“The District Court opinion completely ignored President Trump’s focus on protecting the American people from ‘public-safety’ threats posed by immigrants from the designated countries,” the organizations state in an amicus brief filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lower Court’s Political Decision by Obama Appointee   

The U.S. Justice Foundation highlights the significant bias and political motives by Honolulu-based U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Kahala Watson, an Obama appointee who initially ruled against the travel ban.

“One cannot help but conclude that Judge Watson rendered a political decision, seeking to preserve the policies of President Trump’s predecessor, his Harvard Law School classmate Barack Obama,” the organization writes in its legal filings in the travel ban case. “Can there be any doubt that President Trump was named as the lead defendant in the complaint not because of any legal necessity, but for political effect?”

Even David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and leading Never Trump figure who voted for Hillary Clinton, believes Watson’s ruling set a “dangerous precedent” and contradicts longstanding constitutional precedents.

“Watson’s imaginative reasoning in Hawaii v. Trump asserts a new judicial power to disregard formal law if the president’s personal words create a basis for mistrusting his motives,” Frum writes at The Atlantic. “Frankly, under any other president than Donald Trump, it seems impossible that a federal judge would have expressed such certitude—or granted their requested order.”

In addition to the judge’s lack of objectivity, the Hawaiian politician that filed the court challenge to President Trump’s travel ban has used the case to advance his political career.

“I’ve ended up being in court over and over again to stop some of the different actions that have been taken by the Trump administration,” Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said in launching his 2018 campaign for a congressional seat vacated by Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii.

Lack of Standing: Grandmother Arrives Despite Ban

Although routinely attacked on cable news and falsely described as a “Muslim ban,” Trump’s travel ban enjoys broad support from the American people. According to a Rasmussen poll taken last June, 52 percent of Americans consider Trump’s travel ban a proper security measure designed to keep terrorists out of the country. Last July, a Politico-Morning Consult poll found that “a clear majority of voters” back President Trump’s travel ban.

Rather than overturn the president’s popular executive order, the nation’s highest court could choose to sidestep the controversy on procedural grounds.

Before any court considers the merits of a case, a plaintiff must establish an “injury in fact” to have standing in the case. The challenge to the travel ban is on shaky legal ground, according to the U.S. Justice Foundation, because the plaintiffs lack standing.

“Being personally offended by government action has never been sufficient to confer standing for a federal judge to second guess the President of the United States — at least before 2017 challenges to President Trump’s two Executive Orders,” the U.S. Justice Foundation argues. “Although this country may now have entered an era where people often believe that they can go to court any time their feelings have been hurt, the lawyers and the district court should have known better.”

One plaintiff, the State of Hawaii, claimed standing based on the hypothetical loss of tuition from potential students from the affected countries. Jeffrey Toobin, a staff writer for the New Yorker and senior legal analyst for CNN, agrees that “the harm to the universities is pretty attenuated.”

He adds, “And it’s worth noting that the Justices of the Supreme Court (and Chief Justice John Roberts in particular) have been sticklers on the standing rule and haven’t hesitated to toss cases on this ground.”

Another plaintiff, Hawaiian imam Ismail Elshikh, is originally from Egypt, a country not covered by the travel ban. Elshikh claimed injury when his Syrian grandmother was unable to enter the United States, now a moot point. The grandmother, Wafa Yahia, arrived in the United States last August, according to Associated Press reports, thereby proving the travel ban did not injure Elshikh.

Last December, President Trump secured an initial victory at the U.S. Supreme Court, which overruled activist judges and lifted injunctions blocking the president’s executive order to enhance vetting of foreign nationals attempting to enter the United States. A final ruling is expected later this year.

 Since 1980, the U.S. Justice Foundation has submitted testimony to the U.S. Senate on every Supreme Court appointee and sponsored conferences on a variety of important legal issues. Other organizations supporting U.S. Justice Foundation’s position include Citizens United, Citizens United Foundation, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, U.S. Justice Foundation, Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Inc., Public Advocate of the United States, Restoring Liberty Action Committee, English First, English First Foundation, and Policy Analysis Center.

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Elias: Real Estate Prices Driving Moves From State–Nobody Surprised

The Guv wants you to pay $5.2 billion more in car/gas taxes to pay for the misuse—by him—of current gas tax and transportation bond money.  Senator Hertzberg wants you to pay a sales tax on your use of attorneys, CPA’s and other services.  City by city are creating a soda tax.  A bill in the legislature—at the urging of San Fran and LA is asking for permission to create a CITY income tax.  Then you have the highest cost of rentals in the nation in California along with the highest cost of homes.  We also have among the nations highest gas and sales tax.  Can you afford to live in California—between the cost of government and housing—do you have money for a hot dog?

“Millenials may be willing to double- and triple-up so they can live where they like despite high rents, but that same cost factor is driving an unprecedented share of them away from California, says a new study from the Apartment List website

When they get ready to buy, those same millennials are forced out of high-priced cities like San Francisco, Santa Barbara and the coastal parts of Los Angeles, adds the CoreLogic data analysis firm.

This scene is not unique to California’s higher-priced cities, but also occurs in New York, Chicago’s tonier areas, Boston and Washington, D.C. But it could lead to serious problems for California companies wanting to hire or retain the brightest members of the young-adult generation.

Is it possible that the young have decided the quality of life is more than solar panels?  That finally they realize it is government and government policy causing them to feel like sardines?  They believe they can not change the policies, so instead go to free States, like Texas, to have a great quality of life.

Pension money

Real Estate Prices Driving Moves From State

By Tom Elias, Santa Monica Mirror, 3/27/17

If you’re a millennial, now aged 18 to 35, there’s a good chance the only major city in California you’re very much interested in moving to is San Francisco. That’s because it’s largely walkable, with plenty of amenities like singles bars and gorgeous parks. And also a lot of high-paying, high-tech jobs if you qualify.

Millenials may be willing to double- and triple-up so they can live where they like despite high rents, but that same cost factor is driving an unprecedented share of them away from California, says a new study from the Apartment List website

When they get ready to buy, those same millennials are forced out of high-priced cities like San Francisco, Santa Barbara and the coastal parts of Los Angeles, adds the CoreLogic data analysis firm.

This scene is not unique to California’s higher-priced cities, but also occurs in New York, Chicago’s tonier areas, Boston and Washington, D.C. But it could lead to serious problems for California companies wanting to hire or retain the brightest members of the young-adult generation.

In San Francisco and Silicon Valley, where prices have skied in the last three years, 50 out of every 100 households that apply for new home mortgages are buying in nearby counties like Alameda and Contra Costa, where prices are significantly lower. Contra Costa’s median sales price over the last year, for example, was less than half San Francisco’s for comparable properties.

Now this problem is spreading to nearby Alameda County, home to cities like Oakland and Berkeley, where 34 percent of home loan applications are for areas even farther from the Bay Area’s urban core.

In Los Angeles, meanwhile, the millennial population decreased by 7.4 percent between 2005 and 2015, with many 18-to-35s decamping to places like Austin, Tex., Charlotte and Houston. The technology industry is strong in those places, but real estate prices and rents are half or less than for comparable properties in the most trendy parts of Los Angeles.

Overall, says CoreLogic, home prices were up 71 percent in California in that time, with the median statewide home price in mid-2016 reaching $428,000.

There is no backlash yet, mostly because of foreign buyers, who tend to be among their countries’ affluent, seeking a safe place to invest their riches. The leading buyers of this type have lately been mainland Chinese.

“This makes it harder for the average person to make a living (in California),” said Sam Khater, a CoreLogic economist. “That means less teachers, fire fighters, retail workers and more. It’s causing the entire state to be more expensive.”

Or, as a Silicon Valley executive complained earlier this year, “I pay some of my people with master’s degrees $70,000 and $80,000 a year and they still have no hope of buying a house anywhere near where they work.”

Some locales are trying to compensate for this by subsidizing teacher housing, from kindergarten to the college level. For sure, real estate prices are a recruiting barrier when companies and schools seek to hire top talent from places like Texas and Arizona, where median home prices are barely half California’s level.

Some places are trying to solve the problem with affordable housing, generally apartments or condominium units that builders are required to include in new developments along with market-rate housing. This kind of affordable property usually bears a resale price limit, with city and school employees often getting priority on the long waiting lists for them.

But those same new developments, when placed in already crowded urban areas, add to traffic volume which is not notably reduced even by new public transit that has opened in parts of Los Angeles and other areas.

It’s a real quandary for California: The state needs talented young workers to fuel its innovative industries, but even those who earn more than $200,000 yearly have difficulty qualifying for mortgages on homes selling for more than $1 million, increasingly common in this state.

But acting to artificially reduce real estate prices would impact the resources of millions of Californians who have lived here for a generation or two.

So far, there is no answer to this dilemma, which sees more and more companies forced to open satellite facilities in more affordable states.

Cal POLY SLO: Whining And Crying Over a Free Election

The snowflakes on the campus of Cal Poly SLO do not understand what they are demanding.  They want a reporting system for the “hate” on the campus.  So, when a professor calls Trump supporters Nazi’s, a complaint can be made, then made public and embarrass them for their bigotry and hatred.  If the student government passed a resolution against President Trump, that would be hate speech—reported to the authorities.  The Left can not afford to win this battle—by winning they are the one’s exposed as haters and dangerous.

“Students are demanding that California Polytechnic University institute a “discrimination reporting” system to protect them once Donald Trump becomes president.

“Across the country, instances of hate, bigotry, and violent attacks against the most vulnerable communities in our country have been on the rise—and our institution is not poised to address this well,” the Cal Poly Students for a Quality Education group declares in an open letter to the Cal Poly administration.

The OC Coast College professor in her human sexuality class claimed the November 8 election was “an act of terrorism”.  She would be reported.  The nut case Hunter College teacher that exploded and publicly announced his goal was to HARASS Ivanka Trump, he would be reported and lose his job (that would be a good thing—he is not emotionally equipped to be in polite society).  The snowflakes need to get therapy before they became victims of their meltdowns.

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Students demand bias reporting system before Trump takes office

Elias Atienza, Campus Reform,  12/21/16

  Students are demanding that California Polytechnic University institute a “discrimination reporting” system to protect them once Donald Trump becomes president.

  The campaign has been ongoing for more than a year, but the students are expressing a renewed sense of urgency due to fears that “actual or perceived” bias incidents will increase once Trump takes office.

Students are demanding that California Polytechnic University institute a “discrimination reporting” system to protect them once Donald Trump becomes president.

“Across the country, instances of hate, bigotry, and violent attacks against the most vulnerable communities in our country have been on the rise—and our institution is not poised to address this well,” the Cal Poly Students for a Quality Education group declares in an open letter to the Cal Poly administration.

“A reminder: when we organize, we win.”

The letter then points out that “dozens of higher educational institutions across the United States have embraced the now common practice of providing accessible avenues for reporting instances of racism, transphobia, homophobia, Islamaphobia, ect. [sic] on our campuses,” and lambasts Cal Poly for failing to provide “easy to understand online forms” for students to report such incidents.

According to the letter, Cal Poly “simply lists the contact information of existing, federally mandated reporting processes—while other institutions listed offer dedicated online reporting forms, which trigger their own respective investigations.”

The reason for the students’ urgency, they explain, is their fear that the incoming Trump administration will lead to an uptick in “actual or perceived” bias incidents.

“Under Trump’s administration—it is critical that students have accessible and reliable ways to report instances of bias based on perceived or actual race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ability, immigration status, religion, etc.,” the letter asserts. “As a community, we need to stand strong and look out for each other, while holding those who subscribe to bigotry and hate accountable. A reminder: when we organize, we win.”

The letter also comes with a survey section for anyone in the Cal Poly community who is interested in signing on to the petition.

“Do you think students should have accessible reporting avenues given an instance of bias or discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, immigration status, national origin, religion, etc?” the questionnaire asks before polling respondents on whether they are aware that the campaign has been ongoing for more than a year, and asking whether readers would like to volunteer their support for the effort.

Campus Reform reached out to Cal Poly to ask whether the administration has any response to the letter, but did not receive a reply in time for publication.

Democrat Secretary of State Caught LYING About Vote Fraud in California

A reporter called me yesterday about the Trump charge of illegal voting in California.  He did not know of any.  I had to remind him the CBS in LA found hundreds of dead people, dead for years, voting constantly since 2004 in LA County.  Then I had to remind him that in San Pedro 83 absentee ballots were delivered to one apartment.  In California is you see an illegal alien voting and report it to the Poll Captain, YOU are in trouble with the law and the illegal alien is allowed to vote.  Without ID, there is no way to know how many, not if, crooked votes are cast.

“California Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Sunday dismissed Donald Trump’s charges of voter fraud in California as “absurd” and “unbecoming” of a President-elect.

“It appears that Mr. Trump is troubled by the fact that a growing majority of Americans did not vote for him,” said Padilla, who supervises California’s election results. “His unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd.”

Mr. Padilla—have you investigated the LA County Registrar of Voters?  Have you asked for an audit of the voting rolls in the counties?  How many dead people are sent ballots and vote them each year?  The problem is that Trump is calling you out as either lazy, a fraud or corrupt.  Prove him wrong—audit the voting rolls, prosecute the illegal voters and fire the Registrars of Voters that are either incompetent and/or corrupt—you can start with Dean Logan in L.A.

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Trump’s Vote Fraud Charge ‘Absurd’ Says California Secretary of State

by Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego,  11/27/16

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Sunday dismissed Donald Trump’s charges of voter fraud in California as “absurd” and “unbecoming” of a President-elect.

“It appears that Mr. Trump is troubled by the fact that a growing majority of Americans did not vote for him,” said Padilla, who supervises California’s election results. “His unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd.”

“His reckless tweets are inappropriate and unbecoming of a President-elect,” Padilla added.

Trump tweeted Sunday that he believes there was “serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California” and claimed he would have won the popular vote except for “millions of people who voted illegally.”

Although Trump won the electoral vote, he trails Democrat Hillary Clinton in the popular vote by more than 2 million.

A recount is underway in Wisconsin, but not in any other states, and Clinton conceded the election on Nov. 9.

Kanye perpetuates colorism with latest project. “Colorism”

“Colorism” is a new word—it is used to connote the racist view that color matters more than character.  Kanye West is a singer and fashion designer he wanted to do a fashion show and did not send out a notice wanting Asian models, or white models—he wanted women of color that were of a mixed race.  So what?  Did I mention that West is black (and the husband of Kim Kardashian)?  Who cares.  He is creating jobs for people of color.

Sadly, at San Fran State University, where this opinion piece was published, believes only folks of the “right” color have the right to work.  This modern day racism is of the same kind promoted by the KKK—shame on these students promoting a vile racist organizations’ values as if a University should be promoting hatred and bigotry.

“Earlier this month, Kanye West tweeted a casting call asking for “multiracial women only,” that caused a stir among fans and critics alike. People took to twitter and the real world to criticize the statement that left entire communities out to dry.

“Kanye West asking for multiracial models kind of sends an anti-Black message,” said Andrew Jolivette, an American Indian professor at SF State who identifies as Louisiana Creole. “Saying he wants mixed performers sends the idea that Black is not beautiful.”

Yup, to the racists, hiring black models of a mixed race background is racist—but hiring model of only a black background is Progressive.  The KKK made excuses for their racism as well.  While I am not a fan of Kanye West music or family connections, he is a free American and has the right to take economic risks in the fashion industry and hire whoever he wants as a model.

Photo courtesy pd2020@sbcglobal.net, flickr

Photo courtesy pd2020@sbcglobal.net, flickr

Kanye perpetuates colorism with latest project

Kevin Vega, Golden State Express,  9/21/16

Earlier this month, Kanye West tweeted a casting call asking for “multiracial women only,” that caused a stir among fans and critics alike. People took to twitter and the real world to criticize the statement that left entire communities out to dry.

“Kanye West asking for multiracial models kind of sends an anti-Black message,” said Andrew Jolivette, an American Indian professor at SF State who identifies as Louisiana Creole. “Saying he wants mixed performers sends the idea that Black is not beautiful.”

Being a non-Black person of color myself, I can’t speak for what is and what is not anti-Black; however, sentiments like West’s come off as biased.

West should know better than to further restrict people of color from their already very limited opportunities in the fashion world. The Fashion Spot reported that in the most recent fashion season only 25 percent of models cast in shows were models of color, while the remaining 75 percent were white.

Being such a successful Black man in pop culture has not been easy for West, from calling out George Bush during his presidency on live television to becoming public enemy number one after interrupting Taylor Swift. I’m disappointed and surprised that he’d use his platform to perpetuate something as detrimental as colorism, where lighter skin is favored over darker skin.

Preferring multiracial people to those who are not multiracial leaves out entire communities of people because they don’t measure up to the light skin standard West is aiming for. The lightest skin in minority communities typically exists in those who have a parent from a minority community (usually one with a darker skin tone) and a white parent.

It’s important to note that though half-White half-minorities have White privilege, they also are minorities, so their lives aren’t exactly easy. They still experience racism from those around them. But when Kanye and others continue to uplift half-White biracial individuals while also alienating monoracial individuals, the conversation of having a half-White privilege is one that needs to be had.

With Colin Kapernick refusing to stand during the national anthem and multiple killings of unarmed Black people by policemen raising racial tension in America, West’s request adds to this tension. Asking for “multiracial models only” implies that there’s something wrong with being unambiguously Black, Latino, Asian, or a person of any color that is not White.

“I think often the problem and what most people think of mixed is that most people always assume mixed is white and something else,” Jolivette said. “They forget that people aren’t trying to be better than somebody or that people don’t want to be something else.”

Even within minority communities being biracial will get you further than those who are not biracial because of the privilege that being white grants you. Multiracial individuals may share oppression with their monoracial community members, but having lighter skin grants them access to opportunities that they may not have had otherwise – like avoiding punishment by school officials or having less time in punishment while in elementary school.

West’s casting call also begs the question: where is the representation for double minority individuals? What about multiracial individuals who are half-Black and half-Latino? Or half-Latino and half-Asian? Or any combination that does not involve White? Do these types of models and people have the same kind of privilege that light skinned biracial people have, or are they just as underrepresented as monoracial individuals?

Artists like West and other trend setters should refrain from perpetuating industry standards that favor White individuals. Instead of following racist ideals they should use their power and influence to diversify the White-dominated entertainment industry.

Why Are So Few People Paying Attention to Forced Live Organ Harvesting in China?

Donald Trump is talking about the trade imbalance between the United States and China.  Some have spoken about the lack of civil rights in China—and the fact that China decides what can be on Facebook, Google and the Internet.  It is a totalitarian regime—anybody disagree?  Now, the abuse of humans has become more specific—China is forcing the harvesting of organs from LIVE people.

“A government killing their own citizens for their political or spiritual beliefs for profit? The crime is so horrific it almost defies belief.

In Hard to Believe, two-time Emmy-award-winner Ken Stone highlights both the atrocity and the world’s lack of response by investigating why a 2014 U.S. House Resolution condemning the crime of forced organ harvesting from tens of thousands of Chinese prisoners of conscience was proposed but never voted on.”

This is a documentary you must see.  We need to understand the issue and ask why the State Department and the White House has been silent.  See the documentary and get a better understanding of the problem.  Silence is no longer an option.

jerry brown china

Why Are So Few People Paying Attention to Forced Live Organ Harvesting in China?

Award-Winning Documentary Investigates One of the Most Horrifying Crimes of Our Time and the World’s Tepid Response

Swoop Films,  8/5/16

A government killing their own citizens for their political or spiritual beliefs for profit? The crime is so horrific it almost defies belief.

In Hard to Believe, two-time Emmy-award-winner Ken Stone highlights both the atrocity and the world’s lack of response by investigating why a 2014 U.S. House Resolution condemning the crime of forced organ harvesting from tens of thousands of Chinese prisoners of conscience was proposed but never voted on.

Stone explains that he was well into his second decade as an independent producer who had never heard of the term “live organ harvesting” when he was first approached by Swoop Films producer, Kay Rubacek, to do a documentary about the subject.

At the time, he had virtually no knowledge of the Chinese spiritual practice called Falun Gong or why its practitioners were targeted by Chinese authorities. Initially skeptical, he soon realized he had stumbled on a gruesome murder mystery that virtually no one was paying attention to – until his film was released on PBS in 2015.

After more than sixty screenings worldwide and eleven awards, Resolution H.R. 343 was unanimously passed in Congress in 2015 condemning organ harvesting in China.

What Daily Mail calls “the first sustained examination into why the world is so willing to turn a blind eye to one of the most catastrophic human rights violations in our time” has now been broadcast on America’s PBS TV stations, translated into 12 languages, and screened in ten countries, including in Parliament House and numerous cinemas, colleges, film festivals, and other venues.

Top U.S. colleges have purchased educational licenses for the film for use in libraries and classrooms, and the film is newly available on iTunes, Google Play, and Vimeo for online streaming or digital download.

Stone comments, “The story I wanted to tell was why no one was paying attention. It reminded me of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., writing about the civil rights era in the United States: ‘History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.’ One of the lessons from Hard to Believe is that so many good people – so many of us – haven’t just been silent, we haven’t even paid attention. I hope this film prompts a few more people to do so.”

Hard to Believe has received the following awards:

  • Winner of Best Documentary, 2016 Hoboken International Film Festival;
  • Winner of Outstanding Achievement, 2015 Global Film Awards Humanitarian Award;
  • Winner of Outstanding Achievement, Accolade Global Film Competition 2015 Humanitarian;
  • Six Awards of Excellence from the 2015 Accolade Global Film Competition in the categories of Documentary Program, Social Change, Religion, Ethics, Health, and Medicine;
  • 2015 IndieFEST Global Film Award in the categories of Liberation and Social Justice

Hard to Believe dives into a topic that is utterly disturbing for the medical profession and society in the twenty-first century. The true horror of this crime is summed up in the few words of Chinese surgeon Dr. Enver Tohti: “Remember… nothing happened today.” ~ Torsten Trey, M.D., Ph.D., Executive Director, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH)

AUTHOR: Two-time Emmy award-winner Ken Stone spent twenty years in American broadcast newsrooms, the bulk of that time at public television stations. His U.S. national awards include a duPont Silver Baton (Columbia University’s broadcast equivalent of its Pulitzer), an Emmy Award, and a Gabriel Award for The Next Mission (2010) and an Emmy Award for Fundamental Rights: The Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act (1992).

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Click here to view complete information in PDF or see attached
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Hard to Believe by Ken Stone; Produced by Ken Stone, Irene Slber, and Kay Rubacek; Swoop Films, LLC; Category: Medical Ethics, Education, Law, Philosophy, Human Rights, Home DVD: 978-0692522844, $19.99; Availability: DVD (Comes with bonus 32-page full-color film booklet) HardtoBelieveMovie.com; Digital Online Streaming (VOD Video on Demand): iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Vimeo

 

Game Changer: World’s Leading Medical Group Backs E-Cigarettes

e-cigaretteOne of the world’s most prestigious medical organizations has delivered a groundbreaking 200-page report that supports e-cigarettes as a tool to quit smoking and demolishes several vaping myths in the process.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP), the most respected medical institution in the United Kingdom, concluded e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than regular cigarettes and are likely to be hugely beneficial to public health.

Titled “Nicotine without smoke: tobacco harm reduction,” the report is one of the most comprehensive ever published examining e-cigarettes and could be a game changer for health officials and politicians all over the world. The RCP’s seminal 1962 report, which demonstrated the link between smoking, lung disease and bronchitis spurred the U.S. Surgeon General to publish the historic 1964 “Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States.”

The RCP’s new report tears apart scare stories, including the ever-more popular idea that vaping is somehow a gateway to smoking. “To date, there is no evidence that any of these processes is occurring to any significant degree in the UK,” said the report’s authors. (RELATED: CDC Admits, No ‘Concrete’ Evidence E-Cigarettes Are Gateway To Smoking)

The authors are emphatic there is no evidence e-cigarette use has in any way “renormalized” smoking. “None of these products has to date attracted significant use among adult never-smokers, or demonstrated evidence of significant gateway progression into smoking among young people.”

One of the most damaging myths about e-cigarettes that caught fire in 2015 was e-cigarettes don’t actually help smokers quit. (RELATED: Study Claiming E-Cigarettes Make Quitting Harder Exposed As ‘Unscientific Hatchet Job’)

Contrary to the claims of some public health activists in the U.S., the RCP is clear: e-cigarettes can help smokers kick their habit for good. “Among smokers, e-cigarette use is likely to lead to quit attempts that would not otherwise have happened, and in a proportion of these to successful cessation. In this way, e-cigarettes can act as a gateway from smoking.” (RELATED: Study Finds E-Cigarettes Raise Chances Of Quitting, ‘Can Save Lives’)

The RCP does not claim vaping is totally safe, as vapers inhale nicotine and flavorings. But they conclude any risk to vapers is likely to be “very small, and substantially smaller than that arising from tobacco smoking.”

Concurring with a previous report by Public Health England, RCP believes the health risks to vapers is unlikely to reach more than five percent of the risks associated with smoking. The report also warns overzealous policymakers to resist the temptation to regulate e-cigarettes in a way that would stifle innovation or discourage use.

“This report lays to rest almost all of the concerns over these products, and concludes that, with sensible regulation, electronic cigarettes have the potential to make a major contribution towards preventing the premature death, disease and social inequalities in health that smoking currently causes in the UK,” said Professor John Britton, chair of the RCP’s Tobacco Advisory Group. “Smokers should be reassured that these products can help them quit all tobacco use forever,” he added.

Those most applauding the study’s conclusions are e-cig groups who have been fighting an onslaught of attacks from politicians and dubious public health researchers. (RELATED: Read The Stunning Correction This Scientist Dropped On Her Own Anti-E-Cig Study)

“When the RCP told the truth about cigarettes in 1962, it took two years for the U.S. government to play catch up and release its own report. It should not take two months, let alone two years, for American public health authorities to correct their past misstatements about vaping. The FDA and CDC must seriously consider the RCP’s guidance before moving forward on any new regulations or public campaigns about smoke-free nicotine products,” said Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association.

“For those in mainstream tobacco control, the question for them is, how can you dismiss this report out of hand? The authors are credible experts without financial conflicts of interest in tobacco or vapor products. At some point, these groups will have to realize that the science has long outpaced their rhetoric,” Conley added.

Cancer charities added their voices to the chorus of praise for the RCP’s report. “This important report is an accurate summary of the latest scientific evidence on e-cigarettes and will help dispel the increasingly common misconception that they’re as harmful as smoking. They’re not,” said Cancer Research UK’s director of prevention Alison Cox.

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Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Bond/Tax Orgy Grows in San Fran Area: $500 Million to “Restore” Wetlands

You can never have enough bonds or taxes when you are an environmentalist or lover of big government (Democrat).  The November ballot, so far, State and local, including interest costs, has over $300 billion in tax increases and bond measures to sell the suckers—ur, public.

“While the purchase was enabled by federal and state agencies, along with private donations, there was never a revenue source for the actual restoration of the land. Now, a nine-county ballot measure seeks to change that. By asking for a $12 annual tax on every parcel, the San Francisco Bay Area Restoration Authority is seeking a total of $500 million, or $25 million a year, for restoration projects and real ecological benefits.”

The Bay Area already has the highest housing energy and water costs in the State and arguably the worst traffic on streets and freeways.  Yet some wetland seems to be more important than the survival of the families of the area.  That could be why the middle class has fled the area—that is good news for Texas—and terrible news for the future of the Bay Area and California.

government-vote

Editorial: vote Yes on Measure AA

San Mateo Daily Journal,  4/22/16

 

 

In 2003, 15,100 acres of salt ponds were purchased from Cargill Inc. with an aim to eventually restore them to tidal wetlands. For decades, those lands that were taken from the Bay were used for salt production and the purchase was part of a larger effort to restore that land back to its natural state.

The project has several goals, to bring back habitat that would allow for dwindling wildlife to flourish again and to also provide ways for the area’s water quality to improve while also creating better flood control.

While the purchase was enabled by federal and state agencies, along with private donations, there was never a revenue source for the actual restoration of the land. Now, a nine-county ballot measure seeks to change that. By asking for a $12 annual tax on every parcel, the San Francisco Bay Area Restoration Authority is seeking a total of $500 million, or $25 million a year, for restoration projects and real ecological benefits.

Though the San Francisco Bay is the defining characteristic of this region, it historically receives disproportionately less federal funding compared to other significant national bodies of water. Puget Sound, the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay receive between five and 60 times more federal support than the Bay. Though there has been some effort by local federal legislators to correct that, but so far there has been little to show. This measure would be able to produce the money needed to begin many of the projects and could be used to leverage additional state and federal funds.

While many of those projects are in the South Bay, they would help in assuring the entire Bay stays healthy and also ensure that decades of development, diking and fill would be rectified. There are also opportunities in San Mateo County for projects, including the restoration of marsh land near San Francisquito Creek and even some improvements at Coyote Point.

Restoring Bay marsh land is key to preventing flooding, reducing pollution and creating new recreation areas for all to enjoy. The purchase in 2003 was a tremendous step toward the potential for this land, and other areas, to be restored. This nine-county proposal, Measure AA, now provides the much-needed funding for its restoration. This has been a long thought-out process with tremendous benefits for everyone in the Bay Area with just a small amount of revenue provided by each and every property owner in nine counties. It deserves your support.