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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
December 22, 2019

Short-Term Thinking Is Poisoning American Business

In 2007, James Rogers did the unthinkable. As chief executive of Duke Energy, one of the largest coal-powered utilities in the country, he lobbied for the passage of aggressive cap-and-trade legislation. The bill, if passed, would have imposed billions of dollars in costs on his business, and it was vigorously opposed by the coal industry’s primary lobbyist.

Mr. Rogers, who died in 2018, was no masochist; he was a visionary who understood something fundamental about the relationship between time and profits: Over the long run, the profitable thing and the right thing are usually the same.

We live in an economy increasingly at odds with this truth. Short-term business practices are polluting our environment and harming our health and well-being for the sake of quick payouts.

The evidence of a growing short-term orientation among American public companies isn’t hard to find. Boeing’s corner-cutting on the Max 737, Wells Fargo’s fraudulent customer accounts and Johnson & Johnson’s opioid scandal are all examples of short-term behavior with disastrous long-term consequences.


December 22, 2019

Total Surveillance Is Not What America Signed Up For

It is a federal crime to open a piece of junk mail that’s addressed to someone else. Listening to someone else’s phone call without a court order can also be a federal crime.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the location data served up by mobile phones is also covered by constitutional protections. The government can’t request it without a warrant.

But the private sector doesn’t need a warrant to get hold of your data. There’s little to prevent companies from tracking the precise movements of hundreds of millions of Americans and selling copies of that dataset to anyone who can pay the price.

The incongruity between the robust legal regime around legacy methods of privacy invasion and the paucity of regulation around more comprehensive and intrusive modern technologies has come into sharp relief in an investigation into the location data industry by Times Opinion. The investigation, which builds on work last year by The Times’s newsroom, was based on a dataset provided to Times Opinion by sources alarmed by the power of the tracking industry. The largest such file known to have been examined by journalists, it reveals more than 50 billion location pings from the phones of more than 12 million Americans across several major cities.


Total surveillance may not be what we signed up for, but it's what we are living with. What's ironic is that it isn't government surveillance, but surveillance by corporations that's the threat against privacy rights.

December 21, 2019

The Trump administration just overturned a ban on old-fashioned lightbulbs

The Trump administration gave old-fashioned, incandescent lightbulbs a holiday gift Friday: a new lease on life.

The Energy Department made a final determination Friday that it would not impose stricter energy efficiency standards for “general service” lightbulbs set to take effect Jan. 1, on the grounds that they “are not economically justified.” The move affects roughly 3 billion — nearly half — of the bulbs in sockets in U.S. homes.

Consumer groups estimate that the reversal of tighter standards, which stem from a bipartisan 2007 energy law, would boost energy costs by $14 billion a year and will generate 38 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. The Natural Resources Defense Council said the regulatory rollback could boost consumption by an amount equal to the output of 30 large power plants.

“Today the Trump Administration chose to protect consumer choice by ensuring that the American people do not pay the price for unnecessary overregulation from the federal government,” Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said. “Innovation and technology are already driving progress, increasing the efficiency and affordability of lightbulbs, without federal government intervention. The American people will continue to have a choice on how they light their homes.”


More pandering to the idiot base that demands incandescent over LED bulbs (which are below $1.50/60W bulb).

December 21, 2019

Senator slams 'fake food fad,' introduces bill to crack down on fake meat labeling

As plant-based protein makes it way on to more and more store shelves and restaurant menus, one Republican senator says she wants to end “deceptive” labeling, which she worries could be fooling consumers.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) — who is also a cattle rancher — recently introduced the Real MEAT Act. The bill would put new labeling requirements on fake meat products.

“I think we're seeing a number of fake food fads that are going on and we want to make sure that consumers know what they're buying,” said Fischer. “When you look at a lot of the plant-based meals that are being put out there, they're trying to piggyback on really, really good nutritious, safe beef.”

The senator told Yahoo Finance she had “big concerns” about the impact of plant-based protein on the ranching industry in her state.


December 21, 2019

Impeachment Hurts, and Trump Knows It

President Trump’s almost inevitable acquittal doesn’t mean impeachment wasn’t worthwhile.

Trump, and Trump alone, will be the central issue of the coming election — the core concern for most voters. He’s the reason pollsters are predicting high turnout; he’s the reason voters on both sides are deeply engaged and ready to take action. In that environment, impeachment is the loudest, clearest message Democrats could send to the electorate. They don’t just oppose him because he is a Republican and a conservative; they oppose him because he is unfit. They oppose him because he is a threat to the values and aspirations of the Republic.

Yes, this has been a partisan impeachment. But that’s the norm. Democrats weren’t eager to impeach Andrew Johnson; Republicans drove the case against Bill Clinton. By making this case now — by sanctioning Trump in the strongest, most consequential manner available to them — congressional Democrats have set the terms for the next election. Will voters affirm shameless corruption and lawlessness, or will they reject Trump’s open attempt to subvert the Constitution?

Arguably, this impeachment is less partisan than it could have been. Democrats could have pressed their advantage to shape the entire terrain of the presidential election. I’ve argued before that they should have embraced a more leisurely process. They should have taken their time to build the most comprehensive case against Trump, calling as many witnesses as needed and pursuing contempt of Congress if witnesses refused. With majority support for an inquiry, Democrats could have cataloged Trump’s criminality and covered the full scope of his wrongdoing.


December 21, 2019

Fear and Loyalty: How Donald Trump Took Over the Republican Party

By the summer of 2017, Dave Trott, a two-term Republican Congressman, was worried enough about President Trump’s erratic behavior and his flailing attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act that he criticized the president in a closed-door meeting with fellow G.O.P. lawmakers.

The response was instantaneous — but had nothing to do with the substance of Mr. Trott’s concerns. “Dave, you need to know somebody has already told the White House what you said,” he recalled a colleague telling him. “Be ready for a barrage of tweets.”

Mr. Trott got the message: To defy Mr. Trump is to invite the president’s wrath, ostracism within the party and a premature end to a career in Republican politics. Mr. Trott decided not to seek re-election in his suburban Detroit district, concluding that running as anti-Trump Republican was untenable, and joining a wave of Republican departures from Congress that has left those who remain more devoted to the president than ever.

“If I was still there and speaking out against the president, what would happen to me?” Mr. Trott said before answering his own question: Mr. Trump would have lashed out and pressured House G.O.P. leaders to punish him.


December 21, 2019

Prominent Evangelical Magazine Calls For Removing Trump From Holy Trinity

CAROL STREAM, IL—In a scathing opinion piece published Thursday by Christianity Today, the evangelical magazine’s editor-in-chief Mark Galli made the case for President Trump’s removal from the Holy Trinity.

“The president has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the ethical convictions necessary for us to continue worshipping him as a part of the triune God,” said Galli, explaining that when Trump was seated at the right hand of the Father, many Christians assumed his behavior would by extension be righteous and godly, but this has not been the case.

“While it is not a decision we undertake lightly, our position is firm: If we do not reverse course now—if we continue to accept Mr. Trump as our Lord and Savior in spite of his blackened moral record—who will take the evangelical community seriously in the years to come?”

Galli’s editorial goes on to reassure readers the magazine supports the deification of Vice President Pence, who in the event of Trump’s removal would ascend to a place alongside the Father and the Holy Spirit.


December 19, 2019

Poll Finds 54% Of Americans Approve Executing Trump But Leaving Him In Office

HAMDEN, CT—According to a new poll out Wednesday from Quinnipiac University, 54% of Americans approve of President Trump receiving the death penalty, but believe his transgressions have not risen to a level that warrants removal from office.

“While nearly all survey participants agreed the president should be executed in a highly public setting, only a minority thinks he should receive a proper burial, with more than half stating that the deceased commander-in-chief should be allowed to complete his four-year term,” said polling analyst Rebecca Glenski, explaining that the results indicate an unwillingness among Americans to effectively overturn the outcome of a presidential election.

“Of that 54%, approximately two-thirds said that after he is put to death—preferably by hanging, beheading, or crucifixion—Trump should not only remain in the Oval Office but also be permitted to appear at public events, attend official White House functions, and have a seat at global summits like the G7. In addition, most respondents strongly indicated the president’s corpse should stand for re-election next year so the people can decide whether to remove his earthly remains from office.”

Polling suggests in 2020 the bloated, lifeless body of Trump would continue to enjoy a strong, built-in advantage in the Electoral College.

December 19, 2019

GOP Turns Dozens Of House Democrats Away From Impeachment For Failing To Provide Adequate Voter ID

WASHINGTON—Warning that allowing them to vote without proper documentation would undermine the sanctity of the democratic process, the House GOP turned away dozens of Democrats from impeaching President Donald Trump Wednesday after determining they did not have adequate voter ID.

“This is simply a precautionary measure to make sure that these individuals are, in fact, real U.S. representatives who would be eligible to engage in this process,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), telling reporters that he had been forced to prevent numerous members, including John Lewis, Maxine Waters, and James Clyburn, from entering the congressional chamber since they had not been able to show two forms of government-issued identification, as well as a utility bill, to establish residency.

“Yes, providing adequate ID is a little annoying, but without oversight, these so-called members of Congress could run amok, voting in multiple districts and leading to a fraudulent impeachment. We simply cannot allow this to happen, so if we come across any representatives who appear suspicious, it’s imperative we make sure they’re thoroughly scrutinized.”

Gaetz added that in order to relieve exhausted congressional staffers, impeachment voting had closed several hours early.

December 18, 2019

Impeaching Trump is just the end of the beginning

When the history of the events of Dec. 18, 2019, is written, two earlier moments will loom large.

The hinge decision was made by seven politically vulnerable House Democrats in September. Veterans of service in either the military or the intelligence agencies, they published a Post essay endorsing the opening of an impeachment inquiry.

Let’s give all of them the recognition they deserve: Reps. Gil Cisneros of California, Jason Crow of Colorado, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, and Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria of Virginia.

“The president of the United States may have used his position to pressure a foreign country into investigating a political opponent, and he sought to use U.S. taxpayer dollars as leverage to do it,” they wrote. “This flagrant disregard for the law cannot stand.”


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