James P. Freeman: Why Mass. AG Healey should be ousted

In his dutiful and forceful concession remarks in November 2014, John Miller, the Republican candidate that year for Massachusetts attorney general, gave fair warning: “The fight for impartial, fact-based justice from a non-partisan attorney general goes on.” Miller, even in defeat, believed – and presumably feared — that the Bay State was still in “desperate need” of an attorney general who would take a “professional, not a political approach” to the office.

His fears are confirmed.

In June of 2016, it is now evident that the winner that November night, Maura Healey, is using her office to punish those whose views of public policy differ from her own. As a consequence, Healey is no longer fit to hold the office of attorney general.

 

As reported last week, Healey is now using the power of her office to investigate conservative groups with supposed ties to ExxonMobil. Her subpoena charges that the oil giant lied to shareholders and consumers about the risks of global warming in its communications and shareholder filings.

Healey is seeking 40 years-worth of ExxonMobil documents and communications with right-leaning “think tanks.” Locally, these include the Beacon Hill Institute and Acton Institute. According to The Boston Herald, the basis of the investigation is “deceptive business practices.” The energy company countered by filing a federal lawsuit claiming, rightly, that Healey’s action is no more than a “fishing expedition,” part of a “political agenda,” and the attorney general is “abusing the power of government.” It is a disgracefully overt political maneuver.

Remarkably, both the Left and Right have been critical of state attorneys-general engaged in this scrutiny of ExxonMobil. Harvey Silverglate, former president of the American Civil Liberties Union in Massachusetts, called the investigation “pure harassment.” Added Silverglate, “It’s not the way scientific or factual or even political battles are settled in this country, which last I checked is still a free country.” The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel wrote that the attack on ExxonMobil is really a “front,” and that the real target is “a broad array of conservative activist groups.”

So this is what we have come to in Massachusetts: a hyper-partisan attorney general, motivated by political expediency, who believes that ExxonMobil defrauded the public and its shareholders by systematically advancing the idea of “climate denial.” Seriously.

Where is the outrage on Beacon Hill? Where is the outrage from the prestige media in greater Boston?

Perhaps more so than any other Massachusetts elected official – including Sen. Elizabeth Warren — Healey is the penultimate programmed progressive. Her core belief-system centers around identity politics and so-called diversity… of everything; except political thought.

On her Web site, maurahealey.com, Healy calls herself the “People’s Lawyer” (she is, apparently, the lawyer of all of the people, except, that is, conservative people). In a January posting she brags that she is “looking ahead to the challenges around the bend and we’re already pushing hard on our top priorities.” ExxonMobil’s thoughts on so-called climate disruption are a priority for the people of Massachusetts?

Healey’s behavior is reminiscent of the Lois Lerner and IRS scandal from a few years ago. Then, as now, conservative groups were targeted under a legal pretense. If Healey’s actions were based in fact and based on the law, warranting the full force and authority of her office, why hasn’t she called for the complete divestiture of ExxonMobil investments by the state’s pension system (which in 2015 was valued at $151 million in the Domestic Equity portfolio)?

 

Among the first official undertakings by Healey in 2015 was a social-media “campaign.” It involved the collection of testimonials from same-sex couples for an amicus brief that was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting national recognition of gay marriage. However laudable, such time and expense amounted to a political lagniappe but not a legal imperative.

In Massachusetts, it seems identity politics is a greater priority than identity theft, which should be a priority.

Identity theft – the unauthorized use of personal information to defraud or commit crimes – is the fastest-growing crime in America. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security notes that victims spend “between 30-60 hours of their time” and “approximately $1,000 of their own money clearing up the problem.”

The Boston Globe noted two years ago that 1.2 million people in the Commonwealth had personal information and financial data compromised in 2013. In February 2015, a “data breach” occurred at insurer Anthem, compromising personal information of 78.8 million Americans. One million of those reside in Massachusetts.

But don’t tell that to Healey.

On mass.gov/ago, victims are cautioned: “You should be aware that not all identity-theft complaints can or will be investigated.” These people, unlike ExxonMobil, will likely not be accorded a vigorous campaign. What is unsettling is that Healey and fellow progressives believe they can effectively combat climate disruption to their satisfaction but not identity theft.

Healey will probably not resign from office. She also probably not be impeached under the articles of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As a last resort, however, she should be recalled. Interestingly, the voter initiative and referendum provisions in the constitution specifically exclude the recall/removal of judges. But the Constitution is silent regarding recall/removal of executive branch officers.

Let the petition begin.

James P. Freeman is a columnist for The New Boston Post.

Jarrod Hazelton: Brexit a triumph of ignorance

Brexit is perhaps most appropriately summed up in the words of Mr. Donald Trump: 

“Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!” 

A Tweet heard (naturally) ‘round the world, whose expression of ignorance wa signored by his supporters  even as it was rightfully lampooned by everybody else.   Scotland and Northern Ireland voted strongly for the United Kingdom to stay in the European Union; England and Wales voted to leave.

Support for Brexit worldwide is a veritable Who’s Who of international Nuevo-fascism: Trump, Zhirinovsky, Putin, Marine le Pen. It is also the direct result of unabashed ignorance.  Take, for example, the recent remarks by U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage.

One of the central tenets of the Leave campaign was that £350 million per week in payments to the European Union would be diverted to the British National Health Service after Brexit. This incredible incentive is certainly something to consider, but for the fact that it was a total fabrication. Rather than admit this, Farage has instead made the preposterous assertion that he never said such a thing, regardless of the Leave campaign tour bus being emblazoned with the £350 million figure as it traversed the English countryside. Perhaps one of his handlers forgot to mention the design change. Additionally,  a Tory member of the European Parliament,  David Hannan, back-pedaled on immigration, claiming less than 24 hours after the Brexit vote that immigration levels  from the E.U. into Britain might remain unchanged after Brexit goes into full effect. Who knew that the UK had just voted in favor of a group of BRINOs (Brexitors In Name Only)?

Lying in politics is certainly not new but the  size of such preposterous claims in recent history is impressive. Trump is a virtual cacophony of spewing, festering untruths, and yet his followers  go along with his claims regardless of veracity. Instead, he maintains a stronghold on their collective frustration at  being excluded from a system that has long since left them behind.

What Brexitors and Trump supporters have in common may be less xenophobia, bigotry, racism and a longing to take back “again” whatever it is they feel is no longer theirs than ignorance. In America, Trumpists, are nostalgic for a country that once afforded them labor protections, defined-benefit pensions, generous employer-subsidized healthcare, affordable education and other things that have been stripped from them, albeit with scraps still trickling down to them from the rich interests so powerful in Washington, D.C. 

Ironically, market forces that have assaulted Brexitors and Trump and Sanders supporters who will refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton may ultimately solve their problems for them. Sovereign wealth funds lost over 30 percent of their interests in the U.K. overnight as  the pound crashed with the Brexit news, and won’t stand for  this to go on. Businesses in Britain will realize the vast expense of hiring and retraining based on citizenry regulations to be too egregious. And Brexit Remorse may lead to a second referendum, and/or negotiations to leave the E.U may result in a realm of clauses and capitulations that would truly make a Brexit In Name Only.

The prevailing ignorance, xenophobia, bigotry and socio-economic factors behind market forces may solve themselves for a time, but in so doing no lessons will be learned.

Jarrod Hazelton, who holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago, is a financial analyst.

 

Chris Powell: Leaving E.U. essential to protecting British sovereignty, democracy, culture

 


Recognizing that the objective of the European project, ever-closer political and economic union, meant the destruction of democracy, sovereignty and the country’s very culture, Britain has voted in a great referendum to withdraw from the European Union.

The majority arose from a remarkable combination of the free-market, limited-government political right, the core of the Conservative Party, with the working-class political left, the core of the Labor Party, both party cores repudiating their leaderships as well as the national elites.

The result has enormous implications for the United Kingdom, starting with whether it can remain united, since Scotland -- formerly the most industrious and inventive province in the world, now perhaps the most welfare-addled -- probably will make a second attempt to secede, figuring that free stuff is more likely to flow through continued association with the E.U. than with England, which is growing resentful of the freeloaders up north.

But there are enormous implications for the world as well. The E.U. project has  never won forthright ratification by the people of its member states and indeed has sometimes refused to accept rejection by them. Indeed, the whole E.U. government is largely unaccountable. So the British vote quickly prompted demands for similar referendums in France and the Netherlands, where conservative populist movements have been gaining strength.

The politically correct elites are portraying the British vote as a "xenophobic" response to free movement of labor across the E.U. and particularly as opposition to the vast recent immigration into Europe from the Middle East and Africa. This immigration is widely misunderstood as being mainly a matter of refugees from civil war. In fact this immigration has been mainly economic and it has driven wages down in less-skilled jobs while increasing welfare costs throughout Europe, which explains the British Laborite support for leaving the E.U.

But it is not "xenophobic" to oppose the uncontrolled and indeed anarchic immigration that the European Union has countenanced. For any nation that cannot control immigration isn’t a nation at all or won’t be one for long. Since most immigration into Europe lately has come from a medieval and essentially fascist culture and involves people who have little interest in assimilating into a democratic and secular society, this immigration has threatened to destroy Europe as it has understood itself. Britain has been lucky to be at the far end of this immigration, but voters there saw the mess that it has been making on the other side of the Channel. They wisely opted to reassert control of their borders.

Their example should be appreciated in the United States, which for decades has failed to enforce its own immigration law and as a result hosts more than 10 million people living in the country illegally and unscreened. Fortunately few of this country’s illegal immigrants come from a culture that believes in murdering homosexuals, oppressing women and monopolizing religion. But the negative economic and social effects here are similar to those in Europe and properly have become political issues.

The main lesson of Britain’s decision may be an old one -- that nations have to develop organically, arising from the consent of the governed and a common culture, and that they can’t be manufactured by elites. Having defended its sovereignty and indeed liberty itself against Napoleon and Hitler, Britain now has set out to defend them again. So rule, Britannia -- Britannia, rule thyself.

From “Rule Britannia’’:

The nations not so blest as thee

Must in their turn to tyrants fall,

While thou shalt flourish great and free,

The dread and envy of them all.

Chris Powell is a political writer and also the managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.

Robert Whitcomb: Ports, panhandlers, dictators in the Internet, Italo-American adventures

 

This first ran in my “Digital Diary’’ column in GoLocal, which appears every Thursday. I will usually make minor revisions/updates before the column runs here.

You may have read about the Panama Canal expansion, which will boost business for U.S. East Coast ports, including Quonset/Davisville and Providence. More volume in our local -- and for decades underused -- ports will mean more jobs, more business formation and lower consumer costs (for some products) hereabouts.

So a $20 million bond issue, to be on the state ballot in November,  to expand the Port of Providence looks quite charming, as does a $50 million bond issue for expanding Quonset/Davisville.

But there’s a slight problem: GoLocal found out that ProvPort, the nonprofit operator of the Port of Providence, paid management fees to its sister for-profit company of more than $11 million over the three most recently reported years – half of ProvPort’s total revenue-- and it’s not clear for what.

Bill Brody and Ray Meador (who lives in California), two players in creating the Wyatt Detention Center, in Central Falls, and linked to its fiscal disaster, would benefit again from public financing if voters approve  the bonds. Mr. Brody is a lawyer who is ProvPort's sole employee, at $225,000 year, and Mr. Meador is a co-owner and the manager of non-profit ProvPort's sister for-profit company, Waterson Terminal.

Presumably we’ll hear more about what those management fees cover and who and how certain individuals would benefit from the port’s expansion, in addition, of course, to the public.

The trouble with opaque operations like ProvPort is that the reality or perception of insider deals can kill such fine ideas as port expansion by pumping up the paralyzing cynicism that makes it so difficult to get big public projectsdone in the United States.

I’d feel better if the state took over the Port of Providence and coordinated it with the very well run Quonset/Davisville.  

I should add, as my friend Chris Hunter reminds me,   that there are several private terminals in the Port of Providence (Sprague Energy, Sims Metal Management, Motiva, Capitol Terminal and Exxon Mobile) that are very successful and don't need a port authority telling them what to do with their business.  

XXX

Quite a panhandler proliferation in Providence! A favored site is in front of the Marriott Hotel on Orms Street at the intersection with Charles, where traffic lights trap drivers. At least one beggar, sometimes lying on his/her back to enjoy the sunshine,  often occupies the thin median strip from morning to dusk.

The beggars seem to be well organized (sometimes with what seems to be an iPhone-armed manager) and able to extract money from  many drivers. (I suspect that their take is not reported to the tax authorities but is adequate to pay for cigarettes.) Are many drivers sympathetic because they know that the panhandlers will never find jobs as lucrative as begging in these days of downward mobility, or just embarrassed? The beggars often greet me with a hearty “hihowareya!?”

XXX

Congress should block an Obama administration plan that would make it harder to try to protect freedom of expression on the Internet. The White House wants to let the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) free itself from the U.S. oversight of the Internet it has had since the 1990s.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, the new arrangement would give dictatorships much more influence over the ICANN board by letting them them vote on bylaw changes and the  ICANN budget and remove free-speech advocates from the board.

Commerce Department official Larry Stricklin, struggling to defend the plan, told The Washington Post, “At the end of the day, this whole system is built on trust.” Who will trust Vladimir Putin’s Russia and/or Xi Jinping’s China not to use their new powers to further quash online dissent?

XXX

Edward A. Carosi, founder of the Uncle Tony’s Pizza chain, has self-published a wild novel with the stately name of The Arrival/The Struggle/The Ascendency about three generations of Italo-Americans. Mr. Carosi starts the story in a poor hill town in Italy and goes through Rhode Island, Vietnam and Calcutta (Mother Teresa presiding!), weaving among romances and wars and corpses and entrepreneurs, including the mobster variety.

Some of the characters  enter clichedom – the women tend to be gorgeous and curvaceous (the mammary lingers on), the men handsome except for some Raymond Patriarca types. Some characters start out bad and get  predictably worse, but end up redeeming themselves. Others remain stock villains throughout while some stay implausibly good.

Mr. Carosi is not a professional writer, but he has narrative drive: You keep turning the pages. And he has a strong sense of place and 20th Century history that New Englanders in particular will savor. Somebody could turn this into saleable 120-page screenplay.   

XXX

Donald Trump doesn’t seem to know that being president of the United States means being head of state and not just another politician. That suggests that at least some dignity and restraint is called for. Mr. Trump’s narcissism seems to preclude those qualities. Still, he could defeat the very able but, as is her  husband, very greedy Hillary Clinton.  The Brexit vote in Britain may suggest how close the presidential vote could be.

XXX

An evening last week was so cool that it reminded us of how soon September will come.

Robert Whitcomb is the overseer of New England Diary.

Llewellyn King: Blame stupid English nativism for E.U. vote debacle

The English appear to have laid down the burden of sanity. They have voted to leave the European Union.

It was never about Great Britain; it was always at its kernel about England. There was always a primal, nativist, historically seated English antipathy to Europe and by extension to the European project.

I should know. You could say I was there in the beginning.

Way back in the early 1960s, as a young journalist, I worked for Lord Beaverbrook, the Canadian-born newspaper publisher who led the early fight against the European Economic Community, also called the Common Market. There were then, in 1962 and 1963, just six members and the rival outfit, the European Free Trade Area had seven.

I believed that when Britain finally joined what is now the European Union in 1973 that a decade earlier we had been wrong. And I believe that leaving the European Union today is terribly wrong, a ghastly self-inflicted wound that will hasten the end of the United Kingdom, encourage a surge in right-wing bigotry in Europe, and leave no one -- not one individual in any country of Europe -- better off, particularly the residents of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In the wreckage that now has to be sorted out across the Atlantic, two lessons stand out: first, referendums have no place in a representative democracy and second, today's political parties, across the world, no longer represent the feelings of their electorates. In Britain, as in America, and most recently in Italy, it is now apparent that the old left-right divide does not address a smoldering anger that affects the democracies of the world.

Give angry people something to smash and they will smash it. The angry English have just smashed up the place where they live. It is ineffably sad for those who have followed Europe’s attempt to come together, to boost trade, and to end war in on the continent.

During the long and campaign leading to Thursday’s vote, every shibboleth about sovereignty, faceless bureaucrats, money transfers and European skullduggery was trotted out.

When the facts do not fit, harken back to another time: That is easy enough to do in England with its storied history. They never said it, but the triumphant Leave campaign implied every day in every way: We’ll make England great again. Donald Trump could have ghosted the Leave campaign.

When Britain joined the Common Market in 1973, the country was often referred to as the sick man of Europe. Today, Britain is the world’s fifth-largest economy and it has been the strongest advocate for free markets and free trade in Europe. Not only will Britain be setting a new course, but so will the European Union.

Europe, including Britain, has a massive migration problem that fed the anxieties of the English, particularly in the depressed north of the country. But Europe has yet another problem that will not go away: The euro has failed. Britain wisely never adopted it, but the 19 countries of the Eurozone are paying a high price. Weak economies on the southern flank of Europe, most notably Greece, cannot devalue to make their goods and services more salable and the strong economies, most importantly Germany, are the beneficiaries of a weak euro in their exports.

The British vote will spur reforms in Europe and if they are not fast enough and far enough-reaching, the European Union itself will break apart. Italy is an early candidate to bolt, but so are its southern neighbors.

It is not Europe as a free-trade area they should be trying to escape, but rather its benighted currency. Consider: If the euro was fazed out and the old currencies were to reappear, Germany would have an increasingly hard currency, the mark, and Italy and Greece, with the lira and the drachma, would produce goods and services that were very affordable to their customers.

But that is not Britain’s problem. It has to find new markets and a way of living with the strictures of European trade without a voice in the writing of those strictures.

Political folly has led Britain to be lesser. “Little England” and Little Englanders always have been pejoratives in British political invective. Today the Little Englanders are triumphant, having chosen insignificance and poverty over importance and wealth. Shame.

The British (read English) electorate has signed on to a dream. The nightmare begins now. 

Llewellyn King, host and executive producer of White House Chronicle on PBS, is a longtime publisher, columnist and international business consultant. This piece first ran on Inside Sources.

Cyberterrorism: Will Russia, China and/or ISIS turn off our electrical power?

We just got this press release about an important conference on Newport. 

Two of the best-known publishers of energy newsletters, Sam Spencer, who publishes Smart Grid Today and Power Markets Today and Llewellyn King, who founded The Energy Daily and produces and hosts White House Chronicle, on PBS, are teaming up with the Pell Center at Salve Regina University on a comprehensive conference on cybersecurity in the utility industry. 

“Grid cybersecurity is one of the critical frontiers in the security of the U.S. infrastructure system,” King said.

The conference will be held Sept. 26-29, 2016 at Salve Regina University in Newport.  “In this scholarly setting the industry can learn best practices; cybersecurity vendors and others can get down to granular issues that aren’t easily discussed in the office setting,” Spencer said.

The “Newport Conference” will bring together utility IT officers, managers, first responder teams as well as vendors of firewalls, alarms and other security systems for utilities.

“The utility industry is undergoing great changes in its structure. It is being reshaped by disruptive technologies, environmental pressures and social expectations.

“More and more, the old grid is giving way to the new grid in a sophisticated, computer-dominated world where the enemy could be in any line of code, any weak link in the industry,” Spencer said.

King added: “The first goal of modern warfare is to take out the electrical supply, and the rest follows from there. As a result, those who wish to do harm to a country — and to the United States, in particular — are aware that without electricity, a great nation is paralyzed.”

He said that he saw the precursor to this kind of havoc back in 1965, when most of the Northeast went dark. That was incredible but today, with more reliance on electricity throughout the life of the nation, things would be even worse.

King and Spencer said enemies, both state and non-state (like ISIS), are hard at work probing our cyber-defenses, seeking weakness and waiting to strike.

“We want to advance the understanding of the threat as well as to ensure that the best practices in cybersecurity are being followed as the grid itself changes into something new and even more electronically interconnected than in the past,” they said.

For sponsorship and registration information, please contact Llewellyn King at 1-202-662-9731 or 1-202-441-2702, or e-mail him at llewellynking1@gmail.com.

Connecticut's river queen

Margaret Miner; photo by Judee Burr/ecoRI News

By JUDEE BURR, for ecoRI News

ecori.org

Margaret Miner stood in front of a mountain of gravel next to the Mossup River in eastern Connecticut. We approached the edge of the hard-hat area and peered up at a big, yellow excavator using its mechanical arm to shift mounds of sand around the sprawling industrial site.

Miner felt sure  that this was the site she had been asked to investigate; it would be very concerning if there was more than one of these along the Mossup River, she said. We walked toward the middle of the bridge to get a closer look at the river’s exposure to the project and looked for any waste spilling in.

Miner directs the Rivers Alliance of Connecticut. She finds out about the state’s impaired waters from phone calls and e-mails: trout struggling to get over a dam; a river running unusually dry; a construction project sending pollution into a waterway.

The Rivers Alliance acts as an environmental “helpline,” responding to calls from concerned citizens by investigating. Miner knows how to ask municipal officials pointed questions and rally her environmental allies when necessary.

“Even if it’s just one person, we will try to help them,” she said. “Anytime I get a call ... in six months, two to three calls on the same issue — like gravel mining next to the river — it’s a policy issue. It always turns out to be at least a state policy issue and frequently a global issue.”

For all the work and hours put in helping to protect Connecticut’s environment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded Miner with its Lifetime Merit award. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., nominated Miner for the award, calling her a “champion of the planet,” as quoted in the EPA press release announcing the honor.

Miner hasn’t used the award as an excuse to slow down.

“When I got this EPA award, I was sitting there — there were lots of awardees — and I was thinking, ‘If we’re all doing such great work, how come India has just recorded 120 (degrees)? We’re sitting here applauding each other; we should be out picketing or something!” she said, with a mix of frustration and laughter.

“Of course, it’s good to applaud each other,” she admitted. But her voice and smile convey her restlessness and commitment. She approaches her work with the thoughtfulness of a former writer and the practiced bullheadedness of an advocate who knows how many fights she has left to win. She bemoans the state we have left our planet in, while doggedly taking steps to improve and protect Connecticut’s natural resources.

Miner has worked with the Rivers Alliance since 1999. The organization’s small team, of which Miner is the sole full-time staffer, partners with a strong coalition of conservation groups that its leader has expertly leveraged to win environmental fights on the state and local level.

Sometimes this coalition works to improve state water policy, such as the campaign for stricter regulation of withdrawals from Connecticut’s rivers. Miner noted that most of Connecticut’s problems with water diversions from rivers are caused by large water users with grandfathered-in rights to the water. Although she has been working on this issue for more than a decade, there was still some incredulity in Miner’s voice as she described the disconnect between the law and the science of waterways.

“If you have a registration that dates back to 1982, you say, ‘Well, we’re allowed, we registered and we can take this much water.’ It doesn’t matter even if there isn’t that much water there,” she said. “The person who holds the registration — usually a utility, but it could be a golf course or a farmer — can just keep pumping. And the river runs dry, then they have to stop.”

The Rivers Alliance is still working to improve Connecticut’s water policy. The organization was one of the groups that advocated for comprehensive statewide water planning — a process Connecticut eventually initiated in 2014. The alliance also helped pass stronger stream-flow regulations in 2005, despite opposition from municipalities and utilities.

Among its latest projects is a campaign to better protect Long Island Sound, being conducted in partnership with other state environmental organizations.

Miner’s two children have followed in her footsteps. Her son runs a diving school in Indonesia, and her daughter is the executive director of the Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust, Connecticut’s largest.

“No,” Miner said without hesitation when asked whether she raised her children to be in the environmental field. “I wasn’t in the field.”

Indeed, Miner took an indirect route to becoming an environmental leader. She studied philosophy and worked as an editor and then local reporter. She was raised in New York City and Brooklyn, N.Y., but her family frequently escaped the city to a house her father built beside a swath of farmland in Kent. She eventually moved to Connecticut, where she transitioned from local reporting to heading the Roxbury Land Trust, before moving to the Rivers Alliance.

“I think that probably was it,” Miner said, when asked whether visiting Connecticut as a child was the spark for her environmental awareness and involvement. “When I was a kid, we used to spend a lot of time just walking around in the woods and fields and climbing trees and looking for animals. I developed, I guess, an affection for the natural world of western Connecticut.

“Although, I find it hard to imagine that anyone in this state wouldn’t be sensitive to what’s happening — frankly, in the world — that wouldn’t be sensitive to what’s happening to our poor planet Earth.”

 

Gloucester urged to promote underused fish to boost its economy

From ecoRI news

 

GLOUCESTER, Mass.

Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator Curt Spalding visited the city June 15 to applaud the commencement of a workshop to help the North Shore community promote the use of underused fish species as a way to support the local economy, address food insecurity and help revitalize downtown.

The workshop is being conducted as part of the White House Rural Council’s effort to promote “Local Foods, Local Places” — a federal initiative that helps communities increase economic opportunities for local food producers and related businesses and improves access to healthy local food.

Gloucester is one of 27 communities in 22 states that has been selected to participate in the program, and is the only New England municipality selected. More than 300 applicants were received.

“By working together to bring healthy local food to market, we can ensure we are making the right decisions for our environment, for public health and for our economy,” Spalding said.

The workshop started with a public meeting at the Gloucester House Restaurant on June 15, and continued June 16 with a planning session at City Hall. Gloucester will next receive a “Next Steps” report that describes options for actions the city and its partners can take to support a healthier and stronger Gloucester through local food and community planning strategies.

Around a boathouse in Westport, Mass.

Photography by Lydia Davison Whitcomb


"The sea, the great unifier, is man's only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat."

-Jacques Yves Cousteau
 


Janet Redman: Climate change at Trump properties

Via OtherWords.org


Newsflash: Donald Trump isn’t as retrograde on climate change as we thought. It turns out he’s well aware of the dangers of global warming — at least to his golf courses.

The Republican presidential hopeful is so concerned, in fact, that he’s petitioned the Irish government to let him build a seawall to secure his luxury golf course and hotel on the County Clare seaside.

According to an application filed by one of Trump’s companies, to “do nothing” as the ocean continues to eat away at the waterfront greens would pose a “real and immediate risk” to Trump’s beachfront property. And it explicitly cites rising global temperatures as the root of those threats.

As any good neighbor would, the real estate magnate also sounded the alarm to local residents. A brochure circulated by his company to surrounding towns makes the case for coastal protection, pointing out that more frequent storms brought on by global warming will increase the rate at which beaches disappear in the coming decades.

Climate change, Trump seems to be saying, is an existential threat to his Irish golf course. But what does he say about it here in the United States? It’s a Chinese-orchestrated “hoax.” It’s “BS.” It’s “pseudo-science.”

It doesn’t stop there. Trump’s also picked a pro-oil and coal climate denier as a top energy adviser. And he’s promised to trash domestic rules and international agreements that cut carbon pollution.

Apparently the billionaire-turned-politician is happy to appeal for government support to protect his overseas assets. But he’s not on board with public policies meant to keep his fellow Americans and their homes safe.

And the threat to his fellow Americans is very real.

A recent study by the humanitarian group Christian Aid calculated that 34 million people in the United States — that’s 10 percent of us — will be living in towns and cities exposed to coastal flooding by 2030. The Eastern Seaboard is especially at risk.

Miami ranks eighth for world cities whose residents face being washed out. It’s forecast to shoulder the highest financial costs from rising oceans of anywhere on earth, with $3.5 trillion in exposed assets over the next 50 years alone. New York City, Trump’s hometown, comes in a close third at $2.1 trillion in expected losses.

But when the storms come, it won’t be people like Trump who pay the biggest price.

After extreme coastal storms, ordinary families face formidable obstacles to accessing insurance payouts to cover the costs of rebuilding their lives. Billionaires like Donald Trump, on the other hand, can call a private jet to whisk them off to their second (or third) home.

You can bet that if Trump knows climate change is bad for business at his golf course, he knows it’s bad for business, period — small and large, in Ireland or here in the United States. But he’s happy to let the sea swallow our homes, as long as his own property gets a wall.

That double standard should give voters across the political spectrum pause. It’s not about blue or red. It’s about a brash billionaire thinking that his interests are more important than everyone else’s.

Janet Redman directs the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies