Posted by: coastcontact | September 15, 2019

Now this is a Natonal Emergency

San Francisco’s cable cars will stop running for 10 days starting Friday for repairs. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will be refurbishing gear boxes, braking systems, and everything to ensure that everything is “running safely and reliably.”  If you haven’t been to that city you should know that it is at least as exciting and interesting as Manhattan (NYC).  The cable cars are more fun than anything at Disneyland.  They connect downtown with Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf.

The cars will be back on service September 23.


Market and Powell in downtown

At Fisherman’s Wharf before the car is crowded

 

View of the bay while riding on a cable car

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Posted by: coastcontact | September 13, 2019

What we learned from the third Democratic Party Debate

Of course the topics and the time spent on each was determined by the ABC network and the moderators.

Healthcare took up at least 30 minutes of the three hour debate. Joe Biden defended Obamacare (Affordable Health Care Act) and his leading opponents voiced their support for a Medicare for all plan. Personally from my own experience I know that Obamacare is flawed. Many doctors do not participate and many medications are not covered. As was pointed out many people are not on the plan because their income is too low to qualify. It was correctly pointed out that the Trump administration wants to end Obamacare even though they do not have and alternate.

Julian Castro’s attack on Joe Biden on a contradiction in wording of something he had just said on healthcare brought on other candidates defending Mr. Biden. Many thought Castro was too hard on him. However, Castro’s attack is nothing compared to the attack’s Donald Trump will be making against his opponent. He has already called Joe Biden “sleepy Joe.”

Gun control was the next topic. Beto O’Rourke said he would take away all military style weapons. “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.” That statement will be used by Trump to bring supporters to his presidential re-election. Trump will use O’Rourke’s words to create fear that all guns will be confiscated if there is a Democrat in the White House.

To the question of whether the United States should provide restitution to the decedents of slavery Joe Biden offered a lecture to Black Americans telling them how to raise their children. “Play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player — on at night, make sure that kids hear words,” Biden said. “A kid coming from a very poor school — a very poor background — will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time we get there.”

The lack of a reasonable and sensible solution on dealing with the immigration crises at the Mexican border is another gift to Donald Trump.

Fear of another attack on the United States from Afghanistan probably means we will not withdraw all troops from that country. Donald Trump criticized rightfully Barack Obama for withdrawing troops from Iraq. Once faced with the situation.

If Joe Biden is the Democratic Party nominee, Donald Trump will have an easy re-election campaign.

Posted by: coastcontact | September 9, 2019

Summary of the past week in the News

  1. Free tuition at community colleges

 

KCRA Channel 3 Sacramento and CNN: California will provide free tuition for two years of community college to first-time, full-time California students. Full time students are those taking at least 12 units per semester. It does not include the cost of books, housing, or any other expenses. This is the same program that existed in the 1950s.

 

  1. Is this an invasion of privacy? Is this big brother?

 

Business Insider: American Airlines has started using facial recognition technology to let passengers board planes without their boarding pass.

LA Times: Delta Air Lines began using facial recognition technology at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, installing cameras to identify passengers at one boarding gate, with plans to add more. Critics of the technology say the images collected by the cameras can be stored and used to violate the privacy of innocent people, and that the technology is more likely to misidentify women and people of color than white men.

 Washington Post: The doorbell-camera company Ring has quietly forged video-sharing partnerships with more than 400 police forces across the United States, granting them access to homeowners’ camera footage and a powerful role in what the company calls the nation’s “new neighborhood watch.”

 

  1. Trump has repeatedly promised to complete 500 miles of fencing by the time voters go to the polls in November 2020

 

Washington Post: The president has told senior aides that a failure to deliver on the signature promise of his 2016 campaign would be a letdown to his supporters and an embarrassing defeat. When aides have suggested that some orders are illegal or unworkable, Trump has suggested he would pardon the officials if they would just go ahead, aides said. He has waved off worries about contracting procedures and the use of eminent domain, saying “take the land,” according to officials who attended the meetings.

 

  1. A mom with a license plate that reads ‘PB4WEGO’ wins a battle with the state to keep it

 

If you’re a parent, heading out the door before a car ride with the kids probably goes a little like this:

Parent: “Did you go to the bathroom?”

Child: “No, I don’t have to go.”

Parent: “Go now, you may not get the chance later.”

Wendy Augur has had this license plate for 15 years. New Hampshire’s DMV demanded she turn in the plate because it had a phrase relating to “sexual or excretory acts of functions”. In a hearing it took the governor’s intervention to allow her to keep the plate.

 

  1. No homeless housing in Chatsworth (a “middle class” community in Los Angeles)

 

LA City Councilman John Lee opposes a proposed homeless housing site on Topanga Canyon Blvd. “I don’t think the site was really well thought out. It was thrown at the community, and I don’t believe the site is going to work” he told the LA Daily News. The location is along a stretch of the boulevard that is all commercial buildings. He implied he had another location in mind. The neighborhood council has been on record opposing any homeless shelter in the community.

 

  1. UCLA study on homelessness

1 – Homelessness has surged 75 percent in six years. An estimated 57,000 people will be without a home in Los Angeles tonight. Many of these people are families and children; veterans and friends.

2 – 26 percent of homeless individuals in California are severely mentally ill, 18 percent chronically abuse drugs and 24 percent are victims of domestic abuse.

 

  1. Latest round of Trump’s tariffs on China takes effect on many consumer goods

 

New tariff took effect Sunday Sept. 1 (Labor Day). The tariff list includes 90 types of boots, slippers, leather shoes and other footwear; more than 125 kinds of watches and clocks; various color TV sets video monitors; computer printers, all Apple products (except the iPhone that will be impacted on December 15), and hundreds of clothing items. In all, about $110 billion worth of imported products from China are newly subject to 15% tariffs.

 

  1. Williamson deletes tweet suggesting ‘power of the mind’ can deter Hurricane Dorian

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson posted and then deleted a tweet Wednesday morning that suggested the “power of mind” could deter Hurricane Dorian from slamming into the US.

“The Bahamas, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas…may all be in our prayers now. Millions of us seeing Dorian turn away from land is not a wacky idea; it is a creative use of the power of the mind. Two minutes of prayer, visualization, meditation for those in the way of the storm,” her now-deleted post read.

Williamson did not qualify for the next debate scheduled for September 12.

 

  1. A scary warning: Don’t do a thorough job: A Threat?

LA Times: As a high-level government auditor, Beth Kennedy has investigated or reviewed the spending of many city of Los Angeles departments without serious incident, she says. But now, Kennedy, a chief internal auditor for City Controller Ron Galperin, is alleging that she was warned not to delve too deeply into controversial contracts awarded by the Department of Water of Power, according to a legal claim she filed against the city last month.

Kennedy claims that a superior in her office told her in May that, for personal safety reasons, she should “not be as thorough” with her audit. Then in June, someone smashed a glass patio door at Kennedy’s home in Orange County, according to La Habra police.

 

  1. Squirrels listen in on bird chatter to decide if they’re safe, and that’s scientifically significant

 

A new study published in the journal PLOS One (a scientific journal) concludes grey squirrels use the sounds of nearby birds to infer the absence or presence of predators. According to the researchers, bird sounds are “likely to indicate safety because such sounds are generally given when imminent threat has not been detected.”

So after the indicated presence of a threat in the red-tailed hawk, the squirrels were more likely to relax if they thought other species around them were relaxing too.

 

  1. California’s new plan to cap rent

 

California lawmakers are on the verge of approving one of the only state laws in the nation to limit rent increases after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a deal with legislative leaders last week on a bill to cap annual rent hikes.

Why do this?

In Boyle Heights (a low income community in Los Angeles), apartments without rent controls saw rents increase from a median $1,200 a month to $1,700 between 2016 and 2017. Such rent hikes would no longer be allowed under the proposed legislation.

 

  1. Donald Trump the weatherman

 

He falsely claimed that Hurricane Dorian was likely to hit Alabama. Then he repeated the claim after the National Weather Service debunked it. Then he insisted that the media, not him, was in the wrong. Then, to try to prove his point, he showed the media an outdated map that had clearly been altered with a Sharpie marking pen. Then, trying again, he tweeted out an unaltered map that was too old to prove his point. Then, trying again he tweeted out some more old maps. Finally, Trump got his homeland security adviser to issue a statement vouching for him.

Even today there have been threats that NOAA employees would be fired for contradicting the president.

The object was obvious. He did put himself in the forefront of the hurricane threat and that was his purpose.

 

And that’s the way it was!

Posted by: coastcontact | September 5, 2019

Donald Trump in the News

Donald Trump wants to be in the lead news stories every day.  Everything he does is all about self promotion.

I just can’t ignore the fact that Donald Trump is living in his own world.  He obviously sees himself as the most important part of everything.  He really believes  that most Americans adore him.  And if anyone says anything that contradicts that view it’s just “fake news.”

He insisted that the crowds at his inauguration were the largest in history even though the comparison with the crowds at the Obama inauguration were obviously far more significant.

Now his latest nonsense is his insistence that Hurricane Dorian was going to hit Alabama.  He apparently used a Sharpie marking pen to show the route of the storm crossing Florida and moving west.

Two things he accomplished. He put himself into the news and provided great opportunities for late night comedians on television.

I guess he has succeeded.

Posted by: coastcontact | August 30, 2019

Joe Biden is the Democratic Party front runner. I wonder why?

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Easter Prayer Breakfast in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, April 4, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Joe Biden is trying to run for president on the coat tails of President Obama. His primary argument is that Obama pushed the country along in a moderate way. There were no extreme actions taken.

Biden’s argument should be examined. I argue that Barack Obama did take extreme actions. Some of those decisions were serious mistakes.

Obama’s signature accomplishment was health care insurance. The action he took was a benefit to America that will remembered as consequential as Social Security and Medicare. That is the Affordable Care Act. Called Obamacare by those who opposed it, that law has provided health care to 11.8 million people. While the coverage is not a perfect solution to affordable health care, it did take a big step forward to address the high cost of healthcare. Unfortunately many people are dropping out of the plan due to high deductibles. The GOP efforts to end Obamacare have continued to this day. Repeal and replace has been a mantra of the Republican Party. Even if the law is repealed, health care coverage will be an enduring reality for all Americans.

Unfortunately Obama did not lead a fight for raising the minimum wage from the current paltry $7.25 an hour, gun safety (Isn’t the killing by military weapons a national emergency?), for infrastructure projects, for fighting homelessness, for job training for those who lost their job due to automation. American manufacturing jobs have declined by 5 million since the 1980s and left many communities devastated. I could list many other things that should have been on his agenda.

Sadly Obama’s foreign affairs successes were few. The single outstanding action was 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that did nothing to stop their development of ballistic missiles and their spread of terrorism throughout the middle east.

Stupidly the U.S, blundered into a war in Iraq in 2003. The withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq began in December 2007 and was completed by December 2011. But the total withdrawal was a mistake and an American-led intervention in Iraq started on June 15, 2014, when President Obama ordered United States forces to be dispatched to the region, in response to offensives by ISIS and its affiliates.

On August 20, 2012 President Obama told a group of reporters the use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria would cross his “red line.” A year later, almost to the day, Syrian forces killed more than 1,400 people with sarin gas, a particularly horrifying chemical weapon that can cause paralysis, convulsions, or death. But no action was taken. Instead he agreed to a deal with Russia to remove and destroy 600 metric tons of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

So the question is what part of the Obama legacy does Joe Biden want to pursue? What is the Biden agenda? Hopefully the September and October debates will provide some clarity.

Posted by: david bancroft | August 22, 2019

I hate Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu

I am Jewish but not a Zionist. I grew up in Philadelphia. During the Vietnam War I was stationed in Thailand. I was in the Air Force working in a supply station. My father and his brother both fought in World War II. So our family is loyal to this country. As best as I can determine everyone in my family is a Democrat.

The State of Israel was recognized by Democratic President Harry Truman in 1948. Democratic President John F. Kennedy in 1962 sold Israel a major weapon system, the Hawk anti-aircraft missile.

Tropes questioning the loyalty of Jews has been a historic reality. It wasn’t just Hitler and the Nazis. Jews in the Jewish Diaspora were accused of dual loyalty by the Romans in the 1st century.

Donald Trump’s accusations against American Jews is just another example of the same anti-Semitic words of others who hate Jews for no other reason than they need a foil or fear of everyone who is not a white Christian.

Benjamin Netenyahu played into Donald Trump’s hands for political reasons. His decision to bar two congresswomen from Israel will harm American Jews. For me, Israel is no friend to American Jews or Jews anywhere else in the world. The crowd that chanted “Jews will not replace us” at a neo-Nazis rallying in Charlottesville, Virginia now have one more reason to parade and attack Jews.

David Bancroft

Posted by: coastcontact | August 18, 2019

The Failure of Government Leaders

Secret British government documents have warned of serious disruptions across the country in the event that the U.K. leaves the European Union without a trade deal on October 31, according to a report. Still the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is determined to take the U.K. out of the E.U. even without a trade deal.

There have been 12 mass shootings in the United States in 2019 and another 19 occurred in 2018. Donald Trump, despite the shootings continues to side with the NRA telling the public that those shootings are the result of mental illness and video games. Mental illness and Video games in Canada and Europe is just not the same – right.

Rising temperatures are a fact around the world but many government leaders deny there is a problem.

Mass migration are now a fact. People are trying to leave the poor countries of Africa and taking inflatable rafts to reach the southern countries of Europe. The poor of central Americans countries are joining caravans to reach the United States. This is not a new phenomenon. Historically migrations have been a fact. The United States population is the result of migration from other countries from its founding (remember the Mayflower?)

Homelessness is on the rise. Based on national reports, it’s estimated that no less than 150 million people, or about 2 percent of the world’s population, are homeless. However, about 1.6 billion, more than 20 percent of the world’s population, may lack adequate housing.

Where are national leaders to address these issues? They are absent. Local and immediate politics drives their decisions. Who is to blame? We all are. Majorities keep re-electing those same clueless people for another term in office.

The new census projections indicate that, for youth under 18–the post-millennial population–minorities will outnumber whites in 2020.

This is scary stuff for racists and bigots.

Donald Trump and the white supremacists are trying their very best to sustain the white population as the majority group in the United States. That is the reason the U.S. government has developed new regulations for green card holders. The idea is to encourage immigrants to leave this country and discourage anyone else, except perhaps the wealthy, to attempt entrance.  The KKK couldn’t be happier.

The problem for the white supremacists is they are too late in their efforts. As reported by Brookings Institute, the U.S. Census Bureau 2018 statistics show “that for the first time there are more children who are minorities than who are white, at every age from zero to nine.”

The Bureau projects that by 2045 the White population will be less than 50% of the total.

Donald trump will employ the fear factor, “they are coming and I can stop them”, and it will play well in mid-western states that have small minority populations in the 2020 election. But the Census Bureau prediction for 2045 means that White people will not have the power they have today. And “That’s the way it is!”

Posted by: coastcontact | August 9, 2019

This is what True Americans Look Like

Everyone else is an immigrant or the child of an immigrant.

Posted by: coastcontact | August 8, 2019

Is there something wrong with us?

This column by Doyle McManus in the Los Angeles Times points out that ownership of guns does not necessarily lead  to mass shootings but sadly does not diagnose the reason for our national acceptance of repeated massacres.

“Canada has mental illness, the internet and violent video games, too — the same video games, in the same language — and its rate of gun violence is far lower.”

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-08-06/is-there-something-wrong-with-us-new-story

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