“The Recession’s Coming” and other pants-on-fire tales coming soon to a mall near you
By Doug Porter
Former Mayor Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, sent a holiday letter out this week to all Chamber members and partner organizations urging them to get on board with the latest campaign to overturn the City Council by referendum.
Their “friendly” signature gatherers will be blocking your entrance into shopping malls around the region starting the day after Christmas urging people to sign the Stop the Jobs-Killing Tax petition. (I’ll gladly publish videos of their “sales” techniques if you’d like to email them in.)
The council’s decision to end a linkage fee (with plenty of exceptions) for bigger developers is being cast by Saunders and his cronies as a “massive tax increase” and a “jobs tax”.
And here’s the real zinger:
This jobs tax could easily push us back into an economic recession. It will certainly cause some businesses to scale back or eliminate expansion plans, which will reduce job growth. Other companies will take their business – and local jobs – elsewhere and many more simply won’t consider moving to San Diego. At a time when our economy remains fragile, we cannot afford to put jobs at risk.
This “massive jobs tax” is nothing more than a linkage fee of the same sort used by big cities around the country to offset the impacts on infrastructure caused by development. In San Diego’s case, the City Council has decided to apply the funds towards the supply of affordable housing. This “massive jobs tax” magically transforms itself into “minimal impact” once the monies are collected.
This is Voodoo Economics 101. Studies by the Brookings Institute and others show very clearly that the sort of linkage fees involved here have no impact on employment.
Please don’t sign this petition. I have no illusions about the actual impact on this fee on the affordable housing crisis in San Diego. I just can’t abide by people telling lies to overturn the decision of a majority of our elected representatives.
The Communists Won the War on Christmas Back in 1946
Seasons greetings, comrades.
It turns out that the holiday classic film It’s a Wonderful Life was listed by the FBI as suspected propaganda for a decade after its 1946 release. A story in the online publication Quartz.com by Zachary M. Seward, based on J. Edgar Hoover era internal reports tells the story.
I want to let readers know this will be the last Startling Line column of 2013. Over the next twelve days of Christmas I’ll look back month-by-month at the stories covered in the column during the last year. (Should any earthshaking local items pop up on my newsfeed I’ll whip out a story or two.)
It’s a Wonderful Life is a staple of the holiday season in the United States, but it was once considered un-American by the government.
From the film’s release in 1946 until 1956, it was listed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as suspected Communist propaganda. Mr. Potter, the villainous banker who nearly drives George Bailey to financial ruin and suicide, “represented a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as ‘scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture,” according to an FBI report (pdf, pg. 14) in 1947.
The report called it “a common trick used by Communists.”
Now, anyone familiar with It’s a Wonderful Life knows that George and Peter Bailey are also bankers—beloved by the people of Bedford Falls,New York, and nearly seven decades of film audiences. George’s actions, though occasionally imprudent, ultimately save the Bailey Bros. Building and Loan from financial ruin. But these details escaped the FBI’s analysis, which concluded that the film ”deliberately maligned the upper class.”
Newsmaker of the Year (IMO)
While the new Pope continues to amaze me and outrage the worshipers of trickle down economic and the legacy of ex-Mayor Bob Filner (both the truth and the myths) continues to depress me, I have to weigh in on former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden as 2013’s top newsmaker.
Like him or not, Snowden’s actions will continue to reverberate for years to come. Calling him names or dismissing what his documents have thus far revealed is a waste of time. The Pandora’s box of government secrets has been opened and the logical thing to do now is to take a look a what’s been done with our tax dollars and decide if that’s the kind of world we want to live in.
The institutional inertia and self-preservation instincts of any government agency, if history is any measure, insure that the Industrial Intelligence Complex will survive these latest rounds of setbacks relatively unscathed. Those who believe that simple exposure of the “truth” will correct past injustices are ignoring the reality of past “revelations.”
So it behooves us (as in us, the citizens and taxpayers) to seize this moment, understand the truth and try to get our two cents in before the doors of secrecy slam shut. That’s why I urge you to read The Washington Post’s interview with Edward Snowden. There are no more secrets revealed in this particular account, merely a look inside the mind of a man who, as he put it, says his mission’s already been accomplished.
A snippet from the Post article:
Snowden is an orderly thinker, with an engineer’s approach to problem-solving. He had come to believe that a dangerous machine of mass surveillance was growing unchecked. Closed-door oversight by Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was a “graveyard of judgment,” he said, manipulated by the agency it was supposed to keep in check. Classification rules erected walls to prevent public debate.
Toppling those walls would be a spectacular act of transgression against the norms that prevailed inside them. Someone would have to bypass security, extract the secrets, make undetected contact with journalists and provide them with enough proof to tell the stories.
The NSA’s business is “information dominance,” the use of other people’s secrets to shape events. At 29, Snowden upended the agency on its own turf.
“You recognize that you’re going in blind, that there’s no model,” Snowden said, acknowledging that he had no way to know whether the public would share his views.
“But when you weigh that against the alternative, which is not to act,” he said, “you realize that some analysis is better than no analysis. Because even if your analysis proves to be wrong, the marketplace of ideas will bear that out. If you look at it from an engineering perspective, an iterative perspective, it’s clear that you have to try something rather than do nothing.”
By his own terms, Snowden succeeded beyond plausible ambition. The NSA, accustomed to watching without being watched, faces scrutiny it has not endured since the 1970s, or perhaps ever.
A Christmas Eve Spacewalk
As we Earthlings are finishing up our holiday preparations, astronauts in the International Space Station have been busy with repairs, replacing a faulty pump module. Here’s a little video, courtesy of Raw Story:
For those of you looking to the skies for something other than space news, here’s the link to NORAD’s Santa Tracker.
A War on Christmas Story
Have a Wonderful Holiday!
I want to let readers know this will be the last freshly minted Startling Line column of 2013. Over the twelve days of Christmas I’ll look back month-by-month at the stories covered in the column during the last year. (Should any earthshaking local items pop up on my newsfeed I’ll whip out a story or two.)
See you again January 7th.
On This Day: 1871 – In Cairo, Egypt, Verdi’s opera “Aida” had its world premiere. 1968 – Three astronauts, James A. Lovell, William Anders and Frank Borman, reached the moon. They orbited the moon 10 times before coming back to Earth. Seven months later man first landed on the moon. 2000 – 36 minutes after the end of a game, both the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins were called back to the playing field. The teams had to play the final 3 seconds of the game which the Dolphins had won 27-24. The end result did not change.
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