How to Cut Infrastructure Costs in Half

WEB OF DEBT BLOG

Americans could save $1 trillion over 10 years by financing infrastructure through publicly-owned banks like the one that has long been operating in North Dakota.

President Donald Trump has promised to rebuild America’s airports, bridges, tunnels, roads and other infrastructure, something both Democrats and Republicans agree should be done. The country needs a full $3 trillion in infrastructure over the next decade. The $1 trillion plan revealed by Trump’s economic advisers relies heavily on public-private partnerships, and private equity firms are lining up for these plumbing investments. In the typical private equity water deal, for example, higher user rates help the firms earn annual returns of anywhere from 8 to 18 percent – more even than a regular for-profit water company might expect. But the price tag can come as a rude surprise for local ratepayers.

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Apocalypse Shopping List: Guns, Motorcycles, and… Bitcoin?

Longreads

Apparently, New Zealand is the new go-to destination for the end of the world. The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos talks with tech titans who are snapping up property in the far-flung nation “just in case.” Those staying in the US are stocking up on suitable transportation — you’re going to want more than 30 to the gallon in the after times — weapons, and crypto-currency.

Oh, pro tip? Stop putting off that Lasik surgery you’ve been thinking about; you’re not going to be able to get new glasses when the apocalypse hits.

Tim Chang, a forty-four-year-old managing director at Mayfield Fund, a venture-capital firm, told me, “There’s a bunch of us in the Valley. We meet up and have these financial-hacking dinners and talk about backup plans people are doing. It runs the gamut from a lot of people stocking up on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, to figuring out how to…

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Xi Jinping: Nuclear Weapons Should be Completely Prohibited

The Most Revolutionary Act

International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)  welcomes the statement by Chinese President Xi Jinping that “nuclear weapons … should be completely prohibited and destroyed over time to make the world free of them.” President Xi’s remarks, made during a speech on January 18 at the United Nations in Geneva, were consistent with China’s long-standing official support for nuclear disarmament, and come as the UN is preparing to convene negotiations on a new treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. . .

Source: Xi Jinping: Nuclear weapons … should be completely prohibited

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Obama quietly gave Palestinian Authority $221mn in aid – final presidential hours – report

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Just before leaving office, President Barack Obama reportedly authorised the discreet transfer of more than $227 million to foreign accounts, circumventing Republicans who were blocking the funds. Over 97 percent went to the Palestinian Authority.

According to a State Department official and several Congressional aides, the Associated Press reported, some $221 million went to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the interim self-governing Palestinian body established in 1994.

The rest of the funds were allocated to agencies around the world, with $4 million going to climate change programs for cutting emissions and creating a climate technology center, $1.25 million going to the UN Peacebuilding Fund and other UN programs, and $1.05 million going to the State Department’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan office and the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.

The funds for the Palestinian Authority were originally approved by Congress in the fiscal years 2015 to 2016 and were aimed at supporting humanitarian aid efforts in the West Bank and Gaza, but GOP lawmakers put a hold on the funds. Rep. Ed Royce (R-California), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, took issue with funding the PA, which he claimed funds terrorism.

In a July 2016 statement by Royce, he said the PA uses US aid money as a “martyrs’ fund” to pay “the families of Palestinian prisoners and suicide bombers.”

“It’s hard to see how this ‘pay to slay’ policy wouldn’t put them on the state sponsor of terrorism list,” Royce said.
In the past, presidents have respected holds placed on funds by Congress. However, they always had the power to overturn any holds after the funds were allocated. Obama, who was a strong supporter of the Palestinian Authority, had pressed Congress for years to release the funds.

In 2012, Congress froze a $192 million aid package for the PA after President Mahmoud Abbas sought UN statehood in 2011. Obama lifted the ban, stating that the aid was “important to the security interests of the United States,” the Times of Israel reported.

President Donald Trump, who has vowed to be a pro-Israel president, has been critical of the UN’s decision to recognise the PA.

Trump’s plan to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem caused outrage from Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who wrote an official letter to Trump, saying the move would have a “disastrous impact on the peace process, on the two-state solution and on the stability and security of the entire region.”

Trump’s pick for Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, called the Israel-Palestine two-state solution “an illusion that serves the worst intentions of both the United States and the Palestinian Arabs” in a 2016 column for Israel National News.

Source – rt.com

A New Sheriff in Town

No Facilities

Permit We’re good to go.

We’ve recently started a small home improvement project. The project began, as every home improvement project should begin, with the application for a Building Permit. I’m sure one or two of you are wondering why I bothered getting a permit. I’m sure, because there have been at least one or two people in my daily work-life circles who have asked me that question.

The short answer to “why bother with a permit?” It’s the law. Evidence of the need for such a law is abundant in the rattrap “additions” I’ve seen recently.

Anyway, we have a new Building Inspector. I have pulled so many permits, that I was comfortable with the previous inspector. He was comfortable with me as well. I’d show him my plans. He’d look them over and say: “let me know when you’re ready for me to take…

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