Grind for February 21st
“Every man has his follies – and often they are the most interesting thing he has got.” – Josh Billings
Michael Bloomberg as a secret army of climate activists
As reported by Fox News, Michael Bloomberg is paying the salaries of 10 lawyers who work in the offices of Democratic state attorneys general.
This unique arrangement began in 2017 when Bloomberg’s non-profit donated $5.6 million to create an environmental center at the New York School of Law.
The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center hires mid-career lawyers as “research fellows” and then sends them to work for state attorneys general.
“Under terms of the arrangement, the fellows work solely to advance progressive environmental policy at a time when Democratic state AGs have investigated and sued ExxonMobil and other energy companies over alleged damages due to climate change.”
The attorneys are obligated to report their activities back to NYU, but are asked to keep their reports private.
Bloomberg currently has “fellows” working directly with AGs in Delaware, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Washington, DC.
In what critics describe as a “conflict of interest,” two of Bloomberg’s fellows participated in the lengthy ExxonMobil trial in New York last December.
“This is a fundamental question of ethics and who’s running our government,” argues West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey. “When you actually get to place someone in under a specific agenda and then pay them and they’re within the office, that starts to call into question whether there are multiple masters within an attorney general office and that starts to really stink.”
“No one should be surprised,” adds NRA spokeswoman Amy Hunter. “This is yet another example of billionaire Michael Bloomberg using his money to impose his personal agenda on the American people. He wants to be emperor of America, and make every citizen his subject.”
The Bottom Line
The State Impact Center – which describes itself as nonpartisan – publicly celebrates its attacks on the Trump Administration.
“Maryland AG @BrianFrosh has led his state in 132+ actions on the environment since the start of the Trump Administration – part of the #300andcounting AG actions detailed in our new report,” tweeted the State Impact Center on January 1st, 2020.
“Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and if the Republican AGs were saying that ExxonMobil was going to be paying for 25 full-time lawyers to be working out of the office…Why is that any different? The reality is it’s not,” argues Morrisey. “It’s also very clear that this is being used to attack the presidency of Donald Trump…And that raises other questions when the benefactor of this organization is running against the president.”
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UK unveils post-Brexit immigration plan
The British government this week unveiled a points-based immigration system designed to reduce migration and attract skilled workers.
Those who seek jobs in the UK must earn 70 points to obtain a visa.
Immigrants will be awarded 50 points if they speak fluent English and have a job offer with an “approved sponsor.” They can earn additional points for various qualifications, the salary of the job they have been offered, and for working in a field with shortages.
The system has no cap on the number of skilled workers, but offers no visa opportunities for low-skilled workers.
Proponents believe the plan will attract the brightest and best workers, while critics say it will create a hostile environment that will deter immigrants and make it difficult to find employees.
“It is important employers move away from a reliance on the UK’s immigration system as an alternative to investment in staff retention, productivity, and wider investment in technology and automation,” said the government.
The Royal College of Nursing expressed concerns that the new system would fail to meet the healthcare needs of the population, potentially creating employee shortages, long wait times, and a decrease in the standard of care.
The National Farmers’ Union worries the proposal fails to take into account the nation’s food and farming needs.
“Firms know that hiring from overseas and investing in the skills of their workforce and new technologies is not an ‘either or’ choice – both are needed to drive the economy forward,” notes business lobbyist Carolyn Fairbairn.
Visitors to the UK who do not plan to work can stay in the country for up to six months without a visa. Foreign students who wish to study in the UK will be required to speak fluent English and prove they can support themselves financially.
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… Venice Island was built on a foundation of tree trunks. 1200 years later, those same trunks still support almost all of central Venice.