Guest Author on Calling-all-RushBabes-Trolling in Downtown Seattle?

Guest Author on Calling-all-RushBabes-Trolling in Downtown Seattle?

My hubby has done an absolutely hilarious post over at Ricochet, and I just had to let my followers here see it.  The new mayor of Seattle is seriously considering imposition of “congestion pricing” to discourage people from driving into the city in their own automobiles, and “reduce vehicle emissions” to counter “climate change” (as if one city can have even a tiny effect on “climate change”!!)  This will make you laugh out loud!

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I couldn’t resist passing on this news item, inspired by Seattle Times staff reporter David Gutman.

Seattle will develop a plan to troll city roadways as part of its efforts to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse-gas emissions, Mayor said Tuesday.

Details of what such a plan might look like are sparse, and will hinge on a trolling study focused on downtown neighborhoods that should have initial results later this year.

While several foreign cities use broad congestion-trolling schemes to reduce car and foot travel in their most-clogged downtown areas, no American city has established a similar widespread trolling system.

The mayor said she was hopeful a congestion-trolling system could be in place by the end of her first term, in 2021.

The mayor had said during her campaign last fall that the city should explore congestion trolling.

Seattle could implement trolling within the city without the permission of the state Legislature, but it would almost certainly require the approval of city voters.

In 2015, 56 percent of Puget Sound-area voters said systemwide trolling was a bad or very bad idea, according to a poll from the Puget Sound Regional Council.

Congestion trolling can take a number of forms, and it’s unclear which the city may pursue.

Hiring both homeless and introducing unwanted smartphone internet traffic to pester motorists and pedestrians on more heavily trafficked streets and byways would discourage rush-hour car, foot and bicycle traffic and would be employed as a form of congestion trolling. Electronic trolling of airwaves would jam normal internet access and replace expected internet traffic with offensive advertisements and social media attacks.

Similarly, so-called cordon trolling, where a heavily trafficked area (think downtown and South Lake Union) is virtually “cordoned” off, and trolls and electronic trolling are employed at the entrances to an area.

New York City has been discussing cordon trolling in Manhattan, without taking action, for more than a decade.

Congestion trolling is being proposed as part of a push to cut the city’s greenhouse-gas emissions and reduce economic activity. Seattle’s four previous mayors have all tried, and mostly failed, to reduce the city’s carbon output, as a booming population has offset decreases in per-person emissions.

Transportation is responsible for about two-thirds of Seattle’s greenhouse-gas emissions, and most of the mayor’s proposed changes focus on that sector.

The mayor also wants to make Seattle much more hospitable to electric cars. She said she will introduce legislation requiring that new developments (or renovations) that build parking also include electric-vehicle charging stations and would contain key software and hardware to defeat electronic trolling, at least until the city becomes overrun with electronic cars.

Decreases in tax revenues as a result of congestion trolling would be used to decrease transit service throughout the city and thereby reduce greenhouse-gas emissions further.

“We want to make it more uncomfortable for people to drive and walk downtown so they won’t want to come here,” she said. “We as a city and as a region have to make real on the promise of reduced emissions and commercial activity.”

The mayor’s radical climate action plan, spurred along by the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, also aims to develop programs to decrease building energy use around the city by discouraging commercial activity.

“If our country is going to do anything significant on climate, the leadership has to come from states and cities,” the mayor said.

Actual tolling is already coming to downtown Seattle, with the opening of the Highway 99 tunnel, scheduled for later this year. But the state Transportation Commission continues to struggle deciding how much to toll and when to start tolling.

Whatever price the agency settles on, the tolls will cause some drivers to skip the tunnel, pushing more cars onto already suffocating downtown streets, creating increased demands on trolling to manage congestion.

That’s why, last year, the City Council authorized $200,000 to study the effects of the tunnel’s tolls and to explore congestion trolling in Seattle.

“The study would focus on the broader equity implications of congestion trolling in Seattle (particularly who is driving, bicycling and/or walking and at what times) and explore options, such as the idea of trolling downtown Seattle exits, to ensure that downtown homeless continue to have enough room to move around and find places to camp reliably,” the proposal for the study said.

City Councilperson, who proposed the study, said last fall the city was “a long ways” from considering congestion trolling but that the study would be useful information to have when that discussion did happen.

His office said Tuesday that the study would likely be put out for bid in the next couple of weeks and they hope for initial findings by October.

Durkan said that study would be the “starting point” for a plan on congestion trolling, “looking exactly where those corridors are where it makes sense both from a city betterment project and a greenhouse gas project.”

Seattle has studied congestion trolling previously.

A 2003 study by the Puget Sound Regional Council found that regionwide variable trolling — employing varying numbers of trolls on all major roads at different times — “could make excessive reoccurring congestion a thing of the past.”

A 2009 study, commissioned by the city, recommended trolls as a way to lower the city’s greenhouse- gas emissions, deal with congestion and decrease revenue.

And, while not anything like trolling, the state is currently studying a tax on every mile driven, as a way to replace the gas tax.

Foreign cities that have implemented widespread trolling — London, Stockholm and Milan are prominent examples — have generally faced public opposition that faded away after the system was put in place and traffic congestion decreased. And the homeless people were much happier.

“Roadway trolling tends to poll poorly,” Matthew Gibson, an economist at Williams College who has studied trolling, said in an interview last year. “After people experience it for a while, support tends to increase.”

New York City is the only other American city to look seriously at congestion trolling, but it has repeatedly backed away.

Just last week, New York legislators agreed on a budget that did not include Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s much-discussed proposal for imposition of nearly 12 trolls to drive into midtown Manhattan.

A Pretty Good Argument Against Only Owning an Electric Car

A Pretty Good Argument Against Only Owning an Electric Car

This past weekend, my hubby and I were watching TV (pretty rare for us), and he tuned in to the NHK World program, an English feature of the Japanese network NHK.  They had a very interesting program dealing with how technology helps Japan deal with the many natural disasters they face, living on the Ring of Fire.  They showed a special floodgate that can redirect flood waters with no human assistance.  And they spoke with a Japanese farmer who told how he dealt with the inability to use his cellular phone, in the aftermath of a big earthquake that knocked out all power to his area for weeks.

This put me in mind of how bad his situation would have been if his only transportation had been an electric vehicle.  If the power goes out to your neighborhood, or your entire city for longer than a day or two, you might be stranded.  Your “vehicle” would be nothing more than a big lump of toxic waste (think how hard it will be to recycle that huge battery) sitting in your driveway, or your barn.  What about the city which prohibits any but electric vehicles in its limits?  What happens if that city is flooded with 6 feet of muddy water?  Needless to say, all the electric vehicles would be deathtraps, and totally useless for evacuation.  And all those people would have no way out.

Just look at what happened to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit last year.  In February, many people there were still without power!  Those people can get power with gas-powered generators-fossil fuels!  If they had had electric cars, those would have been totally useless.

Many political units have already stated that they will be prohibiting “fossil-fuel” vehicles within the next 10-20 years.  I know for a fact that their desire to “go green”, and to force their citizens to do so, was not thought through very well.  And my prediction is that it will not happen in 20 years, nor in 40 years.    They will discover that mandating electric vehicles would be a very poor policy, and cause more undesirable effects than beneficial effects.  Oh, and it would be absolutely useless in “saving the planet”, since the planet is bigger than they are, and not in need of saving.   Citizens can stock up on gasoline to prepare for a possible disaster.  They can’t stock up on electricity.

Vindicated!! RushBabe’s Staying off Facebook and Twitter was the Right Decision

Vindicated!!  RushBabe’s Staying off Facebook and Twitter was the Right Decision

Just lately, there have been a number of stories in various media of huge tech companies having their discriminatory policies toward users with conservative viewpoints exposed to public view.

Just lately, the big story has been that Twitter staff have, behind the scenes, “shadow-banned” conservatives by making their tweets essentially invisible to their followers.  Current and former Twitter employees were caught on tape bragging about having made tweets by conservatives not available to their followers.

Earlier, a big story was how YouTube, owned by Google, banned PragerU from its service, comparing it to “white supremacists”.  Google is the Big Kahuna of the Internet, and its algorithm changes can prompt uproars from various “harmed” groups.  And then, there’s the recent case of Google engineer James Damore, who was fired for posting an internal essay regarding the internal culture of the company, which would put conservative employees “on trial” and shun them; many stories of disturbing content on internal Google message boards have come out recently.

Facebook, that other Big Kahuna, has also been accused by multiple parties of censoring its “news feed” to eliminate stories by and about conservatives.  It has also been called out for censoring user posts that show conservative views.

Gee, this seems to make me sound prescient for simply staying off Facebook and Twitter. So far, nobody has tried to censor RushBabe49’s conservative posts and viewpoint.  And I thank all my loyal followers for their support, even though it’s mostly silent.

Seattle Liberals-stuck on stupid with their Sweetened Beverage Tax

On January 1, Seattle initiates a new “sweetened beverage tax”, of $0.0175 per OUNCE of sweetened beverage (Coke, Pepsi, Simply Lemonade, VitaminWater…).  Below is information I copied off the City of Seattle Web site.  Now, the reason for this tax in the first place is to make the citizens of Seattle healthier by making it more expensive to drink those evil sweetened beverages.  Except that…wait for it…they say below that the tax is NOT INTENDED TO BE PASSED ON TO THE CONSUMER!
Now, what are the chances that the beverage distributors will simply eat the huge cost of this tax?  Yes, about zero.  They will certainly pass the cost on to the retailers who stock the beverages, who will increase the cost to consumers.  The tax will about double the cost of a 21-ounce bottle of soda. **The tax on one 12-pack of 12-ounce cans will be $2.52, which is about the wholesale price of that 12-pack!!!
Cook County (Chicago) tried this a while ago.  And you know what happened?  Well, citizens of Cook County simply traveled a few miles, across the county line, and bought their sweetened beverages in the suburbs and towns next door.  Distributors laid off employees, due to the reduced business within the city.  And the county made very little money from the tax.  So it was repealed.
Liberals always assume that when they levy a tax on an activity or a commodity, those subject to the tax will simply pay up.  Well, they don’t!  If you tax something, you get less of it, which liberals never seem to learn.  The city of Seattle states that the tax is not intended to be passed on to consumers, but they seem never to have heard of the law of unintended consequences.  When people get taxed, they tend to change their behavior.  When the price of cigarettes skyrockets in a municipality or state, cigarette smuggling skyrockets.  When the cost of a sweetened beverage doubles in the City of Seattle, I predict that citizens will simply make a run to the new Lynnwood Costco to stock up on Coke or Pepsi.  Costco even carries VitaminWater now, so they can save even more.  I wonder if Seattle will pass a new law outlawing the carrying of sweetened beverages across the city limits?  Another question: how much additional business will Seattle retailers lose due to this tax?   Probably few people go shopping just for beverages, so how much additional revenue will Seattle stores lose when residents simply do all their grocery shopping outside the city?
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SWEETENED BEVERAGE TAX (SEATTLE)

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, the City of Seattle will impose a sweetened beverage tax. View Ordinance 125324.

The sweetened beverage tax is a tax on the distribution of sweetened beverages in the city of Seattle. The tax is collected on the final distribution of sweetened beverages by a distributor. The tax is not collected by the retailer nor is the tax burden intended to fall onto the consumer. The intent of the sweetened beverage tax is to tax the distributions of sweetened beverages into Seattle for retail sale in Seattle.

For more information, please review:

If you have questions or concerns, contact SweetenedBevTax@seattle.gov.

Tax rate

The standard tax rate for the sweetened beverage tax is $.0175 per ounce. There is a reduced tax rate for certified manufacturers. That rate is $.01 per ounce.   ***Editorial comment by RushBabe49:  Which manufacturers in Seattle will voluntarily pay that exorbitant tax on their legitimately-produced soda?  Might those businesses simply write off Seattle and move their factories outside the city?  If they do, how much B & O tax revenue will Seattle be losing?

Guidelines to follow

Distributors are liable for the sweetened beverage tax on distributions of sweetened beverages into Seattle for retail sale in Seattle. Distributors need to file the sweetened beverage tax online at https://www.filelocal-wa.gov/. Distributors will either file annually or quarterly; following the same schedule as its B&O tax filing due dates. The imposition of the tax does not begin until Jan. 1, 2018. For quarterly tax filers, the first due date to remit the tax will be April 30, 2018.

Exemption from the sweetened beverage tax

If a distributor sells products from a certified small manufacturer (annual worldwide gross revenue of $2 million or less), those sales are exempt from taxation. The manufacturer must apply for the exemption with the City.

Reduced tax rate

If a distributor sells products from a certified manufacturer that has worldwide gross revenue of over $2 million but less than $5 million, those sales are eligible for a reduced tax rate ($.01/ounce). The manufacturer must apply for the reduced rate certification with the City.

Additional exemptions

For a listing of sweetened beverages that are exempt from the sweetened beverage tax, please see Seattle Rule 5-953.

Redistribution Certificate

The intent of the Redistribution Certificate is to ensure that the tax only applies to distribution of sweetened beverages for retail sale in Seattle. Retail businesses that receive distributions of sweetened beverages in the city of Seattle but then redistribute some or all of the sweetened beverages for retail sale outside the city may issue redistribution certificates to distributors. The retailer then becomes responsible for remitting the tax to the City only on those sweetened beverages receipted and sold at retail in Seattle.  ***Editorial Comment from RushBabe49:  Just read this paragraph-can you imagine the labor involved in determining when this rule applies?  What distributor will do this?***

In accordance with Seattle Rule 5-953 Sweetened Beverage Tax, this certificate may be completed by a person who requests to the distributor that they be liable for the sweetened beverage tax on sweetened beverages ultimately distributed for retail sale in Seattle.

Any distributor that accepts a Redistribution Certificate must provide a copy of the completed certificate to the City of Seattle within 15 days of receipt and the distributor will receive a confirmation of receipt from the City. The Redistribution Certificate is only valid with a confirmation receipt from the City of Seattle.

Distributors that accept a Redistribution Certificate must remit a copy by fax to (206) 684-5170 or by email to sweetenedbevtax@seattle.gov.

Read the code

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) for legal details about the sweetened beverage tax.

SMC Chapter 5.53 covers the sweetened beverage tax.

Seattle business tax rule 5-953 provides further information.

A Short ECON101 Lesson about Taxes

A Short ECON101 Lesson about Taxes

Right now, the US Congress is hashing out a “tax reform” set of bills intended to change the ways taxes are confiscated from American workers and savers.  Those on the Left often refer to “tax cuts for the rich”, showing their basic envy of people who actually EARN their livings in the real world.  Republicans, in the majority in both the House and Senate, and in possession of the White House, consider it their responsibility to reduce the tax burden on working and saving Americans.

The concept of “revenue neutrality” was originated by Democrats who are horrified at the thought of Government receiving one fewer cent of its lifeblood from those Americans who pay income taxes (currently just slightly over 50% of Americans).  A young member over at Ricochet opines that the current tax scheme MUST be “revenue neutral”, as the Federal Government is already overdrawn on its accounts and can’t tolerate any reduction in its “income”.

That is not true, and here’s why.

Reductions in Tax Rates, especially for high-earners, always result in more revenue for the government (small and large business owners keep more of their earnings, add employees to their payrolls, and create more taxpayers). Why is this so hard for people to understand? This is Econ 101. And why, oh why, should the all-mighty Government not shrink? Why can’t waste be eliminated from all levels of Government? The less Government confiscates from your paycheck, the more you have to spend, and save!

The problem is that those in Government do not trust their fellow Americans, who pay their salaries from their own legitimate earnings, to know how to allocate their own money. “Revenue Neutral” is a crock!

Just Who are the Haters?

Hubby and I spent the afternoon yesterday in the town of Port Townsend, on the Olympic Peninsula, collecting on the last of the Jazz package we bought at an auction (dinner at the Hanazono Asian Noodle House).  Before dinner, we walked up what seemed like 1,000 steps to check out the Uptown neighborhood.  Walking down Washington Street, we came across a little Cafe.  This sign was in its front window, for passersby to see.

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So, is this the way an eatery should welcome prospective customers?  This sign is asking people to check their biases, and move on if any of the above describes their point of view.  This sign is winnowing down the universe of people who might like the food and beverages they serve.  And which part of this sign jumps out at the casual passer-by?  How about You’re NOT Welcome Here.  Well, if I’m not welcome here, I’ll just walk on by. And I’ll spread the word to all my friends and acquaintances that they are not welcome here either.  The people who post this kind of sign in their front window are the ones who have the bumper-stickers on their car which say “Coexist”, and “Teach Tolerance”.  Not terribly tolerant, are they?

I’m not much into the vandalism thing, but this made me want to throw a brick through that window.