CalPERS says divesting from border wall, Dakota pipeline could hurt taxpayers (Sacramento Bee link) Leaders at CalPERS are voicing concerns about a set of bills in the Legislature that would compel that $310 billion pension fund to divest from politically unpopular projects, such as President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall and the Dakota Access Pipeline. Two of CalPERS’ top officers visited The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board on Tuesday to reiterate their worry that divesting from companies could hurt taxpayers and surrender the pension fund’s vote as a major investor.
“When you divest, you basically take our voice out of the debate,” said CalPERS Chief Operating Investment Officer Wylie Tollette.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System is watching three bills that could force it and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System to shed certain investments.
▪ Divesting from companies that work on the Trump administration’s proposed border wall. Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, is behind AB 946.
▪ Divesting from companies that build or finance the Dakota Access Pipeline. Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, wrote AB 20. The CalSTRS board last week voted to oppose the bill unless it’s amended in such a way that it does not demand divestment.
▪ AB 1597 by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-Los Angeles, which would compel CalPERS and CalSTRS to cut their investments in Turkey. The bill is written as a response to the Armenian genocide of the early 20th century.
In February, dozens of environmental advocates crowded a CalPERS board meeting to urge the fund to divest from the Dakota Access Pipleine, the 1,100-mile project that would move oil through the Upper Midwest. The board declined to divest, but wrote a letter calling on banks financing the project to pressure its builder to consider rerouting the pipleline away from the American Indian tribe that led protests against it.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is under fire for saying Hitler didn't use chemical weapons (Los Angeles Times link): White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer appeared to forget about the Holocaust when comparing Hitler with Syrian President Bashar Assad during a cringe-worthy televised briefing with reporters on Tuesday.
“You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to chemical weapons," Spicer said, in an attempt to argue that Russia and other countries that are not standing up to Assad are on the wrong side of history.
Spicer's rendering ignored the horror of the Holocaust, where gas chambers were used as part of a genocide campaign that killed 6 million Jews as well as millions of others including Gypsies and gay people.
Mod: No words can describe the idiocy of these people.