Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Trump's campaign in 2020 intends to win by gaining Hispanic voters using the ignorance of Democrats about Latinos. They could succeed!

Here are two "Latino" politicians working to get Donald Trump reelected in 2020, one unintentionally:


If you've been exploring caves in Thailand for the past six years, you may not know who they are. If you are a well-informed voter, you still may not understand who they are. We'll take that up in a minute.

But first, we all have to understand a word as it is generally used in the United States related to politics and elections - Latino. It's pretty simple. It means "of or relating to people of Latin-American descent."

Of course, when I say it's simple, it really isn't.

Wikipedia tells us:


    Latin America is a group of countries and dependencies in the Western Hemisphere where Romance languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, and French are predominantly spoken; it is broader than the terms Ibero-America or Hispanic America.... Today, areas of Canada and the United States (with the exception of Puerto Rico) where Spanish, Portuguese and French are predominant are typically not included in definitions of Latin America.
    Latin America consists of 13 dependencies and 20 countries which cover an area that stretches from the northern border of Mexico to the southern tip of South America, including the Caribbean....
    Latin America can be subdivided into several subregions based on geography, politics, demographics and culture. If defined as all of the Americas south of the United States, the basic geographical subregions are North America, Central America, the Caribbean and South America; the latter contains further politico-geographical subdivisions such as the Southern Cone, the Guianas and the Andean states. It may be subdivided on linguistic grounds into Hispanic America, Portuguese America and French America.
    Included are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana*, Guadeloupe*, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique*, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama,
Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico*, Saint Barthélemy*, Saint Martin*, Uruguay, Venezuela (*not a sovereign state ).

To outsiders it is really weird to see Americans lump together people from Argentina, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Would they really do that with European nationalities such as Polish and Italian?

After all, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born on December 17, 1936, in Flores, a neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He would be called a Latino by most Americans. Here's his picture both when young and today:


The Deplorables certainly wouldn't want the likes of him getting through Trump's wall. Or perhaps they would just  be confused....

Which is why we have this headline...


...and why Democrats need to worry about headlines like this...

You can click on the images above to read the stories. The Politico story tells us:

    When President Donald Trump tweeted, on January 20, that he had reached 50 percent approval among Hispanic-Americans, most fair-minded observers reacted with skepticism, if not outright disbelief. Trump was...the same man who has made building a wall to shut out migrants the focal point of his presidency. Yet here he was, crowing characteristic bravado: “Wow, just heard that my poll numbers with Hispanics has gone up 19%, to 50%. That is because they know the Border issue better than anyone, and they want Security, which can only be gotten with a Wall.”
    One month later, however, and Trump is making an aggressive play for Hispanic-American votes in Florida and beyond. Meanwhile, polls suggest [the Marist poll] might have been onto something—and that Democrats should be worried that Hispanic voters could help reelect Trump and keep the Senate in Republican control. If so, it would be a cosmic twist of fate: A party that has staked its future on a belief that America’s demographic picture is changing decidedly in its favor could find itself losing to a man whose politics of fear should be driving precisely those voters into the Democrats’ waiting arms.
    Many expected Hispanics to vote overwhelmingly against Trump in 2016. A Latino Decisions poll conducted just before the 2016 presidential election found Trump had the support of just 18 percent of Hispanics. But the actual figure was 28 percent, which—given Trump’s incendiary rhetoric about immigrants—some analysts and pundits refused to believe from exit polls until further studies confirmed it. That was just as good as Mitt Romney, as the 2012 Republican nominee, did with Hispanics—and it was enough to help Trump squeak an Electoral College victory.
    Now, here’s the brutal truth for Democrats: If Hispanic Americans are in fact showing surging approval of Trump, he could be on his way to matching or exceeding the 40 percent won by George W. Bush in his 2004. If Trump does 12 percentage points better than his 2016 numbers with the growing Hispanic vote, it pretty much takes Florida, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina off the table for Democrats, who would need to sweep Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to reach the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the White House. At the same time, that 12-point shift would give Trump a clear shot at winning Colorado and Nevada, states where Hispanic voters make up well over 10 percent of the electorate and where Clinton won by 5 percentage points or less in 2016.
    And if the Democratic path to the presidency looks hard without overwhelming Hispanic support, control of the Senate looks almost impossible. Any realistic scenario to gaining the necessary three seats—four if Trump retains the presidency—requires Democrats to defeat incumbents Cory Gardner in Colorado and Martha McSally in Arizona. Both states have higher than average Hispanic electorates. Gardner won his seat in 2014 by evenly splitting the Hispanic vote. McSally, who was just appointed to succeed John McCain, narrowly lost her 2018 race to Kyrsten Sinema by winning 30 percent of the Hispanic vote in her state. Any improvement among Hispanics for Republicans—or even just a lack of enthusiasm for turning out to vote against Trump—could easily return Gardner and McSally to the Senate and leave Democrats in the minority.

The problem is there is a background difference between being...
  • newly-elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) born in The Bronx, New York City, on October 13, 1989, to Blanca Ocasio-Cortez (born in Puerto Rico) and architect Sergio Ocasio (born in the Bronx to a Puerto Rican family) and
  • the senior U.S. Senator from Florida Marco Rubio born in Miami, Florida, on May 28, 1971, to Mario Rubio Reina and Oriales (née Garcia) Rubio (both Cubans who immigrated to the United States)
...a difference not uncomparable to the difference between Americans having Polish and Italian backgrounds.

Puerto Rico is part of the United States. Moving from Puerto Rico to New York legally is the same as moving from Maine to New York because Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.

The Republic of Cuba is one of world's few Marxist–Leninist socialist states and Florida is home to thousands who fled Cuba because of that, arriving in the United States as immigrants.

And from the Washington Post article above, thoughtful Democrats outside of Florida could learn:

    Florida Republicans hope the outspoken push by President Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro will help the GOP strengthen its bonds with the state’s Hispanic voters, paying dividends in the 2020 election and beyond.
    Opposition to the socialist regime in Caracas, which is closely aligned with communist Cuba, has been a shared cause of the state’s large and traditionally pro-Republican Cuban American and Venezuelan immigrant communities.
    “It’s a huge moment for the Republican Party,” said Brian Ballard, a Florida lobbyist and GOP donor with ties to Trump and Rubio. “It will be like Donald Trump can [be] to Venezuelan American voters the way Ronald Reagan was to Cuban American voters.”
    Adding to the tension is growing concern among Democrats that Trump and his allies, seizing on the party’s leftward shift, will move to portray his potential 2020 challengers as socialists and point to Venezuela’s collapse as a symbol of what’s wrong with the views they espouse.
    Florida Democrats are disavowing the recent refusal by presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a self-described democratic socialist, to label Maduro a dictator and call for him to go, though Sanders has criticized him.
    “They are clearly ignorant comments, and someone who’s running for president of the United States should be better briefed and knowledgeable about this crisis in Venezuela and how it impacts the Florida political landscape,” said Christian Ulvert, a Florida Democratic strategist who is of Nicaraguan descent and whose husband’s family has roots in Venezuela.

That Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and is becoming the face of the Democratic Party threatens the ability of the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate to carry Florida, regardless of who it will be. Fleeing Fidel Castro's Cuba was a deeply emotional act carrying with it a fear of socialists that will be passed on to at least two generations voters.

And Donald Trump's campaign understands that, even if too many very ignorant Democrats don't.

Keep in mind that all the Latino voters, who are generally referred to as Hispanic voters, cannot be categorized as a single group. Here is what the Pew Research Center said about the 2018 Election:

    Latinos made up a notable share of eligible voters in several states with competitive races for U.S. Senate and governor, including Texas (30%), Arizona (23%), Florida (20%) and Nevada (19%). In these states, Democrats won the Latino vote, sometimes by a wide margin. In the Texas Senate race, 64% of Latinos voted for Democrat Beto O’Rourke while 35% voted for Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. In the state’s race for governor, about half of Hispanics (53%) voted for Democrat Lupe Valdez and 42% backed the Republican, Greg Abbott.
    In Florida, Republican candidates often win a larger share of the Hispanic vote than elsewhere, in part due to a large population of Cubans that has tended to vote more Republican than other Hispanic groups. In the Senate race, 54% of Hispanics voted for Democrat Bill Nelson and 45% backed Republican Rick Scott. Latinos voted similarly in the race for governor, with 54% of Hispanics voting for Democrat Andrew Gillum and 44% voting for Republican Ron DeSantis.
   
Meanwhile, Latinos voted for Democratic candidates by wide margins in Nevada. About 67% of Latinos voted for Democrat Jacky Rosen in the Senate race, compared with 30% who voted for Republican Dean Heller. In the race for governor, Latinos voted in a similar manner.

The risk here is that when you see the Hispanic vote for Republican candidates greater than 30%, the Democratic Party has a problem for 2020. And, again, Donald Trump's campaign understands that, even if too many very ignorant Democrats don't.

At a minimum, the National Democratic Party ought to be unsettled by this headline because California Democrats are not surprised (click on image to read the story):


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein are both Californians who have worked diligently for decades to establish a Democratic supermajority in their state. Both have already indicated that they understand
  1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a first-time-public-office-holder, a Democratic Socialists of America ideologue, whose ancestors are Americans from Puerto Rico, not immigrants;
     
  2. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might be seen as a threat to many California Hispanic voters, most of whose ancestors are from Mexico and the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua ( Los Angeles has the United States' largest Central American community, as well as the largest Mexican American community since the 1910s and 1920s), plus Californios (descended from the Spanish-speaking community which has existed in California since 1542); and
     
  3. of the Latino population in the United States including Puerto Rico, the number of those of Central American descent equal the number of Puerto Rican descent while "stateside" (without Puerto Rico which casts no vote in the U.S. Senate) the number with Central American heritage is more than double the number with Puerto Rico heritage.
As noted at the beginning here, we all have to understand a word as it is generally used in the United States related to politics and elections - Latino. It's pretty simple. It means "of or relating to people of Latin-American descent."

Of course, when I say it's simple, it really isn't. As Cuba and Venezuela show, "socialism" is an ideological term full of traps. And if the Democrats outside California and the Southwest don't figure that out before the end of this calendar year, there is a chance they will assure the reelection of Trump and not gain control of the Senate for a decade simply by becoming unappealing to the Hispanic vote in key states.

In the meantime, here in California the very-small Republican Party elected a Latina its first female leader, so Governor Gavin Newsom and other Progressive Democrats are going to have to factor that in to avoid during the next decade the loss of the Democratic supermajority.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Climate Change Black Death surrounds us
The Deplorables to advance Climate Change Black Death by trading The California Green and Gold Deal for "more affordable" new cars for older voters


These headline stories from the Sacramento Bee and New York Times reflect the culmination of a 20± year clash between Californians and Americans who if they can buy cheaper cars don't care if they are condemning their children and grandchildren to suffer Climate Change Black Death.

A critical piece of The California Green and Gold Deal has been California's regulations cutting emissions from motor vehicles through California Air Resources Board (CARB) high fuel efficiency standards pursuant to a 2002 law. By 2007 the dispute with the federal government became heated as explained in the article Schwarzenegger: California will sue federal government:

    California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to sue the federal government over its decision not to allow a California plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he announced Thursday.
    Environmental Protection Agency chief Stephen Johnson announced the decision Wednesday, refusing the state's request for a waiver that would have allowed it to cut emissions faster than a new federal plan the president signed into law Wednesday.
    "It's another example of the administration's failure to treat global warming with the seriousness that it actually demands," the governor said at a news conference Thursday.
    Bush on Thursday defended the decision of his EPA administrator.
    "Is it more effective to let each state make a decision as to how to proceed in curbing greenhouse gases? Or is it more effective to have a national strategy?" he said.
    Citing the new energy law -- which sets a fuel economy standard for the whole country -- Bush said Johnson "made a decision based upon the fact that we passed a piece of legislation that enables us to have a national strategy."
    But Schwarzenegger said he would like to set a higher standard for California. "Anything less than aggressive action on the greatest environmental threat of all time is inexcusable," he said.
    The new federal law will increase fuel efficiency standards by 40 percent by 2020, requiring automakers to bring their fleets to an average of 35 miles per gallon.
    The California plan, however, would cut emissions by nearly 30 percent by 2016, raising fuel efficiency standards in the state to 43.7 miles per gallon for passenger cars and some SUVs and trucks, while larger vehicles would need to reach 26.9 mpg by that year.
    In all, 16 states had either adopted California's tough standards or announced plans to do so.

Of course, the following year we had a Presidential election. It was won by Barack Obama and in 2010 we read U.S. Issues Limits on Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Cars which explained:

    The accord produced a single national standard based on California’s tough auto emissions law, enacted in 2004. The automakers have complained of the cost of compliance but welcomed a national plan that does not require them to build different vehicles for different markets to comply with varying state laws.


But the federal standards have not kept pace with The California Green and Gold Deal ever more restrictive standards. As Wikipedia explains:

    The United States has its own set of emissions standards that all new vehicles must meet. In the United States, emissions standards are managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Under federal law, the state of California is allowed to promulgate more stringent vehicle emissions standards (subject to EPA approval), and other states may choose to follow either the national or California standards. California had produced air quality standards prior to EPA, with severe air quality problems in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. LA is the country's second-largest city, and relies much more heavily on automobiles and has less favorable meteorological conditions than the largest and third-largest cities (New York and Chicago).
    California's emissions standards are set by the California Air Resources Board, known locally by its acronym "CARB". By mid-2009, 16 other states had adopted CARB rules; given the size of the California market plus these other states, many manufacturers choose to build to the CARB standard when selling in all 50 states. CARB's policies have also influenced EU emissions standards.
    California is attempting to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, but faces a court challenge from the federal government. The states are also attempting to compel the federal EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, which as of 2007 it has declined to do. On May 19, 2009 news reports indicated that the Federal EPA will largely adopt California's standards on greenhouse gas emissions.
    California and several other western states have passed bills requiring performance-based regulation of greenhouse gases from electricity generation.
    In an effort to decrease emissions from heavy-duty diesel engines faster, the California Air Resources Board's Carl Moyer Program funds upgrades that are in advance of regulations.
    The EPA has separate regulations for small engines, such as groundskeeping equipment. The states must also promulgate miscellaneous emissions regulations in order to comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Today if you go to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website you can read:

Unless it is exempt, your vehicle must comply with the California emissions standard if it has less than 7,500 miles on the odometer and is
  • a model year of 1996 or newer passenger vehicle or light-duty truck that has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 6,000 lbs. or less
  • a model year 2000 or newer light-duty truck that has a GVWR of 8,500 lbs. or less
  • a model year 2004 or newer medium duty vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 14,000 lbs. or less
  • a model year 2005 or newer heavy-duty otto-cycle or diesel vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) over 14,000 lbs

The current problem is reflected in this headline NJ Cleanup of Car Emissions Put at Risk as Feds Exit California Talks. Or as one less measured website noted:

    They begged Washington to roll back the hated Obama era regulations but the Trumpies gave them more than they asked for — a total abrogation of any plans to lower exhaust emissions from 2020 levels. Officially, as of this very minute, America has no plan to clean up auto emissions past next year. Let Europe drive its auto industry over a cliff with Level 6 pollution rules. Let China distort its automotive market with burdensome requirements to build electric cars.
    In America, we are free to put a lip lock on the tailpipe of an Escalade if we choose to. It’s right there in the Constitution — somewhere. In the meantime, car makers will be forced to build cars for two different standards, the last thing in the world they wanted.
    According to a report by Reuters, EPA head Andrew Wheeler, whose claim to fame on environmental matters is that he was once a lobbyist for the coal industry, met with Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, two weeks ago, but there were no substantive discussions at that time.
    According to CARB spokesman Stanley Young. “The administration broke off communications before Christmas and never responded to our suggested areas of compromise — or offered any compromise proposal at all. We concluded at that point that they were never serious about negotiating.” A confidential source tells Reuters EPA officials did not work on the rule during the government shutdown. “There was no real effort to get to yes,” the source said.
    California has refused to knuckle under to the alleged president, opposing him on legalized marijuana and making California a sanctuary state for illegal aliens. Now Trump sees his chance to get even. The Golden State has spearheaded the movement to make cars pollute less for the past 40 years, convincing 18 other states to join in along the way. Now the maladministration will try to rupture that cooperation between the states.

California has been fighting the lack of federal commitment to Climate Change mitigation since The Terminator became our Governor. Current Governor Gavin Newsom will continue to lead the fight. There is some uncertainty. While the E.P.A. had planned to complete the rollback proposal by the end of March, the partial government shutdown moved that back to May or June.

Hopefully continuing that fight won't be necessary beginning in 2021. But the National Democratic Party has a way of shooting itself in the foot. And Trump is working bigly on getting reelected!

The 21st Century Climate Change Black Death is happening now.
                                                                                                          If you're new to this blog here's the link to the listing of the 30+ previous posts in the Blog regarding Climate Change and the Environment.

This post is a part of a series:  climate change black death surrounds us 
                                                                                                         

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The California Green and Gold Deal: What a plan for climate change looks like as it's implemented.

Here is a page with links to the extensive details of The California Green and Gold Deal. It should be informative for anyone who is curious about what over a decade of work on an integrated plan addressing climate change by numerous officials under the leadership of two California Governors, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, looks like.

If you research all the elements you'll learn that everything from the successful cap-and-trade program to the requirement that new homes be built with solar panels each required months, even years, to gain approval. And then implementation presents the real challenges.

And this was in a state where the Legislature was controlled by Democrats who acknowledged the threat of Climate Change. But it is getting done in California which is good because we have the worlds 5th largest economy.

For nearly two decades we used to have annual meetings in Marin County where folks talked about what a "Green New Deal" required. We can't use that name any more. Folks east of us when using that name just couldn't resist filling their already polluted air with hostile talk about 19th Century economic ideology instead of the slowly expanding Climate Change Black Death.

An Integrated Plan for Addressing Climate Change
Vision

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
to 40% Below 1990 levels by 2030
Goals

Increase to 50% Renewable Electricity Production

Reduce Petroleum Use by 50% in Vehicles

Double Existing Building Energy Efficiency Savings

Reduce Lands GHG Emissions

Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

Safeguard California

Monday, February 18, 2019

Old California Progressives sense déjà vu when looking at the Newsom Era despite the need to secure states' rights because of Trump's America


Is it déjà vu when California's political scene seems to look like it did six decades ago?

I am a native Californian who came of age when Pat Brown (Jerry's dad) was Governor. His term started in 1959, 60 years ago.

In 1960 Brown signed the California Master Plan for Higher Education defining the roles of the University of California, the California State University, and California Community College systems, and providing tuition-free higher education for California students. In his second term he signed into law the Rumford Fair Housing Act, which provided that landlords could not deny people housing because of ethnicity, religion, sex, marital status, physical handicap, or familial status. He advocated gun control and proposed that the death penalty be abolished.

His infrastructure projects are considered key to creating California's long-term economic strength:
  • aqueducts, canals, and pump stations established new fertile lands in the Central Valley; and
  • four new Universities of California, and seven new California State Universities were built, making the Master Plan's education system the largest in the world.
But he was blamed for the civil disorders of the Watts riots and the early anti–Vietnam War demonstrations at U.C. Berkeley, resulting in the loss of his 1966 election bid for a third term to Ronald Reagan.

Among other "conservative" policy changes, Neoliberal Reagan restored student tuition to attend state colleges. But nonetheless, Reagan signed the groundbreaking 1967 Therapeutic Abortion Act and the 1970 California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

That is the Progressive California I knew. It is part of the Progressive Pacific advocated here. And despite the fact that over that 60 years not every day has been a win for Progressives, today we have a 21st Century version of that Progressive California.
 
At this time, our Legislature is made up as follows:
  • State Assembly membership : Democratic 61 (76.25%), Republican 19 (23.75%)
  • State Senate membership: Democratic 28 (70.00%), Republican 10 (25.00%), Vacant 2, (5.00%)
All of our statewide elected officials are the Democrats and the Democratic Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and Republican Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives are from California, all as indicated in the chart below:



California has the world's fifth largest economy and is the world's 36th largest country. Well...it isn't actually a country, but it sure feels like it right now. This is because we are forced to advance a version of states' rights.

California, the home of Silicon Valley, because of the Republican Congress refusal to regulate corporations in June of 2018 found it necessary to adopt the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) which affords California residents an array of new rights, starting with the right to be informed about what kinds of personal data companies have collected and why it was collected.

Among other novel protections, the law stipulates that consumers have the right to request the deletion of personal information, opt out of the sale of personal information, and access the personal information in a “readily useable format” that enables its transfer to third parties without hindrance. It is not as expansive as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, or G.D.P.R.

This issue is extremely important in the 21st Century and California was forced to address the failure of the federal government. But it isn't even the most significant need for California to assert a states' rights agenda.

Trump has challenged California's core identity. California is, and will, fight back. And he and middle America better take a long look at the heritage of our elected officials listed in the chart above.

California officials are directly challenging the Trump Administration's trade, immigration and border policies. As explained in this blog in The Roles of Migration and Spain, not England, in California History and The essential Pacific-centric world view of California's economy and culture California historically was part of New Spain then Mexico and has over 400 years of trade history with Asia.

Simply California does not share an Atlantic European/African perspective with the Eastern United States having had no historical colonial or sovereign ties to Britain or France. California's coastline is on the Pacific Ocean facing China, Korea, Japan, and Siberia. It shares a southern border with Mexico.

On the front page of the Sunday Los Angeles Times, we read that "over the course of his first term, Newsom and state Democrats are expected to refocus attention on what they consider the real issues at the heart of the U.S.-Mexico relationship."(Click on the image to read the article.)

Trump's anti-immigration attitude it is admittedly confusing since Trump's paternal grandparents were German Lutheran immigrants from Bavaria and his mother Mary Anne MacLeod was an immigrant born in Tong, Lewis, Scotland. Further his wife is a Slovenian immigrant Melania Knauss. It is likely that Trump's attitude can be attributed to racist attitudes towards people from other than Northern and Central Europe.

Truthfully, from both a Progressive policy advocacy and a political power standpoint, California is where no other state can be. The Governor and the Legislature are putting together further policy advances in pre-school through community college education, higher education, health care, low-and-moderate income housing, programs for the homeless, and criminal justice reform. The City of Stockton is testing whether a long-term basic income program is a viable approach to lifting residents out of poverty and state officials are discussing the idea of a universal basic income as they watch Stockton's test.

California political leadership is doing all this while recognizing that in the context of the economy when starting at the top there’s nowhere to go but down. Former Gov. Jerry Brown has been preparing for coming economic hard times for years now. By the end of next July, the state is projected to have $13 billion socked away for a rainy day. But most analysts say that cushion will only last a year or two in the face of even a moderate recession.

Recessions tend to have a disproportionate impact on investment returns and 30%± of the state’s discretionary spending comes from the top 1% of earners, the investor class, because its top marginal income tax rate of 12.3% is the highest state income tax rate in the country. That tax rate was approved by the voters in 2012 and in 2016 they extended it through 2030. Governor Newsom and the Legislature are considering policy changes to mediate the greater budgetary risks resulting from sharing the economy's general dependency on this Gilded Age pattern of wealth creation. (See in this blog After the 21st Century Gilded Age economy collapses.)

Climate Change. In her book The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future, author Gretchen Bakke notes  (emphasis added):

    Transitioning to sustainability is the big, long-term challenge. But left out of this picture is the fact that for the most part, America does not run on gas, oil, or coal any more than we may one day run on wind, solar, or tidal power. America runs on electricity.

It has been said that no other technical innovation had such a far-reaching impact on modern civilization as the creation of a reliable system of electricity generation and transmission. While certainly it had an impact on living in the 20th Century, the "lifestyle" changes brought on by electronic "devices" in the early 21st Century have locked into our brains (in some cases literally) the need for reliable electricity. 

The problem for California is that the electrical transmission system is literally burning up the state. Recent wildfires have resulted in the deaths of many California senior citizens. Those fires are the result of the impacts of Climate Change.

Climate Change is, of course, the most ominous threat to the future well-being of younger Californians. It is very clear that we residents of the world's fifth largest economy cannot depend upon the United States to address Climate Change because of attitudes dominating politics in the central and southern U.S. populace. Simply we have to pay attention to the oft-repeated advice of Benjamin Franklin, who among the Found Fathers of the United States was the most prominent non-slaveholder, author, political theorist, scientist, and diplomat as well as the founder of Philadelphia's first fire department and the University of Pennsylvania.

On behalf of our children and grandchildren, we must help ourselves. And so we have.

The State is committed to assuring that its massive global climate change agenda succeeds including its commitment to Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions to 40% Below 1990 levels by 2030 and implementing it's Safeguarding California Climate Change Adaptation Policy.

California’s cap-and-trade program is one of the strongest market-based mechanisms in the nation to combat climate change. Outgoing Governor Jerry Brown working with Legislative leaders last year extended the state's cap-and-trade program through 2030 with supermajority support that included votes from some Republicans. Incoming Governor Gavin Newsom intends to have California “maintain leadership in this space.”

We will continue to do what we need to do even if that means denying U.S. policy that risks the lives of coming generations. As noted here in the post "Clear waters and green mountains are mountains of gold and silver." Seeking a Beautiful China and California together in harmony for our grandchildren:

    We need to be seeking together in harmony a beautiful China and California with clear waters and green mountains for our grandchildren. Xi and Brown are making the effort. So should all of us.

Redwood trees.    On the American Continent two redwood species were well known
to the Native American tribes living near the Pacific Ocean, including the Yurok people and the Tule River Tribe among others. One other species of redwood lives today, the dawn redwood, native to Lichuan, in southwestern Hubei province of China, an area which was home to sophisticated Neolithic cultures.

In the coming months The Redwood Guardian will continue to advocate for a California that protects the future of all the world's redwood trees and the generations that will live among them, as well as the Gray Whales and other Pacific Ocean species always in danger.

We can only hope that more Americans in other states will grow to understand that the 21st Century already offers new fundamental challenges to how we understand the Earth and humanity, challenges that must be met now.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Climate Change Black Death surrounds us
Has Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cost us decades of progress on the Green New Deal?


Have we lost decades of work on the Green New Deal?

It was really hopeful to see headlines that Congress might address a "Green New Deal" targeting the 21st Century Climate Change Black Death.

But then immediately came controversy as reported in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s rocky rollout of the Green New Deal, explained.

And now the headline is Mitch McConnell is going to force the Senate to vote on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal for a story that tells us:

    The bill, which is not expected to pass the Republican-dominated upper chamber, could force some Democrats to make a politically awkward calculation.
    ...Only 11 of the 47 senators who caucus with the Democrats have signed on to sponsor the bill
    Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who is widely expected to enter into the 2020 race, has declined to say whether he supports the proposal.
    "I'm not going to take position on every bill that's coming out," he said Tuesday, according to Politico. "I support a Green New Deal. I think we need to aggressively support climate change [legislation]. That's my answer."

The more I see and read, the more obvious it becomes that somehow Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), a freshman member of the House who has gained Trump-like media coverage and like Trump has never held another elected public office, suddenly is the face of a new version of the Green New Deal.

That version is partly the old evolving, climate-focused Green New Deal plan. But it is weighted down with a leftist plans for economics and cultural diversity. And it seems likely that AOC just doesn't understand that 51 U.S. Senators representing 26 states containing only 17.6% of the U.S. population that is 72% non-hispanic white, Senators put into office by less than 8% of eligible American voters, can kill any legislation passed by the House of Representatives. (More on this later.)

The worry is the possible loss of any momentum American Green New Deal advocates have established in the first two decades of the 21st Century. This writer has advocated for strong egalitarian progressive ideas. But the need to immediately address Climate Change outweighs any desire to return to a more equalized economy.
 
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was 14 years old when Kenny Ausubel called for a "Green New Deal" at the 2003 Bioneers environmental conference in Marin County, California. About 3,400 attendees (plus an equal number hooked up in 12 cities internationally via satellite) paid up to $300 to hear from and share with those on the cutting edge of the environmental movement.

In his coverage of the story, San Francisco Chronicle senior political writer Joe Garofoli described the event as follows:

    Celebrating this group hug of like minds has been a hallmark of the annual conferences of biological pioneers -- the so-called Bioneers -- in Marin County, the spiritual home of the environmental movement, and a comfy cradle for many of its offshoots. The common theme is a call to join in a search: How can we use nature's own properties to "heal itself"?
    It's a crowd that gave a minute-long standing ovation Sunday to Percy Schmeiser, the Canadian farmer who's battling agribusiness giant Monsanto all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court and listened intently to the Los Angeles ex-gang member who's trying to get his neighborhood to care about asbestos- riddled buildings.
    Although it receives little mainstream publicity, the Bioneers has grown from a gathering of "a couple dozen people" 14 years ago in Santa Fe, N.M., into this year's international confab that attracts big thinkers and doers from science to social justice. This isn't a bunch of theorists and academics, said founder Kenny Ausubel, but people who are actually doing something practical. While many of the speakers command five-figure paychecks on the lecture circuit, they donate their services to Bioneers; the organizers only accept donations from "socially-conscious" corporations.
    Now, said Ausubel, the challenge is to take the energy and ideas generated at Bioneers and make it politically powerful. While he called for a "Green New Deal," and other investments in repairing the Earth, he said he realizes that most politicians won't react until they see a groundswell from below them. "Once people learn that there are practical solutions, it changes things," Ausubel said Sunday.

Fast forward 15 years. At the 2018 Bioneers Conference in Marin County, California, Ausubel told the crowd:

    What we need government to do today is a Green New Deal. The same battle over corporate state capture that’s playing out today took place in the 1930s when FDR saved capitalism from the capitalists with the New Deal.
    The parallels are striking: extreme inequality and wealth concentration — wholesale deregulation — corporatized courts — restrictive immigration policy — and the rise of white nationalism and Fascism.
    As the late Tom Hayden pointed out, “The great work then was to save us from the Depression. The great work today is to save us from climate catastrophe and the end of civilization as we know it. We need to put every person in this country and on this planet who’s out of a job or underemployed into a great green employment project. The starting point is to combine the notions of reducing emissions and achieving jobs and environmental justice.”

Here is video of his presentation:


While Ausubel has been advocating for a "Green New Deal" at least since 2003, in 2007 three-time Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times writer Thomas L. Friedman first discussed a "Green New Deal" in A Warning From the Garden published January 19, 2007. He followed that up on April 15, 2007, in the New York Times Magazine article The Power of Green. That same year - the year Ocasio-Cortez turned 18 - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi created a House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis specifically to address Climate Change.

The next year, 2008, Democrats won the Presidency and control of both the House and the Senate. In 2009 the United Nations Environmental Programme was promoting a Global Green New Deal at a U.N Summit on Climate Change in New York and at a G20 Summit in Pittsburgh.Things seem to be advancing....

In 2010 the Democrats lost the House and the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis was disbanded by the Republicans. In 2014 the Democrats lost the Senate. And in 2016 Donald Trump, a spokesperson for climate change denial, won the Presidency. Since then, much national policy that might have been included in a description of a "Green New Deal" has been rolled back.

As noted in Ausubel's 2018 presentation, the late Tom Hayden pointed out in a speech to the Bioneer's 2014 California Climate Leadership Conference, “The great work then was to save us from the Depression. The great work today is to save us from climate catastrophe and the end of civilization as we know it. We need to put every person in this country and on this planet who’s out of a job or underemployed into a great green employment project. The starting point is to combine the notions of reducing emissions and achieving jobs and environmental justice.”

Also in that speech, Hayden noted that in 33 states climate policy is controlled by the oil and coal industries. Hayden died in 2016 before Donald Trump was anointed President by the electors from those states.

Which brings us to the problem with AOC's House Resolution 109 - Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal Introduced in House (02/07/2019) by Representative Ocasio-Cortez.
 
To understand the problem, you first have to understand the structure of American government. In American government policy is made by the state legislatures and the United States Congress. The United States Congress consists of two chambers, both of which must approve a policy before it becomes effective. 

One chamber is U.S. House of Representatives with 435 members elected from Congressional Districts of approximately the same population...well...sort of.

Seats in the House of Representatives are apportioned among the states by population, as determined by the census conducted every ten years. But each state is entitled to at least one Representative, however small its population. This results in a somewhat
unfair representation. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the Representative of New York's 14th district which has a population of 691,715. Nancy Pelosi is the Representative of California's 12th district which has a population of 700,605. Liz Cheney is the Representative of Wyoming's single statewide district which has a population of 585,501. But all things considered, it's probably fair enough. The problem related to the "Green New Deal" resolution as introduced by Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, is that it is now "her" bill and within it is language that reflects the makeup of her constituency as reflected in the table to the right, as does she. Instead of being a straightforward environmental policy statement with employment goals, AOC's Green New Deal now includes as a goal...

    to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this resolution as “frontline and vulnerable communities”).

Here in California, that goal statement would be strongly supported in our Legislature. But....

The other chamber of Congress that must approve all legislation is the U..S. Senate with 100 members, two elected from each state. The two U.S. Senators from Wyoming each represent those 585,501 people represented in the House by Liz Cheney. The two Senators from New York each represent 19,875,625 people. The two Senators from California each represent 40,017,007 people. What some young people (and old people) don't understand is that each New York and California person as represented in the Senate has about 2% of the power of each of the mostly non-hispanic white people in Wyoming.

Quite literally, legislation passed in the House can be killed or passed by a vote of 51 Senators who represent the least populous of the 26 states containing only 17.6% of the U.S. population that is 72% non-hispanic white and who were put into office by less than 8% of eligible American voters. In that situation it does not matter that the remaining 49 Senators, representing 82.4% of the U.S. population and who were put into office by more than 92% of eligible American voters, disagree.

One statistic is critically important. Those 51 Senators together represent  a population that is 72% non-hispanic white. AOC represents a District that is 18.4% non-hispanic white. Nancy Pelosi represents a District that is 44.0% non-hispanic white. Neither represent a constituency that is typical for a U.S. Senator.

Only 10 of the 100 U.S. Senators represent the five states in which non-hispanic whites are less than half the population. Of the 100 U.S. Senators, 52 represent state in which over 70% of the population is non-hispanic white. Even New York is 55% non-hispanic white. Ocasio-Cortez's District is the exception, not the rule, in her own state.

When Kenny Ausubel called for a "Green New Deal" at the 2003 Bioneers environmental conference, when Thomas Friedman in 2007 wrote about a "Green New Deal" in the New York Times, and when Tom Hayden spoke at the Bioneer's 2014 California Climate Leadership Conference, "environmental justice" was a stated objective while "social justice" was recognized as the political tripwire that could blow up the plan. All three knew that the American political system requires finesse from someone proposing policy that will be opposed by a groups as powerful as the oil and coal industry and the Koch Bros Neoliberals.

As Friedman wrote in 2007: "Once the Geo-Green interest group comes of age, especially if it is after another 9/11 or Katrina, Mandelbaum said, 'it will be the biggest interest group in history — but by then it could be too late.' "

For many in the world outside the United States in “frontline and vulnerable communities” it is already too late. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has reinstated the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis in an effort to move forward with efforts to address Climate Change. I certainly hope she can somehow prevent political amateurs from destroying any chance of Congress passing serious Climate Change legislation, legislation focused on reducing the impact of Climate Change.

It isn't, or at least wasn't, an impossible task. A article today with the headline The Senate just passed the decade’s biggest public lands package. Here’s what’s in it. tells us that the bipartisan measure would create more than 1.3 million acres of wilderness, add three national park units and expand eight others. There is no Senator who is the "face" of that bill. There was no media glut about the proposal. Having a face and a media glut may kill the Green New Deal.

Because 12 years has past since Friedman published his articles which contains some outdated data, it might be tempting to dismiss his thinking.  But here is the core of his 2007 words from the two articles reorganized into an advocacy presentation:

Don’t know about you, but when I see things in nature that I’ve never seen in my life, like daffodils blooming in January, it starts to feel creepy, like a “Twilight Zone” segment. I half expect to wake one day and find Rod Serling mowing my lawn — in shorts.

Neither the White House nor the Democratic Party seems to grasp that the public and business community are miles ahead of them on this energy/environment issue. The presidential candidate who finally figures that out, though — and comes up with a compelling energy/environment agenda — is going to have a real leg up.

What would be compelling? I used to think it would be a “Manhattan Project” on energy. I don’t any longer. I’ve learned that there is no magic bullet for reducing our dependence on oil and emissions of greenhouse gases — and politicians who call for one are usually just trying to avoid asking for sacrifice today.

An unusual situation like this calls for the ethic of stewardship. Stewardship is what parents do for their kids: think about the long term, so they can have a better future. It is much easier to get families to do that than whole societies, but that is our challenge. In many ways, our parents rose to such a challenge in World War II — when an entire generation mobilized to preserve our way of life. That is why they were called the Greatest Generation. Our kids will only call us the Greatest Generation if we rise to our challenge and become the Greenest Generation.

In the world of ideas, to name something is to own it. If you can name an issue, you can own the issue. One thing that always struck me about the term "green" was the degree to which, for so many years, it was defined by its opponents — by the people who wanted to disparage it. And they defined it as "liberal," "tree-hugging," "sissy," "girlie-man," "unpatriotic," "vaguely French."

Well, I want to rename "green." I want to rename it geostrategic, geoeconomic, capitalistic and patriotic. I want to do that because I think that living, working, designing, manufacturing and projecting America in a green way can be the basis of a new unifying political movement for the 21st century. A redefined, broader and more muscular green ideology is not meant to trump the traditional Republican and Democratic agendas but rather to bridge them when it comes to addressing the three major issues facing every American today: jobs, temperature and terrorism.

The right rallying call is for a “Green New Deal.” It takes a Green New Deal because to nurture all of these technologies to a point that they really scale would be a huge industrial project. If you have put a windmill in your yard or some solar panels on your roof, bless your heart. But we will only green the world when we change the very nature of the electricity grid.

To spark a Green New Deal today requires getting two things right: government regulations and prices. Look at California. By setting steadily higher standards for the energy efficiency of buildings and appliances — and creating incentives for utilities to work with consumers to use less power — California has held its per-capita electricity use constant for 30 years, while the rest of the nation has seen per- capita electricity use increase by nearly 50 percent, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. That has saved California from building 24 giant power plants.

How do our kids compete in a flatter world? How do they thrive in a warmer world? How do they survive in a more dangerous world? Those are, in a nutshell, the big questions facing America at the dawn of the 21st century. But these problems are so large in scale that they can only be effectively addressed by an America with 50 green states — not an America divided between red and blue states.

But here's the bad news: While green has hit Main Street — more Americans than ever now identify themselves as greens, or what I call "Geo-Greens" to differentiate their more muscular and strategic green ideology — green has not gone very far down Main Street. It certainly has not gone anywhere near the distance required to preserve our lifestyle. The dirty little secret is that we're fooling ourselves. We in America talk like we're already "the greenest generation." But here's the really inconvenient truth: We have not even begun to be serious about the costs, the effort and the scale of change that will be required to shift our country, and eventually the world, to a largely emissions-free energy infrastructure over the next 50 years.

Green has gone Main Street because global warming has. A decade ago, it was mostly experts who worried that climate change was real, largely brought about by humans and likely to lead to species loss and environmental crises. Now Main Street is starting to worry because people are seeing things they've never seen before in their own front yards and reading things they've never read before in their papers.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California summed up the new climate around climate when he said to me recently: "If 98 doctors say my son is ill and needs medication and two say 'No, he doesn't, he is fine,' I will go with the 98. It's common sense — the same with global warming. We go with the majority, the large majority. The key thing now is that since we know this industrial age has created it, let's get our act together and do everything we can to roll it back.

The only way to stimulate the scale of sustained investment in research and development of non-CO2 emitting power at the China price is if the developed countries, who can afford to do so, force their people to pay the full climate, economic and geopolitical costs of using gasoline and dirty coal. Those countries that have signed the Kyoto Protocol are starting to do that. But America is not.

The politicians who best understand this are America's governors, some of whom have started to just ignore Washington, set their own energy standards and reap the benefits for their states. As Schwarzenegger told me, "We have seen in California so many companies that have been created that work just on things that have do with clean environment." California's state-imposed efficiency standards have resulted in per-capita energy consumption in California remaining almost flat for the last 30 years, while in the rest of the country it has gone up 50 percent. "There are a lot of industries that are exploding right now because of setting these new standards," he said.

Equally important, presidential candidates need to help Americans understand that green is not about cutting back. It's about creating a new cornucopia of abundance for the next generation by inventing a whole new industry. It's about getting our best brains out of hedge funds and into innovations that will not only give us the clean-power industrial assets to preserve our American dream but also give us the technologies that billions of others need to realize their own dreams without destroying the planet. It's about making America the global environmental leader, instead of laggard, which as Schwarzenegger argues would "create a very powerful side product." Those who dislike America because of Iraq, he explained, would at least be able to say, "Well, I don't like them for the war, but I do like them because they show such unbelievable leadership — not just with their blue jeans and hamburgers but with the environment. People will love us for that. That's not existing right now."

In sum, as John Hennessy, the president of Stanford, taught me: Confronting this climate-energy issue is the epitome of what John Gardner, the founder of Common Cause, once described as "a series of great opportunities disguised as insoluble problems."

Green has hit Main Street — it's now more than a hobby — but it's still less than a new way of life. Why? Because big transformations — women's suffrage, for instance — usually happen when a lot of aggrieved people take to the streets, the politicians react and laws get changed. But the climate-energy debate is more muted and slow-moving. Why? Because the people who will be most harmed by the climate-energy crisis haven't been born yet.

"This issue doesn't pit haves versus have-nots," notes the Johns Hopkins foreign policy expert Michael Mandelbaum, "but the present versus the future — today's generation versus its kids and unborn grandchildren." Once the Geo-Green interest group comes of age, especially if it is after another 9/11 or Katrina, Mandelbaum said, "it will be the biggest interest group in history — but by then it could be too late."

The 21st Century Climate Change Black Death is happening now.
                                                                                                          If you're new to this blog here's the link to the listing of the 30+ previous posts in the Blog regarding Climate Change and the Environment.

This post is a part of a series:  climate change black death surrounds us 
                                                                                                         

Monday, February 11, 2019

Climate Change Black Death surrounds us
The personally disturbing population collapse of Monarch Butterflies and nearly all other insects



According to the Guardian article published yesterday because of Climate Change "more than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered" and "rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles."

Regarding the insect population, many of us in Northern California have been concerned about the insect decline as reflected in the article last month Are We Watching the End of the Monarch Butterfly? It hits a bit close as it tells a story:


    ...A small group of these citizen scientists recently descended on the sleepy coastal town of Bolinas, near Stinson Beach, north of San Francisco, to conduct the latest tally in a place where thousands of these butterflies were once counted during their winter migration.
    The group was met by Mia Monroe, a ranger for the National Park Service for 40 years. She was representing the Xerces Society, a nonprofit devoted to invertebrate conservation.
    “We aren’t expecting many butterflies today,” Ms. Monroe warned. Monarch numbers have been plummeting for decades, and recent surveys of their breeding habitats had reported low numbers. Making matters worse, only weeks before, wildfires had swept through the region, engulfing the Bay Area with smoke for two weeks.
    “Maybe the monarchs have taken a different route, around the fire and smoke?” someone asked. “That’s a dream,” Ms. Monroe said. “But we are here to honor the survivors, and to be together in a difficult moment.”
    Last year’s count in Bolinas had been very low; still, the trees had been festooned with scores of butterfly clumps, in which hundreds of monarchs hung together for warmth and protection. This time, there was just one clump. Later we would learn that the total count of this site in Bolinas, which the previous year tallied 12,360 butterflies, plummeted this winter to just 1,256 monarchs. “This animal story that has been going on for centuries and perhaps thousands of years is disappearing and may be gone” soon, Ms. Monroe told us, her eyes tearing.

For this native California who has considered the Western Monarch migration a given, this is disturbing. Having lived 12 years in the Monterey Bay area and 10 years in  Bolinas/Stinson Beach area, both destinations for visitors who wished to experience the Monarch migration, I recognize the absence of the Monarch migration would be symbolic of the Climate Change Black Death.

Insects are critical to the food cycle, as they pollinate the large majority of plant species, keep the soil healthy, recycle nutrients, control pests, and much more. One of the biggest impacts of insect loss is on the many birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish that eat insects. Simply the long term impact on most animal species, particularly humans, will be catastrophic.

The 21st Century Climate Change Black Death is happening now.
                                                                                                          If you're new to this blog here's the link to the listing of the 30+ previous posts in the Blog regarding Climate Change and the Environment.

This post is a part of a series:  climate change black death surrounds us