Friday, June 30, 2017

Gray Whales threatened, again!
  Wind and wave electrical generation structures
   planned for Pacific Gray Whale migration route

An Eastern Pacific Gray Whale keeps a wary eye on humans.
If you see worry on this face, it may be because of two green blood-red "alternative" energy proposals.

The first is outlined in this 2016 story...

...which apparently could happen according to Floating Wind Plan Could Finally Crack California’s Offshore Market published today.

Then on December 31, 2016, this image appeared US Doubles Down On Wave Energy, $40 Mil For New Test Bed...

Click on image to see a larger version!

...followed up this month with 12 Million Says Ocean Power Can Compete In The Big Leagues With Wind, Solar.

Ten years ago my article Limited Time Only - Act Now To Own Your Piece Of The Ocean Off The Mendocino Coast appeared in The Great Western Pacific Coastal Post. The following year I started this blog with the post FERC Ponders Allowing Public Input, Environmental Review of Proposal for Electrical Generators in Whale Route.  In early 2012 I posted Obama's Administration & the wave energy technocrats: What whales? and The Cloud versus the Gray Whale.

In that last post I wrote:

It was hard to accept the truth that a significant effort is being put into an "attack-by-dismissal" effort with regard to the Eastern North Pacific Gray Whale. Apparently accurate information needs to be more broadly disseminated. This lengthy post is an attempt to do that....

Much to my surprise I've lived 10 more years since 2007. Also much to my surprise the new generation of "green" energy engineers are continuing the threat to the gray whale. Why???

There is really more than enough information in those four pieces to inform people that the waters of the Pacific Coast of North America is not a suitable place to place electrical generating facilities and related cables. The reason is obvious...

 To begin with, the Pacific States - California, Oregon, and Washington - can produce more than enough power for their own use from wind and solar.

In fact, as the LA Times told us this month in California invested heavily in solar power. Now there's so much that other states are sometimes paid to take it:

    On 14 days during March, Arizona utilities got a gift from California: free solar power.
    Well, actually better than free. California produced so much solar power on those days that it paid Arizona to take excess electricity its residents weren’t using to avoid overloading its own power lines.
    It happened on eight days in January and nine in February as well. All told, those transactions helped save Arizona electricity customers millions of dollars this year, though grid operators declined to say exactly how much. And California also has paid other states to take power.
    The number of days that California dumped its unused solar electricity would have been even higher if the state hadn’t ordered some solar plants to reduce production...

Admittedly, the situation is complicated. But as I indicated in my February 2012 post The Cloud versus the Gray Whale, internet cloud facilities were being constructed in Quincy, Washington, because the Grant County Public Utilities District from Wanapum and Priest Rapids dams could generate adequate power at a relatively reasonable cost. Plus, the District owns 12.54% of the production from the Nine Canyon Wind Project is located in south-central Washington  which was constructed between 2002 and 2007 including 63 wind turbines with a maximum generating potential of 95.9 megawatts of electricity.

Click on image to see a larger version!

If these companies can find a way to get power in a location not threatening the whales, why do we need to even think about harming the whales.

The Eastern Pacific Gray Whale migration route is unusual. Most other American coastlines do not have this kind of habitat. It's difficult to understand why anyone thinks the solution to our problems related to power generated using fossil fuels is to cause harm to another sentient species.

We know that Gray Whales use low-frequency sounds and known regular sounds, visual cues, scents, and geomagnetic field information to navigate. Does anyone really believe that wind and wave energy production in the middle of their migration route isn't going to cause harm?

In the next 10 years we do not need to build or continue to research projects like this along the North American Pacific Coast. Just because some engineers and contractors can build something doesn't mean they should. And "alternative" in the term "alternative energy" should not mean let's knowingly cause harm to an "alternative" species other than humans.

Let's protect these residents with whom we share the Eastern Pacific Ocean:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

U.S. political parties exist in name only...
  Undisciplined college-confused liberals
  versus the tool of focused Neoliberal money

Last weekend at the luxurious Broadmore Hotel in Colorado Springs, a group of Americans who care deeply about government policy in these United States1 attended an annual retreat to review their strategy and plans for the future as they do every year.

Right away we know that these folks do not include the undisciplined college-confused liberals who loosely call themselves Democrats. We know this because Democrats, other than candidates and paid staff, have no detailed government policy or election plans they care that deeply about to have the necessary level of focus and commitment.

The folks at Colorado Springs enjoy winning in these United States political arenas as opposed to tilting at windmills and they know how as explained in The Washington Post:

    COLORADO SPRINGS—The wealthy donors who finance the Koch network are frustrated that national Republicans are not doing more to capitalize on having unified control of the federal government. But at their summer seminar here in the Rocky Mountains, which wrapped up last night, many were ecstatic—even giddy—about significant conservative gains that have been made this year in state capitals across the country.
    Republicans now control the governorship and legislature in 25 states, compared to only six states for Democrats. Last November, the GOP seized all the levers of lawmaking in four new states – Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri and New Hampshire – making it much easier to pass far-reaching legislation.
    The network, led by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on low-profile races and building out grassroots operations in 36 states over the past decade.
    In 2017 alone, several of these states have reduced union power, scaled back regulations, cut taxes, blocked Medicaid expansion, promoted alternatives to public education, loosened criminal sentencing laws and eased requirements to get occupational licenses.
    Because President Trump is such an all-consuming story, most of these moves received scant national attention. But the 400 donors who descended on the Broadmoor resort over the past few days have been paying close attention and are keenly interested in the outcome of these state-level fights.
    “Even in the past six months we’ve seen a lot of success: We have two new right-to-work states, school choice wins in five states, and a dozen states have reduced spending or taxes,” Roger Pattison, director of member relations for the Koch network, said at a dinner on Saturday night. “I could go on and on.”
    “We’re coming off the most successful legislative session that this network has ever had, and it’s a result of your investments,” added Luke Hilgemann, chief executive of Americans for Prosperity, which is part of the constellation of Koch-funded groups.
    [Tim Phillips, the president of AFP,] revealed at a strategy session that the network’s next targets include Ohio, Minnesota and New Hampshire. “I know Washington tends to suck most of the oxygen out of the room … but the untold story is the dramatic policy advancements … at the state level,” he said. “At the state level, we’re seeing a once-in-a-generation renaissance.”
They are the folks who over the past 50 years were able to use the state Republican parties as a tool to elect politicians who will support policy in line with Neoliberal ideology, at least as it is being implemented in the United States. I explained in great detail in my post The critical civics lesson America & Trump needed - 21st Century Ideologies in America & the Government$ of the United States who these people are and what they believe is the proper role of government.

The point here is that they know the National Republican Party exists in name only. You need to keep in mind that you don't see any Tea Party folks in Trump T-shirts holding misspelled signs at the Colorado Springs Broadmore. Instead, what is referred to in some articles as "the Koch network" has been successful using the state Republican Parties.

Were you there this past weekend you might have seen Vice President Mike Pence, a long-time ally of the network, meeting with billionaire industrialist Charles Koch on Friday evening for 45 minutes. They were joined by Marc Short, who directed political efforts for the Koch network until last year and is now the White House’s legislative liaison.

You haven't heard much about Marc Short. Again, he is the White House’s legislative liaison - meaning that on behalf of the President he interacts with Congress - you know, where federal policy is made. And from 2012 to 2015 he served as President of Freedom Partners, a 501(c)(6) Koch Brothers political fund, to oversee the spending of money on behalf of various Republican politicians and conservative groups raised at donor summits.

If you think you know who the Koch brothers are, consider this article: Koch brothers partner with Deion 'Primetime' Sanders to fight poverty.

You need to know the Koch brothers aren't evil. They are just committed to the Neoliberal ideology. As ideologues they are more wealthy, knowledgeable, smarter, and committed than what we call progressive liberals. Ideologues aren't always good for America, but in my opinion they are better than uninformed, self-centered egotists like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump and their populist supporters.

The Koch's shun tabloid-type publicity and hide from any suggestion that they hold public office. They hate populism as explained in one of several Washington Post articles written about a seminar in January in Indian Wells, California, one of several sponsored by the Koch network held each year,  Fear of authoritarianism pervades Koch network seminar, as billionaire donors grapple with Trump:

    “As recently as 1960, both the left and the right were united in general support for what was called the American creed. The American creed was the basics of individualism and freedom and opportunity,” Murray explained. “And what we discovered last year was that the proportion of the American electorate on the right that is still devoted to those American creedal principles is way smaller than I thought it was. I’m not talking about how many doctrinaire libertarians there are. I’m talking about the degree to which people buy into what we’ve always considered, ‘This is what America is all about.’”
    During a panel discussion later in the afternoon, billionaire industrialist Charles Koch – who has been convening these twice-annual seminars since 2003 – reiterated Murray’s point. “We have a tremendous danger because we can go the authoritarian route,” he said, “or we can move toward a free and open society.”
    Koch, who has become a household name over the past few years, was not referring specifically to Trump. But he and others at the three-day conference, which continues until tonight, have warned in stark terms that the “disenchantment” which allowed Trump to become president shows how fragile freedom is in this country. “There’s some that like Trump. There’s some that like Bernie Sanders. But they didn’t like the status quo,” Koch said. “The struggle between opportunity and humanity and control and stagnation is eternal. We can never rest.

They also know that ego problems keep getting in the way of approval of complex effective policy in American politics. The higher up on the elected-official food chain a "political ego" is the less likely any coherent policies will be forthcoming.

That is why this Neoliberal movement has avoided any focus on Presidential elections. Now they've run into that ego problem with Republicans in Congress. Their correct understanding of government in these United States has been confirmed - that over the long term only at the state level can you create through politics coherent policy. But it is frustrating for them, nonetheless, even though they do have plans.

Another article on that Indian Wells gathering in January was Koch network to spend $300 million to $400 million on politics, policy in 2018 cycle. The plan is typical:

    The Koch network plans to spend between $300 million to $400 million on policy and political campaigns during the 2018 election cycle. ...By comparison, the network spent about $250 million during the 2016 cycle on policy and political efforts.
    The funds will be spread across a constellation of groups, including Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners Action Fund, along with Concerned Veterans for America, the Libre Initiative and Generation Opportunity, which now operate under the AFP banner.
    Leaders from the groups said that they plan to focus on building up the capabilities of their grass-roots organization, which has boots on the ground in 36 states, and that the precise amount will depend on opportunities.
    More than 550 donors are attending the seminar, the largest contingent ever. The network, which is led by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, has about 700 donors who give a minimum of $100,000 per year. About 200 of the donors gathered at a desert resort outside of Palm Springs this weekend are first-time attendees. The seminar has happened twice annually since 2003.
    In the last election cycle, the network put its political focus on backing a group of targeted Senate Republican candidates, declining to endorse a presidential candidate. That decision frustrated some donors, who urged Koch to back Donald Trump once he secured the GOP nomination. But the longtime libertarian patron refused, expressing dismay with Trump's comments about immigrants and Muslims.

Certainly, the Koch's organizational funding has created an effective fund raising and on-the-ground campaign system which some might describe as "parallel" to the Republican Party. But in truth they have supplanted the Party organization, meaning the traditional Republican Party is ineffectual except as directed by the Neoliberal organizations in each state.

Which brings me to the progressive liberals or whatever they want to call themselves. In my last post on American ideology, I explained that in the 21st Century government$ of United States we have a compass, not a spectrum, to represent the expressions of ideological perspectives as follows:

Where exactly do you put the folks who call themselves progressive liberals? They seem to be busily advocating federal control of human behavior which curiously makes them demanding Social Conservatives pushing their tribe's culture - they really do not want Cultural Individualism which would permit without punitive recourse through government politically incorrect behavior.

Nor do those led by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren want Economic Individualism. They advocate a variation of Economic Corporatism.

As the Chinese have discovered, you cannot have a large economy under socialism except through organizations that together represent economic corporatism. Economic corporatism generally involves varying levels of government bureaucracy, along with government and private ownership of property associated with economic production. All this mostly entails large corporate structures be they private companies or public institutions/agencies.

When pushed to populist extremes, economic corporatism results in a totalitarian state because all governments are corporations and the only corporations are government-controlled. It is irrelevant whether the system calls itself socialist or corporatist. The Chinese culture has moved south-easterly on that political compass far more than Americans understand and their 21st Century political system is not as oppressive to the typical non-political Chinese citizen as the American system is to the typical non-political black American citizen.

On the other side of the "north point" is anarchy. Neoliberals are just grades of belief south-westerly away from anarchy, being extreme advocates for economic and social individualism. As reflected in a much decried Supreme Court decision2 , in their thinking privately owned "corporations" are just like people - individualistic, reflective of the corporation's group creativity which also reflects the personalities of the owners. Private corporations are "individuals" encompassed by the concept of individualism, not property like the dirt under a building. Like all persons, corporations can own dirt under a building.

Government corporations (institutions/agencies) have a facilitative place in the economic structure. Outside the role of defense and protection of the immediate public safety, regulatory behavior is considered part-and-parcel of totalitarianism. Government facilitative behavior includes creating currency and assuring interstate and international trade. It does not include restricting trade to the benefit of the less competitive.

Over the past two decades the Democrats have had no coherent ideological direction other than a clear preference to expand the use of federal power because of the political failures of the Party within the states. The truth is the ego-boost of holding office as a U.S. Senator or as President is really the only means of sharing amongst the undisciplined college-confused urban liberals a sense of importance - something Neoliberals gain from achieving implementation of a clearly defined desired public policy.

The current popularity of Senator Bernie Sanders reflects the failure of the Democratic Party and the general ignorance of the undisciplined college-confused liberals. Bernie's leadership skills are so great his own state does not offer that tuition-free college he used as a policy proposal in his Presidential primary run.

Lately he has been busily involved in California's universal health care proposal, getting a lot of publicity without mentioning the fact that in 2011 a bill to establish a publicly financed, single-payer system was approved requiring the Governor of Vermont to submit a detailed financial plan by 2013. Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin, a strong single-payer supporter, enthusiastically signed the bill.

In late 2014 the financial plan came in and Shumlin would not seek funding for it because it would nearly double the size of the state’s budget in the first year alone and require large tax increases for residents and businesses.

If this sounds familiar to Californians, this is exactly the nature of the costs for such a program in California. The bill Bernie was blabbing about never got out of the Legislature. Bernie never helped California Democrats by mentioning the Vermont experience to the press. And his ineffectiveness doesn't stand in his way because it gets no publicity.

The fact is in the United States national political parties exist in name only. The state Republican Party organizations can be viewed simply as a tool to be used by the Neoliberals. Those Neoliberals have been so effective that the state Democratic Party organizations are floundering in a death spiral in a large majority of the states.

Here in Democratic California we are likely three general elections (seven years) away from Democratic voters and elected officials understanding the full impact of our nonpartisan blanket primary system.

Republicans have already gotten the message. In the 2016 U.S. Senate race, two Democrats vied for the seat after placing #1 and #2 in the primary.  The California Republican Party has the same impact on statewide races as the Libertarian and the Green Party - none.

It has been in that position since Arnold Schwarzenegger was first elected Governor on October 7, 2003, in a special nonpartisan blanket recall election to replace then-Governor Gray Davis. Arnold could not have won in a Republican Primary, but won as a registered Republican voter. No Republican politician who could win in a statewide closed Republican Primary could win in a statewide General Election.

Now it doesn't matter. Absent some disarray like that surrounding the recall Democratic Governor Gray Davis, no one running of statewide office with the support of the California Republican Party can win. And that is an impact of our nonpartisan blanket primary elections.

Two months before Californians discovered they are really irrelevant in Presidential Elections, I posted:

    I'm a Californian. California is the first state to eliminate the partisan primary.
    Also here in California, Governor Jerry Brown is 78, Senator Diane Feinstein is 83, Senator Barbara Boxer is 75, and our most famous member of Congress Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is 76. The Chairman of the California Democratic Party former Congressman John Burton is 83.
    In California back in 2012, Millennials were 29% of the population, Gen-X'ers were 21.8% of the population, Baby Boomers were 23.4% of the population, and the Silent Generation was 9.4% of the population. All people who hold power in the Democratic Party are of the Silent Generation.
    That is embarrassing - we have a non-representative government - literally a gerontocracy meaning per Wikipedia "a form of oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population."
    "Coincidentally" recently in California we have done away with party primaries except for the President. That is because the strongest political movement in the state is the Independent Voter Project (IVP). Folks in other states should get to know this logo: .
    Slowly that half of the Millennials who do not consider themselves part of either community known as the Democratic Party and the Republican Party will take control of who gets to be on the General Election ballots in California - the largest state in population with the largest number of electors in the Presidential Electoral College. At some time in the future the top two candidates for a statewide office will both not identify with a party.
    Which leads to the point of this post. The 21st Century internet could permit potential "no party" candidates to use social media and "crowdfunding" to create a community of Millennials and Gen-X'ers to succeed in a "top 2" primary system.

Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein, who will be 85 next year at 2018 General Election time, is indicating she will run again.  Should she win, she will be 91 when the term ends. But how that all plays out in our nonpartisan blanket primary system will be interesting.

One possibility is that the Neoliberal political machine could disrupt the 2018 nonpartisan blanket primary for Feinstein's Senate seat, perhaps funding a run by a younger non-partisan candidate who could literally run on a platform challenging the power of the federal government now controlled by Republicans.

Such an effort might not succeed in 2018. The California Democratic Party still has access to money and people on the ground.

But Party Chairman John Burton retired this year and the process of replacing him has sown discord - about half of the active California Democrats are disgruntled that no real change has occurred. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer retired and the contest to replace her has left an open sore, particularly among Southern California Hispanic Democrats. Governor Jerry Brown is termed out and will retire at the end of 2018. That will reduce the gerontocracy members of the party leadership to House Minority Leader Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi who is under attack at the national level and Senator Diane Feinstein who is about as conservative as a California Democrat can get.

So to repeat myself, here in Democratic California we are likely three general elections (seven years) away from Democratic voters and elected officials understanding the full impact of our nonpartisan blanket primary system. The traditional party system will be meaningless, leaving California Democrats, like California Republicans, with little partisan power within the state or nationally.

What is not reported in the press is that Burton, Boxer, Brown, Pelosi, and Feinstein are essentially "Bay Area" white people while the vast majority of Californian's live south of the Tehachapi Mountains and are the majority of Californian's are not white.

California Democrats have hidden the meaning of the geographical split. The Bay Area generally is far more inclined to cultural liberalism.  Once the Southern California influence gains strength, Hollywood notwithstanding, at the national level the meaning of being a California Democrat will change. And it was California that gave Hillary Clinton here majority in the national popular vote when the California Democratic Party was controlled by a white gerontocracy.

Once those progressive liberals figure out that U.S. political parties exist in name only, the challenge will be for them to quit worrying about the Presidency and U.S. Senate seats, create two or more well-funded national organization and at least one well-funded organization in each state, and then campaign to elect hundreds and hundreds of state legislators and statewide office holders. After they become successful at that, they can then campaign to elect hundreds of members of Congress from the states.

In the meantime, progressive liberals can at least smile while watching large-ego Republican members of Congress who want to be reelected stand in the way of a Neoliberal goal to eliminate anything resembling a national health care program, which existing efforts as they predicted have distorted our economy.

1The use of "these United States" is emphasized to assure an understanding shared by American Neoliberals that the country defined by the Constitution is based upon independent states ceding limited powers to a central government for the purposes of national defense, the protection of the immediate public safety, and facilitation of interstate and international commerce. There is a reluctant acknowledgment of the subsequent amendments beginning with the first 10 known as the Bill of Rights, an acknowledgment which points to the 18th Amendment establishing Prohibition as an example of the foolishness and dangers of tyrannical populism at the level of the central government. This was reflected in the January 2017 Koch network seminar in Indian Wells where fear of Trump as President was evident.

2As Wikipedia explains regarding corporate personhood, beginning in 1818 the U.S. Supreme Court has been recognizing corporations as entities having individual rights granted in law to persons. The introductory paragraph explains: "Corporate personhood is the legal notion that a corporation, separately from its associated human beings (like owners, managers, or employees), has at least some of the legal rights and responsibilities enjoyed by natural persons (physical humans). For example, corporations have the right to enter into contracts with other parties and to sue or be sued in court in the same way as natural persons or unincorporated associations of persons. In a U.S. historical context, the phrase 'Corporate Personhood' refers to the ongoing legal debate over the extent to which rights traditionally associated with natural persons should also be afforded to corporations. In 1886 it was clear that the Supreme Court had accepted the argument that corporations were people and that "their money was protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment"—an Amendment that was made to protect African Americans' rights (Zinn 261). Another example is that in Nike v. Kasky, Nike asserted a free speech 'right to lie', while in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Hobby Lobby asserted a freedom of religion 'right' to exempt itself from aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." The controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 844 (2010) held that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited under the First Amendment.