Archive for the ‘Global Warming’ Category

‘NEW LEFT URBANISTS’ WANT TO REMAKE YOUR CITY

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

‘New Left Urbanists’ Want to Remake Your City

It’s about control—using infrastructure to make the masses conform to one vision of how to live.

By Christopher F. Rufo   Mr. Rufo is a contributing editor of City Journal, from whose Summer issue this is adapted
ILLUSTRATION: CHAD CROWE
August 23, 2019

America’s big cities are almost all dominated by the Democratic Party, but the politics of urban development are far from monolithic. In the past few years, a new faction has emerged across the country. Call them the new left urbanists.

These activists have big dreams. They want local governments to rebuild the urban environment—housing, transit, roads and tolls—to achieve social justice, racial justice and net-zero carbon emissions. They rally around slogans such as “ban all cars,” “raze the suburbs” and “single-family housing is white supremacy”—though they’re generally white and affluent themselves, often employed in public or semipublic roles in urban planning, housing development and social advocacy. They treat public housing, mass transit and bike lanes as a holy trinity, and they want to impose their religion on you.

“The residential is political,” wrote new left urbanists David Madden and Peter Marcuse in 2016. “The shape of the housing system is always the outcome of struggles between different groups and classes.” By dictating how cities build new housing, the logic goes, urbanists can dictate how people live and set right society’s socioeconomic, racial and moral deficiencies.

One widely circulated left-urbanist plan from April 2018 comes from the People’s Policy Project, a crowdfunded socialist think tank. The authors, Peter Gowan and Ryan Cooper, envision the construction of 10 million “municipal homes” over the next decade. The proposal imagines local governments building more housing units than the private construction industry and becoming the largest landlord in many cities.

The abysmal record of public housing in the U.S., from crime to decay, makes no difference to these urbanists. They rebrand “housing projects” as “municipal homes” and assert that new units will resemble neighborhoods in Stockholm, Vienna and Helsinki, rather than Detroit, Newark and Oakland.

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OBAMA’S LEGACY IN SHREDS

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

 

Obama’s legacy in shreds

 

How did Barack Obama’s policy legacy turn out to be so fleeting and rickety?

Hadn’t Obama’s ascent transformed a nation forever, stirring the American soul and sending thrills up the leg of the commentariat? Hadn’t his election, as Jesse Jackson Jr., then in Congress rather than on parole, noted, been “so extraordinary that another chapter could be added to the Bible to chronicle its significance?”

Not just anyone can win a Nobel Prize for their “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” before ever engaging in a single act of mediation. Then again, this was a man who had promised to marshal the forces of all mankind, the men and women who’d failed to live up to his lofty expectations for the past 150,000 years, to finally start to “heal” the earth.

Bill Clinton might have felt your pain, but Obama, noted San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford in 2008, was a “lightworker,” imbued with the supernatural ability to intuit exactly what an entire nation was thinking. It was not “merely his youthful vigor, or handsomeness, or even inspiring rhetoric,” Morford preached (and gushed), it was that the new president was a “rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment.”

Obama had arrived to sort out the dismal state of human affairs. After years of American conflicts abroad, the progressive Left had finally found a leader to end our wars for oil. Here was a man who would finally inhibit the excesses of Wall Street greed that had driven the nation into the abyss of another depression. On top of all of that, Obama would dislodge the institutionalist’s candidate, moving Democrats past the Clintons forever and into a transcendent new era. He was their Ronald Reagan. Better, even.

Except it never happened. And these days, leading Democrats hardly ever mention the man, and when they do, it’s typically to grouse about something he’s either done or failed to do.

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DEMOCRATIC DOOMSAYERS

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

 

WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Democratic doomsayers

To hear most of the Democratic presidential candidates is to wonder if their role model growing up was Chicken Little.

In a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity, arguably at the height of America’s power and inarguably at the height of her wealth, they all yell that the sky is falling, while demanding radical solutions to protect the nation from the dragons in their minds.

Sen. Bernie Sanders asserted in Tuesday night’s debate a need to “transform our economy and our government.” Bill de Blasio went further, calling on his listeners to “restructure society” itself, starting by “tax[ing] the hell out of the wealthy.” Spiritualist Marianne Williamson said, “the NRA has us in a choke hold, but so do the pharmaceutical companies, so do the health insurance companies, so do the fossil fuel companies, and so do the defense contractors.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren agreed: “Giant corporations … have taken our government and are holding it by the throat.”

Now put these alarmist comments into context. The nation’s unemployment rate has been at or below 4% for 16 consecutive months, the lowest in half a century. Wages have been rising steadily for seven years. Inflation remains below 2%. Inflation in health-related prices is below even the core inflation rate. The stock market is reaching record highs each month. The poverty rate is at or near historic lows, as are rates of violent crime.

These good numbers don’t even account for the much higher rise in actual standard of living and discretionary leisure time enjoyed in America today.

Abroad, meanwhile, we are at peace. The grand total of fewer than 17,000 troops in even semi-hot, bullets-flying war zones is quite low, and combat fatalities are averaging fewer per year than they averaged per day for most years in Vietnam.

Yet Democratic candidates talk as if America is a dystopian wasteland straight out of science fiction. Marianne Williamson said there is a “dark underbelly of American society,” a “dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up.“

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FRANCE SLOWLY SINKING INTO CHAOS

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

 

France Slowly Sinking into Chaos

by Guy Millière

Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.
August 3, 2019 

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE: 

Macron knows that the partition of France already exists. Most Arabs and Africans livein no-go zonesapart from the rest of the population, where they accept the presence of non-Arabs and non-Africans less and less. They do not define themselves as French, except when they say that France will belong to them. Reports show that most seem filled with a deep rejection of France and Western civilization. An increasing number seem to place their religion above their citizenship; many seem radicalized and ready to fight.

Macron seems not to want to fight. Instead, he has chosen to appease them. He is single-mindedly pursuing his plans to institutionalize Islam in France. Three months ago, the Muslim Association for Islam of France (AMIF) was created. One branch will handle the cultural expansion of Islam and take charge of “the fight against anti-Muslim racism”. Another branch will be responsible for programs that train imams and build mosques. This autumn, a “Council of Imams of France” will be established. The main leaders of the AMIF are (or were until recently) members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement designated as a terrorist organization in Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — but not in France.

  • President Macron never says he is sorry for those who have lost an eye or a hand… from extreme police brutality. Instead, he asked the French parliament to pass a law that almost completely abolishes the right to protest and the presumption of innocence, and that allows the arrest of anyone, anywhere, even without cause. The law was passed.
  • In June, the French parliament passed another law, severely punishing anyone who says or writes something that might contain “hate speech”. The law is so vague that an American legal scholar, Jonathan Turley, felt compelled to react. “France”, he wrote, “has now become one of the biggest international threats to freedom of speech”.
  • The main concern of Macron and the French government seems not to be the risk of riots, the public’s discontent, the disappearance of Christianity, the disastrous economic situation, or Islamization and its consequences. Instead, it is climate change.
  • “The West no longer knows what it is, because it does not know and does not want to know what shaped it, what constituted it, what it was and what it is. (…) This self-asphyxiation leads naturally to a decadence that opens the way to new barbaric civilizations.” — Cardinal Robert Sarah, in Le soir approche et déjà le jour baisse (“The Evening Comes, and already the Light Darkens”).

(more…)

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EU: A MASSIVE EXPANSION FROM NEW LEADER -URSULA VON DER LEYEN

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

 

Gatestone Institute

European Union: A Massive Expansion of Top-down Powers

  • An examination of von der Leyen’s main policy proposals reveals that she is calling for a massive expansion of top-down powers of the European Commission. Her proposals would substantially increase the role of Brussels in virtually all aspects of economic and social life in Europe — all at the expense of national sovereignty.
  • Von der Leyen warned that Brussels would overrule EU member states opposed to her tax overhaul… She called for a comprehensive “European Rule of Law Mechanism” to ensure the primacy of EU law over the national laws of EU member states. She warned that there would be financial consequences for member states that refuse to comply…. She called for a change in rules so that the EU could act even without the unanimous consent of EU member states.
  • “What you’ve seen from Ursula von der Leyen today is an attempt by the EU to take control of every single aspect of our lives. She wants to build a centralized, undemocratic, updated form of Communism that will render [obsolete] nation state parliaments, where the state controls everything, where nation state parliaments will cease to have any relevance at all.” — Nigel Farage, European Parliament, July 16, 2019.

 

Former German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who has been narrowly confirmed as the next President of the European Commission, promises an ambitious left-leaning policy program on climate change, taxes, migration and the rule of law. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

 

Former German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has been narrowly confirmed as the next President of the European Commission, the powerful administrative arm of the European Union.

In a secret ballot in the European Parliament on July 16, von der Leyen, a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, received 383 votes, only nine more than the 374 required — the lowest margin since the position of President was established in 1958. She will take over from Jean-Claude Junker in November 2019 for a five-year term.

Before the vote, von der Leyen promised an ambitious left-leaning policy program on climate change, taxes, migration and the rule of law. Many of her pledges — which would require transferring yet more national sovereignty to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels — appeared aimed at enticing support for her candidacy from Greens and Socialists in the European Parliament.

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A MUST READ – VICTOR DAVIS HANSON – WHY ARE THE WESTERN MIDDLE CLASSES SO ANGRY ?

Saturday, June 22nd, 2019

 

REAL CLEAR POLITICS
WHY ARE THE WESTERN MIDDLE CLASSES SO ANGRY ?
By Victor Davis Hanson     June 13, 2019

What is going on with the unending Brexit drama, the aftershocks of Donald Trump’s election and the “yellow vests” protests in France? What drives the growing estrangement of southern and eastern Europe from the European Union establishment? What fuels the anti-EU themes of recent European elections and the stunning recent Australian re-election of conservatives?

Put simply, the middle classes are revolting against Western managerial elites. The latter group includes professional politicians, entrenched bureaucrats, condescending academics, corporate phonies and propagandistic journalists.

What are the popular gripes against them?

One, illegal immigration and open borders have led to chaos. Lax immigration policies have taxed social services and fueled multicultural identity politics, often to the benefit of boutique leftist political agendas.

Two, globalization enriched the cosmopolitan elites who found worldwide markets for their various services. New global markets and commerce meant Western nations outsourced, offshored and ignored their own industries and manufacturing (or anything dependent on muscular labor that could be replaced by cheaper workers abroad).

Three, unelected bureaucrats multiplied and vastly increased their power over private citizens. The targeted middle classes lacked the resources to fight back against the royal armies of tenured regulators, planners, auditors, inspectors and adjustors who could not be fired and were never accountable.

Four, the new global media reached billions and indoctrinated rather than reported.

Five, academia became politicized as a shrill agent of cultural transformation rather than focusing on education — while charging more for less learning.

Six, utopian social planning increased housing, energy and transportation costs.

One common gripe framed all these diverse issues: The wealthy had the means and influence not to be bothered by higher taxes and fees or to avoid them altogether. Not so much the middle classes, who lacked the clout of the virtue-signaling rich and the romance of the distant poor.

In other words, elites never suffered the firsthand consequences of their own ideological fiats.

(more…)

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THE GREEN NEW DEAL’S IMPOSSIBLE ELECTRIC GRID

Monday, February 25th, 2019

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The Green New Deal’s Impossible Electric Grid

Renewable energy can’t consistently balance power supply with demand.

Feb. 21, 2019

The San Gorgonio Pass wind farm in Palm Springs, Calif., Jan. 6.
The San Gorgonio Pass wind farm in Palm Springs, Calif., Jan. 6. PHOTO: RUARIDH STEWART/ZUMA PRESS

The Democrats’ Green New Deal calls for a fully renewable electric power grid. Regardless of the economic or political challenges of bringing this about, it is likely technologically impossible.

An electric power grid involves second-by-second balancing between generated supply and consumer demand. In the case of a sudden imbalance—such as from the loss of a generator’s output—all the remaining generators on the grid instantaneously pool together. Each one pitches in a small part of the required power to make up for the lost generator fast enough to keep supply and demand balanced.

This doesn’t work for wind and solar because you can’t spontaneously increase wind or sunshine. Hydro power is limited and unevenly distributed around the country. And for safety reasons, nuclear power—even if the Green New Dealers accepted it—can’t be cranked up to neutralize imbalances. Nor can consumer demand be suddenly reduced enough.

Fossil-fuel turbines, by contrast, very naturally compensate for sudden supply outages. The inertia of the spinning mass of rotors provides the extra energy needed to compensate for the loss for the first few seconds. (Wind-rotor inertia is too short-lived.) Meanwhile the generators’ on-line reserve capacity kicks in, giving a rapid boost in power output to prevent the turbines from slowing down. That substitute power, called “governor response,” lasts as long as 15 minutes. During that time a single replacement generator ramps up to compensate entirely for the loss. All the turbines on the grid are thereby restored to their original speed, and the governor response is rearmed for the next disturbance.

An all-renewables grid would require prohibitively expensive battery storage to compensate for sudden power losses. Even with batteries, the lost power would have to be fed through “inverters”—a technology that converts variable-wind-speed alternating current, solar-power direct current, and battery-power direct-current into alternating current—to allow for synthetic inertia and governor response in the case of a disruption.

Opinion: The Green New Deal Gets a Senate Vote

Opinion: The Green New Deal Gets a Senate Vote
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$1,973 LED’s and the Green New Deal

Monday, February 18th, 2019

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

$1,973 LEDs and the Green New Deal

How many union workers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

The Editorial Board   January 16, 2019

The Green New Deal that Democrats unveiled last week has a grand ambition to eliminate fossil fuels in 10 years, retrofit every building in America, and guarantee high-paying jobs in the bargain. If you want to see how that works in the real world, consider the public housing projects near Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s New York office.

The New York City Housing Authority (Nycha) has a more modest goal of a 30% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2027. As part of its plan, Nycha is switching to LED lighting, which lasts longer than incandescent bulbs and consumes less energy. Sounds smart, until you see how many union workers it takes to screw in a light bulb.

One recent project focused on 23 housing developments, and changing the light bulbs and fixtures there cost $33.2 million. Supplies account for a fraction of that cost. Under Nycha’s Project Labor Agreement, electricians make $81 in base pay and $54 in fringe per hour, and overtime is usually time and a half. Add administrative and contracting expenses. All in, Nycha paid an average of $1,973 per apartment to install LEDs.

For Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, sky-high labor costs are part of the plan. Her Green New Deal resolution would create “high-quality union jobs that pay prevailing wages” and reinforce “the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain.” It also mandates upgrades for “all existing buildings in the United States” to “achieve maximal energy efficiency.” In this worker’s paradise, there’s a $1,973 LED in every socket.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal also states that a Green New Deal “must be developed through transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership” with both labor and low-income families. But if she visited the Nycha homes, she may find those mandates are at odds.

“I can buy LED myself,” said Barbara Jones, 69, who has lived in Cypress Hills since her 20s and is dismayed by the disrepair. Others we interviewed said they’d rather see money go first to getting rid of vermin, mold and lead paint, tidying filthy premises, or improving safety.

Nycha also updated the heat and hot water systems in addition to upgrading the lights at these 23 developments, and the total cost for the energy-efficiency overhaul was $68.7 million. A Consolidated Edison grant covered $8.25 million, but Nycha took out a loan to cover the rest. The housing authority has three similar projects in construction at other developments, and the total cost for all four is $271.8 million.

LED lights and other energy-efficiency upgrades may drive Nycha’s utility bills down, but those savings aren’t directly passed on to taxpayers for as long as 20 years. Under the federal Energy Performance Contracting Program, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development continues to reimburse Nycha for utilities at pre-LED levels. Public housing authorities must spend a minimum of 75% of their savings on servicing the loan and other project costs, but they have more discretion over the rest.

In the private economy, $1,973 could go a long way toward improving a dilapidated apartment. Only in the world of green government spending is replacing light bulbs for two grand a unit a cost-saving measure.

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VOTE ON THE GREEN NEW DEAL

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

 

www.wsj.com/articles/vote-on-the-green-new-deal-11549931107

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Vote on the Green New Deal

Every Member of Congress should step up and be counted.

Editorial Board     February 12, 2019

Democrats rolled out their Green New Deal last week, and by all means let’s have a national debate and then a vote in Congress—as soon as possible. Here in one package is what the political left really means when it says Americans need to do something urgently about climate change, so let’s see who has the courage of those convictions.

Thanks to the resolution introduced last week by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, there’s already official language. While it’s nonbinding, the 14 pages give a clear sense of direction and magnitude in calling for a “10-year national mobilization” to exorcise carbon from the U.S. economy.

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan looks modest by comparison. The 10-year Green New Deal calls for generating 100% of power from renewables and removing greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and transportation—to the extent these goals are “technologically feasible.” Hint: They’re not.

The plan also calls for “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort and durability, including through electrification.” That’s all existing buildings, comrade.

Millions of jobs would have to be destroyed en route to this brave new green world, but not to worry. The resolution says the government would also guarantee “a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.” Good that they’re starting small.

Sorry to mention unhappy reality, but renewable sources currently make up only 17% of U.S. electric-power generation despite enormous federal and state subsidies. Wind and solar energy have become more competitive over the last decade as costs have plunged. But without subsidies, solar costs remain about 20% higher than natural gas while offshore wind is two-thirds more expensive. The bigger problem is solar and wind don’t provide reliable power, so backup plants that burn fossil fuels are required to run on stand-by.

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AUSTRALIA – A CAUTIONARY TALE OF A GREEN NEW DEAL

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

 

The first article tells the the revealing story of Australia’s fatal  experiment with trying to maximize energy efficiency.  The second article encourages a vote on the new green energy deal to put Democrats on record for supporting this fantasy land proposal.  It is truly fascinating to watch this spectacle unfold of a party self-destructing right in front of our  very eyes.   Nancy      
 
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Green New Deal: A Cautionary Tale

Australia’s costly and fatal 2009 effort to upgrade houses for energy efficiency.

By Tim Blair    Mr. Blair is an associate editor at Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.
February 12, 2019

Sydney

The Green New Deal—introduced in Congress last week and immediately endorsed by several Democratic presidential candidates—calls among other things for “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States . . . to achieve maximal energy efficiency.” We’ve tried it in Australia—on a much smaller scale—and it didn’t go well.

On Feb. 3, 2009, Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his treasurer, Wayne Swan, announced the Energy Efficient Homes Package. “To support jobs and set Australia up for a low carbon future the Rudd Government will install free ceiling insulation in around 2.7 million Australian homes,” declared a press release from Mr. Swan’s office.

“For a time-limited period of two and a half years, from 1 July 2009, owner-occupiers without ceiling insulation will be eligible for free product and installation (capped at $1,600) simply by making a phone call.” At the time, A$1,600 was worth about US$1,280.

In many cases those calls weren’t necessary. At the Daily Telegraph, where I work, we discovered something was amiss when our chief of staff ordered a pizza. To her surprise, the delivery man also offered an insulation quote.

There were only 250 registered insulation businesses in Australia when the package was announced. That number quickly blew out to 7,000 because the government was handing out free money to installers. Pizza drivers could pick up more in one insulation job than from a month’s worth of tips. They received their rebates directly from the government rather than from homeowners, who therefore had little incentive to check if the work had been done well or even at all. Some ceilings ended up with a mere handful of insulation batts thrown around. Others featured only shredded paper. Almost every insulation job went right up to the $1,600 cap, regardless of size or ceiling area.

The insulation army worked at frantic speed, eager to cash in while they could. When the difference between five jobs done reasonably well and eight jobs done in careless haste is $4,800, a short amount of time represents a lot of money.

Then the deaths began. Four young men were killed while installing insulation under the government’s program—three by electrocution and one from hyperthermia during the Australian summer. Dozens more workers, most of them inexperienced, suffered injuries and heat stroke.

Nearly 100 houses caught fire. Environment Minister Peter Garrett, whose hits as Midnight Oil’s lead singer included 1987’s “Beds are Burning,” subsequently announced the planned deregistration or suspension of 5,000 installers.

Those suspensions were never required. In February 2010, a year after the Energy Efficient Homes Package was announced, it was abandoned.

Mr. Blair is an associate editor at Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

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