Freedom, Bought and Sold

It always interests me to see what our readers are reading here. Yesterday, close to 20% of you were reading a fairly old article of Jessica’s, entitled The Exhausted West?.  In it, she spoke about Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s 1978 Harvard Commencement address. It is, I think quite appropriate to today’s subject, especially one of the paragraphs she quoted from the speech.

Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, the misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counterbalanced by the young people’s right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil. 

Indeed, we have lost here, and even more in Europe, the key fact that freedom imposes responsibility, and that there is much more to life than material possessions.

Today, we are going to speak of the late/current demonstrations in Iran, and even more the reaction to them in the west. The source of today’s is Douglass Murray in The Spectator (UK) article entitled The Iranian revolution the world wants to ignore.

If there is one lesson the world should have learned from Iran’s ‘Green Revolution’ of 2009 and the so-called Arab Spring that followed, it is this: the worst regimes stay. Rulers who are only averagely appalling (Tunisia’s Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak) can be toppled by uprisings. Those who are willing to kill every one of their countrymen stay. So it is that after almost half a million dead we enter 2018 with Bashar al-Assad still President of Syria and with Iran’s mullahs approaching the 40th anniversary of their seizure of power in 1979. […]

Yep, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and quite a few more died peacefully in bed, few of their opponents did.

Yet anyone who expects these demonstrations to lead to swift change in the nature of the Iranian government remembers no history. Shortly after the latest protests began, the country’s security forces, including the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, were seen photographing the events. In Iran, a regime camera is as deadly as a sniper’s sights. Only more delayed. As in 2009, the photographs will be used by the police to arrest demonstrators and also family members unconnected with the protests. This will be followed by the torture and rape of men and women in prison by the theocratic regime’s frontmen. As after the Green Revolution, there will in due course be show trials, forced recantations and executions. This is how a police state with four decades of experience goes about its business. In 1979, the behaviour of the Shah’s dreaded Savak secret police was one of the spurs for revolution. The Ayatollahs have superseded the Savak, fine-tuned their brutality and learned from their mistakes.

Anyone in doubt about the capacity of the Supreme Leader to hang on to power need only watch the footage of crowds in the city of Rasht advancing down the street on one of the first nights of protest. You can see the exact moment when the regime’s Revolutionary Guard starts attacking the protesters. The crowd that is marching one way down the street suddenly finds an organised army running towards them. These are trained killers being unleashed on angry but peaceful civilians. Six hundred people have already been arrested and dozens already killed. The civilians don’t stand a chance. […]

None whatsoever, the Supreme Leaders people are not fully trained troops, probably, although they are inured to killing, which is all it really takes, plus a modicum of organization to easily defeat a mob in the street. Not much different than murder on an industrial scale, but it is effective.

Unless, that is, the outside world takes any interest in their plight. In the early hours of the demonstrations, the US President took to Twitter to warn the Iranian authorities that ‘The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!’ But such is the obsession with Donald Trump and the parochialism of all our politics that Trump’s critics immediately took to the media to condemn his condemnation of human rights abuses. Again on Twitter, the most powerful man on the planet — determined not to replay the actions of his predecessor in office, who was highly reluctant to speak out during the crushing of the Green Revolution — warned that ‘The world is watching.’ He may be right. But the world may watch in silence.

This is one of those occasions where, whatever you think of Donald Trump, he is correct, the west invented human rights, and are the only guarantor. And yet, many, maybe most around the world for whatever reason decided to side with the Ayatollah against the west, personified by Donald Trump. Speaking for myself, I found it sickening.

Some international caution is justified. People have their reasons. Our own Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, has expressed ‘concern’ over events, but has been careful not to go further. Fresh back from a visit to Tehran, the Foreign Secretary has been working to obtain the release of the British–Iranian dual citizen, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been imprisoned in Iran for the last 18 months. Thanks to a campaign by Labour MPs, the issue of Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release has been turned into an issue of the Foreign Secretary’s personal competence (at times as though it is Boris Johnson, and not the mullahs, who imprisoned the woman). Johnson’s Iranian counterparts know that he has a lot riding on his efforts to release her and have used this advantage well. So a campaign for one woman’s freedom has hindered a Foreign Secretary from campaigning for a nation’s freedom.

Other silences have been less defensible. The leader of the opposition is not normally silent when there is an opportunity to talk about unfairness or injustice. Yet after days of protests in Iran, Jeremy Corbyn said nothing.

One reason may be that the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition was until recently in the pay of the Iranian regime. For presenting programmes on its propaganda wing, Press TV (before becoming Labour party leader), Corbyn received up to £20,000. Damningly — or it would be damning if more people cared — he appeared on Press TV even after the channel lost its broadcasting licence. It lost that licence not because of its always clear political support for a sectarian, gay-hanging, women-oppressing dictatorship. It lost it because during the channel’s campaign to delegitimise the 2009 protests, Press TV broadcast a forced confession from a journalist who had been abducted by the regime and was being held in prison. Ofcom thought this crossed a line. Jeremy Corbyn did not and was happy to continue to take his apple-juice money from Tehran.

Elsewhere the silence indicates the dream-puncturing of an entire political class. In 2015 the UN security council agreed a deal with Iran to limit elements of its nuclear programme for a period. Iran’s incentives included a freeing up of trade and a delivery of billions of dollars in cash. For their part, companies and governments across Europe hoped to get their own cash bonanzas in the wake of that deal. Such deals always compromise the people who make them. One of the chief defenders of the 2015 deal, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, has spent recent days being studiously silent on the uprisings in Iran. When President Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital she couldn’t tweet enough condemnations of his action. Yet five days into the protests in Iran, she hadn’t even said that she is watching events closely. Europe’s leading foreign affairs ideologue needs Iran’s governing status quo to stay in place so that nothing about her own deal, future cash prize or putative Nobel award is in any way disturbed.

We’ve said speaking of the election that Donald Trump has F**k you money. He has enough that he can do what he thinks is right without regard to his next paycheck. It’s a major advantage. It applies here, as well. The US, seemingly alone in the west has F**k you money, too. Not that we do, but we have a historical record of trying to do the harder right instead of the easier wrong. Do we always succeed? Of course not. But maybe that is the reason why we, of all the nations of the west, still will go out into the world to fight evil.

But I suspect the day is coming when we will come to the conclusion that if the people of Europe amongst others value money above all things, especially above their own freedom, well, why should we care. That will be the day that Europe falls. Of its own volition, bribed by its own money. It will be a sad day, but it begins to appear inevitable.

 

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Peace through Superior Firepower?

Who knew? Perhaps deterrence works. In any case, the North Koreans are talking to the Southern ones. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Maybe this is why.

CBS has a report (more bloody autoplay videos, sorry!) that:

Last week, the Pacific Air Forces announced three B-2 “Spirit” stealth bombers with approximately 200 personnel have been deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to the Pacific island of Guam.

The statement said the deployment is intended to provide leaders with “deterrent options to maintain regional stability.”[…]

Last year, flights by B-1B bombers from Guam to the airspace around Korea were a major flashpoint, prompting a warning from North Korea that it had drawn up a plan to target the waters around the island with a missile strike that it could carry out anytime Kim gave the order. The B-2 is more threatening.

It’s the most advanced bomber in the Air Force and, unlike the B-1B, can carry nuclear weapons. It’s also the only known aircraft that can drop the Air Force’s biggest bomb, the 14,000-kilogram, about 30,000-pound, FGBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

The “MOP,” capable of penetrating deep into the ground to destroy reinforced tunnels and bunkers, was explicitly designed with North Korea in mind.

That adds on to the CVNs Ronald Reagan, Carl Vinson, and perhaps the Carl Stennis, and the USS Wasp as well, an upgraded amphibious assault ship, with its Marines, and either carrying or capable of carrying about 30 F 35Bs.

That’s all in addition to all the stuff already in South Korea, Japan, and the general neighborhood, and the South Koreans who are no slouch themselves.

I recall SECDEF Mattis commenting that nothing keeps him awake, he keeps others awake. His point was that this administration while having due regard for public opinion, is not going to make policy from what will (XXX) do, the will make policy from what does the United States want to happen. A somewhat subtle but very important difference.

And so we see Whoa Fat’s minions at the conference table in South Korea, after less than a year of Donald Trump’s presidency. Likewise, we see serious demonstrations in the streets in Iran. They may not win this time, but win they shall. We see Egypt and Saudi Arabia talking to Israel, and about no less than a military alliance. We may, perhaps, be watching the dawn of a new era. KSA is reportedly negotiating to buy the Iron Dome system from Israel.

And we even see the people of eastern Europe stand up to their would-be masters in western Europe. Why it’s almost like they didn’t throw off their communist masters only to succumb to the fascists in the west.

The only people I see decrying this is the anti-freedom left in America, and the European governments most of whom have sold their soul long ago for material gain. Are they noisy? Yep. Are they important? Nope. Only when the sheriff is on strike. But the sheriff is on patrol again

And just now I see a report that the two Koreas will march together under a unified flag at the Winter Olympics next month. Not a problem solved, but one that is perhaps on its way, something no one foresaw a year ago.

Not “Peace in our time” but perhaps we are back to where we can say that it is better to “Jaw, Jaw than to War War.”

Quite a year it has been!

Dreaming of Freedom

Today in the United States it is Martin Luther King Day. I have a trivial confession to make, I opposed its establishment as a federal holiday, not so much because of what he symbolized, as a simple prejudice against even more holidays, and the combining of Lincoln’s and Washington’s Birthdays. In some way, I still feel that way.

But as I look out on America fifty-five years later, I’m glad it is a holiday. Why? Because the civil rights movement that he spearheaded, as late as it was, was, and is, important. The sad part is that the left, who attempts to take credit for what was mostly conservatives in the government accomplished then, have betrayed that dream, while conservatives have come to embrace it ever more fully. Have you ever read the I have a Dream speech? There is nothing in it that the most conservative person in the world doesn’t embrace, and absolutely nothing that contradicts anything in Christianity (as, of course, the Rev Dr. King knew).

It is not utopian, nor is it dystopian, it is reality. It recounts where his people had been, and where they dream of going. Sadly his vision is still a dream. Not a dream of endless government largesse extorted from the citizenry, but of respect, and competence earned, as he had earned it, by deeds, not words. That does not denigrate words but signifies that action is required.

So here is your chance to read it, dispassionately, and see what a great American leader saw as necessary for the downtrodden blacks in America. And strangely the south has, well, not really embraced him, but acted on his recommendations. There was a study I saw a bit ago that reported that Boston is now the most racist city in the United States, not Atlanta, or Biloxi, or Selma, or Birmingham, or even New Orleans.

Transcript of speech by
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
August 28, 1963. Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago a great American in whose symbolic shadow we stand today signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beckoning light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.

One hundred years later the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

One hundred years later the Negro is still languishing in the comers of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land.

We all have come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to change racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice ring out for all of God’s children.

There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted citizenship rights.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

And the marvelous new militarism which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers have evidenced by their presence here today that they have come to realize that their destiny is part of our destiny.

So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its Governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and before the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the mount with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the genuine discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, pray together; to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom forever, knowing that we will be free one day.

And I say to you today my friends, let freedom ring. From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, let freedom ring. From the mighty mountains of New York, let freedom ring. From the mighty Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snow capped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only there; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill in Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we’re free at last!”

It is time that we remove the tyranny of low expectations from our fellow citizens, and allow them to compete to the best of their ability with all of us. Some will win through, some will not, just as it is for any other group in America. But succeeding because someone gave you the answers is not winning, it is cheating, and living off other is not living, it is a living death.

And American Dream – Let Freedom Ring.

Bad Choices and Stopping the Threat

From Bearing Arms via The Daley Gator.

Ruiz’s son, Andrew Herrera, was shot and killed when he tried to rob a Popeye’s Chicken in Texas. That’s when he came face-to-face with the state’s self-defense laws.

Now, Ruiz has questions.

 “Did my son deserve to be punished? Yes, he did,” Ruiz said.

Police said Herrera, wearing a hoodie and a mask, entered the South Side restaurant with gun and confronted a man and his family who were eating.

After the man told Herrera he had spent the money he had on their dinner, Herrera turned toward the counter and pointed the gun at one of the workers, who was running away.

That’s when the man, who had a concealed handgun license, fired several shots at Herrera.

A police spokesman later said, “Here in Texas, if you’re in fear of loss of life, loss of property, you have a right to defend yourself.”

Ruiz said she understands the man who shot her son was defending his family, but she asked, “Why shoot him four more times? Why did he shoot him five times?”

I hate to break it to Ruiz, but the reason the man shot him five times was simple. You shoot until there’s no longer a threat. The armed citizen judge there was still a risk to him and his family–and the word “family” means no self-respecting man is going to take a chance at that point–and kept shooting until there was no longer a threat.

Shootings aren’t like the movies or on TV. You don’t shoot to wound. A wounded person can still kill you. You shoot until the threat has been eliminated. If the first shot wounds them but they drop their weapon and surrender, so much the better for everyone, but only a complete and total idiot expects that to happen.

Herrera threatened the lives of human beings, and he paid a price for that. It’s a price that Ruiz is being forced to pay, which is a pity, but either she failed to teach him it was wrong to steal, or he failed to heed the lessons. Either way, he tried to rob a chicken place and came face-to-face with someone who was not going to be a victim.

Why was Herrara shot five times? Because he stood there, gun in hand, and threatened the innocent.

Knighton is spot on. Until the threat is ended, the threat is there, and real. Surrender is always an option if one wants to live. Like everyone else, I’m sorry for Ruiz, but her son made the choice, and it came up bad for him this time.

In any case, I don’t do a lot of gun stories, although I see many of them because they are well enough covered elsewhere. Often when you see one here, its because there is an obvious injustice going on, or it’s hard to figure out or something. In this case, it makes a wider point.

In this case, the whole thing is scalable. The same thing that got this guy killed, got Nazi Germany killed, almost got Imperial Japan depopulated, and the list goes on. It is what North Korea and Iran find so entertaining to play around with. America’s old habit is quite simple, we rarely start wars, but we end them rather decisively, and it’s highly unusual for us to lose.

General Patton spoke truly when he said,

Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

Of course, that’s not to say that our politicians haven’t thrown a couple away after brave men and women won them. That’s why you have to keep them on a short rein.

But generally speaking, poking around at the eagle with a sharp stick is a rather bad idea.

 

What Matters in the United States

This, from David Limbaugh.

It is disheartening to see the ongoing rift between those conservatives supporting President Donald Trump and those opposing him — a rift that began before Trump and may survive his presidency.

Many conservatives opposed Trump’s nomination because they believed he was not a true conservative — not even really a bona fide Republican — but rather a narcissistic opportunist who wanted to take his game show hosting and self-promotional platform to a grander stage.

Many also thought that a Trump presidency, even if it would somewhat forestall the Obama-Clinton agenda, would not be worth the long-term damage it would do to the conservative movement. They believed a Trump victory would embolden the so-called alt-right movement, which they saw as Trump’s main base. They saw a mob-like mentality among many of his supporters, saying they were fueled by rage and would rubber-stamp every crazy idea Trump might pursue and also push him to pursue even nuttier ideas.

Admittedly, in the red-hot contentiousness of the primary campaigns, some of the alt-right types did surface as among the most vocal of Trump supporters. Trump supporters seemed to defend anything Trump said or did, even if indefensible.

That was my concern, as well. I was wrong, it seems. But the Republican convention was a time of self reflection for me, and many others, when Trump won, honestly and fairly. One could go daft, as so many did, with what’s his name, which was bound to be every bit as effective as staying home hiding in your bed. One could stay home hiding in your bed. One could support Hillary and the final unraveling of our America, or one could support Donald Trump, and hope to keep him from major excess. It wasn’t a hard choice for me, or other millions of Americans. Our decision was final and unambiguous. It canned be summed up thusly:

Hillary will never be president.

That is a victory, for America, for freedom, and for what used to be common honesty.

This same obliviousness to the urgency of our situation also led to GOP establishment inertia regarding the Obama agenda. The establishment’s insufficient energy and willingness to oppose him sowed the seeds of Trump’s rise to power. How ironic that the people who remain most opposed to Trump today are to some extent responsible for the emergence of such an unorthodox character to fill the void they helped to create.

That’s a key point. I don’t think the GOP elite is evil as such. They live in the belly of the beast, and they have become timid, and far too used to losing. And so they have become losers, and when shown a way to win, it is difficult for them to believe that someone else, especially a loud, uncouth man from the outer boroughs, might win, even without their timid advice, which always resulted in losing, but got them nice invitations. These are the people that renewed their membership in America First, on December 8, 1941. Burke had it right, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. “

The second thing is that I came to realize that I had misunderstood much of Trump’s grass-roots support. Yes, grass-roots voters were convinced that there was no difference between the two parties and that only an outsider like Trump could break the mold and inaugurate a new paradigm in Washington. But they were not a mob, and they saw something that others may not have seen. […]

The Trump opponents have a variety of excuses to deny Trump credit for advancing this agenda and discredit those who foresaw the landscape better than they. They can’t stand his tone, his manners or his tweets. They view him as temperamentally and mentally unfit for office. Even when he achieves policy success after policy success, they childishly huff that it is only because other people besides Trump are running the White House — that he has delegated foreign policy matters and “outsourced” his legislative agenda. Come on, people.

Well, I don’t know whether Trump has morphed into a full-blown ideological conservative, but I do know that he’s largely governing as one — and an effective one at that, accomplishing some bold things that few other conservative presidents would have even tried.

Why are some never-Trumpers obsessively bogged down in evaluating Trump’s character and competence and preoccupied with sanctimoniously judging Trump’s supporters instead of admitting that Trump’s supporters are just rooting for America and that Trump’s policies are — to this point — moving us back toward the direction of the American dream?

This shouldn’t be a contest over who’s more conservative; it should be about what’s best for the United States. I’m pleased with how things are going. If the conservative movement doesn’t come together in the future, I don’t think it will be primarily the fault of the Trump supporters.

That is what matters, who gets invited to what cocktail party doesn’t, who guesses right about anything doesn’t, even who is president doesn’t. What is right for the United States, that matters. Some people need to put their ego in their pocket and get on with the job.

Living in the Bad Old Days.

Baby, It’s cold outside, even in Florida

Most of you, like me, remember living through the bad old days – of the 1970s. You know unaffordable heating, waiting in line for gas  (every other day) for gas for the car and a host of other things. Not only was it uncomfortable, to most of us it felt unAmerican. And it was, this country was built on movement, and movement demands affordable energy. We didn’t really get going until the railroads started to build out the network, and then we were pretty much unstoppable.

Until the 70s, that is. A lot of people have tried to lay the blame off on the Arabs. Well, they had something to do with the proximate cause, but the real cause was right here at home. It was (and is) called the US Government.

Steven Hayward wrote about this yesterday. let’s have a look.

Everyone remembers the lines for gasoline. What is less recalled are the shortages and price spikes for natural gas, whose price and supply was also regulated at the federal level. But in Texas, intrastate natural gas outside the federal purview was abundant and cheap, and the lack of pipeline capacity to transport it, along with the price controls, meant Texas enjoyed cheap natural gas while the rest of the country shivered or paid out for expensive home heating oil and oil-fired electricity (oil-fired electricity was nearly 20 percent of the nation’s total electricity in 1973; today the figure is less than 1 percent). Hence there was a popular bumper sticker in Texas back then: “Drive fast, freeze a Yankee.”

Yep, I remember those, and like Steve says, even Jimmy Carter was able to figure out the problem, although, as usual, he had the slows in doing anything about it. But Reagan didn’t, those controls ended his first week in office. It’s one of the reasons for the 80s boom.

But the Northeast still hasn’t figured it out, and so its residents are freezing in the dark again. From Steve.

But from the looks of things the northeast is living back in the bad old days during the current bout of global warming climate change gripping so much of the country. The spot prices for natural gas and electricity are soaring:

Gee—how can natural gas be so expensive when its abundant and cheap (thank you fracking), and moreover available in nearby states like Pennsylvania and Ohio? It’s not necessary any more for eastern natural gas customers to have to deal with those cowboy hat-wearing folk in Oklahoma and Texas.

Ah, maybe headlines like this have something to do with it:

He’s blocked 3 (at least) pipelines, although the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has overturned him on one. He’s also stopped fracking in New York, depriving upstate and western New York of who knows how many jobs, good paying ones too. In fact, so good that western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio are all but booming again. The Wall Street Journal (Paywall, sorry) took this nonsense apart last summer

The U.S. shale boom has lowered energy prices and created hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country. But those living in upstate New York and New England have been left in the cold by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose shale gas blockade could instigate an energy crisis in the Northeast. . .

All of this is ominous since the region desperately needs more natural gas to make up for lost power from the impending shutdown of nuclear and coal plants. New England’s Independent System Operator projects that 14% of the region’s electric generation capacity will be retired within three years and says more pipelines are needed for grid stability.

Energy costs in the Northeast are already the highest in the nation outside of Alaska and Hawaii in part due to the shortage of natural gas. Northeast residents pay 29% more for natural gas and 44% more for electricity than the U.S. average, according to a recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Industrial users in the Northeast pay twice as much for natural gas and 62% more for electricity. . .

Inclement weather can cause energy costs to skyrocket. During the 2014 polar vortex, natural gas prices in New York City spiked to $120 per million Btu—about 25 times the Henry Hub spot price at the time. Natural-gas power plants in New York are required to burn oil during supply shortages. Due to pipeline constraints and the Jones Act—which requires that cargo transported between U.S. ports be carried by ships built in the U.S.—Boston imports liquefied natural gas during the winter from Trinidad. This is expensive and emits boatloads of carbon.

Speaking of which, about a quarter of households in New York, 45% in Vermont and 65% in Maine still burn heating oil—which is a third more expensive than natural gas and produces about 30% more carbon emissions per million Btu. Yet many can’t switch due to insufficient natural gas and pipeline infrastructure.

So what is Cuomo doing about this? This:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in connection with his State of the State address today, announced a plan to create new energy efficiency targets and appliance standards. He directed the state’s Department of Public Service and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to propose new 2025 energy efficiency targets by Earth Day, April 22, 2018, and also announced the state’s plans to develop new appliance efficiency standards for products not covered by federal standards, coordinating efforts with other states. According to the Governor, the targets will be “achieved through cost effective implementation strategies and innovative approaches from both utilities and the [New York State] Clean Energy Fund.”

Yep, that’ll fix it. Make appliances even more expensive and less reliable.

Steve writes, “Turns out the New England electricity grid manager (the ISO) warned of this very problem a couple months ago:”

[P]ower system operations could become challenging if demand is higher than projected, if the region loses a large generator, electricity imports are affected, or when natural gas pipeline constraints limit the fuel available to natural-gas-fired power plants. . .

While New England has adequate capacity resources to meet projected demand, a continuing concern involves the availability of fuel for those power plants to generate electricity when needed. The region’s natural gas delivery infrastructure has expanded only incrementally[thank you Gov. Cuomo], while reliance on natural gas as the predominant fuel for both power generation and heating continues to grow. During extremely cold weather, natural gas pipeline constraints limit the availability of fuel for natural-gas-fired power plants. Further, the retirement of a 1,500 MW coal- and oil-fired power plant in May has removed a facility with stored fuel that helped meet demand when natural gas plants were unavailable. . .

To address potential shortages of fuel to generate electricity, ISO New England will administer the Winter Reliability Program again to help protect overall grid reliability. The program provides incentives for generators to stock up on oil or contract for liquefied natural gas before winter begins . . .

But, what about all that solar power we keep hearing about?

While PV helps reduce energy consumption during sunny winter days, demand peaks in winter after the sun has set.

Typical. I’d feel sorry for them, but I just can’t manage it. After all, they elected these statist cretins, and the chickens are coming home to roost, good and hard. I’d invest in tar and pitchforks futures though unless they all do freeze in the dark. But they’ll probably re-elect them again. It’s what they do, and why they have become increasingly irrelevant to the modern world.

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