• Deep Troubles in America’s Deep Coal Mines

    Guest Author: Terry Jackson

    [Editor’s note: Terry Jackson has worked in the coal industry for years and knows it well. ZipDialog is delighted to include his personal views. Readers are invited to respond. We take the “Dialog” in ZipDialog seriously.]

    All of the damage done to the Coal Industry in the Obama Administration cannot be undone, and I am not a Climate Change Denier.

    As a matter of fact, through intelligent dialogue on Charles Lipson’s ZipDialog blog and its related postings on Facebook, I am now FB friends with two Climate Scientists as a result.

    Deregulating Utilities and Regulating Coal

    coal-labeled-300px-no-marginThe problem began with the deregulation of electric utilities and the lack of a moral compass in the executives of those publicly-owned and traded utilities. It was made worse by Bill Clinton’s repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, eliminating the “Chinese Wall” between banking and investment banking.

    Instead of replacing coal-fired units all over the East Coast with new and clean coal plants, the utilities sold their coal plants, which had already been full depreciated, to Independent Power Producers (IPPs), who brushed them off to merely comply with minimal EPA regulations in force and then ran them into the ground, fully depreciating them again.

    The utility executives got bonuses, their shareholders got dividends, the banking and investment banking pigs got fat. I should add that the trend started earlier than 1999 with the repeal of the Glass-Steagall legislation, and IPP’s have been around since Jimmy Carter. They just got bolder and less moral over the years.

    The coup de grace was Obama’s EPA director coming up with even more and more “pollutants” to lay on the remaining coal-fired generating stations and his willingness to empower the oil and gas companies with expanded fracking.

    Most oil and gas companies owned coal companies, as did chemical companies like DuPont, and they divested. They got out knowing that they could dump their coal assets with the help of the same banks and investment bankers who helped them buy coal assets for their huge cash flows in the first place.

    Even the Sierra Club, which was all for more gas instead of coal, came to find out that the 6% losses of gas at the well head and through the pipelines was more damaging to the environment than the coal it replaced.  Friends at DOI [Department of the Interior] have known that for years, for what it is worth.

    climate-change-labeled-300pxReducing Pollution is a Global Problem

    The globe is now producing and consuming 200 million tons per year more than they were in 2000, and American production, and hence revenue and taxes from exporting coal as well as domestic markets is down 100 million tons. During Obama’s administration 95,000 American coal miners have been put out of work.

    I didn’t make any of that up. Those are facts, and while America has been punished, we seem to be fighting the war against Global Warming and Climate Change without the cooperation or the rest of the planet. Germany, Japan and Scandinavia are installing new clean coal capacity mostly because they don’t trust the Russians or nuclear power.

    The Politics of Betrayal

    Meanwhile, we’ve been misled and lied to including by the President and the Left Wing and Progressives who do not understand and have never really wanted to understand because coal miners are just trash with few teeth to most Americans on both coasts. Meanwhile, China and India are going to bury the West coast in their pollution.

    ♦ Do I believe in Climate Change? Absolutely.

    ♦ Do I believe in Clean Coal Technology and Technology in general? Absolutely.

    ♦ Do I believe most Americans are the useful idiots that Saul Alinsky talks about? Absolutely, because it is Lenin and Saul who really looked and looks down on the intellectual short comings of most people.

    People aren’t stupid–stupid cannot be fixed–but most are ignorant when it comes to peeling the onion and getting behind the political motives of each party.

    So I pray. I hope you can read that without feeling I am condescending in any way but trying to use my experience, education etc. to make you more aware of how deep our problems run, including having a terrible person as our new POTUS.

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    The opinions in this post are those of Terry Jackson. He and ZipDialog welcome your response

  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Friday, Nov 11

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

    ◆ November 11: Veterans Dayveterans-day-300px-no-margins

     

    A serious analysis of why the polls got it wrong. 

    zd-polling-201px-w-marginsThe author, Milt Rosenberg, is known by millions for hosting one of the country’s most interesting talk shows. But his “day job” was always as a professor of social pyschology, with special expertise on polling bias. His analysis emphasizes “evaluation apprehension,” in which respondents fail to report their views accurately to pollsters for fear they will be judged negatively. (American Spectator)

    ◆ ‘Not my president’: Thousands protest Trump in rallies across the US (Washington Post)

     NY Daily News, which hates Trump, runs this headline: President-elect Donald Trump complains about ‘unfair’ protesters

    clinton-foundation-300px-no-margins◆ IRS sued for Clinton Foundation Documents (Fox)

    Comment on the Foundation: The Clinton Foundation is extremely vulnerable to a thorough, honest investigation by a neutral DOJ. But it is vital that a Trump Administration act with probity. If this investigation looks like vengeance or retribution, it will be as bad as the Obama DOJ.

    Comment on the Clintons’ Personal Enrichment: For anyone who thought it was not influence buying to hire Bill and Hillary for speaking fees of $400k-$750k, or hiring Bill as an “honorary chancellor” of a private university for $16 million, ask yourself this:

    Is anybody willing to pay the Clintons those astronomical rates now? Why not? Because the Clintons are out of power for good. Not temporarily. They are never coming back.

    No investor buys an option that will expire worthless. And people paying them those fees were “investing” in the Clintons. (Charles Lipson comment)

    energy-composite-solar-coal-nat-gas-oil-fracking-labeled-300-no-margins◆ What will a Trump Presidency Mean for Energy? Good News for Oil and Gas. Bad News for Solar  (Buffalo News, republished in GovTech) Growth was already slowing in the solar industry, but Trump’s recognition that low BTU prices mean economic growth translates into pro-oil and gas policies, not subsidies for higher cost renewables.

    ◆ Thanks to so many of you for reading my op-ed at Real Clear Politics: What Happens After the Electoral Earthquake?

     

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  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Tu, Oct 18

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

    ◆ Hillary Clinton, confident in her big lead in all the polls, has shifted her focus from battleground states to some traditional Republican states she thinks she can win. (NY Times) Why take the risk? Because it widens the map Trump has to defend and, more important, could improve her chances of governing if she wins. A very large win in the electoral college, plus having some Senators in your debt, would give her a stronger position than a narrow victory. That’s true even if Republicans hold the House.

    ◆ Comment, if Trump loses, he could well attack the foundations of our Constitutional Democracy.  

    constitutional-democracy-key-elements-300px-no-marginsOne of the great achievements of American government is its stability. That stability was particularly notable in 2000, when Al Gore conceded a razor-thin and contested election to George Bush after the Supreme Court ruled in Bush v. Gore. No riots in the streets. No attempt by political leaders to foment them. Donald Trump seems to be raising that possibility in 2016.

    If Trump goes beyond saying the media is prejudiced against him and charges that the formal election process is rigged (without providing solid proof), then he would be striking at the heart of our constitutional system. Yes, the media loathe him and slant their coverage. Yes, Hillary and her aides at the Democratic National Committee didn’t give Bernie Sanders a fair shot. Yes, there is significant evidence that the FBI and DOJ had more than enough evidence to indict Hillary and her aides and refused to do so on political grounds. trump-rigged-tweet

    On the other side, Trump has been helped by Russian state hackers, who have been leaking anti-Hillary documents, according to intelligence sources. It is not a squeaky clean election.

    But to try to raise a populist revolt against the outcome of a US Presidential Election is yet another reason so many people fear Trump, should he win. (Charles Lipson comment)

    republican-versus-republican-elephants-fighting-300px-no-margins◆ Comment, if the Democrats win the White House and Senate, the Republican Party will face a bloody civil war.  The Trump supporters will either fight from within (saying they were stabbed in the back), or start their own party. If Trump joins them, he could keep up the disturbances for months. The big factions in Washington will be traditional, center-right conservatives, led by Paul Ryan, versus the House Freedom Caucus, which grew out of the Tea Party. Outside the Beltway, Republicans will split among traditional fiscal conservatives (mostly from big business), social conservatives (Evangelicals), and anti-corruption outsiders (the angry middle class Trump has appealed to). Foreign-policy hawks (neo-Cons) will fight to have their voices heard but they aren’t big enough to form a major faction of their own. In this environment, it is quite possible Republican leadership could shift to state capitols and Republican governors such as Greg Abbott of Texas.

    ◆ Hillary’s hacked emails have not led the Trump businesses to ramp up their electronic security.trump-server-vulnerability

    ◆ Austria, fearing the house were Hitler was born is becoming a tourist attraction, will tear it down. (NPR)

    ◆ Chicago’s worst areas were a free-fire zone last year. This year is worse, much worse. (Chicago Tribune)

    At least 3,475 people had been shot in the city as of shortly after midnight Monday compared with 2,441 people shot this time last year, an increase of 1,034, according to Tribune data. There have been at least 595 homicides this year compared with 409 this time last year, an increase of 186. -Chicago Tribune

    ◆ An energy-related take on America’s much lower profile in the Middle East and Russia’s much larger one. (George Papadopoulos, interview in Natural Gas World) Papadopoulos makes a particularly interesting (and overlooked) point about the Obama Administration’s confusion in Egypt and the larger role it ceded to Russia.

    egypt-labeled-map-tight-crop-300px-no-marginsWhen the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood were overthrown by el-Sisi, over the last year and a half Russia filled the vacuum when the United States did not know whether to support the coup or not…. . It is a tremendous achievement in just one year in what happened between Russia and Egypt. Russia is now incredibly active in Syria and in Lebanon. Whether Israel likes it or not, they will have to deal with Russia for their own security because the facts on the ground have changed so fast and Russia exerted so much influence so quickly that Israel left no other choice but to cooperate over Syria and Lebanon and potentially Egypt. And this is all a result of U.S. policy leaving the vacuum and leading from behind [which] unfortunately the Obama administration advocated for. -George Papadopoulos interviewed in Natural Gas World

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    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Mike Lipson
     for Twitter item on Trump
    ◆ David Henley for Ezra Klein’s article on Trump’s allegations of a rigged election (background useful in my comment above)