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Old Mexico gets smart; New Mexico stays stupid

Old Mexico gets smart; New Mexico stays stupid by Peter Burrows 4/24/21 elburropete@gmail.com

A month after taking office Dec. 1, 2019, the President of Mexico, Manuel Lopez Obrador, did something very smart:  he turned Mexico’s electricity future away from renewables and back to oil and coal.  He did this by cancelling a “clean energy” auction that would have had Mexico paying millions of dollars for electricity generated by solar panels and wind turbines.  

He then cancelled two transmission-line projects that would have transported the renewable energy around the nation. He also called for more investment in coal and had the temerity to note that high subsidies for renewables had led to “very high costs.” His new director of Mexico’s state-owned electric utility, the Federal Electricity Commission (Comision Federal de Electricidad or CFE), dismissed wind and solar as unreliable and expensive.  

The criticism was immediate and risible. Mexicans could now expect blackouts because of the reduction in intermittent electricity sources, which everywhere else in the world leads to MORE blackouts. In the same vein, Mexicans could count on higher prices because Mexico was, somehow, going to become the only place in the entire world where adding wind and solar to the generation mix would lower electricity bills. 

The most ridiculous criticism was that by abandoning wind and solar electricity, Mexico would be unable to meet its emission reduction commitments under the Paris climate agreement, the 2015 treaty signed by 196 nations who pledged to reduce their CO2 emissions.  Unfortunately (fortunately?), even if the developed nations were actually going to achieve their stated goals, which they are NOT going to do, it wouldn’t mean a thing.  

That’s because China, India and some poor nations in Africa are going full steam ahead building more coal-fired electricity plants, Paris be damned. China, the world’s largest CO2 emitter, twice that of the US, has said they will be carbon neutral by 2060, whatever that means. 2060? Gosh, maybe Biden’s Climate Czar, the pathetic John Kerry, can get them to advance that date to 2055, or even 2050. 

India, the number three CO2 emitter after China and the US, is starting to really ramp up its industrialization as they face the threat of a modernized, aggressive China on its northern border. To get an idea of the magnitude of additional CO2 that entails, India’s per capita CO2 emissions are about one-fourth that of the US and one-half of China’s. Per capita CO2 is a proxy for a nation’s prosperity, and when India’s per capita CO2 emissions equals that of China’s, it will be the CO2 equivalent of adding a brand-new America to the world.  

Of course, China won’t be standing still, and it’s conceivable that the two countries combined will be adding two or three brand new Americas to the CO2 world over the next decade, making a mockery of all the environmental posturing going on about how the U.S. must “save the world” by spending trillions on offshore wind turbines, EV charging stations and other moronic liberal nonsense. (Pardon my redundancy.)  

Why, you may ask, aren’t India et al putting up solar panels and windmills instead of coal-fired generation plants, since solar and wind are cheaper than coal?  BECAUSE IN THE 24-7 REAL WORLD THEY AREN’T CHEAPER. You think not? Show me where adding renewables has lowered electricity bills. Certainly not here in New Mexico.  

And if you think somebody in India, China, Africa, or old Mexico for that matter, is going to forego cheap, 24-7 electricity just to prevent the streets of Manhattan from being under water someday, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you. 

Obrador followed up the renewable cancellation with orders for five new gas-fired electric generating plants, and, taking a page from China and India, last July ordered Mexico’s state-owned power company to buy two million tons of coal from Mexican coal producers, sending a clear message to Mexico’s coal industry. I don’t know if this will replace coal imports from the US, or if it represents new coal-fired capacity. Probably the former, as “energy sovereignty” is Obrador’s goal.  

This goal was validated last February when a winter storm knocked out power in Texas, which led the governor of Texas to shut off natural gas exports to Mexico, leaving 4 million Mexicans without electricity. Obrador said the lesson was clear: “We (Mexico) must produce.” I bet he also learned that trying to rely on intermittent sources of electricity for base-load needs is flirting with disaster.  

Proof of this, at least in my opinion, came last month when he proposed legislation that would require Mexico’s electricity grid to first take power from the state-run coal and oil-powered plants, the traditional sources of base-load power, BEFORE adding any solar or wind produced power. Obrador “gets” it.   

So, in spite of being what journalists have called “left-leaning,” Obrador is becoming one of my favorite politicians. He’s smart enough to see through the environmental BS and he’s acting in the best interests of Mexico. If current trends continue, old Mexico will someday enjoy the competitive advantage of cheap, reliable electricity, unlike New Mexico, where our “left leaning” politicians remain stuck on stupid. 

Roe v. Wade: Republican millstone

Roe v. Wade: Republican millstone by Peter Burrows elburropete@gmail.com 4/2/21 

The Democratic Party is finding it impossible to reconcile the conflicting interests of its various constituents.  Jews and Asians, for example, are two ethnic groups who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats, yet they are being increasingly victimized on the streets by blacks who go unpunished and by school standards being lowered to accommodate a few blacks who can’t be educated.  

Thus, the imaginary victimhood of blacks creates real victimhood for Jews and Asians, but there are only 7 million Jews and maybe 20 million Asians in America, vs. 40 million blacks.  

Simple demographics, however, doesn’t explain why the Democrats, from Biden on down, are so eager to accommodate transgenders, the latest group to claim victimhood. They probably amount to only 1-2% of the population, if that. Outraged feminists and soccer moms should be raising Hell about the absurdities of transgenderism, but the highest elected woman in America, Vice President Harris, is apparently OK with transmen competing in women’s sports.  

I guess that in today’s woke world, “equity” trumps everything, and “equity” is in the eye of the progressive beholder.  

This should be rich pickings for the Republican Party, but for many people in America, “Republican” is a pejorative. Years of being demonized, with very little push-back I might add, have convinced many voters that Republicans are bad, evil people. Republicans want to keep women “bare foot and pregnant,” they “want to put y’all back in chains,” they’re a bunch of red-neck racists who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.” Why – GASP! — David Duke says he’s a Republican. What decent person would ever want to be a Republican?   

Unfortunately, there is a tiny grain of truth in that sea of lies, hypocrisy and hate. The Republicans have only two hot buttons, abortion and gun control, and abortion is the really hot, always on button. Not all Republicans think Roe v. Wade should be overturned, but that’s the general impression. Democrats very effectively use a “war on women” theme tied to women’s reproductive rights against Republicans. 

That’s why a great many liberals, especially Jews and suburban women, aka soccer moms, will not vote for a Republican. They might if that Republican openly supported Roe v. Wade, but I don’t know of any Republican who has or would get nominated if they did.  

Even promoting birth control can get a Republican in hot water if that is seen as supporting abortion in any way. Republican Senator Rand Paul found that out a few years ago when he supported the morning after pill, Plan B. That cost him any chance at the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, not that he had much to begin with 

The argument is that the Plan B pill is an abortifacient, causing the fertilized ovum, the gamete, to dislodge from the uterus wall, thus preventing pregnancy, ergo an abortion.  I think this “life at conception” argument dooms many Republicans to defeat at the polls. Star Parker, a black lady who is very anti-abortion, ran for Congress in 2010 and I sent her a campaign contribution because I agree with her on every other issue under the sun. However, if her election had meant overturning Roe v. Wade, I don’t know if I would have supported her. 

I personally would support any private foundation that provided generic Plan B pills free of charge to every high school in America, to be dispensed with no questions asked. As I see it, the reality is not a choice between abortions or no abortions. The demand for abortions will always exist and the question is if they will be legal or illegal. I prefer the safety of legal abortions, and generic Plan B has the added attraction of CHEAP legal abortions. 

Ironically, the Republicans could turn the “war on women” issue against the Democrats if they would continue to make affordable contraception an issue, as they did in 2016, but not very effectively. In most of the world, birth control pills are available without a prescription, but not in America.  Here, a woman has to go to a doctor, frequently go through a battery of unnecessary tests, take her prescription to a pharmacist and pay thru the nose OR – and this is important — have her insurance pick up the bill. 

This is why Democrats opposed Trump’s position on over-the-counter birth control: “It should not be a prescription.”  I didn’t know this was Trump’s position until I recently read an article about OTC contraception in Reason Magazine. Why did the Democrats oppose this? In a word: Obamacare.  

The Affordable Care Act required insurance companies to cover FDA approved contraceptives, and any attempt to approve OTC pills was portrayed as an attempt to undermine the ACA. This deprived birth control to women without insurance or the funds to get a prescription.  It also benefited insurance companies, pharmacies, doctors and abortion providers. 

Republicans need to take advantage of that inequity if they are ever going to have a chance with many women voters.  An NBC poll a couple of years ago reveals the stark political realities:  

“A comprehensive 2019 study of attitudes toward abortion by the Pew Research Center found that 70 percent of U.S. adults oppose completely overturning Roe v. Wade, while 28 percent support overturning it. Support for preserving Roe was lopsided among key groups of women who are already skeptical of Trump, according to internal Pew Research Center survey data provided to NBC News. Female college graduates oppose overturning Roe v. Wade by 79 percent to 20 percentPew found. Women who identify as politically independent oppose overturning Roe by 74 percent to 22 percent. And suburban women oppose overturning it by 74 percent to 22 percent.” 

Replace the above “skeptical of Trump” with the more accurate, “skeptical of Republicans,” and there is the problem.  While Democrats are focused on overthrowing the nation, Republicans are focused on overthrowing Roe v. Wade. The Democrats are succeeding. 

Sources: (This is the url WordPress couldn’t open:reason.com/2019/01/16/deregulate-the-pill/)

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/republicans-may-have-real-shot-overturning-roe-v-wade-political-n1242068