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Governor Andrew Cuomo Imposes Vaccination Passports in New York

By Adam Dick | Ron Paul Institute | March 4, 2021

Some politicians can’t stop coming up with new ways of bossing people around and preventing the return of normal life, all in the name of countering coronavirus. A prime example of such coronavirus tyrants is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

This week, Cuomo, who has been imposing on people in New York for a year some of the harshest coronavirus-related restrictions in America, announced he is rolling out yet another rights abuse. Cuomo is requiring in a new “pilot program” that people obtain and present vaccination passports to gain entrance to certain places and take part in various activities that have been curtailed by government over the last year.

Cuomo calls the vaccination passports Excelsior Passes. No matter the name the state’s vaccination passports are marketed under, they are a mechanism for government tracking people’s movements, pressuring people into taking experimental coronavirus vaccines that carry risk of serious injury and death, and implementing a vaccinations-based caste system.

Elizabeth Elizalde writes at the New York Post that in the New York state pilot program people are being required to present their vaccination passports “in order to enter sports arenas, theaters and other businesses.” To receive a vaccination passport, Elizalde writes, a person must prove he has received one of the experimental coronavirus vaccines or that he has recently tested negative for coronavirus.

With time — after the experimental coronavirus vaccines have become more widely available — expect Cuomo to adjust the program so proof of injection with one of the not-really vaccines will be the only means to receive an Excelsior Pass and, thereby, the ability to take part legally in many activities.

Copyright © 2021 by RonPaul Institute

March 4, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , | Leave a comment

Wither Cuomo and the GOP Establishment

By William Stroock | March 2, 2021

In November of 2019, several disgruntled GOP operatives launched the anti-Trump Lincoln Project. The organizations’ directors included Steve Schmidt, director of John McCain’s 2008 Presidential Campaign, Reed Galen, another McCain advisor, Rick Wilson, a GOP political consultant, and John Weaver an advisor to former Republican Ohio governor John Kasich. The group has raised more than $90 million, about a third of which they spent on political television and internet ads, with much of the rest going to their own political consulting firms.

The Lincoln Project has long been popular with the Dems and the media; its directors are regulars on powerhouse morning political shows like Morning Joe. Late last January, The American Conservative reported that John Weaver used his position within the organization to sexually harass and groom young men. Further reporting by The Associated Press showed that Weaver’s actions were an open secret within The Lincoln Project. The rest of the Lincoln Project’s leadership had been informed of Weaver’s behavior in writing last June and members knew of the problem as early as March. John Weaver has resigned as has Steve Schmidt. So far, the Lincoln Project is bravely soldiering on.

As is Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York. Cuomo had once been hailed as ‘America’s Governor’ for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis. He won a television Emmy Award for his daily news conferences and published a book extolling his leadership. But a report issued by State Attorney General Letitia James says Cuomo’s administration misrepresented the number of deaths caused by the governor’s policy of putting COVID-19 patients in nursing homes. The Cuomo Administration claimed 8,711 died in nursing homes. But the Attorney General’s report says the true number is over 13,000. Melissa De Rossa, the governor’s secretary, confirmed on a conference call with state Democrats that Cuomo’s administration covered up the true number of COVID-19 related nursing home deaths.

Conservatives and the bereaved have long slammed Cuomo’s nursing home policy, but the issue did not gain traction in the media until now. Cuomo has attacked and berated his critics. State Assemblyman Ron Kim, long a critic of the governor’s nursing home policy, says Cuomo constantly called and verbally harassed him and promised to destroy him. “You have not seen my wrath”, the governor told Kim, “You will be destroyed.” Kim told Cuomo all further communications had to go through his personal attorney. NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio said that kind of bullying behavior is pretty normal for Governor Cuomo.

Sexual harassment may also be normal for the governor. Two young women have come forward and claimed Cuomo made sexual advances toward them with all the tact and charm of a 15-year-old. More will likely follow. Cuomo has called for an independent review of the allegations, but Attorney General James insists she should oversee any investigation. Late Sunday night, Cuomo issued a statement saying, ‘I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended.’ Because a 63-year-old man does not understand he should not make clumsy and lewd sexual advances at women the same age as his daughters. These last few days local news is leading off with Cuomo’s twin scandals, so the governor is definitely in trouble.

While the Democrats got the knives out for Cuomo, the American Conservative Union hosted its annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. For decades, CPAC has been an important gathering of Republicans and conservatives of all stripes. This year, the GOP Establishment has no place at CPAC. Florida Representative Matt Goetz slammed the establishment and his House colleague and conference chair Liz Cheney, who voted to impeach Donald Trump, ‘Speaking of people who ought to lose primaries… if Liz Cheney were on this stage today, she’d get booed off of it,’ Goetz told the assembled.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2024. DeSantis is just as combative as Trump, but lower key. Trumpism without Trump, some say of DeSantis. The governor touched on several issues important to conservative voters; COVID-19 lockdowns, school openings, Big Tech censorship and election integrity. He touted the state’s openness in comparison to closed states. ‘Florida got it right, and the lockdown states, got it wrong,’ DeSatnis declared. He slammed the ‘failed’ Republican Establishment, open borders and military adventurism and even paid tribute to the late Rush Limbaugh.

South Dakota governor Kristi Noem is another rising start within the GOP. Last summer she hosted a pro-American rally with President Trump at Mount Rushmore. This year she gave a 20 plus minute speech on conservative principles and her sate’s handling of COVID-19. Noem touted the fact that at no time did she order a quarantine or require masks. Noem related, ‘Now Dr. Faucci, he told me that on my worst day I’d have 10,000 patients in the hospital. On our worst day, we had a little over 600. I don’t know if you agree with me, but Dr. Fauci is wrong a lot.’ The crowd roared.

President Trump’s Sunday afternoon speech was the highlight of the CPAC gathering. He brought red meat for rabid CPAC attendees. Trump slammed Biden, ‘In just one short month we went from America first to America last.’ Trump’s speech was a long stemwinder typical of the man. ‘I am not starting a new party’ he said unequivocally. Who knows? I may even decide to beat them for a third time, ok?’

Last week Senator Rick Scott of Florida, who has won three tough, close races in his home state and chairs the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee said, ‘The Democratic Party, it is a socialist party now, so the Republicans’ civil war is actually cancelled.’ Scott is certainly a member of the loathed Establishment but sees things other members don’t. With the Lincoln Project imploding, calls form the House caucus for Liz Cheney’s resignation renewed, and the Trump wing of the party rocking in Orlando, the Establishment has already lost.

March 2, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption | , | 1 Comment

Defining Despotism Down

By James Bovard | American Institute for Economic Research | October 27, 2020

The simultaneous defining down of both democracy and despotism is 2020’s darkest legacy. Voters are recognizing that their ballots merely choose elective dictators who can exempt themselves from the Constitution simply by pronouncing the word “emergency.” At the same time, despotism is being redefined to signify government failing to force people to do the right thing.

Hundreds of millions of Americans were locked in their homes via governors’ shutdown orders earlier this year. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has said he may decree a national lockdown if Covid infection numbers rise. More than 10 million jobs have been lost thanks to the shutdown orders and countless misery has been imposed on scores of millions of people unnecessarily isolated from friends and family.

New York, the state hit worst by Covid, had one of the earliest and strictest lockdowns in the nation. After Gov. Andrew Cuomo swayed the legislature to give him “authorization of absolute power,” as the New Yorker declared, he issued scores of decrees, including one compelling nursing homes to admit Covid-infected patients and permitting Covid-infected staffers to keep working at those homes. More than 10,000 New York nursing home patients died of Covid. In June, Cuomo said the nursing homes deaths occurred “because the staff brought in the infection,”

A New Yorker profile explained that Cuomo and his aides saw the battle over Covid policy as “between people who believe government can be a force for good and those who think otherwise.” For many liberals and much of the nation’s media, placing people under house arrest, padlocking schools, and bankrupting business vindicated government as “a force for good.”

But the lockdowns failed to prevent almost nine million Americans from testing positive for Covid (the actual number of cases may be ten times higher, according to the Centers for Disease Control). As AIER’s Jeffrey Tucker quipped, “Mitigating disease through compulsory lockdowns is like cleaning your house by bombing it.” The World Health Organization’s envoy for Covid-19, David Nabarro, warned that “lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.” Nabarro also warned that “we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year” or “at least a doubling of child malnutrition.”

Lockdowns that were initially justified to “flatten the curve” have been perpetuated on increasingly ludicrous pretexts:

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently decreed that Covid restrictions would be perpetuated in California counties based on voter turnout, alcohol availability, and other non-health factors. California assemblyman Kevin Kiley groused, “An entire county can be kept shut down because certain areas are judged to be lacking in ‘equity,’ even if the whole county has relatively few cases of Covid.”
  • In Washington, D.C., the local government is perpetuating private and public school shutdowns and other restrictions as long based on a newly-decreed standard: “a requirement that more than 60 percent of new cases be closely connected to other known cases.” The city currently can connect less than 10% of cases, so this Veto on Normalcy can last forever – or at least as long as devotees pledge their devotion to (mindless) “data and science.” D.C. Covid mania is so extreme that worshippers at the Basilica at Catholic University have been prohibited from performing the “stations of the cross” inside the church, instead being ordered to sit in a pew.

The contract between citizens and the government in this nation hinges on elected politicians obeying the Constitution. After Covid crackdowns obliterated constitutional rights, courts slammed run-a-mok rulers:

  • Federal judge William Stickman IV last month condemned Pennsylvania’s Covid restrictions: “Broad population-wide lockdowns are such a dramatic inversion of the concept of liberty in a free society as to be nearly presumptively unconstitutional.”
  • The Michigan Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had extended a “state of emergency” far beyond what an unconstitutional state law allowed.
  • Federal judge Daniel Domenico last week ruled that some of Colorado’s Covid restrictions violated religious freedom: “The Constitution does not allow the State to tell a congregation how large it can be when comparable secular gatherings are not so limited, or to tell a congregation that its reason for wishing to remove facial coverings is less important than a restaurant’s or spa’s.”
  • In May, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down a state official’s stay-at-home order as “unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable.”

The U.S. Department of Justice declared earlier this year: “There is no pandemic exclusion … to the fundamental liberties the Constitution safeguards.” Attorney General William Barr declared last month that imposing “a national lockdown, stay-at-home orders, is like house arrest. It’s — you know, other than slavery… this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.”

But most of the media cheered almost every arbitrary restriction imposed by any government official in the name of fighting Covid. University of Chicago law professor Eric Posner fretted in the Washington Post that “judicial opposition to the lockdown orders is not just about religious liberty. It’s also, and perhaps really, about the role of government in American life.” And any limit on government power is equivalent to national suicide, apparently. A New York democratic legislator told the New Yorker that Gov. Cuomo is “inclined towards tyranny. But in a crisis that’s what people want.” The media’s valorization of Cuomo helped make his new book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, a bestseller. Tyranny is comforting to some people regardless of how much havoc and pointless suffering tyrants inflict.

For many liberals, mandatory masks have become the new version of the Emancipation Proclamation. In his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, presidential candidate Joe Biden declared, “We’ll have a national mandate to wear a mask — not as a burden but as a patriotic duty to protect one another.” When asked if he will force everyone to wear a mask, Biden replied, “This isn’t about freedom, it’s about freedom for your, your neighbors.” Biden also declared, “Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months, at a minimum.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in July that a federal mask mandate would be “authoritarian” but endorsed a national mask decree last week.

The ultimate symbol of maskless tyranny became Trump’s White House balcony appearance, when he removed his mask and muttered a few words after exiting Walter Reed Hospital. Even though no one was standing close by, Trump was widely compared to Mussolini – as if not wearing a mask was the ultimate betrayal of the American people.

Rather than campaigning against Trump’s abuses of power, Biden and the Democrats are condemning Trump for not seizing far more power to pretend to keep everyone safe from everything. During the first years of the War on Terror, some servile Republicans cheered on Bush administration travesties with the throwaway line: “You don’t have any constitutional rights if you’re dead.” Nowadays, many frightened Americans seem ready to support perpetual lockdowns based on the axiom: “You don’t have any rights if anyone tests positive for Covid-19.” A virus with a 99.9% survival rate has spawned a 100% presumption in favor of despotism.

The failure of iron fist policies should be the storyline of the 2020 election but instead Biden and much of the media want to double down on repression. Can the votes that are cast in the coming week close the authoritarian Pandora’s Boxes that have opened across the nation? Or will conniving invocations of “data and science” suffice to blight Americans’ rights and liberties in perpetuity?

James Bovard is the author of ten books, including Public Policy Hooligan, Attention Deficit Democracy, The Bush Betrayal, and Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty.

October 28, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Leave a comment

Democrats & Republicans agree: Politicians & corporations should be spared from prosecution over killer Covid-19 care homes

RT | September 9, 2020

Republican and Democrat politicians have both embraced legislation to immunize themselves and their deep-pocketed corporate donors from legal liability for ill-thought-out pandemic policies blamed for the deaths of thousands.

Republicans in the Senate have all but plagiarized a controversial provision from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that will offer legal immunity to corporations that ran the care homes in which hundreds of thousands of elderly Americans died with the coronavirus over the last six months, according to a trio of progressive journalists who compared the texts and interviewed some of the lobbyists who wrote the polarizing passages for the politicians in their pockets.

When Cuomo’s corporate immunity provisions first resurfaced in Senate Republicans’ Covid-19 stimulus package in July, some thought it was a fluke. The legislative package protected elder care homes from lawsuits over “resource or staffing shortage” and classed hospital administrators as caregivers for the purpose of that immunity. Cuomo himself criticized the bill, even as journalists noted the similarity of its language to his own legislation.

The bill in question was actually written by the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), a lobbying group that paid Cuomo over $1 million for the privilege of walling its members off from legal action in the midst of a pandemic that has seen tens of thousands of Americans die in nursing homes across the nation. Careful to cover all its bases, the GNYHA also spread over a quarter of a million dollars among Democratic legislative committees, ensuring the provision would be passed.

Critics said the measure green-lighted the most egregious corporate misbehavior – “effectively reward[ing] executives at nursing homes where thousands of elderly residents were killed by the coronavirus,” in the words of the progressive trio. Under pressure from progressive Democrats, the immunity measure was reined in by a second bill that limited its effect only to Covid-19 cases.

However, that ‘restriction’, combined with the hefty federal payouts to hospitals for coronavirus cases, may only have served to encourage facilities to list coronavirus on death certificates – and other states quickly followed New York’s example, passing their own version of the liability shield.

While one might expect Republicans to wield a Democrat-led push for immunity for healthcare providers as a cudgel against their enemies during a politically sensitive election season, the GOP-controlled Senate actually embraced the notion, including it in July’s Covid-19 stimulus package. The progressive journalists tracking the bills noted this happened around the same time as GNYHA recruited former Trump lawyer and current Republican fundraiser Albert Pirro Jr. to join their lobbying team.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have – at least outwardly – argued against the inclusion of corporate immunity in the stimulus package, but plenty of the rank-and-file centrist Democrats who usually agree with them have hinted they’re willing to climb on board. GNYHA dumped $2 million into the Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC in June.

The Justice Department has requisitioned documents from New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, Democrat-run states whose governors have been accused by Republican leaders of killing the elderly with variations on an executive order that required facilities to take in hospital patients without testing them for the virus. However, both parties’ politicians have benefited handsomely from the largesse of the health insurance industry.

The statewide economic shutdown has left New York hospitals unaffiliated with the mega-lobbyists in dire financial straits, scrambling to get their share of federal pandemic aid as politically connected groups feast on federal dollars meant to help ailing Americans. Routine medical procedures have been discontinued or severely curtailed amid the pandemic, while a growing number of Americans are delaying or avoiding seeking treatments due to fear of contracting the virus should they go to the hospital.

September 9, 2020 Posted by | Corruption | , | 1 Comment

Cuomo says one Covid-19 patient is like ‘fire through dry grass’, demands care homes take them anyway

RT | April 28, 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has acknowledged that a single Covid-19 patient in a nursing home could rip through the facility like “fire through dry grass.” His order that facilities treat all infected patients remains, however.

Admitting that nursing homes are “congregate facilit[ies] of vulnerable people,” Cuomo admitted during a press conference on Tuesday that if just a single infected person – whether a doctor, nurse, janitor, or “one anything” – walked into one of the state’s hard-hit elder care facilities, “it is fire through dry grass in that nursing home.”

“It is frightening. And if you have a loved one in a nursing home, yes, it is frightening,” Cuomo shuddered.

Over 3,500 nursing home patients have died since the coronavirus epidemic took root in New York. The highly-infectious virus is known to be particularly devastating among the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions and has killed over 10,000 in elder-care facilities across the US.

However, Cuomo has refused to address or alter the executive order he issued late last month, forbidding care home operators from testing patients prior to their readmission to their facilities. No patient “determined medically stable” upon discharge from an acute care hospital may undergo testing for Covid-19 as a prerequisite for entry into a care home, never mind the judgment of staff.

The New York governor has defended his order despite protests from the facilities, even as staffers insist they don’t have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to deal with coronavirus patients and that the risk of infection threatens the fragile health of their existing charges.

“It’s not our job” to provide nursing homes with PPE, the governor said last week. He insisted that “we have given them thousands and thousands of PPE” and calling it the “primary responsibility” of nursing homes to outfit themselves with the equipment needed to fight the epidemic.

During his nine years as governor, Cuomo has slashed state healthcare budgets to the bone, and a recent controversial Medicare cut foisted hundreds of millions of dollars of costs from the state onto local governments.

A similar requirement that nursing homes take Covid-19 patients in California was walked back after protest. While Cuomo has insisted on the no-testing requirement as a way to ease pressure on supposedly overloaded local hospitals, other facilities meant to ease that pressure – from the hospital ship USNS Comfort docked on the west side of Manhattan to the temporary hospital set up in Manhattan’s Javits Convention Center – have gone largely unused, as the city’s hospitals have proven sufficient to absorb the surge in hospitalizations.

Burdened by the order to take in recovering coronavirus patients, some of the state’s nursing homes have unwittingly become breeding grounds for the virus. NBC profiled one facility in Long Island where the epidemic exploded from a single case to 24 deaths in just a month. Only three of the dead were transfer patients, and one wasn’t even a patient but a staffer, the outlet reported.

April 28, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Sudan’s new PM wants to withdraw troops from Yemen

Press TV – December 6, 2019

Sudan’s new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has vowed to withdraw troops from the Saudi-led war in Yemen, saying his country’s role should be limited to assisting in a political resolution of the conflict.

“The conflict in Yemen has no military solution, whether from us or from anywhere in the world,” Hamdok told the Atlantic Council, a US-based think tank, on Thursday.

He added that the war “has to be resolved through political means,” and that his country will seek to “help our brothers and sisters in Yemen and play our role with the rest to help them address this”.

Sudan has been one of the main contributors to the so-called Saudi coalition against Yemen, formed in 2015 in a bid to install a pro-Saudi government in Sana’a and crush Yemen’s Houthi Ansarllah movement.

According to reports, up to 40,000 Sudanese troops were deployed in the country during the peak of the conflict in 2016-2017.

Late October, however, Sudanese officials said the country had withdrawn thousands of troops from Yemen, with only a “few thousand” remaining.

Speaking on Thursday, Hamdok said “not many” Sudanese forces remain in Yemen.

Hamdok, who is leading the country’s transitional government in a power-sharing pact with the military, further stated that he will be “absolutely” able to withdraw the remaining troops from Yemen.

The new prime minster said his government had “inherited” the deployment in Yemen from Sudan’s former president Omar Hassan al-Bashir who was ousted following a popular uprising against his rule in April.

Hamdok pledged to “address” the country’s involvement in the Saudi-led war “in the near future” without further elaborating on the matter.

While Sudanese officials have abstained from publishing official casualty numbers in Yemen, Yemen’s armed forces have said a total 4,253 Sudanese troops have been killed in the conflict.

The developments come as the Saudi-led mission in Yemen has come to a standstill due to the resistance and increasingly sophisticated attacks of Yemeni forces.

Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Riyadh’s most influential partner in the war, was reported to have withdrawn most of its troops from Yemen.

UAE officials have reached the conclusion that the war has become “unwinnable” and that the Houthis will eventually “have a role in the future in Yemen”, reports said.

Fearing a long-lasting quagmire in Yemen, Riyadh has also been reportedly seeking to negotiate an end to the conflict through discussions with the Houthis.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | 1 Comment

Update On New York’s Self-Inflicted Energy Crunch

By Francis Menton | Manhattan Contrarian | December 3, 2019

As I have noted many times before, this whole green energy thing is all just so much talk until the point hits where energy shortages start to emerge or consumer prices begin to soar. At that point, the people will notice. And then, how will the politics shift? Will the politicians press forward with green energy — and impose energy deprivation on the people in the process? Or will they promptly back off the green energy blather, and return to the cheap and reliable fossil fuels?

Here in New York, where professing the green religion is the indispensable ticket to entry into polite society, we’re in the early phases of seeing this process play out. Out there in the hinterlands, you may be interested in the dynamics.

Our Governor Andrew Cuomo clearly thirsts to be part of polite society. Same with the members of the legislature. Thus, fealty to green orthodoxy must be regularly demonstrated. Result: We have had one measure after another over the past several years to restrict fossil fuels and promote energy from wind and solar sources. First came an outright ban on fracking in the state for oil and gas, imposed in 2014 despite the fact that a broad swath of upstate sits right atop the rich Marcellus shale formation. Then came the blocking of two major pipeline enhancements across the Hudson River and New York Harbor, most recently a denial in May of this year of a water quality permit for a cross-harbor project. Then there have been announcements of plans for multiple massive pie-in-the-sky wind and solar projects — none of which, however, has actually begun construction. In June the legislature passed a law (signed by the Guv) declaring that the entire state of New York will be “carbon neutral” by 2050!

But is any of this stuff real, in the sense that it will stand up when the crunch hits?

In August, the first inklings of the crunch began to hit. As I reported on September 3, after the cross-harbor pipeline was blocked in May, the natural gas utility named National Grid, which covers Long Island (including the parts of New York City known as Brooklyn and Queens) announced that it could not accept any additional gas customers. By August, some 3000 potential customers in that area had been denied service. These included people who had just renovated a house and now found that they had no functioning heat system, and others who planned to open restaurants but now found they had no functioning stove or oven. Within days, the affected customers were all over their state legislators, and the legislators were demanding action.

In other words, we had upon us a one hundred percent self-inflicted impending crisis, about 90% of it the personal responsibility of the Governor, with maybe a 10% assist from the legislature. So how has the Governor reacted? If the answer is not obvious to you, then you clearly will never qualify for political office.

The answer is that the Governor reacted by blaming National Grid. On November 12 he issued a letter to the utility, claiming that it had failed to provide “adequate and reliable service,” and threatening to revoke its operating permit unless it immediately resumed acceptance of new customers in its service area. Excerpt:

The essential responsibility for a utility to provide adequate and reliable service is to manage the supply and demand. The very lack of supply you now point to as the reason for your denial of service to thousands of customers exhibits your failure to plan for supply needs. Your fundamental legal obligation as mandated by your certificate of operation was to plan and provide for future needs. You failed by your own admission.

But hadn’t they made a perfectly reasonable plan for a pipeline that then got blocked by the Governor himself? That doesn’t count!

National Grid has made clear that its only plan for future supply was based on a single, speculative project: construction of a private pipeline through New Jersey and New York. The plan to build such a pipeline was risky at best. . . . There are existing short-term options to contract for non-piped gas from other sources, which National Grid either deliberately, negligently or incompetently did not secure. National Grid should have explored all options before denying service. Gas can be trucked, shipped, or barged. . . .

The only meaningful “risk” of the pipeline was that the Governor himself (or his minions) would disapprove. Anyway, instead of a safely buried pipeline, are we now going to have thousands of trucks bringing highly-explosive natural gas across the George Washington Bridge to get to Long Island? I’ll bet Cuomo didn’t clear that one with his environmentalist friends. (And by the way, don’t even think about moving the gas by rail. Federal regulations currently do not permit transport of liquefied natural gas by rail at all. However, there is a proposal by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration — I’ll bet you never heard of that one — to begin to allow such transport. Your comments on the proposed rulemaking are due December 23.)

And I’ll also bet that the response of National Grid will not surprise you. They crumbled like a stale cookie. On November 25 they agreed to resume hookups, and also to pay a “penalty” of some $36 million for the period of the moratorium. Presumably, they continue to have at least a small amount of spare capacity in existing pipelines that will permit additional hookups for perhaps a few months until new supply alternatives are in place. Supposedly there will now be a “study” of how to make additional supply available. The only option that makes any sense is the pipeline.

So great victory there Cuomo. You went to battle against the evil utility, and like David against Goliath you emerged victorious. Except, let’s have a review of what this “victory” looks like:

  • Progress toward green energy? Of course not. At this point there is no reasonable alternative to natural gas for most home heating and cooking. One way or another, you have to let the people have their natural gas.

  • To be brought in by truck rather than pipeline? How is that a victory for anybody? Trucks are far more costly, far more dangerous, and far more likely to have adverse environmental effects.

But how about all those offshore wind turbines that are supposedly on the way? According to this piece at Smart Energy on October 28, New York finally let its first major contract for an offshore wind development on that date. The capacity will be 880 MW, although readers here will know that it will deliver at best a third of that over the course of a year, and at unpredictable times. There is no indication that construction has begun, or when it might begin.

Essentially, our Governor has patched together a temporary kludge to paper over the uselessness of his green energy schemes for another few months or years, until the next piece of the crunch hits. Yes, this can go on for quite a while. But not forever. Meanwhile, it’s very hard to underestimate the stupidity of the New York electorate.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment