The Emperor… and his Clothes

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Once upon a time, I had a friend. Let’s call her Maggie. 

Maggie had a boyfriend.  Let’s call him DJ.

DJ had an ex-wife.  Let’s call her Donna.

One day, mutual friend Greg called and said, “I just saw DJ and Donna necking in his truck!  Don’t you think we should let Maggie know?”

So I called Maggie and shared with her what was shared with me.

Later, Maggie called me and said, “Everything is fine.  DJ explained it all to me.  There’s nothing to worry about.”

What did I learn?

People believe what they want to believe.

Kinda like the Emperor we have now, naked… though many still see and admire his fine adornment.

It’s hard to know the danger of the wolf at the door… if you refuse to acknowledge his teeth.


What did I do then? I basically told Maggie that, moving forward, DJ could be fucking someone on my front lawn and I wouldn’t bother to call her about it.

Why is this applicable now? Well, let’s just say I have gotten really tired of trying to convince anyone of the dangers of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. So, if you’re not wearing a mask in public as we work to prevent our healthcare workers from being overrun with COVID patients, then don’t be surprised if I give you a stink eye when I see you.

Though I’m guessing I will not likely have an opportunity for stink eyes for a while… Since we’re likely all gonna stay on lock-down a little while longer.

#MaskUpMotherfuckers

Minnesota Responds to Coronavirus

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So Friday, March 19th the Minnesota State Government took time for a press conference to update citizens about what they are doing  I’m gonna give you a summary based on the FB Comments I made during the presentation.  [Not sure the time stamps match his live feed video… technology…] And then at the bottom, is an update from Monday, March 23rd.  The difference in these two press conferences was stark and I wonder what I will think when this blog posts in a week.


Link to the Transcript.

Governor Walz starts off with a note that “this is how it will be” as a daily press conference. [Little did he know he’d be in quarantine by Monday… This thing move quick and this blog is mainly a record of what happening in MN as they began to respond to Coronarivus (COVID-19).] He does stress that this is moving dramatically…

Walz: 26 more positive cases to 115. 2 in ICU. Upside is Mayo Clinic!! Reduced queue for sample testing. Still struggling to get all the reagents needed… [That is not good. Without reagents, no tests.] Defense Production Act – gives government authority to convert factories for fighting COVID-19. Anderson Fabrics stepping up!! Transitioning to make scrubs… Mall of America – open space to convert to whatever we need in an emergency.

2:08  Food will be the MAIN JOB this year  There was a strong focus on food being a primary job for us this year.

2:09 Federal healthcare for Tribes. TOTALLY Unprepared. That is criminal.   Walz noted federal guarantee for education and health care but 571 Tribes with 2.5M members – health 37 ICU beds & 181 ventilators across the country…

2:10 Good financial reliefs.   30-day sales tax, moving income tax filings and payments to 7/15.

2:11 What about rural hospitals who will be understaffed?  Executive Order 2019 stops elective surgeries. PPE limits. Looking at PPE inventories. Strategic National Stockpile wait has been fruitless…

2:12 National Guard being federalized sucks. MN can do better than that clown car crew.  Walz talked about being part of the Govern’s Council and how National Guard is commanded by Governor – Title 10 federalizes them for service and MN is asking for Title 32 authority – Allows State Duty with Feds footing the bill.

2:23 Its trying to balance Overwhelmning our Hospitals with Isolation, with keeping things running economically (at least enough to keep people fed). Isolate too much and economy dies. Produce too much and you increase contagion and soon overwhelm hospitals. Delicate balance. Want to know more? Peak Prosperity on YouTube. Chris Martenson has been laying it out for the last 57 days. https://youtu.be/QVQC1hAYZBs?t=1406   Walz discussing current state – mostly good but not as thoroughly as Martenson does. EO signed to prohibit price gouging. Notes he couldn’t get things through the Senate but is doing EOs to get needed things done. [Are Republicans working for their monied base while Dems are working to save lives of their constituents? Hmmm…]

Chris Harrisman takes over… “Thank you Governor. Let me start by saying globally we are at more than 246,000 cases and 10,000 deaths. The United States has reported more than 14,000 confirmed cases and 205 deaths as of this morning. In Minnesota, as the Governor said, we added 26 new laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 today, for a total of 115 cases. The age range of our cases remains the same at 17 years to 94 years. We have not yet had any cases in children. New cases are from the following counties; Hennepin, Ramsey, Chisago, Fillmoore, Olmsted, Martin, Scott and Rice counties.” [Thanks for the transcript, Rev Transcripts!!]

2:25 No treatment. You are contagious before you know it. By the time you have symptoms, you likely already have lung damage (that may be long lasting).
You DO NOT want to get this.
STAY HOME!!   2:26 Shelter in place please   Harrisman was clear about no counties being safe in MN. 4000 tests since March 1st. 8 of 15 cases hospitalized; most healing at home. Closings designed to SLOW THE SPREAD. Sick pppl going to work or being in public is exacerbating the problem. Don’t call doc if you wouldn’t have last year for same symptoms. No Treatment. No meds to prescribe. Seek medical care for breathing difficulties. Testing (prioritized) is being completed as we have capacity.

2:27 This is what we have left of a government. Listen close people.   2:28 Lockdown coming – maybe today??? If we’re smart. NOW. The longer we wait, the bigger the possibility to overwhelm hospitals to a point where we are making VERY DIFFICULT decisions. Like who gets a bed and who is sent home to die.   Food will be our focus. That is a good sign.  

Transition to Emergency Manager Joe Kelly. “I’m Joe Kelly. I’m the state Emergency Management Director. I want to talk for just a few minutes about what we do in the State Emergency Operations Center. Most Minnesotans probably aren’t familiar with it. It’s a facility that’s hosted by the Department of Public Safety and it really serves as a single point of coordination for state government, and as the Governor pointed out, our interaction with the Federal government.” Volunteers at food banks are a big need.

Transition to Steve Grove @ Employment & Economic Development. “Hello everybody. I want to give a brief update on how our economy is doing. The most effective way to do that is to talk a little bit about the state’s unemployment insurance program. As you saw earlier this week, the Governor has opened up that program to any worker who was affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, so we’ve seen of course an influx of calls and applications into our state’s unemployment insurance program. So far, as of 8:00 PM last night, we’ve seen 95,352 applicants to unemployment insurance in Minnesota. Just to give you some context, the previous record in a given week was about 18,000, so these are some pretty historic numbers. About a third of the individuals applying thus far have come from the restaurants, bar, and entertainment industry, that’s 36,942, and about 85% of the people applying right now have never been on unemployment insurance before, so they’re learning about this new system, the benefits, how it works, why it matters.”

2:29 ~100K applicants 5X WOW.   2:31 By Monday. Good plan. I think the call center just went down… people gonna be calling now!!!   Put citizens on remote work doing call center work? Steve Grove?  

Transition to Heather Mueller @ Dept of Education. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank our state agencies for really lifting up and supporting our students and families and ensuring that throughout our communities that we continue to work toward their safety and their health and wellbeing. As the Governor alluded to, our educators throughout the state have been committed to ensuring that our families have and students have the food that they need as well as the healthcare that we need, the childcare support that we need for our healthcare workers and our first responders. And yesterday, as an example of just a snapshot of one day, we had 118,238 meals served as well as 5,190 students who are school age, who are in our schools getting the support they needed so that our healthcare workers in our first responders could attend to the needs of our community.”

Transition back to Walz. “The thing I would say that we need to guard against: rumors, misinformation. We need to understand that there will be changing data. That’s one of the reasons standing up this event and using the trusted websites where you get information about what’s happening in Minnesota so that we keep people in a place where they understand there are systems, there are protocols, there are people there and Minnesotans take care of one another. So I can tell you that will not change.”

Walz: “So my pledge to you Minnesotans is to understand and I want to make clear to employees, employers, and everyone, this is an unprecedented decision that has not happened in our country, that these either mayors or governors are making. They are doing it with the best information possible to save lives. And you can rest assured here that Minnesota is well-positioned with experts in infectious disease. It’s almost every night, most of the guests are from Minnesota that are on addressing the nation about what needs to be done. Next.”

Walz: “And I think what you’ve seen out of this team before those decisions are made as many of the contingencies, and I’ll be just candid with you, we can’t think of all of them. We’re doing the best we can. But for example with school closings to make sure there was a place for meals and daycare before we announced it. And as you’re seeing because that decision was made, we are serving those people.
Same thing before we were going to close bars and restaurants, I needed to have the capacity to provide unemployment insurance immediately, and I needed to make sure I could waive that waiting period, so checks start arriving next week for people to continue on. I will tell you that that same decision-making process is in place with this. I understand that just I believe since we came in here that Governor Pritzker of Illinois has made this decision. You’re going to see this start to happen. I think states are at different positions along the spectrum of this. The testing capacity we have and some of the modeling that we are now doing with experts both inside government, with the University of Minnesota, and outside government is giving us a better picture.”

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, left, discusses how the state is preparing for COVID-19, the coronavirus sweeping the globe, during a news conference with Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders at the State Capitol in St. Paul on Monday, March 2, 2020. (Christopher Magan / Pioneer Press)

2:33 This thing is way more deadly than you can imagine. Look at Italy and tell me why OUR lungs are any different than THEIR lungs…   Walz stressed it is important to NOT overwhelm the health care system, which ALSO has to continue doing all the regular work of broken legs and such.

2:34 D for Diploma!!  Federal waiver possible… Kids may get school cancelled for this year… and seniors might be granted diplomas based on current standings.

2:38 Work on the video for tomorrow. Really need a closer look at speakers when they present. And access to the visuals that are readable. And hopefully all the sound glitches will be easy to fix. But overall? This is a VERY COMFORTING and seemingly PREPARED and HONEST look at what is needed. Finally seeing your value Governor Tim Walz Well done, sir.   Already on Day 11 of self-isolation. But been locked down since 3/3 except for a quick run to the store on 3/9.   Nice job on that school transition.

Q&A Continues…

2:41 10 Governors kick one irresponsible and self-absorbed President’s ass.   Media is essential.   Walz agreed. He’d mentioned his Governor’s council too.

2:43 Shelter in Place ASAP for best results.   Too late to bend the hockey stick… Don’t have SIP yet… but we will.

2:46 This is going to spur innovation… re-tooling for what the people as a whole need. Working together. ❤ Jan Malcolm: “We’re still trying to get more clarity from what we might expect from the federal government, but as the governor said, we’re also looking to make sure that if there’s anything we can do at the regional or state level to increase, diversify the supply chain, we’ll be doing that.”

Walz: “All I can tell Minnesotans is that the reagents and the things necessary to do the test are not available anymore, and so we are out searching. Mayo is doing this. One of the things I’ve asked our team to explore is let’s just make it here. If we need to, let’s just start manufacturing here. I say that not knowing how long it takes to stand up a factory to make reagents. Those are things I’m asking my team to get to us so that we can become self-contained.”

2:49 Good TRANSPARENCY on the Tax info, Governor Tim Walz   2:50 Just found out the IRS changed… we’re already working on it. But will assure that info was accurate…
OMFG. That is hilarious!! Cynthia Bauerly: (39:17)
Governor, we need the notice from the IRS. The IRS has not published anything. Governor Walz: (39:20)
Very good. We need a notice from the IRS officially. I was speaking from the guidance out of the president’s press conference. Probably a good idea we get it verified, so thank you for that.

This was an interesting and revealing question: “The last part of that was just about the supply chain with medical protective equipment. The feds said today that FEMA has helped clear up some confusion by states on where to get things can. Can you tell us, how confident are we that we’ll start seeing some of those federal supplies or some of those supplies coming in, even any kind of timeline?”
Walz: “Yeah, I may defer to Joe on this. I just tell you, with my experience of working with FEMA and the regional directors on flooding, these are career professionals who’ve done this type of stuff before. They’ve got us different types of equipment. I think that should help clear that up.
But to be candid with you on the question, I don’t believe we can… And we haven’t. We’ve simply gone on our own, and you heard this. Governor Baker from Massachusetts, and we’re doing this too, we’re going out and trying to purchase these things where we can. In his state, they had two purchases ready to go. They got outbid. The outbidder was the federal government, and then took that into the national system away from the state. We hope, and Joe, maybe you can speak to this, we hope this eliminates some of those types of things and puts a much more streamlined supply chain in place.”

Question on unemployment insurance… Steve Grove: “Okay. The question on unemployment insurance, we are not worried about the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. We have $1.5 billion in that trust fund, and I said before we have about 95,000 applicants thus far this week. We’ve done some modeling to look at how long that trust fund itself will stand solid. If we had, let’s say, 120,000 applicants to UI over this time, and they took the average amount of payout, which is around $400 a week, we’d only go through a third of that in 12 weeks. Now, those numbers certainly could be higher than 120,000. If we had 300,000 workers on the program, for example, which would be about 10% unemployment, we would go through that trust fund in 12 weeks, but the federal government has always been clear in situations today and in the past that when state trust funds run out, they provide 0% interest loans to back up that fund, and so we aren’t worried about the validity of the fund.” Independent contractors and others will be assisted as well – looking at that…

2:53 Good thinking outside the box on ideas for exercise… What is safe?   2:56 Good question…   We’re all in prison now…   Golf courses open for access – no clubhouse – good idea!

Department of Corrections also a concern… Food and cleaning are main concerns per Walz. As well as justice work…

2:31   Modeling… Good question. Also asked about possible shortages on beds/ventilators.  Malcolm: “Just been working… 3 days or so… model is being built.” Walz: Lack of testing inhibited model. “Getting R under 1″ models estimate – will get to you. . numbers too rough now to have a sense of confidence about them.” Malcolm: Can’t have a MN specific model yet… Community mitigation measures in place… “don’t have numerical precision”… “range estimates not as precise” When do you expect to have it? Walz: U of MN national experts… Going to get it to me over this weekend.
2:59 Yes it does…   They know the numbers. They are too afraid to tell you what they are…   That is NOT a difficult model… Watch Peak Prosperity on Youtube.   3:00 Exponential Growth. He knows about R0 so he KNOWS what the models show. We WILL BE overrun.   3:01 Look At Italy. Two weeks from now, it’s the US.   In MN, TC will be hit first.   3:02 Rural hospitals have about 4-8 weeks.

Question about Alcohol/Food delivery take-out. Walz says a STRONG online presence for this!!

Question on whether this is only in the four counties of concern. Malcolm: 15 now but important to reiterate community transmission is happening across the sate. 3:06 YES. It is everywhere. Maybe those remote farms are safe if they don’t leave. Assume you’re gonna be exposed if you don’t isolate soon.

Partial order from National Stockpile received… not clear on remainder of shipment.

3:08 Probably want to assure these stay open… even if it means National Guard… This medicates us…  On liquor stores. Walz gave some great stories in last 4 minutes of the conference and recognized the needs of some who have few resources. Stay Home MN.

3:09 Be nice to your local Millennial!! You’re gonna need internet connection. Walz notes to thank those serving us.


Posted after the Press Conference:

Governor Time Walz SURPRISES THE FUCK out of Daniel and me. We listened to this entire thing and found the group to be solution focused – all the way up to “can we make reagents here?” YES. SMART people are working on this for Minnesotans. And they were largely transparent… with one critical exception – on when hospitals will overload. (They know what the model says already. We are behind the eight ball and they know it. Perhaps hoping all this other good news will make up for the bad news we will be getting shortly…) Lots of good news in here though!! Especially his focus on FEEDING ALL the people. And re-tooling manufacturing as Healthcare becomes our new economy. … Good news for Minnesota. Looks like OUR government is stepping up and doing all they can to keep us safe.     


3/23/20  Live Update from the Walz Administration [My comments in brackets,,, with Dan’s input.]

Heard before call: Governor is now in self-quarantine – Bodyguard tested positive. Peggy Flanagan’s brother (TN) died from CV.  Governor Walz added: Amy Klobuchar’s husband is hospitalized.  

Here are my notes from the call:

Walz: 40-80% infection expected – vast majority without hospitalization. Cases went from 169 to 235 –>  Better feel.  982 tested yesterday.  Reagent supply chain issues… Exec Order pending – putting off elective veterinary surgery to manage supplies for people. Gov/VP call – request for Title 32 from President – 502 authority to be expanded… Can use the National Guard with federal dollar support.  PPE too. Moving toward feds meeting our needs… (not there yet). Models… getting preliminary data. [I call BS… they just don’t want you to know the numbers…]

Two impacts:
R0 – how many people are affected by exposure Medical care – ramp up ICU/Ventilators/PPE/Tests MN Revenues and expenditures – postponing revenues coming in… less resources to do work. EO 2013 – National Guard – moving PPE from Camp Ripley.  Delivering food and other work pending. #StayHomeMN EO 2014 – Suspends evictions statewide moratorium EO 2015 – Small business relief (unemployment) SB and Independent Loan Program – forgivable? (for next few weeks?) EO 2016 – PPE inventory EO 2017 – adding elective veterinary surgery to EO 2008

Complex, ever-moving.  Trying to clarify and think of all situations. No revenue April, May, June (tax relief)  

Jan Malcolm @ HHS – cases/deaths continue to rise 350K+ globally.  35,241 with 473 deaths in US.  Learning from speed of spread in other states.  Half of cases are in NY (17K) with big #s elsewhere WA (2K) NJ, CA, FL (1K) 21 patients in MN hospital w/ 12 remaining/5 ICU – other recovered.Front Lines are being tested.  Virus is circulating in ALL communities. Ill? Stay home and monitor symptoms. 800 calls had a light day. Open 7A-7P daily 651-201-3920

[Then she fucked up (IMO)… ]

HealthCareWorkers w/ COVID-19 – strictly based on occupation, not signaling exposure at work.  No exposures from patient care. [WTF???  Maybe not YET… WHY ARE YOU SAYING it is NOT – “based on our data”… when we KNOW it IS a risk from around the world???]

Joe Kelly @ Homeland Security: Acquiring and distributing PPE (National Guard helping) Self-service gas is a risk – if you touch a surface, wash hands. Wipe surfaces we share.

Steve Grove @ Employment & Economic Development: Unemployment Insurance & SBA Disaster Loans available – Emergency loans to bridge gaps from Federal funds available $2500-$35K  50% forgivable and 0% APR (will help 1200-5000 businesses statewide) [How many in State total??] Available later this week.

Localities have $58M in city and county loan funds possibly contributing more [To keep groceries running?]

Heather Mueller @ Education: Serving meals and giving school age student care.

Walz: Backlog on unemployment insurance approvals – to assure no fraud. Guard leadership taking care. [Dan: Likely to be deployed Friday… when checks stop coming.] Assisted living cases.  [We SHOULD have started that work when the first case hit Washington.]

Q: Coughing?  Jan: take all symptoms seriously.  Difficulty breathing or Fever over 104degrees? Seek medical care.  Not fine to circulate if you have symptoms.

Q: Inventory reporting by businesses – gonna commandeer?  Walz: State has capacity should we need these supplies.  Businesses are voluntarily doing this already. Will ask but we do have Executive Authority.

Q: How soon until Shelter in Place? Walz: 7-8 states already in place. Spoke with Ebers/Whitmer over weekend.  MI early today, WI tomorrow.  MN???  Decisions to be made with best data we have.  Not total agreement.  Has it worked to shut down restaurants/schools? What does modeling show?  Real time data now. [We don’t have time to wait for the modeling. But you know that…]  Need social compliance to keep people in for a longer time-period.  Won’t just be “Shut down for two weeks and it will pass”. [REALLY glad he is saying this EARLY. First official we’ve heard.] Need people working to keep things running. See where states are moving…  Taking a hard look. People can go to stores, stores will be stocked.  Pick up Rx at curbside stop.  Not announcing today.  Data and science provide no clear-cut answer but will decide in best way for Minnesotans to keep people from the hospital as long as possible.

Q1: What are WI/MI seeing that you are not yet seeing?  Walz (answered after below question): Hard decision.  Agonizing.  Lack of data… Best judgment.  [Dan: Just tell them, Tim, you’re balancing flattening the curve with keeping the economy from crashing.]  Learning to this not being a shelter in place for 1-2 weeks; looks like multiple weeks to months.  Didn’t have testing – but now we do.  [Dan: You know why all our disaster movies are people escaping just in the nick of time?  Because that’s what humans do…]

Q2: Extending school/business closures past end of this week? Walz: YES.  Not wanting to send a mixed message in transition.

Summary Walz: Need compliance to stop the spread. [And they’re working to gear up the National Guard for the pending riots.]  Minnesotans seem to be spacing, wearing protective gear.  Even a complete shutdown will allow people to get groceries and required services.

What can people do? 

  • If you are able and financially capable, stay home.
  • Food Shelves are #1. 
  • Blood donations needed. 
  • Don’t panic buy at stores and help a neighbor.

Q – Steve at AP: Virginia cancelled classes for the year. Considering that?  Walz: Considered everything. May be necessary and we’re trying to project for people to give insight.  Meanwhile we’re doing well now to provide kids with education.  Teachers are being appreciated!

This phone system is how this will work.  I am overwhelmed with asks of what people can do. And companies are stepping up here.  And Minnesota is helping other states. 


That’s the update.  Now that we’re here – Monday March 29th – I’m interested to see how different a state we are in one week from the day this writing was done.

Good Luck, Everybody.

A Plea to the DNC

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This blog was originally written prior to the Arizona debate (in D.C.) and perhaps it is irrelevant in these Days of Corona… But, for what it’s worth. [I’ve added a bit of new following the debate.]


Biden has little ability to defeat Trump.  They are both demented old men, which becomes clearer each day as Joe fails again and again – lashing out at voters…. [Joe actually started out better than I expected in the debate. Though he had no ability to understand that even dictators can have improved living conditions for their people. It’s shades of gray, Joe.]

The difference between Biden and the current Republican President?

Everyone has already OK’d Trump’s dementia and insanity – for years now!  But they will play every gaff of Joe’s endlessly. [And every lie, as it becomes clearer each day how much Joe stretches the truth and outright lies. Three times in a row, he LIED at the debate tonight about his statements on the floor discussing cutting Social Security, cutting Medicare and Medicaid, cutting veteran programs. He even ended up, in his explanation, telling on himself!! It was just baffling.]

And those Republicans have LOTS of money for commercials.  Of course, it won’t take many to show Joe’s incompetence.  I’m sorry if you can’t see it. Because if you can’t, Joe will be Hillary 2.0 and we’re all fucked. Even if he pulls it out, we all still lose.

Look at Biden’s cabinet.  Look at all Biden’s Dark Money.  Jamie fucking Dimon FFS!!!! Look at the insanity of those who adamantly and angrily opposed him… now falling in line… for money or power… or maybe a bit of both? 

Why can some see the Dark Money so readily in Republicans but are blind to it in Democratic circles?  How can one see the inhumanity of Republicans and watch cheerily as Dems work as the other wing of the same bird…. shitting all over America as it gathers up all the juicy berries and sticks for itself.

The oligarchy is KILLING US.  The vote in Michigan was split among the young fearing for their very lives voting for Bernie and the older Dems, standing on their necks, wishing they “could get better health care… and thinking it sure would be nice if we all had it” siding with Joe.

These are literally grandparents stealing the rights of their descendants to have a voice… as they line their coffins with gold.

I get that older Dems are afraid too.  But it’s time to pony up for the children – is it THEIR FUTURE we’re fighting for? Or our own?

WE OLDSTERS HAVE HAD OUR SHARE

How about giving the young some time to fix the planet?  Fuck! Maybe they can save it if we get out of the way fast enough.  And if they don’t?  Well, we pretty much assured they couldn’t to start…

Us oldsters had our chance to do something and WE HAVE FAILED.  As the planet spins into human extinction, could we maybe try it the kid’s way?  Just this once?? 

WHAT DO WE REALLY HAVE TO LOSE AT THIS POINT!!!  It’s like, the car is dented, bumper hanging off, almost out of gas – could we let the kids drive for a moment, while they still have a chance?  Or will oldsters hang on bitterly to the Biden steering wheel and doom our children to the future we’ve all earned for them? 

We sacrifice our children to the Gods of money, stuff, and power. It is sad.  But it is a fact.

I spent some time on the phone recently with some Millennials.  It was bittersweet to hear THEIR understanding of why older people are doing what they are doing.  THEIR acceptance of the fact that there is probably little that can be done to stop them, as this has been their lifelong experience… from infancy to present day. {Tommy. I am so sorry for all my failures…}

Their commentary was all so HEARTBREAKING TO HAVE TO HEAR!!! Especially when THEY think they have another election cycle to wait all you Boomers out.  When we now know they don’t have that luxury…

We will distract ourselves with this new thing…. viral infection of the cancer that has taken on the planet.  Kind of like a chemo for Her to quell the thing that has been raping and killing her for centuries.  And, while it may calm the GHG levels to a point that gives us a while longer, watch the reaction of the powers that be… as they prop up the industry!!! And abandon the people…

Fund the Market so it won’t crash!!! Make MORE STUFF!!!!  The addiction is obvious. Inhumane. Insane.  Yet it continues.  And we think our children need rehab?

Meanwhile, I fear the feedback loops will not survive another 4 years before they overlap in a way that we see MASS human effect.  {In case it’s not clear, “effect” means removal from the game.}

Sadly, these Millennials were mostly accepting of their fate. 

They’ve known their whole lives that the chances for their future were slim.  They’re not stupid.  They’ve watched as “adults” have denied and delayed. And they are far more understanding of the indifference to their fate than I will likely ever be. 

I wish you could all hear the children. These are OUR CHILDREN we’re working to save.  Aren’t we?

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised… after my own father so readily disowned me.  Perhaps some care more for saving their bank accounts and retirement funds – though they already have more money than they will EVER need – than they do their own children.

I’m sorry if this alarms you.

Imagine how it feels from the children’s perspective.

Please.

Can you give them just a few moments of consideration?

Why won’t Trump get a Coronavirus test?

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This is a State of Emergency blog update.

This might be a reach, but with nothing to do but watch the Apocalypse unfold… Oh, and we’re reading “The Freedom Artist” by Ben Okri – which is really interesting and an illuminating read on current state (though fictional, it clearly resonates with current reality).

Ben Okri’s 11th novel, The Freedom Artist, invokes all these preceding stories in a multilayered allegorical narrative that cuts to the heart of our current political and cultural malaise, while maintaining a mythical, mesmeric flavour that makes the reader feel these are stories they have always known.

Guardian Feb 2019 Book Review

OK, we all know that Trump avoids tests like the plague, right? [Oops. Sorry, too soon? Probably. Yeah. Sorry. Kinda. If that’s too much for you, stop reading now. Really. Just go back to safety NOW.]

Those Weak in Spirit… Turn Back!!!

OK. This is for all you conspiracy theorists out there…

So, we know the current Republican President has refused to be tested for Coronavirus.

And… word is that Bolsonaro tested positive after having spent some time at Mar-a-Lago with Trumpy…

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday said he tested negative for the novel coronavirus, after reports suggested that he tested positive.

O Dia, a major Brazilian newspaper, earlier on Friday reported that he’d tested positive. Fox News later confirmed the news.

Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo told Fox News that further testing was being done to confirm the diagnosis and that they expected results later on Friday.

The Brazilian president said on Twitter that he tested negative, adding, “DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE MEDIA FAKE NEWS!”

Oh, the familiar ring of “presidency”...

Is Trump a carrier?

We also know we have had military troops in Wuhan in October for the Military World Games.

17 athletes from the U.S. Armed Forces… About 300 athletes from the United States are expected to arrive in the next 2 days. …

The Military World Games is a multi-sport event that has taken place every four years since 1995. The 7th Games runs from the 18th to 27th of October in Wuhan.

Xinhua 10-15-2019

China dominated the Games. It was reported that the American team did very poorly… not even garnering a mention in local coverage.

After 10-day competitions, host China collected 133 golds and 239 medals in total, the first time for a country to grab 100 plus golds. The traditional powerhouse Russia obtained 51 golds and 161 medals in all as an evident runner-up in medal tally, followed by Brazil, the host for 2011 Games, with 21 golds and 88 medals. France, Poland and Germany lined up from fourth to sixth places, all clinching 10 plus golds.

Xinhua 11-1-2019

And we knew that the U.S. athletes were housed close to the assumed origin of the outbreak…

After the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreakconspiracy theories about COVID-19 being the CIA’s creation to keep China down were all over the Chinese internet,[27] according to The Economist. Some articles on popular sites in Chinese have accused American athletes participating in the Wuhan Military World Games to have deployed the virus. They claim the inattentive attitude and disproportionately below average results of American athletes in the game indicate they might have been in for other purposes and they might actually be bio-warfare operatives, and that their place of residence during their stay in Wuhan was also close to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, where the first known cluster of cases occurred.[28][29]

Wikipedia – Controversies – My link for The Economist.

And this is what the locals are speculating in China now…

The medical magazine The Lancet analyzes that in addition to infected animals and single animals entering the market, there is also a possibility that someone is infected outside the market and then brought to the market.

This can’t help but think of the TOMs at the military games. Is there another mystery in the bottles of the soy sauce soldiers?

Let’s revisit the information of the military games:

First: The first batch of patients were concentrated in South China Seafood City, which is near the guesthouse of the Rice Soy Sauce;

Second: The first infection of the virus in humans occurred in November, just after the military games ended;

Third: South China Seafood City is not the first stop of the virus, it may be brought to the market by people;

Fourth: The American soldiers who have always been powerful, have not performed as well as the security of a community at the military games.

Something weird must have a demon.

In addition, after the military meeting, the United States suddenly tightened the Chinese visa to the United States. If these soy sauce soldiers are biochemical soldiers, all problems can be solved easily.

Let us speculate boldly that the United States upgraded the SARS virus during the SARS period, taking advantage of the time when China hosted the military games, 369 biochemical soldiers were brought to China and targeted placement in the South China seafood market, which caused a plague epidemic.

Local Coverage of the possible conspiracy… 1-30-2020 Quite the interesting read… with bold justifications My emphasis…

Did our government plant this virus?

Has 45 already been inoculated – is that why he is so unworried? Do they already have a cure? There must be some reason he refuses to get tested… Would we see the antibodies in his blood????

Now! While I have your attention…

  • It is very likely you have already been exposed, or, if you are not now quarantined, you are going to be soon exposed. We must act as if this virus is everywhere. Because it likely is. [Yes, remote rural folks, I know you may say different. But my bet is most will overestimate their isolation effect.]
  • Fever is the alarm. If you get a fever, quarantine yourself. Buckle up for symptoms. Lock yourself down. Most will hopefully see 5-10 days of symptoms, some VERY MINIMAL, but until you are SYMPTOM FREE for 10 days, stay home. Let me repeat that. Stay The Fuck Home. That means 10 days AFTER YOU ARE WELL, THEN and only then, can you go back in contact with people. THIS IS NOT THE FLU! If you fail to wait, you may very well find yourself responsible for the death of another. Perhaps someone you love dearly. This Virus Is Deadly. Please do not play with it. [Other symptoms are dry cough and shortness of breath. This attacks your lungs. You have no antibodies to fight this. The strength and spread rate indicate military grade quality… (gotta keep you conspiracy theorists engaged)
  • That said. What if you aren’t symptomatic? Lock yourself down ANYWAY!!! See above. If you are home quarantined for 10 days without symptoms, count yourself lucky. [Unless we’re still not fully informed on incubation periods… they are currently shifting… looks like patients could remain infectious for many weeks... up to 37 days.] You’ve survived this wave!! And you can continue surviving by staying locked down AND isolated. [Please, Gods, let this be a wave… and not endemic and deadly until herd immunity is achieved… and let’s hope for no mutation that makes that impossible.]
  • Drink Water. Wash with soap, often. #STFH. Survive.

Maybe the U.S. didn’t do this… But could another country have done it?

Trump has definitely dropped Pandora’s box – perhaps it was too big for his tiny hands. Did Hope escape this time?

“Hope is the only good god remaining among mankind;
the others have left and gone to Olympus.
Trust, a mighty god has gone, Restraint has gone from men,
and the Graces, my friend, have abandoned the earth.
Men’s judicial oaths are no longer to be trusted, nor does anyone
revere the immortal gods; the race of pious men has perished and
men no longer recognize the rules of conduct or acts of piety.”

~ Theognis of Megara

I hope (see what I did there?) I’m wrong and this was just a fascinating way to spend an afternoon… At the very least, I got some credible Coronavirus info into you in an age of Criminal Misinformation. And I gave you something to ponder – or Google, or extrapolate into your own stories – as we all – hopefully? – Lock Down.

Good Luck, Everybody.


If you want more info, we like Chris at Peak Prosperity. [Note, this is his latest update – he has many daily updates and we recommend that you watch several of his prior pieces to get details on various aspects of the progression.]

Announcement: The HARN Collective is considering beginning a Virtual Salon. If you’re interested in participating, contact us. (Likely a later night online Discord session.)


Update 3-15-2020: Russian Biowarfare?

Note the strangely quiet Russia on Coronavirus… And their very few cases – currently 63 with 8 recovered and 55 active cases.

Did Vlad set the viral bomb in Wuhan at the Military Games in October? How can they be so close to the outbreak origin and remain so unscathed? Meanwhile, all the other countries, overwhelmed with their own issues, remain oblivious.

Did you know that Russian jets continue to “check the fences”? Last week, Canadian and U.S. planes intercepted near our airspace.

US F-22 stealth jets and Canadian CF-18 fighters intercepted two Russian reconnaissance aircraft while they were flying off the Alaskan coast on Monday, according to North America Aerospace Defense Command.

The intercept comes amid ongoing tensions between the US and Russian militaries as US officials have expressed concerns about increased Russian military activity in the Arctic.The two Russian Tu-142 maritime reconnaissance aircraft entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on Monday but did not enter US or Canadian airspace, remaining “in international airspace over the Beaufort Sea, and came as close as 50 nautical miles to the Alaskan coast,” according to North American Aerospace Defense Command, known as NORAD.

CNN March 11, 2020

These missions have been ongoing, as reported in August of last year.

American and Canadian fighter jets intercepted a pair of Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers in international airspace off the coast of Alaska on Thursday, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Two U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets and two Canadian CF-18 Hornet fighters on Thursday morning intercepted the long-range, nuclear-capable Russian bombers north of Alaska over the Beaufort Sea, NORAD said in a statement. …

This marked the second time this month that Russian aircraft were observed in the area. NORAD said two Tu-142 Russian maritime reconnaissance anti-submarine warfare aircraft entered the zone west of Alaska on Aug. 1, but they were not intercepted at that time.

COREY DICKSTEIN | STARS AND STRIPES August 8, 2019

And now Trump tests negative for Coronavirus. He blithely shakes hands with everyone around him IN SPITE of the directives from his own government to avoid this practice. The President of Brazil is infected, as are members of the U.S. government like Collins and Gaetz. We’re seeing the virus explode in the U.S.

But Trumpy? He’s cool as a cucumber. Did Vlad give him the antivirus? Is he immune? If so, we should take his blood and try to catch up to save our citizens.

Are the Russians waiting until we’re too distracted (or sick… or just fucking disheartened) enough to not give a response to these fence checks? Will that non-response be followed by an attack, when we’re most vulnerable? I hope to fuck this conspiracy theory is not true.

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This was sent by a friend: An interesting interview with Dr Francis Boyle, the creator of Bio Weapons Act (now removed…) that includes the claim that a vaccine EXISTS for this Coronavirus. He also claims 83% infection rate and 15% death rate. So there’s that…

Biowarfare? (at start) Vaccine already available? (halfway through)

More to come as things come my way.

Update 3/17 – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

Some updates…. From India Today. [Canada? Really? Yeah, I didn’t think so… But it looks like they don’t rule out China… and don’t even mention Russia.] From Russia – not sure why I hadn’t noticed their very low infection rate earlier…

And from Academia:

Looking at the number of COVID-19 cases in the context of the ranked order of flow of people and goods between China other countries, we see the following (as of March 15):

Just seems weird… but could be attributed to testing. Right? [None of these numbers are real, especially where there is a lack of test kits, like the U.S.]


March 20 Update: Sorry for the delay but this is a good link to an epidemiologist on the possibility of this being biowarfare.

His conclusion: No evidence whatsoever that this is a man-made virus.

Good news? Or bad? We were holding hope that, IF it was man-made, at least we’d probably have a cure.

USACE – 404 Denial for Line 3

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For those new to the blog, or the Line 3 process: Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes a program to regulate the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands. Section 401 of the CWA requires any applicant for a federal license or permit to conduct an activity that may result in a discharge of a pollutant into waters of the United States to obtain a certification from the State in which the discharge originates that the discharge complies the applicable water quality standards. The 401 certification becomes a condition of Federal permits including Coast Guard Section 10 permits, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) permits and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Section 404 permits.


A friend emailed Sunday, asking how I’m doing so I sent a response:

I feel like a bit of a slug, though I did manage to get some 404 comments submitted – attached here in case there is anything you can glean for your 401 work.  I barely read much of their technical stuff though, more attacking them on their flawed engineering logic if they approve Line 3 in this climate emergency… you know carbon budgets and all that.  And noting the destruction we’ve had on their watch.

I’d discourage you from reading much further unless you’re feeling like you are in a good solid place today…. Dan and I are pretty much Gloom and Doom of late. (I’m Doom)  (He’s Gloom) 

This is really discouraging work and these are discouraging times.  I am wondering if this round of SARS-CoV-2 will be a big killer or a sleepy one that takes its massive toll in the fall once it mutates, like the 1918 round did.  It seems all the US is doing is pushing for the latter… The disinformation, WRONG information, lies about rates, but mostly our lack of medical supplies and an inability to get more… as every other country also needs them.  I wondered last night if this virus will bring on WWIII…

Wondering also how that will affect the election.  We may find all this fighting about candidates to be wasted time…

And I wonder how much my statements really matter in the Line 3 process.  I feel like we’re largely alternately pacified and ignored by the agencies.  But I DO BELIEVE in the power of people and, if we can organize enough of them, maybe we will find a presence that gives MPCA pause in their approval plans.  Though now I’m wondering if we’ll see a cancellation of the 17th and 18th as CoV-2 spreads.  We’re up (in the US) to 464 (from 429 when I last updated last night).  Recovered cases remains at 8 (likely due to a lack of tests to provide confirmation of recovery).  I don’t really trust these numbers as we are doing SO LITTLE testing.

I am somewhat bouyed by the collapse of the supply chains – and feel like a monster because of it.  Yes, many will suffer and die.  But it will be a result of hubris.  And it will largely be a boon to Mother Earth to have so much less CO2 burned.  All the reductions in consumption will give her a breather.  I just can’t help but imagine that she has orchestrated this giant production to eliminate the scourge of human cancer with which she’s found herself contaminated.

So I feed the birds, engineer plans to keep the squirrels off the feeder, and enjoy the outdoor springlike weather…  I try to remember that all the “bad” happening now is like the bad that has happened before and there will at least be some good and love that comes from it as we work for survival and, at best, it may yet bring a new world.  But my hopes are pretty dim to non-existant that we’ll actually save ourselves.  

Mostly I spend each day these days enjoying conversations with fun people (call me any time – if you dare!), writing as much as I can on these things (maybe someday an archaeologist from the future will find this crazy laptop full of my musings and ramblings and see how some of the BS went down…), reading (when I can handle it – which seems to be good most moments this week), and crying, medicating, and laughing at the dark humor (those three usually in that order).

I also find myself being quite grateful for all that we DO HAVE.  I am grateful for people like you who DO so much, SHARE so many ideas, and SUPPORT the process.  Because it may well be the stuff that Stops Line 3.  And I glory with the trees – on their beauty, their stoicism, and their coming reign. 

Have a good week.  And Good Luck.

Email to friends working in the Line 3 movement 3-8-2020

Here’s my letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers:

Dear USACE,

I am embarrassed that you all call yourselves “Engineers” while you FAIL to recognize the dangers of Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 project.  What are you thinking, considering addition of YET ANOTHER fossil fuel pipeline – Tar Sands, no less! – to our ever more fragile atmosphere?  Are you not listening to the scientists around the globe insisting that we MUST reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe) ASAP?  We MUST transition AWAY from fossil fuels and move to safer energy streams… as fast as we possibly can.

Five-hundred fifteen (515) days ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued their 1.5 Report, which noted that “Limiting warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels would require transformative systemic change, integrated with sustainable development, … implementation of far- reaching, multilevel and cross-sectoral climate mitigation, … linked to complementary adaptation actions.”   The IPCC basically gave humanity a decade to take strong action in order to meet goals, goals which we now know are insufficient to meet the 1.5°C target.

I’ve watched for decades as the Deal-with-Climate-Change can has been kicked down the road.  And we’ve seen what our current implementation of environmental policies on water quality and environmental review have given us here in Minnesota. 

  • We have a half million citizens drinking tainted water. 
  • We see the southern half of the state with substandard lakes. 
  • We have decimated our biodiversity as reported by the MN DNR.

Engineers are supposed to be the smart humans!  But perhaps you are guided more by political pressures or stymied by regulatory capture?  Come on, guys!  Use your engineer brains to determine that this Enbridge Proposed Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline is NOT IN ALIGNMENT with protecting our environment for human habitation.

Or… You can spin your numbers all you’d like to check the boxes and say you’ve done your duty.  But I’d encourage you to look at the woods and waters around you.  We can see the local impacts already, especially here in northern MN.  Our wildlife is almost non-existent when compared with previous years.  Our forest is rapidly converting to prairie.  Our pollinators are nearly silent now compared to decades past.  But hey, we no longer need radiator insect shields on our vehicles!

Listen to the daily headlines.  Watch as the devastating stories come in from around the world.  And the WORLD matters in this decision because building Line 3 will unleash up to 193MT CO2 EVERY YEAR.  Scientists have made it clear that global greenhouse gas emissions need to trend to zero.  Why?  To maintain a planet hospitable to human life!  What a concept!

This is the question you need to answer.  Do you want to save Minnesota – and our nation – for our children and their children?  Or do you want to risk some of the cleanest waters in America by permitting a tar sands pipeline to be built across our Anishinaabe Treaty-protected lands?

It seems the Agencies Poorly Performing Environmental Analysis/Review Still want to permit Enbridge to push a tar sands pipeline through Northern Minnesota waters and wetlands while allowing “compensatory mitigation” to make up for any damages. What does this mean?  Well, it APPEARS to mean that the agencies want to allow Enbridge to cross some of the cleanest waters of our state, including across the Headwaters of the Mississippi River, as long as they PAY to purchase their access by helping make water quality improvements elsewhere to amend for the damages Line 3 will bring. 

So, let’s lay that out:

  • Enbridge can trudge under the Mississippi River – one of the highest valued water bodies in the state  (designated “Outstanding”) with a Tar Sands pipeline…
  • right through the Lake LaSalle Valley – which, per a retired DNR friend with years of experience on pipeline projects, is the “worst site” he’s ever seen for a Tar Sands pipeline route.
  • But then Enbridge can… what? Restore a stream that a farmer modified out-of-existence when he designed his field for growing crops, to make up for this destruction? 

If the 404 Certification is approved, the USACE is saying it is A-OK that we trade an Outstanding water body that fulfills untold biological responsibilities, many of which we barely or do not yet understand – AND provides drinking water for millions of Minnesotans and others along the Mississippi River route… for a substandard body of water.  All while we have no idea whether the new body restores real ecological value to the environment being “restored”! 

Enbridge gets their pipeline route, while Minnesotans get degraded water at the Headwaters of the Mississippi River and, as consolation, a restored stream somewhere near Brooks?  Wow.  Is this how the Army Corps of Engineers protects the drinking water for Americans?  By giving us a system with a continued downward spiral of poor water quality until we no longer have any valuable natural assets remaining?

WHY would we make that losing bargain??!?

No engineer – charged with protecting the environment and hoping to do so – ever would.  But it seems many engineers HAVE made poor decisions with regard to protecting our environment over the years.  We know now that those old decision-making systems have failed us.

It’s time for that bad decision-making to stop.  Before we’re out of time here on Mother Earth.

We KNOW that new pipelines are not proving any safer than old.  Data from 2015 shows us this, and if we added the data from the other spills on New Pipelines since 2013, we’d see further problems, especially with Tar Sands Pipelines.

As an example, look at the spills on the Keystone pipeline… now just 10 years old:

  • October 31, 2019 – 383,000 gallons (9000 barrels) in northeastern North Dakota – no cause yet determined.
  • February 6, 2019 – 1800 gallons in St. Charles County, Missouri – metallurgical failure.
  • February 20, 2018 – 15 gallons in Steele City, Nebraska – leaky float control valve.
  • November 16, 2017 – 407,000 gallons near Amherst, South Dakota – originally reported as 210,000 gallons – weight, meant to keep the pipeline in place, damaged corrosion-resistant coating leading to rupture.
  • December 27, 2018 – 10 gallons at a pump station near Tina, Missouri – no reported cause.
  • April 2, 2016 – 16,800 gallons in Hutchinson County, South Dakota – faulty girth weld.
  • July 24, 2014 – 30 gallons in Nederland, Texas – no reported cause.
  • March 7, 2013 – 15 gallons near Potwin, Kansas – no reported cause.
  • May 29, 2011 – 14,000 gallons in southeastern North Dakota – metallurgical failure.  
  • May 25, 2011 – “unknown volume” at Roswell Pump Station – metallurgical failure.
  • May 7, 2011 – 16,800 gallons (400 barrels) at Ludden Pump Station in North Dakota – metallurgical failure (reported as likely caused by over-torque at installation).
  • March 16, 2011 – 126 gallons at Seneca Pump Station in Nemaha County, Kansas – seal failure.
  • March 8, 2011 – 5 gallons at Ludden Pump Station near Brampton, North Dakota – seal failure.
  • February 23, 2011 – 10 gallons at Rock Pump Station near Udall, Kansas – possible leaky fitting.
  • February 2, 2011 – 15 gallons at a pump station in Cushing, Oklahoma – failed vapor separator.
  • January 31, 2011 – 10 gallons at a pump station near Turney, Missouri – seal failure.
  • January 5, 2011 – 10 gallons at a pump station near Andover, South Dakota – faulty seal.
  • August 19, 2010 – 20 gallons near Hartington, Nebraska – check valve failure.
  • August 10, 2010 – 5 gallons near Freeman, South Dakota – cause unknown.
  • June 23, 2010 – 20 gallons at Roswell Pump Station in North Dakota – equipment failure.
  • May 21, 2010 – 2 gallons at Carpenter Pump Station in Clark County, South Dakota – leaking valve body.

That’s 21 leaks adding up to over 800,000 gallons of spilled crude!

Meanwhile, Line 3 has spilled only 66 gallons in the last dozen years!  That’s well under 2 barrels!!  Are we really willing to risk destruction of so much valuable natural infrastructure to get better than that – less than 2 barrels in over a decade???

{Thanks, Paul for this chart… and the next!!}
{So, Old Line 3 is trending well… And is Enbridge’s responsibility for safety…}

In fact, the current Line 3 may very well be out-performing new pipelines because it is operating under a Consent Decree from the United States government, which requires Enbridge to fully inspect every inch of their Original Line 3 each year – inspection only required every five years for new pipelines. Original Line 3 is the devil we KNOW.  Intimately.  Enbridge knows every inch of that pipeline and gets to know it better – as well as how it is changing over time – as they perform the thorough annual inspections mandated under the Federal Consent Decree.  

This Consent Decree would not apply to a New Line 3.

With a new pipeline installation comes unfamiliarity.  And a possibility for massive failure if Keystone is any indication. 

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made to PHMSA in 2013 returns documents uncovering an alarming rate of corrosion on TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline: “a section of the pipeline’s wall had corroded 95%, leaving it paper-thin in one area (one-third the thickness of a dime) and dangerously thin in three other places.” PHMSA did not disclose a cause for the corrosion at the time, saying it “might impact an ongoing compliance review the agency is conducting of TransCanada.”

This excessive metal loss anomaly was detected on September 28, 2012.  When the vendor reported the anomaly on October 17th, and the Keystone pipeline was shut down for safety concerns, the pipeline had only been in operation for two (2) years.  New pipelines DO NOT assure safety or environmental protection for Minnesotans.

A NEW Line 3 would be the devil we DO NOT KNOW.

And a New Line 3 is incompatible with a plan for continued human habitation of Planet Earth.

Enbridge testified during PUC Hearings that they can and will continue to operate Original Line 3 safely if a New Line 3 is not approved.   Let’s let them!

But if you DO want to continue with approvals on this pipe dream of a project, you must FULLY consider the environmental effects.  As such, you must consider your own Environmental Impact Statement for the places where the Minnesota Department of Commerce EIS on the proposed Line 3 project has failed.  You must do all you can to protect what remains of our fragile home planet.

You have enough understanding of our current global climate catastrophe to know the fossil fuel era is ending.  Divestment shows the end of this industry is near.  So it’s a good thing you have all the understanding you need to DENY the 404 Certification and all other permits for this deadly pipeline proposal. 

Please do. 

It’s your duty to your fellow humans.

Sincerely,

Jami Gaither

Stop Line 3 and Go EV!


Seventy years ago, Minnesotans were begging for rural electrification throughout the state.

For fifty years I’ve watched as the evidence has grown on the impact humans are having on the planet. And I’ve been disappointed as lawmakers, corporations, and everyday people have ignored the science, kicking the climate change can down the road, never fully reacting to its urgency.

Until now.

In the 500 days since the IPCC 1.5° report, we’ve seen an awakening as many begin to comprehend the speed at which our impacts on the planet are developing into real weather emergencies and climate changes that are changing lives on a massive scale.

I feel like apologizing to every young person I meet.

We’re realizing the fragility of our food systems as we find farmers around the state unable to access their wet fields until much later in the spring, pushing out plantings and preventing the possibility of a second crop. Then we see dry spells in the summer when we need that moisture to provide for robust outputs. And further exacerbating the problem, a cold and wet fall prevent these same farmers from harvesting their feeble crops, again with fields too muddy to access with heavy farm equipment. This pushes into the next year of growing where farmers will again see delays as they clear the old crops before they can make way for the new plantings.

And the problem isn’t just rural Minnesota. Seed sales nationwide were down 37% in 2019. Around the globe, crop outputs in places were down up to 40%. Some are expecting multi-bread basket failures in the coming years as our weather gets more unpredictable. And now locust swarms in Africa look to devastate their food economy,

I volunteer at an organic farm and we’re seeing not only new and unexpected pests like root maggot that decimate early plantings but reductions in pollinators, reducing fertilization rates. We feel strong winds near Rice Lake drying out the moisture we do get in summer. And we too rush to bring in the harvest as snow starts to fall or cold wet weather freezes crops into place. In 2017, we harvested potatoes and pole beans as the snow fell on October 26th. In 2018, snow came a month earlier, September 26th, leaving much of the produce in the field. At least we can rely on these plants for nourishment to the soil when they are tilled.

These climate changes are a result of our reliance and continued dependence on the fossil fuel economy which we have all been too slow to abandon. However, abandon it we must, if we hope to maintain human habitation on planet Earth.

Our children recognize the problems. Last year, Minnesota Youth gathered at the Capitol for a School Strike For Climate begging lawmakers to stop all fossil fuel infrastructure development. They were asking for a realization that Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 must be stopped to avoid the almost 200 MT of CO2 that pipeline expansion would promise, the equivalent of 50 coal-fired power plants.

A big way we can proactively reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe) is to mitigate our effects of day-to-day transportation.  I hope we are all driving less by consolidating our errands or carpooling to work. And, where we can, let’s reduce the carbon footprint by using hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs). I love riding to The Cities for an MPCA meeting with three others from Northern Minnesota in Willis’ hybrid! 

But did you know that Minnesotans are often left with little choice on EVs? Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Washington D.C. have all adopted California’s emissions standards and dealers prioritize hybrid/EV inventory to these states. 

At the recent Senate hearing on Clean Car Standards, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Laura Bishop shared her story of searching to find the model she wanted in Minnesota, and how she eventually found it… in California.  As Senator Dibble made clear in his testimony that, while Minnesotans want access to the latest models, “fully half of the models” are unavailable and some manufacturer’s models are “oversubscribed and they’re only going to be bringing those models to the LEV and ZEV states.”  Senator Dibble also clarified the authority of the MPCA as given by the legislative branch in MN Statute 116.07, to “adopt standards of air quality, including maximum allowable standards of emission of air contaminants from motor vehicles, and adopt rules for the prevention and abatement or control of air pollution without limitation.”

Commissioner Bishop explained that Minnesota is falling short to meet the Next Generation Energy Act goals, requiring additional action to meet our 80% reduction by 2050.  She described the process of getting public input from around the state on this issue and explained the health impacts on Minnesotans reporting 2000-4000 deaths in 2013 attributable to air pollution. 

Sadly, many Senators seemed more interested pushing for mining in Minnesota to support EV battery manufacture or voicing concern about the extra costs that might come with manufacturers bringing LEV/ZEV vehicles to our Minnesota showrooms.

Senator Eichorn asked about the effects on the farmers and Commissioner Bishop expressed surprise by his concerns, and explained, as she had done in discussion with Farm Bureau presidents the day before, that the MPCA rule-making for Clean Cars has no effect on heavy equipment.  In fact, Commissioner Bishop made clear that the rule-making, in addition to having no requirements for emission testing, has no requirement for people to give up the vehicles they currently own or to purchase an LEV/ZEV vehicle.  Everyone will still be able to purchase conventional trucks and SUVs.  But those seeking LEV/ZEV will have more selection, including F150 EV trucks!

I know we can do this.

Five years ago I moved from Indiana to Minnesota.   And thanks to the rural Broadband projects in Minnesota, I have faster internet in the woods of Alida than I ever did in the suburbs of Indianapolis!  When we focus our efforts on finding ways to help all Minnesotans, we find success. 

But I worry now that rural Minnesota will again be left behind as we move to the new energy economy.  We’re being offered last century jobs in the dying fossil fuel sector when we should be seeing investment and development of Minnesota’s future through solar farms, wind turbines, and EV charging stations!

As manufacturers make bolder and bolder claims, not acting quickly means Minnesota will miss opportunities to lead.  Toyota announced last year that half their sales will be EV by 2025, a full five years earlier than anticipated.  Honda noted that every model in Europe will be partially electrified by 2022 (three years earlier than previously projected).  And with the growing understanding of our climate crisis, and global divestment from fossil fuels, these timetables are all likely to collapse, quickening our transition.  Minnesota’s proposed standards would not go into effect until 2024.

It’s time to recognize our future and work to bring it to a reality. 

Yet some Senators continue to claim that the MPCA doesn’t have the authority to make these rule changes.  In fact, it appears this idea may get more attention in coming weeks as some legislators stress that these efforts should not be demanded with rulemaking but enacted through a bill.  Commissioner Bishop didn’t miss a beat noting that this administration “would welcome the Legislature taking action on this”, but until that time, the MPCA will use their authority, granted by the bipartisan legislature in 1967, to protect Minnesotans and their environment by making rules to reduce air pollution and mitigate climate change.

Let’s stop line 3 and move to EV!

Of course, the future we need will also require a lot more Non-Car solutions

Transportation is the largest source of climate warming emissions in the United States because we put so much effort into making the automobile the sole solution for our transportation needs. We ask it to crawl along narrow city streets, race across the country on highways, carry a single passenger with a laptop and lunch, haul a soccer team, pull a boat to the cabin, advertise our social status and take us to the gym because we’ve been sitting in traffic too many hours per day. As a result, cars are overbuilt, overhyped and inefficient.

They have also wreaked havoc on the infrastructure of our communities. Our roads are too wide. Our houses, with prominent two-car garages, are more inviting to automobiles than people and our casual interactions are limited to the half a dozen families in our cul-de-sacs. None of these problems will be solved by electric cars or more efficient internal combustion engines. Changing the engine isn’t the solution.

We have to change the way we get around.

Doug Shidell, of Minneapolis is publisher of Bikeverywhere – Strib LTE 2-29-20

I’d argue that we will soon need to plan to “get around” a lot less.

The Fallacy of Vote Blue No Matter Who


This idea that we should all conform to what the powers that be in the DNC want makes a mockery of democracy. The DNC is VERY MUCH out of touch at present. As Beau explains, “Bernie is the compromise. He’s EBT/” [If you want to understand Bernie supporters, watch Beau as he gets it.] Thinking we will all vote blue no matter who is a delusion that is sure to lose this next presidential election, kinda a lot like the DNC did the last one… because of hubris.

I’m learning about hubris myself these days and I’m finding that I am a slow learner. As it is often difficult to misread the inputs… and as they are clearly showing they have not… I don’t have much faith that the DNC will figure this hubris thing out in time.

But I’m remaining hopeful that PEOPLE are figuring out what is happening in time. I’m hopeful as people see Big Money continuing to try to buy our government so it can promote its own interests (plundering the planet until it’s uninhabitable) while paying working people as little as possible (but still hoping they will spend it all on the latest gadgets to “make life better”), feeding them poisoned and processed food (while preventing folks from providing their own healthy food for themselves), and then assuring plenty of pills to fix the ails… until the populace succumbs to the hopelessness of the circle of life. The powers that be don’t care about PEOPLE so much as they care about making money for those in charge. They don’t care that many struggle to make ends meet, even those working multiple jobs. They don’t care that many have no access to healthy food or good paying jobs, let alone health care, which most civilized countries realize should be a basic human right. Big Money relies on the infighting among the scrappers, even providing constant fodder for further division, so no one will look for the real source of the problems… those gaming the system for their own good.

And now they want us to buy the line, “Vote Blue No Matter Who!” It’s clear they are really speaking to Bernie folks with this coalition-driving line. And the mere fact that they are pushing it shows how fragile their hold on the system truly is. None of the “chosen” candidates – neither DNC nor MSM show Bernie as an preferred candidate – has an ability to coalesce the masses for a victory like Bernie does. Or generate the broad and diverse appeal that he brings which encourages high voter turnout – the one thing we KNOW has shown progressive ideals to win.

And as the DNC continues to work to nominate “anyone but Bernie”, they will lose voter trust and enthusiasm assuring 45 will get another 4 years. The Dems BLAMED Bernie folks for the loss last time, and they continue to avoid acknowledging their own part in disenfranchising Bernie with superdelegates in 2016, while we see all Bernie’s ideas as mainstream in this election cycle. Hmmm…. They can’t admit their own copious corruption. And it’s clear that the DNC is TOO FAR RIGHT to distinguish themselves from Republicans, thus losing the voter enthusiasm when they elect their status quo candidate friends.

If you’re not a wealthy elite in America these days, it’s pretty shitty. The suffering is widespread. And, for those of us watching closely, we are seeing the end of the world as we know it coming at us faster than anyone predicted. I foresee 2020 as a year when the starving times bring clarity of vision. PEOPLE NEED CHANGE – BIG CHANGE. And the working class – a population HUGELY DISENFRANCHISED by the DNC – is voting to be heard. They are voting for Bernie.

But Bernie Sanders is simply not the same as these other candidates, making it impossible to pledge to “vote blue no matter who.” He is speaking truth to power of the evils of the world like no other candidate is willing or able because he does not take special interest money.

This is the huge distinction: Bernie’s campaign is funded by working people like myself (primarily teachers). Other candidates are funded by powerful corporate interests. Bernie is putting himself in a position to govern on our behalf, which is why millions of volunteers were willing to knock on 500,000 doors in Iowa (close to half of all Iowan households) and make over 10 million calls in the month of January. That type of people power is not only astonishing and the ticket to beating Trump, but it’s also the first step in fundamentally changing this country and world for the better. If you take Sanders out of the equation in November, you eliminate this enthusiasm.

We’re in an age where incremental progress isn’t good enough. Under President Obama, we did next to nothing to combat the climate crisis, which needed meaningful action before he even took the helm. There’s no time for incremental progress on this or other issues. Our climate is heating up today. People are not getting the health care they require to survive, or not go bankrupt, at this very moment. Wages are stagnant. Money is increasingly funneled to the top of the economy, causing pollution in the information supply and corruption in the political process. Endless wars in the Middle East continue. The working class is abandoned.

… Bernie Sanders embodies a shift from this rotten reality. 

Aside from the painfully uninspiring vision peddled by these moderate conservative Democrats, the Democratic National Committee is currently re-writing rules to stop a Sanders nomination. What incentive do Sanders supporters, a gigantic voting bloc, have to stick around and vote for some corporate hack who doesn’t in any way align with their beliefs? That’s particularly when there was already foul play in the DNC primary a mere four years ago? 

Sam Shain: Why Bernie supporters aren’t ‘blue no matter who’ (my emphasis)
Seriously, just read the whole piece.

Indeed. As Democracy Now! reported (following the latest debate) and about which Hamline University professor of political science David Schultz wrote recently on how the process works (or doesn’t, depending on who you are):

The Democratic Party’s superdelegates were a reaction to the 1970 McGovern-Fraser reforms that sought to open the party to the people. Criticism after the 1968 Democratic Convention that party elites had too much control over the presidential nomination process–the proverbial smoke-filled backroom–led to a recommendation to create more political primaries. The goal was to let rank and file have more say on the party nominee. Yet by 1980 party elites felt there was too much democracy within the Democratic Party; they, not the base, still knew best who the nominee should be and what the party should stand for.

In 1980 the Democratic Party’s Hunt Commission recommended that 30% of all the Democratic National Convention delegates be reserved for members of Congress and state party chairs and vice chairs. These are the superdelegates. That 30% figure was originally implemented at 14% but by 2008 the percentage rose to nearly 20%. Their purpose was ostensibly to provide leadership, but in practice it was to maintain orthodoxy, serving as a check on primary voters who might make the wrong choice.

David Schultz, CounterPunch 2-19-20

And it would not surprise me if this SLEW of Democratic candidates was just an effort to dilute the potential for a majority win by any candidate thus assuring the power of the elitist superdelegates. And it sounds like there is some thought being given to change the rules to assure superdelegates get to vote first! Another fatal flaw in the DNC plan…

In conversations on the sidelines of a DNC executive committee meeting and in telephone calls and texts in recent days, about a half-dozen members have discussed the possibility of a policy reversal to ensure that so-called superdelegates can vote on the first ballot at the party’s national convention. Such a move would increase the influence of DNC members, members of Congress and other top party officials, who now must wait until the second ballot to have their say if the convention is contested. …

Fowler said that “there’s a great anticipation that after this convention, there will be an effort to adopt the old rules … There are a lot of people who are interested in that.”

Following the publication of this report, Perez responded on Twitter: “Absolutely not. We put in the work to ensure power was returned to the grassroots, we will be following the rules set forth by the DNC. We will not bend on this, we will not change our rules.” (my emphasis)

David Siders, Politico 1-31-2020

And then…

D.N.C. Rules Change for Nevada Debate Could Open Door for Bloomberg

The D.N.C. announced Friday that in order to participate in the debate, set for Feb. 19 in Las Vegas, a candidate must win at least a single delegate in either the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary or meet polling requirements.

It has eliminated the requirement that candidates must have received donations from hundreds of thousands of individuals. Mr. Bloomberg, a multibillionaire, is running a self-funded campaign and is not soliciting donations.

 Reid J. Epstein and Matt Stevens, NY Times 1-31-20

So much for trusting the DNC’s word… As if… Ted Rall claims: “Some Democrats say that they are “blue no matter who.” Trump, they say, is such an existential threat that they will vote for anyone who winds up as the Democratic nominee for president. But is it really wise to extend such a blank check to a party that has disappointed us so many times before?”

Note the “Yes. Yes. Yes.” in the lower left panel. Is Bernie the one she will not support?

We are left in a vicious catch-22 where Dems think they own their voting block and can use the “Bernie isn’t a Democrat” argument to make their case for not supporting him. Meanwhile, that same “voting block” has realized the Dems are no longer supporting PEOPLE and instead support big money interests and a continuation of the suffering. The People WILL ELECT BERNIE to the Democratic ticket, if allowed. But DNC continues to work a new angle instead of simply showing support for the People’s Choice… Bernie.

Mike Bloomberg has offered blue America a Faustian bargain: Forfeit all credibility on the issues of money in politics and democratic reform, and he will spend whatever it takes to make the bad man in the White House go away. The market for what Bloomberg is selling is large and growing, thanks in no small part to the $300 million he’s already spent advertising it. Many rank-and-file Democrats — like so many disillusioned voters in democracies the world over — like the idea of hiring a no-nonsense, post-political businessman to fix their broken government (just, you know, a less ostentatiously racist one than America’s current CEO). Meanwhile, many Democratic elites see Bloomberg as a (slightly unsavory) savior who can single-handedly stop the party from nominating a supposedly unelectable socialist, provide its vulnerable first-term suburban House members with an ideal standard-bearer, and liberate the party from all resource constraints and fundraising headaches as it rides a rising tide of billionaire bucks back into power.

But Democrats would be fools to accept Bloomberg’s indecent proposal. …

As a political matter, allowing a Wall Street tycoon to win the Democratic nomination by leveraging his personal fortune to outbid all of his rivals (and many state and local Democratic Party organizations) for top-shelf campaign staff, and inundate the airwaves with an unprecedentedly exorbitant blitzkrieg of paid messaging, would deprive Democrats of what has long been their chief electoral asset: the perception that their party is less beholden to the rich than the GOP.

Eric Levitz, The Price of a Bloomberg Nomination… 2-19-2020
It’s just a thought… Do you feel protected?

Where do we go from here?

I’m hopeful that Bernie and THE PEOPLE can take back our government and return it to the work of caring for the ALL the People and not simply working to push all the benefits to the already too rich, as our government has been doing for some time now. So far, they powers that be have avoided revolution… but how soon before they step over that line?

AOC and the women who have gotten into the system in recent years have made big strides with messaging and young people – especially young women, BIPOC, and others have stepped up in protest and action to make a difference. We’re seeing a global uprising to address the biggest problem of our time – our climate catastrophe. People are getting restless and, with over 500 days since the IPCC 1.5, the lack of action and response is growing that desperation. Daily.

I know it may be foolish to have hopes for a takeover of the Democratic party to return at least ONE party to the people but I have some faith that Bernie might do it this time. I kinda feel like we might as well all just forget about a long-term human existence if he is not successful.

Bernie seems to be the only one connecting with all sectors of the disenfranchised: Poor, Young, Black, Indigenous, Women, Veterans. And when Trump cuts food support in April, I believe we could see a real revolution begin. Starving one’s children has a way of bringing a parent to a place of nothing to lose.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

― John F. Kennedy on the Alliance for Progress, 13 March 1962

Back then Kennedy spoke about our denial of care to our neighbors. Sadly, we’re now talking about denial of care to our own citizens. And now, we will watch and see how the DNC makes their next moves.

It’s not looking like they will relinquish power from their elite controllers to their public base. I’m just hopeful the masses Bernie has inspired will convince them of the power the people have, which, in the end, is always more powerful than mere money, when we can get them to the polls.

And I’d argue that it’s time to FINALLY LISTEN to the voices of the Disenfranchised. If this is the candidate that Blacks, Latinos, Indigenous, children, women, poor, and the working class support. I’m with them. I’d ask, “Why aren’t you?”

And I’d also ask…

How many primaries does Bernie have to win to show YOU he’s electable?

It’s the Media, Stupid

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Well, it seems we’re seeing the revelation of the media bias in the Democratic race. Because America’s two-party system are wings of the same bird – and one who doesn’t want anyone else in the nest – we’re seeing the struggle of an Independent candidate trying to work within the system we have to give THE PEOPLE a voice.

The irrationality of the charges pundits are now making is appalling and should disturb us all, if only for how long it’s been ongoing. And the evidence just keeps mounting.

Thanks, Shawn Olson!!

I watched last time as the DNC and Mainstream Media (MSM) fucked up royally, totally excluding the “change” candidate from coverage (as America was still in “we want change” mode… mostly ’cause you rich motherfuckers have really made a mess of things) and nominating their choice with superdelegates. Then Hillary fucked up, in all her hubris, by running a “Let Them Eat Cake” campaign where you couldn’t get a yard sign at caucus time to save your life. And then they wondered why no one showed up to vote! Well, they’ve been fucking up for decades. The Democratic party has lost its soul since the days of FDR. That’s for sure… siding with the Wall Street side of the party and abandoning the Working Class side. THIS is why Vote Blue No Matter Who is a bunch of fucking bullshit. But many are eating the cake…

You don’t think you’re eating the cake? Watch this video and tell me if you’ve changed your mind.

Imagine the world that would have been…

I’m really hopeful that we’ll start listening to the CHILDREN who are saying that enough is enough. It’s time to stop with the fossil fuels and move to a green economy. The fossil free industry has raked in almost $2 trillion since 1990 in profits while driving us to the brink of extinction with their destruction of our natural environment, all while denying that it was fucking happening!!! And now their boom is coming to a bust, and guess who will be cleaning up the mess? Our kids. So they’d like us to 1) stop making the problem bigger, and then 2) start cleaning that shit up, right fucking now! You know, while us oldsters who created the mess are still around to help! And, you may not have noticed, but we’re seeing uprising around the world as movements of people stand up to the tyranny of the corporations and governments working against the best interests of the people. In Canada, we’ve seen their national rail shut down by groups protesting that the RCMP stop their invasion of sovereign Wet’suwet’en territory for construction of a natural gas pipeline. And we’re seeing the facade of Canada’s “reconciliation” attempt fall away as The Narwhal reveals that leaked documents show the government was colluding with extractive industries.

“The B.C. government and corporate lobbyists representing major resource industries sought the “surrender” of First Nations land rights immediately following the Delgamuukw decision, a precedent-setting legal ruling that established Aboriginal title to unceded land, according to Freedom of Information (FOI) documents obtained by The Narwhal. The records, from B.C.’s Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, provide a glimpse for the first time of a corporate lobbying effort urging government to push First Nations to surrender their newly recognized title rights through modern treaties to achieve “certainty” for commercial interests.”

The Narwhal, 2-7-20

Our CHILDREN who are asking for leadership that recognizes everyone equally. And we’ve seen in the last week that three candidates have acted so egregiously that they’ve all but lost the BIPOC vote: Bloomberg, Mayor Pete, and now Minnesota’s own Amy Klobuchar. Awww… and just as she was getting some momentum! Darn.

The CHILDREN are changing their own habits and we should follow. Even the fashion addiction of the wealthy is killing our planet. Oh, yeah, the excessive consumers… we’re everywhere. This reminds me of my son Tom’s reluctance to get a driver’s license and propensity for bike riding or walking if that is a possibility. Has he been living with an understanding of the climate crisis that I have underestimated? He always was smarter than me…

And the CHILDREN understand that the very wealthy are at the very least, not cool to work with, and certainly NOT to proudly emulate. Our CHILDREN understand the problem with big money in politics. {Darn, another hit for Amy.} They understand that the it’s time for a major change in management.

Yes, these CHILDREN who are saying they won’t have children themselves… FUCK, they can’t even see a point in finishing high school! They are frightened.

Image may contain: possible text that says 'castielific teenagers counselor/psychologist for getting work don't believe they They look at ther future and see global warming, wwlll, unemployement, political unstability, poison everything they eat, the earth animals dying all around them. saw this video where someone asking french teens in the how they imagine the future would hadn't for long yet all positive like peace flying they the same questions to nowadays teens depressing. still but such hope too it, like to People mock Greta Thunberg but what they don't get is that when she said "you stole my dreams" it the truth.'
XR Vermont FB Post

So, as one who didn’t do enough to stop this thing sooner, I’m standing with the CHILDREN.

And the CHILDREN have endorsed Bernie Sanders.

Valentines for PUC Commissioner Schuerger!!

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This past week, Minnesota Environmental Justice advocates got some good news. Yeah, we lost with the PUC, but we saw the tide turn with the actions of one PUC Commissioner with not only a smart brain and big heart, but also some HUGE balls. (And boy, was Enbridge upset! Hope they’re envisioning the hard work of packing up and taking their Line 3 project back to Canada… where, you might have noticed, there is growing opposition to fossil fuel corporations. And the Wet’suwet’en People are grateful for those supporting their Sovereignty.)

So I decided to send a little Valentine to Matt Schuerger from our Minnesota Waters.

You can send one too! Need some help figuring out how? Click Here. Please help make my dream come true – let’s flood the docket with Valentines for Commissioner Schuerger.

I can imagine little groups everywhere making valentines for Matt. Maybe your youth group could have a learning session on Line 3 to share information about the dangers a Tar Sands pipeline brings to our wetlands. Do your friends know there are 227 water crossings for this pipeline proposed route? Could you take an hour to make some valentines as you learn about the myths* of “Safety of New Pipelines” and BitCrude technology, which allows completely safe transport of solid bitumen (tar sands in sold form are not flammable or explosive AND are safe for marine life if the containers go overboard!). No more concerns about train derailment!! The worst that happens is you have to pick up a bunch of hockey pucks and put them back in the rail car! [Then next month your group can write letters to our Governor asking for new green energy jobs instead of dirty old fossil fuel energy jobs for Northern Minnesota.]


* Myths of Pipeline Safety:

  • New Pipelines are safer than Old Pipelines. Not necessarily. Spill Data show that new pipelines are just as susceptible for spills as the old. [Perhaps it is related to the corrosive asphalt from Alberta being pushed through them…] As has been clearly demonstrated by failures on newer pipelines Dakota Access and Keystone 1 – the spills can be big on New Pipelines too… like 210,000 gallons big. Keystone would suffer a second large failure of 383,000 gallons just two short years later.
  • Old Line 3 is a Safety Risk!! Well, ever since the Consent Decree was put into place, we’ve seen a massive drop in spills on Line 3. In fact, in the last 12 years, there have only been 66 gallons spilled, less than 2 barrels!! And that is likely due to the requirement that Enbridge 1) run at reduced pressure and 2) inspect via 3D microscopic images every inch of pipe every year. This pipeline is the devil we know.
  • It is clear that a new Line 3, once it passed its pressure testing, could run UNINSPECTED for 5 full years – FIVE! – before Enbridge would be required to inspect it. It would be the devil we don’t know. [The bottom line is that, as Paul Blackburn reported in his testimony, the PUC cannot make decisions on pipeline safety… as supported by many 8th Circuit decisions.]

Enbridge has lied to us for long enough about their safety and jobs. PUC Commissioner Schuerger has done his homework to come to the following findings on their proposed project, which led him to vote in opposition. Note: The time stamps correspond to the video of the 2/3/20 full PUC meeting with the parties. I encourage you to check out some of the powerful testimony, especially the favorites I share below.

On the Second Revised Final Environmental Impact Statement (2R FEIS) for Enbridge’s Proposed Line 3:

  • 1:46:37 Louise Miltich (DOC EERA) admits the 2R FEIS DID NOT EVEN DEFINE the Lake Superior watershed!!! Now, how the heck are ya’ supposed to comment on the “adequacy” of the revision to address the “impacts to the Lake Superior watershed” if there is no definition of what exactly constitutes the “watershed”?
  • 1:54:10 Schuerger asks about the Superior/Duluth Harbor being noted as an “industrialized” site… indicating that it is less important?  1:54:40 Miltich argues her case. 1:55:18 Schuerger argues sociological and economic impacts also being important. Miltich later admits the Harbor could be an important site.
  • 1:56:30 Referencing recently available bitumen and dilbit studies, Matt asks about their inclusion in the evaluation.  1:57:18 Miltich admits no additional studies or bodies of work were included and 1:57:55 that a literature review was not done to assure inclusion of recent analysis. 
  • 1:58:15 The Commissioner discussed the possible 193 MT CO2 and $287B social carbon cost associated with Line 3, eventually asking where in the 2R FEIS we can see an understanding that we have now on the impacts of Climate Change incorporated in the EIS?  2:00:32 Miltich admits that they used all the original modeling approaches.

After Tuma makes a motion to approve EIS Adequacy, Sieben asks for discussion (of which there is none) and Matt gives his “deliberation” (as the Chair referred to it several times during the meeting). 2:28:52 “I disagree.” He notes impacts of Lake Superior watershed being critically important.  

  • The Record and Law do not support a conclusion that the single site selected adequately represents the Lake Superior watershed or that the 2R FEIS adequately assess the consequences of a spill into the Lake Superior watershed.
  • The 2R FEIS fails to accurately characterize the current scientific understanding of climate change.  PUC is required under MEPA to follow the guidance in its first paragraph:

“…to create and maintain conditions under which human beings and nature can exist in productive harmony…”

  • “This FEIS in this revision does not yet do that in my viewpoint.” And he noted his opposition. [Several in the audience voted Aye! alongside Matt which was so good to hear. [2:38:47]

On the Certificate of Need for a New Line 3: [3:53:09 – 4:25:50, 4:29:40 – 4:42:48, Commissioner Means interrupts to throw Enbridge a bone…]

  • Schuerger confirmed with both Mike Aherns, representing the Shippers, and Eric Swanson, representing Enbridge, that they do not believe the demand situation has changed.
  • Schuerger confirmed with Enbridge that the applicant’s forecast of demand for the proposed facility means demand for crude oil, energy products from crude oil for MN and the 5-state area.  He also confirmed with Enbridge and the Shippers that they believed there was no new pertinent information of concern to add to the record. 
  • Then he reads through a list of changes in MN including the Transportation Department commitment to an 80-100% reduction in GHG emissions and the Clean Cars Initiative, confirming with Swanson that Enbridge doesn’t believe any of these things show any less need for the project.  Then Commissioner Schuerger walked through the many climate change insights since the last approval including the IPCC 1.5 Report and Walz’ Climate Change subcabinet. Again, Swanson indicated… No further record development needed.
  • Then the Commissioner read to Mr. Swanson about the past week’s trade news reporting: ‘Enbridge … publicly acknowledged the transition may happen more quickly than expected… which could strand existing or future assets.’
  • Finally, on the integrity concern that the current Line 3 must be replaced to prevent a spill.  Commissioner Schuerger confirmed with Mr. Swanson that Enbridge understands their responsibility to prevent discharge from their pipelines “whether or not the Commission approves a new Line 3”. 

In “deliberation” 5:23:23, Commissioner Schuerger makes clear on this “immensely important and intensely consequential” decision:

  • It is entirely about the law and the evidence.
  • 5:24:57 The record shows MN refiners to be getting the oil they need. [He indicated this is a fatal flaw… just before Katie interrupted him before he was finished.]
  • The science on climate change is entirely clear– we must take action to reduce climate change.  There is evidence toward electrification and toward a new system which would eliminate apportionment (relied on heavily in the last decision).  All indicate a contested case hearing with a focus on the demand forecast. 
  • 5:27:27 We are facing a seachange in the world, around the country, and especially in this state to act and change the way we use energy.  “When we have this significant scientific political understanding, which we have, we are not only accelerating this transition but it means that it no longer makes sense to invest and build new infrastructure such as this new project.”

“I do not support the motion before us and I’d ask that we vote this motion down and that we refer to this to contested case with a focus on gathering additional information on the changed circumstances around the change in the applicant’s business and contract structures, potential impact of electrification of transportation or other sectors, and the impact of climate change on demand.” 

Commissioner Schuerger’s closing on the Certificate of Need for Line 3, 2/3/20 5:28:56

On the Route Permit for a New Line 3: [6:33:52 – 6:37:07]

  • As there were no questions, I’d like to include an approximation of Schuerger’s statement [discussion/deliberation, whatever Katie wants to call it] as it is so good!!

We have before us a preferred route and 4 alternatives that we are required to consider (APR, RA-03AM, RA-06, the In-Trench Replacement RA-07, & RA-08). “When we look at the evidence before us and the criteria, the impacts we are required to consider are overwhelmingly minimized by the In-Trench replacement option RA-07. Overwhelmingly minimized.  RA-07 & RA-08 have not been removed from our consideration.  We’re required to consider them all. I believe, that when we apply the law, we have to designate the In-Trench replacement option and, under the law, we are required to recognize the sovereignty of tribal governments, ALL tribal governments. We’re required to consider all the routes and apply the criteria AND we’re required to recognize the sovereignty of tribal governments – ALL OF THEM!  I believe we can accomplish what’s required of us by applying our criteria and designating In-trench replacement RA-07 and, in that same act, requiring Enbridge to obtain explicit written consent from all Tribal governments along the designated RA-07 route prior to Enbridge receiving the Route Permit. I heard, I’ve read the testimony, I’ve read the record, I heard the opening arguments today.  I do not believe under the law it is this Commission’s problem that they may not get that consent.”

Summary of Commissioner Schuerger’s comments on Route Permit, 2.3.20 6:34:34

I have watched hours of testimony. I have watched over and over some pieces of testimony. And I am much encouraged by some of that testimony on February 3rd. Here are a few of my favorites:

Gaagigeyashiik (Dawn Goodwin) gives EIS Adequacy testimony 2.3.20 1:00:00
  • Starting at 32:10 you can see two of my faves – Paul Blackburn and Scott Strand. Together they explain why the EIS was inadequate based on the location site (no WI sites were selected, even though these locations would have a potential for harm). Little Otter Creek picked as the farthest east and first site in MN. Not sufficient. Scott also talks about response times noting that history of Enbridge should have been used, including a reflection of their 17 hour response time, much longer than the 13 minutes used by the modeling. This failed to capture the fact that most spills are not caught by the pipeline company but citizens happening upon the spill. Scott recommended a 2-hour response time with a range of possible alternatives, specifically referencing the Michigan model. He also mentioned the requirement to include the latest information as part of the ongoing responsibility of the EIS process, which the DOC EERA decided deliberately to not include, a likely legal error.
  • 56:20 Gaagigeyaashiik Dawn Goodwin spoke eloquently about the Indigenous historical, cultural, and spiritual connection to the land. She also spoke to the lack of study on tar sands which negates the idea that we have an adequate understanding of the impacts of tar sands on our living organisms per the National Academy of Science. Thanks to Frank Bibeau for giving her some time after he walked through the legal aspects of the Treaties along the Line 3 proposed route.
  • 1:03:48 Brent Murcia, A Youth Climate Intervenor, who explained that they’ve watched as their government has done nothing again and again and again.  These youth have participated in this process.  All have finished HS now and at 18-26 years old, they should have bright futures ahead.  But Brent walked through how little time remains to respond to our climate crisis along with the many shortcomings they have identified in the 2R FEIS. He also stressed the No Action Alternative has been in place for 3 years and we have not seen “1900 trucks per day” of oil driving the MN or several hundred oil train cars per day. The actuality looks a lot more like the YCI estimates than those of Enbridge, which indicates an inadequacy. Finally, when Enbridge plans for run the line for 5- years, why is the FEIS not including 50 years of effects but only 30?
  • 3:09:25 Paul Blackburn argues that the safety of the current Line 3 is NOT the decision of the PUC, not within their jurisdiction and they have no expertise. How much safe is this new pipeline – by what metrics? This is the most important thing per Enbridge. Data of the oil spills from this pipeline are NOT YET IN THE RECORD. Corrosion and age related spills are your concern but there are many other things that factor into spills. In fact, with the current Line 3 requiring 3-D microscopic images of this line EVERY YEAR. A new Line 3 would not be covered by the consent decree so it would only be inspected once every 5 years. Records from Canada shows shipment as a solid safely and there are two technologies to ship by rail. Rail safety is yesterday’s argument.
  • 5:55 Just following another round of testimony from Scott Strand and a short message from Brent Murcia, “… we will see you all soon.” [In court!!], Winona LaDuke and Dawn Goodwin again address the commission. Winona bringing a Midewiwin scroll, a map of the migration story of the Ojibwe People. They both recognized the value of all the life in our land, most of whom have not been asked here to testify. Threading a needle to meet regulatory framework is not an adequate assessment of the issue.

“We’re a Living Culture! You’re putting that at risk.  What don’t you get about the 1855 Treaty?”

Gaagigeyashiik Testimony, 2/3/20 Watch it here .- it’s powerful stuff! Thanks, Seekjoy!

One of the BEST moments of the day was when Akilah Sanders-Reed explained to Chair Katie Sieben – as Ms. Sieben tried to deny the Youth Climate Intervenors their rights, that YCI would take the 5 minutes ceded to them by the Northern Water Alliance. [So, fuck you, Katie Sieben! Oh, sorry, did I say that out loud?? I did in my living room as I watched it happen!]

Not happy?

“You have 5 minutes to present your opening statement. We’re not going to allow for more compression of time at this time because we don’t have the Northern Water Alliance folks here.”

PUC Chair Kaite Seiben tries to silence the Youth Climate Intervenors – pretty much in line with how they’ve treated the YCI over and over again – Oh! kinda like the government has always treated our kids – as best seen and not heard. They didn’t pull this shit with any of the male lawyers using this tactic. Watch from 3:26:04
We’ll be taking our 10 minutes.

“We’ve communicated with them explicitly and I would be happy to show you the communications where they asked us to absorb their time so that we could cover issues that are of interest to both of us. So we’ll be taking the ten minutes as was stated in the notice from the Commission that parties could combine arguments for the sake of fluidity.”

Akilah Sanders-Reed explains to Chair Sieben how this process works. Once again, youth speaking to truth and power in these days where adults have seemingly lost that ability.

So we lost, but we’re seeing the tide turn. We’re losing better each time. And now we have a Commissioner on our side.

schuerger_matthew
My FAVORITE PUC Commissioner Matt Schuerger/
And, who knew? He’s a Purdue grad!!! Boiler Up, Bitches!!

If you can’t get enough, here’s another great blog on this issue.