Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Airspace. Alternatives to Cap & Trade

We become what we think about.
We choose what to think about.
The hinges of history are the minds and hearts, the “airspace wars” around our children.
Walmart turns Cap & Trade on its head.


Technology affects us. A few days ago, I was looking on the Whatcom County Library website for a certain book title. You can never just get the answer alone. Sidebars pop up with other suggested titles.

Librarians no longer are grumpy old ladies with tight buns who tell you to be quiet or leave. Now, sophisticated databases of book collections are fronted by artificially intelligent, data mining, choice tracking, market driving software front ends. And, perhaps, there is a preppy young intern in some smoke free back room cataloging and experimenting with your reading choices.

“Aha! Here is a title you might like to consider. Never mind that you don’t know me.” Who is that man with a white coat watching me through that portal. I don’t know. Does it matter? Do you believe in ghosts?

Anyways, a suggested author and his book popped up on my screen. Air space. Bingo. I saw, connected the “dots”, and checked the book out. Not only one, but three, by the same author. The topic was multinational corporate trending and abuses.

i AM interested in comparing entrepreneurial, mom and pop, small time business ventures with the big, bad boys of international finance, resource extraction, third world manufacturing, global marketing and environmentally swaddled social engineering.

The books sucked. Lots of snappy personal narrative. A LOT of social dogma. The barest of bare citations. These were shill creations, a modicum of truth wrapped with blatantly conflicted conclusions. I started to do web searches, putting in the author’s name – liar – debunked.

I found quite a bit of reaction. Mostly journalists and progressive activists who read the book, saw the holes, started to fact check, found common ideological ground, and ended up “hesitatingly” recommending the author and cutting his stories huge slack.

Airspace. Do you get the picture? Find the young person, and spin yourself to him. Help him create his virtual world along side you on this unhappy ball.

It didn’t matter that in addition to being a former clandestine operative for multinational firms that this author became an expert, published author on psychic mind travel and a poster child “convert” on documentaries by extreme environmental activist groups. It didn’t matter that he was raised in a puritanical Christian home, yet found a global, multinational career with many juicy romps with a string of shady ladies, coming out very cool, smart and “socially corrected”.

Airspace. There was a full index, and several very full appendices of environmentally just, socially equitable non profits you might want to get on board with.  This guy had a lot of help. Do you get the picture yet? Published in 2009, the idea of  B-corps, triple bottom line activist businesses had not yet risen to high visibility it has today. Too bad. Maybe he needs to write another cool book.

You can go and try to find this author in our fine local library if you like.

My point is this. Socialist, environmentalist dialectical advance craves airspace. You must be made to react. When you react, you pull in, and parallel the moves, engaging with the ideas. You become more and more like what you detest. What ingenuity. Keep the children in reaction to fringe elements, and they become fringe element advocates, willingly or otherwise.

Last week, Whatcom County was treated to a Freedom Foundation sponsored debate on proposed cap and trade initiatives of Governor Inslee. In spite of no concrete legislation or proposals, there was a robust discussion.

Dr. Yoram Bouman, youthful pro cap and trade economics professor from University of Washington came for a romp, gleefully throwing out ideas to test audience reaction. Senator Doug Erickson, chair of the Senate Energy Committee, met Bouman steel to steel, idea to idea, fact to fact.

Afterwards, I talked briefly with “Samir”, a policy intern who came along with the pro cap and trade delegation. I asked him if the think tank he was a part of compared business driven energy use projects with grant NGO driven energy use projects. He was not sure what the difference was.

I asked him if he had heard of Walmart’s prototype big rig tractor trailer. He had not.

I asked him if he had heard of the turf war over A1 – A2 milk in New Zealand a decade ago, between a privately held corporation and the big New Zealand milk coop. He had not.

Air space. What ideas do our youth breathe these days?

Right now Western is running a set of positional ads on Whatcom Transit Authority buses, aimed at children and parents, seeking to dominate the air space in parent/child heads. They are visibly competing with Whatcom Community College and Bellingham Technical College. After the recent “acid rain” speeches filling the airspace with affirmative action, enrollment quota, grant seeking agitprop, Western is candy coating themselves again with pictures of nice children hanging out with nice Western students.

Parents need to look at the professors, the books, the student leaders, not getting taken by happy, feely ad pictures. Parents need to fill the airspace with other options than those fronted by publicity and marketing firm. For example, build a worldview membrane of entrepreneurial ideas and experiences in your child’s head that will allow them to partner with divine dynamics, even amid the peevish totalitarian mindsets of today's educational system.

New Air space. FaceBook is a fragmented but real and powerful medium today. It wastes time, aggregates details you would rather not know, could be replaced by the next web medium tomorrow, and fills intelligence files on you for the government. But, with a media and education that is co opted by activists who claim your children for their brave new world, it is gives some airspace to push back.

My suggestion? Drive your own air space.

Yesterday, the boys and I made a chicken tractor. I asked my eighteen year old daughter to take some pictures of our “farmwork” for FaceBook. She was too busy organizing the pictures she took of the Memorial Day event at the cemetery. Memorial day with "old soldiers? That was intergenerational airspace. Okay, she was too busy for the boys for now, but her larger airspace wheel was getting spun.

And, the chickens will still be going to a socially engineered, “happy”, high density urban growth community where they will feed the elite few, with gobs of greenspace to cycle over for the next few months.

So, the thirteen year old brother took her camera and piddled around with it. The dog licked the UV filter while he was taking a ground level shot. It was a long day. But, we had Airspace.

Don’t forsake the next generation, your children and grand children, brothers or sisters, to the media or the union and common core business (Microsoft) mandated educational models. Revisit  your own heart to the Wisdom Book you may have been raised on, and build its golden words into yourself and your children. Character 101. Economics 101. Food 101. Honesty 101. Sacrifice 101. It is in the Book.

Airspace. You do have a choice.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Clean Weblockers and Social Equity. A really big deal!

Yesterday, I took in a Port of Bellingham meeting. The room was packed, as the Port Staff were presenting a final recommended Moorage Rate and Policy Plan for the next four years. The plan was passed by a unanimous commissioner vote, 3-0.

There were plenty of kudos to go around. The Marine Advisory Committee had worked hard. A subcommittee on key details had really done a great job finding compromises all could agree on. Staff had facilitated the whole process admirably. Warm fuzzies and smiles were flying back and forth.

Then the matter of web lockers came up. Just what is a web locker? Well—apparently for a significant number of Bellingham fishermen, web lockers are a place for fishermen to store significant quantities of critical fishing gear—like pool tables, artificial palm trees, old sofas, dead runabouts, unused hot tubs—at rates less than half of normal commercial storage unit spaces, subsided mostly by recreational moorage users, and to a lesser degree, by the tax payer.

Big deal? Fishermen are needy souls, aren’t they? Suffering along with the tribes due to reduced salmon runs? (I’d like to hear more about the record runs of Chinook this last year, and the absence of Korean salmon boats just outside the 200 mile offshore territorial  zone).

Commissioner Robbins drew significant ire at his proposal to raise weblocker rates from 0.15 cents per ft square to 0.30 cents. His case in point? In the last couple of months, a Bellingham fisherman docked his boat in another port because local web lockers were all taken. Full. Not available. He needed one, and since Bellingham was “full”, he went elsewhere.

 Up to $60,000.00 in repair and maintenance revenue went elsewhere, as this fisherman drove several hours each day from his Bellingham home to the distant port.

Big deal? Bad Dan Robbins? Why not overlook these “small” matters? Why rock the boat? (Pun intended).

I would like to commend Commissioner Robbins for the guts to speak up and take some heat for bringing up unenforced weblocker rules, and for proposing a change that might help ease enforcement.

It is the little “holes” in the hull that ruin the cargo. It is the little barnacles that waste fuel and time.

Would I want for a coach on my athletic team who ignores breaches in teamwork and personal discipline, or the one who runs a “tight” ship?

I hear a lot about “affluenza”. The market place is bad. We need to unstring the bow and let the younger generation “take it easy”. Common core curriculum is good because the children learn to value people over mathematical accuracy. It is okay for public officials to make back room deals and break transparency laws because it is for the “common good”. Restrictive State and Federal Constitutions are advisory, outdated documents that need to be tossed out. Just chill out!

Really? Little compromises don’t count?

Dan Robbins was “put in his place”. I can understand the odious nature of confronting recalcitrant, sloppy fishermen who are” out of town”. But then, why not create public policy that promotes clean, properly used weblockers? Maybe a larger weblocker fee increase would ease staff workloads and bring in business for other waterfront entities. Common sense is not initially common.

Little holes very quickly turn large gains into large losses. “Socially equitable” public policy destroys the common good, and the self worth of the very businessmen it is supposed to move ahead.

Clean, purposefully rented weblockers count! Think about it.  JK

Monday, May 12, 2014

Tom Steyer – Off Shore Coal Merchant

During the recent “coal war” in Whatcom County, I wondered about this.
Then I heard rumors of it.
Now it appears to have broken open.
Here it is.

Tom Steyer is heavily invested in foreign coal.
Tom Steyer is a big player in Jay Inslee’s carbon tax program for Washington State.

A few hundred million invested in environmental “solutions” reaps billions in environmental “damages.”

Though not impossible, it seems very difficult for big money and big energy to be ethical.
Right now, market driven gas production is a better environmental hero.

But is saving the environment the first priority?

Is not big government tax based spending on green space mitigation
driven by willful disregard of solutions from the Creator of the green space.


Wisdom on Financial Balance

Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die:
Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with food convenient for me:
Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD?
or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
                -- ancient wisdom from a common man [Proverbs 30:7-10

Friday, May 9, 2014

Frying Pan or Fire

What do you desire or fear the most?

Wealth                  … or Poverty?
Health                   … or Pain?
Honor                   … or Shame?
Synergy                … or Shackles?

Desire for gain and fear of loss are two extremely powerful motivators. Regardless of personal worldview, happiness and hazards drive us all.

But, it is the starting points that make a huge difference.

Do you seek to plumb the “wisdom” of ancient eastern religions, channeling some spirit guide from a distant past under the tutelage of a powerful master?

Do you seek to embody the best of Greek philosophy and common sense? To “redefine the wheel” and recreate a “fine human driven cultural space” before your life is past?

Do you ride the laurels of American Christian tradition, telling stories of bygone hardships, faith and family while feasting on as many personal comforts as possible?

What is your  starting point?

Last night my wife and I had a conversation before drifting into sleep.

J:             “How was your day?”
B:            ”Wearying. It seems all I do is handle sheep and make cheese.”
J:             “I am tired too. I spent most of the day installing wiring in a crawl space.”
B:            “Is this the rest of my life?”

Why do we do what we do? Why do you do what you do? Why put up with pain? Why hope? What for?

Our teenage and young adult expectations of cheerful service gave way to the sober realization that America (and Canada) was changing. The relative simplicity and sunshine of our childhood sixties lifestyle darkened into the wars and protests of Vietnam, the fatigue of mortgaged homes and working moms, and the crumbling of Judeo-Christian piety into a utilitarian all-religions marketplace presided over by the painted high priestesses of media and humanistic education.

By the time our first daughter was born, we were questioning the system,  looking for a better way. Two decades ago, we also questioned a church culture that was increasingly fragmented within, and indistinguishable from modern culture without.

We laid modern wisdom beside ancient ways. We contrasted what pewmates honored in the church parking lot with what was actually in the Book of books. We often found very direct contradictions.
  • We noted the ancient Biblical texts identifying lower and higher wisdom, using imagery of a healthy, joyful land.  Some Christian leaders said that in a modern, non-agricultural society, plants, animals and  land did not matter so much, so ignore the farm and field vignettes in the Book.
“…saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:  So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. [Isaiah 55:8-13] 
  • We noted the proverbs of Solomon joining labor, land, and family;  and frowning upon loan driven, get rich quick schemes.We compared this with pewmates admiration of credit ratings and rocketing business success, and their distaste for soil toughened hands.
He that tills his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that follows after vain persons shall have poverty enough.  
Prepare your work without, and make it fit for yourself in the field; and afterwards build your house.  
A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that makes haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. [Proverbs 28:19, 24:27, 28:20, 22:7] 
  • We saw the ancient culture war, now re-incarnated in Common Core and Planned Parenthood, between culture/government/mega corporation driven, genocidal destruction of “unwanted” children, and the power of “large” families in decentralized, town hall oriented society. We saw fellow church members speaking against abortion, yet using the morning after pill, and mocking our larger family. We also saw the unchurched admiring our children, and expressing grief over their own children who were imploding in their progressive world.
A Song of degrees for Solomon. Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he gives his beloved sleep.
 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (place of public policy)   [Psalm 127]

 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:  Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when a war begins, they join also our enemies, and fight against us, and so go up out of the land…
                … And the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When you act as midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then you shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive.
And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have you done this thing, and have saved the male children alive? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are fast, and deliver before the midwives come to them.
 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and grew very mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses. And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive. [Exodus 1:15-22]

So, we bought an acreage. We bought and milked sheep. We dreamed and started family business. We back burnered religious and non profit leadership, and invested in children, our own children!  We offended certain church program leaders, whose efforts we did not join. We found ourselves in their frying pan.

I left the white collar world of centralized planning and media marketed consumerism.  I apprenticed four years as an electrician. I got callouses on my hands, and a host of street wise blue collar friends.

We let the children come. After the age of thirty, every two years or so, a new life was added, until natural processes moved us beyond child bearing. We home schooled, a definite chore, but much more blessing than burden. In early years, we shaped our children’s worldview. Now, they challenge other worldviews.

We are aging. In the mid fifties, there is not the same spin at the end of the day. In fifteen years, we reach the age where death is expected. Yet, I am not depressed.

In the world of local public policy, which I have observed more closely in the last two years, I see in most conservative and progressive public policy leaders a common feature. Their activism is not strongly supported by their children. Whether “reformed” hippie professors in the colleges, retired couples on their dream acreage, or weary farmers trying to get the planting, harvesting and milking done, there is a shortage of young people. In the public square, it is mostly old people competing with old people. Where there are public policy grants, there are usually young people.

Many young people, exiting college with a vision of living close to the land, find American public policy actually very  unfriendly to a land based, sustainable lifestyle. Agenda 21 trained public planners make value added agriculture very difficult to do. They are largely faux experts. Their college degrees are not laurels, but boat anchors, hindering them and the people whose assets and values they “plan” for.

Again, last night I talked with a local family who are working on final approvals to market value added dairy products. Their dealings with Whatcom County Planning and Development Services,  the Whatcom County Health Department, and the Washington State Department of Ecology have been irregular, expensive, and with significant manipulative, “precautionary”, asset hijacking hammers and carrots. They have been hesitant to speak out for fear the government approval processes will be stalled.

For example, the milky water waste from this creamery’s wash down is treated as a pollutant to be hauled at significant cost, “unrecycled” to a septic disposal facility. The benefits of milky irrigation water in increasing organic soil life escape the local bureaucratic mavens who are saving the land. Or, perhaps, this is ancient eastern wisdom, as if every molecule of foreign milk substance that rests on a dirt clod in Whatcom County could reduce the quality of life somewhere in China or Timbuktu. Gads!!

Education and the future? Progressive legislators are increasingly doubling down with provisions to micro manage families and homes that don’t “meet the standards”. I have linked to a report of “in your face” child oversight laws that outlines a pattern of fires that are being set in homes, schools and hospitals. A second freedom advocate connects six threatening realities with the one world, big UN corporate and government agenda.

Is Agenda 21 real? Why don’t you see it in Whatcom County? Read some quotes on pages 3, 5, 6 and 9 of Millenium Papers ISSUE 2: The Future of Local Agenda 21 in the New Millennium by J. Gary Lawrence, 2002, UNED-UK, London, England.

Frying pan or fire? Does it matter? I have no regrets over being roasted by church friends for living out the Bible’s wisdom on sustainable living. Or, burned in the fires of progressive ideology with its attacks on Biblical wisdom that are moving fast and threaten to vaporize conservatives.  It is comforting to know the hidden hand controls both fire and frying pan.

And, it is refreshing to be working with my neighbors who care about these things, and are ferreting out “sustainable operatives” who hide amid and booby trap the freedoms we enjoy.

You might also find this brag piece by Terra Strategies on their “success” in electing Browne,  Buchanan, Mann and Wiemer, last fall interesting. Then read these exposes on Tom Steyer.

-- JK


Thursday, May 1, 2014

This Week

This week, Saturday, two days from today, I am supposed to give a 50 minute presentation on how to build your own blog. Ha! If they only knew!

What lies behind the polished surface of a reasonably well crafted monologue? A blog post is either the tip of a quiet life iceberg, or it is a hollow, hyper perforated pickle ball, full of air and noise, flying with great force for a few feet, only to land with a few soggy bounces.

Blogging is not my first life goal. However, at the present, it is a vehicle that accomplishes a lot of things for myself and our family.

I am aware of the power of the written page. Take the spread of Christianity—and of communism. A Christian missionary to China in the early 1900’s wrote of the full blown contest between the Leninist advance agents and Christian missionaries who were competing for the soul of the awakening Oriental giant. Large numbers of Communist ideological leaflets were being distributed among the gullible peasants, with dozens of articles attacking the ideas of God, the Bible, missionaries, and the church.

A war of words had begun which has had full and ebb tides for continual decades since then, and has been recorded in the blood of both incarcerated and executed Christian expats and nationals,  and the sequence of Communist leaders who pass from worship to hatred to indifference among their own people.

Why would I blog? Writing and spreading words around is both soothing and incendiary. For a few paragraphs, as I think about what to say to people about blogging on public policy and our family’s civic engagement, I will muse about the back stories of this week.

This week, we went to church as a family. Our late teen girls prepared a lesson for children. Team teaching in rotating pairs, they spell off parents who would listen undistracted to adult teachers. Sunday morning we came home from church. What is the balance between Christ and Plato, between Augustine and Socrates, between Aquinas and Aristotle? Why is the word theology not in the Bible? Do family life lessons need to be strained through many layers of historical religious creeds? For seminarians, this is usually their bread and butter.

Philosophy and theology encapsulate life, and they can also plug up the jets of civic service. Where is the black robed regiment of the 1600’s and 1700’s in New England, that struck fear into the hearts of overbearing English regents, that led King Charles to plan to send bloody Percy Kirk, fresh from war with the Moors, to New England to stamp out the fires of town hall democracy by crushing the congregationalist churches. Charles died, and Kirk never sailed, and ministers continued to preach sermons that were “blogged” (printed in the 1680’s, and re-printed in the 1770’s ), whose phraseology was directly incorporated into the Declaration of Independence. No wonder English redcoats in the revolutionary war made it policy to stable their horses in American churches and burn the benches for firewood.

This week, I finished replacing the bearings on our old utility trailer axle drums. I did the bearings myself, Monday morning, hurrying to get it done and get to the first electrical job. Mechanics are great, but cash flow is small. That evening, we loaded the crop of ewe lambs up and moved them to the neighbors pasture. Which were more active, the lambs, gamboling up to the loading ramp, or the teenagers, racing after lambs who had a different mindset? Why make an effort to milk dairy sheep? We almost got stuck in a wet area of that pasture. After coming home, I had to wash a layer of mud off my van in the dark. I wanted to be ready for work the next day.

Our neighbor has leased his barn and garden space to the manager of the Bellingham Farmers Market. We had a nice introduction to each other yesterday. I wonder if he will like our children like the two girls from Utah did last summer. It is great to share notes with other value added Ag people, even if they may be city oriented progressives or traditional farm kids.

Dairy sheep continues to be a money sink, as we are not yet licensed to sell aged raw milk cheese. That is coming! But, the process of doing this without loans teaches our young people character and basic business principles—the old fashioned ones that built America. Do I hate banks? No. Do I over work our family? I don’t think so. There are a lot of fun moments. And, working the land as a family gives opportunities to talk about water rights, land rights, social programs, capital programs, work habits, marketing, education—you get the picture.

This week, we started a new unit study in our home schooling. We use a curriculum that looks at basic school subjects through the lens of the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, the classically recognized pinnacle of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Published by an organization that has fallen into great disfavor and whose founder is currently under accusation for serious ethics violations, this curriculum is nevertheless one of the best. So we quietly continue to use it.

It seems that success and favor destroy more people than failure and rejection. The text? “Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake”. Does that sound like civic service?

This week, I spent a few minutes at the end of the work day chatting with the Bellingham home owner whose kitchen and bathroom I am being paid to help remodel. We talked about under cabinet lighting, about the beauty AND the price tag of energy efficient undercabinet LED light tape.

Then we talked about their parents home on Portal Way, and the grouchy county inspectors who have declared the back forty to be wetlands, and won’t let them drive a pickup truck out back. We talked about the rude City of Bellingham public works employee, who twice angrily snarled at this lady the day before, when she suggested the water shut off might be farther from the road than it was.

We talked about the militant activism of public sector unions, about their punishing and demanding attitudes towards the public they are “serving”. We talked about Freedom Foundations bills in the last several months that highlighted Washington union leaders pushback against Wisconsin style reforms here. You get the picture.

This week…

This week, I am tired. Yet, I am happy. My desk has several months old piles of unfiled public service handouts, articles, meeting notes. My computer desktop is also spilling over. Every day I read about problems in our country. This blog. That blog. This city. That family. This business. That government leader. Learning and engaging in public policy really can destroy that “Better Homes and Garden” look.

This week, I and five of our young people will trek to Meridian High School for a day of engaging with other public policy volunteers. We will raise a standard for conservative Whatcom citizens. For one day, as a group of locals, we will renew the focus of conservative civic service that was the norm in the American past, that has been co-opted and outflanked by decades of focused socialist, agnostic educators bent on separating our children to their agenda.

This week… ??

See you at Meridian at 9 a.m. on Saturday!