(Originally published August 8, 2009, we are re-posting this article in honor of Van Jones' March 20th appearance--along with Abercrombie and Tulsi Gabbard--at a Hawaii Capitol rally promoting the $3.5B Hawaii State Bank scam. Take a good look at how these same crooks and loons in 2009 worked together to vacuum money out of electric ratepayers' pockets on behalf of green energy scammers and then visualize yourself paying off the $3.5B in State bonds which will still be due and payable after these clowns--and the crooks who stand behind them--steer their new bank into inevitable bankruptcy.)
by Andrew Walden
HB 2454, the “Cap and Trade” bill is headed to the Senate after passing the House June 26 by a narrow 219-212 vote. The multi-trillion dollar scheme was backed by Hawaii Representatives Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono. But government employees’ unions, the tourism industry, and all consumers and businesses should look more closely at how the so-called “Carbon Tax” impacts our state.
Even with a price tag estimated at $5.7 trillion dollars, many environmentalists argue the so-called American Clean Energy And Security Act of 2009 does little to reduce so-called greenhouse gas emissions. Greenpeace argues the bill “benefits polluters.”
Greenpeace is not alone. The Rainforest Action Network points out that, “…emissions from the major sources of greenhouse gas pollution in the US would be allowed to increase until 2025 and the 20% reduction supposed to happen by 2020 would not actually be required to occur until 2036….”
How did this happen? Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program explains: “Coal and nuclear industries had far too much say in the bill’s shaping, and it shows.”
This leaves oil-dependent Hawaii in a uniquely vulnerable position. While coal-district Congressmen looked out for their constituents, Abercrombie and Hirono did nothing to mitigate the costs imposed on Hawaii’s mostly-oil-fired electric generation systems. If Cap and Trade becomes law, their carelessness could also be devastating to Hawaii’s already weakened tourism industry.
Analysis by the Heritage Foundation projects Cap and Trade nationally will cause electricity rates to rise by 90% after adjusting for inflation. Gasoline will increase by 58% and diesel by rise by $1.38/gallon above inflation. This would place diesel and gasoline in the $5 to $6 per gallon range--just like Europe.
Soaring jet fuel prices would drive airline ticket prices beyond the reach of many consumers. Because of our greater distance from major markets, the increase in Hawaii ticket prices would outstrip those of other sun, sand, and sea destinations.
That’s not all.
Increases in diesel prices will force HECO to jack up electric rates. Without the benefit of free carbon offsets negotiated for coal-fired plants, HECO’s rates would be expected to increase even further than the 90% projected. This will drive up the operating costs of hotels, restaurants and businesses of all types—just at the moment occupancy and revenue are driven down by airline ticket price increases.
Meeting with the executive board of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) June 30, Abercrombie tried to dodge responsibility with the old “I voted for it before I voted against it" routine.
The Kauai Garden Isle reports: “(Abercrombie) said he voted for one version of the climate-change legislation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will vote for the final version.” Then after casting his decisive vote KGI reports this whopper: “KIUC will be the ‘principle element’ in his decision on how to cast his vote on the federal climate-change legislation, he said.”
Abercrombie continued making excuses: “If the bill adversely affected KIUC or the people of Kaua‘i, that would be bad, said Abercrombie, adding that the original bill was supplemented by 300 pages of amendments at 3 a.m. by the bill’s author, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.” KGI helpfully pointed out, “Abercrombie admitted he hasn’t read the entire bill, and that he assigned staff members to read portions of it and brief him on the highlights.”
Effects are not limited to the private sector. State and County government would be hard hit. Just as TAT and GET revenues begin to crash, hard-pressed budgets would be hammered by soaring fuel prices and electric costs paid for street lights, offices, hospitals, water systems, and schools.
Honolulu’s controversial electric-powered rail transit system would be especially vulnerable. If HB 2454 passes, operating costs will have to be re-calculated to take into consideration higher electric rates. Projected fares and operating subsidies would necessarily increase. The changes could threaten the ridership projections and the operating subsidy projections which underlie any application for federal funding to build the rail system. In an increasingly tight federal fiscal environment, this could be the difference between “yes” and “no” for rail funding.
Heritage breaks down the cost of Cap and Trade by Congressional Districts. Their figures show Cap and Trade will chop $707 million from Hawaii's Gross State Product in 2012 and cut an average of $1.4 Billion per year from 2012-2035. Job loses would be 6,661 in 2012 with an average of 3,738 jobs lost annually from 2012-2035. Personal income (some of which comes from outside Hawaii) would be cut by $887 million in 2012 with an annual average loss of $513 million from 2012-2035.
But Abercrombie has a plan. In an August 6 news release, he claims “as much as $620 million will be available for Hawaii, creating as many as 7,000 new green jobs.” Money for the jobs program will come from what Heritage estimates will be “$5.7 trillion in (new) tax revenue between 2012 and 2035.” If true, that would cover only the first year's job losses.
But how will those jobs be brought to Hawaii? In his email, Abercrombie proudly tells his constituents he “…recently sponsored a workshop to help people understand where we are today, and to get a better sense of what it will take for Hawaii to develop a green economy. The workshop attracted more than 100 people, including business owners, educators, government officials and a lot of interested residents. By video link, we heard from Van Jones, President Obama's Special Advisor for Green Jobs….”
Is Van Jones somebody Hawaii can rely on? The answer leads us back to an unlikely starting point: Rodney King.
The 1992 Los Angeles riot in the aftermath of the Rodney King verdicts was an ugly and hateful assault on Asian communities. Koreans were obligated to arm themselves with rifles and take positions on the rooftops of Vermont Avenue stores. They defended themselves, their homes and stores against gangs of organized criminals targeting Asian-owned businesses.
Jones was on the other side. A 2005 profile of Jones in the East Bay Express described his reaction to the Rodney King verdicts:
Jones had planned to move to Washington, DC, and had already landed a job and an apartment there. But in jail, he said, "I met all these young radical people of color -- I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, 'This is what I need to be a part of.'" Although he already had a plane ticket, he decided to stay in San Francisco. "I spent the next ten years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary." In the months that followed, he let go of any lingering thoughts that he might fit in with the status quo. "I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th," he said. "By August, I was a communist."
Fifty-three people were killed in the LA riots. But the "communist" Van Jones never mentions them. The profile continues:
In 1994, the young activists formed a socialist collective, Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, or STORM, which held study groups on the theories of Marx and Lenin and dreamed of a multiracial socialist utopia. They protested police brutality and got arrested for crashing through police barricades. In 1996, Jones decided to launch his own operation, which he named the Ella Baker Center after an unsung hero of the civil-rights movement. …
(Eva) Paterson, (Director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) was surprised by the number of tattooed individuals suddenly passing through her office, but she didn't interfere….She did give him one piece of advice. "I think I counseled him to be diplomatic," Paterson said. "I tried to convince him that you could be passionate, but you didn't have to talk about your opponent's mother…."
The trash-talking Jones had even abandoned his real first name "Anthony" for the "cooler" "monosyllabic" name "Van" which would help him "take over". But he eventually burned himself out. A flattering article in the “My Hero Project” archive describes how the end came:
(Jones’) constant working, fighting, worrying, sleeping in his clothes with the lights on surrounded by books, hurt him on every level. Physically, emotionally and spiritually, he was severely depleted and one day in July of 2000 his body literally wouldn’t put up with it anymore. He had a major emotional breakdown. He finally admitted to himself that he needed time off.
It took Van two years of facing his spiritual self, feeding his health needs, and spending time with people outside of his work to return to what he considered a stable place. His breakdown happened just a few months after Julia Butterfly Hill came down from her two year tree-sit. Both of them emotionally raw and wanting to work hard to change the world, they helped each other walk through this difficult time.
Now we know what one high-level Obama Administration official was doing on 9-11-01.
Abercrombie is asking Hawaii to gamble its entire public-sector and private-sector economy on a promise of “Green Jobs” from a "former" communist Czar whose nervous breakdown was healed by a tree-sitter named “Butterfly.” Would you rely upon somebody like this to feed your family?
Abercrombie apparently wants us to. He argues “Hawaii has to transform the way we use energy to work, play, travel, and live in our communities.”
For Hawaii, revenues from “play” and “travel” are the mainstays of both the private economy and the General Fund. We are already suffering through a recession which has crippled tourism. Even without Cap and Trade, declining revenues have already left government employees with a choice between layoffs and furloughs. Before Hawaii’s Senators follow in the footsteps of their House colleagues, the risk to Hawaii’s economy posed by Cap and Trade deserves a public airing.
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