Adjusting Views to Come Together

By Montecito Journal   |   December 6, 2022

Remember when certain environmental groups made it impossible to talk about nuclear power in a positive way, and Santa Barbara locals demonstrated at Diablo Canyon’s nuclear power plant just up the coast from here? Now Democratic Governor Newsom supports it and the Biden’s Energy Department granted $1.1 billion to upgrade it. California’s last operating nuclear power plant, once scheduled to close in 2025, which provides about nine percent of the entire state’s electricity, is now viewed as a critical clean-energy source providing power to homes and businesses. It seems that innovation and pragmatic realities, like costs, heat waves, power shutdowns, and geopolitics are countering fanciful idealism.

We will soon see how this same environmental idealism will deal with the pragmatic realities of Electric Vehicles (EV) and the batteries that power them. Most certainly, this city, state, and country are on the correct path in moving to bring EV production to scale. Especially since, an increasingly autocratic Communist China has the jump on us in spending billions to build mining facilities and supply chains which are necessary for the elements and batteries that go into them. The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (which does not reduce inflation) will help the U.S. compete, as it has clean vehicle and domestic production provisions that provide a path toward prioritizing the domestic permitting process for mines and battery plants and works to remove tax credits for Chinese-made batteries. It is now deemed critical for domestic clean energy to take control of the elements that go into producing it, and is rapidly becoming an essential part of U.S. national and economic security. More mining? Well, the idea is for the U.S. to stop using elements from unregulated Chinese mines and start building ones over which we have control. The hard reality is that mining, and therefore our conversion to EV’s, is essential and now critical that it be done under the direction of U.S. interests. Coming together by compromise and facing hard realities with creative but also practical solutions is needed for our country to move forward on this subject and many others.

J.W. Burk

A Bear’s Happy Memory

Carlos, The Bear, was fattening up for his Winter rest, rummaging through his neighborhood trash cans for the leftovers his human friends had tossed out after their Thanksgiving feasting, when out of a toppled can rolled an ornament in the shape of a bell that began playing a tune. 

Carlos stopped, pricking up his ears, the song was familiar, from a long time ago.

He sat, enthralled, listening, and thought of his first early years as a cub. His mother used to sing this song to him when he became agitated during December hibernation. He brushed tears away with his furry paws and felt a feeling of motherly love wash over him, and he smiled a big bear smile. He thought of his mom and how she took care of him, teaching him good bear ways, keeping him warm in the Winter’s cold, protecting him with love.

And he was warmed by a very happy memory.

Michael Edwards

Taking Mr. Smith to Washington

The bulk of Mr. Smith’s letter [see Sanderson M. Smith’s letter in the Nov. 24 issue of MJ] is nothing more than a rehash of his previous commentary. He chose not to address my rebuttals but simply regurgitated his previous specious arguments. My comments were as follows:

1) In regard to the tired old trope that we were “energy independent” during Trump’s administration, Mr. Smith conveniently fails to define that term. If it means we don’t import oil from undemocratic (and sometimes hostile) countries, that hasn’t been the case since the 1940s. If it means we are producing more than we consume, that became true in 2020 “primarily as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and not because of anything Trump did.” (Forbes, Oct.; 1, 2022).

2) Inflation is a world-wide problem. More can and should be done to find a solution and President Biden will rightfully take the heat if it isn’t. But, President Biden did not cause this problem. As of Oct. 2022, the inflation rate in the U.S. was 7.7%. The inflation rates for Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Germany are all between 8% and 10%. Is Biden responsible for those high rates as well?

3) Trump’s policy “to secure our borders” consisted of 1) building a porous border wall that he said Mexico would pay for (they didn’t) and which could be breached by simple over-the-counter garden tools and 2) locking up adolescents, toddlers, and infants (who had committed no crime) in what were referred to as “Tender Age Detention Centers.” They were, in fact, internment camps for children. This is a blight on our history that no amount of partisan jiu-jitsu will ever be able to erase. 

Finally, in a futile attempt to break new ground, Mr. Smith entertains us with this priceless gem: Trump’s “domestic and foreign policies were far superior to those of (President) Biden.”

Any specifics of those “superior” policies were, of course, left to our imagination. Clearly, the problem for Mr. Smith is his fact limits rather than word limits. On domestic policy, could he have been referring to election interference in several key battleground states, plotting a coup with the assistance of fake elector schemes, encouraging and inciting a violent insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, and stealing classified and unclassified documents,all of which are legally the property of the U.S. government? On foreign policy, could he have been referring to Trump’s abandoning our allies, the Syrian Kurds, leaving them to be slaughtered by the powerful Turkish military, promising a nuclear free Korean Peninsula while making major concessions to North Korea and receiving nothing in return other than “love letters” from Kim Jong-un, and attempting to extort Ukraine, a country fighting for its very survival against brutal Russian aggression, in order to get “dirt” on the Biden Family?

Fortunately, Mr. Smith has an antidote for all this alleged superiority. He endorses the “ideal” 2024 ticket of Ron DeSantis/Nikki Haley. In other words, Trump clones with better wardrobes.


Robert Baruch


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