POWER GRIDS & GOOFBALLS

Texas Governor Abbott Wrong Again

When some governors talk during a crisis, a short listen can reveal their stupidity. One governor in Florida and another in New York have gone out of their way to threaten people who disagree with them. Such elected officials are not well adept at dealing with the press. Instead of working with them, like Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, they develop a combative stance with reporters, peers and constituents. When they want to get a message out, they tend to overstate, dodge and outright lie about intentions and details.

Gov. Abbott in Oval Office

On February 17, 2021, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates rebuked a claim made by Texas Governor Greg Abbott that it was the failure of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar that caused the massive, cold-weather power outage in his state that “drinks oil noon and night.” His case against renewable energy was dead wrong. He stated that solar and wind energy account for only 10% of the state’s power, ignoring the 90% of electricity sourced from fossil fuels, including oil and natural gas. Those lines were frozen.

According to an interview on Yahoo News, Bill Gates said extreme weather like the winter storm that swept across the country in recent days will become more likely as climate change worsens. Mr. Gates is advocating for an expansion of renewable energy as part of his call for the US to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Abbott blamed the outages on wind turbines and the Green New Deal, a Congressional plan for combating climate change that the Texas governor called “a deadly deal for the United States of America.” Okay, he scored points declaring his distaste of Democrats, but he wasn’t telling the truth or offering solutions to the power crisis deeply affecting the citizens of his state.

The plain truth of this Texas problem is twofold. 1. They don’t store enough gas and oil for rainy days. 2. Years ago, they decided to stay off the American electrical grid and go it alone. Maybe that bad plan originated in some conspiracy theory fed to politicians by the crooks at Enron or maybe they just didn’t understand the strength of working together. That aside, there are some facts that might help investigators understand what is happening in Texas right now.

During the 2000 election cycle, Enron gave $1.1 million to local candidates, ranging from little donations of $250 to $500 in hundreds of districts to as much as $10,000 to influential state legislators in California and other big states. Governor Rick Perry of Texas, then Lieutenant Governor, received $212,000 from Enron. They say to follow the money, and this trail goes way back to 1935. The Texas power grid is mostly isolated from the rest of the country, a setup designed to avoid federal regulation. It has some connectivity to Mexico and to the Eastern US, but those ties have limits on the amount of electricity which can be transmitted. Because Texas didn’t want to expose their operating methods, they never had to comply with federal standards.

I guess Mother Nature didn’t get the “Don’t mess with Texas” message. While a great bumper sticker slogan, it’s not a good way to prepare for dangerous challenges. Bravado has never been better than pure planning when it comes to public policy and safety.

Texas could now be borrowing power from one of two US grid systems had they joined the “electricity party” and protected themselves from a single point of failure. It’s ironic that former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who when running for president said he would eliminate the US Department of Energy, became the Secretary of Energy for the Trump administration. He obviously didn’t have a clue about what he was doing, because the very state he lives in is deeply suffering an energy emergency. What a slacker.

Rick Perry

People are angry about their power being out and having no food or water in the “great” state of Texas. The governor is making ignorant statements to distract attention away from himself. He is creating a boogieman in renewable energy and using this disaster to put forth a regressive agenda. Does any thinking person believe that “The Mob” caused the power grid to go down? What a stupid thing to say.

Speaking of absurdity, did you hear that former governor Rick Perry suggested on Fox News that “Texans voluntarily go without heat to fend off the scourge of socialism.” Yes, I am sure that those trying to stay warm by burning their furniture are anxious to have a geo-political discussion about the evils of socialism. While the people of Texas are watching their pipes burst, this dick is playing to an audience of sycophants. I always thought he was a dullard, but now there’s proof that he is not only stupid but cruel.

I’m amazed that Greg Abbott, who was paralyzed from the waist down when he was hit by a falling tree, can’t muster enough empathy to see that his words are not helpful to suffering people. It’s the new deal in politics today, don’t connect with your people, just deny and blame. I hate to break it to Abbott, but his excuse doesn’t eliminate the need to solve this huge problem. If his wheelchair were out of power, he wouldn’t be able to move. I’m not being mean; I am just returning his lack of empathy. I wonder if he knows that battery operated scooters aren’t part of the Green New Deal.

I suggest that George W. Bush’s experience with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Donald Trump’s mishandling of the COVID pandemic and, now, Abbott’s malfeasance with the power blackout in Texas are sure signs that many of our so-called leaders are so busy with politics they don’t spend any time planning for the “what if” issues. Many states have zero disaster planning while bulging budgets of money are wasted on projects that don’t help people or keep them safe. It seems to me that if we really want to tackle the flawed grid system in Texas, we first must address the terrible lack of leadership on renewable energy in Republican states.

The overarching issue is climate change and whether our cities are prepared for the negative aspects of what that can bring. Texas has been ignoring science and common sense. They are so married to oil that they fight the future. Always have. They will lie and blame when they should be elevating smarter people into power to devise contemporary, workable infrastructure. Few governors know what they are doing because there is no governor’s school, and they cannot learn from their mistakes because their overly large egos won’t permit it. Remember how Houston was destroyed by hurricanes just a few years ago? Well, nothing of any import was done then and now they have a new devil to combat. Abbott is not good enough for Texas. He might as well join Senator Ted Cruz in Cancun. I hear it’s warmer there.

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