Bellingham “Alarmist” Herald

oil spill There is a  is a vessel in Bellingham being fitted to contain and clean up huge oil spills in Arctic waters, but right now it is sitting in Bellingham Bay with spill containment booms surrounding it.   And leave it to the Bellingham Herald to support the Bellingham alarmist attitude with their own front page alarmist billing.  

Really, what kind of image comes to mind when you read there headline “Oil-containment barge under construction in Bellingham spills oil”  I know when I read it, my immediate thought was of how much oil was filling that containment barge and how much of it was spilling.   I’m sure a lot of people were thinking about the Deep Horizon Spill as well as a few in Bellingham that were thinking about coal..ya know oil and coal are both carbon based.  I was also thinking about how yucky and stinky it might be if the forecast of super hot weather turned out to be accurate. 

Whatever your initial thought, I think the headline made it sound pretty bad, so it was a little surprising to learn that this headline is over 3 quarts of oil that they supposedly spilled over the course of the last 3 weeks or so?  Okay now, that really is alarmist…3 quarts!

Three spills, each releasing about one quart of oil into Whatcom Waterway, came from leaks in pressurized hydraulic systems on July 24, and Aug. 4 and 6.

Bellingham Herald

I’m not suggesting that it’s a good thing to spill a quart, or even three quarts, of oil into Bellingham Bay but let’s keep this in perspective.   The way I see this big picture is that this is only 3 quarts and the sooner this ship is on station in the Arctic, the better the odds are that it will be there to clean up a lot more than 3 quarts of oil should it be called to a spill.   So why hassle them over 3 quarts?  Well the State Department of Ecology had an answer,

"They’re a quart at a time, but every time there’s a spill there’s more environmental damage," Ecology spokeswoman Katie Skipper said.

Bellingham Herald

Wow!  Every time there is a quart spill there’s more environmental damage,  Wow again, where do we draw the line on how little of a spill is too little of a spill and how little of a spill does it take to call this harassment rather than enforcement?  I wonder if anyone in the Dept of Ecology realizes that oil occurs naturally in our oceans and in fact about half the oil in the oceans come from naturally occurring sources.  This is one of my favorites, it is a great historical description of naturally occurring crude oil along the West coast.

Pedro Fages, a Spanish explorer and military commander of the Monterey Presidio, in his report to the Viceroy of New Spain recorded the use of tar and oil by the natives near Mission San Luis Obispo. Fages’ account, written in 1775, mentions natives using tar for water- proofing baskets and pitchers and for caulking small boats. Fages also noted ” … pools of bitumen bubbling out of the ground” near the mouth of the Santa Clara River. In 1776, Spanish missionary Pedro Font recorded that “… much tar which the sea throws up is found on the shores, sticking to the stones and dry, little balls of tar are also found. Perhaps there are springs of it which flow out into the sea.” In 1793, during the travels of English explorer James Cook, his navigator, George Vancouver, recorded in his journal that they had anchored off of Goleta. Vancouver reported that the sea was “… covered with a thick, slimy substance, which, when separated or disturbed by any little agitation, became very luminous, whilst the slightest breeze, that came principally from onshore, brought with it a very strong scent of burning tar.” He continued that “… the sea had the appearance of dissolved tar floating on its surface, which covered the ocean in all directions within the limits of our view.”

So again…3 quarts?  If that is a crime then watch out on these upcoming hot sunny days because you never know how soon it will be until your kids, slathered with sunscreen, are slapped with a cease and desist order by our State Department of Ecology when they go wading in Bellingham Bay?

Sunscreens are a great way to prevent some of these harms, but unless you pick the right sunscreen it might be doing more harm than good, exposing you to even more health concerns while contaminating fish and water.

If you think that I am crazy or that I am just being alarmist, think about the thousands of people with just a little dab of sunscreen and remember what the Department of Ecology spokesperson said, “every time there’s a spill there’s more environmental damage.” 

Media Malpractice: the movie

I think any reader of this blog knows that I don’t believe we elected the best person during our last election.  So here we are today halfway through President Obama’s  term with talk of his reelection beginning to ramp up.  I’m guessing there are a lot of very disappointed Barack Obama supporters wondering what happened?   

Well media manipulation prompted by themselves, savvy campaigns, or both is what happened.

If you were intrigued by that little teaser, it’s worth taking a look at a complete documentary about media influences so that you can put your skeptic hat on as we once again approach elections.  If you have a Netflix account  Media Malpractice by John Zeigler is a full length in depth documentary currently on their Watch Instantly list, or there is more about the video and it’s production at Media Malpractice.

Don’t be duped into voting for I-1098

I-1098, formerly I-1077 is billed as making our state tax code more fair.  But the message on the street that seems to resonate is the one that was repeated in today’s Herald,

A campaign to impose an income tax on the state’s wealthiest residents is likely headed to the November ballot,

And it is the same message that is on the vote Yes on 1098 website

[I-1098] Imposes a high-earners income tax only on the wealthiest 3 percent of households

This should sound great to the 97% of us who aren’t the wealthiest 3% and even better because we are also promised a 20 percent cut in the state property tax and an elimination of B&O taxes for more than 375,000 small businesses.   And yes, it sounds great right up until you read the initiative and have the sense to put 2 and 2 together.

The Dupe:

As pointed out in the AP/Herald article the income tax has only 2 brackets and won’t apply to anyone who makes under $200,000.

The income tax would have two brackets. The first is 5 percent of any income above $200,000, or $400,000 for couples. The second bracket is 9 percent on the income above $500,000 for individuals or $1 million for couples.

Seams pretty clear, but the article is wrong.  If you read Initiative 1098 you will find that there are not just 2 brackets, there are actually 3 brackets and tax rates defined.

If taxable income received is: The tax is:
Not over $200,000 0
Over $200,000 but not over $500,000 5.0% of the excess over $200,000
Over $500,000 $15,000 plus 9.0% of the excess over $500,000

The initiative does not state that those making under $200,000 won’t be taxed.  It does say that we will be taxed at an initial rate of 0%.  With the aid of slacker media, we are being duped into voting in a state income tax that applies not just to the rich, but to everyone of us no  matter how much or how little we make.   If the intent was really to not tax those who make less than $200,000, then why not just say that instead of making a tax bracket with a rate of 0%.  Is anyone so  naive to think that the 0% rate won’t go up once the tax structure is in place?

One of the commenters on the AP/Herald article though, points out this regarding the initiative.

This initiative explicitly requires a future, majority vote of the populace to expand an income tax to lower income levels.

And they are correct, there is a section that would protect the us from this rate increasing without both the legislature and us approving it.

Sec. 1004. The excise tax rates in section 501 of this act may not be increased for any income level without a majority vote of the legislature and submission of the changes to the people for approval.

But I’ll say this again, as I’ve said it again before, Never underestimate our elected official’s resourcefulness when it comes to taking our money.    I am certain that the legislature will approve it leaving only the will of the voters between us and an income tax for everyone.

Does anyone remember the will of the voters who approved Initiative 960 which required a 2/3 majority of lawmakers to approve tax increases?  And do we remember that our lawmakers figured out, not a way to reign in spending, but rather, a way to suspended the initiative that we approved?   Here it is again, Never underestimate our elected official’s resourcefulness when it comes to taking our money.

Make no mistake, if you vote for a state income tax for anyone, you will be taxed by the state.  Don’t allow yourself to be duped. Vote NO on I-1098.