Wally Wonders Why No editor, no publisher, you get what you get

June 20, 2012

Bellingham council seeks court challenge on no-coal-train initiative

Attention Bellingham residents!

Bellingham council seeks court challenge on no-coal-train initiative

BELLINGHAM – After Coal-Free Bellingham initiative backers turned in about 10,000 signatures for a ballot proposal that would outlaw coal trains in the city, the City Council voted to challenge the validity of the measure in court.

via Bellingham council seeks court challenge on no-coal-train initiative | Local News | The Bellingham Herald.

If you are a Bellingham resident you need to give this "Coal-Free Bellingham Initiative" your full attention before signing or supporting it because it is not really about coal.  It is really about using local anti-coal and anti-coal port sentiment to trick you into signing away your rights.

City of Bellingham Initiative No. 2012-2 concerns the people’s right of self-government. This measure would establish the sovereignty of Bellingham residents, the rights of natural communities, and rights to a sustainable energy future and a healthy climate; prohibit corporations from transporting coal in the City; deny legal personhood and constitutional rights to corporate violators; deny the use of federal and state preemptive law to corporate violators; deny the validity of contrary permits; authorize private party civil enforcement actions; and repeal all inconsistent provisions of existing City ordinances.
“Should this measure be enacted into law?” Yes?______ No?______

Did you find the word “coal” in the initiative?   Go ahead look again if you have to, it is buried right in the middle of a lot of things that are completely separate issues from either coal trains or coal ports.  I’m fairly certain that it is all these separate issues, that make up the bulk of the initiative, which give the City of Bellingham cause to challenge the initiative’s validity.  

I’d like to believe that this initiative will never actually appear on a ballot, but strange things happen in Bellingham. 

Just say no!

June 15, 2012

Cut our Losses; Abandon the Gateway Pacific Terminal

It is about time we just cut our losses and abandon the fight for a Coal Port at Cherry Point.  In my opinion we have reached a point where there are so many reasons not to have the Gateway Pacific Terminal/SSA Marine Port, that continuing the fight, which is really fight between coal fired conglomerates and the Sierra Club, will only create a big lose lose situation regardless of who wins the fight.

Reasons not to have the Gateway Pacific Terminal/SSA Marine Port.

  • Our coal reserve is of strategic importance.
  • Coal is a raw material that we should be using to create value added items for export so the import/export balance shifts in the right direction for US companies
  • Exporting coal helps China to produce goods for us to import which shifts the import/export balance in the wrong direction.
  • Additional shipping terminal, whether coal or not coal will have an additional negative impact on the environment.  How much or how little will be mitigated doesn’t change the fact that there will be some negative impact.
  • Health risks due to the transport and storage of coal in Whatcom County and beyond.
  • Coal trains are a visually ugly blight on the look and feel of Bellingham.
  • Coal trains will add to much noise to the local environment
  • Taxpayers will be stuck with the financial impact of transportation upgrades due all aspects of the port.
  • Cancer rates in Whatcom will go up.
  • Long wait times at rail crossings will adversely effect business.
  • Continued advancement of corporate greed and rule over the American people
  • Wetlands destroyed/not fully mitigated
  • Wildlife suffering
  • Global warming/Global climate change due to coal burning
  • etc.
  • etc.
  • etc.

Whether you agree with the reasons or not,  they are still positions that are held by some in the community so even if they might not be legal or real to you or I, they are fit for the argument because they are real to those who believe them.  This is especially so in the court of public opinion, which is currently where the coal port battle is being waged.  This is not to say that there aren’t good arguments for the Coal Port such as jobs, tax revenue, and just plain standing up for property rights.  After all, in America if someone owns property and they are using it in a legal manner, then they have the right to do so.  However in America you also have the legal right to step off a curb into the crosswalk  when the Walk signal appears, but doing so in front of a red-light running MAC truck is still stupid.  You can make a stand for what is right, but the game always ends the same way, MAC truck 1 – Pedestrian 0

The Sierra Club is that red-light running MAC truck with a no coal goal and they don’t seem to care what laws are broken and who is run over as long as the coal is left in the ground.  And like the MAC truck, it seems the Sierra club doesn’t lose.

Sierra Club: Coal Victories Across the Nation!

Because we live in a world currently powered primarily by fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil, and because a good portion of the suppliers of crude oil are unstable and openly hostile towards our nation, I consider all U.S. fossil fuels to be strategic reserves.  If and/or when the Middle East becomes too unstable or radioactive to supply us with oil, I for one, would like to still be sitting on a large pile of coal.  Our national leaders haven’t come to this realization yet, and started addressing it with legislation, but they will.   I am firmly opposed to this Coal Port proposal because the primary customer for the coal is not within our nation, it is China.  Run a coal train right out to Cherry Point on their way to Alaska, Oregon, California and I’ll happy wave to them as they rumble by, but don’t ship US coal to a foreign nation.

I’m not opposed though to burning fossil fuels of all types, however I’d be stupid, as would anyone, to turn a blind eye to the Sierra Club’s record in opposition to coal and other fossil fuels.   Given their record who would bet against them?  Perhaps someone with a lot of money?  Maybe, but even money won’t guarantee a Coal Port when Sierra Club, with plenty of financial and government support, has been placing even more emphasis on coal over the last few years.Sierra Club annual notes

But what if the unimaginable happens and Coal Port proponents do manage to squeak out a victory?  Well it would have come at a large financial cost to Whatcom County and Bellingham.   The battles would have also created a much stronger, more motivated, more cohesive green socialist group in the Bellingham area and in spite of the Coal Port being built, the anti-coal groups will likely have used anti-coal sentiments to help pass things like the Bellingham Community Bill of Rights and more stringent land use regulations.  We’d have a coal port, but also a much more greatly divide social climate and a much more unfriendly business environment.

There isn’t a win anywhere in the future so it is time to take a hard pragmatic look at the lose-lose situation and cut our losses.   Time to have the County Council just say no to the port and all the expenses involved with the battle.

March 11, 2012

Bellingham Secessionist Movement

ConFlagThey call themselves Coal Free Bellingham, but such a benign name doesn’t accurately describe the motivations behind what they call their Bellingham Community Bill of Rights.   Coal though, is the big topic of discussion in the Bellingham/Whatcom are and those promoting this Bellingham Community Bill of Rights are capitalizing on local anti-coal sentiment by using it as a vehicle to change the way our local, state and national governments work together.  In fact, as you will see they are not just advocating a new working relationship, they are actually trying to opt out of our system of governance and attempting to establish their own new system of governance.

The opening statement on the Coal Free Bellingham website is the tip off to their true intentions.  It fails to mention burning coal, transporting coal by train, the proposed coal port, or even any mention of coal at all.

More people are becoming aware that the promise of an American democratic republic is not being met. Instead of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, we have government “of corporations, by corporations and for corporations”.

Coal Free Bellingham

So it doesn’t mention coal at all, but what this statement does mention is that they feel that our democratic republic is not working because the balance of power has shifted away from the people and towards corporations.   Interestingly, I am in complete agreement with what they say about corporate power and I’d even take it one step further by throwing in unions, especially public employee unions.  I honestly and wholeheartedly agree that the balance of power has shifted away from the people and it is a big problem in our nation today.  However, I believe that we need to stick together and work together to fix the problem, but by reading their proposed Bill of Rights Ordinance, I see that they think the solution is to opt out and start their own government.

City of Bellingham Initiative No. 2012-2 concerns the people’s right of self-government. This measure would establish the sovereignty of Bellingham residents,

I’m in the middle of reading Killing Lincoln, so that other period in our nation’s history where a group of people felt they had to break off and establish their sovereignty is pretty fresh in my mind.   At that time slavery abolitionists were gaining power in our nation.  The people of the Southern states, rather than continuing to work for a solution, decided to secede, or opt out, from the United States and establish a their own new system of government.    And like coal is the vehicle for the Bellingham secessionist movement, slavery was the vehicle for the Southern States secessionist movement.  This is plainly evident when you look at some of the language used in the states’ Ordinances of Secession with with references to “slavery” removed.

…is hereby dissolved, and that the State of North Carolina is in full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.

…Federal Government has failed to accomplish the purposes of the compact of union between these States

State of Louisiana hereby resumes all rights and powers heretofore delegated to the Government of the United States of America…she is in full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty

We, the people of the State of Tennessee, waiving any expression of opinion as to the abstract doctrine of secession, but asserting the right, as a free and independent people, to alter, reform, or abolish our form of government in such manner as we think proper…

…declare that the people are thereby absolved from all allegiance to said government, and that they have a right to establish any government which to them may seem best adapted to the preservation of their rights and liberties.

And they do further declare, That said Constitution of the United States of America is no longer binding on any of the citizens of this State.

…and to longer submit to such rule, or remain in the old Union of the United States…

And if you remove any mention of “coal” from the proposed Bellingham Community Bill of Rights Ordinance it is plainly obvious that this is also ultimately about secession.

… concerns the people’s right of self-government. This measure would establish the sovereignty of Bellingham residents,

…adoption of this ordinance by the people of Bellingham is a necessary first step

…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…

…the people of Bellingham desire to restore a balanced and democratic system of government

…the State of Washington and the United States have failed to act in accordance with the public trust, and the people of Bellingham find it necessary to act on their own behalf

…the people of Bellingham… by creating a new structure of law…

…that new structure of law is embodied in this ordinance, which recognizes a Bill of Rights for the residents…

I think you’d agree that the Bellingham Community Bill of Rights Ordinance could have been titled the Bellingham Secession Ordinance without changing much, if any, of the content.   I found it ironic that the Coal Free Bellingham people used the words, “of the people, by the people, and for the people”  in their introduction, because if you read the full quote which is from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address you’d see he meant it to say that we need to fight tooth, nail and Civil War to keep our nation as one, so that it “shall not perish from the earth”.

— that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

President Abraham Lincoln
Gettysburg, PA
November 19, 1863

Our laws bind us and strengthen us together as a nation, as States, as Counties, as Cities and as a People. This movement isn’t about coal, the Bellingham Bill of Rights is about tearing at the very fabric that holds our nation together.   I urge everyone, Bellingham resident or not, to oppose any advancement or support for this ill conceived and very dangerous document.


Links to further information

Activists start gathering signatures in hopes of banning coal trains in Bellingham – Yes, this is an article in the Bellingham Herald about gathering initiative signitures for the Bellingham Community Bill of Rights, yet there is no mention in the article of a new structure of law, just stopping coal. Note that comments on the Herald sight appear to be disappearing so if you have something to say try their FaceBook Page or get a message straight to the Mayor of Bellingham or to members of their City Council.

KGMI’s Wealth Wake Up with Dick Donahue – Podcast of interview with Bruce Ayers regarding the Bellingham Community Bill of Rights.  Interview starts in around the 7:00 minute mark.


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