It’s happened in previous decades and it’s happening again. Unelected Americans working within a U.S. Administration are (apparently) circumventing the will of a democratically elected U.S. president.
It happened to president Reagan, to president Carter, to president Nixon, to president Kennedy (ushering in the loss of innocence in America, and destroying a noble family in the process) and it happened to Ike Eisenhower who was America’s five-star general and Supreme Allied Commander in WWII before becoming the president of the United States. And all these U.S. presidents were legally voted into office by American citizens via a rigorous democratic process.
America has a problem.
Were the Unnamed Operatives Elected to be President, or Was the President Elected to be the President?
Of course Donald Trump was elected to lead the American people, to have the privileges of the highest executive office in the land, and to hold the most powerful keys of the country’s armed forces.
In defense of the unnamed operatives; There’s no doubt that such people interfere in the proper operation of the White House for the most altruistic of reasons and believe wholeheartedly that they’re doing the right thing for the United States and feel very patriotic about the actions they take. Certainly they’re risking their careers to stand up for what they believe is ‘right’ for America.
Therefore, I sincerely and profoundly admire the motivations of such operatives, but the simple fact is they’re wrong to subvert the will of American voters who voted — not for political operatives to run the country — but for Donald Trump to run the country.
Whether I like or hate President Donald Trump as a person (or like or hate his policies) or whether I’m his biggest backer on both counts (I’m not) this discussion must be about democracy in America and who is, and who isn’t, allowed to tamper with the process.
Maybe Trump Is All The Anonymous Operatives Say He Is: Regardless, He’s Still the President
What if President Donald Trump really is everything his detractors say; “Amoral, Impetuous, Adversarial, Petty, Half-Baked, Ill-Informed, and Occasionally Reckless” or his worst sin I suspect, not being under their control as they would like?
These operatives want him under some kind of control — not because he is bad for the country — but because he’s big, powerful, and scary, and such people need to be kept under control! (Don’t they?)
In an anonymous Op/Ed posted at the New York Times today the operative or operatives wrote, “It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.”
Shocking that any unelected official would say it in any country about any leader — let alone in the United States of America — one of the best democratic nations in the world.
In some countries, writing or speaking such words might get you arbitrarily imprisoned for a number of years, it might get you dead, or it might be the reason you hideout in another country for the next 25-years.
Yes, I ‘get’ that he is big, powerful, and scary, and he doesn’t negotiate using the same tried and true methods as previous American presidents. And to some people that means they must step in to control the situation — because to them — it means the president is out of control.
Or is it they just don’t recognize that the guy really is some kind of weird genius who, using the weirdest methods possible (to them) gets his way (which to Donald Trump, means getting America’s way) and is a breath of fresh air to American politics.
He isn’t like the last holder of that office, nor will Donald Trump be like his successor whomever that may be. He’s a one-off, unique communicator, and definitely an agent of change for the country.
But in their own way, so were Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and many others. Such a disparate and talented group of individuals American presidents are — and each one in his own way cut across boundaries to do great things for the country they love. You have to admire them as individuals regardless of which side of politics you’re on.
Whether you like Trump’s style or not, he is accomplishing things for the country. Bombastic, irreverent, loud and in charge, or however you want to term his style, he gets results and bad press — although I’ve seen harsher media coverage of a U.S. president.
All administrations have their chaotic moments. Most however, have plenty of experienced politicians working for them who know how to cover it with the White House press corps. But such is not the case with the Trump White House. Many people who work there are ultra-patriotic Americans who would take a bullet for their country, yet they might not have decades of beltway experience to guide them around Washington’s invisible traps.
But as long as Trump feels he is accomplishing good things for the country, he’ll stay on as the country’s leader. But he’s the kind of person who would resign if he ever felt he wasn’t contributing to America’s success. Such is his love for the country.
He’s the President for as Long as ‘We The People’ Say He Is
Barring ill health or accident, Trump is the President for the next 2 1/2 years.
The position of the American president is, by careful design, the person elected to carry out the will of the people and is the person most responsible for, and the most responsive to, United States citizens. It goes with the office.
The president of the United States works for the American people and his loyalty must be to them, and ultimately is accountable only to them. But those who work for the president, work for the president and are accountable to the president, not to voters.
Therefore, if these operatives feel they can do a better job as president, they should submit their resignation (and, if they feel the need) post a copy in the New York Times outlining the reasons they worked to subvert the decisions of the elected president, and at the next election run for the top job themselves.
It’s an honourable way to register their disappointment with the nation’s chief executive.
Four things have happened in relatively quick succession in regards to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project (TMX) that Kinder Morgan proposed back in 2013 and it’s important to understand those before proceeding.
- On November 29, 2016 Canadian regulators approved the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project.
- On May 29, 2018, the Canadian federal government acquired the Trans Mountain Pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion.
- On August 30, 2018 the Federal Court of Appeals reversed the original decision of the court to approve the TMX pipeline.
- On August 31, 2018, the purchase of the TMX pipeline by the Canadian government from Kinder Morgan finally completed.
If the federal government wants to be able to restart work on the pipeline expansion project and be well placed to sell it to investors, the federal government of Canada must now enter into negotiations with the stakeholders who weren’t consulted in the original consultation process and gain their acceptance to allow the TMX pipeline expansion project to continue.
NOTE: On August 31, 2018 Alberta premier Rachel Notley pulled her province out of the federal government’s national carbon tax plan to register her displeasure with the Federal Court of Appeals and to put more pressure on the Justin Trudeau government to get the TMX pipeline completed.
How to Address Legitimate Safety Concerns of Vancouver and Burnaby Residents
It’s a huge undertaking to sail an oil tanker through English Bay and into Vancouver Harbour under the Lions Gate Bridge and the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, park it at Parkland Oil Refinery and fill that tanker with 250-thousand barrels of oil, tar sands ‘dilbit’ material, jet fuel, gasoline or naptha (all of them highly volatile or explosive liquids) and then sail out of Vancouver through a frenetic crowd of marine traffic including float planes landing and taking off every few minutes, ferries, pleasure boats, container ships and cruise ships.
Vancouver Harbour is far too congested for this dangerous practice to continue. There are almost half a million people living and working within a few miles of both sides of that very narrow waterway.
It may have been OK back in 1953 when the Trans Mountain Pipeline was originally built, but it’s definitely not OK now.
A Solution Hiding in Plain Sight
What could solve these very serious issues, is to continue the TMX pipeline route on to Deltaport (a major industrial port south of Vancouver) and relocate the existing Parkland Oil Refinery in Burnaby, BC to Deltaport, BC. The existing site in Burnaby would need to be remediated as it’s unsuitable for housing or businesses due to the steep terrain and continuous rail traffic along the water’s edge.
The Delta Superport (Deltaport)
The Deltaport facility in Delta, BC is already the site of a major rail terminus where thousands of rail cars offload 29 million of tonnes of coal every day for transport to ports around the Pacific Rim trading area and other large scale industries operate in Deltaport.
There are container ship facilities there and also some shipbuilding and ship repair businesses operate within the industrial zone. The Delta Superport site (Deltaport) was specifically chosen because it’s well away from major population centres in case of land or marine-based accident at the site.
Also, in the event of pipeline construction delays or oil spills along the Trans Mountain Pipeline corridor, railcars could haul Alberta’s oil and dilbit to the Delta Superport as they already travel from Alberta and Saskatchewan to Deltaport 365 days of the year.
For an extra $5 billion (for example) the federal government could continue the pipeline to Deltaport and assist Parkland Oil Refinery Ltd. to move their existing oil refinery to Deltaport, thereby neatly solving every safety issue.
If taxpayer revenue isn’t used to enhance the safety and security of hundreds of thousands of people, what is the point of collecting taxes in the first place? Surely Job Number One for any level of government is the safety of its citizens — especially when such large numbers of people could be adversely affected in the case of a major marine spill and/or fire in Vancouver Harbour.
Moving the Burnaby Oil Refinery to Deltaport Solves Every Safety Concern
Captains of oil tankers that leave port full of refined oil products (like gasoline, for one example) will be happy to find they won’t be ‘deking around’ a dizzying flow of float planes taking off and landing, small transit ferries packed full of commuters, pleasure boats, container ships and cruise ships — as they are forced to do when they arrive and leave through Vancouver Harbour and Burrard Inlet.
In fact, the only activity at Deltaport is the ten bulk carriers (coal) that leave port every day and (judging on personal observation, although not recently) the one container ship that leaves port every night.
As mentioned earlier in this blog post, way back in 1953 the Burnaby location was probably the best option for the region — but with the huge increase of marine traffic in Vancouver Harbour and English Bay since those days, it’s an accident waiting to happen.
If the federal government wants a solution that works for everyone this should be their Number One priority — and failing that — perhaps the proposal I’ve suggested should become a requirement for any potential purchaser of the TMX pipeline before their bid would be accepted.
It’s the responsible thing to do.
Vancouver is suffering the worst bout of poor air quality in its 132-year history
Since the 2018 forest fire season began, smoke has been accumulating in the atmosphere and finding its way to lower elevations in the province of British Columbia.
The greatest concentration of BC residents live in the province’s Lower Mainland (also called the MVRD or Metro Vancouver Regional District) home to 2.8 million people and the average elevation of the region isn’t that much higher than sea level.
The mountains that surround the area keep the smoke from moving out of the region, which is why all that smoke is concentrating in the MVRD, instead of dispersing.
How to Solve Air Quality Issues in Vancouver (and in every other city)
Every year, Vancouver is inundated with smoke from distant forest fires. It’s no surprise that Vancouverites are visited by a virtual wall of smoke every summer and it seems to be completely uncontrollable even with today’s modern fire-fighting methods. Therefore, the only variable that can work to improve air quality in the Vancouver region is to drastically limit the use of motor vehicles within the MVRD during the worst air quality days.
Several cities in the world have already adopted ‘Car-Free’ days in an attempt to mitigate their urban air pollution and it can work wonders for local air quality. Seoul, Paris, Copenhagen and other modern-thinking cities simply issue a ‘Car-Free’ notice and cars and trucks are banned from the cities roads until further notice.
In Paris, emergency vehicles still operate and people with medical emergencies may use their car to drive someone to the Hospital or to an Ambulance station — but they are speed-limited to 20 miles per hour — though with zero traffic in Paris on ‘Car-Free’ days it means you get to the Hospital much sooner than compared to normal traffic days. Also, the city’s transit system boost the number of buses to accommodate the extra ridership.
Parisians instructed to leave cars home during the city’s third official ‘Car-Free’ day
“Vehicles were forbidden from all of the city’s historic centre for the day on Sunday, making way for environmentally friendly modes of transport such as cycling.
The first journee sans voiture (day without cars) was held in September 2015 and was found to reduce exhaust emissions by 40 per cent. The idea has since been repeated twice.
But this time the zone has been expanded, covering 40 square miles over the historical centre of the French capital, and was in force between 11am and 6pm.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was first elected in 2014 on a promise to tackle pollution in the city, which is estimated to kill 6,000 every year. She has begun building new bus and cycling lanes to reclaim the roads from cars.” — The Independent
‘Car-Free’ Days for Vancouver?
It’s long past the time for the Metro Vancouver Regional District to embrace the idea of ‘Car-Free’ days during peak air pollution events such as forest fires, weather inversions or other events that wreak havoc with air quality — and by doing so — lower ambient emission levels by 40% or more.
Screenshot of the most recent Air Quality Advisory in Effect for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley of British Columbia
If you care about air quality in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, call or write your elected officials to suggest they implement ‘Car-Free’ days during periods of poor air quality.
Such ‘Car-Free’ days have been found to lower air pollution by 40% or more in other cities, which can dramatically improve air quality and improve the personal health of everyone who lives in the region.