EU elections. Brexit, Greens, Lib Dems gain. Far left, mainstream loses

European elections results

Brexit and far right parties are surging in the EU elections. In Britain, the Farage’s Brexit Party is first, followed by Liberal Democrats, Labour, Greens, and then Tories. That’s right, The Brexit Party, which is running the first time in UK is coming in first, while the Lib Dems who were almost wiped last election came in second.

Seems to me these are seismic shifts, Established parties in UK and Europe who did little but dither for years got clobbered while parties that at least appear to be engaged and who have actual messages did well. Yes, the Brexit Party has an actual message. It’s a repellant message. However it is indeed a message.

Happily Greens are kicking ass in multiple countries, especially Germany, coming in second behind Merkel with 22%. (Please do not confuse the German Green Party, which has been part of ruling coalitions there and possesses actual competence with the doddering, comatose Green Party in the US which has done nothing for 16 years except to come out of hibernation every four years to run a clown for president, then promptly hibernate again.)

I recommend reading the Twitter thread. Mounk says in most elections the left has focused on economic issues. However this time is is focused on cultural issues, and that is what is driving the Green vote, especially among young voters.

He says:
“One widely overlooked story from the European elections is the very poor showing of far-left parties.

Corbyn’s Labour? Came third!
Podemos in Spain? Down to 10%!
Syriza in Greece? Eclipsed by the center-right!
Melenchon in France? In the single digits!”

While I’m not sure Labour is far-left, he is correct is saying the far-left got clobbered. Maybe because it continually reiterates and in fact is captured by its own tired old ideas and ideologies. They don’t have much new to say. And voters responded to this by switching parties.

Huawei ban may have catastrophic effects on global tech

Huawei logo

Global tech may come screeching to a halt due to the Huawei ban. US tech companies no longer can ship chips and software to China and have them come back in new equipment. That process is now dead. What does that mean for iPhone production? No one knows yet. Google just announced they are blocking Android updates and Google apps like Gmail from Huawei products outside China. This is serious.

First off, this is not some new crazy thing Trump announced. Rumblings from itelligence and our government have been saying for at least ten years that Huawei is problematic at best, not trustworthy, and highly suspect as they essentially are part of the China government. Huawei has a long list of bribery and corruption charges worldwide.

There is wide bipartisan support for sanctioning and investigating Huawei in Congress .

Those companies are now waking up to a harsh reality. China’s pursuit of the commanding heights of tech, its intermingling of the party-state with the private sector, and blocking of U.S. tech firms at home give American politicians on both sides of the aisle little reason to hit the brakes. Just a day after the Huawei decisions were released, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee announced a “deep dive” into China’s tech and surveillance industries, with prominent Trump critic Rep. Adam Schiff (D) and his political opposite Republican Rep. Devin Nunes hitting similar hawkish notes on China.

Huawei is controlled by the Chinese government.

But the U.S. government, particularly its intelligence agencies, has been insistent for nearly a decade that Huawei has been in collusion with Beijing’s Communist government on developing its technology, with the goal of giving it an espionage advantage.
The alleged relationship between Huawei and China’s government defies the traditional risk process for two reasons, according to former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, because the equipment is so integral to American infrastructure and because the equipment can be changed through future patches or updates.

Bribery, corruption charges follow Huawei around world.

Security concerns about Huawei and other Chinese telecom equipment providers are mounting after U.S. prosecutors last month charged the company founded by a former People’s Liberation Army officer with violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, purloining trade secrets from T-Mobile and encouraging its employees to steal intellectual property.

The focus on national security concerns about Huawei has eclipsed a little reported aspect of the company’s operations: Huawei’s involvement in corrupt business dealings.

Ginormous solar PV and CSP in Dubai will be biggest solar park ever

Dubia solar PV and CSP

A solar park in Dubai will be 80 square miles in size when completed, with thousands of solar PV panels and the biggest Concentrated Solar Power tower ever. Output will be a serious 5 GW, which will make it one of the biggest power plants on the planets, with only a few nukes bigger. It will also be the biggest single-site solar park in the world.

Dubai is studying ways to cut dust build up on solar panels, because dust decreases efficiency, as well as using a dry robotic system to clean the panels quickly.

CSP uses mirrors to reflect the heat of the sun towards a central tower to power steam turbines. It also stores excess heat in molten salt so power can be generated at night too. The steam generally is allowed to turn back into water so it can be reused.

Dubai plans to have 75% renewable energy by 2050 and 25% by 2030.

“Typically, CSP will have efficiencies which are slightly higher than photovoltaics (PVs),” Christos Markides, professor of clean energy technologies at Imperial College London, told CNN. CSP stores energy as heat rather than in batteries. “Thermal energy storage is something like 10-times cheaper than electrical energy storage,” he explained. “That gives that particular technology an advantage.”

CSP can continue to create electricity even without the sun and well into the night. Dubai’s tower can store heat for 15 hours and will be able to provide power 24 hours a day

Democrats: Big tent party, yes. Moving hard left, no

Democratic 2020 poll. Biden is way ahead

The big takeaway from Biden’s impressive polls numbers might be that social media and hardcore left politicos are not representative of the Democratic Party as a whole. And probably never have been. Which doesn’t mean at all that they can’t influence things, only that they are not the mainstream.

The Democratic Party is a big tent party, and that’s a good thing. Also, let’s remember what Will Rogers said, “I’m not a member of an organized party, I’m a Democrat.” There’s quite a lot of truth in that. Democratic Party presidential primaries are always tumultuous. This year will be same as it ever was.

Elliot Morris is a pollster who did such extraordinary polling analysis while in college in 2016 that the Economist hired him as a pollster when he graduated. His Twitter feed is separate from his day job.

Astonishingly perhaps the data shows Biden is slightly more popular with young people and liberals than is Bernie Sanders.

All of this may change however multiple polls now are confirming that Biden is way ahead of the other candidates.

That’s not the point. He’s way ahead now. Why is that?

(Hey, I’m for Swalwell!)

Big tent party but not hard left

Twin Tunnels plan in Sacramento Delta is dead. Good.

Sacramento River. Twin Tunnels area
Sacramento River Delta Credit:

CA Governor Gavin Newsom has officially killed the Twin Tunnels plan to sluice enormous amounts of water from the Sacramento Delta to the Central Valley and Southern California. Good. The plan was always an expensive boondoggle that would have put even more stress on the Sacramento Delta and its fish.

The plan never treated the Delta fairly. It was always a ploy to grab water from the north and send it south. Previous governor Jerry Brown was all for the twin tunnels. Newsom withdrew permit applications, which stops the project.

Instead, California will focus on a much more modest one tunnel plan, recharging groundwater, building local water reserves statewide, and, yes, protecting the Delta, which is something Jerry Brown had no interest in doing.

Such a scaled-back project could cost roughly $10 billion, according to estimates done by the state and water agencies last year. The decision was largely a victory for environmental groups and Delta political leaders, and a setback for Los Angeles water officials who had supported the plan and promised to pay for most of it.

“It’s great to hear the destructive Delta twin tunnels project has been abandoned,” said Jeff Miller, a senior conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “California should focus on restoring the vital Delta ecosystem and its native fish instead of diverting more water.”

Los Angeles water officials, who were unhappy with Newsom’s move, were stoic Thursday.

“The status quo in the Delta is simply not an option,” said Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which has 19 million customers. “New conveyance is essential. The current system is already outdated and vulnerable; climate change will further stress it with a future of sea level rise and increasingly intense floods and droughts.”