Thursday, August 30, 2007

The REAL Harry Reid

I had the pleasure of meeting Senate Majority Leader – Senator Harry Reid at a meeting in Ely a few days ago. It was in inspiration to witness for myself that there really are members of Congress with a conscience.

I've met a few politicians in my life. Most of them have very similar personality traits. Most of them seem outgoing, a little too friendly, and well... you never know for sure whether to believe them or not. When I met Governor Jim Gibbons a month ago, I wasn't surprised. Call it instinct, but I knew he was a politician.

Not that Senator Harry Reid isn't a politician, just not the kind I expected. He seems a bit shy. He never seemed “used car salesman” friendly. And he didn't mince words when he disagreed with you.

As an example; one of the people at the meeting wasn't happy about Reid's stance on the coal-fired power plants. As the man was elaborating on how much cleaner coal is than back in the days of the Kennecott plant (his numbers were incorrect, by the way), well... Harry interrupted him with the comment; “If they're telling you that, they're lying to you.” I couldn't have been more impressed. That's exactly what I would have told him.

What impressed me most was how Senator Harry Reid explained himself. It truly sounded like this man believed in what he was doing. Plus, he was smart as a tack – smart enough to make the best decisions and have the arguments to back them up.

Before this meeting, I suspected that Mr. Reid might have “conspired” with his sons on the SNWA water grab. I don't think that anymore. Senator Reid is a very busy man. With having to deal with the “war,” our teetering economy, and dirty Republican political tactics every day – Nevada issues likely have often taken a back seat. Consequently, he may have trusted his sons to give him information about the water grab. Of course, one son is on the Board of SNWA, and I believe another son is an attorney for Vidler (Water). It may very well be that they haven't given him the best information. If so, it is up to us to help him understand our side of the story.

Senator Harry Reid will legislate with his conscience. We've seen it happen with the coal-fired carpetbaggers. If he understands that there are better options than turning our homeland into a giant dust-bowl, don't be surprised if he supports a rational solution – and there is a rational solution. A combination of conservation, offshore desalination, and the development and use of crops that use less water (in California) could go a long way before Southern Nevada actually needs Great Basin water.

Monday, August 27, 2007

What Conspiracy Theories?

I wrote this letter to the Ely Times as a reply to the Editor's comments that bordered on accusing me of being a paranoid follower of conspiracy theories. Of course, that's to be expected from the mainstream press. When you can't beat the message, attack the messenger. That's OK though. He prints my letters, and I help him sell newspapers. I've added links (that were not in the newspaper article) for you to further study my insights. The Letter:

I apologize. I was out of line to imply that The Ely Times “As We See It” column was written by ghost writers from out of town. You may recall, however, I only asked if that were the case. Plainly, one wouldn't have to be too paranoid to suspect something – when these editorials haven't been signed. Thank you for reassuring us that the WE in these editorials are you. You're good writers. Be proud of your work. Sign it.

And yes, it may seem that I “believe” quite a few conspiracy theories. Actually, I'd like to think of it as I've come to logical conclusions based upon a preponderance of evidence – and I believe there is a better way. So, here are a few “conspiracy theories” I feel warrant attention:

  1. Big corporate retailers, like Wal Mart, have been conspiring to run mom-and-pop businesses out of existence all across America. The only reason Ely has been spared so far is because we're such a small, remote town.

  2. Credit companies have conspired to keep us in debt for life. In 2006, the five biggest credit card companies made $8.5 million in congressional campaign contributions.

  3. The coal industry has been conspiring to force liquefied coal on us – at taxpayers expense. There is already a “factory” in Missouri that can turn almost anything with carbon in it into fuel oil. Thats right, we already have the technology to turn household waste, plastic, even sewage into fuel oil. Why bother with mining and shipping coal, when we can utilize our dumps?

  4. The fossil fuel industry has been conspiring to suppress alternative energy ever since Bush senior became vice president in 1980. At times, counter-intuitively, subsidies for fossil fuels have been hundreds of times those for wind and solar energy.

  5. The power companies, auto industry, and fossil fuel industry have conspired to play down global warming in the mass media. Advertising millions have a lot of influence. Legitimate science journals are unanimously concerned about global warming pollution. And a man just swam at the North Pole! That's unheard of!

  6. The handful of corporations who own most of mass media have conspired to promote only those reporters who recite corporate propaganda. To my surprise, when I compared Internet news stories from around the world, I've noticed that sometimes more objective reporting comes out of China and Russia! I couldn't believe it! Check for yourself.

  7. SNWA is conspiring to ignore desalination, even though it will likely be cheaper very soon. The motive is simple; the more scarce water is, the more they can charge for it.

  8. Although not a conspiracy; I think there is a trend that the rest of America is pushing to turn Rural Nevada into the nation's toxic dump.

  9. There is a “vast right wing conspiracy.” I prefer to call it the “Coal-ition of the Greedy.”

  10. We too, conspire. We crave quick cash. We fear change. We look the other way. Systematic destruction of the Environment is the elephant in the room we've been ignoring – at out own peril. In a way, we are all complicit in the most dangerous “conspiracy” of our civilization.

Thanks for printing my letters. You're very brave. Maybe it's my conspiratorial nature, but I suspect the people who've insisted you exile me to my blog are somewhat influential.

End of Letter to the Editor.

The last statement was in reference to Kent Harper's comment in the first article; “And I've received quite a few complaints.” In his second commentary, Kent says; “There are no “influential people” trying to silence or exile you.” I guess only un-influential people are complaining.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What's the Worst that Could be Happening?

It is possible that we have already reached our environmental tipping point? It is possible that extreme climate change is inevitable? Are we already screwed?

I've read that it would take 100,000 years for global warming gases to return to their pre-industrial levels, if we completely stopped producing them - now. As you all know, we've been waiting to see just how bad things get before we get serious about global warming pollutants. That, of course, will be too late.

Is it already too late for us to avoid the worst (that we can imagine so far) of the global warming damage - the melting of the polar ice caps? Maybe not. There is hope. If we continue at our present rate, however, the ice caps will be gone soon. The Arctic Ice cap is the smallest it has ever been in recorded history. This video shows Arctic Ice cap melting; to today, and the likely progression to 2050.

This projection was made by UCAR, who also point out that extensive wildfires are contributing massive amounts of pollutants into the air. Of course, some of these pollutants are global warming gases - which means we've incited nature to even further warm the planet. This is happening. The only real question is whether we have pushed this beyond the point of no return. Yet, our bureaucrats are still ignoring the obvious. Check to see if you find Global warming induced wildfires in the Draft Environmental Impact Statements of any coal-fired power plants.

While you're checking. Why don't you check to see if any of these Environmental Impact Statements mention hurricanes. Hurricane Dean was the third most powerful Atlantic Hurricane in recorded history. How many times do these things have to happen before we admit that they're more than just coincidences?

We are already seeing the first signs of Global warming - and they are so frightening that we don't want to believe this could be happening. Call it denial. We don't want to believe that this could be it. The worst thing that could be happening is that we may have already started in motion the extinction of humanity... And don't expect to be in heaven, safely watching from afar. If we screw things up here, it isn't very likely we'll be welcome any place else.

You'd think that would motivate us.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Where's That 250 Year Supply?

Unfckingbelievable!!! The coal industry promises us hundreds of years of coal, and it looks like they're already running low. It's easy to tell they've lied to us. The costs, the risks, and the environmental damage are all rising. Here are two examples:

1. The Bush administration intends to weaken environmental laws and give the coal industry the go ahead to destroy even more of the Appalachian mountains. Mountain top removal is the most destructive form of coal mining. And now they're going to make it even worse. The Federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, OSM, is proposing to exempt coal mining wastes from the 1983 regulation known as the Stream Buffer Zone Rule. This is a sign... This is a sign that the easy sites have been mined already, and the coal industry now wants to change the rules so that they can get to the riskier sites. At risk, what remains of the Appalachian mountains. Unbelievable!

2. The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that coal in Utah is getting harder to mine. The article reports of “difficult geologic conditions” that the Utah mines are having to deal with now. Since the coal in Utah mines is running low, this would mean that coal availability to coal-fired power plants in Nevada could be reduced to mines in Wyoming. The potential for monopoly like control of Nevada's coal supply is possible. At risk, our pocketbooks. At risk, the coal miners, nine of whom recently died trying to get coal from these riskier sites.

Allow me to remind you once again that there will always be plenty of sunlight and wind, and the price will always be free. Moreover, no one will die in sunlight or wind mines.

We have to fix our systems – now. How could our “brightest” minds be making such stupid decisions? Anyone paying any attention can tell that our “leaders” don't care about doing the right things. Hey, this administration has made torture legal, so why not indiscriminate environmental damage? Can you say “sociopaths?”

From 1992 to 2002, 1200 miles of Appalachian streams were buried under mining waste. If you find it utterly repulsive that they want to allow mountain top removal coal mining to get even more environmentally destructive – and you feel that what pathetic laws that do limit mountain top removal should remain intact, please write a comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Sorry I can't just provide you with a link. They're trying to make this difficult for us. The notice in the Federal Register can be found at From there, you have to use their search engine. Scroll down to “Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.” Then press “Submit.” Both the notice and the proposed rules titles start with “Excess Spoil ...” If you click on the pdf icon for the notice, and then scroll down most of one page, you will then find the title “Excess Spoil Minimization – Stream Buffer Zones Draft Environmental Impact Statement.” From there, you can find out where to send your comments.

Good luck, and don't give up. I know this sounds complicated, but once you know how to do this, you can check up on all the new BS regulations. Maybe next time you'll be informing me what they're up to.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ignorance, Waffling, or Disinformation?

Southern Nevada Water Authority has spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to “inform” us how green they are. They still don't look green to me.

  1. On KNPR “The State of Nevada,” Kay Brothers, from SNWA, is still claiming that the construction of the water pipeline network will cost $2 billion dollars. This is the same price they've claimed for at least a decade. Hey, why hasn't inflation effected SNWA's costs? An independent study, conducted by Mifflin and Associates, estimated the cost to be as much as $20 billion – ten times as much as the questionable SNWA “estimate.” Even if the population of Las Vegas doubles, that would amount to $5000 for every person in the city – before the price of the water gets marked up to pay for the power to run the pumps and, of course, OVERHEAD! When you consider the fact that if Southern Nevada were to grow responsibly; and only grow based upon the water they conserve, the water grab wouldn't be necessary – and they would save $20 billion.

  2. Kay also stated that there is no science to support the possibility that North Snake Valley could become uninhabitable from salt intrusion into their underground aquifers. What she didn't say was that also means there is no science to support that it won't happen either. This is exactly what Utah is concerned about. The USGS BARCAS study didn't cover it. All we have is a statement from Kimball Goddard, the Director of USGS in Nevada, that it could happen.

  3. SNWA has been constantly telling us that they're going to monitor the “at risk” areas. So what? Since they met with White Pine County in 2006, they have never been willing to commit to stopping pumping under any conditions.

  4. SNWA has promised to only drill wells far away from environmentally sensitive sites. This might protect these sensitive sites for a while, but as the water drawdown spreads, its inevitable that it will eventually reach the sites. And when it does, damage will be unstoppable. The water will already be gone from the wells.

  5. Pat Mulroy, the director of SNWA, has pointed out that Las Vegas needs “drought protection.” In case she didn't know, White Pine County is right in the middle of a serious drought. It might even be caused by the same global warming she sites as an excuse for the water grab. Since global warming is reducing the flow of the Colorado River, maybe it's also reducing the water recharge into the valleys SNWA wants to export water from. If Pat's global warming scenario is real, the BARCAS study may have grossly over-estimated the water in Rural Nevada and Utah.

  6. In the radio broadcast, Kay Brothers mentioned the word “mitigate” quite a number of times. SNWA's tactic of last resort appears to be pay everybody off. Add a few more bucks to that $20 billion bill.

Insurance Companies 1 - Children 0

What kind of philosophy says that it's O.K. to subsidize insurance companies, but not to provide health care to children?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Coal-ition Of The Greedy

Well, well, well, it looks like a coal-ition of the greedy is quietly getting together to plan another attack on our American government. Their goal; to get taxpayers to pay for the development of a coal-gasoline-like fuel that is actually dirtier than gasoline. And if their semi-covert operation succeeds, they might even get us to subsidize the construction of their coal liquification “plants.” (The term "plant" just doesn't seem appropriate here. These pollution conversion factories will actually end up killing real plants.)

Apparently, these greed driven sociopaths will not stop. We've already let them know we don't want this. We don't want to replace gasoline with dirty old coal. We want to replace gas with a form of energy that doesn't pollute our air, endanger miners, devastate the environment where the coal is mined, and belch out twice the global warming pollution as gasoline. So, if we want to stop these manics from stealing from us in order to poison us, we had better be ready to reinforce those in our government who want to do the right thing.

Personally, I really don't care if the coal industry wants to develop a new fuel from coal – if they pay for it themselves. Just don't make me pay for it! Don't promise the coal industry sweetheart deals with the Air Force! And don't set us up to believe that this fuel is cheaper than it actually is!

Pardon me for not having the actual numbers for how much we would really have to pay for this liquified coal (if anyone really knows, that number is a closely guarded secret). What information I do have, from Discover Magazine, is a report of: “a 1998 study by the International Center for Technology Assessment showing that unsubsidized conventional gasoline would cost consumers $15 a gallon.” Now, before you celebrate that the price at the pump isn't that high, realize that Big Gas isn't doing without. Your taxes pay the remainder. We're paying $15 a gallon, we just don't realize it. Worse, when you think about it, who doesn't pay their share of taxes? That's right, big corporations. You're subsidizing their gas consumption! And if you drive a small car, you're subsidizing your neighbor's Hummer gas bill too! This is what the coal industry covets.

Do you think for one moment that the coal industry won't lie, cheat, and steal for a piece of Big Gas' multi-billion dollar profits? Do you think for one moment that the coal industry would be above getting us to pay to set them up to overcharge us? In these insanely greedy times, this is apparently just “real-world” business sense. Of course, in the real real-world, money is just paper – and real wealth is natural and life-giving. If we Americans can't get together and fix our system, eventually all that will be left will be the filthy-rich and the dirt-poor – and we'll all end up buried in our own toxic waste.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?

The CEO of Sierra Pacific Resources gets 3.8 million dollars annually in salary and bonuses – and will get half a million dollars in yearly retirement – while utility bills went up 16%.

The coal industry claims that there is a 250 year supply of coal, and wants to increase use 70%. While the National Academy of Sciences states that there may, at best, be only a 100 year supply – at current use.

If the “scientists” in the coal industry have figured out how to burn “clean coal,” why haven't they shared the “clean” technology with the auto industry?

Of the 928 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles about global warming published between 1993 and 2003, none... none of them cast a doubt on human caused global warming. Yet, of the 3,543 “hard news” stories between approximately the same time period, 53% of them cast doubt.

The North Pole has melted enough for someone to swim there!

Many Fundamentalist Christians are more concerned about gay marriage than the fate of the environment.

Revelations 11:18 says God will destroy those who destroy the Earth.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Bush Threatens To Veto Clean Energy Bill

For almost thirty years now, the fossil fuel industry has received billions of dollars in subsidies from you, the taxpayer – while the alternative energy industry has been left to starve. In an attempt to rectify some of these injustices, the House has passed a bill that would take the $16 billion tax incentive give away to the fossil fuel industry (in the Energy Bill of 2005) and instead, give it to the alternative energy industry.

Bush and Dick, our oil-men in power, have threatened to veto this bill because it makes “no serious attempts to increase our energy security or address high energy costs” or promote domestic oil and gas production. Excuse me, but:

  1. Our energy security would be greater if we were to generate more of it here in the US, especially if we can depend on that energy for as long as the wind blows, the sun shines, the waves break, and the hot springs flow.

  2. Just remember; the Energy Bill of 2005 guaranteed that our energy costs would go up – by at least $16 billion dollars! And even though the fossil fuel industry gets all that taxpayer money, we still saw them raise prices exorbitantly. Have you heard Bush or Dick complain even once about today's high energy prices? More alternatives mean more competition. We know the price of oil, gas, and coal will rise. We know the costs for alternatives are dropping with better technology. There eventually will be a point where it will be cheaper to buy alternative power. If we get started sooner, that time will come sooner. If we had kept up with President Jimmy Carter's alternative energy initiatives, we might have already had our cheap windmills and solar panels.

  3. What is this last statement? Bush wants a bill that allows us to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or he won't sign it? Or maybe; Bush wants pork for the fossil fuel industry or he won't sign it? This is just a silly excuse for not signing the bill. You choose not to sign a bill because of what's in it. If you don't like what was left out, just write another bill later.

The fossil fuel industry has gotten away with not having to pay billions of dollars in US royalties, have received tens of billions of dollars in subsidies, hasn't had to pay tens of billions of dollars of their share of taxes, have profited from the occupation of Iraq, and still they overcharge us for fuel. Just check their public profit statements. They're making billions at our expense. And face it, not all of those billions are being made legitimately.

So, for that kind of money, do you think that they would hesitate to lie to us? For that kind of money, do you think they would be above paying off the press, the politicians, and anybody else they can influence.

You may not agree with me. I don't expect everyone to agree with me. But I can point out that those who disagree with me may have been lied to. Just compare the news stories from the LA Times and the Associated Press (Fox News). The independent news reporter was far more objective than the AP reporter. The AP reporter slanted the story to make it appear that the poor little fossil fuel industry has been attacked by those evil do-gooders, who want to over tax them and give the greens an unfair advantage. Once you compare the stories, you would have to be getting paid under the table (or afraid you might lose your job) to think that the AP story wasn't biased.

The Associated Press, the news wire that many of our nation's news “providers” use as a resource, may not be worthy of our trust. This has been one of the top censored stories from Project Censored. Now, combine this with Big Media's merger with Big Business, and we had better be very careful what we believe. Maybe those venomous do-gooders are trying set things right for a change. Maybe the propaganda pundits are working overtime to see that the big corporations keep taking your money. Maybe I'm even trying to help you.