Sunday, December 28, 2008

Toxic Sludge from "Clean Coal"






Democracy Now! has reported a huge spill of toxic sludge that has buried a part of Tennessee in as much as six feet of coal-fired power plant toxic coal ash. CNN has reported that the toxic spill was over a billion gallons – “enough to fill 1,660 Olympic-sized swimming pools.”


The toxic spill is more than fifty times larger than the Exxon Valdez oil spill. “Coal ash typically contains high concentrations of toxic chemicals like mercury, cadmium, (arsenic, lead, selenium, uranium, thorium,) and other heavy metals.” The New York Times has reported the EPA found that “concentrations of arsenic to which people might be exposed through drinking water contaminated by fly ash could increase cancer risks several hundredfold.”


The sludge has flowed into the Emory River, a tributary of the Tennessee River, which provides drinking water to millions of people downstream in Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky.”


And this isn't the first time. Toxic sludge floods also happened in Martin County, KY in 2000 and in Buffalo Creek, WV in 1972.


Moreover; “The toxic sludge we are seeing pollute Tennessee today is actually from air pollution control devices.” That's right. The cleaner the air is from a coal-fired power plant, the dirtier the toxic sludge. And this disaster shows us again that a real threat exists that coal-ash toxic sludge will not be contained. The regulations for landfills are far more lax than regulations for air quality. High Country News has reported extensive health problems near coal-fired power plant toxic landfills in Arizona. In Arizona, however, there have been no huge breaches. The toxins just blow in the wind.


This disaster in Tennessee is just a catastrophic example of what we already know. There is no such thing as clean coal.


Environmental disasters such as these continue to remind us of how important it is for us to utilize safer technology to generate power. Unfortunately, the coal industry won't do this FOR us... For them, it costs too much to do the right thing. For us, it costs too much not to.



Sunday, December 21, 2008

Customers Want Abundance – Suppliers Want Scarcity


What if I could show Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) that desalination is cheaper than the watergrab pipeline?


Would it matter? I have my doubts.


If SNWA were always going to be a municipality, they would want to keep the price of water down. And the best way to keep prices down is to increase supply. (In case you didn't realize, draining water from the Central Great Basin ultimately reduces overall water supply.) Actually, the only way to increase the long-term supply of fresh water is to make it from non-potable or saltwater.


However, there is no guarantee that SNWA will not privatize. In fact, they already claim to be a QUASI-municipality. What does that mean? Well, they haven't clearly explained that. But their actions tell us more than they've been willing to tell. They're acting like a corporation. Corporations want scarcity. It means more profits.


From the first day the watergrab pipeline starts pumping, there will be less and less water available. Who benefits from that? Not the customers.


Desalination, on the other hand, increases the overall long-term supply of water. That's what we want. We want abundance, not scarcity.


So, is desalination do-able? Sure.

Spectra Watermakers sell a portable desalination unit with triple the efficiency of conventional desalinators. It's so efficient that it runs on attached solar panels and/or a small windmill. Spectra Watermakers “Solar Cube” desalination system is already installed and working in a number of countries. It costs between $40 thousand and $80 thousand dollars – and desalinates almost 1000 gallons per day.


Here's the math (you can skip this part if you have an aversion):


The watergrab pipeline is designed to “steal” up to 200,000 acre feet per year from Rural Nevada.


200,000 acre feet per year x 326,000 gallons per acre foot

___________________________________

365 days per year x 1000 gallons per day


= 180,000 Solar Cube units


Now, obviously this is not how to best build up this desalination system. Building larger systems could vastly reduce the number of units necessary, and the economies of scale would greatly reduce the costs.


But, for rough a comparison, that would mean:


180,000 units x $40,000 per unit = $7.2 billion

180,000 units x $80,000 per unit = $14.4 billion


So, what we're looking at is the costs of desalinating an equivalent amount of water, AND the cost of power generation to do it of between $7 and 15 billion.


Yes, that sounds like a lot. But remember, the cost of power expenses for the watergrab hardly ever gets discussed by SNWA. Those costs will be enormous!


And moreover, anyone who has been seriously following the construction cost estimates for the watergrab pipeline knows that they're low-balling us. Everyone in the know expects cost overruns. One independent estimate ranges as high as $20 billion!


So let's just guess that the watergrab pipeline is double what SNWA claims – and Spectra Watermakers can build large scale desalination facilities at the cheaper end of their price estimates.


That would mean they would both be about $7 billion... about the same!

But, with the desalination system, we would also get power generation – worth billions in savings.


And better yet, with desalination, water facilities could be built as needed. Meaning we don't have to come up with all the money up front.


Yes, there are a number of other things to consider, such as whether to build these desalination plants offshore – or how much the (ultimately) rising price of coal or gas fired power will effect the cost of power to SNWA. But my point is simple.


Desalination is NOT prohibitively expensive.

Therefore, SNWA must be considering other variables in their decision to build the watergrab pipeline. My guess is that SNWA executives do NOT want there to be an abundance of water. That would cut into future profits.



Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Time To Start Planning Better


I've got some really good news. Its starting to look like some of those experimental medical procedures are starting to pan out.

1. Cancer: Nanotechnology has brought with it the ability to kill cancer without harming surrounding tissue. Proteins can be attached to gold nanospheres which can be injected into the body. The proteins chosen will only attach themselves to cancerous cells. Infra-red light can then be used non-invasively to cook the cancer cells, without harming healthy tissue. Someday, cancer treatment could be little more than an office visit to the doctor.
2. HIV: Recently, a bone marrow transplant has effectively cured an AIDS patient. The bole marrow donor had a genetic mutation that was “resistant” to HIV. This finding could inspire scientists to pursue gene therapy to suppress or even cure HIV.
3. Heart Disease: Gene therapy has shown promising results for advanced heart failure.
4. Organ Replacement: Stem cell therapy has shown promising results in regrowing tissue in the eye, the windpipe, the bladder, the skin, the immune system, the brain, the face, the heart, the pancreas, the ovaries, the testes, and the muscles.
5. Aging: An immune system drug based upon a Chinese herb has possible applications in slowing the aging process.

Wow! The probability that many of us today may live much longer, healthier lives is becoming ever more likely.

However, so is the likelihood that we will destroy our habitat on this planet.



Imagine a future where people live for hundreds of years in a overheated, polluted cesspool of a planet. Doesn't that sound a lot like the biblical description of Hell – living forever in a miserable place? This may be our future.

You may think you only have another 30 years or so to live. But that might not be true. What if you're going to live another 130 years? What do you want your future to be like?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Understand The Problems... To Fix Them



Lesson #1: Sicko





Lesson #2: Why We Fight







Lesson #3: the Corporation


Americans have finally gotten off our tails and made a difference – by coming together to vote for change. This gives me hope.


  • It's starting to look more and more like America will be generating our future power from sustainable sources.

  • Our government might start to respect our constitution again.

  • And maybe, just maybe, we can start to fix the rampant corruption so entrenched within our systems.


However, many of us don't have a clue what the magnitude of the problems really are. Moreover, a significant portion of those in power are making way too much money to consider the true costs of their actions. For these people, I suggest you see these three videos; Sicko, Why We Fight, and the Corporation. Seen together, these films give us a better overall understanding of how bad things have become... Really, really bad.


Which in a way, also gives me hope. Now we're paying attention. If enough people see all three of these films, we might start to think of ways to fix our government, control the criminal element within the corporate world, and even work around the intractable flaws in our systems. Together, we can overpower the antiquated, corrupt ways of doing things.


Creative and well informed people are often the most frightening to the powers that be – we represent change. Of course, we do need conservatives to reign us in once and a while. But as long as the change makes sense, try it. The consequences of making the same old mistakes are mounting – to the breaking point. We really need to fix things. And together, working in new ways, I believe we can make our world a better place overall.


I wouldn't be here, trying as hard as I do; if I were not fully convinced this change is better for all of us. That's right – all of us. There is even irrefutable evidence (on the video Sicko). Just consider mortality rates of Americans vs many European nations. Americans die younger, even the rich. We can do better.



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Biggest "Patriot" = The Biggest Sucker


Last week I wrote a letter to the Ely Times on how the Air Force intends to turn Steptoe Valley into a supersonic war game area – and set our mountain ranges on fire with their errant dogfight flares. In spite of the obvious ramifications, I was really surprised by the number of online comments for the airspace grab. WTF?... This is far more complex than one of the comments about “kick(ing) some terrorist butt.” (Terrorists don't have jets to get into dogfights.) Actually, this is more about money than it is security. But this is really about freedom. There are people who have convinced us that high taxes for military spending will bring us freedom... that's right, high taxes bring us “freedom.” (That makes about as much sense as gutting the Bill of Rights in the name of “freedom.”)


First, I want to make it very clear that I realize that our country needs military defense. And of course, our military pilots need to train. But haven't they already been doing that for decades?


American fighter pilots are already well prepared. F-15s have a combat record of 101 victories and zero loses in actual air to air combat. The F-16 has a combat record of 71 victories and zero losses in actual air to air combat. We don't need an expert opinion. Our fighter pilots have done an extraordinary job. And part of that is because these days, pilots avoid a dogfights by just launching a missile or two.

Moreover, in the past 20 years, there just haven't been that many aerial conflicts. US fighters shot down 5 Iraqi jets in 1991. And in 1999, 5 enemy jets were shot down over Kosovo. That's it. Which leads us to the question: Why? Why do they want more?


The answer is obvious – because there is REALLY BIG money in it.


The F-22 fighter plane cost over $300 million dollars each! The total program cost for all of the F-22s has been $62 billion! And the CEO for Lockheed Martin (builder of the F-22) received $37 million – just in 2007! (Hey, the CEO of General Dynamics received $60 million!) For 2007, the average CEO compensation among aerospace and defense companies was $20.6 million – 60% more than the average fortune 500 CEO!


With that kind of carrot, is it any wonder that the military/industrial/congressional complex always wants more?


I used to work for a military contractor. I have a sense of how they think. Sure, they want to defend America – but let's face it, they're in it for the money. And they'll tax us into the poorhouse if we let them... actually, they already have.


My point is simple; we can find the money to help people amongst the money that is wasted on what we spend to kill people.


The money to be spent on these additional dogfight exercises is just wasted money that could be better spent on humanitarian needs. If you agree with me, please write to our Senators and Representatives.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Now We've Got an Airspace Grab

To: Honorable Senator Harry Reid


The lame duck Bush Administration is working overtime fast-tracking last minute favors to their buddies in big business and the military/industrial complex. There is even an airspace grab going on in Eastern Nevada.


The proposed expansion of military operations area into Nevada (White Elk Military Operations) is unacceptable. It will profoundly effect those of us who live here; physically, economically, environmentally, and spiritually.


  1. With some of our airspace gone, we probably won't see nearly as many gliders in the future.

  2. Our property values will decline due to jet noise and sonic booms.

  3. Our natural spaces will be degraded.

  4. This will be one more reason not to visit White Pine County.

  5. This will be one more reason not to move to White Pine County.

  6. Peak noise levels (from sonic booms) will likely harm our hearing.

  7. Increased anxiety from loud noise has been shown to result in health problems, such as heart disease.

  8. Property damage has occurred in the past near sonic booms.

  9. Wildlife and livestock will be disturbed significantly.

  10. Flares and chaff will be littered over wilderness and public lands. Flares pose increased fire risk. And over wilderness areas, there doesn't appear to be any fire suppression plans.

  11. Chaff pose health risks if inhaled or ingested.

  12. Degradation of my Native (Western Shoshone) homeland will harm us spiritually. This is far more significant than a sonic boom going off during a ritual. This is the desecration of the place that sustains us.

  13. And of course, our tax money will be wasted on excessive, unnecessary training for cold war era threats. More supersonic flight training will not protect us from terrorists.


Apparently, there was a public hearing in Ely on this on September 2. But nobody I know heard about it. Was it publicized? I've heard about unpopular “public” hearings that the military has conducted without any practical announcements. Either way, we need more time to make our comments. It isn't right that residents here will find out about this after the public comment period is over.


Thank you,


Richard A. Spilsbury

I've been informed that the White Elk Operations Area Draft Environmental Impact Statement attempts to veil damaging health impacts from earth shattering sonic booms by providing ONLY noise level averages while ignoring peak sonic boom noise levels.


As you can see by the blank areas on the map, they will let wilderness areas burn! We saw the BLM watch a fire in wilderness area burn on for months last summer. Flares over wilderness areas are a recipe for multiple fire disasters.

Please write your Senators and Representatives about this.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Landslide or Lose


For a Obama to win the presidential election, he has to beat the “fraud factor.” In case you haven't been paying attention for the past 8 years, there has been rampant election fraud in some states. And it's obvious who has benefited – the Republicans.

Gore received 150,000 more votes nationwide than Bush in 2000. But winning the popular election wasn't enough.

Exit polls in Ohio showed that Kerry had won in 2004. Yet, somehow Bush won this critical state.

In the election of 2008; for our vote to count, we have to expect that many of our votes won't count. In other words; VOTE, dammit!

The only way to assure a legitimate Democratic win in this election is for it to be an overwhelming landslide. Get out and VOTE!

If this is close, the GOP will likely challenge the results. And we all know what could happen if the election gets decided by the Supreme Court (again)...

You think that won't happen? Well, consider ACORN. This is an organization which has been getting poor people to vote. They've done an excellent job of registering voters. But that's probably not how you heard about them. You've probably heard about some individuals who filed false registrations to get a few bucks more in pay. Here's the real story of ACORN:



What we are talking about here is a few extra people registered – who won't vote, because they don't even know they're registered. Think about it. If the same person kept coming back to vote, sooner or later he would get caught. For this to work, the conspiracy would have to be enormous. And obviously, huge conspiracies can't be kept secret. The whole concept of rigging elections like this is totally impractical.

On the other hand, one person in the right position, can disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters – often without them even knowing it. We have evidence of caging lists. We have records. And some of these corrupt officials are up to it again.


“In Mississippi before the March 2008 primary, a county election official — from her home computer — secretly deleted 10,000 voters from the rolls.”

Some states have voting machines with no paper trail (thanks to Republicans). It has been shown that not only are these machines easy to hack, they don't function reliably.

“Early voting has begun, and problems are already emerging at the polls. In West Virginia, voters using touchscreen machines have claimed their votes were switched from Democrat to Republican. In North Carolina, a group of McCain supporters heckled a group of mostly black supporters of Barack Obama. In Ohio, Republicans are being accused of trying to scare newly registered voters by filing lawsuits that question their eligibility.”



“The Justice Department leaks an FBI probe of ACORN but remains silent on widespread voter intimidation tactics.”

“In Alabama, scores of voters are being labeled as convicted felons on the basis of incorrect lists.
Tens of thousands of voters could be affected in Wisconsin.”

“More than 30,000 registered Coloradans barred from voting”

1.6 million voters have been purged from New York rolls.

Republicans sent more than 4,000 challengers to 1,800 polling places across the Ohio in 2004 and are expected to head a similar effort this year.”

“The New York Times has also reported that boards of elections in Nevada, North Carolina, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio have illegally used federal Social Security databases to flag and possibly eliminate voters whose registration applications were suspected of irregularities. The Times reported some 37,000 Colorado voters removed in the three weeks after July 21; Secretary Coffman said the number was 14,000.”

“Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia reported purging more than 13 million voters from registration rolls between 2004 and 2006.”

But all is not lost. Obama could still win. But only if he wins by a landslide – which is likely to happen. In fact, not only is it likely that Obama will win the election, it is also possible the Senate Democrats could achieve the “magic 60” - a filibuster proof majority. This is very important, because for the past two years, Republicans have utilized the filibuster at an unprecedented rate to keep bills from passing. This is the cause of the “do nothing Congress.”

With Obama as president and a magic 60 in the Senate, Democrats will have an opportunity to make progressive changes at a critical time in history. We could actually fix things. Whether that will actually happen or the Democrats just sell out to remains to be seen. But I have hope.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Attack of the Rove Clones


Its that time again. Time to pick someone to determine our future for us. (Yes, it's that important.)


So, how are you going to decide?

Will you let the negative ads on TV effect your decision? Be honest. Most of us will. That's why candidates spend so much money on negative TV ads.


Often, negative information effects us more than positive. That isn't so bad, except when the negative information is simply lies. Carl Rove learned that lies can be more effective than the truth. His manipulations of the press, government, and the American people led to his ouster from the Bush administration. But lies sell – and he's back. However, this time, he has a thousand clones.


One of the most effective lies the Rove clones have used is to accuse their opponents of their own digressions. For example; big oil cronies calling environmentalists “eco-fascists.” (Obviously, the U.S. didn't invade and occupy Iraq for environmental reasons.) The accusation is used to counter the truth – before the truth is well known.


In the election here in Nevada, we're seeing plenty of these unscrupulous tactics. There is a very close race for a House seat between incumbent Dean Heller and challenger Jill Derby.


I've met Jill Derby. Wow! I don't think I've met a more perfect candidate. Her credentials are amazing. Her opinions are well thought out. And she listened to us. Moreover, she hasn't taken money from the oil companies. (The Dean Heller campaign has taken $40,000 from Exxon, Mobil, Occidental Petroleum, Chevron, and the Wildcatters Fund.)


So, with the perfect candidate running against him, what options does Dean Heller have? His team has to make stuff up.












The Dean Heller campaign has called Jill Derby a “big spender.” Jill Derby spent $100,000 in travel expenses, over 18 years, while volunteering for the Nevada Board of Regents. However, over only 12 years as Nevada Secretary of State, Dean Heller spent nearly $500,000 in travel expenses.


Let's also consider campaign debt. Back in August, Dean Heller had the fifth most debt of any sitting congressman. Currently, he has $321,000 in debt. In contrast, Jill Derby has only $2,000 in debt and $245,000 in cash on hand.


So, who's the conservative and who's the big spender?

Things are not always as they seem (on the attack ads.)



Friday, October 24, 2008

Only Roadkill On The Mega-Profit Superhighway


Has the fossil fuel industry consistently schemed to rev up profits?

Are you a slave to a system manipulated to keep power generation centralized?

Are Native Americans still being treated like Indians?

Are America's ideals destined to be roadkill?


I have a confession. George W. Bush and I have something in common. We both love to ride mountain bikes. There's nothing like getting outdoors for a good ride in the fresh air and natural surroundings. It only makes sense for mountain bikers to be environmentalists. But, “President” George W. Bush is about as far from an environmentalist as anyone can get.


For instance, his appointed bureaucrats are poised to trash Moab, Utah – one of the best places to mountain bike in the country.


The Bush BLM is fast-tracking six “resource management plans” for the Moab area. The BLM wants to officially designate over 17,000 miles of dirt routes in the wild areas in Southern Utah near Moab. They also want to open 80% of 11 million acres for oil and gas drilling – by December (just before Bush leaves office). A mountain biker wouldn't do that. Is Bush being blackmailed? Who really runs this Country?


Follow the money...


When you initially consider the two things the BLM intends to promote (off road vehicles and oil exploration), they seem unrelated. But remember, Bush Jr. has a lot of oil men buddies/backers. When you look at the two from an oil man's perspective, they aren't so unrelated after all. These are both ways to maximize oil profits. Here is an opportunity to get as much cheap oil as possible, and an opportunity to get people to use as much oil as possible. The oil companies must see this as a good thing. And an awful lot of people too lazy to walk (and likely too lazy to think) have been tricked into believing this is about freedom. No, this is about corporate anarchy.


I'll tell you what a good thing is...

Better yet, I'll show you.







A good thing is when we don't have to toil to make these fossil fuel companies even richer – while we poison ourselves just to get around.

There are people who have already escaped the oil addiction cycle. It can be done.


When you combine renewable power generated locally with that shared on long distance power lines and that stored in battery powered vehicles, renewable power becomes far more reliable. Renewable power can be shared – like music on the internet.


Which means that power can be reliably generated at home – and doesn't have to be minded or drilled. That's what the fossil fuel industry doesn't want us to know. That's the technology the fossil fuel industry hopes to marginalize. What else can you expect the fossil fuel industry to do? Change? Not without a fight. The profits are too obscene. Even if they know that global warming is destroying the balance of our environment, their system is geared to keep the cash coming in. Expect them to fight dirty. Expect them to lie. Expect them to pay off politicians. Expect them to buy patents, or even buy off companies; and shut down competing industries. Nothing is below elements within the fossil fuel industry.


It's time to get past the denial stage. Fossil fuels are bad for us. With them, we release 30,000,000,000 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide a year from the ground into the air. That's got to hurt... in fact, all signs are that we are right in the middle of the biggest extinction event since the end of the dinosaurs.


Maybe that's why oil men like Bush Jr. don't seem to care about Moab. Maybe they believe the end of the world is coming anyway. Maybe they believe that God will see them destroying things here and will (senselessly) invite them into heaven to destroy things there too? MAYBE NOT! Then again, maybe the oil men just figure they'll be dead by the time the bills come due, and don't care about the rest of us.


  • So, just how long has this been going on? Well, there are some who are convinced that Prohibition was actually part of a strategy, schemed up by no less than John Rockefeller, for oil to take over the automobile market. Think about it. Americans like to drink. Most of the members of the American Congress back in 1917 liked to drink to. And prohibition was a ban on alcohol manufacturing, not consumption. Alcohol (biofuel) was used to fuel cars before gasoline. The transition to gasoline happened during prohibition (you couldn't get alcohol). What started it all? John Rockefeller donated 4 million dollars to a temperance society. That's equivalent to 60 million dollars today. Evidently; the oil industry has been manipulating our political system ever since it was powerful enough to get away with it.


  • So, just how big a problem is it? These massive corporations have taken on a life of their own, and don't intend to die, even if humanity does. Alternative energy has been marginalized for the past 28 years. (I've mentioned the dirty tricks the fossil fuel industry has used in previous posts.) If you remember the 1970's, you'll remember that at no time since has renewable energy had any where near the political support it did back when Jimmy Carter was president. Massive campaign contributions and unprincipled propaganda efforts have seen to that. (Anyone with a TV today might assume the oil companies have switched over to renewables already, if we didn't know any better.) And many within the populous either have been convinced that there isn't a problem, or that there isn't anything they can do about it. Our civilization is in high gear to self-destruction.

  • So, just how bad is it for some? Since the 1950's, the US Government has been forcing an exodus of over 12,000 Navajo people from their reservation – for Peabody Energy to mine coal there. “Through this forced relocation, the Federal Government has destroyed the subsistence lifestyle of thousands of Navajos, uprooted whole communities, and left the Navajo Nation and Navajo people to bear much of the burden of addressing the extraordinary economic, social, and psychological consequences of relocation.” And now, after all this, John McCain, chairman of the Senate committee on Indian Affairs; is campaigning to put an end to Navajo relocation payments.

I'll bet you thought this all ended back in the 1800's. The white man chasing Indians off their land, and offering them nothing but empty promises in exchange. Well... it's still happening, but it's actually worse now. The white man's corporations contaminate the ground and pollute the air – when there are far cleaner, safer, and less oppressive options (that cost just a little bit more).


This could all be avoided if we relied on renewable energy.


One might conclude that the highway to hell is powered by fossil fuels.



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lame Duck Demon


Remember back in the last few days of Bill Clinton's term when he pardoned a handful of people? Remember what a fuss the Republicans made about it? They tried so hard to make it look like Clinton was so corrupt.


I'm not about to say what Clinton did was the right thing, but the corruption of the Bush lame duck administration makes Clinton look like a boy scout.


The Bush administration has been up to speed for months now, doing unpopular and immoral things for big business profits:


  1. Let's start with the rush to open up the Grand Canyon to uranium mining. In spite of a Congressional ban, the Bush controlled BLM has published a proposed rule which OK's mining within 5 miles of the Park. This would effect the drinking water for over 25 million people – in addition to the wildlife of one of America's premier Parks.

  2. They've removed what little protection the Appalachians had from mountain top removal coal mining. Not that there was much protection in the first place. But now there is hardly any.

  3. There's the gutting the Endangered Species Act. Department of Interior officials are attempting to review 200,000 comments from the public concerning this back door bypass of democracy – in just 32 hours. That's not a review. They don't care what we think. Their response to our comments about endangered species is obvious. “Kill'em all, let God sort'em out!”

  4. And of course, they continue to do worse than absolutely nothing about global warming. If the polar bear is no longer protected by the Endangered Species Act, there will be even less pressure to do something about global warming. If the EPA won't do anything about carbon emissions, and won't allow states to with deal with them either, what we have here is a step backwards.


This all might not seem so sinister, if it were not for all the scientific evidence that the environment is going from bad to worse at a frighteningly accelerating rate.

Climate change is accelerating far beyond the IPCC forecast.

Arctic air temperatures reached record highs this year (5 degrees above normal).


(for more info on this graph - click here)


To put this in perspective; the wealth loss from the disappearance of the planet's forests dwarfs the bank crisis... And Bush Jr. has made both problems even worse.


Rolling Stone magazine once published an article arguing that George W. Bush is the worst president in history. The article reported that an organization of historians had agreed that this presidency has been the most poorly run in all of America's history. But, I guess Bush Jr. revels in that title.


The economy is collapsing.

The environment is collapsing.

And the regulatory system to keep it all together is still being dismantled.


These acts are worse than corruption. This is the deconstruction of the protections to our world that have taken decades to enact. We will never be able to repair the consequences of many of these acts.


Could things get any worse? Yes...

Bush Jr. still has two more months to screw things up beyond recognition.

We could even end up with a “December Surprise.” You know, like back when Bush Sr. was president – when he sent US troops to Somalia (just before the end of his term).

Don't be surprised if Bush Jr. follows in his daddy's footsteps for a change, and gets us in another “war” – this time with Iran. Why? Because he's the only one who wants war. Moreover, this a great way to say F.U. to the incoming Democratic president – and also the American people (who no longer see him as God's chosen one).







To misquote George Bush Sr.; “What we are looking at is good and evil - right and wrong.”


George W. Bush is a lame duck DEMON.



Monday, October 20, 2008

What Happened To The Republican Party?



Even Colin Powell can't take it any more.


Has the Republican Party been taken over by crooks, haters, and proto-fascists?


Let's examine each of these accusations.


1. Remember the Bush administration bailout that was supposed to rescue the economy? Well, now we know who really got bailed out. $70,000,000,000 of that bailout money will be going to pay and bonus packages for the Wall Street bank executives who got us into this mess (by gambling with other people's money). Did any of them get fired? No. Has the Bush administration backed down on deregulation, or considered re-instating the laws that have protected us from this kind of corruption since the Great Depression? No. Does Treasury Secretary Paulson have a rational plan to help out main street? No.


In China, an ex-Beijing official received the death sentence for corruption. And although I don't support it, you can bet they will have far less corruption in China.


2. One of the uglier tactics the Republican Party has been using during the presidential election is the totally unfounded claim that Obama is a Muslim. This is obviously a veiled claim that all Muslims are terrorists. This is just another form of racism. There is no way, without all this hate, that the US would have been willing to be responsible for the deaths of close to a million Iraqis – when it was primarily Saudis who were responsible for 9/11.


3. Our Constitutional Bill of Rights has been reduced to barely more than a piece of paper. Executive power has marginalized the balance of power of the legislative and judicial branches. And every law meant to protect our citizens from pollution, oppression, product irresponsibility, and corruption oversight has been under years of attack.


In an unprecedented (and previously illegal) move, the Bush administration has brought in Army troops to keep the peace in the US (crush civil disturbances). They have also set up internment camps. They have taken given themselves the power to take over command of the (formerly State controlled) National Guard. And Moreover, they have given themselves the right to declare martial law whenever they fell like. Yes, the Bush administration now has a "Pinochet option."






Most Republicans are good people with the best of intentions. So, what happened? The same thing that has happened to the Democrats, though to a lesser extent. Our system has rotted from within. Our electoral system is at the root of the problem. And both McCain and Obama are products of that electoral system. Until we get the big money out of elections and change the two party system to proportional representation, things will never really get completely fixed.



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Deal With The Water Crisis Now

Two things; one funny, one very serious:

First, Las Vegas made The Colbert Report



Second, Las Vegas made WIRED magazine

Their cover story, THE SMART LIST, 15 people the next president should listen to; included Peter Gleick, from the Pacific Institute. The title of his article was:

DEAL WITH THE WATER CRISIS NOW


If Las Vegas could reduce their waste and renegotiate the Colorado River Compact, there wouldn't be a need for a water grab.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This Is What Freedom Sounds Like


I just heard the debate. But what I heard was so much more than what we have come to expect.

Thanks to the internet and DemocracyNow.org, I got to hear the debate – not just between Barack Obama and John McCain, but also with Ralph Nader and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinnney participating.

WOW!!! This is the future of political debates. The mass media can no longer shut out third parties.

Mr. Nader and Ms. McKinney brought the debate to a much higher level.
I highly recommend you listen to the debate as it should have been.

Click Here for transcripts, an audio stream, or a video stream to the debates as you would hear them in a truly free country.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Change (for the better) Is NOT Inevitable

Wired” and "Time" magazines have recently published articles about a company, “Better Place,” that intends to partner with auto manufacturers to develop electric cars that could radically change the industry.


These electric cars are based upon existing technology that could be implemented in such a way as to circumvent existing economic constraints. The costs for electric power (for these reasonably priced cars) would be as little as one third that of gasoline. And if implemented with truly clean power generation, could reduce CO2 emissions by 60% by 2030!


These electric cars would be powered by lithium ion phosphate batteries – which are both energy efficient and safe. (These batteries could also be used to power your home, providing backup for renewable power.)


Discover” magazine has recently published an article about two companies, “Sumitomo” and “VRB Power Systems,” that build giant batteries that can store renewable energy for those occasional times when the wind isn't blowing anywhere.


And “Technology Review” magazine has recently published an article about an MIT scientist who has discovered a new, more efficient way to concentrate sunlight onto smaller, less expensive solar panels. The scientist, Marc Baldo, claims that this technology will make photovoltaic power generation cheaper than coal.


My point is; that by the time the coal-fired and nuclear power plants are built, it is very likely that the technology to safely generate and store electric power will be available cheaper than the dangerous methods we've used for the past century (even with their subsidies). Which is exactly why the coal and nuclear industry are in such a hurry. They realize that this is their last chance to make a few billion more dollars. And this is also their last chance to marginalize renewable power. They know that when renewable energy becomes cheaper than coal and nuclear, it won't really matter – if their generators are already built.

People don't always make the best decisions. And existing industries dread disruptive technologies. We are resistant to change, even if it may save our civilization. For example, a small start-up company, “Avion,” built a practical car that got over 100 miles per gallon – back in the 1980's – and nobody cared. The price of gas had dropped, and you could buy a dependable gas guzzler from Ford or GM. Even GM scuttled their very successful electric car back in the 1990's. If only...

The decisions we make today can have far reaching consequences tomorrow. We can be bold and take responsible action, or we can hesitate and continue to make the same dangerous mistakes... The old industries are betting millions that we'll be too afraid, or just won't care enough to do the right thing. They will try to convince us that economy is more important. But remember, the economy is just a subset of the environment. Eventually the destruction of our environment will result in the destruction of our economy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bush critic wins 2008 Nobel for economics


Here's news of another Bush critic receiving a Nobel prize.


Paul Krugman has just received the 2008 Nobel prize for economics. This is the same Paul Krugman who “argues that President George W. Bush's zeal for deregulation and loose fiscal policies helped spark the current banking meltdown.”


What's it going to take? What's it going to take to convince the radical right wing of just how badly the Bush administration has fouled things up?


In the past, they have tried to trivialize Paul Krugman's commentaries in the New York Times. The radical right has accused the New York Times of being a part of the “liberal press.” But let's face the facts here:


Paul Krugman has received a Nobel prize in economics and George W. Bush has a financial meltdown on his hands.


What's it going to take?


Even now; the radical right wing propaganda pundits are trying to blame the recession on the Democratic Congress. Paul Krugman hasn't been criticizing Congress. And, oh by the way, some Republican Senators have been killing bills in the Senate on a record scale. Why hasn't this filibuster party been addressed by the right? Oh yeah, because they are the ones responsible for the “do nothing” Congress.


What's it going to take?


I especially like the Krugman comment (when asked about a trend of Nobels going to people who are anti-Bush); the Nobel laureate said "A lot of intellectuals are anti-Bush."


But it isn't just intellectuals any more. Most of the American people have finally figured out what has happened (unfortunately too late for much of our 401Ks).


John McCain is dropping in the polls. And his campaign is most likely worse off than the mainstream media wants to report... The mainstream media wants to report a horse race to keep their ratings (and political advertising) up. And obviously, some stations (like FOX) are blatant McCain supporters. You can tell the McCain campaign is in serious trouble though, because their ads are starting to imitate Obama ads.


But don't count McCain/Palin out yet. The Republicans stole the election in 2000, and they stole the election in 2006. It's obvious they'll try to steal the election again. Our elections are still vulnerable. The Army has even stationed a brigade here, in the United States, to quell "civil unrest." (Which is unprecedented, by the way.)


Obama has to win by a landslide to counter the fraud factor. But it looks like he just might win by a landslide.



Friday, October 10, 2008

Clueless

"The Fundamentals of our Economy are strong."
John McCain
Sept, 2008


This one is fundamentally wrong.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Either We're Better Off or We're Way Worse Off

Well, the Bush Administration got its way.
They got their bailout - and they got the Democrats to vote for it.

This sounds a whole lot like the invasion of Iraq.
But, I guess we'll see.







Thursday, October 02, 2008

Let's FIX the Economy Instead


Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt



The more I find out about this (now up to $1,800,000,000,000) “bailout/rescue.” the more I realize what scam it is. There are far better ways to keep our economy afloat. In fact, we could even fix some things – like for instance; our tangible infrastructure.


In a way, America has been here before – during the Great Depression. Herbert Hoover's bailouts for the money speculators didn't work back then either. What succeeded were real, tangible economic development (work) programs.


Our nation is in serious trouble. Our system is broken.

The trouble at Wall Street is not an accident, it is a sign.

And the “bailout” is just a band aid on a cancer.


Everybody knows this. And yet, we're being asked to continue to live in our fantasy world, and believe that if we throw money at the problem; somehow, it will fix itself. Obviously, it won't. But not so obviously, this is still only the tip of the iceberg.


We have allowed our electoral system to be corrupted. Consequently, we have allowed our elected officials to be corrupted. Ironically, within America's electoral system; an honest, moral, and reasonable candidate barely has a chance at getting elected. It was just a matter of time before the ship started sinking.


Examples:


  • Alternative energy is being ignored again. The “bailout” procedures have pushed the extension of the alternative energy tax breaks to the back burner... again. This might not be so bad if the fossil fuel industry hadn't received $18,000,000,000 in subsidies. (update; the tax credit has been added to the Senate “bailout” bill)

  • America's governmental scientists have been chosen on the basis of politics, not science. This has led to numerous mistakes in understanding of reality. The worst case of political ignorance of science is Bush's attitude about global warming. The consequences are terrifying.

  • The Department of Interior (DOI) is in the middle of a number of scandals – the most recent being the conflict of interest case with oil companies. Drugs and sex were involved, so this case has received some public interest. But it is only part of a much bigger case that has cost America billions in oil tax revenues. (To see a previous post concerning DOI corruption click here.) If ever there were a Federal bureaucracy not worthy of our confidence, it would be the DOI. Nonetheless, they are trying to gut the Endangered Species Act by giving themselves even more power.

  • The American auto industry has ignored the obvious for decades now, and not bothered to develop gas saving and alternative powered cars. For their callous disregard for the reality of the petroleum supply, they want to be bailed out to the tune of $25,000,000,000.

  • This “bailout/rescue” itself may have been contrived. Officials have been secretly planning this “bailout” for months. (They claim as a contingency plan.) The Bush administration has been tightening money, which further exacerbates the crisis. And the Secretary of the Treasury, Hank Paulson, has made three critical “mistakes” that have made this crisis worse. The Times reports: “Had it not been for Mr Paulson the bailout would probably never have been needed. What made it necessary was a three-stage sequence of blunders. The first began when Mr Paulson decided, for largely political reasons, to wipe out the private shareholders in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two businesses which he and many Republican politicians regarded as crypto-socialist incubi in the American body politic. The enormous – and unnecessary – losses suffered by shareholders of Fannie Mae triggered the first stage of the financial crisis, starting on September 8. He then aggravated the crisis by deliberately bankrupting Lehman and then seizing the assets of AIG.” ... Now Mr. Paulson wants us to give him $700,000,000,000 to spend as he pleases. I'll have to admit, this crisis sounds contrived.

Why is it that every American isn't up in arms about this? Yes, most of us are. However, some people don't think America's collapse matters. There are multi-national corporations (some of them banks) that would survive the collapse of America's economy. In fact, if stocks collapse, there will be an opportunity for those who still have money to buy stocks up for a pittance. Who knows, they might even use the “bailout” money to do it.


So, just how bad are things. Well, Wall Street “needs” something like $1,200,000,000,000 to keep our system working like it has been. The unasked question should be; “why do we want the system to keep running like it has been?” Of course, there are no guarantees that the “bailout” will work. In fact, it won't avert a recession... its too late. As we can obviously see; if we keep giving out money, without any punitive measures, there will be more takers... and more, and more, and more.


Hey, I only need 10 million dollars to pay my bills and go to Vegas. If you don't give me the money, Las Vegas' economy will suffer greatly. If that happens, the State of Nevada could be in serious trouble. (Isn't that pretty much their argument?)


I have three concerns. First, what if the bailout isn't the best way of handling this “crisis?” Then we're in trouble. Second, what if the bailout doesn't work? Then we're really in trouble. Third, what if this is all a scam? Then we're really, really in trouble.


Even the House of Representatives saw through this BS. Not only the Democrats, but a whole lot of Republicans think the “bailout/rescue” is a bad idea. I highly recommend you listen to what Rep. Dennis Kucinich has to say. He suspects a scam also.


The heads of these corporations have caused this crisis! They should all be sued, not reimbursed. At the very least, any corporation that receives “bailout” money should be required to fire everyone at top level management – the CEO, the CFO, the Board of Directors – all of them! They caused the problems. They should not be allowed to screw up again! It would be a double standard not to fire them. If one of their employees had failed this badly, the employee certainly would have been fired.


Personally, if I were going to bailout somebody; I would bail out the poor. The poor are not going to take that money and invest it somewhere else in the world. On the other hand, these multi-nationals have no problem taking the “bailout” money and investing it somewhere else. And don't be surprised if they do just that. They will follow the most profitable investments. If that's not in the U.S., oh well... to bad for us.


I would prefer to see the “bailout” work is such a way as to change the face of corporatism. But the sad truth is that multi-national corporations hold far too much power to allow our Government to get away with that.


The American people have sat on our pathetic asses for far too long now. We have allowed our nation to become a puppet to multi-national corporations. And now we're going to have to pay to keep them profitable. Why? So that they won't shut down our system. Why? Because we are too pathetic to think up a better one.


I love this country.

I hate to see this happening to it.

I want to see things fixed.

And it is starting to look like the “bailout/rescue/economic hijacking” is, at best, just throwing good money after bad. At worst, it is the ransoming of America's middle class, and draining of our nation's wealth – to make the "unscrupulous money changers" even richer.



Sunday, September 28, 2008

Didn't It Look Like McCain Was Acting?


Well, well, well, the debate happened after all. Like the Republican Convention, the suspension was suspended. Apparently, the only thing that actually was suspended was McCain's appearance on Late Night with David Letterman – which turned out to be political suicide. David Letterman did not take kindly to being stood up.


However, the McCain campaign suspension did give me a chance to pontificate on what would have happened at the debate. In my last blog entry I claimed that John McCain didn't have a chance in this debate with Barrack Obama. I pointed out that John McCain wouldn't be able to dodge the blame for the “bailout.” His policy of deregulation was just indefensible. And his participation in the Savings and Loan “bailout” back in the 1980's fit a pattern that made him look like he's been doing the bidding of fat cats for decades.


Apparently, Barrack Obama chose to take the high road though, and didn't bring up McCain's Keating 5 participation. It was irritating to know this while watching McCain accuse Obama of misusing earmarks, knowing that Obama's earmarks were not for pork (like say, Palin's bridge to nowhere).


On the other hand, if Obama were to have pointed out McCain's intimate and questionable involvement in the Savings and Loan “bailout,” Obama might have been seen as taking the low road also. That isn't a good option for him. We all know that an angry black man is seen as something totally different than an angry white man. Though the mass media doesn't cover it often, the race issue usually works against Obama.


Obama's strategists must have recommended he not attack McCain's not-so-reputable past. They must feel that although Obama would have won the argument, he would have tarnished his image as being more mature.


Although I wasn't happy with those tactics, I guess it worked. Most of the polls claim Obama won the debate.


However; there was one thing I did notice that was extraordinarily creepy. No, not so much that McCain kept trying to disassociate himself with Republican policy. I expected that. What was really creepy was that it seemed to me that John McCain was trying to imitate Ronald Reagan. I kept expecting him to say; “Well...”

What McCain did say, however, is that he would freeze spending on most everything except military spending. Now wait a minute. That's where all the real big-money pork barrel spending is going. It's been that way for decades. That's where we need to make the cuts. The military/industrial/fossil fuel complex has driven our nation to the edge of insolvency. But John McCain wants to leave that off the table. Sure, he claims to be against such things as cost plus/no bid contracts, but that's just the tip of the spending iceberg. John McCain wants to finance our unnecessary wars with even more cuts to domestic spending (that would obviously help our nations citizens and boost our legitimate economy). This man is not for the people.


Moreover, with the “bailout,” it is starting to look more and more like we won't be seeing all that much change no matter who wins the election. John McCain is essentially another George W. Bush. And Barrack Obama will end up with such a mess, there won't be money to fix anything. Either way, they're really not all that different.


Just what the disaster capitalists ordered.