Monday, August 24, 2009

The Ultimate Practical Joke

A simple truth sets the stage for the ultimate practical joke.

Money is very valuable.

But money has no real value.

The ultimate practical joke is therefore a “trick” tool that would help us get rich initially (so that we enthusiastically endorse it), but which would eventually drive us to absolute poverty.

The most powerful tools modern business leaders have are corporations. Corporations are a lot like machines. But even though all corporations are different, they all make the same thing – money.

Over the past century, corporations have become very effective, efficient, and relentless machines for making money. However, the businessmen and women who run these machines are so caught up in running them that they overlook the most important thing that these corporations are executing.

All corporations, together worldwide, are converting everything of any real value into money. That's just what they do. And they're succeeding at it. But when they do finish the job – when all that is left is money and refuse; then we will realize that money is just a tool – a tool to make trade easier. But when there is nothing left to trade, money is worthless.

Those who have the most money, and the most power, must realize this. But ironically, they continue to play by the same old flawed conventions. Why? Probably because those who choose not to don't matter any more. Someone willing to play by the old, corrupted rules is always right there to take their place. Every new player wants to win. And many new players are desperate enough to cheat. Not only that, established players set an example by cheating to keep out the new players. Nonetheless, they will team up against the non-participants. This results in a race to the bottom entirely perpetrated by unwilling participants.

Effectively, we have created a pervasive simplistic economic system with a very short life cycle, and no RESET switch. The car is headed for the cliff, and we can't get together to turn the wheel.

We are playing the ultimate practical joke on ourselves... and our children... and all life on Earth.


Many people see the “real world” very simplistically as some giant game of Monopoly.

But remember the objective of Monopoly. The one with the most money wins – at the end of the game.

Now when you start to think about the real “real world,” you realize that we don't want there to be an end to the game.

We're playing the wrong game.

  • We have to play within clearer restraints.

  • We have to reward businesses for good behavior.

  • We have to learn how to use our tools for our greatest real benefit.

  • And we have to take back control of our economic and political systems from the machines we have created. The lives of organizations are NOT more important than the lives of most everything on the planet – including yours.

We have created the machines that will destroy us all. They are not Terminator robots. They are the tools we use to make money.

As long as we as a society consider money to be more important than (healthy sustainable) life itself, IT WILL BE - and the ultimate practical joke will be on us.


Or as another Native American (far more eloquent than I) once said:

Only when the last tree has withered,

the last fish has been caught,

and the last river has been poisoned,

will you realize you cannot eat money.”

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pat Mulroy's Secret Plan

It's not surprising that Southern Nevada Water Authority's (SNWA's) Pat Mulroy wants to present only her best case for building the Groundwater Development Project (watergrab pipeline). But, omission is a form of lying. And what Pat Mulroy leaves out is often more important than what she says. Here is a list of; what Pat Mulroy won't stop talking about, and what Pat Mulroy won't talk about.

...Won't Stop: how low Lake Mead water levels are

Won't Talk: every other lake on the Colorado River is full

...Won't Stop: how Las Vegas is doomed in 20 years without more water

Won't Talk: Las Vegans' water use indicates they presently have plenty of water

...Won't Stop: drought, as if it only effects the Las Vegas economy

Won't Talk: the cost of the project – which could cost the Las Vegas economy up to (one independent estimate of) $20 billion, and if growth doesn't occur as expected, would mean an unnecessary debt of $10,000 for every man, woman, and child in the Las Vegas Valley

...Won't Stop: with all the new residents we're destined to see in the future, there won't be enough water pressure for fire hydrants (yeah, right)

Won't Talk: There isn't room for another million people in Las Vegas. Most of the water will go to Coyote Springs, towards Primm and Indian Springs, and maybe even Pahrump. Effectively, SNWA wants the rotting inner city to pay for growth on the fringes.

...Won't Stop: how Las Vegas businesses need a reliable source of water to get financing

Won't Talk: rich Developers and Construction Companies are trying to sucker Las Vegas residents to pay for the pipeline

...Won't Stop: how expensive it would be to pump desalinated water to Las Vegas

Won't Talk: trading desalinated water with California for a bigger allotment of water from the Colorado River

...Won't Stop: the environmental impacts of a desalination plant on the coast

Won't Talk: offshore desalination plants

...Won't Stop: this is just “Nevadans helping Nevadans”

Wont Talk: the water they intend to take will make them billions – a far cry from what White Pine County gets from Las Vegas taxes (most of which is for roads that Southern Nevadans and tourists to Las Vegas also use).

...Won't Stop: how other cites have taken water from Rural areas also

Won't Talk: how those water grabs were also very destructive forms of oppression of Rural areas.

It seems that Pat Mulroy has left out some very important information.

In summation; Southern Nevada developers want Las Vegas residents to pay a huge undisclosed amount for a pipeline (from the desert) to build communities in other parts of Southern Nevada. And they don't care if they turn a natural Basin area possibly larger than the State of Vermont into a dustbowl to fill a man-made lake. Moreover, if the water runs out, they won't care either. Because by then they'll have already sold their new homes – and SNWA can just extend the pipeline further (for a few billion dollars more).

...And Pat Mulroy doesn't want us to know that offshore desalination is not only more responsible, but possibly even cheaper now (due to technological innovations) – because she has already made multi-million dollar commitments to the watergrab - and wants to save her image (and therefore her career).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Open Letter to the SNWA Board

Your political career is at serious risk.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

You may think of yourself as a decent person who has done a number of good things in your life. Forget all that. History will not remember you for all those things. You've heard the name Mulholland. The only thing people remember him for is the destruction of Owens Valley. You will be remembered for the destruction of the Central Great Basin. ...Of course, people will remember you for one more thing; astronomically raising their water bills. You need to find an alternative to a simple yes or no vote. And there are some very good alternatives.

You might be gullible enough to believe SNWA's low-ball estimate for the Groundwater “Development” Project (which has barely changed in 20 years). But it's very likely this is going to cost well over 5 billion dollars. In fact, I've heard one estimate, from a respectable independent source, at possibly near 20 billion dollars. So it isn't unreasonable to be prepared to pay 10 billion dollars for this.

10 BILLION DOLLARS – to be paid by a city!

Do the math.

10 billion dollars will have to be paid by the residents of Southern Nevada.

There are about 2 million people who will be stuck with this bill.

That amounts to about 5 thousand dollars for every man, woman, and child in the Las Vegas Valley. For a family of four, that would mean 20 thousand dollars!

Now, in the best case scenario; SNWA claims that present residents will have to pay almost half of that. Conservatively, lets estimate 40%. For a family of four, that amounts to about 8 thousand dollars. And what will that family get for their 8 thousand dollar water bill – on top of what they already pay? Well, nothing tangible. In fact, when the bills come due, it's going to be hard to convince them that their getting anything at all for their money.

For that very reason, a yes vote on this water pipeline (from the desert) is going to be political suicide. Nobody is going to remember your good intentions. They're just going to know that their water bills that were once reasonable will become outrageous.

And what about these new residents who are supposed to pay for the rest of the pipelines, pumps, and wells drilled all over Central Nevada? It has been predicted that another million people could move to Las Vegas with this water (drained from under other peoples' feet). 60 percent of 10 billion dollars is 6 billion dollars. That amounts to 6 thousand dollars for every man, woman, and child who moves to Las Vegas. A family of four would thus have to pay 24 thousand dollars on top of the present 6 thousand dollar hook up fee to move into a new house in Southern Nevada. That amounts to 30 thousand dollars added to the cost of a new home – just to get their water hooked up!

Right now, not very many people will pay the present hook-up fee. And it may take decades before the Southern Nevada housing market recovers, if ever. An additional 30 thousand dollars added to the cost of a new home will not help.

But there is one more thing we don't want to overlook. We can't fit another million people into the Las Vegas Valley. Much of the water isn't even going to come to Las Vegas. It is going to go for the development of Coyote Springs, Primm, Indian Springs, and likely Pahrump.

So, what do you think the people who get stuck with at least half the bill to develop other peoples' communities are going to think about this? Heads are going to roll. My advice is that if you intend to vote yes on this catastrophic boondoggle, you had better have a good job with the construction company that builds it, because your political career is OVER.

Of course, that's probably the same thing your big financial backers are telling you – if you vote no.

Allow me to remind you that the watergrab pipeline is not our only option. In fact, we now have a number of much better options that have opened up due to technological advances. My personal favorite is trading desalinated water for a larger allotment of the Colorado River. It makes so much more sense to make than to take. It makes so much more sense to live in abundance, than to eventually live with scarcity.

Due to a number of efficiency advances in the desalination process, the power needed to desalinate water is now one tenth of what it used to be. The price of desalinating water is now 20 cents per cubic meter – approximately one third of what SNWA presently charges for water. This is workable.

If Southern Nevada were to build off-shore desalination plants, as needed to respond to Las Vegas' immediate demand, the up front costs would be far cheaper. For one thing, there would be no need for a massive pipeline infrastructure. Consequently, there wouldn't be any chance that present residents might get stuck with an enormous bill if Southern Nevada doesn't grow as anticipated.

California would happy to deal with us, if we offer enough water. If in the trade, California got 10 percent more water, or 20 percent, or 30 percent; at some point they would be more than willing to make a deal.

A vote of no today is not the end for Southern Nevada.

But a vote of yes is the end for Central Nevada.

Need I remind you that you are not only Southern Nevadans, but you are also Nevadans.

The (likely contrived) crisis at Lake Mead has nothing to do with how much water Las Vegas receives from the Colorado River. And even if Lake Mead were to go dry, as the fear-mongers want you to believe; there is no logic in turning a now natural area almost the size of Vermont into a dustbowl to fill an man-made lake.

For more information, watch the videos:

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Time To Put Up or Shut Up

This is it. This is our only chance to voice our opinion about the watergrab. We don't get a vote. But we can influence those who do.

Earlier this summer, Pat Mulroy said that if the Lake Mead water level dropped to 1075 feet, there would have to be a vote on the watergrab by the SNWA Board. But it didn't happen. A wet Spring has kept Lake Mead from dropping that far. So, what does Pat Mulroy do? Schedule a vote anyway – on August 20. (to see the Eyewitness News video - click here)

Pat Mulroy wants to get the project passed as soon as possible – because resistance is building. People are starting to understand how expensive and destructive this really will be.

So what's the hurry? Vegas isn't growing like it used to. The water isn't going anywhere. Why would Pat Mulroy be in such a hurry to spend billions of Las Vegas' money? Most likely the reasons are personal.

I suspect back-room deals might have been made with a potential pipeline construction company. This is starting to look a lot like a revolving door trick. If Pat Mulroy were to get hired on in the private sector, she might make 5 to 10 times as much – especially if this construction company were to owe her a big favor.

Pat Mulroy is about to declare war on Rural Nevada.

She may not call it war, but the devastation will be the same.

My suggestion; FIRE PAT MULROY NOW!

With Mulroy gone, there isn't anybody to push so suspiciously for the watergrab.

This is life or death for the Central Great Basin.

Get off you couch and do something!

We need to be there, at the SNWA board meeting. We need to remind them this is wrong. If one fifth of the residents of White Pine County were to be there to protest the vote, that would be 2000 people. If we can get that many people there from WPC, we should be able to get at least as many from Las Vegas.

We could have a Tea Party. This pipeline will be an enormous, multi-billion dollar burden on Las Vegas. There are bound to be a huge number of people in Southern Nevada who don't want to get stuck paying for this. Now is the time to protest. (Just imagine how the vote might go if the board knew they had to pass thousands of angry protesters afterwards.) This is our only chance to speak our minds where it could make a difference. Be there. August 20, 9:00 am, the Molasky Corporate Center, 100 City Parkway, Las Vegas.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Good News, Bad News, Weird News

First, the weird news:

Though Lake Mead, near Las Vegas, is at 43% capacity; all of the other reservoirs on the Colorado River are near full capacity. And Pat Mulroy, acting head of Southern Nevada Water Authority (who penned the lake deal with the other Western States) says that's a good thing. On the other hand she says that's a very bad thing, and that if it gets any worse, Southern Nevadans are going to have to spend billions of dollars to get more water.

view Lakes Mead/Powell paradox video

Pat Mulroy has told State lawmakers that Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) is in financial trouble – but still plans to spend billions on the pipeline to draw water from the Central Great Basin high desert (that's right, desert).

Pat Mulroy also says that her quasi-municipality, SNWA, has more than enough oversight (where?) – and has pressured Nevada lawmakers to drop bills that would create any kind of oversight committee.

veiw SNWA oversight resistance video

Say What???

  • SNWA sees the river deal that leaves Lake Mead empty as a good deal, but because of the deal, the lake is drying up is so bad that they have to spend billions get more water?
  • SNWA doesn't have enough money to build another straw into Lake Mead, but somehow can afford to build multiple straws as far away as 250 miles away?
  • Though the public has no real idea of what may really happen to billions of their dollars, SNWA, a public entity, wants no part in public oversight.

Now the bad news:

SNWA is addicted to growth.

SNWA gets $6,310 for every new home hookup.

But SNWA only gets 57 cents for every cubic meter of water they “deliver”.

The fix would seem simple. Lower the hookup fees and raise the price of water. SNWA would have more money. People would use less water. And there would be no need for a watergrab pipeline.

But it ain't gonna happen.

Or, at least it isn't going to happen without a lot of public pressure. And who's going to pressure SNWA to raise water rates – even if they're absurdly low now.

Now the good news:

greentechmedia reports that energy recovery in reverse osmosis desalination plants has drastically reduced energy costs:

It took around 20 kilowatt hours per cubic meter to desalinate water with traditional multi-stage systems... Reverse osmosis membranes dropped that to 8 to 10 kilowatt hours per cubic meter. Putting a turbine in the waste stream … drops it to 5 to 6 kilowatt hours per cubic meter... Energy Recovery's pressure harvesting technique drops it to 2 kilowatt hours per cubic meter.”

Since power rates in Nevada and California for industrial use are less than 10 cents per kilowatt hour, that amounts to less than 20 cents per cubic meter. Recall that SNWA charges 57 cents per cubic meter for the “delivery” of water... The numbers work out.

Now, if Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) were only considering the costs to bring fresh water to Southern Nevada, desalination would be cheaper. (Forget any pipeline. SNWA could just trade the desalinated water with California for a bigger allotment of water from the Colorado River. That would save billions right there.)

Not only would desalination be cheaper, it would be a safer investment. Nobody knows how fast (or even whether) Southern Nevada will grow. Who's going to pay for this multi-billion dollar pipeline project if Las Vegas doesn't grow? SNWA will, of course. But who will pay SNWA? The present residents of Las Vegas (who already have plenty of water).

Not only would desalination be cheaper, it would be a more reliable investment. Sure, it may have been scientists who guessed how much water is under the Central Great Basin, but they still guessed - and there was a lot of political pressure (from you know who). The simple truth is we really don't know when this water will run out. But there will always be plenty of water in the ocean.

Not only would desalination be cheaper now, but it might be far cheaper in the long run. When the expected environmental damage occurs (and the expected environmental damage is massive), who will pay to repair the damage? SNWA will, maybe. But ultimately, ratepayers in Southern Nevada and the taxpayers of Nevada and America will have to foot the bill – to fix something that isn't broke now, and never would be if SNWA chose desalination.

So, you got to wonder; why?

I think I know why...

If they make fresh water, there will be more water, and it will be less expensive.

But if they steal water, there will be less water, and it will be more expensive.

Whoever “delivers” this scarce and depleting water to Southern Nevada would be in the position to rape their ratepayers.

The video Blue Gold recently reported that Las Vegas was somehow involved with the French water company Suez. I have no supporting evidence of that, however it would make so much sense for all of SNWA's seemingly irrational behaviour. SNWA exectutives may have somehow figured out how to privatize key functions, and it makes more sense to get as much of Rural Nevada's water rights as possible before they make the deal public.

The Fair Elections Act

There is a bill in Congress right now designed to take campaign contribution payoff money out of elections. It is called the Fair Elections Act.

Fair Elections are the KEY to a functional democracy!

And YOU are the KEY to fair elections!

Presently, no one can get elected without taking money for campaign contributions.
All candidates are essentially REQUIRED to take what are effectively BRIBES.

Until we stop this practice, we have lost our democracy.
Corruption amongst our politicians is a symptom.
We are the problem.

We have passively accepted our demotion from citizens to wage slaves.

If you really want change from the perversely corrupt system we all now suffer from, support this bill.


Do you really think ANY candidate likes begging for money from people they know will want favors later?

Even corporate CEOs are supporting this bill.

Let's change the system. If we can accomplish that, our elected representatives will have the power to govern with their conscience. Moreover, in the future, the most corrupt politicians just might not end up with the most money.