Friday, February 26, 2010

My Advice To Rory Reid: Fix The System

This whole watergrab(gate) thing doesn't have to derail Rory Reid's hopes for Governor. But watergrab(gate) is potentially very damaging to his campaign. When presented as poor management and a cover-up, watergrab(gate) makes Rory Reid look incompetent and uncaring. But there is more to the story.

Nevada water law sucks... Nevada dry.

Rory Reid can claim he felt that Las Vegas had no choice on the watergrab. Even if Southern Nevada doesn't need the water now. Even if desal/trade is now cheaper. Nevada water law is written in such a way that Las Vegas is forced to either use it or lose it.

If Southern Nevada doesn't have the rights to Great Basin water, somebody else will apply for it. That somebody else could easily be multinational corporations that could bottle the water and export it all far away from Nevada. This would result in the same environmental/rural economic devastation as the SNWA groundwater development project (the watergrab), but with little benefit for any Nevadans.

What really needs to be done is to change Nevada water law. Right now there is no provision in Nevada water law for saving water for future use. And right now there is no provision for responsible use.

Nevada water law essentially states that “first in use gets first in right.” What this often means in the real world is that the first to waste the water gets senior Nevada water rights for free. This is no way to manage water in the desert!

Because of Nevada water law, Las Vegas was faced with a difficult decision; pump the water from the Great Basin out, now... or do without the water, because somebody else would.

Nevada water law essentially just slices up the pie. This law does not promote responsible, sustainable, or long-term use in any way. As governor, Rory Reid could help fix Nevada water law.

Let's think about what we really want. Southern Nevada can now, for much less money, desalinate sea water offshore and give that water to California in exchange for a bigger allotment of the Colorado River. Since Las Vegas isn't growing at the rate it once was, the Groundwater Development Project is looking far less affordable and far more economically risky. But Southern Nevada doesn't want to just give up the water rights to Great Basin water... and of course, rural Nevada doesn't want to be left a wasteland.

Why not reform Nevada water law to allow Southern Nevada to hold limited long-term water rights – to store water for future use. These water rights should be limited, so as not to prevent some development of Rural Nevada. In other words, if people want to build houses in the watergrab areas, and maybe have a garden, Nevada water law should not prevent them (as it does now in places like Baker, Nevada). Growth in Rural Nevada should not be stifled by the desire for continued growth in Southern Nevada.

Personally, I feel that renewable industries should have priority when it comes to Nevada water law. Since Rory Reid agrees with me that agriculture can be a renewable industry, maybe some provision should be made for responsible agricultural development.

And most importantly, if we allow Southern Nevada long-term water rights to Great Basin water; we need to insure that the water is stored there until there is a real water emergency. Long-term water rights should promote long-term storage above all. Nobody should be allowed to convert long-term storage into short-term use unless there is a serious emergency – unless there are many people literally going thirsty. (And the reason for this is simple, if the Great Basin groundwater is taken, all life dependent upon it will literally die. We should only be willing to kill off whole ecosystems under the most desperate of situations.)

At present, Nevada water law promotes mismanagement of our State's most scarce life-giving resource. As Governor, Rory Reid can help fix a system that is destined for environmental devastation and ultimate economic collapse. There is an opportunity here to turn an ugly water war into a long-term plan for water use in the high deserts of Nevada.

I would support Rory Reid if he supported these water law changes – and I suspect most people in the watergrab areas (and even Las Vegas) would also.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Watergrab(gate) Cover-ups

Those of you who are old enough to remember the 1972 Watergate break-in may also remember the most politically damaging act to the Nixon presidency – the cover-up.

Much in the same way, the most potentially politically damaging aspect of Watergrab(gate) is also the cover-up. Mistakes were made – big mistakes. But the cover-up makes them look trivial by comparison.

Maybe it should be excusable that SNWA wasted millions on overpriced rural ranches and overpriced water rights. Because at the time, this may have seemed rational. But times have changed. The cost to desalinate sea water has rapidly dropped. Apparently, nobody at SNWA anticipated this – and nobody at SNWA wants to admit to it now. They would rather pretend that it is still more expensive to desalinate sea water than it is to cannibalize water from rural Nevada. They're apparently so afraid of the truth that they will perpetuate a costly mistake into an ecological and economical disaster.

So, what is it that SNWA is terrified you might find out? In the past, electricity costs were almost half of the cost of desalination. However, very recently, smart people have figured out ways around this:

  • UCLA spin-out NanoH2O has developed a nanoparticle membrane that the company claims can process 70% more water with 20% less power.

  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory spin-out nanOasis has also developed nanoparticle membranes with similar potential.

  • The Norwegian-American-Kuwaiti company; Energy Recovery, utilizes pressure harvesting of the reverse osmosis wastewater stream to reduce the energy necessary for desalination from 8 to 10 kilowatts per cubic meter to 2.

  • Yale spin-out Oasys has developed forward osmosis technology that reduces the amount of energy to desalinate seawater by 90%.

  • New Mexico State University spin-out Sterling Water has developed a market capable prototype to desalinate water which they claim “the overall cost of desalination by this process becomes almost insignificant.”

About four years ago, I read a SNWA report that claimed that desalination was about 30% more expensive than watergrab water. Now, if even one of these companies delivers on their promises (which they are), the cost of desalination has dropped below that of the watergrab (using SNWA's numbers). But there is also another cover-up. There is this matter of the low-ball price quote for the watergrab that hasn't changed much since the 1990s (which is a blatant disregard for inflation). Now, if you consider an independent estimate of the cost of the watergrab (at up to $20 billion), desalination has already dropped far below Las Vegas taking water from their neighbors.

The watergrab(gate) cover-up is the most hideous perpetuation of a bad idea I have seen in Nevada history. And this cover-up continues on – just to keep a few incompetent administrators from being exposed.

Cannibalizing Other Nevada Communities

In their attempts to purchase water from nearby communities, Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) has paid as much as 10 times what it would presently cost to desalinate water! And that's just the tip of the water(grab)gate iceberg.

The Virgin Valley Water District (in Mesquite, Nevada) has witnessed their water prices skyrocket because Las Vegas wants their water. SNWA has paid as much as $9865 per acre/foot for Mesquite water!

Now, for those of you not familiar with the price of water in the West, that's astounding – 10, 20 times, even more from what it was just a few years ago. On the other hand, the cost of desalination has been dropping substantially.

Desalination presently costs as little as $1000 an acre/foot, approximately one tenth what SNWA has paid for other Nevada communities' water! And the technology for desalination just keeps improving. Desalination costs are still dropping, and are predicted to drop by far more (likely soon 70% cheaper).

SNWA's behavior just doesn't make any sense. At the price SNWA paid for Mesquite water, they could have desalinated water off the coast, and traded that water with California for more water out of the Colorado River. In fact, SNWA could have offered California twice the water SNWA would receive from the Colorado River, and it still would only cost SNWA one fifth what it cost to take Mesquite's water!

So why hasn't SNWA chosen the less environmentally damaging, rural community devastating, and cheaper option? Water(grab)gate.

If SNWA executives were to admit that they've wasted millions of Las Vegans' money on overpriced water, they wouldn't keep their jobs for long. So, they just keep pretending that they've made the right decisions. They just keep pretending that buying up other Nevada communities' water is the only option. This isn't just bad (and horrendously costly) management, its cannibalistic behavior to other Nevada communities.

Desalination, on the other hand, would mean more water for everyone in Nevada. Hence it would mean lower water prices for both Las Vegas and places like Mesquite. SNWA executives must know this by now. So why are they essentially driving prices up? Water(grab)gate. If SNWA pays almost $10,000 an acre/foot for water in Mesquite, they can charge the same for water they want for free from the Great Basin. The capacity of the watergrab pipeline is close to 200,000 acre/feet per year. That amounts to almost $2 BILLION a year! And who pays for this overpriced water? Actually, everyone in Nevada (and surrounding states) – because water prices will be driven up everywhere. They already have been. Just ask the Virgin Valley Water District. And while you're at it, you may want to ask how water(grab)gate has effected Mesquite's economy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Six Signs It's Finally The 21st Century

  1. CBS's 60 minutes has reported that a new method for generating electrical energy has been developed. They call it the Bloom Box. A number of well known companies already are utilizing these generators. In fact, the Google facility has been generating power with Bloom Boxes for the past 18 months. To see the 60 minutes video, click here.

    The Bloom Boxes are twice as efficient as natural gas power plants – and they claim the Boxes are clean... However, I'm not convinced yet. Oxygen and hydrocarbons come in... but they don't tell us what comes out. These fuel cells could be a way for the fossil fuel industry to get in on the fuel cell market, since this version burns fossil fuels.

  2. Personally, I find hydrogen fuel cells more exciting. CNN International has reported that Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies has developed a table-top hydrogen power station that stores hydrogen in a solid form at low pressure. Hydrogen technologies such as this (combined with solar and wind power) have the independence boosting potential to completely bypass fossil fuels and the power companies. For more info, click here.

  3. Precision breeding has led to the development of flood tolerant rice – which could lead to rice yields that could feed as many as 30 million more people. Precision breeding is not genetic engineering. In fact, precision breeding could even be considered organic. Precision breeding is actually a high-tech form of selective breeding. Which, of course, has been in use for thousands of years. Consider corn; which grew naturally only about an inch long. What took Indians hundreds of years to develop might now only take a few. What this implies is astounding. Precision breeding has the potential to help us modify successful local plant species (even weeds) to grow more edible parts. For more info, click here.

  4. Sterling Water LLC has announced that they have constructed a successful prototype of a market capable zero-emission desalination unit in which “the overall cost of desalination by this process becomes almost insignificant.”

    When our civilization makes fresh water, and allows our natural aquifers to regenerate; we will totally change the paradigm for water use on the planet. We will be creating abundance, rather than profiting from scarcity. This will be reflected onto all life around us. More things will live. For more info, click here

  5. An open-source design 3-D printer is available as a kit for $950. Though it only makes small plastic parts now, it is the first step towards being able to download an open-source design for a mechanical part or an electrical circuit. Once we can do that, we'll be able to make much of our own stuff. For more info, click here.

  6. Bioplastics (plant-based plastics) are coming into their own. And, of course, wouldn't it be nice to be able to make our own stuff from materials that won't harm the environment. For more info, click here.

These five technologies are poised to radically change how we live. Imagine what it would be like to make your own stuff, utilizing energy you've generated yourself, from environmentally safe chemicals. Imagine what it would be like to organically grow your own food from plants that naturally grow where you live. And imagine having the water to grow your own food without having to drain what's left of our aquifers.

It looks like the 21st century is finally arriving.

I was starting to wonder how long the established industries oligarchy could hold innovative technologies back – so that they could keep their own profits coming in (from antiquated technologies). Nonetheless, people keep coming up with good ideas. The flood of new technologies are building to a paradigm shifting force.

...But then again, the powers that be have held back renewable energy for 30 years – and they still have control over the U.S. government. If you don't want these paradigm-shifting technologies suppressed, be prepared to fight subsidies, tax breaks, resource give-aways, or other unfair advantages established industries have awarded themselves (by subverting our democracy).

Remember; the devil is in the details. Usually both the new and the old industries get subsidies. It's just that the old industry gets far more. It's a scam. Hey, how in the world are the new guys going to compete with an established industry that is (because of government subsidies etc.) say... 6 billion dollars ahead of them? They aren't. We can't let this continue to happen.

It's not about taxes... it's about how our taxes are spent.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Now, if I were running for Governor against Rory Reid, and I had just read the last post; I would be seriously thinking of how to point out this potentially devastating little factoid to the public.

You know the factoid; Rory Reid was on the board of Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) back when they decided to pay almost $80 million for $20 to $30 million worth of ranches in rural Nevada.

If I were running against Rory Reid, I would be asking some difficult questions. And I would make it a point to tell the public that if elected, I would conduct a full investigation into the real cost of the watergrab and an independent technical study of the alternatives. I would also assure the public that SNWA wouldn't determine which alternatives not to study. And for both the investigation and the study, I would include members from the effected watergrab areas (to assure independence).

This is a political hot-potato for Rory Reid. Just making this look like something needs to be investigated will make him look bad. Personally, I have no desire to make Rory Reid look bad. But I am convinced this whole Las Vegas watergrab of rural Nevada's water is a horribly bad decision that SNWA is pretending is a good one – because they've already committed millions and millions of dollars. No one at SNWA anticipated that the cost of desalination would drop so much. And now they are out on a limb with an inferior plan.

The better plan: All SNWA has to do is build offshore desalination plants off the West coast to provide water for Californians. In exchange, California could allow Southern Nevada to trade that water for more water from the Colorado River. No pipeline necessary. No drying up of rural Nevada. And Californians would be more than willing to deal if SNWA were willing to provide them with more water than what they trade for from the Colorado River. With the desalination plants offshore, there wouldn't be the environmental concerns. And if the power to run the plants is renewably generated offshore also, the only thing coming into shore would be fresh water. Nobody is going to complain about that.

And how do I know this is a better plan? Because SNWA chief Pat Mulroy won't even mention it. SNWA has considered bringing in ice from the arctic, floodwaters from the Mississippi, and a number of other wild ideas. But for some reason or another, she only wants to consider desalination plants on the shoreline and a pipeline in from the coast. Hmmm... It's as if Pat Mulroy knows the desal/trade plan is better – and is trying to distract us from thinking about it.

If I'm right; exposing this hideously expensive boondoggle will ruin Rory Reid's chances for election as Governor of Nevada – and save Southern Nevada residents billions, save rural Nevada economies from ruin, save millions of life forms, and result in more water in the long run.

Unfortunately, I like Rory Reid. I like his policies. However, he has made one enormous mistake in his career. He let Pat Mulroy convince him that the watergrab was the only option. Pat Mulroy has been pushing for the watergrab for 20 years now. She is obviously committed to this plan – so much so that she won't even talk about reasonable alternatives. Rory Reid was a victim of her oversight. Consequently, Rory Reid's biggest mistake of his career was taking advice from Pat Mulroy.

Rory Reid is a lawyer, not a scientist. Rory Reid is a politician, not a hydrologist. When Pat Mulroy told the board of SNWA that the watergrab was the only option, they believed her. When Pat Mulroy told the board of SNWA that they needed to buy up ranches in rural Nevada at far above the going rate, they believed her.

If I were Rory Reid; I would try to get this all over with. The mature thing to do is to fess up to his mistake and try to fix the problem. A number of things went differently than expected. Las Vegas quit growing like a weed. The cost of desalination dropped precipitously. And scientists have shown that the environmental effects of the watergrab will be profoundly devastating. These things cannot be ignored.

Rory Reid does have options. He can claim that he will conduct an investigation and a independent review. And if he does this before his competition, he won't look like he's doing it reluctantly. But, most of us don't believe he really will. After the election is over with, all he has to do is change his mind. No, in order to prove that he honestly wants to do the right thing, he has to do something definitive before the election.

I recommend that Rory Reid try to get Pat Mulroy fired. Since he no longer is on the SNWA board, he can't vote for it. But Rory Reid can tell the truth. Pat Mulroy lied to the SNWA board by omission. Pat Mulroy did not tell the whole truth. The whole truth would include:

  1. This whole pipeline scheme is an effort to get present residents to pay for new immigrants to Southern Nevada. If smaller projects such as desalination plants, were built (as needed), developers could pay for the projects – and new residents would foot the bill.

  2. Independent estimates have concluded that the watergrab pipeline project will likely cost far more than Pat Mulroy claims.

  1. The low Lake Mead levels are just being used as an excuse to panic Las Vegans into accepting the watergrab. Every reservoir downstream of Lake Mead is full. Even Lake Powell has been filling back up.

  2. Las Vegas only gets a 3% allotment of the Colorado River. Even a small change in that allotment would mean a huge difference to Southern Nevada. Up until now, no other state has been willing to give up any water. But now that SNWA can desalinate water for California at a reasonable cost; SNWA can now offer more water to California in exchange for a bigger allotment from the Colorado River.

  3. Nevada water law is written in such a way that it is perfectly acceptable to kill everything on the surface to get to the subsurface water. Yet Pat Mulroy claims that with present environmental laws, this wouldn't happen. However, the BLM isn't even requiring an Environmental Impact Statement for the actual withdrawal of the water.

  4. And most importantly, there are better options now that have not been investigated.

Rory Reid is in trouble on this one. While Rory Reid was on the board of SNWA, he didn't call for an independent review of Pat Mulroy's claims. And now that the truth is coming to light, and tens of millions of dollars have been lost, he will be shown as partially responsible. I sense that Rory Reid is generally an honest man. I don't think he wants to believe he made such a horrible mistake. But this is no reason to continue down such a destructive and expensive path.

Rory Reid has a tough choice to make. He can continue to pretend that he made the right decision back when he was on the board of SNWA – and let his competition ruin his political career. Or, he can focus on reform and get to the bottom of this.

Even if Rory Reid still believes that he made the right decision back when he was on the board, an independent review of the cost of the watergrab and an independent technical study of alternatives would clear his name.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Rory Reid for Governor?

I just went to meet the candidate for Governor, Rory Reid. Yes, Harry Reid's son.

I really, really liked everything he had to say, almost.

Rory, like his father, is pushing for the development of renewable power here in Rural Nevada. This makes so much sense. Nevada has to import its oil and coal, and would have to import its uranium to. But Nevada can be an exporter of renewable energy.

Moreover, Rory Reid sounds far more reasonable about public education than our present Governor.

However, I didn't feel comfortable about his comments about the watergrab. When asked about it, Rory Reid exclaimed how glad he was that there would be some more time to reconsider SNWA's options now that the State Supreme Court made the ruling that will at least slow down SNWA. But this was Friday, the day after the Review Journal in Las Vegas reported that SNWA was trying to make an end run around the Supreme Court ruling. (Or at least the boss of the State Water Engineer was trying to squeeze in a water law amendment made to a water law amendment – during the Legislative special session on the State Budget.)

Now, because there is this effort that looks a whole lot like ramming through legislation to help SNWA not have to deal with the State Supreme Court ruling; what Rory Reid said didn't make sense. Conditions could be all back to the watergrab as usual in a matter of a few days. So I figured Rory Reid hadn't heard the news – and I later mentioned it. But he had... and had left it out when he had talked about having plenty of time.

Now, why would he do that? Maybe just an oversight. We all do it once in a while. But what if it wasn't? What if he didn't think we knew, and wanted to lull us into thinking we have plenty of time?

This concerned me enough to ask a more pointed question: “Right now, Governor Gibbons is being asked to decide whether to include water law legislation in the special session on the State budget. What would you decide, Mr. Reid?”

Now; this is a very simple question. Would you ram through pro-SNWA legislation that blatantly bypasses the State Supreme Court, or would you focus on the budget crisis and deal with water law later? This question was so simple, I may as well have asked; Are you with us or against us?

His answer; “I don't know.”

This is Rory Reid, former board member of SNWA. He knows. I admire him for not lying to us, but I don't feel comfortable that he told us the whole truth. Either way, he did tell us something. He effectively told us we couldn't trust him to help us on the watergrab.

This is Rory Reid, former board member of SNWA. If he weren't running for Governor, he'd probably still be on the board. It almost looks like SNWA just decided to run their own candidate for Governor. Rory Reid must have known we would suspect that. Yet he never once tried to distance himself from SNWA.

So, is allowing Rory Reid to Govern over SNWA pretty much the same thing as allowing Dick Cheney be Vice President over Haliburton? I'm not certain. But I'd give you 10 to 1 odds.

So, does SNWA have influence over any other candidates for Governor? I would sure think so. But it may just be that most of them are afraid to take on Las Vegas. Either way, we're still waiting for a champion.

The sad, sad, sad truth is that this may be the best option White Pine County will get from the two parties. I don't see any other candidates standing up to SNWA for Rural Nevada. At least this guy doesn't also want to build nuclear power plants to suck out the water from even further North.

I sure don't want to settle for having to choose between bad or worse... But it's still early. Maybe Rory Reid will take my advice.

Maybe Rory Reid will push for independent technical oversight of SNWA. They really need it. We're all starting to get suspicious. The price of desalination has dropped by about a factor of ten since the water applications were first made. At least in the short run, desalination is cheaper – because desalination facilities can be built incrementally (instead of the huge pipeline project, which will cost billions right up front). In fact, if SNWA had not bought the $70 million in Rural Nevada ranches, and instead invested in offshore desalination – and traded the water for more water from the Colorado River, Las Vegas would already have more water.

But SNWA did spend $70 million on ranches. And now SNWA's manager, Pat Mulroy, is committed to the pipeline for the rest of her career – whether she wants to be or not. Politically, she just can't say; “Sorry for spending the $70 million, desalination is a better deal now. So I've changed my mind.” It would be the end of Pat Mulroy's political career... Oh and by the way, Rory Reid was on the board of SNWA when the decision to spend the $70 million on ranches was made. It just might be that Rory Reid isn't really all that enthusiastic about finding out the truth either. In fact, he's already had the chance to find out. Rory Reid could have pushed for independent technical oversight of SNWA back when he was a board member of SNWA – and he didn't.

I want to support Rory Reid, but unfortunately his career is headed in the wrong direction because of one horrible decision that he can't go back on. Since the cost of desalination has dropped so much, the watergrab is looking more and more like a huge disaster. But neither he, nor anyone else who committed millions and millions of dollars to it is willing to admit that conditions have changed. So they just continue to speed towards environmental destruction, massive debt, economic devastation of Rural Nevada, and even further water scarcity.

Friday, February 12, 2010


So now Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) thinks they can sneak around the Nevada Supreme Court... Unbelievable!

They want to do a end-run around the Nevada Supreme Court ruling (that decided against SNWA) by slipping in back-door water legislation (to “fix” the back-door water legislation from a few years ago) during the State special session. You know, the special session that's supposed to be about the budget deficit.

This is dirty politics at it's worst.

SNWA asked for reconsideration by the State Supreme Court, then asked for a time extension – apparently so they can have time to bypass the Courts in the Legislature. To amend what? To amend an amendment. SNWA lobbyists had an amendment passed in 2003 (to an existing law ensuring protestors a hearing on claims). This amendment essentially allowed SNWA to be above the law (Nevada water law that is). Of course, the State Supreme Court wasn't impressed and ruled against it. So now SNWA is getting a little help from Allen Biaggi, the Nevada director of Conservation and Natural Resources (the State Water Engineer's boss). Allen Biaggi has crafted a bill to amend the amendment – that shouldn't have been amended in the first place.

But there is something we can do about it, if we act soon. Please call the Nevada Governor's Office at 775-684-5670. Ask our Governor to keep the water issue off the agenda of the Special Session on the budget. Request that the issue be left to the courts to finish the process.

Of all people, our State's own director of Conservation and Natural Resources, Allen Biaggi, has shown his true colors as a total sell-out.

When Allen Biaggi came out to talk to us in White Pine County, he sounded so much like he really cared about Rural Nevada and the environment. Apparently, it was all a lie.

We're watching you Allen Biaggi. You're not about conservation; you're all about exploitation. As soon as things don't go the way of big money, you're right there for them to do their dirty work. Obviously, you're headed for a revolving door on SNWA's payroll... Hey, if I'm wrong, come out and say so in public. Go ahead, tell us you'll never take a job with SNWA. I want to be wrong about this one. I don't want to believe that you're just some self-serving bureaucrat, making blatantly corrupt moves so that you can get some high paying job in the future with the same organization you helped out now. But until I hear you say it, you've lost all my faith.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Let's Vote On It

What is freedom without independence?

Dependence – which is not really freedom.

What do Americans think about when they hear the word independence?


Americans have been convinced that independence is about our nation – when independence has always been about people.

So, why the confusion? Because independence often gets in the way of profits. Because the most profitable goal of a purely self-interested capitalist business is for their customers to be like junkies – totally and desperately dependent. It's all about supply and demand. If a business can make demand seem like a matter of life and death, they can charge any price.

Capitalism should be a healthy, sustainable, enlightened interdependence. Trying to get your customers to act like junkies is not enlightened interdependence. We, the people, must be constantly vigilant in preventing the misdirection of capitalism towards a dealer/junkie – master/slave – exploiter/exploited relationship. And so far, we've done a lousy job.

And how? By letting others make our decisions for us. We vote for officials who are supposed to make enlightened decisions for us. But that's rarely how it works.

And why? Because we have allowed our political system to remain corrupted for generations. The warped definition for campaign contributions is; take the money and run. Everybody knows this. Everybody knows that political advertisements are biased in favor of those who paid for the ad. Duh... Everybody knows that big money runs our mass media like a puppeteer holding the strings.

...And everybody also knows that if we occasionally had elections on issues rather than candidates, we might actually get what we want.

Let's face the brutal truth of our nation's history; our founding fathers were all rich white gentry. They didn't want Indians, Blacks, women, or most of the poor to have any say. Our American political system wasn't designed to let the people decide. Our political system was designed for “enlightened” representatives of the people to make our decisions for us. This simply isn't working. Our elected representatives aren't enlightened. They can't afford to be enlightened. They're too busy trying to collect money for the next election.

I want to vote on issues. I don't want to vote for some party-picked candidate who will ultimately let me down once he/she becomes my “leader.” Besides, they're not really leaders if they're constantly caving in to big money interests.

If we could vote on the issues; do you think tens of billions of our tax dollars would have been spent on fossil fuel subsidies? Do you think we'd still be paying to build super-expensive weapons for the Cold War? Do you think we would have had American troops invading Iraq (to ultimately steal their oil for multi-national corporations)? Do you think we would still have a health care system that is closer to communist China than socialist Europe? Do you think our air, water, and food would be safer from pollution? Do you think our children might have had a more sustainable future to look forward to? And do you think we might, just might be a little more independent?

There are people who have manipulated our political system to keep us dependent upon them and their products/services – even if this is ultimately environmentally or economically disastrous for all of us in the long run. And this predicament isn't really getting any better. In fact, since 1980, it has gotten far worse. For decades now, Presidents have asked for a line-item veto. It might have helped. But what the American people need is far more than that. We need to vote on the issues.

Gone are the days when it took weeks to count votes. We have the technology. We can rebuild our system. This isn't revolutionary. We already vote on issues here in the State of Nevada. In fact, sometimes it's the only way Nevadans can get our State Government to act on some issues (taxing mining profits, for example).

Everyone agrees that America's political system is broken. Our Congress is at a standstill – and when it acts, it gives our tax money away to industries that don't deserve it.

Example: $18 billion (to $40 billion) is now being considered in indirect subsidies to the nuclear power industry. Hey, didn't we decide years ago that nuclear power was unsafe, expensive, and left a hell of a mess? What about free trade? What about renewable energy? What about distributed power? What about independence? That's what it's really about. Independence. The big power companies don't want us to generate our own power. So they have devised a scheme to keep us dependent. And they will force us to pay for their scheme. That's not democracy... Let's hold an election. Let's vote on it. Should we give the nuclear industry $40 billion in loan guarantees so that the big power companies can keep us dependent on them for another 30 or more years?


If they want to build nuclear power plants, let them invest their own money.

But it won't be that simple. There are people in this country who don't want this to be a democracy. They want to call the shots – and they're aiming for you. If the people of this country want real power to decide our fate, we are going to have to take that power. The powers that be aren't going to give it to us. So if all you want to do is sit on your couch and complain, they've won – for now. However, things will not get better on their own. Eventually things will get bad enough that you will have to stand up and claim your power.

We want the power to vote on national issues.

We want a real democracy!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Finally - Justice!

You hear the pundits on TV talking about it all the time; freedom, freedom, freedom. I'm all for freedom, but what kind of freedom? This is critically important. Because freedom without justice is not really the kind of freedom we want.

Southern Nevada developers want freedom. They want the freedom to take water from the rest of Nevada. I see that as the freedom to steal.

Apparently Las Vegas developers feel that since there are more people in Southern Nevada cities than are in Rural Nevada, they should have priority. This sort of makes sense in a democracy. But should they always have priority?

Let's face it, if cities always had priority over rural areas, we would no longer have a true democratic republic. What makes a just political system is minority rights, not majority rule. Pure majority rule is simply oppression.

Southern Nevada developers want to take the most valuable thing Rural Nevada has. We live in the high desert – get it, desert. Water is the one thing we need the most – because we don't have much.

Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) wants to take our water. And they have been doing everything they can to railroad this watergrab project through. Emily Green wrote a revealing article about the history of the watergrab recently. To read it click here.

The SNWA railroad effort wasn't flawless, however. Our (Great Basin Water Network's) attorneys found a flaw in the law Southern Nevada had changed – to favor the watergrab. Consequently, justice found a toehold. YES!!!

(If George Knapp's video isn't here, you can read the report if you click here)

The fight isn't over yet, however. As long as the water is there, SNWA (or some greedy corporation) will be trying to take it. Justice requires constant diligence.