Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rango Is Real

Reality is sometimes stranger than fiction.

And the best fiction feels like reality.

You probably thought the movie Rango was fiction.

But it isn't.

Rango Trailer

Rango is actually a true story. The names have been changed. And the animals in the story have been given a few too many human characteristics for them to be recognizable.

But the story of them dying in desert of thirst is true.

The story of their water being piped out of the desert is true.

The story of their water being pumped to Las Vegas is true.

And the story of this all being about greed is true.

The pyramid schemers in Las Vegas want endless growth. They want endless growth because it makes them richer – at least until everything falls apart.

One of their schemes is to legally steal the water from deserts of nearby valleys; Delamar Valley, Dry Lake Valley, Muleshoe Valley, Cave Valley, Spring Valley, Snake Valley, Lake Valley, Hamlin Valley, Railroad Valley, and now Steptoe Valley.

The town of Dirt in the movie Rango is in reality wildlife communities of millions.

There's a corporate gold rush going on all over the world. But the new gold is water. The goal is to charge us the price of gold for what we once got for free. Not only are our laws not protecting us from this, in Nevada, they're giving the water away for free. In Nevada, all that you have to do is promise that you'll take it... How's that for water law in the desert?

The bad guy in the movie could be a number of people in Nevada. It could be the Nevada legislators, who won't reform Nevada water law to save all those plants and animals in all those valleys. It could be the Lincoln County politicians, who sold out to Southern Nevada Water Authority. Or it could be developers, such as the developer of Coyote Springs, who wants to build another Las Vegas out in the desert (using neighboring valleys' water).

The rush for water in Rural Nevada has totally ignored the Native Americans who live here, and have a right, by treaty with the United States of America to at least some of that water. The rush for water totally ignores future generations. And of course, the rush for water totally ignores the life that is already there.

You didn't hear the term in the movie Rango, but the water thieves have a emotionless term for all the wildlife they are going to kill; “phreatophytes.” In Nevada, it's legal to kill phreatophytes. In fact, Nevada law is written in such a way that there may as well be a bounty on phreatophytes. If ever there were such a thing as government sanctioned ecocide, this is it.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

Southern Nevada doesn't have to pay billions of dollars to kill every living thing dependent upon aquifers in a huge portion of the rest of the state. And the corporations that just want to make a killing on water speculation could go make legitimate money doing something productive for a change.

The people of Las Vegas could save billions of dollars if they desalinated water from the ocean. The desal plants could be built offshore, so as to protect life on the coasts. And the fresh water produced could be given to Californians in exchange for more water from the Colorado River. No giant multi-billion dollar pipeline from the desert is necessary – at all.

Companies have offered to desalinate water offshore. At least one company has offered to do this for about $2000 an acre foot. Southern Nevada Water Authority could make water, instead of take water. But no. They'd rather pay $10,000 an acre foot for water that they can take from nearby Mesquite, Nevada.

This is not about need. This is about greed. This is about supply and demand. This is about limiting supply and instigating over-demand.

The people of the deserts are about to be played. The wildlife of the deserts are about to be killed. The message has to get out. The movie Rango has helped immensely to warn us of what is to happen if the bad guys get their way.

What we need are champions. We need people who are willing to stand up for the environment. Especially when there are better ways to address these issues. We need you.

Rango is you.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Koch-Conspirators

If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed. Mark Twain

I remember years ago watching science fiction movies that predicted the corporate takeover of government (the original Rollerball), the complete corruption of the capitalist system (Robocop), the suppression of innovation by those in power (Total Recall), and a total environmental collapse (Soylent Green).

We were warned.

I remember a decade ago, a friend of mine often saying; “Hard times are coming.”

I remember three decades ago, everyone I knew agreeing that if we didn't do something about the environment, things would be really tough for our grandchildren.

We knew.

Deep down, we have known for some time that something is wrong with our system – and that things are getting worse.

But we played along. As long as the money kept coming in, as long as we kept getting paid; nobody cared to rock the boat – even if it was slowly sinking.

And now; we are on the verge of losing our democracy, our incomes, our social safety nets, and the environment we ultimately all depend on.

A more recent science fiction movie (The Road) has warned us that money has no value if there is nothing left to buy – and that no one will be spared if the system collapses.

It is imperative that we fix things.

What we have been erroneously programed (by corporate owned mass media) to call “free market capitalism” has only made things worse – on many levels. In fact, what is called “free market capitalism” has actually been a back-door tool for exploitation, corruption, innovation suppression, and a monopolistic takeover by the greedy among the super-rich that will leave the rest of us desperately poor and overcharged for what used to be the commons (free). However, even all of this might be something the world might be able to tolerate if it were not for the obvious fact that we continue to push ever closer to a total environmental collapse.

The fatal flaw of capitalism is in the details.

The fatal flaw of capitalism is in the accounting.

The holy grail of capitalism, the “bottom line,” is not really the bottom line. What the bottom line is supposed to be is a thorough assessment of the costs and benefits of some endeavor. But it isn't. It's just a number on a sheet of paper. And that number often just actually represents what one can steal. Because, as every good accountant knows, a whole lot of information gets left out. Accountants call these ignored issues “externalities” – the costs to society and the environment that don't get counted on their profit and loss statements. For example; the environmental nightmare that is a result of mining tar sands in Canada is nowhere to be found on any paperwork relating to the bottom line.

The “bottom line” is a lie. It is a lie perpetrated by those who don't want to consider all of the costs. In the real world, the “bottom line” is often literally what they can get away with.

Which leaves the rest of us to pay the real costs.

Which leaves future generations to pay the real costs.

Which leaves the environment to pay the real costs.

This is how a pyramid scheme plays out.

Which means that our present form of capitalism is actually a form of officially sanctioned theft – a free-for-all for those in power. The unwritten goal is to take as much as you can, for as long as you can, until there is no more to take – and then the whole system collapses.

Our whole world economy is essentially a Ponzi scheme.

We have lied to ourselves. Some smart (but not wise) capitalists have written up some equations and some economic “theories” to give us a sense of arrogance about our ignorance of the real world. And we have been willing to believe the expedient – to get us what we wanted in the short run. But the short run is over. And if we don't face the reality of our limits very soon, it will all come crashing down upon us.

What we need is a more accurate way of seeing our predicament. What we need is a new, more realistic, real-world definition for the term “bottom line.” I recommend calling it a “real-world bottom line.”

If we could assess our actions with real-world considerations, we might not make so many blatantly ignorant mistakes in the name of selfish short-sighted “making a killing” blind greed.

But this won't happen until we make fundamental changes to our governmental systems.

What our governments need is an infusion of common sense. What our governments need is to get rid of the inherently designed favoritism to those who actually run our governments. That's right. Every government so far has been designed to favor the designers. And over time, whatever rights and protections guaranteed to the citizens get whittled away by those favored.

We need to accept the obvious fact that our economic system in not the ultimate. We need to remember that the governmental system of the United States of America was designed by a rich, white gentry. When the Constitution was drawn up; there were no Indians there, there were no blacks there, there were no women there, and there were no poor people there.

To claim that, from the very beginning; our nation was designed to favor a certain section of the population... just should be obvious.

But hey; it was better than having a king.

It was way better than having a king.

The people who wrote the Constitution are my favorite heroes. They have created something extraordinary.

But we can build upon their work. We can do even better.

What this country needs is more democracy.

Direct democracy.

Politicians can be blackmailed.

Politicians can be intimidated to work back room deals.

Politicians can be paid off.

Ultimately, politicians and bureaucrats are the key to undermining common sense.

Individuals can be manipulated.

It is a whole lot tougher to manipulate everyone.

Just look around. There are so many things our government is doing that we, the people, never would have voted for.

Recently, we have witnessed a world-wide class war – implemented in the name of “austerity.” These austerity measures have only served to hurt the overall economies of those cut. But the filthy rich are getting even richer. This is a sign. We are being robbed.

Even the less informed among us have figured out that the economic crisis that created the impetus for gutting all the benefits to paying taxes was caused by the greedy among the rich (mega-bankers) gambling with our savings... And did they have to suffer the consequences of a free-market economy? No, of course not. And they won't have to next time either. This is what a hopelessly corrupt economic system looks like.

These greedy, self-centered, cold-hearted, un-American destroyers of democracy want to be king. That's what they want. They want us to go back to having kings. It's not good enough to be above the law. They want to be the law. They not only want to do anything they please, they want be able to force you to do it too... They don't just want to be filthy rich, they want all the money. All of it.

They want to be king.

And like back in the days of Washington and Jefferson, it may take a revolution to stop them. Only this time, it isn't just about freedom and liberty, it's about the quality of life on our planet – and it's quite possibly about the ultimate survival of our species.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We Wouldn't Vote For This

Solar power is cheaper than nuclear power – at the counter – no need to add in the cost of externalities (such as the cost of nuclear waste storage - to be footed by the taxpayer, or the cost of cleanups - to be footed by the taxpayer, or the cost of more cancer - to be footed by the sick - and the taxpayer).

Therefore, the Obama administration wants to give the nuclear industry eight billion dollars in loan guarantees. That's right. They want to give away billions of dollars in taxpayer money for something the taxpayers would never vote for.

The American government continues to fight legitimate renewable energy – even though there's a nuclear power plant in Japan on the verge of meltdown, and every other country on the planet is having second thoughts about nuclear power.

And why is this reactor about to meltdown? Because it lost power. That's it. It lost power. Did you know that we would never completely lose power if it were distributed amongst multiple renewable sources. And if we somehow did, what would happen? Nothing.

On top of all that; when it looks like hydrogen energy is becoming viable (without the use of hydrocarbons as a feedstock), the Obama administration de-funds it.

Forget about the Tea Party; the Obama Administration makes Alice in Wonderland's tea party look sane.

There's more. It looks like we've got another oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. That's right, the massive BP oil spill wasn't enough to get Congress to act – and write a sane Energy Bill. So, now we have another chance to act. But it won't happen. They'll just let this new catastrophe play out too, continue to give the fossil fuel industry billions of our money in subsidies, and hope Americans can't pay attention.

The American people voted for President Obama and the Democrats because we were tired of the Republican party lying to us about what they were going to do about global warming. And now we've got Democrats doing the same damn thing.

Richard Nixon was a better environmental President.

It is time to realize that the American government has lapsed into total corruption.

The Republican Party exists to make the rich richer.

The Democratic Party exists to make you think you have an alternative.

This is not free trade. This is government sanctioned suppression of innovation.

This is not freedom. This is a militaristic empire draining the wealth of its citizens.

This is not democracy. This is legislation for sale to the highest bidder.

This is not sustainable.

This is not even functional.

This system is doomed.

No new politician is going to be able to change this.

No desperately needed internal reform is going to happen.

No business as usual fix is going to be anywhere near enough.

Either we the people fix it, or we go down with it.

What this country needs is more democracy – direct democracy.

The masses may not be very smart, but we're smarter than this.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Being In Nature Is Like Going Back To Your Soul

Being in Nature is like going back to your soul.

...You know what I'm talking about; that feeling that you are more complete when you feel you're a part of a natural place.

And you should. No man is an island. We are just a part of life on Earth – but we should relish that.

Have you ever thought about how the words soul and Sol sound so much alike. One word represents the energy within us and the other word represents the energy from the Sun. If this were a coincidence, I would be very surprised. Our ancestors knew. Our ancestors knew that we are more than that which is contained in our bodies.

We are a part of life on Earth.

That is so special.

Just consider the alternative: If we were to be truly alone (say floating in a spacecraft) – we would die – of hunger, stale air, and loneliness. We crave the Grand Central Station of life. We crave the beauty of life all around us. We crave the balance. We crave the feeling of completeness.

We crave the feeling of a complete soul. And we are more likely to feel that feeling when we are in Nature. In fact, fresh air actually feels like the breath of life – because it is.

This perception makes sense if we think of the life all around us as the rest of our soul. And this perception of our soul makes sense if we think of the life around us as that consciousness which lives on after our body dies.

And if this all makes sense, then destroying nature for money is destroying a part of your soul.

It seems some people will do most anything for money...

Including sell their soul.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Egypt Isn't Out Of The Woods Yet

Remember a couple of weeks ago when Senator John McCain called the democracy movement in Egypt a "virus"?

Well, now he's extolling how wonderful the movement is (now that they've won).

That could just mean he's a hypocrite. But it likely means a lot more. It likely means that the change at the top in Egypt isn't really significant.

It likely means that the Egyptian people still have a lot of work to do to get that democracy they so dearly want.

We Americans need to watch for signs such as this here. Those in power have far too many times told us that we got what we wanted, when in reality nothing has significantly changed.