Monday, October 10, 2011

Organized Crime - In Power

There are a number of psychologists who have compared the captains of industry and the richest investors on Wall Street to criminals and psychotics. Their results are alarming. Not only do the greediest among the criminals and the most dangerous among the psychotics share traits with some of the richest Americans, they also share traits with our corporate and government systems. These traits are so powerful that they have become the dominant traits of our culture.

We love money.
We covet it.
And some people are more than willing to bend the rules, accept some collateral damage, and not even care about anyone or anything else to get it.
and get all of it, if they can.

There are some among us who treat capitalism like it's war. And of course, all is fair in war. There will be blood. But there also will be the spoils of war – the exploitations gained from the exploits of war.

There are those who believe that this is just the best way to win at this game.

Which is the fatal flaw in their thinking.

They treat life like it's a game.

We have been trained to think inside of the box. We've been trained to think that life is like the game of Monopoly. We've been trained to think that money buys happiness. We've been trained to think that it's patriotic to go shopping. We've even been trained to think we can buy our way out of any crisis. 

Our culture ignores the real world.

Moreover, our oligarchy controlled mass media omits the information that might offend their advertisers (or them). Our free news isn't free. It has cost us a part of the truth. Our perception of reality has been tampered with.

All I ask of you is that to try to think outside of the box.

We can create a better future.
We can make better decisions.
We can fix our systems.
We can create a more functional democracy.

But we can't do it by letting the craziest among us run amok!

Consider the Watergrab (the Southern Nevada Water Authority Groundwater Development Project). If someone could get $5,000 an acre foot for the “delivery” of the estimated 200,000 acre feet per year SNWA wants to cannibalize from its neighbors, that would amount to one billion dollars a year! ...And SNWA has already paid as much as $10,000 an acre foot for water from the Mesquite area. This is a sign. Someone may be hoping to get as much as $10,000 an acre foot from Southern Nevadans soon. That would be two billion dollars a year.

But is this what is best for the people of Southern Nevada?
They'll be the one's paying for this.
We already know that this isn't what is best for all of the people of Nevada. We already know that the Watergrab is exactly what ecocide looks like. And we already know that offshore desalination is cheaper, far less financially risky, and far less environmentally destructive.

The Watergrab should only be a last resort for a civilized people. Draining our reserves is an act of desperation. Or at least it should be. Especially when there are less expensive alternatives. Especially when there are alternatives that will provide more water. Especially when there are alternatives that won't turn rural Nevada into a giant dust bowl.

This isn't that difficult of a problem. SNWA cold just desalinate water off the West Coast for California in exchange for more water from the Colorado River. Problem solved. No pipeline necessary.

But then they wouldn't be able to charge $10,000 an acre foot for water. We already know that desalination costs far less than $2,000 an acre foot. They can only charge so much more for desalinated water before they're accused of overcharging. ...But if it's the last of the desert's water, they can charge whatever the market will bear.

In short, creating an artificial shortage is good for business. If you're in the business of destroying our economy, our government, our civilization, and most of life on Earth.

We do love money, don't we...

Since no one could accomplish this scam on their own, our hypothetical “someone” would have to share the wealth. Which is what makes this scam so common. Municipalities all across the country have been getting themselves deeply into debt with boondoggle projects. This leads to the same scam that brought down Greece. The construction companies make exorbitant profits with cost overruns. And the banks make exorbitant profits from predatory loans.

On top of that, since the municipalities will consequently lose the faith of the community, they are vulnerable to privatization – and subsequent price gouging.

Scarcity favors of those who control what is left.

As we all know; we the consumers want abundance. Of course we want abundance. It's only natural. It's only healthy. More water is good. And no matter how one looks at it, desalination means more water. Desalination means more water for the people of Southern Nevada and Rural Nevada. Desalination means more water for future generations. Desalination means more water for the environment. And desalination also means more water for California.

But the same scam is also going on in California. The oligarchs of California have already conned the people of California to pay for water projects to make the oligarchs even richer.

Here's the scheme:
  • The speculators and developers cash in because they con the people into paying for developments for somebody else.
  • The big construction companies cash in on the project and the inevitable cost overruns.
  • The banks cash in on the loans, the many fees, and high interest loans for the cost overruns - on a project that has extraordinary commitment (to be finished or it's worthless).
  • The water “providers” cash in when they privatize and charge what the market will bear. (They'll find a way around Nevada Water Law. If they can't, they'll find a way to change it.)
  • Smaller construction companies cash in when even more people move into Southern Nevada – no matter how unsustainable the population becomes.
  • Local retailers expect to cash in when more people move into Southern Nevada. (But these new people will probably move into new communities with new stores. So most likely, the retailers will be disappointed).
  • And some construction workers will cash in when they get jobs – jobs to devastate the environment (which ultimately will cost them more than the money they earn).
  • While the unsuspecting populous get stuck with the bill.
  • And the hotel/casinos get stuck with the image of Evil Empire destroyers of the Environment. (Which can't be good for their tourism business.)

This super-project boondoggle scheme is so profitable for so many people, that gradually the scheme has become the system. And the system that was created to function for the people has been transformed into the system that feeds off the people. Our democracy is becoming a cleptocracy.

And what was once a democratic republic becomes a nation of debt slaves and oligarchs.

Our government system has reached a stage where it can't make the right decisions.

SNWA could offer a trade with California for more water than they are presently getting from the Colorado River – and financially help the negatively effected farmers. This is a win/win arrangement. California's coastal cities could get more water. And SNWA could help California farmers with investments in water conservation technologies such as:

...If there were the will to do it, we could all end up with more water and more food.

But the executives at SNWA don't want to do the right thing. They know the cost of desalination has dropped drastically. But they would look like fools for wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on an unfinished boondoggle. They fear that they might lose their high paying jobs if they admitted that desalination is cheaper now. They might even lose the opportunity at those even higher paying jobs they might have been offered when the revolving door swings their way – as they step out of public “service.”

And where are the regulators and bureaucrats who are supposed to see that things like this don't happen? Most likely, some of them are looking forward to the high paying jobs they might get when the revolving door swings their way too.

But even if they're not; most of the time, the regulators' hands are tied. In the case of this Watergrab EIS; the BLM is only able to decide on whether the pipeline is a bad idea – not on whether taking out a river of water from a place that has no rivers is a bad idea. The pipeline is only a tool. The pipeline is like a knife. It doesn't really do that much damage – unless it drains the life blood from something. But, of course, draining the water is not to be considered in the EIS.

If those at the BLM can't consider the water, they're not really considering the Watergrab. This just looks good on paper. In reality, the EIS is just an exercise in distraction and whitewashing.

But it doesn't have to be. If those within the BLM were to deny the Watergrab pipeline, it would be a serious setback on a ridiculous effort that could end up being highly disruptive to Nevada's economy and the world's future. Sure, SNWA could go to court and probably win in the long run. But what would they win if public sentiment were solidly and enthusiastically against them.

A no action decision would be a serious blow to the legitimacy of the Watergrab. It would be an opportunity for the public to pay more attention to the implications of this boondoggle project.

This “robing Peter to pay Paul” project will ultimately drive us closer to a more serious shortage in the long run.

The Watergrab may as well have been designed for maximum exploitation.

A no action decision would not hurt Southern Nevada. It would help them take a more sustainable path.

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