Friday, October 03, 2008

So not being conservative is being negative....

One of the things that drives me crazy about many of the ultra right conservatives and religious right is the apparent basic modus operandi that they are right and we must all think and behave they way they tell us to. They appear to have lost the ideas so basic and core to our constitution of free thought and free speech. They appear to be able to tolerate the idea that other people can have a valid , but different position on a topic. Their tolerance has dropped to zero.

One of the more amazing twists on this behaviour surfaced in an advertisement for the new spoof movie this week. The ad basically starts of saying that making a conservative movie in Hollywood is essentially illegal and actors who do it are probably considered criminal by their peers, but is you are tired of movies with a NEGATIVE message, you need to come and watch this wonderful new piece of film making. So the conclusion from this is that if you are not thinking along Conservative lines, your thinking is negative, not different, not liberal, but NEGATIVE.

Most bizarre!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

By the peole, for the people

So we learned this week that the troop levels in Iraq are now at an all time high, and that the Bush White House wants even more. Am I wrong, or did we not vote in a recent election with the majority of voters saying we want the war to be ended and our troops who are being killed and maimed in this pointless, un-needed war to be brought home. Apparently what the people of this great country want is not relevant.

Today I read a new release from this same august institution, the Bush White House, headed by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff who announced that starting six months from now airlines operating international flights will be required to send the government their passenger list data before the planes take off rather than afterwards, as is now the case. He added the the proposed domestic system would transfer the matching of passengers against the government's terrorist watch lists from the airlines, which do it now, to Transportation Security Administration officers."This should provide more security and more consistency, and thus reduce misidentifications" which have produced passenger frustrations.

Chertoff said the new domestic system, known as Secure Flight, will avoid the kinds of activities envisioned in earlier versions of the proposal that raised privacy concerns.

Secure Flight will not harm personal passenger privacy. It won't collect commercial data (about passengers). It will not assign risk scores and will not attempt to predict behaviors.

The plans for previous versions to do those things alarmed Congress so much that it banned the government from implementing the program until it passes a list of tests designed to ensure privacy and accuracy. The Government Accountability Office was assigned to judge the plan based on those tests and said that the previous version had failed almost all of them.

Right so now we will be harassed even more when flying, by the minions from Homeland Security.

Overall it looks and feels like "By Big Brother, For Big Brother".

We, the people, stopped counting in this equation in November 1999 when the election results were known. Now, we need to find a way to stay sane and tolerate this mess until November 2008. May the people have courage and sense, and vote for the candidate that can rebuild our reputation and pride in the world stage, that can fix the divisions in this country, that can fix health care and get education back onto the track it should be, building the next generations that can lead and carry us forward.

Think, and vote!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Pollution, Politcs and wasting money

I filled my car up over the weekend and was once again shocked by the dramatic jump in gas price. About 10 cents in the past week. The gouging and exploitation of the average American by the oil companies continues unabated. Clearly the Bush and Chaney show will not interfere since their personal gain from the situation is too great. But we all end up paying, not just more for gas, but all the consumables, especially food that costs more to produce and more to process and more to transport when the price of gas increases.

The ripple effect is well known, but the uncaring White House will not make any move to reduce the massive negative impact on our economy and longterm damage it is inflicting. They will not stop the oil company excessive profits and over the top pay packages for a few select business leaders. Rather they find more ways to cut money from cancer research and other truly valuable programs to fund the unneeded, unjustified and unwinable war in Iraq.

Then, just to put a cherry on it, the US goes and puts tariffs on China. This is a smart move against the largest economy in the world, who we owe a fortune and who is rapidly becoming the true new world superpower. It would be more useful if the government properly tested the wheat products we by from China (and elsewhere) to make sure they are free of poisons that have killed ours pets and who knows what damage they may be causing to humans. What would be even better wold be to help our farmers grow enough wheat here at an affordable price so that we do not need to import wheat products in the first place. But that would require taking care of global warming which they do not believe exists.

On a brighter note the Supreme Court put some brakes on the Bush relentless attach on our environmental protections as reported by UPI today Monday April 2, 2007:

"U.S. states and environmental groups seeking regulation of auto and power plant emissions that add to greenhouse gases won two major victories .

The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can regulate automobile emissions that produce greenhouse gases and also voted unanimously to order a lower court to take another look at a ruling that allowed utilities to put more pollution into the air overall.

In its vote along liberal-conservative lines on the Massachusetts auto emissions case, the high court said the EPA must justify why it decided not to regulate the emissions under the federal Clean Air Act when it has the authority to do so, The Washington Post said.

In the power plant opinion, the justices ruled to set aside the lower ruling favorable to Duke Energy Corp. in a pollution permit dispute stemming from the company's upgrade of several power plants.

The ruling appears to favor measuring power plant emissions on an annual basis rather than the hourly rate favored by Duke Energy. The hourly rate would allow Duke to run the plants for longer periods thus producing more pollution overall."

Count one for the little guy!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

This one they could not fix.....

The New York Times reported on 2/2/07 as follows:

"PARIS, Feb. 2 — In a grim and powerful assessment of the future of the planet, the leading international network of climate scientists has concluded for the first time that global warming is “unequivocal” and that human activity is the main driver, “very likely” causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950.

They said the world was in for centuries of climbing temperatures, rising seas and shifting weather patterns — unavoidable results of the buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.

But their report, released here on Friday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said warming and its harmful consequences could be substantially blunted by prompt action."

This is one report the White House could not edit or control. However, in their normal taking credit for anyhting that they can, even when it is not their doing, or something they believe in, the Bush Joke House added the following:

"The Bush administration, which until recently avoided directly accepting that humans were warming the planet in potentially harmful ways, embraced the findings, which had been approved by representatives from the United States and 112 other countries on Thursday night.

Administration officials asserted Friday that the United States had played a leading role in studying and combating climate change, in part by an investment of an average of almost $5 billion a year for the past six years in research and tax incentives for new technologies."

Rapidly followed by:

"At the same time, Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman rejected the idea of unilateral limits on emissions. “We are a small contributor to the overall, when you look at the rest of the world, so it’s really got to be a global solution,” he said."

So we take credit for the study, but since we support big oil and other mega industry more, we do not agree that taking action that may reduce their profits would be a good thing to do. (That would reduce the value of our personal stock portfolios too much).

One final quote from the NYT report:

"The new report says the global climate is likely to warm 3.5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit if carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere reach twice the levels of 1750, before the Industrial Revolution.

Many energy and environment experts see such a doubling, or worse, as a foregone conclusion after 2050 unless there is a prompt and sustained shift away from the 20th-century pattern of unfettered burning of coal and oil, the main sources of carbon dioxide, and an aggressive expansion of nonpolluting sources of energy."

This is not a happy prospect.

A very interesting novel called Transcedent by Steven Baxter includes some disturbing and most likely good predictions of what life in the US (and the rest of the world) may be like after 2050 when the sea has risen enough to flood parts or many of the major coastal cities in the the world. I may not be alive then, but all I know is that it is not a future world I would enjoy living in.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The lying just continues

Wikipedia logged the following report today 1/30/07:

The United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing today on the accusation that the Bush Administration had interfered on data regarding climate change in order "to mislead the public by injecting doubt into the science of global warming." On January 23, 2007, Chairman Henry Waxman (D) and Tom Davis (R) had requested documents from the Council on Environmental Quality but were denied access.

During the hearing, Henry (D) said that, "The committee isn't trying to obtain state secrets or documents that could affect our immediate national security. We are simply seeking answers to whether the White House's political staff is inappropriately censoring impartial government scientists. We know that the White House possesses documents that contain evidence of an attempt by senior administration officials to mislead the public by injecting doubt into the science of global warming and minimize the potential danger."

Two private advocacy groups, one of which was the Union of Concerned Scientists, also presented a survey to the panel that revealed that 279 scientists working for the government had been pressured into minimizing the threat of global warming in their reports. Almost half of the 279 said that they were told to delete any references to "global warming" or "climate change" in their reports. The scientists in the survey all worked for a wide array of government agencies: NASA, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, and the Department of Interior.

The habit of flat out lying to the public just continues on every front. Global warming is upon us. Our weather is becoming more and more extreme each year as has been forecast by many folks who know more about it than I do. The evidence is becoming harder to deny all the time. Do these folks really think that by trying to hide the information it will not get out and they will not ge shown up for what they really are. This is hardly a matter of national security. It is a matter of National Concern, or at least is should be. 1/1/2009 cannot happen quickly enough for this country to hopefully get it back onto a path more closely resembling sanity and more importantly taking care of our longterm environmental needs by paying attention and incentivising industry and individuals to help care for and protect it.

Our future is more than just wasting money and human lives in Iraq, it is also about where we live, having food, resources, tolerable weather and a plan to make it last.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Peace, Love, Harmony

I traveled to Arizona last week. While there I met a local Native American artist who was presenting the culture, arts and music of the Hopi nation at the hotel we were staying. I had a long conversation with him about what he was doing. As a artist, father and member of his reservation. I quickly became apparent that he was a very talented man working very hard to preserve and promote his culture and way of life. He is very active in education of the children in his reservation, he is creating works of art, writing music and carrying forth the traditions and role of dancing in his culture and for his people.

Over the past few years there has been a resurgence of a need and drive to preserve the roots and skills of the various Native American nations and tribes. They are regaining a pride in being who they are, proud of their history and accomplishments. Working hard to educate their own children in the ways of old and also educate the people around them about the value that can be gained from listening to Native American thinking and ideas on how to live and act.

It occurred to us that of all the cultural and ethnic groups in America today, the Native Americans have the smallest voice and no meaningful representation in the National government that is looking after their needs and looking to give back some of what was taken away from them over the past two hundred years through deceit and lying.

I was happy to hear that there are leaders in the local reservations that are working hard to preserve the good and wise of their past, but also that they are working hard to dig their way out of the third world conditions they live in now to also benefit form the progress and wealth that all other Americans enjoy.

Quoting Moonsee from his music: “Peace, Love, Harmony

Monday, September 04, 2006

Vote for our country and the people

So the elections are coming in November. The Republicans appear to be concerned that they may loose enough seats that will allow the Democrats to gain control in the House. Whilst that may be interesting what we need are people in government that have a brain and that use it to focus on doing the right things to protect and save our country and the people. Not politicians that are only interested in money and power. That is what we have right now. The ruling regime is all about making money for themselves and their inner circle of big business and not about anything else. All the window dressing about protecting us and making us safer is just that. We are no safer now than we were 5 years ago. In fact we may be more venerable since our defense is all about bravado and showmanship. No real substance.

Let's get rid of the average and party line spouting politicians, and vote for candidates that understand that the average person is now much worse off than they were 5 years ago. The rising cost of energy has impacted every aspect of their lives, from the loaf of bread and glass of milk on their table to the gas in their car. Living has become a LOT more expensive for the average citizen and he has started to notice.

We now need people with courage and vision to run the government. People that care about our country, really care. That care about the people and the future of everybody, not just the elite 0.01% that are worth a billion dollars or more. That care about the environment and do not think that drilling for more oil is the solution to the energy crisis.

These people are out there. Let's find them and vote for them.