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Big Brass Blog is a group blog founded in February of 2005 by Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend and Melissa McEwan of Shakesville (formerly Shakespeare's Sister). The mission of this collaborative effort is to stand as the premiere forum where strong, enduring voices of Progressivism provide what liberal politics has been missing: the unapologetic, unrelenting voice of liberalism in the darkness visited upon our world by Right-wing extremists, their ruinous policies, and their hypocritical beliefs.

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25 July 2011

Down the memory hole!

by: Anna Van Z

Japan Passes Law To Cleanse Internet Of "Bad" Fukushima Radiation News
By Alexander Higgins

Japan has passed a law that will enable the police and contractors to monitor internet activity without restriction to "cleanse" the Internet of any "bad" Fukushima radiation news.

As I previous reported, Japan has officially ordered the censorship of any reporting of the truth about the Fukushima nuclear radiation fallout by ordering telecommunications companies and web masters to scrub any negative stories from the internet about the disaster:

Japan Officially Orders Censorship Of Truth About Fukushima Nuclear Radiation Disaster

The government of Japan has issued an official order to telecommunications companies and web masters to censor reports which contradict the state media reports that the Fukushima nuclear radiation disaster is over.

Japan Government Officially Censors Truth About Fukushima Nuclear Radiation Disaster

The supposedly free democratic nation of Japan, which supposedly values and promotes freedom of speech, has officially issued orders to telecommunication companies and webmasters to remove content from websites that counter the official government position that the disaster is over and there is no more threat from the radiation.
See the rest...
17 June 2010

What Went Wrong, What IS Wrong

by: Anna Van Z

The following investigative piece from Rolling Stone is a comprehensive, detailed expose of why the uncontrolled BP oil gusher happened. To be sure, there is an enormous amount that can be laid at the Cheney-BushCo doorstep. The wingnut contingent, naturally, just wants to pin the whole thing on Obama, just as they do with the economy, the deficit - in short, any and everything gone wrong. They're frantically trying to re-write history, hoping that most of us are as dense as they are, and are already forgetting the unmitigated disaster that was the BushCo years.
But it is far too simplistic to stop there, as many liberals want to do. Liberals who are now shouting down progressives and independents (true independents, not the self-styled mess calling themselves libertarian these days). A common theme being heard on commercial liberal talk radio is that complain-y progressives are always whining that nothing Obama does is ever good enough, and therefore are paving the way for the next repug administration - BushCo in spades.
Let me address that: Bullshit. We owe no allegiance, no unquestioning solidarity to any political party or movement. We think for ourselves, and question everything. When we see the public interests being utterly betrayed at every turn, in every realm of life, we speak up. Loudly. We take action. That's what citizens do. That's what individuals capable of independent, rational thought do. That's what real Americans do. We owe that to each other, to the earth and all the beings that also live here - and we owe that to future generations.
The nonsensical group-think that the liberal conformists espouse is utter hypocrisy and a cop-out. These same folks correctly observed that the Bush apologists justified everything he did, and never protested or questioned it. (And of course, NOW Bush devotees now call themselves "tea-baggers", and vehemently oppose all the exact same policies that were just fine when white wingnut guys enacted them). I would caution my democratic compadres not to fall into that same, unthinking trap. We've used up all the get out of jail free cards, folks. If we haven't already sailed way past it, we're at the environmental precipice of no return. There is no wiggle room left. We can't afford any more disastrous policies and lapses.
If the corporate takeover of the government, and the western world in general isn't halted, we can kiss life as we know it goodbye. In exchange we'll have a very toxic, (more) completely controlled life in a corpo-fascist regime, where true choice, freedom, and individual rights are but distant memories.
So this piece in Rolling Stone is also a cautionary tale, a horror story of what happens when giant corporations, whose number one allegiance is always profit, run the show:

The Spill, The Scandal, and The President
Rolling Stone
Excerpt:
"...Salazar himself has worked hard to foster the impression that the "prior administration" is to blame for the catastrophe. In reality, though, the Obama administration was fully aware from the outset of the need to correct the lapses at MMS that led directly to the disaster in the Gulf. In fact, Obama specifically nominated Salazar – his "great" and "dear" friend – to force the department to "clean up its act." For too long, Obama declared, Interior has been "seen as an appendage of commercial interests" rather than serving the people. "That's going to change under Ken Salazar."

Salazar took over Interior in January 2009, vowing to restore the department's "respect for scientific integrity." He immediately traveled to MMS headquarters outside Denver and delivered a beat-down to staffers for their "blatant and criminal conflicts of interest and self-dealing" that had "set one of the worst examples of corruption and abuse in government." Promising to "set the standard for reform," Salazar declared, "The American people will know the Minerals Management Service as a defender of the taxpayer. You are the ones who will make special interests play by the rules." Dressed in his trademark Stetson and bolo tie, Salazar boldly proclaimed, "There's a new sheriff in town."

Salazar's early moves certainly created the impression that he meant what he said. Within days of taking office, he jettisoned the Bush administration's plan to open 300 million acres – in Alaska, the Gulf, and up and down both coasts – to offshore drilling. The proposal had been published in the Federal Register literally at midnight on the day that Bush left the White House. Salazar denounced the plan as "a headlong rush of the worst kind," saying it would have put in place "a process rigged to force hurried decisions based on bad information." Speaking to Rolling Stone in March 2009, the secretary underscored his commitment to reform. "We have embarked on an ambitious agenda to clean up the mess," he insisted. "We have the inspector general involved with us in a preventive mode so that the department doesn't commit the same mistakes of the past." The crackdown, he added, "goes beyond just codes of ethics."

Except that it didn't. Salazar did little to tamp down on the lawlessness at MMS, beyond referring a few employees for criminal prosecution and ending a Bush-era program that allowed oil companies to make their "royalty" payments – the amount they owe taxpayers for extracting a scarce public resource – not in cash but in crude. And instead of putting the brakes on new offshore drilling, Salazar immediately throttled it up to record levels. Even though he had scrapped the Bush plan, Salazar put 53 million offshore acres up for lease in the Gulf in his first year alone – an all-time high. The aggressive leasing came as no surprise, given Salazar's track record. "This guy has a long, long history of promoting offshore oil drilling – that's his thing," says Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. "He's got a highly specific soft spot for offshore oil drilling." As a senator, Salazar not only steered passage of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which opened 8 million acres in the Gulf to drilling, he even criticized President Bush for not forcing oil companies to develop existing leases faster.

Salazar was far less aggressive, however, when it came to making good on his promise to fix MMS. Though he criticized the actions of "a few rotten apples" at the agency, he left long-serving lackeys of the oil industry in charge. "The people that are ethically challenged are the career managers, the people who come up through the ranks," says a marine biologist who left the agency over the way science was tampered with by top officials. "In order to get promoted at MMS, you better get invested in this pro-development oil culture." One of the Bush-era managers whom Salazar left in place was John Goll, the agency's director for Alaska. Shortly after, the Interior secretary announced a reorganization of MMS in the wake of the Gulf disaster, Goll called a staff meeting and served cake decorated with the words "Drill, baby, drill."

Salazar also failed to remove Chris Oynes, a top MMS official who had been a central figure in a multibillion-dollar scandal that Interior's inspector general called "a jaw-dropping example of bureaucratic bungling." In the 1990s, industry lobbyists secured a sweetheart subsidy from Congress: Drillers would pay no royalties on oil extracted in deep water until prices rose above $28 a barrel. But this tripwire was conveniently omitted in Gulf leases overseen by Oynes – a mistake that will let the oil giants pocket as much as $53 billion. Instead of being fired for this fuckup, however, Oynes was promoted by Bush to become associate director for offshore drilling – a position he kept under Salazar until the Gulf disaster hit.

"Employees describe being in Interior – not just MMS, but the other agencies – as the third Bush term," says Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which represents federal whistle-blowers. "They're working for the same managers who are implementing the same policies. Why would you expect a different result?"...." Read entire article.
13 June 2010

Perception Management FAIL

by: Dark Wraith

BP Fail LogoThe much-maligned oil company BP is working hard to rehabilitate its image in the eyes of consumers, and what better way to do that than to shape the information people get? BP is paying Google and Yahoo to put Websites favorable to and/or approved by BP at the top of searches for terms like "oil spill." People who believe that they can acquire knowledge easily and rapidly merely by going to such search engines are generally unaware that their perception of what constitutes "information" is being shaped by the profit motive of the engine providing them with results.

Students in schools and universities cannot fathom why many teachers and professors prohibit the use of online information repositories like Wikipedia. The young consider it "old-fashioned" and silly when told of prohibitions on the use of open search engines to collect citations for term and research papers. In my own classes, I try to explain the multiple dimensions in which Wikipedia is fundamentally flawed as a resource for academic-quality research; and now, with BP flagrantly and rather shamelessly paying Google and Yahoo, I have yet another means by which to demonstrate the essential flaw in using open-access Internet search engines.

BP is carrying out what, for its interests, are rational measures to improve its tarnished image: it is spending money to shape "facts" as many people who think they are tech-savvy think facts can be gathered.

The downside can be fun, though. YouTube, a service of Google, is taking money from BP to put ads on videos. Below is a screen shot from a video I was watching. My search term to get to this video was "fail," given that I was looking for a specific clip of an incident where a very long line of bicyclists in some kind of race began to have multiple accidents along the chain. (The way the accident proceeded is an excellent example of how a failure at some point in a chain can lead to clusters of accidents instead of a single, "domino effect" collapse of the chain).

Anyway, there at the bottom of the video I was watching was an ad bought and paid for by BP offering me the highly desirable opportunity to "Friend BP on YouTube":

BP Fail on Fail at YouTube

Yes, BP is so craven for friends that it will pay serious money to ask for friends on a video about the "Biggest ever fails."

Indeed.

The company that has arguably executed the biggest fail ever is so hard up to force its narrative on the public that it will position its brand name anywhere and everywhere, including right smack on a video about the biggest fails ever.

By the way, nothing on that particular fail video was even in the same universe as what BP has done (and is continuing to do every day). Ultimately, even though the video itself didn't include the biggest fail ever, the ad on top of the video did, so the title of the video, "Biggest fails ever," was accurate.

So much for BP's efforts to shape the narrative.

The company should have stuck with its partnership with the government to keep journalists and independent scientists away from the site of the gusher. Now, there's money well spent.


Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums


· · · · ·
09 June 2010

24 Hours Left....

by: Anna Van Z

...to stop the Senate from bailing out Big Oil. On June 10th, the Senate is voting on a resolution, crafted by Big Oil lobbyists, that will make it easier for polluters to get around EPA regulations -- even while oil continues to gush into the Gulf from the BP disaster!

This arrogant move comes as the public is learning more about how the oil industry got around environmental and safety regulations for years, leading to the disaster in the Gulf.

Now Alaska senator and Big Oil ally Lisa Murkowski is pressing forward with a resolution that will gut the Clean Air Act and strip the EPA of its authority to limit global warming pollution.

Tell your senators enough is enough -- Big Oil needs more regulation, not less. Click the Sierra Club's link here to make the call.



The Sierra Club says, "Worried that your call won't make a difference? The resolution only needs 51 yes votes to pass, and it will be close. Senators are looking for cues from their constituents before making a final decision. We've already seen grassroots calls move Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown from a 'maybe' to a 'no,' and we need your help to show the rest of the Senate that Americans will not allow the cozy relationship between Big Oil and government to continue."

Call your senators today and tell them to vote against efforts to weaken EPA oversight of Big Oil. Nothing you do today will be as important, so please take just a couple minutes to call, email, or fax your Senator.

See also this link, but remember we no longer have 72 hours as the page indicates. Today is IT!


· · · ·
03 May 2010

Excuses

by: Foiled Goil

BP = BS

Honest... I ran out of gas.

I, I had a flat tire.

I didn't have enough money for cab fare.

My tux didn't come back from the cleaners.

An old friend came in from out of town.

Someone stole my car.

There was an earthquake.

A terrible flood.

Locusts.

IT WASN'T MY FAULT...

I SWEAR TO GOD!



31 March 2010

Then Again, and Now, Too

by: Dark Wraith

The Man behind the MaskDateline 14 July 2008, from the New York Daily News, "President Bush lifts executive ban on offshore drilling":
...President Bush on Monday will lift an executive ban on offshore drilling that [has] stood since his father was president. But the move, by itself, will do nothing unless Congress acts as well...

There are two prohibitions on offshore drilling, one imposed by Congress and another by executive order signed by former President [George H.W. Bush in 1990...

Bush's proposal echoes a call by Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, to open the Continental Shelf for exploration. Democrat Barack Obama has opposed the idea and instead argued for helping consumers with a second economic stimulus package including energy rebates, as well as stepped up efforts to develop alternative fuels and more fuel-efficient automobiles.

Dated 19 June 2008, the USA Today article, "Bush calls for end to ban on offshore oil drilling," conveyed the same impression of then-candidate Barack Obama's stance on off-shore drilling:
Barack Obama and fellow Democrats have denounced proposals for offshore drilling as nothing more than a favor to oil companies.

Moving forward to today, 31 March 2010, the Associated Press article, "Recharging debate, Obama expands offshore drilling," reports stark evidence of the distinction between 2008 Democrat candidate Barack Obama and the policy-maker he has become as President of the United States:
Shaking up years of energy policy and his own environmental backers, President Barack Obama threw open a huge swath of East Coast waters and other protected areas in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico to drilling Wednesday, widening the politically explosive hunt for more homegrown oil and gas.

Complicating this just a little, according to a U.S. House of Representative sub-domain run by Republicans, on 8 March 2010, President Obama extended a ban on outer continental shelf (OCS) drilling, effectively constructing a moratorium lasting until at least 2012.

Finally, returning to 2008, readers are offered a closing passage from the 16 June 2008 article, "Energy Horizons," published at The Dark Wraith Forums:
[M]any nations that are net consumers of fossil fuels will, for the time being, anyway, find that domestic exploration for oil and gas and wars to secure oil and gas fields and distribution routes will remain cost effective. The domestic exploration will necessarily entail conversion and occasional destruction of environmentally sensitive ecosystems, and the wars will necessarily construct, shift, and reconfigure at least some historical alliances... and result in combatant and civilian casualties. On the plus side, both exploration and fighting will lead to technological innovations in both beneficiary civilian and war-making industries... On the negative side, the need for access to more domestic areas of exploration and the requirements of managing states of conflict will entail an acceleration of global trends toward more authoritarian societies... whether the degradations of human and civil rights are open or hidden from common view.

Is the emerging world and its economic, military, and political dynamics complicated? Yes.

Must the world of tomorrow happen with persistently rising energy prices, wars, environmental degradation, and authoritarian management schema? Again, yes. The American people as a body politic seems to learn best through direct application of pain consequential to prior bad choices in leaders and their policies.

Sometimes, learning requires multiple applications of pain-inducing consequences...


In November of 2008, the choice of roads to the future seemed quite obvious. As it turned out, those two roads converged in a wilderness.

Betrayal is merely inevitability by another name.


Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums


· · · ·
23 September 2009

Gas Wars

by: Konagod

I have recently opened my blog up to a guest contributor by the name of Wilf who lives in central Arkansas but is a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba. I know him only through Facebook where I friended a person I have known since childhood, and subsequently was introduced virtually to another friend of hers. Wilf is this friend of a friend's husband. I had the opportunity to view some of his opinions through pieces he wrote and published locally there in the Faulkner County area of greater Little Rock.

I like his viewpoints and his philosophy regarding what is going on the world around us. Here is what he posted today on my blog. I'm not sure how to precisely tag this so I'm going with "energy politics."

---------------------------------------------------------------


I noticed the other day that Condi Rice chipped in her two cents on the strategy being employed by Barack Obama in Afghanistan. Specifically she said “The last time we left Afghanistan, and we abandoned Pakistan," she said, "that territory became the very territory on which Al Qaeda trained and attacked us on September 11th. So our national security interests are very much tied up in not letting Afghanistan fail again and become a safe haven for terrorists. It's that simple," she declared, "if you want another terrorist attack in the U.S., abandon Afghanistan." Sounds pretty ominous. Stay and continue to fight in Afghanistan or be attacked. Scary stuff.

Condoleezza Rice: "If You Want Another Terrorist Attack In The U.S., Abandon Afghanistan"

We were told by W in 2001 that the Afghan invasion purpose was to find Osama Bin Laden, remove the Taliban from power, and bring freedom to the Afghan people. Like many times during the Baby Bush years, we were lied to. Unfortunately though the real reasons for the invasion, and the continued presence of the US in Afghanistan are based more on greed than some noble crusade to free the Afghan people and bring to justice the man who masterminded 9/11. Ask yourself, “ Why is it, long after Bin Laden stopped being hunted, and instead became Bush’s Emmanuel Goldstein, a scary underground enemy, occasionally issuing video taped threats, the Muslim boogeyman extraordinaire, that we continue to spend lives and money fighting in this country that for 2000 years no one has been able to conquer”? The very simple answer is natural gas, and lots of it.

There are vast reserves of natural gas in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, countries north of Afghanistan on the Caspian Sea. Unocal, a huge oil and gas company that later was acquired by Chevron, wanted a way to get these massive reserves to market. The answer was to build a gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea, through Afghanistan, through Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean, and then transport it by tanker to their many gas hungry customers.

Unocal was good friends with the then US backed Taliban and there is speculation that they even helped finance the Taliban in their war with the Soviets. Up until 1999, Unocal were such great friends with the Taliban leaders that they hosted delegations of Taliban leaders to the USA; Texas to be exact (while W was governor), in 1997 and 1999.

Context of 'December 4, 1997: Taliban Representatives Visit Unocal in Texas'

After Taliban guest in Afghanistan Osama Bin Laden attacked two US embassies in 1998, things started to go sour. Negotiations broke down for good as late as 2001, and as Toronto's Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin put it, "Washington was furious, leading to speculation it might take out the Taliban. After 9/11, the Taliban, with good reason, were removed -- and pipeline planning continued with the Karzai government. U.S. forces installed bases near Kandahar, where the pipeline was to run. A key motivation for the pipeline was to block a competing bid involving Iran, a charter member of the 'axis of evil.'"

In April of 2008, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India signed a Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement to build a U.S.-backed $7.6 billion pipeline. It would, of course, bypass Iran and new energy giant Russia, carrying Turkmeni natural gas and oil to Pakistan and India. Construction would, theoretically, begin in 2010. Put the emphasis on "theoretically," because the pipeline is, once again, to run straight through Kandahar and so directly into the heartland of the Taliban insurgency. Queue the renewed interest in the Afghan war. Queue the increase in troop levels, and subsequent increase in troop deaths. Sorry Condi, this war has nothing to do with preventing terror attacks, and you know it. It has everything to do with making a lot of money and being willing to sacrifice lives to do it. It has everything to do with building a fucking pipeline. And Barack Obama is far from innocent; he suggested increased troop levels in Afghanistan before the election, and will in all likelihood continue the escalation he has already begun. Like his predecessor he continues to lie about why we are still in Afghanistan.

Just a couple more facts to note: Condi Rice was a former employee of Chevron, who as you recall, acquired Unocal and are partners in the pipeline deal. She even, inexplicably, had an oil tanker named after her Marinucci, Carla (2001-05-05). From the San Francisco Chronicle, "Chevron redubs ship named for Bush aide." DTL which soon after she became the Bush Secretary of State, was wisely re-named Altair Voyager. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was installed by the US as interim president and then “elected” by the Afghan people, is a former consultant for Unocal. The connections here are by no means tenuous.

There has been a flurry of reportage on the revived pipeline plan in Canada, where -- bizarrely enough -- journalists and columnists actually worry about such ephemeral possibilities as Canadian troops spending the next half century protecting Turkmeni energy. If you happen to live in the U.S., though, you would really have no way of knowing about such developments, no less their backstory, unless you were wandering the foreign press online. The BBC, the CBC, and English Al Jezeera are all good places to start.
10 August 2008

Drilling That Fancy New Slogan

by: Foiled Goil

Drill here! Drill now! Drill here! Drill now! Drill here! Drill now!

Yes! Do that:



[ 1:12 ]



· · ·
06 May 2008

Gas Tax Holiday Frenzy at the State Level

by: Konagod

It's not just Clinton and McCain on the wrong track with calls for suspending the 18.4-cent federal excise tax; governors and lawmakers in many states are calling for a similar tax holiday by suspending their own state gasoline taxes. This is probably the most foolish idea idea I've heard in eons.
Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida has been fighting to cut 10 cents from the state’s gasoline tax for two weeks in July. Lawmakers in Missouri, New York and Texas have also proposed a summer break from state gas taxes, while candidates for governor in Indiana and North Carolina are sparring over relief ideas of their own.

If experience with such gas tax “holidays” is any guide, drivers would save less than politicians suggest. But that is not necessarily the point.

“It’s about trying to serve the people and trying to understand and have caring, compassionate hearts for what they’re dealing with at the kitchen table,” said Mr. Crist, a Republican.

What's interesting is these politicians don't seem to give a damn about long-term solutions to either fuel prices, fuel economy, energy alternatives, or people living below the poverty line regardless of whether or not we have cheap fuel.

But they certainly do know how to jump on the quick-fix bandwagon to appease a public which seems to believe quick-fixes and cheap energy are an American birthright.
The response speaks not just to the reality of skyrocketing gas prices. It also highlights the political potency of anything that affects Americans’ bonds with their cars. Gas is a product that no one can ignore — and one that inspires intense emotion.

The time to bite the bullet is now. Oil futures surpassed $120 a barrel on Monday and if that isn't a wake-up call to start pouring huge resources and attention into long-term energy alternatives, then we reap what we sow. The idea that a suspension of the tax is going to help million of Americans "put food on the table" during the summer is preposterous.

Assuming prices don't continue to rise more than the amount of the suspended tax, then many American may indeed be able to buy a week's worth of groceries. Unfortunately, we can't assume fuel prices won't continue to rise during the summer months. State coffers will suffer and in the end, the lost tax revenue will need to be recouped. And in the end, if by chance fuel prices at the pump have risen another 10-cents to 20-cents a gallon by Labor Day, it's going to be a double whammy when the state and/or federal taxes on fuel are reinstated.

Changing our driving habits can do far more to put food on the table than a temporary suspension of the tax. Eliminating unnecessary trips and driving more conservatively could accomplish a lot. And we have the power to do that on our own, without the involvement of politicians.

What we should be demanding of our politicians is honesty, and a pledge to work sincerely on energy reform, without influence from big oil interests. We don't seem to be there yet.

Crossposted from konagod


·
07 March 2008

Too Funny

by: blackdog

My hero

This was just all too real, funny, yes, but in a tragic sort of way when you get down to it.

From Crooks & Liars.

Now as I am a bit of a pos in some ways I can truly say that this is a really commanding pos in all ways. Everything this pos touches turns to shit.

When, oh when can we be rid of this most magnificent pos?

Oh yeah, it's snowing, but not the event that was predicted. Free chips here, but BYOB.
09 December 2007

Republican Obstructionists

by: Foiled Goil

House passes energy bill but Bush set to veto

Reuters:
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed an energy bill that would boost vehicle fuel economy requirements by 40 percent by 2020, raise ethanol use by five-fold by 2022 and impose $13 billion in new taxes on big energy companies.

The centerpiece of the 1,055-page Energy Independence and Security Act is an increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards to 35 miles per gallon (15 km per liter) by 2020, the first congressional boost in fuel rules since 1975.

The plan -- an amalgam of energy priorities driven by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- passed by 235-181 in a mostly party-line vote.

But it faces resistance in the Senate and the White House says it will reject the measure in its current form.
Senate Republicans and the Bush administration say they will block a final bill if it includes a $21.5 billion tax package and a mandate for utilities to get 15 percent of their power from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2020.
Historical Opportunity To Reform Energy Policy

Democrats.Senate.gov:
“Today, America consumes 21 million barrels every single day, most of it from unstable regions of the world. That’s one billion American dollars going overseas – every day – to pay for our oil addiction. Those 21 million barrels we will use today – and the 21 million-plus barrels more we’ll use tomorrow – has created a three-pronged crisis: It threatens our economy, our national security and our environment.
“With gas prices well above $3 per gallon, and working Americans spending more than ever just to make their commute to work, the time to act is now. With home heating prices at record highs and the cold winter months now upon us, the time to act is now. With the threat of global warming growing by the day, the time to act is now.

“This energy bill tackles each of these challenges by addressing both sides of the crisis: consumption and supply. On the consumption side, it increases the fuel efficiency of cars and tucks for the first time in 30 years – to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Think about that.
“But consumption is just half the battle. On the supply side, this energy bill requires for the first time that 15 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources. What’s more, this Renewable Electricity Portfolio rewards innovation by allowing States like Nevada – which have already taken the initiative and are national leaders in renewable electricity – to sell their excess product to other states. It makes an unprecedented commitment to American-grown biofuels by increasing the renewable fuels standard to 36 billion gallons by 2022 – which will not just reduce our addiction to oil, but create American jobs as well. And it repeals billions and billions of dollars in tax giveaways to big oil that exports product from overseas and invests it instead in tax incentives to produce clean, renewable energy right here at home.”
Obstruction Alert - 58 and Counting

The “R” is for Roadblock:
Bush Republicans continued their record-setting obstruction today [December 7, 2007] by blocking consideration of an energy bill that would increase fuel efficiency standards in cars and trucks as well as providing new tax incentives to increase the production of renewable fuels. Bush Republicans have forced 58 cloture votes this year, fast-approaching the record of 61 for a two-year term. It is clear from their actions that Bush Republicans are more interested in blocking progress than doing the work of the American people.

Bush Republicans blocked bill to improve America's energy independence, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable energy sources:
Energy bill hits road bump in Senate

Associated Press:
Senate Democrats searched for a compromise on energy legislation as Republican leaders made clear Friday they will oppose oil industry taxes and a mandate for utilities to use more wind and solar-generated electricity.

The sharp divisions within the Senate over the taxes and renewable fuels mandate surfaced when Democrats fell seven votes short on a procedural vote, 53-42, as the Senate began considering an energy package approved by the House on Thursday.
Republican lawmakers, as well as the White House, have been most critical of $13.5 billion in taxes imposed on the five largest oil companies under the House-passed bill. It's part of a broader $21 billion tax package that senators are trying to rework.

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said Friday while "some modest changes" could be made in the tax provisions, the taxes are "an essential, necessary component" because they pay for a wide range of clean energy programs, from capturing carbon dioxide from power plants to extending short-term tax credits for solar and wind energy plants and commercial development of cellulosic ethanol.

Democratic leaders were leaning Friday toward dropping divisive requirement for utilities to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources such, wind, solar or biofuels.
A concern to some senators is that the widely supported increase in automobile fuel economy to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 — a centerpiece of the House-passed bill — could fall victim to the disputes over taxes and the mandates to the electricity industry.
The 110th Congress:

Senate — Democratic Accomplishments and Republican Obstructions

House — Passed Legislation

House — Veto Watch:
Faced with a Congress working to take America in a new direction, President Bush — who vetoed nothing during his first five and a half years in office — has now vetoed 5 bills and threatened to veto 43 more. The Democratic-led House of Representatives has passed legislation to address the toughest challenges we face — working together to defend our country, restore accountability, grow our economy, strengthen our families, and preserve our planet, most with a bi-partisan majority. Unfortunately, in many cases, the President has been a stubborn opponent of progress for the American people on these key issues.
In critical instances, the President and his Republican allies in Congress have stubbornly stood in the way of progress.



· · ·
06 December 2007

House Passes Energy Independence & Security Act

by: Foiled Goil

From The Gavel:

House Passes Energy Independence and Security Act

The House has passed the Energy Independence and Security Act by a
vote of 235-181.

A detailed summary of the legislation can be read here.


·
14 November 2007

Al Gore Joins Silicon Valley Venture Capital Firm

by: Dark Wraith

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Nobel laureate Al Gore is a partner in Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Gore is using his huge influence to drum up monster buxxx—already running into the hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars— from Fortune 500 bigwigs and other rich people for the venture capitalists to use to invest in "green" technologies.

Yes, indeed, "green" is certainly the right word. So are a few others.

Maybe one of these days, some of the folks who didn't win the Nobel Peace Award this year—you know: silly, little nobodies like political prisoners rotting in Chinese hell-holes because Internet companies ratted them out, or accused enemy combatants we've tortured until they're nothing but sub-human shells—will figure out a way to be partners in venture capital firms so they, too, can make a killing. That would be cool.

It isn't going to happen, of course; most of those losers can't even do a decent PowerPoint presentation.

Al Gore and His Venture Capital Friend



The Dark Wraith has a deep, abiding, and well-founded disdain for venture capitalists and their front men.

Crossposted from The Dark Wraith Forums


· · · · · ·
24 October 2007

Anti-Nuke Rockers

by: Foiled Goil

Rockers renew 1970s anti-nuclear theme

Associated Press:
Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Graham Nash are putting a new millennium twist on their 1970s anti-nuclear message, urging Congress not to approve federal loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants.

"Thirty years ago, we felt that this monster was dead," Nash said. "It's trying to raise its ugly head."

Nearly three decades ago, the three were prominent in the anti-nuke movement, helping organize the "No Nukes" concerts at Madison Square Garden that stirred public opposition to nuclear power.

Tuesday, they were on Capitol Hill warning that a Senate version of a new energy bill contains a provision, backed by the nuclear industry, for loan guarantees that could serve as a "virtual blank check from taxpayers" to help build more nuclear plants.
The musicians have launched a petition drive and YouTube music video. They have backing from environmental groups and dozens of artists such as R.E.M., Ben Harper, Maroon 5, Pearl Jam, Patti Smith and Wynton Marsalis. They said they have collected more than 120,000 signatures to present to Congress.

"We're going to encourage our lawmakers to know that the American people are paying attention," said Browne.
Reps. Edward Markey, D-Mass., a leading Democrat on energy issues, and Rep. John Hall, D-N.Y., said the musicians will provide more lobbying muscle on the energy bill. Hall, once part of the group Orleans, helped organize the 1979 "No Nukes" concerts.
Nuke free.org

For What It's Worth:


'No Nukes' rockers renew fight decades later

USA Today:
Jackson Browne says he thought his group of politically active musicians "really dealt the nuclear industry a blow" with a series of 1979 concerts opposing nuclear power.

Nearly three decades later, Browne and fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash are in Washington to resume the fight. The three, all founders of the Musicians for Safe Energy group that organized the No Nukes concerts, are delivering petitions to Congress today urging lawmakers not to make it easier to finance nuclear reactors.

In a 21st century update on the concert series, the trio created a website, NukeFree.org, featuring a YouTube video. It asks viewers to sign a petition opposing a provision in an energy bill before Congress that would expand federal loan guarantees for nuclear plants. Raitt isn't ruling out an encore of the concerts — which produced an album and a movie — but said the Internet got the word out quickly.
Last month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted its first application to build a nuclear power plant since 1978, the year before an accident at the Three Mile Island reactor in central Pennsylvania. Three or four more applications to build reactors could be filed by year's end, says Scott Peterson, a vice president at the Nuclear Energy Institute. He credits a 2005 bill that streamlined the licensing process for reactors and provided loan guarantees.

The musicians were galvanized into action by new energy legislation that House and Senate negotiators are trying to hammer out. A provision backed by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., would exponentially increase the amount of federally backed loans.

This year, Congress has provided $4 billion for loan guarantees, which Peterson says is enough for one plant. He says the industry requires about $25 billion for reactors now on the drawing board.
Browne says heightened terrorism concerns bolster the argument for looking other sources of power. "The consequences of blowing up a field of wind generators would not be the same as blowing up a train full of nuclear waste," he says.

The anti-nukes musicians have at least one friend in the corridors of power: Songwriter and guitarist John Hall, who helped found Musicians for Safe Energy, was elected to Congress last year. Hall, D-N.Y., arrived in Washington just in time to perform with his friends at a VIP reception on Capitol Hill Monday night.

On the proposed playlist: "Plutonium is Forever," a Hall song about the difficulties of disposing of nuclear waste. Browne described it as "rock music for policy wonks."
Psssst... Do something.


· ·
18 March 2007

Now Is the Time to ACT ON GLOBAL WARMING

by: astraea

Al Gore writes:
Help me send a message to Congress:
Now is the time to act on global warming.


I know from personal experience that the only thing that will make Washington really take notice and do something to solve the climate crisis is the prospect of millions of committed citizens taking action. It's time to join together and make that happen.

Sign the postcard to your representative demanding real action on global warming below and I’ll personally deliver it to Washington in March. I’ll keep you up to date on how things are going by email.


I added this:

What is more important to us than a safe place to live? Ignoring global warming is truly the same as supporting terrorism -- think about it. There are ways to wean ourselves from oil, now. It's up to you to take the leadership role. Isn't it why you first sought public office? If you haven't watched Who Killed the Electric Car yet, please do. In under two hours so many problems AND their solutions come clear. Strength! We can solve this.


A friend who has AOL keeps trying to fill out the card and it won't let her send it. She writes:

try going to the page yourself or finding another way into it.

Not only that, AOL crashes and tosses me out.

xx
ph


Is that happening to anyone else?

Deborah
xpost robot sex

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