Monday, June 30, 2008

Fooled Again?

Recently there have been familiar rumbles coming out of Washington concerning Iran. The ratcheting up of the rhetoric and the belligerent posturing towards another nation seems like just another summer rerun. The demonization of their government and the alarm over their weaponry have long been undercurrents in the U.S. politicization of relations with Iran. The Democrats are so afraid of being called unpatriotic during an election year that they seem to, once again, be going along with Bush Administration policies.

The European Union has joined in the complicity. By giving even symbolic backing to the U.S. in it threats towards Iran, which it did in threatening sanctions, the EU has created the conditions by which the Bush Administration can claim international support for its efforts to start its third war.

Maybe the U.S. isn't trying to start a war. Maybe it's setting the conditions for Israel to act as its proxy and bomb the Iranian nuclear sites. Perhaps the clandestine beginnings of the war have already been initiated. How would we know?

The lack of coverage in the American press over this most pressing issue is disturbing. As this slow build of hostilities begin, the media appears fascinated with flag pins, questions of patriotism and other absurdities. Why is this not the lead story on every news outlet every day? If not the lead, one would think it would be there with the other lead stories about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where the Taliban has apparently regrouped.

Would that these were the stories pushing out the crucial news of Iran. But this is simply not the case. Take whatever news outlets you normally rely upon and note how much of the news is devoted to these crucial stories. Better yet, simply divide the news you receive into important and trivial. See what you think of your news sources now. Let us all demand that our media outlets immediately begin to cover the real news of the day. Only an informed populace can properly maintain a democracy.

The latest run-up in tensions with Iran seems eerily familiar. Just as disturbing is the seeming media complicity in keeping the tensions sufficiently out of sight that we aren't quite sure what's going on. Even news junkies are having trouble getting to the truth of such issues as Israel's bombing of the alleged Syrian nuclear site and reported border incursions. Like the Iraq War we seems to be headed to a point where war is a forgone conclusion, or at least is presented that way. Will we get fooled again?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Telecom Capitulation

The just announced Telecom Immunity "Compromise" is the latest assault on the Constitution engineered by the Bush Administration and caved into by the Democratic "opposition." Why are the Democrats so eager to sell out the Constitution by going along with this legislation? They have resisted until now. Why now? This alleged compromise seems to give the Bush Administration everything it wanted.

Effectively, this legislation eviscerates the Fourth Amendment. I'm not sure why the word compromise should even apply. I guess the Democratic Leadership (?) just needs to collapse for Bush one more time for old time sakes before he leaves office.

At first there were denials of wiretapping. Then there were the statements that it all complied with FISA. At each step, new truths have been revealed. Now, at a point where there might actually be some oversight, these companies who claim to have done nothing wrong, and been in compliance with the law, need retroactive immunity against prosecution.

Bush has claimed that without this immunity other companies will be reluctant to cooperate with the government. That is exactly the point. That is why these companies must NOT be granted immunity and in fact, MUST be prosecuted. So that in the future, subversion of the Constitution will be seen as the traitorous act it is, not mislabeled as necessary for national security.

So far, only Russ Feingold has spoken out against this treacherous act. Call your senator today and tell him or her to stand for the Constitution, not for those who have acted in concert to undermine our democracy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Excuse to Pillage: Part 2

In recent days both John McCain and President Bush have advocated lifting the ban on offshore drilling. Hiding behind the guise of "helping the consumer" and the omnipresent cry of "national security," another false solution is offered. Even if everyone agreed to let this environmental recklessness proceed unchallenged, it would be at least 20 years before any oil is actually produced.

If we have not figured out another solution to our inter-linked climate and energy crises by then, it will not matter. Ideas that suggest further damaging the environment as a solution to our current problems are outmoded and symptomatic of a mindset that focus on the immediate and ignores long-term consequences.

We have now crossed into a zone where hopes of finding and producing new sources of petroleum only encourages thinking that perpetuates our most pressing problems. We're like a gambler who has run out of money and sells the car so he can win it all back. Committing the same mistake is not the solution.

What will it take to have a discussion of these issues, climate and energy, that is not driven by irrelevant concerns over the price of gas? Irrelevant? Yes, because the solutions do not involve the same mistakes. OIL IS OVER. Fossil fuels are as dead as the dinosaurs that produced them. We can no longer let any other narrative continue. The future necessitates the stark realization that it will not last forever. All resources are finite. Encouraging any more dependence on this resource is folly. If all the oil in the world that there is anywhere were all suddenly made available as easily as sticking a straw in the ground, it still remains true that it will eventually run out and not so far into the future.

There is now an opportunity in these crises to find a solution that addresses both our problems with climate change and energy dependence. The problems will likely require many varied methods from a number of diverse approaches. Rather than an energy policy based on an oil war to drive down costs, perhaps one directed towards sustainability and environmental sensitivity could be implemented.

Get out your calculators and consider this. If the U.S. government truly wanted to help the consumer and contribute to energy independence it could install $10,000 worth of solar panels on 100 million homes for half of the $2 trillion estimate economists have given for the Iraq war. Not only would this provide great relief to the entire power grid as regards the production of energy and likely lower everyone's utility bills, it could also be a tremendous boost to the economy. Production of panels would aid manufacturing and employment gains in the industry would offset any loses in the petroleum industry.

Trampling the environment must be seen for what it is. Offshore drilling is an excuse for some to make money and some to make political capital. For too long, the people of this country have been sold down the river by our elected leaders. Rather than doing anything to address our energy and environmental issues, they have worked to insure that profits are not harmed by environmental concerns. What happen to "of the people, by the people and for the people"? Did that get edited out of the Constitution at Dick Cheney's secret energy plan meetings?

The above blog is part of a larger article about energy independence by Ray Bawarchi.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cheers for Kucinich & a Bronx Cheer for the Senate

Cheers for Dennis Kucinich. Having already entered articles of impeachment against Dick Cheney, Kucinich proved once again that he is one of the few politicians in our government that actually believes in the Constitution when he introduced articles of impeachment against George W. Bush earlier this week.

While the chances of an impeachment range from little to none, since the rest of Congress is so afraid of losing an election, Kucinich is to be admired for trying to represent the American people and live up to his oath of office. It is fairly clear to those who read a newspaper that Bush has committed numerous acts that warrant prosecution. In many ways, Bush's assertions that the law does not apply to him may be the greatest crime of all. America is a government "of the people." Attempting to make oneself a king is the greatest affront of all to democracy. So again, cheers to Kucinich.

While Kucinich may stand out among politicians as a man of principle, last week the Senate showed just how little principle most of its members have. A bill that attempted to address climate change was summarily killed mostly by parliamentary maneuvers with only 48 Democrats voting to cut off debate on a threatened filibuster.

The absolute failure of the Senate to address the issue of climate change centered around the possible financial ramifications of addressing the problem. The argument, as always, is that the effect of taking the steps necessary to deal with climate change would cause economic disruption.

What of the costs of not addressing climate change? Our politicians can't think that far ahead. They can only see the next election cycle. Must the sun burn out our retinas before the problem is too big to ignore? The sheer audacity that leads our elected leaders to put corporate interests before the needs of society suggests that Bush is not the only leader that needs to be removed from office.

To the Senate, a big Bronx cheer.

British Petroleum Gulf Oil Spill Costs

  • 11 workers killed in initial blast
  • Damage to Ocean Ecosystem
  • 35,000 to 60.000 Barrels of Oil Per Day. That's somewhere between 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 gallons a day or 150 to 300 million gallons already spilled into the ocean as of July 27th by that estimate.
  • Gulf Fisheries Industry
  • Gulf Tourism (ongoing costs)
  • Long Term Health Effects to Humans and Wildlife (to be determined)

Worst Oil Spills

  • Kuwait 1991 - 520 million gallons: Gulf War I
  • Gulf of Mexico 2010 - 206 million gallons: BP Oil
  • Mexico, Bay of Campiche 1979 - 140 million gallons: Pemex Oil
  • Trinidad & Tobago 1979 - 90 million gallons: Greek Oil Tanker Atlantic Empress
  • Russia 1983 - 84 million gallons: Leaky Pipeline collapsed into Kolva River
  • Iran 1983 - 80 million gallons: Tanker collided with Oil Platform
  • South Africa 1983 -79 million gallons:Tanker Castillo de Bellver sank
  • France 1978 - 69 million Gallons: Amoco Cadiz ran aground and broke in half.
  • Angola Coastal Waters (700 miles at sea) 1991 - 51-81 million gallons: ABT Summer exploded at sea.
  • Italy 1991 - 45 million gallons: M/T Haven Oil Tanker exploded.
  • Source: Mother Nature Network. The 13 largest oil spills in history. by Laura Moss. Friday July 16, 2010.

Nuclear Accidents (Under Construction)

  • 1957 Windscale, UK
  • 1961 Idaho Falls, Idaho, US
  • 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, US
  • 1984 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1985 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1986 Plymouth, Masachusetts, US
  • 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine, USSR
  • 1996 Waterford, Connecticut, US
  • 1989 Griefwald, Germany
  • 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
  • 2002 Oak Harbor, Ohio, US
  • 2004 Fukui Prefecture, Japan
  • Source: Benjamin Sovacool

Mining Disasters (Under Construction)

  • China 1942 - 1549 deaths
  • France 1906 - 1100 deaths
  • Japan 1963 - 447 deaths
  • Wales 1913 - 438 deaths
  • South Africa 1960 - 437 deaths
  • Source: Epic Disasters Website
  • Note: Do not look at the dates herein and conclue that mining disasters are a things of the past. Every year thousands of miners die worldwide in largely unreported accidents.

OIL IS OVER! - Resources

  • Hibbert's Peak - "The" source that explains why Oil is Over.
  • Tragedy of the Commons -Garrett Hardin
  • The Land Ethic - Aldo Leopold
  • Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight - Thom Hartmann
  • Eco-Defense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching


  • The Dirt People - Ray Bawarchi (yes, that's me)
  • The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham
  • Demian - Herman Hesse
  • Black Elk Speaks - Black Elk (as told to R. Neimur)
  • The Quiet Don - Mikhail Sholokov
  • Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
  • Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
  • 1984 - George Orwell
  • Delicious Laughter - Jallahudin Rumi
  • The Sybil - Par Lagerksvitz
  • The Fixer - Bernard Malamud
  • Spirits Rebellious - Khalil Gibran
  • The Quiet American - Graham Greene
  • Midaq Alley - Nagib Mafouz
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Farenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
  • We - Yevgeny Zamyatin


  • John Coltrane - St. John the Divine
  • Patti Smith
  • The Clash - the only band that matters
  • Billy Bragg
  • Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band
  • Art Blakey
  • Death - pre-punk visionaries from Detroit
  • PJ Harvey - Polly Jean, Polly Jean
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Michael Franti (Spearhead)
  • Public Enemy
  • Ray Charles - the Genius
  • Bob Dylan
  • Velvet Underground
  • Flaming Lips
  • John Doe & X
  • The Beatles

opiate of the masses

  • God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. - Voltaire
  • I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and inellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo Galilei
  • The ink of a scholar is worth far more than the blood of a martyr.- Mohammad
  • If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. - Sheldon Kopp
  • No one will be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Louisa Mae Alcott
  • When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.- Voltaire
  • If God were alive today, he'd be an athiest. - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The god I worship is not short of cash, Mister. - Bono
  • Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine. My sins they only belong to me. - Patti Smith
  • God sure baked a lot of fruitcake baby, when Adam met the Eden lady. - Joe Strummer