Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Saved (Momentarily) by Incompetence

In failing to pass the bail-out/give-away to Wall Street, the House of Representative stumbled, at least momentarily, into carrying out the will of the people. This failure is most noteworthy, not for its effect on the economy, but for its stunning defeat in an era when the final votes are a foregone conclusion.

Cowed by fear of voters so close to the election, the House members voted in whatever way would benefit them back in the home district. A few dogmatic sorts on both sides, for completely different reasons, banded together with those afraid of their constituents, and the "Peevish 12," who apparently changed their votes at the last minute because their feelings were hurt. This group formed the nucleus of those who voted "no." For the time being we are saved.

One might reasonably argue with analysis that suggests the failure of the give-away is a necessarily good and saves us. However, what seems inarguable is that the bill failed not because our representatives did not desire to turn over $700 billion to $1trillion to the greedy, incompetent miscreants that caused this alleged crisis, it is that they were unable to do it in a way that satisfied their own needs.

But do not rest easy. Those who are bent to steal all of the common wealth of the nation have only a little while longer to pillage before the worst administration in history is out of office. The politicians in Congress, the worst that money can buy, will now be called onto the rug for their attempted display of independence. A bill will eventually be passed and you can be assured that the details will show who really pulls our leaders strings.

We cannot expect the momentary display of incompetence to save us forever. Usually the incompetence of politicians works against us (e.g. the failure of the Democrats to defeat the Republicans in every election they have blown over the years). Soon the incompetent will rise to their usual level.

Certainly the Democrats are trying. What possesses this bunch of spineless, weak-willed, alleged liberals, that keeps them toadying up to, and voting for the policies of the Bush Administration? If the Democrats had any competence as a party at all they would refuse to go along with anything proposed by the Bush Administration.

The Bush Administration, wrong on almost everything; Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, Patriot Act, energy policy, human rights, etc., suddenly is about to be given a blank check. If the Democrats have any ability to see past trying to blow another election or have any concern for the people they claim to represent, they will refuse to accept this bail-out/give-away. If they truly want to lead this country and represent the people they should demand equity ownership of any corporation participating in this action. Further, any money that goes out should be loaned, with interest. We're talking about bankers, they should understand interest. Finally, if the government is going to get into the banking business it should at least be smart about it. Rather than overpaying for assets, the government, as the representative of "We the People," should dictate terms just like good capitalist bankers do, and pay pennies on the dollar for these assets. That's the way the free market would operate if the situations were reversed. To do otherwise is to allow theft from the public.

Time, for once, to be saved by competence. What of the odds of that? I don't know. Let's bet $700 billion.

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