Monday, November 19, 2007

Who Will Be US President In 2015?




The timpanist plays upon a living being. The stars are bursting with their messages: Turn to a child for the star's announcement.

---Robert Aitken

Greed is the basic cause of misery. Free yourself of greed, and the mountains, rivers, and earth do not block the light of your eyes.

---She-Hsien

To enter one's own self, it is necessary to go armed to the teeth.

---Paul Valery

Why 2015? That is the year, dictated by consensus of the 2500 scientists whose work created the UN report on global warming, when further growth of carbon emissions on this planet must cease. Within 35 years from that date, carbon dioxide and other atmospheric polluting gases must be reduced by 50 to 85 percent to avoid killing as many as a quarter of the species on Earth. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2007/11/18/ST2007111800216.html This was the announcement on Saturday, when the final portion of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) study was released to the public by this group that already has won the Nobel Prize.

I try to be a patient man. I waited Sunday and I waited today. I expected lead items in newspapers and broadcasts in this country. Well...let's say I hoped for them. Certainly it is the case elsewhere in the world, where concern is at the forefront. One of the good things about Google News is you can see what makes news in the various nations of the world...and what that news is. At the moment you have to type "global warming" into Search to find anything about these stark pronouncements.

We have people campaigning for President right now. The New York Times reported today that in Iowa, a sixth-grader asked Mrs. Clinton if she had any views on global warming. The paper went on to consider whether the question had been planted in the student's mind. There was no mention of what the candidate replied. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/19/a-real-question-about-global-warming/ Have we all gone mad?

Recently it has been the pattern in this country for a person elected (or otherwise achieving the office of) President to serve 2 terms or 8 years. If that continues, whoever ends up President in 2008 still may be there in 2015. Do any of these candidates have a plan for such an incredible challenge? Next month---that's NEXT month---President Bush will lead the United States delegation to the United Nations Conference on climate change in Bali. Last year around this time that man announced he was pretty sure global warming wasn't caused by anything consumers in the free market might be doing...like burning coal or oil. US News & World Report asked this morning Do we HAVE to have this guy representing us? http://www.usnews.com/blogs/erbe/2007/11/19/bush-the-wrong-guy-on-climate-change.html

I listened pretty hard to my world today to see or hear if anyone seemed concerned about the IPCC report or global warming. It's going to be in the mid to upper 60s tomorrow and probably for Thanksgiving. People did remark on that...and sorta smile and shake heads. Ten years ago Dana and I were proud to go out to the garden and kick some snow off a little kale that was left to serve our smoked oysters on for Thanksgiving dinner. The other day people were telling me the crocuses and daffodils they planted in September are coming up already. What will it take to crash through all this denial?

If you care to catch up with the weekend news, there are a couple of significant and brief summaries of the report. Thankfully one will appear tomorrow in Science Daily, and here's a look at it~~~

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071119122043.htm

Another appeared in The Independent overnight, with the forboding headline A World Dying~~~

http://environment.independent.co.uk/climate_change/article3172144.ece


13 comments:

jazzolog said...

And now for some good news. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the profit motives this morning and records current investments. They are suspicious though the fabulous free market won't make enough off this and tax subsidies will enter the picture. Too bad if some tax money is drained away from the war industry and private armies~~~

Global Warming, Inc.
November 20, 2007; Page A18

Al Gore no longer needs to make claims about creating the Internet, because the former Vice President deserves much of the credit for creating an entire new industry -- the global warming business.

And like the energy barons of an earlier age, Mr. Gore has the chance to achieve enormous wealth after being named last week as a new partner at the famously successful venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. No fewer than three of his new colleagues sit on the Forbes list of wealthiest Americans. If Mr. Gore can develop market-based solutions to environmental challenges, we will cheer the well-deserved riches flowing his way. On the other hand, if he monetizes his Nobel Peace Prize by securing permanent government subsidies for nonmarket science projects, he'll have earned a different judgment.

There's no shortage of new capital pouring into alternative energy projects these days. According to the National Venture Capital Association, "clean tech" start-ups attracted more than $800 million in venture capital last quarter, a new record. What's not clear is whether these are fundamentally energy ventures or political ventures. The Manhattan Institute's Peter Huber, a former engineering professor at MIT, exaggerates only slightly when he says that "Basically, 'alternative' means stuff that nobody actually uses." If that turns out to be true, then alternative energy companies could struggle for market share without government assistance.

Those doubts exist even for the companies backed by Kleiner Perkins. After making more than a dozen "green tech" investments, Kleiner is still waiting for its first exit. According to a Kleiner spokeswoman, many companies in its portfolio are "in stealth mode." The firm will "neither name nor comment on them." So it's impossible to determine precisely how much the Kleiner-backed firms will benefit from either current federal subsidies, or new provisions that are part of the House and Senate versions of the stalled energy bill. But we do have some hints.

Of the portfolio companies acknowledged publicly by Kleiner, at least two, Altra and Mascoma, are involved in the production of ethanol, which is already heavily subsidized and would get more subsides in the House bill and higher mandates in the Senate version. A third firm in the portfolio, Amyris Biotechnologies, is developing a biofuel that will provide "more energy than ethanol," according to its Web site, and should be just as eligible for government set-asides.

Two portfolio companies in the solar energy field, Miasole and Ausra, should benefit if a House provision requiring investor-owned utilities to generate 15% of their power from wind, solar or geothermal sources becomes law. The same is true for Altarock Energy, a Kleiner-backed geothermal company. Lux Research analyst Ying Wu reports that "company valuations will take a pretty big hit" in Miasole's market segment if Washington turns off the subsidy spigot.

To put it another way, Kleiner's "risk-taking" here isn't all economic. When everything is going according to plan, do venture capitalists normally turn to a politician/filmmaker to help them cash out of engineering firms?

Nope, but then again alternative energy has never fit the usual venture model. Jack Biddle, co-founder of Novak Biddle Venture Partners, says there's a reason few start-up companies try to build commercial jetliners. "Large, complex systems with slow deployment cycles do not play to venture's strengths. The whole idea with venture-backed companies is speed, speed, speed." Mr. Biddle says the size and complexity of energy systems "make 787s look like tinker toys. You need lots of capital, lots of time, lots of people."

Mr. Gore seems to grasp the scale of the challenge, and the need for government help, telling Fortune magazine, "What we are going to have to put in place is a combination of the Manhattan Project, the Apollo Project and the Marshall Plan, and scale it globally." That's the kind of "green" vision that will require a lot of greenbacks.

We'll be as happy as the Sierra Club if one or more of these new technologies turns out to solve the secrets of cheap, efficient energy. But we recall the same technological promises being made in the 1970s, the last time the feds poured subsidies into alternative fuels.

Which leads us to suspect that maybe Mr. Gore has been hired by Kleiner Perkins for more than his technological knowhow, investment acumen, or global vision. His new partners may have hired him for the more prosaic task of getting 60 Senate votes to keep those taxpayer greenbacks coming.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119551988237498583.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Some incentives might be helpful for startup companies, and it's possible the current energy bill may provide them~~~

RenewableEnergyAccess.com
November 19, 2007
Inclusion of Renewables in Energy Bill Receives New Political Support
Washington, D.C.

As debate over the Energy Bill continues, inclusion of renewables in the bill has received new political support. In a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Reps John Hall (D-NY19) and Paul Hodes (D-NH02) led Freshmen Members of Congress in calling for inclusion of the House-passed Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) and the Senate-passed fuel economy increases in the final version of the Energy Bill that the House and Senate are currently negotiating in conference.

According to the letter, combining the provisions of both the House and Senate versions of the Energy Bill would reduce emissions that cause global warming by approximately 1,530 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2030, and would save consumers an estimated $850 billion, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy www.aceee.org/ .

"The energy bill in conference gives us a historic opportunity to make landmark changes in our energy policy that will help end our addiction to foreign oil while fighting global warming. Raising fuel economy standards will help us escape the grip of Middle Eastern oil, reduce tailpipe emissions, and give drivers a break at the gas pump," said Rep. Hall. "The renewable energy standard will allow us to fight global warming and jumpstart a green energy boom that will create thousands of jobs and billions in investment here at home. The House and Senate have driven these bold proposals down the field, now we need to fight hard to get them over the goal line."

Nineteen Members of Congress signed onto the letter to Pelosi: John Hall (D-NY19), Paul Hodes (D-NH02), Jerry McNerney (D-CA11), Keith Ellison (D-MN05), Michael Arcuri (D-NY24), Timothy Walz (D-MN01), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO07), John Sarbanes (D-MD03), Steve Kagen (D-WI08), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH01), Patrick Murphy (D-PA08), Christopher Murphy (D-CT05), Hank Johnson (D-GA04), Joe Courtney (D-CT02), Joe Sestak (D-PA07), Yvette Clarke (D-NY11), Kathy Castor (D-FL11), Heath Shuler (D-NC11), and Harry Mitchell (D-AZ05).

http://www.renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story;jsessionid=B2C09B93A486BA6D9100204F70200332?id=50614

Hieronymus said...

Why, Richard, haven't you heard? 2015 is a moot point! It's all About LOVE and LIGHT: "2012, it is not long to go. And this transformation is occurring now."

There, I hope it makes you feel better. Forget about 2015. It's all gonna happen in 2012, don't you know? The problem with the date dictated by consensus of the 2500 scientists whose work created the UN report on global warming is that they do not delve into metaphysics. They don't know a thing about the Harmonic Concordance. They haven't taken into account that "great transformational energies and much personal activation is being experienced by all since The Harmonic Convergence in 1987 and the Harmonic Concordance in November 2003." Surely, you must have felt it. "Although there is a long way to go before peace will become an everyday reality, the individuals now awakened will take their place as the New World leaders by 2012. "

As a matter of fact, it ALREADY happened: "The Spiritual Hierarchy has revealed that 2003 [was] the year that [was] destined for the global shift of consciousness we have been anticipating for the past 50 years." Some kind of "a Galactic alignment that [opened] a multidimensional portal of Divine Consciousness into the Heart and Mind of the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Cosmic I AM All That Is. During that rare moment, the Cosmic I AM, [flooded] the Earth with unprecedented frequencies of Divine Consciousness and lifted every man, woman and child a quantum leap into the remembrance of the Oneness of ALL life."

For THose who know, you see, "it is not a linear time event. So when ever you/I/we vibrate with the NOW, there you/I/we will find = experience *what the changes are* in our experience of...the changes."

It works something like this: "If we radiate fear, then we will create a reality of fear. If we radiate love, then we will create a reality of love. And if this is true, then it becomes obvious why our inner state of consciousness is immensely important to our experience in these higher worlds. Lightness of Heart is a state of being that is achieved by non-attachment. And that is achieved by an inner realization that all of Creation is whole, complete, and perfect, just exactly as it is in this moment. There is nothing to do and nowhere to go! "

It is actually a very Christian notion too: Celestine Christianity. Well, actually, depending on the Christians, 2012 is to either herald a new age of heaven on earth ("a profound manifestation of prophesied Cosmic Destiny"), or the end of it all (the "end of times"), to which some Christians have been so ardently looking forward (some "live" for it, so to speak) - in any case, I suppose, one way or another, it makes it a "new" age - LOL.

So, with the "ascension," and the "rapture," and what-have-you coming up by 2012 or 2013, and all, prrrfff... who cares about 2015 and Al Gore, or the consensus of 2500 scientists, right?

;-)

Anonymous said...

Very relevant entry by John Grant here:

Green is very ‘in’. You can hardly pick up a fashion magazine, visit a supermarket, watch a car or travel programme, open the business pages without finding it in there. Many corporations are described as 'jumping on the bandwagon'; GE, HSBC, M&S, Toyota, AOL, NewsCorp. And smaller greener businesses such as Howies, Able & Cole, People Tree, Treehugger and Yeo Valley are booming. People are talking about a tipping point in public awareness. Yet there is also a darker side to this new found fashionability; what if it is just a fad?

As John, rightly reminds us in his post, the last green bandwagon of 1989 did crash. But the present situation is a very different one:

In 1989 this was a political cause, filling the vacuum of the peace movements after the cold war, driven by (very real) concerns about social justice, toxic waste, labour rights, deforestation, the effects of globalisation and so on. In human terms, the last green bandwagon was a mid life crisis – a soul searching over whether we had the right sort of society and economy. Whereas this green bandwagon is more like a medical diagnosis of a potentially fatal illness.

Of course many given such a diagnosis go into denial.

jazzolog said...

Is anyone else tempted to reply to a Hieronymus post sometime, O BOSH! Hieronymus of course is not to be confused with Anonymous. More later.

jazzolog said...

When I talk to people involved with solar installation, what I hear is there are months of delay in getting parts manufactured and imported to the States. They say there are no companies in this country that can supply the panels, that everything has to come from Europe, where the Green Revolution has been supported by the people and the governments for years. Last summer Athens Middle School, where I work, held a grand opening ceremony for a bank of solar panels that are going to help our electric bills slightly but teach our students a lot. However, they still hang off the back wall without hookup awaiting essential parts from Germany. As yet, the American market is not high priority. I can't help but wonder whatever happened to Yankee can-do know-how. And so this article in The Cleveland Plain Dealer yesterday perked me up considerably~~~

German solar vendor to build headquarters in Cleveland
U.S. headquarters here could be its production site
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
John Funk
Plain Dealer Reporter

IBC Solar AG, Germany's oldest solar vendor, will build its U.S. headquarters in Cleveland - and hopes to produce solar equipment here.

But whether the company begins manufacturing will depend on whether the state requires that a portion of the power sold here be generated with renewable energy technology such as solar panels and wind turbines.

IBC employs about 150 people in Germany and 200 worldwide to assemble solar systems manufactured by suppliers. Advocates of renewable energy say IBC's headquarters could be the first step toward creating an industry employing thousands of people in Ohio.

"I have decided to make Cleveland the U.S. headquarters for IBC," Udo Mohrstedt, chairman and CEO, wrote in a letter Nov. 5 to Cleveland Foundation President Ronn Richard.

Richard revealed the document Monday during a meeting with the Cuyahoga County delegation of Ohio lawmakers about the fate of Gov. Ted Strickland's energy bill, which would rewrite Ohio's utility regulations. The bill includes a rule about renewable energy - one that has already been watered down by the Ohio Senate and has an uncertain future in the House.

Mohrstedt and his top advisers spent two days in the city last month, arriving here convinced they would build headquarters in California. The foundation had invited them.

But after spending time with Mayor Frank Jackson, Case Western Reserve University researchers, the Ohio Department of Development's top people and others, the German group saw Ohio in a new light.

"We learned a lot about the infrastructure that interested us," Vaughn Buntain, IBC's vice president of international marketing, said Monday in a telephone interview from Germany. "We were very impressed."

Ohio has a strong manufacturing culture; is centrally located; has excellent rail, highway and port facilities; and offers robust research labs, Buntain said.

"We were impressed by the ready access to the research environment. That is critical to us - access to research universities," he said. "We had a very promising meeting with Case Western Reserve University."

IBC also ruled out New Jersey after the two-day visit.

Founded in 1982, IBC Solar has designed and built 10,000 solar installations in Germany, other European countries and the Far East.

Sales for this year are projected at $700 million. The U.S. solar market is just beginning to develop, and IBC is eager to establish a presence here.

Germany is the world leader in solar installations, though it has only about 70 percent of the sunlight Cleveland receives. A solar manufacturing industry in Ohio would create thousands of jobs, advocates say.

Despite the commitment to locate U.S. headquarters here, the company has nagging questions about the "renewable portfolio standard" in Strickland's bill.

"Our understanding is Ohio is in process of seriously considering some form of RPS," Buntain said. "When we were there a few weeks ago, one of the things we emphasized was Ohio needed to do that."

For months, the Cleveland Foundation has sent teams to Europe in an effort to sell Ohio to solar and wind turbine companies as the right place to manufacture. But these companies prefer states that support wind and solar. Pennsylvania, Illinois and Wisconsin all have such requirements and are competing for the same global companies.

Strickland included a rule in his legislation requiring power companies to generate 25 percent of their electricity by 2025 with "advanced energy" technologies - including 12.5 percent from wind, solar and other renewables and 12.5 percent from clean-burning coal plants and approved nuclear reactors.

But the bill has no milestones to meet between now and 2025, and no penalties if the utilities do nothing. It would have been impossible to get those requirements through the Senate, which advocates say further weakened the bill by stripping out language ordering state regulators to develop milestones. The only requirement in the amended bill is that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio hold a hearing in 2025.

"That means the utilities will wait until 2025 and say they forgot," Richard said, urging the Cuyahoga County delegation of state lawmakers to push for amendments in the House.

"Ohio has the opportunity, if we move very quickly," said Richard, former head of North American research and development for Panasonic. "I think Ohio can be the next Silicon Valley."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:
jfunk@plaind.com, 216-999-4138

© 2007 The Plain Dealer
http://www.cleveland.com/business/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/business-4/1195551468201250.xml&coll=2

Hieronymus said...

And now, for a bit of "conservative and Libertarian Politics and Philosophy."

The Intellectual conservative, here, boldly proclaims that

"THERE CAN'T BE A SOLUTION UNTIL THERE IS A PROBLEM!"

Amazingly enough, the article by Phillip Ellis Jackson, is not, say, 5 or 3, or even one year old, - it was published but just a few days ago, on November 16, 2007.

The author asks:

"What if the people who actually study these things, and form scientific opinions on the basis of facts — not “consensus” — doubt that man, and man alone, is contributing to global warming?"

And suggests that

"So as not to cause Al Gore the embarrassment that is certain to come when history looks back on his less-than-visionary pronouncements, we have a civic duty to try our best and increase the so-called carbon footprint to help prove Al right. Never mind that this will be akin to exhaling forcibly as a hurricane approaches in the hope of diverting its path. We all need to do whatever we can to add to the earth’s natural climatic cycle so a .000001% increase in temperature might one day be perceived as a result of human activity, and Al Gore’s theory can be validated in spirit — though not necessarily fact."

Phillip Ellis Jackson has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. In addition to his teaching and political experience, he has worked in the private and non-profit sectors. He is the author of several novels with cultural and political themes.

Anonymous said...

Back to the question:

"Who Will Be US President In 2015?"

It has indeed been the pattern, of late, in this country, that sitting President are reconducted for a second term. So, the question is a good one. If that trend continues, whoever ends up in the White House in 2008, will most likely be there too in 2015.

Right now, and judging by the zeitgeist of the last past 10 years or so in the US, the general outlook seems to favor Rudy Giuliani. Not only does Giuliani continue to enjoy a wide lead among Republicans in the race for the GOP Presidential Primary but he also has the highest favorability ratings of potential 2008 candidates.

For what it's worth Grist has a page up on Rudy Giuliani's environmental platform and record. But don't look to this candidate to be the champion for the Environment. Giuliani's platform is 911, of course. And if elected he will be the new 911 President, just like his predecessor was.

Not that the Democratic candidates have been significantly better on the environment to that regard - they are far more inclined, naturally, to pay lip service to the Global Warming issue, because of their base, but none of the candidates has really stricken me as sticking his or neck out too much on the environment - but this is the Democrats we are talking about, here, so this is perfectly within character, and maybe for good reasons, stick your neck out and the corporate media will strike it off, a lesson they learned the hard way.

And who is to blame? By and large people get the governments they deserve.

Supposedly half of the people questioned about Global Warming claim thy want it to be a high priority for government leaders and say the government can do a lot to improve the environment. Still, the polls have been suggesting again and again that, when it comes down to it, the environment is not likely to be a major issue with voters in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Things are probably going to have to get much worse - how worse shall it have to be, and how late will too late be? - before not only Global Warming but also the many serious and rising environmental concern which are endangering life (all lives, including our very own) on earth make it as the number one top priority into the mind of people and nations.

Hieronymus said...

According to Washington–based political analyst, Giuliani's candidacy "should not be underestimated."

"Sure, he has no foreign or national policy experience, and both his personal life and political career are riddled with scandal," said Hammond. "But in the key area of having been on TV on 9/11, the other candidates simply cannot match him. And as we saw in 2004, that's what matters most to voters in this post-9/11 world."

If elected, Giuliani would inherit the duties of current 9/11 President George W. Bush, including making grim facial expressions, seeing the world's conflicts in terms of good and evil, and carrying a bullhorn at all state functions.

jazzolog said...

As it turns out, I made a couple of mistakes, for which I apologize, in my remarks about the solar array at the Athens Middle School. I owe gratitude to Loraine McCosker, Chair of Appalachian Ohio Sierra Club, who came right over to AMS yesterday to, among other things, see what she could do to get the operation moving. The first thing she did was remind me the ceremony was not last summer, but way back a year ago this past fall. We managed to put that together since Sherrod Brown attended, and he was running for office at the time. The next thing we did was take the elevator up to the 3rd floor (it was a long day) where the science department holds forth. The teacher we wanted to see was giving individual attention to students in class, but he doesn't mind interruption when a science question needs an answer. Mr. Crawford, who monitors the system, let us know limited solar at Athens Middle School is in full operation now. The part arrived and final installation has been complete since August 20th. (Nevertheless, that's a long wait!) The really great news is there's a website where one can check the productivity and efficiency of the array. Of course, this display is for the students but I think all of us will be interested~~~

http://view2.fatspaniel.net/PV2Web/merge?view=PV/detailDC/HostedAdmin&eid=41937

jazzolog said...

I'm grateful to Hieronymus/Anonymous for bringing Giuliani into this. My question in the title was sorta rhetorical, but I did intend overtones to warn of another Republican takeover. I've been hopeful the polled Repubs who place Rudy in the front can't really be representing the mainstream of that party. I'm among those who consider his candidacy too outrageous even to consider---and of course therein lies the danger. Why haven't I learned by now that nothing is too outrageous for these people to consider?

Two features at AlterNet right now might be pertinent. First is an article by Margaret Kimberley entitled Gangster Giuliani: The GOP's Worst. http://www.alternet.org/story/67234/ And if that one doesn't scare you enough (and even if it does) don't miss the interview with Naomi Wolf about her book The End Of America. It concludes~~~

DH: As we are coming to an end here, there are a couple of concepts I found particularly interesting in the book. One is when you talked about the "10 steps," or the "blueprint" that fascists have used time and time again to close down democracies. You say that that these factors, ingredients, are more than the sum of their parts, which suggests a kind of synergy, "each magnifies the power of the others and the whole," as you write.

You also write about the pendulum cliché, that we have this illusion through our history that the pendulum always swings back. But because of the permanent war on terrorism, that may not be true anymore. Can you say a little bit more about those two things, and how that might fit together?

NW: Well part of the illusion is created because it seems we are in two different countries, operating at home and abroad. For example, they can come at you, anyone and claim you're an enemy combatant. They rendered people in Italy ... they can render people all over the world. And they can put people like Jose Padilla in solitary confinement for three years, literally drive sane healthy people insane.

If the president can say, Well, "Don is an enemy combatant," there is nothing you can do. It's like "Tag, you're it!" To that extent we can not be innocent. And then someone is in jail for three years without being able to see their families or have easy access to a phone.

If they can do that, the pendulum can't swing, because after the first arrest, it generally goes in one direction, and according to the blueprint, the time has come for those first arrests. We're having this conversation now, before these arrests. But if tomorrow you read in the New York Times or the Washington Post that New York Times editor Bill Keller has been arrested, the staff will all be scared, others will get scared. And people don't understand that that's how democracy closes down. And when that happens first, it's the tipping point at which we think it's still a democracy.

DH: That is when the rules have changed?

NW: Yes, and people need to believe and realize that that kind of negotiation is pretty much over. And there's just the lag time, which is so dangerous, when people still think it's a democracy, even while the martial law steps have begun. And that's where we are at, unless we get it.

Because you know, Congress keeps saying, "Hello, we're Congress." You have to answer us when we ask for information. The president's like, "Sorry, I'm ignoring you!" It starts becoming thinking like an abused woman, like: "Surely he's going to do it right this time, surely he's not going to do it again." And he does.
http://www.alternet.org/story/68399/?page=entire

Tom Bombadil said...

SPEAKING OF LIBERTY.

Libertarianism gone bad.

For the admirers of Murray N. Rothbard among us (nothing wrong with that - and unless I am mistaken, Richard's friend, CyberDeck13, is possibly one of them as he once recommended "For a New Liberty,” the book that helped launch the modern libertarian movement in the US, on a thread somewhere on one JazzoLOG blog or another), Murray Rothbard described the so-called "1994 revolution" "against the Democrats" as follows:

"…a massive and unprecedented public repudiation of President Clinton, his person, his personnel, his ideologies and programs, and all of his works; plus a repudiation of Clinton's Democrat Party; and, most fundamentally, a rejection of the designs, current and proposed, of the Leviathan he heads..."

Quoting quite literally, here.

I am not making any of this up.

According to the author what was being rejected was – I quote – "big government in general (its taxing, mandating, regulating, gun grabbing, and even its spending) and, in particular, its arrogant ambition to control the entire society from the political center. Voters and taxpayers are no longer persuaded of a supposed rationale for American-style central planning..."

It goes on, and this, I think, lays at the heart of Murray Rothbard's pink-colored Libertarian glasses:

"On the positive side, the public is vigorously and fervently affirming its desire to re-limit and de-centralize government; to increase individual and community liberty; to reduce taxes, mandates, and government intrusion; to return to the cultural and social mores of pre-1960s America, and perhaps much earlier than that."

First of all, and briefly stated, how much "on the positive side" of things exactly would a "return to the cultural and social mores of pre-1960s America" be, seems a highly contentious point to me, to say the least.

Second, and, here again, just stating the obvious, we have here a clear and highly misleading juxtaposition in the way the author is presenting things: "to increase individual and community liberty" and "to reduce taxes, mandates, and government" are not necessarily the same thing, and one doesn't imply the other, nor is one a required thing to the accomplishment of the other. Funds provided by taxes are used to carry out many functions, some of which have been instrumental in the promotion and protection of "individual and community liberty."

Don't get me wrong; I am all for a decentralization of power and individual liberties - and nobody loves a Leviathan government.

But, as a younger Rothbard - 1965 - had said himself (and I must say here that it is an endless object of fascinations to me how people's minds all exist on multiple levels, sometimes in parallel and contradictory consciousness):

The doctrine of liberty contains elements corresponding with both contemporary left and right. This means in no sense that we are middle-of-the-roaders, eclectically trying to combine, or step between, both poles; but rather that a consistent view of liberty includes concepts that have also become part of the rhetoric or program of right and of left. Hence a creative approach to liberty must transcend the confines of contemporary political shibboleths.

What has happened instead in this country is that Libertarianism has been serving as the ideological basis for the marketing of the Gingrich/Bush revolution. The GOP has taken the libertarian "Government is Bad" horse and ridden far with it:

- Dole's 1996 campaign, advancing the notion that taxes were "Your Money" being taken from you.

- Gingrich's Contract with America (welfare cuts, tax cuts, limitations on corporations' responsibility and on the government's ability to regulate them)

- Dick Armey's comment that Medicare (medical aid for the elderly) is "a program I would have no part of in a free world"

- Bush's tax cuts, intended not only to reward the rich but to "starve the beast", in Grover Norquist's words: to create a permanent deficit as a dangerous ploy to reduce social spending

- Jeb Bush's hope that the Florida state government buildings would one day be empty

- Intellectual support for attacks on the quality of working life in this county and for undoing the New Deal

And now, Blackwater... (See jazzoLOG previous 2 entries on the matter – I would provide a link, but apparently the ability to post links is now disabled on this blog.)

In all fairness, now, maybe this use of their ideas is appalling to “Real Libertarians”... Well, as Zompist.com (www.zompist.com/libertos.html) put it on their side of the Metaverse (www.zompist.com), “hold your nose then,” but don't pretend to be innocent either when the political bond of citizens with their governments is undermined while the country is ended over to unaccountable corporate thugs.

I quote:

”Despite the intelligence of many of its supporters, libertarianism is an instance of the simplest (and therefore silliest) type of politics: the single-villain ideology. Everything is blamed on the government.

Not being a libertarian doesn't mean loving the state; it means accepting complexity. The real world is a monstrously complicated place; there's not just one thing wrong with it, nor just one thing that can be changed to fix it. Things like prosperity and freedom don't have one cause; they're a balancing act.

Here's an alternative theory for you: original sin. People will mess things up, whether by stupidity or by active malice. There is no magical class of people (e.g. "government") who can be removed to produce utopia. Any institution is liable to failure, or active criminality. Put anyone in power-- whether it's communists or engineers or businessmen-- and they will abuse it.

Does this mean things are hopeless? Of course not; it just means that we have to let all institutions balance each other. Government, opposition parties, business, the media, unions, churches, universities, non-government organizations, all watch over each other. Power is distributed as widely as possible to prevent any one institution from monopolizing and abusing it. It's not always a pretty solution, and it can be frustratingly slow and inefficient, but it works better than any alternative I know of.

Markets are very good at some things, like deciding what to produce and distributing it. But unrestricted markets don't produce general prosperity, and lawless business can and will abuse its power.

- Since natural resources are accounted as free gains and pollution isn't counted against the bottom line, business on its own will grab resources and pollute till an environment is destroyed.

- The food business, on its own, will put filth in our food and lie about what it's made of. The few industries which are exceptions to food and drug laws (e.g. providers of alcohol and supplements) fight hard to stay that way. The food industry resists even providing information to consumers.

- Business will lock minorities out of jobs and refuse to serve them, or serve them only in degrading ways.

- Business will create unsafe goods, endanger workers, profiteer in times of crisis, use violence to prevent unionization-- and spend millions on politicians who will remove the people's right to limit these abuses.

- Businesses create monopolies and cartels when they can manage it; and the first thing monopolies do is raise prices.

- Businesses can create bureaucracies as impenetrable and money-wasting as any government. (The worst I've ever had to deal with are health insurers. And no, it's not "government regulation" that makes them that way; insurers have an interest in making the claims process as difficult as possible.)

- State-controlled media are vile; but business-controlled media are hardly better, especially given the consolidation of major media. Democracy needs a diversity of voices, and we're moving instead toward domination of the airwaves by a few conglomerates.

jazzolog said...

Hopefully a few news items this week indicate a wakeup call could be letting out its first peep in this hardcore addict state. Coal and oil increasingly are fighting words here between conservation proponents and those who advocate jobs at all costs. The first thing you hear when coal and electric companies want more business is "We'll create jobs" (whether it's true or not) and the working man gets right in line.

Along the Ohio River in Meigs County, just to the south of us, there are plans for construction of a new power plant. Within this 10-mile stretch of river, there already are 5 or 6---"powerhouses" the locals call them. The Environmental Protection Agency has been holding hugely-attended hearings, which now have concluded, and soon we shall hear the outcome. The Columbus Dispatch reported it this way on Wednesday~~~

Attorneys general from six states say pollution controls not good enough
Wednesday, December 5, 2007 3:04 AM
By Paul Wilson
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

American Municipal Power-Ohio's proposed coal-fired plant in Meigs County does not meet Clean Air Act standards and should not be built, two environmental groups said Monday.

Columbus-based AMP disputed those assertions and said its planned Letart Falls operation would use "state-of-the-art technology to control emissions," meeting Clean Air Act standards.

Nonprofit AMP-Ohio wants to build a $2.5 billion plant to serve customers in Cleveland, Jackson, Prospect and 75 other Ohio communities. It would be the first coal-fired operation built in Ohio in years, and AMP has said that it will be one of the cleanest in the nation.

But Shannon Fisk, staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said AMP-Ohio plans to build an "outdated and dirty coal plant." The group, along with the Ohio Environmental Council, filed concerns with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on Friday.
http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2007/12/05/AMPconcerns.ART_ART_12-05-07_B7_8F8M8KE.html?sid=101

Today the Toledo Blade is reporting, "NEW YORK — FirstEnergy Corp., owner of Toledo Edison and other electric utilities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, said yesterday that capital spending will rise 15 percent next year to clean up air pollution from coal-burning plants.
"Spending on environmental projects will rise 68 percent to $650 million next year, Chief Financial Officer Richard Marsh said at an investor meeting here. Total capital spending will rise to $1.7 billion. Higher revenue from power sales will more than cover the costs, he said."
http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200771207005

I'm not just sure what "power sales" means, but in the past it's meant the bill we get every month for electricity. I suppose it's to be expected with the economy we have, but there are other ways to do this.

On Tuesday, also in the Blade, their business writer published "Most solar panels produced at a high-tech plant in Perrysburg Township owned by First Solar Inc. are shipped to Germany, Spain, and other European nations that provide big subsidies for renewable energy.
"But that could begin to change as the Phoenix company, which has major operations in northwest Ohio, launches a campaign in the coming months to sell U.S. utilities on the idea of solar-energy farms.
"'That's the next move for us,' Chief Executive Michael Ahearn told about 100 financial analysts who gathered at the local plant yesterday to hear about the fast-growing company with deep Toledo roots.
"The firm initially will concentrate on California and seven other states with climates favorable to solar power and policies encouraging alternative energy, said Ken Schultz, marketing vice president."
http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071204/BUSINESS03/712040333

But alternative energy still seems alien to most Ohioans, and the new governor is cautious. His energy bill, now before the Ohio legislature, is a start, but lobbyists for coal and oil are hard at work finding some angle for profit. Again in this morning's Toledo Blade~~~

Ohio considers drilling for oil in state parks
ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBUS - Drilling for oil and natural gas in state parks is among the options Ohio lawmakers are considering as part of their debate over the state's future energy needs.

In behind-the-scenes discussions, a provision has been advanced that would allow drilling on state lands "covered by concrete, asphalt, gravel, turf, crops, or fields that have plants or trees not exceeding 10 years in growth."

The proposal would create a five-member oil and gas leasing board to oversee the leasing of state property for developing oil and natural gas reserves.
http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007712060440

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