October 23rd, 2003 ~ I just caught "Lou Dobbs Tonight" on CNN after game four of the Yankees/Marlins World Series, where House Ways and Means Committe Chairman, Bill Thomas presented his plan to use tax incentives to keep American jobs in America and hopefully generate new jobs. I'll readily admit, I'm pretty naieve when it comes to the in's and out's of Delta Charlie politics, but I personally found his plan high on wishful thinking and low on corporate accountability.
A much simpler plan occurred to me which would offer ANY company (foreign OR domestic), a dollar tax break on each dollar paid to U.S. citizens in salaries and wages and $.75 on each dollar of medical, dental, post-natal, daycare, or supplemental disability benefits for those same U.S. employees. This plan is probably too straightforward as it has very little bureaucratic overhead and requires only that employers make a good-faith effort to document the U.S. citizenship of employees to take advantage of the tax break. I'm sure there's a flaw in my logic which could be pointed out by any of the well-educated experts with direct access to our elected officials.
October 19th, 2003 ~ I just watched "America's Voices" on MSNBC, where the question posed to the panel was: "Which is more important to Americans today; economic security or national security?" This question disingenuously presupposes the two are mutually exclusive. They are not. If ANY point was driven home by the monstrous acts of September 11th, 2001, it is that our economic AND our national security are BOTH inextricably linked to Middle East oil. It is also clear that if America is to survive as a 21st Century nation, we MUST break the well-oiled chains dragging us ever deeper into that tar pit in which so many previous dinosaurs have perished.
Fusion Power will break those chains. Fusion power will free us from ALL the foreign zealots sitting on their golden thrones and embroidered cushions; scheming how best to use America to THEIR advantage, or to destroy us utterly with our own petro-dollars. Fusion power will revitalize our domestic economy AND silence, once and for all, those UN-Americans who would plunder our God-given natural wonders to further line their own pockets.
Shut your ears for a few moments to the cacophony of partisan straw men we are bombarded with by the 24x7 media to think about what might REALLY serve OUR interests, instead of those with a vested interest in the status quo. The issues are American jobs, American security, and American energy, right?
Okay, let's look at jobs. Our current choices are either the "Conservative", trickle-down approach to economic stimulation, where mega-billionaires are absolved of all social responsibility in hopes they will channel their new found largesse into American jobs instead of the Red Army slave factories and Bombay code mills they've shown a penchant for, or the "Liberal" approach of demanding McJobs while simultaneously hobbling American industry with their bureaucratic excesses. Neither camp talks of new technologies; new challenges; new opportunities.
In 1961, our President challenged us to dream the impossible; to put Americans on the moon and return those daring souls safely back to earth WITHIN A DECADE. Well, we DID it! In the process, WE generated thousands of new AMERICAN industries; employing tens of thousands of AMERICAN workers. And in a world dominated by a MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) nuclear arms policy, we showed our friends and enemies alike that America was not to be trifled with.
Which brings us to American security. The equation couldn't be simpler: American dependence on foreign oil = American dollars paying for that oil = those dollars funneled to terrorists = those terrorists buying weapons to kill Americans. The fatcats in Washington and Riyahd aren't concerned about this unholy round-robin because they have their well-appointed hidy holes to scurry to and anti-missile defenses on their airplanes. You and I and our families are the only ones at risk and despite all the flag-waving rhetoric, will remain at risk as long as there is profit in it. The ONLY guaranteed way to remove that risk is to cut off the supply lines of our enemies COMPLETELY.
And that brings us finally to American energy. When pressed for alternatives to oil, the best our government can seem to come up with is to ask for $20 BILLION of our hard-earned taxes to build new nuclear FISSION plants. Fission powerplants are NOT the answer. Their core technology is inherently unstable and their spent fuel rods remain radioactive and DEADLY for tens of THOUSANDS of years. In other words, if Middle East terrorists - funded with American oil dollars - don't succeed in irradiating our nation with their dirty bombs, our OWN government will be more than happy to do the same for several tens of billions more of OUR tax dollars.
Fusion power IS the answer. The only fuel required is a relatively safe hydrogen cocktail; the only byproduct is helium. If controls fail in a fusion reaction it simply stops; it cannot go into an uncontrolled chain-reaction like a fission plant. The technological challenges are daunting, but so were those of putting footprints on the moon in a single decade. Along with those challenges come opportunities; unimagined new industries employing tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of American workers; just like the lunar program did.
Our leaders claim fusion will not be a viable energy source for at least 35 years. Considering the nickle and dime approach they've taken to fusion research funding, that claim sounds more like a self-fulfilling prophesy than fact. The FACT is, they know fusion power is coming and with the European Union, Russia, South Korea, Japan, China, and even Canada all aggresively funding fusion research, they dare not abandon it altogether; if only to be able to say they "supported" American fusion research when we learn that someone else beat America to a working design.
I guess what I find most disturbing about our government's foot dragging on fusion is that they KNOW we are up to the challenge; that they are actively resisting fusion power because it threatens their own political power base with uncertainty. They would rather sacrifice American lives in Iraq, dig into our treasury for hundreds of billions of our tax dollars, and see our jobs fly off to foreign lands than rock the boat of the status quo.
So when the question is asked: "Which is more important to Americans today; economic security or national security?", the answer really depends on who you ask. If you accept our current course to nowhere in the yoke of the oil barons, the answer is "Neither." But if you believe as I do that we have the genius, and the will to remain the greatest nation on Earth, then the answer MUST be "BOTH!" Oil gets us neither. Fusion gets us both. Now, let your Senators and Representatives know which answer you want the world to hear.
October 15th, 2003 ~ Today provided a cornucopia of news. The Red Sox beat the Yankees 9-6 in game 6 of the ALCS bringing that contest to game 7 tomorrow night and the Marlins shut down the Cubs to clinch the NLCS pennant and go to the World Series. Peoples Liberation Army Lt. Col., Yang Liwei is the first "taikonaut" to go into (and of equal importance, return from) space in the first Chinese manned space mission. Sketchy reports out of the Senate indicate that, in some cases, whole paragraphs of the Republican "Comprehensive Energy Bill" coming out of closed-door committee, are taken verbatim from policy memos written by the energy industry and circulated among House and Senate conferees during the 2002 session. Finally, someone in the Department of Defense "Spin Command" is sending nearly identical letters - complete with signatures - to hometown newspapers across the U.S., praising the military efforts in Iraq. These letters have shown up at newspapers across the country, supposedly from G.I.'s serving in Iraq. The only problem is that while some of the G.I.'s whose signatures appear on the letters agree with the contents of the letters attributed to them, none actually wrote them.
October 5th, 2003 ~ Lots of news this weekend. The energy lobby's rewrite of the Senate omnibus energy bill ran into a little snafu on Friday when Trent Lott proposed burdening independent energy producers with the costs for additional transmission capacity, but otherwise, this toxic monstrosity is probably going to be squeezed out of the secret recesses of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, sometime this coming week. Numerous salvos fired on the talk show circuit this weekend, by both Democratic and Republican pundits, about who leaked the info on Ambassador Wilson's wife. And today, Israel launched a "pre-emptive strike" against an Islamic Jihad training camp inside Syria, in response to a suicide bombing at a Haifa cafe. I wonder where they got that idea?
On a more humorous note, A "Help Wanted" ad in the classifieds today caught my attention and made me chuckle with it's implications. Wanted: Seasonal Assemblers at Toys "R" Us. The assembler must possess personal basic assembly tools, must be able to lift at least 50 lbs., and climb a ladder. Basic mechanical skills and assembly experience a plus. I immediately pictured small groups of undocumented Migrant Toy Workers, slipping over the Canadian border and braving untold hardships to assemble toys in malls throughout America; sleeping fitfully in some freezing Toys "R" Us storeroom; always waiting for the I.N.S. flashlight in the face and an unceremonious bus ride back to the North Pole.