September 30th, 2011 ~ Frankly, I'm not sure if what I hear about a 2007 Congressional mandate imposed on the USPS to fund 75 years of pension and retirement benefits within a ten year window is true or not. I do know that it should NOT be true. No other quasi-private or private corporation labors under such a crushing mandate. No other quasi-private or private corporation has such a richly historic or immediate economic value to the American People and American small businesses.
If you agree, I urge you to contact your Senators and Representatives to repeal any legislation which imposes such a mandate on OUR USPS; a competitively unfair mandate FedEx, UPS and other private corporations don't have to deal with. We, the People, NEED our Postal Service. They've ALWAYS been there for us through snow, rain, heat, and gloom of night. We need to be there for THEM now.
September 19th, 2011 ~ Recently, I learned of a revolutionary new type of fission reactor design known as a Traveling Wave Reactor (TWR) which uses depleted uranium and other low-radiation waste materials instead of the highly reactive fuel rods required by all contemporary fission reactors. The TWR is a commercially viable enterprise of TerraPower; a spinoff company of Nathan Myhrvold's
Intellectual Ventures. While I continue to be adamantly opposed to ANY fission reactors, TWR's do seem to offer some significant advantages over current designs:
1. The fuel used would be much "cooler" than current highly-enriched fuel. Shipping and handling of such fuel would be much less dangerous.
2. The fuel does NOT need to be replaced; only added to over time. Think of a giant radioactive compost heap. This means zero post-reaction storage or disposal issues.
3. Any accident at such a reactor, though still a serious event, would NOT result in the sort of nightmare scenarios we saw at Chernobyl or Fukushima.
I had considered NOT posting this entry as I was concerned it could dilute the critical message that Fusion Power is the ONLY large-scale, non-carbon, totally green energy solution for America and our planet. But, I'm both a technology wonk and a pragmatist. I know the energy cartel has a LOT more media clout and access to our government than I will EVER have.
If a corporate "insider" like former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer,
Nathan Myhrvold is pushing anything even marginally superior to our current suicide-by-plutonium or suicide-by-fossil-fuels approach to energy generation, I cannot ignore that. I cannot pretend it's not a brilliant American alternative to Exxon/Mo'Bull's fracking Eric Oswald or Artis Brown's Kearl oil sands environmental rape of both Canada and the U.S. Need I say ANYTHING about the "clean coal" fantasy?
TerraPower's TWR is NOT the ultimate solution, but it IS a significantly better short-term solution to our energy needs than current fission powerplants. This, alone, is why you find this posting here.
September 16th, 2011 ~ In a CNN Op-Ed this week, James Carville had just one word of advice for President Barack Obama: "Panic". I have just two words for James Carville: "FUCK YOU!" Carville is NOT a stupid man. He is a cunning and pugnacious political operative who would NEVER have offered Bill Clinton the sort of pablum he seems so comfortable offering President Obama. He should be ashamed for pretending our nation's current crises, are in ANY WAY comparable to what Bill Clinton may have dealt with in the 1990's.
I'm not discounting the challenges President Clinton's administration faced on foreign policy, counter-terrorism, and our domestic economy, but I can't be alone in remembering that these issues held none of the in-your-face immediacy we and our current President are dealing with today. Clinton and Carville were riding a frenetic economic boom in the tech and service sectors which allowed them to literally stop the National Debt Clock for the first time since Andrew Jackson's presidency.
But there's a dark underside to that "success story" which few (especially people like Carville) care to bring into the light. Much of the boom of the "Boom-Boom 90's" was fueled by easy credit, both in the consumer and commercial sectors. Federal and state agencies charged with regulating the financial industry as well as bank loan operations couldn't keep up with all the cash flying out the doors of those institutions. Even incremental interest increases by Mr. Greenspan's Fed did little to cool the red-hot pace. So while corporate and personal debt was skyrocketing, tax revenues were flowing into the treasury at a historic rate.
I haven't the slightest doubt that both Clinton and Carville KNEW they were sitting on an economic time-bomb. Rather than attempting to defuse that bomb, their solution was to just reset the timer to prevent it from going off on their watch. They KNEW the collapse was coming and that the National Debt Clock would be restarted with a vengeance. But that would happen during another President's term; casting it's shadow over another President's legacy.
James Carville, like many late-20th Century political operatives inundating our airwaves and web these days, can get away wtih his false equivalencies knowing, with certainty, that none of his interviewers will question them. He KNOWS they're told not to. Like I said, he's a smart guy. He's also a guy who should rest on his laurels and shut his pie hole when it comes to our current President.
September 12th, 2011 ~ I just endured the second GOP presidential debate in Florida and it seemed to be all about deconstructing our Social Security system and expanding tax breaks for the "job creators" who - over the last decade of Bush job creating tax breaks - OUTSOURCED hundreds of thousands of America's jobs overseas and INSOURCED more tens of thousands of American jobs to H1-B Visa holders.
The only "jobs" the GOP's puppeteers seem to have for America's workers are those which involve asking: "You want fries with that?" Just the ticket to support a growing family and achieve the American Dream through hard work and perseverance. Don't expect a minimum wage, though. That's Socialism, you know.
But wait! ALL the GOP candidates embraced small business owners as the SOLE focus of their policy positions. Not a WORD about the mega-corporations; SMALL BUSINESS is what they're ALL about. Does that mean we should ALL abandon our McJobs and start our own small businesses? Does that mean we can ALL enjoy the same tax loopholes and special considerations enjoyed by GE, Exxon/Mobil, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, or Halliburton? Of COURSE we can! Don't WE the PEOPLE have the same access to our elected officials as those mega-corporate "people"? Haven't we seen an American economic RENAISSANCE growing out of those GOP policies?
I feel SO foolish now for supporting collective bargaining and other American worker RIGHTS when those workers have only to start their own businesses to enjoy ALL the benefits of such major corporate "citizens". Oh, wait. Many of those "American" corporations are no longer based in America. Those "people" have surrendered their American citizenship and claimed citizenship in Ireland, Switzerland, Dubai, Cayman Islands, Panama, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Holland, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago to the tune of $3.5 Trillion in offshore profits.
Now, I'm confused. Are those "people" Americans?
September 11th, 2011 ~ Today marks the 10th "anniversary" of the heinous acts of this same day in 2001 which left nearly 3,000 men, women, and children dead in the span of a few hours. I feel I should write something to commemorate 9/11, but I find it difficult to think of anything which would not just add more noise to the cacaphony of remembrance. Not that I don't have anything to say. I just find what I have to say difficult to articulate.
Fortunately, my Wife came across a blog post by Jim Wright, Stationmaster of "Stone Kettle Station" and author of "Sept 11th Ten Years On". Mr. Wright seemed to have reached into my head, grabbed all the whirling thoughts and feelings and organized them into a coherent whole more eloquently than I ever could. All I need say now is "Thank you, Jim".
September 4th, 2011 ~ I just finished reading Mike Lofgren's brilliant Truthout.org article of September 3rd, "Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult". Mr. Lofgren well described the syptoms of the illness infecting our body politic. He did little, however, to illuminate the underlying cause, so his proposed cures would serve only as palliatives at best; soporifics at worst.
In fairness, he did point out the obscene amounts of corporate money flooding into both parties, but especially into the war chests of GOP candidates. He also pointed out the corporate-controlled media's representation of EVERY crisis brewed up by Congressional Tea Baggers as just the other side of an arguement where both sides had a hand in creating that crises. He refers to this journalistic deception as "the practice of false evenhandedness". I find it an accurate description.
What Mr. Lofgren missed was that undermining and eventually eradicating our representative democracy is EXACTLY what the corporate puppet-masters BEHIND the GOP are working to achieve. In his article, he recounts a conversation with a Republican committee staff director who was proud of GOP efforts to obstruct and disrupt and hoped to extend that gridlock to the Senate to "...further lower Congress' generic favorability rating among the American people". This, the staffer felt, would allow the party against government to come out the "winner".
I obviously have to ask "of WHAT?" Are these GOP meat-puppets so dense, so deluded that they think the resulting oligarchy would have any "positions" available in the corporate org chart for disruptive obstructionists? Some may actually believe their corporate overlords will allow them to replace our representative democracy with a Christianist theocracy.
Frankly, I agree with Mr. Lofgren's assessment that much of the GOP's Christianist rhetoric is cynically intended to garner political support from the religious Right. He actually points out in footnote #5, the GOP double think of advocating a Randian utopia while simultaneously spewing Christianist dogma. Such cynicism, however, implies an intentional thought process by people who obviously consider themselves intellectually superior to their constituents.
Ironic, then, that such superior critical analysis extends only as far as the next election. There is no thought, no "Plan B" for when our representative democracy ceases to exist and the cynics themselves become nothing more than "corporate liabilities". They would only have "won" an early retirement of one form or another (and if you detect a sinister note in that, let me draw your attention to the explosive growth, in the last decade, of private military companies like Blackwater/XE, offering any corporate coup d'etat a ready-made "military option").
Disorganized, "feckless", and corrupt as Mr. Lofgren rightfully sees some Democrat officeholders, he also admits that overall, their goals are to preserve and perfect our democracy; not destroy it utterly. Their plans are to revitalize our middle class and help place the American Dream within the reach of millions of Americans who never had that chance before. Their compact with the American People is to honor our social contracts of Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance; not privatize or eradicate those social contracts altogether. In short, he's saying Democrats maintain faith WITH us; not USE faith to divide and destroy us.
So, while I may share some of the political frustration of many Americans with today's gridlock in Washington, I'm perfectly clear on WHO has created that gridlock and WHY. I will carry that frustration and that knowledge into the voting booth to put as many Democrats in office as I can. I consider it nothing less than my patriotic duty to do so. I hope you will too.