Beyond the Cusp

September 4, 2016

Foundations of Pay to Play

 

The Clinton Foundation, or should we call it the Clinton’s Fundnation, where donations of varying sizes were deposited often in direct correlation to the length of time they were granted with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Well, not all the visits with Secretary of State Clinton were linked to contributions to the Clinton Foundation; some were linked to very impressive payments for speeches by one former President William Jefferson Clinton. Of course we are told that there is no smoking gun or definitive proof or actual links, well, provable links. It is remarkable the degree to which far too many highly placed law enforcement agencies and individuals voluntarily develop tunnel vision. It is a miracle they can drive a car safely with such obstructed eyesight. Yet the news has been filled with reports about the horrors and downright dastardly practices and unconscionable business relations which apparently have plagued Donald Trump over the years. We can only assume that previously law enforcement and business oversight and enforcement departments have suffered an equal measure of tunnel vision when it came to policing the business deals of Donald Trump. Of course the surprising item is the lack of law suits brought against Donald Trump if so many of his business dealings were actually as fraudulent as we have been led to believe. There was one business venture though which truly could have qualified as fraudulent had it actually made the guarantees or promises claimed by the media, and that was Trump University. Fortunately for Donald Trump the only actual guarantees given by Trump University were that one might be able to benefit and enrich themselves with the lessons and they would receive a diploma and a picture of them with the facsimile of Donald Trump. The picture with the cardboard Mr. Trump was only worth slightly less than the wisdom one might have gleaned from the lessons. So, there has seemingly been loads of the blind leading the blind in law enforcement around both Presidential candidates if the media reporting on one and the claims of ignoring direct evidence on the other are to be believed. This leads to one big question, which one is the least crooked and least seriously soaked in criminal behavior and thus the lesser choice to be President.

 

I know what you’re thinking, where am I going with this and that I sure started with some twisted and tortured lack of logic. Well, why should editorial commentary here be any less confusing and in the dark than the rest of the media? If you answer is because you have come to expect better, then thank you for your confidence and read on, it will hopefully be worth your time. The problem is that far too many of the politicians are crooked as a broken and twisted ancient oak tree with the varieties of corruption, insider trading (which is actually legal for members of Congress and the members of the Administration of the President), bought and paid for political hacks, politician turned lobbyist and other crimes of unimaginable complexity and criminal behavior obvious even to the most casual of observers which reach out from the rotting central core of the political tree in the ever outward reaching branches seeking new and more imaginable ways to deceive and steal. Are there some politicians who are clean, respectable and trusted to work for their electorate? Astonishingly, yes. Unfortunately they are also the politicians shunned by the opposition party and their own party and unfortunately cannot seem to get together on issues due to their different beliefs and political orientations. If only there were some means of getting the true representatives of the people to work to clean up the rest of the political quagmire, that would be simply grand. Unfortunately most of the truly honest representatives of the people fall into one of a few categories, socialists even bordering on communist, religious conservatives often referred to as the religious right, and the true believers of causes which are as varied as often separate be the narrowest of degrees yet still chasing mutually exclusive dreams as one can paint. There are likely more than a dozen of causes which come under the ecological umbrella from save the whales or the seal cubs to save the rain forests as well as stop acid rain who sometimes protest with the save the oceans and even save the polar bears who have been taking care of themselves quite well. Then there are those who want electric cars, hydrogen cell cars, universal transports which take everyone to their destinations, public transport such as busses, light rail or subways and those who want to ban all vehicles which run on petroleum even including aircraft and the rigs without which we would soon have less choices of food and other goods, but that is not their concern. There are some who desire making the United States a Christian based nation where Christianity would become the recognized religion of their state or even the nation. And then there are our favorites, the constitutionalists who simply desire to have the United States return to the limitations intended by the Founding Fathers.

 

Founding Fathers of the United States

Founding Fathers of the United States

 

Those chasing causes, dreams some call them, are probably the least harmful as they are easily predictable and can be clearly understood. The less than honest politicians are also predictable once their motivations and those who own their pocketbook are understood. There are those who have so many positing bribes, sorry, contributions and charitable donations, which work their way back to the politicians through nefarious and twisted paths making them not so obvious. Let us say that a politician or group of politicians receive contributions to their campaigns and to supportive political action committees (PACs) as well as donations to charities or other groups who also contribute to the election campaigns where all this cash finds its way back to the politicians and they simply promote a bill which provides funding for some aid package helping the poor or the sick in impoverished nations which in turn buy drugs or food using much of the aid from the United States from those who initially arranged the funding from the varied sources for their campaigns. The twisted paths and the indirect funding leads to crossing the eyes of any investigations such as there is nothing directly untoward making these actions prosecutable. There are thousands of scams which have been operating for more years than any care to admit. Ask historians or political studies professors and one can learn that these problems assisted in the fall of empires past and have predated writing. There are theories about what is the oldest profession and it very well may turn out it was politician and the first politician was the individual who convinced the leader of their clan that they needed a religion and they should be the priest or medicine man or any position which did not require brawn as much as brains. That politicians got to eat without having to hunt as hunting was dangerous and too often the hunting parties came back minus one or more members while priests or medicine men stayed at the camp near the fires and out of the rain.

 

We have come a far way since then and now we have entire echelons of politicians in layers upon layers doing all sorts of functions. But in modern society the politician is not the greatest menace, just the most efficient ones where the greatest concentration of money can be found. The menace are those faceless individuals who sit in offices and cubicles making up rules and regulations and even law in some instances when directed to flesh out legislation which is all too often loosely written and paints broad swipes leaving room for interpretations and that leads to mischief. There was a temporary position a number of years back which was referred to as the Regulations Czar whose lead individual was Cass Sunstein known officially as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. The position was directed to review laws and legislation from the last fifty years or so and define or formulate new regulations which could be enacted with a special emphasis to use these reviews to enact and formulate regulations supporting policies the Administration was having difficulty passing through Congress. How many thousands of additional regulations were discovered hiding in laws recent or ancient we probably will never discern. Things have gotten to a choking point with the numbers of regulations, requirements and other rules holding an equivalence of laws that the average citizen cannot be expected to even have knowledge of the extents and depth of what is considered illegal and can place one on the wrong side of the law in court. The sad truth is difficult to put one’s arms around but be it the United Statesor be it Briton or any nation in Europe or potentially the entire world, the reality is we all break laws as part of our normal everyday lives and the criminality of living increases by thousands of new laws and regulations annually. This is the real criminal output of politicians who are paid to pass laws which outright or through inferred regulations give those who can pay an advantage over the rest of the population. This is the crooked legacy which is almost as criminal as the money stolen from our pockets through taxes, fees or higher prices so that others can benefit from corrupt politicians. This is why elections matter and primary elections this year proved to be the surprising ones which mattered. In the United States the choice is between two political forces either of which will provide the media, and especially us if we choose, more to cover than they will know what to do with. One will have half the media screaming about the illegalities with the other half excusing it while the other will have half most of the media claiming they are completely lost as to what are the motivations of the actions from the White House and others will play the game of guess what’s up next. Either way we will have plenty of news we just as soon would rather tune out, but it will affect our lives and the effects will be anywhere from minor inconveniences to drastic enough to threaten the entire planet. The real problem is none of the candidates, including third party, have even an inkling about the state of the world and what needs be done to repair the most egregious of the difficulties or threats, and it will be some of the threat which will offer the greatest danger if not mitigated and mitigated right out of the gate. Many will claim that will simply cause more difficulty but indifference to the world of problems has worked so well that we’ll gladly risk actually addressing threats and problems over leading from so far behind you may as well not be there at all, which too often was the case, Benghazi anyone? Please America, choose well.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

August 21, 2016

The Environmental Extremist Perfect World

 

Between recent events in state and local governments, the political dreams of some select Presidential candidates including one of the main candidates, Congressional and Senatorial campaigns and the abundant environmental NGO’s demands of candidates and governance, it is easy to extrapolate and draw an accurate picture. We have watched as coal mines and coal fired electric generating plants have been forced by government into closing their production, their generation of electricity or to an expensive changeover to natural gas and the current drive against the remaining coal plants and numerous oil powered plants to shut down or change to natural gas. Where the success has been most prolific there is a new drive, to close natural gas powered plants. Then there has been the court and legislative drives to criminalize fracking and close down any drilling or other harvesting of carbon fuels within zones such as schools, daycares, public malls, shopping centers, hospitals, residential housing or even any structure used by human beings with some demanding as much as a half mile setback which could have the effect of closing as high and three-quarters of all mining, drilling, fracking of other carbon fuel harvesting. Their intended goal is to have the majority of electrical generation come from renewable fuels or eco-friendly generation. The eco-friendly generation is where the problems arise. One might believe that hydro power would meet their requirements but one would be incorrect. Dams, you see, block rivers and thus prevent natural river flow and development and a number of environmental fanatics are demanding the undamming of rivers returning them to their natural flow rates and support for ecosystems. Then there is wind power but these are a danger to birds and until a safe and completely bird safe system can be developed they demand that wind turbines be parked to save the birds, especially those in the path of migratory birds. With even natural gas, the environmentalists’ favorite fuel, coming under fire where other fuels have been closed down or changed over to natural gas, what is now appearing to be a fool’s choice if natural gas is actually unacceptable as well.

 

So, what generation source would be acceptable to all the ecology fanatics? Even if wind power were acceptable, the demand for adequate production is beyond imagination. Industry and government data show that generating just 20% of US electricity with wind power would require some 18,000,000 acres of land, 186,000 turbines, 19,000 miles of new transmission lines, and 270,000,000 tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earths. Just multiply these figures by five and add another ten percent for good measure and you would immediately realize that such an idea is ridiculously demanding. The ecology fanatics like to tout wave technology which is in its initial stages and should it become viable then these fanatics would find a reason that it endangered kelp or jelly fish or some other problem. There are those who claim that solar power generation is dangerous as it causes heat pollution. So do human beings simply by living generate heat, but perhaps we should keep that a secret before the environmentalists demand we take measures to prevent our heat pollution from destroying the delicate balance and possibly adding to the loss of glaciers. As far as we can figure, there is no generation of electricity or powering our vehicles which in the end would be acceptable to these fanatics. Yes, there are reasonable ecological dreamers whose demands almost make sense but they are outdone by the fanatics who apparently have no lack of energy in generating demands and petitions not to mention making grand displays and demonstrations against virtually every form of power generation.

 

The reasonable ecological warriors have also made a miscalculation, though we are wary of informing them, in their claims that electric cars reduce pollution. These electric cars require charging which can most easily be done one of two means currently. The first is to power a generator on the vehicle with a gasoline powered engine which pollutes just as a regular gasoline powered engine would and even more power must be generated to make up for energy loss in any system. The other and most used manner is to plug the car in overnight and charge the batteries. Well, where does that electricity originate. A power plant which, as the eco friends will inform us at every turn, generates pollution just as would the gasoline powered cars. All battery powered vehicles manage is to relocate the pollution and have it enter the atmosphere at night, the one time when the air formerly had an opportunity to be safer from pollution. Even if it manages to reduce the hydrocarbons spewed into the atmosphere, the difference is likely minimal and one need weigh whether or not the difference is worth trading the freedom of traveling beyond the range of battery power for such things as, what is that thing called where you drive a distance to have simply family fun time? Oh yes, a vacation.

 

We had an introduction granted us lesser people from Al Gore whose homes are simply unbelievable carbon powered heat sinks and anything but eco-friendly (see below). Let us also not forget that Al Gore jets back and forth in a private jet rather than using commercial airliners which would cut back on his carbon footprint, but Mr. Gore is one of the privileged and cannot be expected to rub elbows with the great unwashed. The same can be stated for another great enviro-warrior, Nancy Pelosi. You see Ms. Pelosi demanded a larger more fuel hungry jet for her trips most weekends from Washington D.C. to her home in California because she was put off having to stop and refuel somewhere, often Arkansas, in flyover country where those other people reside, how totally revolting, almost like gagging on a spoon like a valley girl. Many of the Representative and Senators have similar stories about how they abuse the atmosphere and pollute the air the rest of America breathes and then have the audacity of demanding that people drive cars which are death traps should they have an accident with the large Mercedes or Cadillac or whatever luxury chauffeur driven vehicle these servants of the people use at both ends of their personal jet flight home whenever they feel homesick. Granted, not all of the representatives of the people act with such lack of caring. Many do fly regular airlines and even use cabs or drive reasonable vehicles, but they are the exception. Then there is Bernie, I’m a humble socialist living a life like any little person, Sanders who made news in the Washington Post soon after the Democrat conventions. Let us quote, “Sanders family’s ‘new waterfront crib has four bedrooms and 500 feet of Lake Champlain beachfront,’ according to the Vermont newspaper Seven Days, which broke the news on Monday. Sanders’s spokesman, Michael Briggs, told us the home is 1,800 square feet (hardly a mansion). Jane O’Meara Sanders, the senator’s wife, said she had ‘always hoped’ to buy a home in the area, which has more of a country village vibe than Hamptons feel.” We wish our apartment was 1,800 square feet and sat on a 500 foot lakefront though our cozy little apartment five blocks from the Mediterranean Sea is sweet enough even if it is a little too close to Lebanon if another war breaks out. Let us return back to our eco-friends.

 

Al Gore Home Montecito California

Al Gore Home Montecito California

 

Al Gore Home Nashville Tennessee

Al Gore Home Nashville Tennessee

 

Al Gore Home Santa Barbara California

Al Gore Home Santa Barbara California

 

The one thing which is disturbing about many of the friends of Earth demands is for the human race to stop using any electricity, end the use of fertilizer, stop making things out of plastics, use only renewable energy sources, replace vehicles with alternate transportation such as donkeys and horses, and return to living as our ancestors did a thousand years ago. There is a small problem with these demands; it would result in the death of a vast majority of human beings on the planet. This of course would greatly please the ZPG crowd, the zero population growth. Believe it or not, there is another group which would claim that the loss of these people was but a good start. These people call for the reduction of the human population by ninety percent leaving only a small group of eco-friendly people who know how to live in a reasonable agreement with nature. Even these people are not the most extreme as there is a group which calls for the eradication of the human race as without people the planet would be in balance and the human beings are only a source of Earthly destruction. We have a simple policy with both of these last two groups, you guys first as it were your idea and we promise to live in a manner nicer to the planet. What we are not telling them is we have decided their sacrifice was sufficient for the rest of us to continue in relative comfort. Satisfying the insatiable is a foolish game as by definition they will never be content no matter how much the society bends to please them. Their idea of perfection does not include the rest of us and there is the problem. If it comes to us or them and they are the fanatics who believe there are too many people, then let them lead the way and we can call that our solution, sounds good, no?

 

Beyond the Cusp 

 

August 13, 2016

Ecology the Economy and Global Pollution

 

There are so many arguments where it is apparent that much of the ecology demands are in direct conflict of interest with the state of the economy. Of course it does not need to be this way or even an actual issue for the Western and post-industrial world. Technological advancements have even led to coal powered plants in the advanced world putting out next to nothing in emissions into the atmosphere compared to those same plants forty or fifty years ago. We can excuse many of the youthful ecology warriors as they did not live when smog was an actual problem and those days where one really needed that gas mask they are so anxious to claim will be necessary at today’s standards. There were days where visibility in Los Angeles was limited to half a block and days when a temperature inversion turned Denver, Colorado into a city under an orange bowl of trapped air. There were any numbers of times when the Cuyahoga River actually caught fire and Lake Erie could not support fish. All of these were the real ecological tragedies of the past and where we are today carries no measure of comparison. The air and water quality today is a taste of what we considered would be heaven on earth back in the fifties, sixties, seventies and early eighties though much had been gained by the mid-eighties. One cannot imagine what it was like in those rough and tumble days when the ecology movement started and great and close to unbelievable gains have been accomplished.

 

What was it like back in those dirty and horrific days, you ask. Well, allow us to try and explain. Air quality was very much like Beijing, Karachi or New Delhi and rivers were close to the conditions of the Ganges, Yellow and Buriganga Rivers (see images below). The greatest ecological problems facing humankind today are not the cities and rivers in much of the United States or Europe as much as they are in the developing world, particularly China, India and other nations almost always exempted from United Nations and other ecological requirements. Giving the worst polluting nations a pass on meeting standards and instead demonizing and requiring ever more difficult and approaching impossible standards of the advanced nations is ignoring the real problems that are damaging health and the state of the world. The United States and Europe could cut their air and water pollution by fifty percent or even seventy-five percent and it would not come close to improving world air and water quality as it would require the developing world to improve their air and water quality by a mere five to ten percent. Cleaning up the air and water in the developing world, especially the rising industrial nations like China and India could make huge strides. It is not as if what is being asked is all that impossible or even difficult to achieve as the science and industrial know-how already exist and much of it is off the shelf and install and you are good to go. If the financial burden was demanded almost exclusively from the developed world it would be an investment which would indirectly and directly affect the quality of life in the post-industrial world as the air and water of these developing nations does have an influence on the air and water quality worldwide. If the cost of installing and manufacturing the necessary pollution control systems for many of the industries which have been shifted from the developed world to the developing world, in some cases simply to avoid the ever more stringent pollution demands and requirements which the post-industrial world had challenged their industries to meet, there could readily be made improvements leading to decreasing pollution in these parts of the world easily attaining halving their pollution which would be a giant stride and would exceed any possible reductions quantitatively than anything possible in the rest of the advanced world. As stated, the required technology already exists and would simply require production and installation which in many cases would simply be an add-on system to already existing power plants and industrial facilities. One example would be the carbon scrubbers for coal fired electrical generation facilities which could cut CO2 easily by fifty percent and the costs would not be exorbitant making such one easy place to begin. Water filtration systems placed between factories and rivers could make a huge difference and finally using more advanced systems and procedures for handling recycling and sorting of trash could not only benefit air and water quality but also lead to reduced costs on the society into the future with the gains in health being just one benefit which should be an aim for all humankind.

 

Examples of Worst Air and Water Pollution Today

Examples of Worst Air and Water Pollution Today

 

The problem is one of numbers which is easily explained. Any pollution standards have thus far been coming from the United Nations and related NGOs and other agencies. Many of these have their leadership and decision making committees predominantly made up from the member nations. The United Nations lists the developed (post-industrial) nations as being North America, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. They list the developing nations as Africa, Central and South Americas plus Mexico, Caribbean, Asia (excluding Japan), Oceania excluding Australia and New Zealand. Of the nearly two-hundred nations in the United Nations there are approximately one-hundred-forty developing nations with only fifty-five post-industrial nations. It does not require a degree in higher mathematics to understand why almost all pollution requirements are placed on the fifty-five post-industrial nations while the one-hundred-forty developing nations are excluded from any and all pollution reduction or restrictive requirements. Until the developing world takes responsibility for the health and safety of their own citizens, this lopsided insanity of improving air quality and reducing water pollution in the post-industrial world manages to improve the measureable levels of pollution in the world by, at an estimated best case scenario, a mere five percent at the most generous of measurements, the most rudimentary and basic pollution controls put into use by the developing world would drop world pollution levels at near the exact same percentage as these nations would improve their air and water quality.

 

Let us assume the developing world installed the most rudimentary pollution controls equivalent to those installed by 1980 in the post-industrial world, with financial and production assistance from the post-industrial nations where the only investment these developing nations would provide was the manpower to install these devices and assure their working order, the world pollution levels would be reduced by approaching, if not exceeding, fifty percent. That is correct what you read, cut pollution worldwide in half or better. Imagine what a relief on the planet and that ever over-blown strawman of climate change. If the propaganda which claims that cutting pollution by fifty percent could save the planet, and then demand that the post-industrial world meet that challenge when their total pollution consists of less than ten percent of world pollution makes it impossible to clean the planet while granting the nations with the highest pollution contributions a complete pass, it makes no sense. If the United Nations Climate Control Agencies really want to protect the planet and truly reduce pollution levels, they will need to swallow hard and demand some accountability by those very same nations who exempt themselves despite contributing over ninety percent of the problem. It is not that they do not realize their double standard cheating makes cutting pollution impossible as they are adding to world pollution at many times the entire production of pollution in the post-industrial world’s yearly output monthly. Let us repeat that for clarity. The developing world’s monthly increase of pollution outweighs the entire pollution of the post-industrial world for the whole year. That is comparing increases against total output, a concept which is hard to get one’s arms around. Should the developing world simply hold the line on their levels of pollution, it would do over ten times the saving than if the post-industrial world somehow curtailed their entire pollution yearly output. That puts the entire problem into an easy context. Does the world think it could demand that the developing world at least improve the systems they are installing daily and have their pollution output reduced by a marginal amount which could do so much without even touching their precious systems already in place? Do you think you could be capable of doing that, please?

 

There has been a series of Olympics in recent years held in Beijing in 2008, London in 2012, and the current Olympics in Rio de Janeiro; all summer games where air and water quality and safety of athletes and tourists is more challenging as people will be outside in and around the Olympic Park making security a definite challenge. Air quality and especially water quality were particularly poor in both Rio de Janeiro and Beijing. In the Beijing Olympics China found it necessary to actually suspend all manufacturing and limited electricity usage for two weeks before the games and still the air quality, though better than normal for the city, left something to be desired. London, was a city with a history in the early days of the industrial revolution for having no direct sunlight hitting the streets and windows tinted with coal dust and smoke permeating into homes and stores interfering with every activity and worsening the health of all within its metropolitan area. The modern day London is literally a walk in the park with clear skies, clean water and no foul aromas as in London’s past. London could be used as a model for places such as Beijing and Rio de Janeiro as well as the rest of the emerging world. The modern nations could encourage such a cleaning up of the air and water of these emerging cities by providing even previously used and now retired scrubbers, reverse osmosis units and other technologies demanding only that the receiving country provide workers to install and trained in managing and upkeep and the entire world would benefit. Unfortunately there are too many who make their living complaining and this would place many of the ecology fanatics out of work and having to find something constructive to make their living; though we are sure they could find a new cause to make their living complaining and never lifting a finger to remedy the situation.

 

Beyond the Cusp 

 

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