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 

 

April 8, 2012

Signposts to an Obama Reelection

One of the oldest and least challenged political rules is that the incumbent in a Presidential election has an advantage due to the Bully Pulpit. Where this is actually a relatively accurate truism, it is far from the only advantage. These advantages are also the exact events and trends we should be on the lookout for in order to gain an accurate assessment of who will likely win the Presidency this November. If the tools at hand that an incumbent can utilize to enhance their chance for reelection work out in his favor, then President Obama will likely achieve his goal of a second term. Should he fail to utilize these items or if they fail in gaining an influence on the voters, then the Republican candidate will most likely take the White House in November. So, what exactly are these signs and events we should be on the lookout for?

Where most of us are aware that the President does not exactly produce jobs at will in order to achieve long-term full employment, there are ways for a President to make a sufficient number of short-term employment opportunities that can affect the unemployment numbers and people’s outlook on the state of employment and the economy. The obvious ploy is to invest sufficient Federal funding in the most highly contested states which the President and his advisors see as the most crucial for his reelection bid. By laying aside a fairly large and tidy sum of Federal funds for highways, bridges, roads, utilities, and other infrastructure projects, the President can start releasing these dollars either into the coffers of a state allowing governors of his party to utilize as he sees necessary or by directing the use for the funds in less friendly states, either way making a good number of short-term length of the project jobs which will greatly enhance the job opportunities in the different constriction industries. The same can be done by pumping money into other projects which by their nature provide additional job openings in other industries and occupations. We can expect in such states as Ohio, Illinois, Colorado, Florida and other critical and close states is for Federal projects to be hurried into implementation beginning in August and continuing through the elections. If we see large amounts of new hardhat areas along interstate highways, bridge replacements or upgrades or other construction projects and find they are having a direct effect upon unemployment forcing it downwards, then this ploy is in full swing and likely working.

Another tool in the incumbent’s tool chest may not be as readily available to President Obama, namely allowing for new permits for oil exploration and production along with facilitating increased mining for coal, ores and other raw materials. Here, President Obama runs afoul of his environmental base which is already displeased with some of the items allowed or not closed down by the President. The Obama team will have to weigh the potential gains against losses should he allow additional drilling, mining, lumber harvests on Government lands, and other such projects. The President might even find it difficult to allow additional lands to be made available for cattle grazing unless he restricts such activity solely for free-range cattle. Along these same lines, the President has the potential to issue waivers from certain regulations which would facilitate a more rapid pace in projects thus increasing the number of positions available once again increasing employment. Basically, there are numerous avenues which a sitting President can flip the switches and free up the economy short-term and push the unemployment numbers down and also have promising new job numbers for the five or six months leading up to election day.

Another item we can fully expect to see this fall is an increase in the numbers and greater fanfare and visibility given to the troops that will be coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. This will be touted as President Obama making great strides in completing our military interventions and bringing democratic values to Iraq and Afghanistan. We can expect full court press coverage on the wonderful and total completion of our involvement with emphasis on how calm and peaceful everything is in Iraq and Afghanistan. The press will be silent and give little if any play to the actual violence that is growing in both countries and nothing will be noted about the slide towards militant Islam by Iraq and Afghanistan. Any problems in the Middle East will be greatly downplayed and the negotiations coming up with Iran will be stretched out with the hope that they can keep the lid on this potentially explosive situation through the elections. The Obama Administration will do whatever they feel they can get away with in order to prevent any action by Israel and will probably make any promise it takes to restrain Egypt, Turkey, Iran, and the rest of the Muslim World in order for calm to be the appearance through to the election. This is one area where everything could very well blow-up in President Obama’s face and make things very difficult going into the election. Exactly how bad could it become? Picture Jimmy Carter and Iran times about twelve front, Israel, Gaza, West Bank, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, and who knows who else as the entire Middle East is dry kindling soaked in oil with numerous entities playing with matches and sparklers. Should the Middle East explode on President Obama it would be poetic justice as he has been the cause of much of the turmoil, tumult, and agitations which are very likely to explode soon, it is simply a matter of time.

Finally, another front President Obama has to enhance his chances for reelection is simply the news cycles and his control of when things get placed before the public. Should the President be able to manage the news cycle in such a way as to have problems being reported kept to Friday afternoons, especially on three day weekends, while funneling the good news to be made public early in the week, particularly after a bad news Friday, so it is repeated ad nauseum through the work week, then both the President and the press can congratulate themselves on a snow-job well done. Of course the Republicans will attempt to force exactly the opposite in the news cycle through the sympathetic outlets. Much of this battle will take place with both sides preaching to their own choir. But do not place little importance on this as whichever side is able to get their base excited and out to the polls on November 6, they will be the winners.

What we can expect throughout this Presidential election cycle is a mainstream press which will be largely backing President Obama. The main fear the President may have on this front is that should the coverage get to the point of absolutely ridiculous such that it can and is ridiculed by many in the entertainment field, then it could actually damage President Obama’s reelection chances. The last thing President Obama needs is endless jokes on the late night shows and skits on Comedy Central and other places. Should the press being in-the-tank for President Obama being reelected end up as the butt of endless jokes and satire, then the news reports and other items of media spin will appear more as jokes than actual reporting and thus not be taken seriously by anybody, and that could spell the end of that marked advantage the President possesses going into the Presidential campaign this fall.

The main things which President Obama will want to accomplish going into November are improving job numbers, lower unemployment numbers with an emphasis on reducing the number of new people filing each week, and generally better economic outlook. President Obama will try to achieve these results through directed funding of projects and other targeted encouragements with an emphasis on the states where the vote is predicted to be close and in those areas only leaning slightly in his favor. If the campaign can be kept isolated and focused on the economy, jobs, and appearance with people emphasizing personality over substance, then President Obama has the advantage. Contrary to popular opinion, President Obama will not be defeated should the campaign remain fixed in the domestic agenda. Where President Obama is most vulnerable is in foreign and world affairs. This is where the Republicans should take the discussion if they truly want to take the White House from Obama. Drive home the reality of the problems roiling just beneath the surface and force the public to look below the calm exterior and see the truth underneath in the Middle East and in Europe. President Obama has too many tools he can utilize to give the economy and the job market the appearance of having tuned the corner and good times being just around the corner. Bringing the focus on the state of the world and how much the United States has lost in our standing in the world and President Obama will have difficulties. Unmask his complete lack of understanding of foreign affairs and reveal all his blunders and failures which are just a hair’s breathe away from exploding and becoming unbelievably ugly. Unearth President Obama’s disgraceful actions and lack of respect for those countries which truly are our best allies and how he has facilitated the Iranian nuclear gains, North Korean nuclear and rocket science gains, allowed for the growth of a Chinese hegemony in the Far East, the disgraceful folding before the Russians on missile defense with his intentions to share our missile defense technology with Putin while disarming the American nuclear weapons without reciprocal reductions by Russia or China, and an almost innumerable myriad of other complete disasters just waiting to befall the United States and the entire world, all of which have been intentionally implemented in stages by President Obama. Trust me when I say that this election is not about the health of the United States’ economy, it is about the continuation of the United States as a world leader or even a world player. An Obama reelection will bring the United States down internationally and bring the entire world to the edge of insanity if not completely into the abyss. You might say we are almost Beyond the Cusp.

Beyond the Cusp

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