Skull & Bones: The Secret Society That Unites John Kerry and President Bush

January 31, 2004 at 7:04 pm
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A little-known fact unites Democratic frontrunner John Kerry and President Bush: they are both members of Yale’s secret society Skull and Bones. We speak with the author of “Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power” that reveals details about the secret society and its members.

Skull & Bones: The Secret Society That Unites John Kerry and President Bush

Krugman – Where\’s the Apology?

January 31, 2004 at 5:22 am
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Folks,

Krugman asks the question that has been plaguing me: where’s the apology? Where’s the remorse? How can this administration continue to lie so brazenly? Why, as they’ve been caught in their lies and deceptions time after time, do they continue to just skate on it? Whatever happened to the Congress that was willing to spend $80 million to investigate Clinton and come up empty-handed? There is hard evidence on this administration’s deceits!

As Krugman puts it, “Still, the big story isn’t about Mr. Bush; it’s about what’s happening to America. Other presidents would have liked to bully the C.I.A., stonewall investigations and give huge contracts to their friends without oversight. They knew, however, that they couldn’t. What has gone wrong with our country that allows this president to get away with such things?”

That’s what I want to know too.

–C


Where’s the Apology?

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

Friday 30 January 2004

     George Bush promised to bring honor and integrity back to the White House. Instead, he got rid of accountability.

     Surely even supporters of the Iraq war must be dismayed by the administration’s reaction to David Kay’s recent statements. Iraq, he now admits, didn’t have W.M.D., or even active programs to produce such weapons. Those much-ridiculed U.N. inspectors were right. (But Hans Blix appears to have gone down the memory hole. On Tuesday Mr. Bush declared that the war was justified — under U.N. Resolution 1441, no less — because Saddam “did not let us in.”)

     So where are the apologies? Where are the resignations? Where is the investigation of this intelligence debacle? All we have is bluster from Dick Cheney, evasive W.M.D.-related-program-activity language from Mr. Bush — and a determined effort to prevent an independent inquiry.

     True, Mr. Kay still claims that this was a pure intelligence failure. I don’t buy it: the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has issued a damning report on how the threat from Iraq was hyped, and former officials warned of politicized intelligence during the war buildup. (Yes, the Hutton report gave Tony Blair a clean bill of health, but many people — including a majority of the British public, according to polls — regard that report as a whitewash.)

     In any case, the point is that a grave mistake was made, and America’s credibility has been badly damaged — and nobody is being held accountable. But that’s standard operating procedure. As far as I can tell, nobody in the Bush administration has ever paid a price for being wrong. Instead, people are severely punished for telling inconvenient truths. And administration officials have consistently sought to freeze out, undermine or intimidate anyone who might try to check up on their performance.

     Let’s look at three examples. First is the Valerie Plame affair. When someone in the administration revealed that Ms. Plame was an undercover C.I.A. operative, one probable purpose was to intimidate intelligence professionals. And whatever becomes of the Justice Department investigation, the White House has been notably uninterested in finding the culprit. (“We have let the earthmovers roll in over this one,” a senior White House official told The Financial Times.)

     Then there’s the stonewalling about 9/11. First the administration tried, in defiance of all historical precedents, to prevent any independent inquiry. Then it tried to appoint Henry Kissinger, of all people, to head the investigative panel. Then it obstructed the commission, denying it access to crucial documents and testimony. Now, thanks to all the delays and impediments, the panel’s head says it can’t deliver its report by the original May 11 deadline — and the administration is trying to prevent a time extension.

     Finally, an important story that has largely evaded public attention: the effort to prevent oversight of Iraq spending. Government agencies normally have independent, strictly nonpartisan inspectors general, with broad powers to investigate questionable spending. But the new inspector general’s office in Iraq operates under unique rules that greatly limit both its powers and its independence.

     And the independence of the Pentagon’s own inspector general’s office is also in question. Last September, in a move that should have caused shock waves, the administration appointed L. Jean Lewis as the office’s chief of staff. Ms. Lewis played a central role in the Whitewater witch hunt (seven years, $70 million, no evidence of Clinton wrongdoing); nobody could call her nonpartisan. So when Mr. Bush’s defenders demand hard proof of profiteering in Iraq — as opposed to extensive circumstantial evidence — bear in mind that the administration has systematically undermined the power and independence of institutions that might have provided that proof.

     And there are many more examples. These people politicize everything, from military planning to scientific assessments. If you’re with them, you pay no penalty for being wrong. If you don’t tell them what they want to hear, you’re an enemy, and being right is no excuse.

     Still, the big story isn’t about Mr. Bush; it’s about what’s happening to America. Other presidents would have liked to bully the C.I.A., stonewall investigations and give huge contracts to their friends without oversight. They knew, however, that they couldn’t. What has gone wrong with our country that allows this president to get away with such things?

——-

Syndicate GRL

January 31, 2004 at 3:58 am
Contributed by: Chris

So, you want to syndicate the articles on GetRealList and bring them into your own site? No problem! Here’s the URL to our RSS feed:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/Getreallist

DubYa Action Figure

January 30, 2004 at 12:45 pm
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DubYa Action Figure

The future of energy, or another A-21?

January 30, 2004 at 5:19 am
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Sorry. Shameless reminder of an old article in BWZ about A-21.

As much as the rest of you, I’ve found myself alternately fascinated and disapointed by the progress of sources of renewable resources. But I found this article particularly interesting, as much because of its content as by the fact that this local Seattle company is now being funded “not from America’s Department of Defense or Energy, but from the Shanghai Science and Technology Committee.

“That’s right. From the People’s Republic of China.”

Wesley Clark, the four-star businessman

January 30, 2004 at 5:06 am
Contributed by:

So how did Mr. Clark get from there to here? This article from the Washington Post was reprinted on MSNBC today.

The jury’s still out on Mr. Clark as a viable presidential candidate, but I found this article to be a reasonable analysis on what he’s been up to since he left the military — some say, under pressure.

An excerpt (but by no means read just this sound byte — read the article in its entirety):
Clark’s lobbying was one of many business activities that, by his account, boosted his income almost 20-fold in the 42 months between his resignation from the Army and the start of his presidential campaign last September. An examination of those activities, including interviews with business associates and a review of public and private documents, shows that although Clark spent only 5-1/2 years of his adult life in Washington, he made some of the money in a time-honored way in the capital — by trading on his name.

–Lee

Time to fight the Energy Bill once again

January 29, 2004 at 11:56 pm
Contributed by:

It’s
time again to take up the fight against the awful energy bill. My regular
readers know that I believe this is the number one most important fight we have
right now. Please make yourselves heard!

 

See
this good article published today at Solar Access:

The Energy Bill
Returns

That article correctly identifies a split in the renewable energy community about whether it’s best to support this bill, warts and all, in order to move ahead with the provisions in the bill for clean, renewable energy, or whether it’s best to oppose it because it’s just too corrupt, and try again, perhaps by moving the clean energy provisions into a separate bill.

Naturally, Energy Chairman Sen. Pete Domenici has vowed to oppose any effort to split up the bill. There’s little chance that the pork that weighs the bill down would stand a chance without being rolled up along with the good provisions in the bill.

Having given some considered study to the bill, I don’t believe it’s in our nation’s best interest. It’s too much of going down the wrong roads and too little of exploring the right roads.

Now, I’m a part of the solar energy business. I design and sell solar PV systems and try to make a difference in getting our nation on the right track with energy policy. I know how much the renewable energy industry needs the support that is promised in the current bill. But I think the price is too high. The renewable energy industry is being promised some crumbs while an assembly line of whole cakes is dished out to coal, nuclear, oil, and gas. Not to mention all the environmental costs that will result from its passage.

Now, I’m no legislative expert. But I do believe that the right ideas will eventually triumph. We don’t need to put up with this bill, with its lavish subsidies for dirty energy industry, its breaks for polluters, and its
environmental costs. We should fight for the right solutions, and for legislation that at least puts renewable energy on an even footing with other energy sources.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is one of the organizations that opposes the bill.
Their BioGems site has a facility for you to email your senators this letter from
Robert Redford


 

But I
think a phone call to your congressmen is always best! Here’s a good site to get their
contact information. Bookmark it!

 

For
more information about the energy bill, see these
past articles
at GetRealList.

 

Now, have I convinced you that the Energy Bill is a bad thing? Cast your vote in this poll.

–C

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Administration abandons all pretension to the truth

January 29, 2004 at 9:00 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

In a stunning display of arrogance, our infallible administration has finally abandoned all pretensions of telling the truth. Check out these excerpts from today’s Progress Report:


…instead of explaining why it ignored repeated warnings from the intelligence community that the White House’s WMD case was weak, newswires report the Administration responded by “denying it ever warned that Saddam Hussein posed an ‘imminent’ threat to the United States.” But a closer look at the record shows the Administration not only used exact phrase “imminent threat,” but also buttressed it with claims that Iraq was a “mortal threat,” “urgent threat,” “immediate threat,” “serious and mounting threat,” “unique threat,” and a threat that was actively seeking to “strike the United States with weapons of mass destruction” – all just months after Secretary of State Colin Powell admitted that Iraq was “contained” and “threatens not the United States.” See a long list of the Administration’s “threat” rhetoric in this new American Progress backgrounder.

NOW

“I think some in the media have chosen to use the word ‘imminent.’ Those were not words we used.”

– White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 1/27/04

THEN

“This is about imminent threat.”

– White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 2/10/03


I have to plug them again: the Progress Report is one of the best sources for the truth that you might hope to find on the Web. Sign up for their daily newsletter, it’s free!

Sign up for e-mail delivery of The Progress Report

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Has global oil production peaked?

January 29, 2004 at 5:00 am
Contributed by:

Folks,

Here’s a new article from the Christian Science Monitor about Peak Oil & Gas. If you’re new to the issue, definitely give it a read. Even those of you who are regular readers about this issue will find a few new tidbits of information. For example, this is the first time I’ve seen anything from critic Michael Lynch, who, even for being a critic of the theory, only puts the peak another 20-30 years off.

Has global oil production peaked?

By David R. Francis | Staff writer of The
Christian Science Monitor

from the January 29, 2004 edition

–C

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George Soros – The U.S. is Now in the Hands of a Group of Extremists

January 29, 2004 at 4:30 am
Contributed by:

Folks,

George Soros is not a perfect human, by any means, but his contributions to the political dialogue lately are right in line with my perspective. I think he’s right on every point here. The US, blessed as it is with a position of global domination, must change its attitudes or risk losing everything.

–CThe US is now in the hands of a group of extremists

By George Soros
  The Guardian


  Monday 26 January 2004



Fundamentalism has spawned an ideology of American supremacy.


  The invasion of Iraq was the first practical application of the pernicious Bush doctrine of pre-emptive military action, and it elicited an allergic reaction worldwide – not because anyone had a good word to say about Saddam Hussein, but because we insisted on invading Iraq unilaterally without any clear evidence that he had anything to do with September 11 or that he possessed weapons of mass destruction.


  The gap in perceptions between America and the rest of the world has never been wider. Abroad, America is seen as abusing the dominant position it occupies; opinion at home has been led to believe that Saddam posed a clear and present danger to national security. Only in the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion are people becoming aware they have been misled.


  Even today, many people believe that September 11 justifies behaviour that would be unacceptable in normal times. The ideologues of American supremacy and President Bush personally never cease to remind us that September 11 changed the world. It is only as the untoward consequences of the invasion of Iraq become apparent that people are beginning to realise something has gone woefully wrong.


  We have fallen into a trap. The suicide bombers’ motivation seemed incomprehensible at the time of the attack; now a light begins to dawn: they wanted us to react the way we did. Perhaps they understood us better than we understand ourselves.


  And we have been deceived. When he stood for election in 2000, President Bush promised a humble foreign policy. I contend that the Bush administration has deliberately exploited September 11 to pursue policies that the American public would not have otherwise tolerated. The US can lose its dominance only as a result of its own mistakes. At present the country is in the process of committing such mistakes because it is in the hands of a group of extremists whose strong sense of mission is matched only by their false sense of certitude.


  This distorted view postulates that because we are stronger than others, we must know better and we must have right on our side. That is where religious fundamentalism comes together with market fundamentalism to form the ideology of American supremacy.


  We may have more difficulty in perceiving the absurdity of pursuing supremacy by military means, because we have learned to rely on military power and we particularly feel the need for it when our very existence is threatened. But the most powerful country on earth cannot afford to be consumed by fear. To make the war on terrorism the centrepiece of our national strategy is an abdication of our responsibility as the leading nation in the world. The US is the only country that can take the lead in addressing problems that require collective action: preserving peace and economic progress, protecting the environment and so on.


  Whatever the justification for removing Saddam, there can be no doubt that we invaded Iraq on false pretenses. Wittingly or unwittingly, President Bush deceived the American public and Congress and rode roughshod over our allies’ opinions.


  The gap between the administration’s expectations and the actual state of affairs could not be wider. We have put at risk not only our soldiers’ lives but the combat readiness of our armed forces. We are overstretched and our ability to project our power has been compromised. Yet there are more places where we need to project our power than ever. North Korea is openly building nuclear weapons; Iran is doing so clandestinely. The Taliban is regrouping in the Pashtun areas of Afghanistan. The costs of occupation and the prospect of permanent war weigh on our economy, and we are failing to address festering problems both at home and globally. If we ever needed proof that the neo-cons’ dream of American supremacy is misconceived, Iraq has provided it.


  It is hard to imagine how the plans of the defence department could have gone more awry. We find ourselves in a quagmire that is in some ways reminiscent of Vietnam. Having invaded Iraq, we cannot extricate ourselves. Domestic pressure to withdraw is likely to build, as in the Vietnam war, but withdrawing would inflict irreparable damage on our standing in the world. In this respect, Iraq is worse than Vietnam because of our dependence on Middle East oil.


  Nobody forced us into it; on the contrary, everyone warned us against it. Admittedly, Saddam was a heinous tyrant and it was a good thing to get rid of him. But at what cost? The occupying powers serve as a focal point for attracting terrorists and radicalising Islam. Our soldiers have to do police work in full combat gear.


  And the cost of occupation is estimated at a staggering $160bn for the the fiscal years 2003-2004 – $73bn for 2003 and $87bn in a supplemental request for 2004 submitted at the last minute in September 2003. Of the $87bn, only $20bn is for reconstruction, but the total cost of reconstruction is estimated at $60bn. For comparison, our foreign aid budget for 2002 was $10bn.


  There is no easy way out. The Bush administration is eager to get the United Nations more involved but is unwilling to make the necessary concessions. We have no alternative to sticking it out and paying the price for our mistake. Eventually a different president with a different attitude to international cooperation may be more successful in extricating us.


  The US is not the only country at the centre of the global capitalist system, but it is the most powerful and it is the main driving force behind globalisation. The European Union may equal the US in population and gross national product, but it is far less united and far less comfortable with globalisation. In military terms, the EU does not even qualify as a power, because members make their own decisions.


  Insofar as any nation is in charge of the world order, it is the US. That is not to suggest that other countries are exempt from having to concern themselves with the wellbeing of the world. Their attitudes are not without consequence, but it is the US that matters most.


  If Bush is rejected in 2004, his policies can be written off as an aberration and America resume its rightful place in the world. But if he is re-elected, the electorate will have endorsed his policies and we will have to live with the consequences. But it isn’t enough to defeat Bush at the polls. The US must examine its global role and adopt a more constructive vision. We cannot merely pursue narrow, national self-interest. Our dominant position imposes a unique responsibility.


  ——-

Comments (2)
 

US and Saddam: Thanks for the Memories

January 29, 2004 at 2:45 am
Contributed by:

Folks,


This short clip, set to Sinatra’s “Thanks for the Memories,” is just about the best recap I’ve ever seen of the US relationship with Saddam Hussein. Utterly brilliant! Check it out.


Thanks for the Memories by Eric Blumrich (Creator of Bushflash.com)

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Aliens Cause Global Warming

January 28, 2004 at 11:45 pm
Contributed by:

This is the only nonfiction I have ever read by Michael Crichton. This is the Caltech Michelin Lecture he gave on January 17, 2003.

Aliens Cause Global Warming

I think there are some very important points made in this lecture. Although I think the thrust of his argument is more about the integrity of science itself, I think its worth considering what negative impact on environmentalism in general might be. I think bad science threatens the credibility of environmentalism.

I have to say I am really suspiscious of what’s happening in this country with our industry. More and more of our manufacturing is going over seas and beaucracies like EPA seem to have complicated things unnecessarily. In a way it seems like there is a kind of de-industrialisation going on. There must be a better way. There must be better, cleaner, energy technology out there waiting to be disovered but we hear nothing about any such attempts to find it. We just hear yada yada yada about Global Warming. This just doesn’t seem right to me.

And apparently, $87 billion could have been used to buy enough windmills to provide the USA with 1/4 of its energy. That’s technology that we already have. Hmmm.

Cheers,

Colin

Comments (1)
 

Google fun: \"Unelectable\"

January 28, 2004 at 9:35 pm
Contributed by:

Type the word “unelectable” in the search box at Google

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Robert Redford\’s NRDC plea to oppose the energy bill

January 28, 2004 at 1:30 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

Republicans are reviving the Energy Bill we successfully fought off at the end of last year. Here is Robert Redford’s plea on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council/BioGems to ask you to contact your senators and ask them to oppose the bill once again.

I believe that fighting this energy bill is one of the most important things a citizen can do to help America right now. Please make yourselves heard.

–C—— Forwarded Message From: Robert Redford Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 18:42:53 -0500 (EST) Subject: Message from Robert Redford


Dear NRDC BioGems Defender,


Over the next few weeks, President Bush and his congressional allies will try once again to ram their disastrous energy bill through the U.S. Senate. They fell only two votes short in November and they’ve vowed to make passage of the bill their top priority now that Congress has returned from recess.


This bill may be the worst piece of legislation you and I will see in our lifetimes. It would pick your pocket, despoil your natural heritage, endanger your family’s health and smother your hope for a more secure energy future. We ignore this bill at our own peril.


Let me tell you our simple plan for thwarting this shameless attack on our environment and pocketbooks. If millions of Americans each took one minute to protest this bill, it would cause every senator who is tempted to vote for it to think twice about doing so.


You can make this happen within the next few hours by doing two things:


First, go to BioGems Take Action and send your two senators an email or fax, telling them to vote against this pro-polluter energy bill. Then, forward my email to at least four of your friends, family members or colleagues.


I am emailing this message to 500,000 BioGems Defenders and other NRDC activists. If each one forwards this message to just four more people, we will generate a national tidal wave of opposition before this day is over.


And that won’t be a moment too soon. This disgraceful bill would pick our pockets to hand out billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to the oil, coal and nuclear industries. That’s their long-awaited reward for making big-time contributions to the Bush-Cheney campaign. They profit while the rest of us pay the price — in tax dollars and environmental degradation.


This bill gives the energy giants a free pass to drill their way through our last wild places, burn more dirty coal, build a new generation of risky nuclear power plants and dramatically increase air pollution that would sicken the vulnerable — especially children and seniors — for decades to come.


It would establish oil and gas development as the dominant use of our federal public lands, open national parks to the construction of electricity transmission lines, exempt polluters from core provisions of our clean air and water laws and waive liability for the producers of the toxic gasoline additive MTBE — even though it has contaminated at least 1,500 public water supplies in all 50 American states.


You’d be hard-pressed to come up with a more backward-looking, wasteful and self-defeating energy “plan” than this one. At a time when the federal deficit is soaring and we’re going to war in the Persian Gulf oilfields, the White House wants to stick us with the tab for prolonging our destructive dependence on fossil fuels, foreign oil and dangerous nuclear technology.


This is not a national energy policy. This is corporate welfare, pure and simple. Estimates of the bill’s corporate tax breaks range from $23 billion to well over $100 billion with loan guarantees included. No surprise there. Big energy companies cooked up this raid on the federal treasury during hundreds of secret meetings with Vice President Cheney’s energy task force and their allies on Capitol Hill.


It’s one thing to gouge taxpayers. But to claim this rip-off is in the national interest, as the White House would have us believe, is a slap in the face to every working American.


Poll after poll shows that the vast majority of voters — of both parties — understand that we simply must reduce our out-of-control appetite for fossil fuels if we ever are to secure energy independence. That means turning American rooftops into the Persian Gulf of solar energy. It means producing cars that get 40 miles per gallon. It means constructing efficient buildings that use half the energy of the average American office without sacrificing comfort.


Making this transformation to a super-efficient, low-pollution economy would save consumers upwards of a trillion dollars, spare our last wild places from destruction, improve our health, slow global warming and reduce our dependence on undemocratic regimes overseas. It’s a no-brainer to anyone living outside the White House.


But unless millions of Americans speak out right now, the enactment of the president’s energy bill will doom us to an apocalyptic future of blighted wilderness, poisonous air pollution, devastating climate change and endless wars over fossil fuels.


Please make your voice heard. Go to BioGems Take Action and tell your senators to obey the will of the American people, *not* the dictates of giant energy corporations! Call on Congress to create a sustainable and affordable energy path.


And please be sure to forward this message to at least four other people. Believe me, millions of Americans are just waiting for a simple way to stop this madness and lend their support to a sane and hopeful energy future.


Sincerely yours,


Robert Redford Board of Trustees Natural Resources Defense Council


. . .


BioGems: Saving Endangered Wild Places A project of the Natural Resources Defense Council

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Richard Perle on Jon Stewart\’s Daily Show

January 28, 2004 at 10:47 am
Contributed by:

Folks,

I hope you caught Jon Stewart’s Daily Show tonight. That show is still the best political commentary on television, I swear. You could watch an hour of any other political talk show and never get the direct questions and straight answers that you’ll get in a five minute guest segment on Stewart’s show.

In tonight’s show, Stewart questioned Perle directly about the missing WMD; the hyped intelligence; our intimidation of other countries; the way that the Administration’s stated policies applied more to the Saudis and Syria than it did Iraq; and more.

If you didn’t see it tonight, catch the replay tomorrow night on Comedy Central at 7pm.

–C

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Doing Business With The Enemy

January 28, 2004 at 3:30 am
Contributed by:

So this is an interesting article mostly by virtue of the fact that it is on CBS, albeit part of their 60 minutes section:

Doing Business With The Enemy

Here’s an excerpt:



(CBS) Did it ever occur to you that when President Bush says, “Money is the lifeblood of terrorist operations,” he’s talking about your money — and every other American’s money?

Just about everyone with a 401(k) pension plan or mutual fund has money invested in companies that are doing business in so-called rogue states.

In other words, there are U.S. companies that are helping drive the economies of countries like Iran, Syria and Libya that have sponsored terrorists.


Now this is the same CBS that won’t run the MoveOn advertisement. Hmmm.

Interesting to note that this sort of issue is turning the heads of firemen and policemen, finally, as they realise that their own pension funds are supporting so called “rogue states”.

Its also worth noting that part of Halliburton’s scam is to build the stuff twice. They build it once, the USA bombs it, and then they win contracts to rebuild it all. That’s exactly what happened in Iraq.

Are we feeling really dumb yet?

Cheers,

Colin

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What\’s Wrong with the Hydrogen Economy?

January 27, 2004 at 1:00 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


President Bush’s administration has made much of its long-term plan to convert us to a hydrogen economy. They assert that this will be our salvation from global warming and foreign oil and gas dependency. Unfortunately, none of those things are true, and a hydrogen economy will do nothing for us when oil and gas become too expensive to serve our current purposes.

As Michael Ruppert and others have long pointed out, the hydrogen economy is a myth. A lie, a pipe dream, a pacifier. It will never work. In fact, as the second of the below articles puts it, “The hydrogen economy as postulated by North American governments, the mainstream media and the existing energy industry is at best hyperbole and wishful thinking, and more likely, a cynical hoax being perpetrated on the residents of planet Earth.”

At best, hydrogen is only a storage mechansim (akin to a battery). It is not a fuel. You always have to put energy in to get hydrogen out.

The simple, physical facts, are that it will be impractical, for many different reasons, and that the net energy input would be greater than the net energy output. Not to mention that it will be even more environmentally damaging.

Here’s a nugget excerpted from Ruppert’s article below:


“Much thought has been given to harnessing sunlight through photovoltaic cells and using the resulting energy to split water in order to derive hydrogen. The energy required to produce 1 billion kWh (kilowatt hours) of hydrogen is 1.3 billion kWh of electricity.38 Even with recent advances in photovoltaic technology, the solar cell arrays would be enormous, and would have to be placed in areas with adequate sunlight.


[…]


The basic problem of hydrogen fuel cells is that the second law of thermodynamics dictates that we will always have to expend more energy deriving the hydrogen than we will receive from the usage of that hydrogen. The common misconception is that hydrogen fuel cells are an alternative energy source when they are not.”


And yet, as I pointed out in a previous comment, it’s clear to see why the energy industry likes the hydrogen solution. It’s still a consumptive economy that revolves around vast flows of fuelstock where they can retain control of the energy supply stream, use much of their existing infrastructure, and require a big, globally deployed military with a budget that pays them. If we were a country of highly distributed, locally generated power, most of that would be unnecessary.

Consider this excerpt from the House hearings on the President’s National Energy Policy: Hydrogen and Nuclear Energy R&D Legislation:



“The energy for extracting hydrogen could come from existing, traditional fuels, or it could be derived from renewable energy sources, such as solar, nuclear, and fossil, to achieve the cleanest possible energy cycle. Hydrogen can be converted into useful energy forms efficiently and without detrimental environmental effects.”

I don’t think I would describe nuclear and fossil fuel as “renewable energy sources,” but onward.
Clearly, the administration’s policy will depend heavily on existing energy supplies. And while converting hydrogen is a fairly clean process, getting hydrogen in the first place, under this strategy, will be about as dirty as it ever was.

This is not to say that all fuel cell solutions are bad, because in the right applications, they can certainly be part of a future with cleaner air and less of a global warming problem. Fuel cells do have a number of real advantages to current technology. Given ideal circumstances–and abundant supplies of natural gas and widely deployed renewable energy generation–rosy visions of a hydrogen based future, like that of the Rocky Mountain Institute (an organization whose work I generally respect), are attractive. But if those supplies aren’t abundant, it’s just not a solution. And it would seem that, in fact, supplies are going to be progressively pinched.

Here are some articles that discuss the myth of the hydrogen economy, and explore the realities of our energy infrastructure, along with possible solutions.

If I achieve nothing more with this blog than helping US energy policy get real, I will be happy.

Read on.

–CWhy Hydrogen is No Solution – Scientific Answers to Marketing Hype, Deception and Wishful Thinking – by Michael C. Ruppert

The Hydrogen Economy – An Idea Whose Time Hasn’t Come … Again – from Econogics


The PARTY’S OVER – Oil, War and the fate of Industrial Societies
By Richard Heinberg

Is Hydrogen Sustainable?

By Oliver Sylvester-Bradley

A critical review of the sustainability of a hydrogen economy

Comments (3)
 

Michael Moore – The General vs. the Deserter

January 27, 2004 at 9:00 am
Contributed by:

Folks,

Michael Moore’s endorsement of Wesley Clark, and his labeling of Dubya as a “deserter,” has generated another Moorean firestorm. Read his response here.

Is Dubya a deserter? Scroll to the bottom of this to comment on it!

–CCLICK HERE TO CONTINUE TO MICHAELMOORE.COM

Tuesday, January 27th, 2004
You Say Deserter, I Say More Dessert… by Michael Moore

Friends,

I would like to apologize for referring to George W. Bush as a “deserter.” What I meant to say is that George W. Bush is a deserter, an election thief, a drunk driver, a WMD liar and a functional illiterate. And he poops his pants. In fact, he “shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.”

Actually, what I meant to say up in New Hampshire last week was that “We’re going to have Bush for dessert come November!” I’m always mixing up “dessert” and “desert” — I’m sure many of you have that problem.

Well, well, well. As George W. would say, “It’s time to smoke ‘em out of their hole!” Thanks to my “humorous” introduction of Wesley Clark 10 days ago in New Hampshire — and the lughead way the no-sense-of-humor media has covered it — there were 15 million hits this weekend on my website. Everyone who visited the site got to read the truth about Bush not showing up for National Guard duty.

The weird thing about all this is that during my routine I never went into any details about Bush skipping out while in the Guard (it’s not like it’s the biggest issue on my mind or facing America these days!) I was just attempting my best impersonation of that announcer guy for the World Wrestling Federation, asking the cheering crowd if they would like to see a smackdown (“debate”) which I called “The Generaaal Versus The Deserterrrr!!” (You can watch it here — hardly anyone in the media has shown this clip because viewers would suddenly see the context of my comments.)

When the press heard me use that word “deserter,” though, the bells and whistles went off, for this was one of those stories they knew they had ignored — and now it was rearing its ugly, truthful head on a very public stage. Without a single other word from me other than the d-word, they immediately got so defensive that it looked to many viewers like they—the press—maybe had something to hide. After all, when I called Bush a deserter, how did they know I wasn’t referring to how he has deserted the 43 million Americans who have no health coverage? Why didn’t they assume I was talking about how Bush is a deserter because he has deserted the working people of this country (who have lost 3 million jobs since he’s taken office)? Why wasn’t it obvious to them that I was pointing out how Bush had deserted our constitution and Bill of Rights as he tries to limit freedom of speech and privacy rights for law-abiding citizens?

Instead, they have created the brouhaha over Bush’s military record, often without telling their audience what the exact charges are. It seems all they want to do is to get Clark or me — or you — to shut up. “We have never investigated this and so we want you to apologize for bringing it up!” Ha ha ha.

Well, I’m glad they have gone nuts over it. Because here we have a Commander in Chief –who just took off while in uniform to go work for some Republican friend of his dad’s — now sending our kids over to Iraq to die while billions are promised to Halliburton and the oil companies. Twenty percent of them are National Guard and Reserves (and that number is expected to double during the year). They have been kept in Iraq much longer than promised, and they have not been given the proper protection. They are sitting ducks.

What if any of them chose to do what Bush did back in the early 70s — just not show up? I’ve seen Republican defenders of Bush this week say, “Yeah, but he made up the time later.” So, can today’s National Guardsmen do the same thing — just say, when called up to go to Iraq, “Um, I’m not going to show up, I’ll make up the time later!”? Can you imagine what would happen? Of course, none of them are the son of a Congressman, like young Lt. Bush was back in 1972.

Today, MoveOn.org has put together its response to this issue, and I would love to reprint it here. It lays out all the facts about Bush and the remaining unanswered questions about where he went for many, many months:

Here are what appear to be the known facts, laid out recently in considerable detail and documentation by retired pilot and Air National Guard First Lt. Robert A. Rogers, and in a 2003 book, “The Lies of George W. Bush,” by David Corn.

1. George W. Bush graduated from Yale in 1968 when the war in Vietnam was at its most deadly and the military draft was in effect. Like many of his social class and age, he sought to enter the National Guard, which made Vietnam service unlikely, and fulfill his military obligation. Competition for slots was intense; there was a long waiting list. Bush took the Air Force officer and pilot qualification tests on Jan. 17, 1968, and scored the lowest allowed passing grade on the pilot aptitude portion.

2. He, nevertheless, was sworn in on May 27, 1968, for a six-year commitment. After a few weeks of basic training, Bush received an appointment as a second lieutenant – a rank usually reserved for those completing four years of ROTC or 18 months active duty service. Bush then went to flight school and trained on the F-102 interceptor fighter jet. Fighter pilots were in great demand in Vietnam at the time, but Bush wound up serving as a “weekend warrior” in Houston, where his father’s congressional district was centered.

A Houston Chronicle story published in 1994, quoted in Corn’s book, has Bush saying: “I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes.”

3. Sometime after May 1971, young Lt. Bush stopped participating regularly in Guard activities. According to Texas Air National Guard records, he had fewer than the required flight duty days and was short of the minimum service owed the Guard. Records indicate that Bush never flew after May 1972, despite his expensive training and even though he still owed the National Guard two more years.

4. On May 24, 1972, Bush asked to be transferred to an inactive reserve unit in Alabama, where he also would be working on a Republican senate candidate’s campaign. The request was denied. For months, Bush apparently put in no time at all in Guard service. In August 1972, Bush was grounded — suspended from flying duties — for failing to submit to an annual physical exam. (Why wouldn’t he take this exam from a doctor?)

5. During his 2000 presidential campaign, Bush’s staff said he recalled doing duty in Alabama and then returning to Houston for still more duty. But the commander of the Montgomery, AL, unit where Bush said he served told the Boston Globe that he had no recollection of Bush – son of a congressman – ever reporting, nor are there records, as there should be, supporting Bush’s claim. Asked at a press conference in Alabama on June 23, 2000 what duties he had performed as a Guardsman in that state, Bush said he could not recall, “but I was there.”

6. In May, June and July, 1973, Bush suddenly started participating in Guard activities back in Houston again – pulling 36 days at Ellington Air Base in that short period. On Oct. 1, 1973, eight months short of his six-year service obligation and scheduled discharge, Bush apparently was discharged with honors from the Texas Air National Guard (eight months short of his six-year commitment). He then went to Harvard Business School.

Documents supporting these reports, released under Freedom of Information Act requests, appear along with Rogers’ article on the web at http://democrats.com/display.cfm?id=154.

In the absence of full disclosure by the President or his supporters, only the President and perhaps a few family or other close associates know the whole truth. And they’re not talking.

Bush was apparently absent without official leave from his assigned military service for as little as seven months (New York Times) or as much as 17 months (Boston Globe) during a time when 500,000 American troops were fighting the Vietnam War. The Army defines a “deserter” — also known as a DFR, for “dropped from rolls” – as one who is AWOL 31 days or more: www-ari.army.mil/pdf/s51.pdf.

Well, there you have it. Someone got some special treatment. And now that special someone believes he has the right to conduct a war — using other not-so-special people’s lives.

My friends, I always call it like I see it. I don’t pussyfoot around. Sometimes the truth is hard to take. The media conglomerates are too afraid to take this on. I understand. But I’m not. That’s my job. And I’ll continue to do it.

And when I’m wrong, like the thing about Bush pooping his pants, I’ll say so.

Yours,

Michael Moore
mmflint@aol.com
www.michaelmoore.com

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Former Sec. Defense McNamara on Vietnam and Iraq

January 27, 2004 at 2:05 am
Contributed by:

Folks,

This is a great article, based on an interview with the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. ‘It’s just wrong what we’re doing’ he says of the war in Iraq, and discusses the 11 lessons he learned from the Vietnam war, which he now says was a big mistake. They’re eerily appropriate to the war in Iraq as well.


In an exclusive interview, repentant Vietnam War architect Robert McNamara breaks his silence on Iraq: The United States, he says, is making the same mistakes all over again


By DOUG SAUNDERS

Saturday, January 24, 2004 – Page F3

‘It’s just wrong what we’re doing’


In an exclusive interview, repentant Vietnam War architect Robert McNamara breaks his silence on Iraq: The United States, he says, is making the same mistakes all over again


By DOUG SAUNDERS
Saturday, January 24, 2004 – Page F3


And for some other interesting reflections on this subject, you might want to check out Barlow’s blog.

Sobering thoughts.

–C

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Listen to Mike Ruppert online tonight 9pm PST

January 26, 2004 at 4:40 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

If you’re anywhere near a Web browser tonight at 9pm PST (or about 6 hours from the time stamp of this message; there are still time problems in the system!), I strongly suggest that you tune in to this online broadcast of Mike Ruppert, publisher of the From the Wilderness list and chief Peak Oil bell-ringer. Guaranteed to be good material.



1/27/04


Listen to Mike Ruppert online tonight on Arizona ‘s largest talk radio station
– FTW Publisher and Editor Mike Ruppert will be the featured guest tonight at 9 PM (Pacific Time) with Aurora Ellington on Phoenix’s 50,000 Watt KFNX. Topics will be 9/11, Peak Oil and Gas, and the 2004 election. KFNX is one of the Southwest’s most influential radio stations and there will be lots of new, breaking stories to discuss.


The broadcast may be heard online by going to 1100KFNX and scrolling down to the lower left hand portion of the home page where it says “Listen Live On Air”. It requires a quick and easy download of some software (less than one minute with DSL, about three minutes with dial-up). We checked it out last night and the sound quality was excellent.


HEAR THIS IMPORTANT BROADCAST FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD VIA THE INTERNET. THINGS ARE MOVING FASTER THAN YOU THINK.

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