Archive for January, 2015

Opening of Topaz Solar Farm Shows That Solar Power Is An Alternative NOW

 Solar Power
Read this: It is time to stop accepting the naysayers on the right about solar energy.  If we really want to move to renewables, we can.  This proves there are alternatives to more extreme extraction, more drilling, more chemicals, basically more propoganda.  I have come across several stories about the opening of the “Topaz Solar Farm” near Moro Bay, CA.  This is currently “the largest commercial-scale photovoltaic solar power (solar PV) generation facility in the United States.”  The link below to CleanEnergy / ACTION PROJECTgives details about this and other substantial solar projects.
 

 

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How Democrats actually got more votes that Republicans in 2014 election and still lost.

 Politics
Read and watch: A seldom reported fact of the 2014 election is that while the Republicans picked up significant numbers of seats in both the Senate and the House, Democrats actually received significantly more votes throughout the nation.  On her recent show, Melissa Harris-Perry immediately interrupted Robert Traynham in the middle of his right wing spin.  This is something that many Liberal talking heads on TV rarely do and they should begin to take note.  Facts are facts and lies or partial truths portray a very fictional view of reality.  In the 2014 election, “Even after a 2014 election where Republicans won big, Democratic Senators in the Senate chamber are governing with 20 million more votes from our citizens than Republican senators.”  Likewise in the House, “Democrats out-earned their Republican counterparts by 1.17 million votes.”  This suggests that “Republicans have all those seats they do not have the mandate they fervently claim.”  They have simply played the game more effectively (I didn’t mention $).
 

 

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Big Oil May Already Own Your Senator – But Let Them Know How You Feel

 KXL-Senate-Corruption-300w
Sign the petition: I know this seems endless but that is just how politics works, particularly when money and power want something real bad.  As soon as we win one small victory they are back at it again.  “Last time the Senate voted on Keystone XL, the senators who voted to approve the pipeline had received $21 million from Big Oil. It’s no wonder the new Congress is obsessed with trying to approve this dangerous pipeline.  Take  action right now to show that even though Big Oil can buy members of Congress, we won’t let them buy KXL’s approval. Urge your senators to vote against this disastrous pipeline!”  And remember, if we win this one, they will be back to try again next week or next month so be ready for the long haul.
 

 

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Need Another Reason To Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline.

 Keystone XL - Stop It
Read this: Only a week ago a large oil spill in Glendive, MT, on the Yellowstone River, now a much larger spill in Williston, ND.  This is upriver from the Glendive spill.  Early estimates say over 3,000,000 gallons of toxic waste spilled.  Correctly, environmental groups are saying: “Every barrel of oil that spills into the Yellowstone River is another reason to reject Keystone XL,” said Jamie Henn, spokesman for 350.org, an environmental group opposed to Keystone, which is being built to transport crude oil from Canada to refineries in the United States. “Pipelines are inherently unsafe,” Mr. Henn said. “If they’re not spilling oil into rivers, they’re still spilling carbon into the atmosphere.”
 

 

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Progressive Caucus Says State of Union Off Target on Trade.

 Politics
Read this: Generally the Democrats (including me) supported “Obama’s State of the Union speech—except when the president called for the authority to rush the Trans-Pacific Partnership through Congress.”  Here he deviates from the reality of effects these type of agreements (NAFTA, etc.).  “The Congressional Progressive Caucus will not support a trade deal that increases trade deficits and undermines the security of the middle class.”  Once again Bernie Sanders said it very well: “Last night the president gave what I thought was a very good State of the Union speech,” said Sanders. “But he was wrong on one major issue, and that is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I do not believe that continuing a set of bad policies, policies that have failed, makes any sense at all.”  I can only hope the Congressional Progressive Caucus grows in strength and becomes a rudder guiding us through the rapids of Republican control of congress.
 

 

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Stories of what can happen when reproductive freedom is lost or never existed.

 Womens Rights
Read, watch and ponder: This story and video, from the Daily KOS, should be a warning, a wake-up to us all.  Is the US on the path becoming more like El Salvador (even a little) when it comes to womens rights and birth control?  I dearly hope not, but certain states and communities across America have become much more regressive than others and this cannot continue.  The scary message that this story and video tell me is that once we turn the corner and reverse the progress we have made in this area (Roe vs. Wade), we open the door to even more draconian measures.  We can’t afford to become, even a little bit, like El Salvador.  Instead we should be working to ensure the progress we have made and move El Salvador into the 21st century.
 

 

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So what is TPP really – NAFTA with steroids!

 TPP - NAFTA on Steroids
What is “TPP”: Most of us know little or nothing about the TPP.  And guess what neither do our members of congress.  “We only know about the TPP’s threats thanks to leaks – the public is not allowed to see the draft TPP text. Even members of Congress, after being denied the text for years, are now only provided limited access. Meanwhile, more than 500 official corporate “trade advisors” have special access. The TPP has been under negotiation for six years, and the Obama administration wants to sign the deal this year. Opposition to the TPP is growing at home and in many of the other countries involved.”
What is “Fast Track”: According to the link below, “Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress writes the laws and sets trade policy. And so it was for 200 years. President Nixon seized both of those powers through a mechanism known as Fast Track – a legislative luge run used to skid through harmful “trade” deals.”  “Fast Track has been used to ram through Congress sweeping pacts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). These deals, like TPP, extend far beyond traditional trade business (like tariff-cutting) to impose retrograde constraints on our domestic financial, energy, medicine-patent, food safety, immigration, procurement and other policies. TPP would even limit internet freedom.”
Say NO and sign the Petition:
 

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50,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a pipeline into Montana’s Yellowstone River Saturday

 Yellowstone Oil Spill
Read this: This is the 2nd spill into the Yellowstone River since 2011 and if the XL Pipeline passes a significant portion of it will also parallel the Yellowstone River.  “The estimated 50,000 gallons of crude oil that spilled from a pipeline into Montana’s Yellowstone River Saturday has forced truckloads of water to be shipped in to one Montana city, after traces of the oil were found in the city’s water supplies.”  The difference between this spill and the one in 2011 centers on the time of year it took place.  The 2011 spill, although larger, occurred in July, while this new spill occurred in January.  Currently most of the river, in the spill area and downstream, is frozen.  Cleanup is challenged to say the least.  This spill involved regular crude oil.  What will happen if and when there is a leak involving tar sands oil from the XL Pipeline (the dirtiest and hardest to clean-up oil known)?  Is this a chance we should take in order to transport Canadian oil for sale on the world market.  I, for one, say no.
 

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Words that kill political discussions: “communism”, “socialism” and now “redistribution”.

 Thoughts
My thoughts: I am always amazed when participating in or observing a political discussion or debate at the power of certain words to kill or sidetrack the effort.  “Communism” was all-powerful from the 40’s until about the late 70’s but lost much of its’ clout with the fall of the Soviet Union.  “Socialism” is similar but continues to have confusing and undeserved power today.  But the word that really kills conversations about inequality today is “redistribution”.  Wow, how can we possibly think of “redistributing” the wealth earned by hard-working millionaires and billionaires.  Obviously those with less simply didn’t work as hard.  Blah, blah, blah.  Conversation or debate over!
    I would like to suggest that what we are talking about here is really a second “redistribution”, more like a correction.  The initial “redistribution” took place previously and continues to take place daily.  Different from any “redistribution” that might occur openly and honestly from the floors of congress, these initial “redistributions” are covert, continual, widespread and intentionally mislabeled.  These initial “redistributions” are born in places like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and quietly become law (state and federal) under misleading names and premises.  But don’t be deceived, their primary purpose, that which the wealthy consistently pay for, was and is always to “redistribute” wealth.  In this case however, this initial “redistribution” always flows upward, to the wealthy or the 1%.  Failure to pursue a public, honest discussion about “redistribution”  on the floors of congress ignores this reality and allows the 1% to control the conversation.
 

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Surprise, Surprise – Half of Global Wealth Held by the 1%

 Inequality - Oxfam Rpt
Read this: According to Larry Elliott in theguardian, the “New Oxfam Report says half the global wealth is held by the 1%”.  A few of the take-outs from this report:
  • “Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International and one of the six co-chairs at this year’s WEF, said the increased concentration of wealth seen since the deep recession of 2008-09 was dangerous and needed to be reversed.”
  • “‘The message is that rising inequality is dangerous. It’s bad for growth and it’s bad for governance. We see a concentration of wealth capturing power and leaving ordinary people voiceless and their interests uncared for.’”
  • “Pope Francis and the IMF managing director Christine Lagarde have been among those warning that rising inequality will damage the world economy if left unchecked”
  • Obama will speak to this during his State of the Union speach on 01-20-15
  • “More than a third of the 1,645 billionaires listed by Forbes inherited some or all of their riches, while 20% have interests in the financial and insurance sectors, a group which saw their cash wealth increase by 11% in the 12 months to March 2014.”
 

 

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