Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Knuckle Dragging, Mouth-Breathing Neanderthals

Referring to resistance by Republicans in the House to agree to raise the debt ceiling without ponderous, ill-conceived cuts to every government program imaginable except defense,  cuts that would render the United States an oligarchical banana republic serving only the venal demands of the rich...
Past glory: Gowdy attacks unions
in a committee hearing.

Freshman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., bristled at the idea that tea party-influenced newcomers are sheep-like ideologues willing to risk default.
"We're not a bunch of knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing Neanderthals," Gowdy said. "We're interested in answering what we perceive to be the mandate, which is to stop the spending and change the way Washington handles money."
Gowdy said he was leaning against Boehner's proposal.
Yahoo News: Boehner rewriting debt limit plan as clock ticks

Actually, you are a knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing Neanderthal.  You are just too crass and insensitive to know it; blinded by respect afforded you that you do not deserve. You wear the mantle of Congressman, and for that you are treated respectfully, but you have not a grain of that office's dignity in your benighted being. You never will. Peace.

P.S. My apologies to the Neanderthals for Mr. Gowdy's remark, and my repetition of it. The Neanderthals were nowhere near as stupid as Mr. Gowdy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In Defense Of Renewable Energy

I read the following a while back (my mom sent me a clipping from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat...thanks, Mom; thanks Press Democrat).

I thought the authors did a fine job of refuting the specious arguments of a bloviating blowhard who published a book on the topic, "Power Hungry: The Myths of ‘Green' Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future."

I don't know how such lying liars (or obliviously, blissfully ignorant posers) get away with slathering the landscape with so much misinformation, but Mr. Bryce published an article in a similar vein -- slamming renewables -- in the New York Times, and the Press Democrat reprinted it on June 12, 2011: "When wind and solar power don't add up." The following is a response, by Messrs. Geoff Syphers and Carl Mears (bios below) to that article:
GUEST OPINION: Arguments against wind, solar power don't add up
Santa Rosa Press Democrat, June 18, 2011

Published: Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 7:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 17, 2011 at 4:46 p.m.
Robert Bryce's conclusions about solar and wind in his attack on California's renewable energy standards are dead wrong (“When wind and solar power don't add up,” Sunday Forum, June 12).

First, his assumption that solar power requires large centralized systems located in far away deserts is false. In fact, installing solar panels on homes, businesses and parking lots close to where the electricity is consumed is preferable to remote big systems. Huge benefits accrue by avoiding the costs and negative land impacts from new swaths of transmission lines,and the energy line losses that occur when transmitting electricity long distances.

According to a National Renewable Energy Laboratory report issued last year, California could meet 52 percent of its energy needs through solar photovoltaic systems installed on roofs. This amount far exceeds the total percentage mandated by the state to be generated from all renewable sources combined.

Second, Bryce's notion that using land for wind power somehow renders it unsuitable for other uses is laughable. Land under wind turbines is routinely used for agriculture. Leasing privately owned farmland to wind turbine operators increases owners' income and thus helps protect family farms from bankruptcy.

Third, the argument that wind power is more harmful to the environment than natural gas because wind power requires too much steel is simply ridiculous. Roughly 37 times more steel is needed to build pipelines that deliver natural gas to generators than to build the windmills that produce an equivalent amount of electricity.

But the worst of natural gas is not the resources needed for pipelines. Spills, well drilling, habitat destruction and greenhouse gas produced by combusting natural gas are far worse than wind power, and much more costly to our health and the bottom line.

Wind turbines recover their full life-cycle energy inputs within the first seven months of operation. In contrast, natural gas power plants require continuous input of fossil fuel, causing negative impacts in perpetuity.

The Sonoma County Water Agency along with the Climate Protection Campaign, Regional Climate Protection Authority, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Local Power, Inc. are in the midst of a three-year research project whose aim is designing a system that will meet 67 percent of Sonoma County's electricity demand from new local renewable sources.

Hand in hand with this research project, the Sonoma County Water Agency is conducting a feasibility study to determine if community choice aggregation, also known as Sonoma Clean Power, is viable here. Community choice would put decision-making for our source of power for electricity under local determination. It would introduce competition where currently a monopoly exists.

Both study efforts by the Water Agency align with Gov. Jerry Brown's goal of producing 12,000 megawatts of new, locally based renewable power throughout California.

According to Bryce's logic, California should turn its back on renewable energy and stick with natural gas and nuclear power. Something here definitely doesn't add up, but a simple analysis shows that it is Bryce's arguments, not California's bright prospects for renewable energy like solar and wind.

Geof Syphers is a consultant for designing green buildings and is chief sustainability officer for Codding Enterprises. Carl Mears, a Cotati resident, is a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a member of the board of the Climate Protection Campaign. He is currently on sabbatical in Cordoba, Argentina.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Republicans are lying wankers...

The Lie:
"They've been unwilling to put a real plan on the table. Without serious spending cuts, without real reforms to entitlement programs, this problem is not going to be solved," Boehner said after a meeting of House Republicans.
Obama, Republicans trade demands for debt plan
UPDATE 07/22/11:
Boehner, in a speech on the House floor following the Senate vote, said, "The House has acted. ...We've done our job. The Democrats who run Washington have done nothing. They can't stop spending the American people's money. They won't and they refuse."
Senate rejects House GOP budget-cutting plan
UPDATE 07/26/11:
Representative Eric Cantor, the chamber’s majority leader, told fellow Republicans to “stop grumbling and whining and to come together as conservatives and rally behind” the House speaker John A. Boehner’s plan. (Right. Boehner does not offer a plan, he offers a maneuver to defeat President Obama in 2012. And Mr. Cantor should stay mum on whining -- he's proven himself Whiner In Chief of the House.)
Boehner Plan Faces G.O.P. Resistance and Veto Threat
UPDATE 07/29/11:
But Mr McConnell accused Democrats of wasting precious time and obstructing a deal by vowing to block Mr Boehner's bill, should it be passed in the House.
"Republicans have been doing the hard work of governing this week," he said.
Mr Boehner's plan faces certain rejection by the Democratic-controlled Senate, as well as a White House veto threat, but could form the basis of an eventual compromise.
It would reduce spending by about $900bn and raise the debt limit by nearly the same amount.
Speaker John Boehner's plan cannot pass the Democratic-controlled Senate. (and Boehner's plan requires an impossible balanced budget amendment to the constitution; and any future increases in the debt limit would be contingent on Congress approving the constitutional amendment and sending it to the states for ratification. -- utter political nonsense.) 
Obama underscores urgency of debt-plan deal
The Truth:
The White House says Obama has agreed to roughly $1.7 trillion in spending cuts and wants tax increases to fill out the rest of a plan to increase the debt ceiling long enough to get the country through 2012, when Obama and most lawmakers are up for re-election.
Obama, Republicans trade demands for debt plan
UPDATE 07/20/2011:
A bipartisan group of senators called the ‘Gang of Six’ outlined a $3.7 trillion deficit-reduction plan and Obama embraced it this week. Some Republicans have endorsed it or signaled openness to considering it (whatever that means).
Obama Aide, Boehner Say No Debt-Limit Deal
UPDATE 07/26/11:
Speaker Boehner’s plan is not a compromise,” said Mr. Reid, after meeting with Senate Democrats. “It was written for the Tea Party and not the American people. Democrats will not vote for it. Democrats will not vote for it. Democrats will not vote for it. It’s dead on arrival in the Senate, if they get it out of the House.”
Boehner Plan Faces G.O.P. Resistance and Veto Threat
UPDATE 07/29/11:
The Reid plan - which Mr Obama supports - would cut $2.2tn from deficits, and raise the debt ceiling by $2.7tn.
Obama underscores urgency of debt-plan deal

And then there is Senator McConnell. Senator Mitch McConnell's brave and brilliant proposal is to swerve away from a joint initiative between Congress and the President to raise the debt limit -- like Congress and the President have done 89 times before -- and instead drop the whole thing in the President's lap and let him do it unilaterally. Why? Because then McConnell, the weasel, can run ads that say the profligate Obama once again went spending wild.

Or how about that brilliant idea for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution proposed by those Republican wizards in the house (GOP adds constitutional amendment to budget fight). This has been tried before. Most recently in 1995 when it went nowhere. It was never meant to go anywhere then, and it isn't meant to now either. It is a farce. It is a stupid stalling tactic. Such an amendment would take years for the states to ratify. We do not have years to screw around. We need the debt ceiling raised now. We need the Bush tax cuts rolled back now. We need corporate tax loopholes closed now. And that is all we need. We do not need a Constitutional amendment.  We do not need to hold hands and pray. We do not need to attach anti-abortion, and pro-gun amendments to the bill. We need the damn debt ceiling raised. And maybe end a couple of tragic, self-defeating wars for good, thank you.

What cowards Republican politicians are. (Democrats are not much better, but at least they pay lip service to rational thought, like the necessity for everyone to have health insurance, Social Security, and Medicare; or the need to stop consuming coal and oil, and replace them with renewables; or the fact that if you blow mountaintops away, and dump oil in the Gulf forever we won't be left with such a nice place to live.)

Republicans can't even bring themselves to grasp these realities, much less admit to voters that they exist, or that their policies and wars will ruin many, many lives for generations to come...not to mention the entire planet turned into a scorched wasteland and most species extinct.

No. Republicans want their And that is all that matters to Republicans.

Screw the rest of you.

Oh, yeah. One more thing. While they argue and pose...
Deal or no deal? US downgrade looking likely

And that will hurt who? No, not Wall Street investment and commercial bankers (well a little, but they will survive just fine). It will hurt all the "middle-class" losers who own Treasuries or American equities, or shares in investment vehicles that do.

Bye, bye comfy retirement for all you straight up, un-rich, AARP members. Hello less comfy retirement. Sorry.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

TRUTH: US Top Margin, Capital Gains & Corporate Taxes Too Low

A story in the Business Insider (July 12, 2011) "The Truth About Taxes: Here’s How High Today’s Tax Rates Really Are" provides some helpful facts that are ignored (or unknown to) our legislative experts in Congress, both Republican and Democrat. I'll quote them right here -- they are words to live by:
  • Today's government spending levels are indeed too high, at least relative to the average level of tax revenue the government has generated over the past 60 years. Unless Americans are willing to radically increase the amount of taxes they pay relative to GDP, government spending must be cut.
  • Today's income tax rates are strikingly low relative to the rates of the past century, especially for rich people.  For most of the century, including some boom times, top-bracket income tax rates were much higher than they are today.
  • Contrary to what Republicans would have you believe, super-high tax rates on rich people do not appear to hurt the economy or make people lazy: During the 1950s and early 1960s, the top bracket income tax rate was over 90%--and the economy, middle-class, and stock market boomed.
  • Super-low tax rates on rich people also appear to be correlated with unsustainable sugar highs in the economy--brief, enjoyable booms followed by protracted busts. They also appear to be correlated with very high inequality. (For example, see the 1920s and now).
  • Periods of very low tax rates have been followed by periods with very high tax rates, and vice versa. So history suggests that tax rates will soon start going up.

Better yet, the article links to a series of slides by the title, "See the truth about tax rates >" that tell the same striking story: the only way to fix the economic mess the US finds itself in is to raise tax rates: the marginal income tax rate, the capital gains tax rate, the corporate income tax rate. Pay especially close attention from slide eight onward.

Slide no. 31 -- Top Income Tax Bracket -- Historical

Seriously, suck it up, get used to it, be real, be rational, this is not "tax and spend" malarkey as the Republicans will claim. It is reality. Truth. Facts. Like physics. Serious as a heart attack.

Don't believe the Tea Party toxic Kool Aid induced mantra that we can cut our way out of this mess. We can not. History proves it, over and over. The longer we wait, the more hurt will be inflicted on wage earners, while the uber-rich glide along feeling no pain.

Our best economic times, times of broad prosperity and a flourishing middle class, occur when tax rates on the rich (let's say more than $250K) are quite high. When tax rates are low, we get bubbles and crashes paid for by already beaten down wage earners.

Thanks  Business Insider, for your courage to speak truth to power. If only our elected representatives had the same courage...