July 29, 2011

Goebbels is laughing

The Nazi Propaganda Minister, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, calls his boss, Adolf Hitler, by hell-o-phone.

“Mein Führer,” he exclaims excitedly. “News from the world. It seems we were on the right track, after all. Anti-Semitism is conquering Europe!”

“Good!” the Führer says, “That will be the end of the Jews!”

“Hmmm … well … not exactly, mein Führer. It looks as though we chose the wrong Semites. Our heirs, the new Nazis, are going to annihilate the Arabs and all the other Muslims in Europe.” Then, with a chuckle, “After all, there are many more Muslims than Jews to exterminate.”

“But what about the Jews?” Hitler insists.

“You won’t believe this: the new Nazis love Israel, the Jewish State - and Israel loves them!”

... The New Anti-Semitism, by Uri Avnery (click here), describes how the new fascists have made common cause with the new zionists against the other Semites, the Arabs.

July 26, 2011

Danish Minister compares peaceful protesters to mass murderer

The Danish Minister of Integration and Development, Søren Pind, wrote on Facebook that the activists attempting to stop the cutting down of a forest to erect giant wind turbines are like Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik:
Ekstremismen tager til. Flere og flere mener sig berettiget til at tage sig selv til rette. Optøjerne på Nørrebro. Kirkebesættere. Østerild. Og ekstremismens hidtil mest sataniske fjæs nu i Norge. Det er 70’erne om igen. De næste år handler om demokratiets og retsstatens klippegrund. Nok er nok. Enten er man med. Eller også imod.

Extremism is growing. More and more people see themselves entitled to take the law into their own hands. The riots in Nørrebro. Church occupiers. Østerild. And the most satanic extremism now in Norway. It's the 70s again. The next year is about democracy and the rule of law. Enough is enough. You are either with. Or against.
The Nørrebro church occupation refers to a group of rejected Iraqi asylum seekers who sought refuge in 2009 and the citizens who tried to block police from entering. Østerild refers to the citizens who for 10 days blocked the cutting down of trees in the klitplantage (dunes park) there. The Danish Nature Agency plans to clear it for the companies Vestas and Siemens to erect giant (250 m tall) "test" turbines. The blockade ended today when the number of tree-cutting machines was more than doubled and more than 50 police arrived, armed and with dogs, to clear out the activists and planning to keep guard around the clock until the first round of cutting is done.

Anders Breivik, of course, is the man who killed scores of people in Norway last Friday (July 22) in what he considered to be a strike against multiculturalism. Søren Pind, a member of the ruling right-wing Venstre party, is well known in Denmark for his own attitudes against multiculturalism. That well fits his obvious hatred of people who question their government's actionsculture.

Click here for the story in Danish.

Murðer Denmark

Cartoon by Jens Hage:

"As long as it's green — it doesn't hurt!"
"Nice mounds!"

(This is about the Danish government plan to cut down the forest in the Østerild Klitplantage (dunes park) in Thy to erect giant wind turbines for a "test center". The victim is "Mother [Mor] Denmark". The title in Danish is "Mord [Murder] Danmark". Since 2002, almost no new wind capacity on land has been erected in Denmark. From left to right are: Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister, Ditlev Engel, Vestas President and CEO, Anders Eldrup, DONG Energy CEO, and Karen Ellemann, Environment Minister.)

(Similarly, a resident of Vermont in the USA wrote in 2005 about “blasting vermont's lovely ridgelines to ram monstrous turbine assemblies into the earth” [link])

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, environment, environmentalism

July 20, 2011

The Bourne Trilogy

The last of the three books on which these movies were based was published in February 1990. Now, thanks to Barack Obama, everything criminal in these movies is completely legal. Even so, they are superbly made thrillers. (Thanks to my son for introducing them to me.)

July 19, 2011


The war in Afghanistan costs only two billion dollars a week.

July 12, 2011

Going green

We use a lot of energy. This has been possible because of the energy density of fossil fuels — coal, oil, methane (natural gas). But the consequence has been a continuing decimation of the environment, not only due to extracting and burning these fuels, but also because of the massive human population they have been able to support, which simply crowds out other life, flora as well as fauna.

And now oil is running out. Obviously, extraction of the other fossil fuels also can not go on forever.

Hence the clamor for biofuels (plant-derived ethanol and diesel, even jet fuel) and renewable energy (wind and solar). We would have to ramp these up dramatically if we are to meet our future energy needs without depending on fossil fuels (or nuclear, with its own set of limitations and consequences).

But biofuels require taking crop land away from growing food, or mowing down new swathes of forest for temporarily lucrative monocultures. And the energy in the wind and sun is extremely diffuse, requiring massive plants (measured in square miles rather than acres) to collect any significant amount. Even then the sun sets each night, and the wind is intermittent and highly variable, requiring more build-up for storage and for tying together very widely separated facilities with the hope of providing some measure of steady power.

This is madness.

Just as more humans simply means fewer other species, our use of more green energy means even less for other life on the planet. At least fossil fuels aren't being used by others; "green" fuels are. The more we take, the less other lives have.

On a large scale, renewable energy is more harmful to life on earth than fossil fuels. It is madness to think that the wind and the sun can replace coal and oil and nuclear.

The only way to minimize the impacts of our energy use is to minimize our energy use.

Instead of ramping up large-scale wind and solar to meet our energy needs, we need to ramp down our energy needs to meet reality.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism

July 11, 2011

Wind energy's benefits always in the future

A new report commissioned by the Canadian Renewable Energy Association touts the creation of jobs in Ontario due to wind energy development — in the future, however, with little regard to the actual past record.

The language of the report's announcement in North American Windpower, July 2011, illustrates the problem: can create, in the next eight years, projected benefits, will flow, will contribute, will also boost. Not a word about jobs already created, despite an established history to draw on.

But this is typical of the wind industry in general. Even after decades of experience, it can only claim that actual benefits are still in the future.

A reality check is way past due.

wind power, wind energy

July 10, 2011

Wind energy against the world

A correspondent has informed us that the current (July 2011) issue of North American Windpower includes five articles decrying the imminent loss of subsidies and enforcement of wildlife regulations.

1. "Near-term U.S. policy incentives remain in limbo" — cover story by Allan Marks.
With several policy incentives set to expire, the wind industry is set to enter a period of great uncertainty.
With the upcoming expiration of many federal incentives for renewable energy technologies, the future of wind power projects will be left in a state of flux. By the end of 2012, several federal programs — including the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Section 1603 cash-grant program, the U.S. Department of Energy's Section 1705 loan-guarantee program and the availability of bonus depreciation — are scheduled to expire. The production tax credit and the investment tax credit for wind projects are also scheduled to expire at that time. [In fact, as far as we know all of these except the PTC expire at the end of 2011.] ... Another aspect affecting the future of wind power that is often overlooked is environmental policy. ... The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in February updated federal guidelines concerning wind energy projects, resulting in the Draft Voluntary Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines and the Draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance. These draft guidelines contain more enhanced protocols for studying possible avian impacts during pre-construction and implementing mitigation measures post-construction than what were specified under the 2001 FWS interim guidelines for wind projects.

2. "It's loud and clear: '2013 needs an answer'" — by Angela Beniwal.
A group of wind industry leaders gathered at the recent Windpower 2011 conference to discuss the current state of wind development in the U.S. ... [They] agreed that the expiration of the Treasury Department's Section 1603 cash-grant program at the end of this year and the expiration of the production tax credit in 2012 are worrisome. ... Jan Blittersdorf, president and CEO of NRG Systems, said sales at her wind assessment equipment company are an indicator of where the U.S. wind market stands. ... "We well all over the world, and the markets we're selling into right now are in Asia. And, frankly, our percentage of sales in the U.S. is about as low as I've ever seen it."

3. "Policy uncertainty continues to linger" — by Mark Del Franco.
Although much of the federal policy driving wind power remains firm in the near term, there are dark clouds just over the horizon. For example, two of the primary incentives used by developers — the U.S. Treasure Department's Section 1603 cash-grant program and the production tax credit — will soon expire. ... Although the extension of either or both policy incentives would be welcome news for the industry, receiving such immediate satisfaction is unlikely. ... "There will be no extension of any wind subsidies until, at the earliest, late 2012 after the fall election, with a significant risk of no action until early 2013," says Edward Einowski, a partner at Stoel Rives. "What action will be taken will largely depend on the outcome of the election," he says, "which could range from Democrats taking back the House and gaining 60-plus seats in the Senate — in which event PTC and ITC grant extensions appear more likely — to further gains by the Republicans in both the House and Senate, in which event any extension of either the PTC or ITC grants may well be problematic."

4. "Rep. pledges policy support" — by Angela Beniwal.
During the opening session fot he Windpower 2011 conference in May, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., spoke about the need for implementing long-term energy policies that will help the wind industry fully come to scale. ... Blumenauer, a member of the influential House Ways and Means Committee, said people need to understand the importance of subsidies for the wind industry. ... But he said that transmission and integration issues must first be resolved. ... The congressman also advocated changing the regulatory process so that developing wind projects is not cumbersome. ... Blumenauer also expressed support for a national renewable electricity standard.

5. "Developers testify before Congress" (unsigned).
Land-based and offshore wind energy developers testified before Congress in June about the need for consistent and long-term federal policies to support the deployment of renewable energy, AWEA reports. The land-based wind developers also focused on rules recently proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that threaten hundreds of wind farms with years of delays and millions of dollars in costs, according to AWEA, which submitted extensive public comments on the two FWS policies of concern: the Draft Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines and the Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance. ... James Gordon, president of Cape Wind Associates LLC, and Jim Lanard, president of the Offshore Wind Development Coalition, also testified on the need for stable and longer-term federal policy support, including an extension of the ITC and extending the loan-guarantee program.

July 7, 2011

Solving the federal budget crisis.

About half of U.S. federal spending is for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Thus it would seem that savings (i.e., cuts) in those programs would contribute a great deal to balancing the budget.

Social Security and Medicare, however, are self-financed. They have nothing to do with the general budget.

On the other hand, military spending represents about half of the spending that's left after taking out Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. About a tenth of that is for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In other words, simply ending the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan would reduce the non–self-financed federal budget by about 5%. That alone is about one-quarter of the way to completely balancing the budget.

And the military budget itself is in dire need of trimming. It is about 10 times that of the next biggest military spender, China. U.S. military spending represents about 40% of the world's total, and with its closest allies accounts for up to three-quarters.

Such a pervasive military presence around the world obviously leads to resentment and resistance — and the need for more military spending. This is a vicious circle that benefits only arms manufacturers and other military contractors (who then don't even pay their fair share of taxes to help pay for it all). It is not a sustainable means of running a civilized society.

So end the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and cut military spending by another 30% and the budget is balanced. And the U.S. would still be the world's biggest military spender by far. That is, we would still be safe from Canadian, Mexican, or Cuban invasion.

July 2, 2011

Destroying the world for "green" fuel

Tracy McVeigh writes in The Guardian (click the title of this post):

... The eviction of the villagers to make way for a sugar cane plantation is part of a wider land grab going on in Kenya's Tana Delta that is not only pushing people off plots they have farmed for generations, stealing their water resources and raising tribal tensions that many fear will escalate into war, but also destroying a unique wetland habitat that is home to hundreds of rare and spectacular birds.

The irony is that most of the land is being taken for allegedly environmental reasons – to allow private companies to grow water-thirsty sugar cane and jatropha for the biofuels so much in demand in the west, where green legislation, designed to ease carbon dioxide emissions, is requiring they are mixed with petrol and diesel.

The delta, one of Kenya's last wildernesses and one of the most important bird habitats in Africa, is the flood plain of the Tana river, which flows 1,014km from Mount Kenya to the Indian Ocean. ...

July 1, 2011

Vermonters for a Clean Environment

Click the title of this post to download the VCE 2011 midyear report.

Articles include:

Trouble with Snowmobiles, State Stonewalls, by Kate Scarlott and Rob MacLeod (East Hardwick)

Working Together to Save the “Nature of Vermont”, by Steve Wright (Craftsbury Common)

Why Water Quality Matters, by Paul Brouha (Sutton)

Is Anyone Listening? by Candice Shaffer (Waitsfield)

Protecting Water, by Susan Shaw (Florence)

Plus legislative and news updates.

environment, environmentalism, Vermont