Whorled View

September 5, 2008

Sarah Palin’s a big meany? Yeah, right!

Filed under: Blogroll,Communications,Politics,Sociology — lullabyman @ 12:13 am

I love watching the ridiculous nature of the MSM (mainstream media) when they pull their keystone-cops routine, just like they’ve been doing with Palin lately.  I really do.  Sometimes I can’t decide which is funnier … David Letterman (who mirrors MSM political leanings) while he’s trying to be funny, or the MSM while they’re trying not to be funny.

Never is this more apparent than when things don’t go their way.  When things don’t go their way the double standard they set up is hilarious.  Maybe it’s just because I listen to NPR and watch non-Fox channels but I can’t tell you how many times over the last 24 hours I heard pundits disparage Palin for having remarks that were “belittling” to Obama.

Oh No!  Horrors!  She made Obama seem less than what he thinks he is (that is the definition of belittling incidentally)!  She might have hurt his feelings!  Surely he can’t defend himself so that was dirty pool.  Shame, Palin!  For shame!  As a side note: I seem to remember the MSM saying similar things about Romney for attacking his opponents records .. but in the end the MSM got their favorite Republican candidate: McCain, who’s ironically more likely to beat their favorite candidate than Romney was likely to do.

Of course, belittling the opposition is a VP candidate’s main job, and it always has been – it’s called “Good Cop” vs “Bad Cop” and it leaves McCain the role of playing good cop.  Palin was dutifully playing her part.

Incidentally McCain played the “good cop” very well tonight in dealing with multiple hecklers.  Funny how democrats try to crash republican assemblies, but republicans never do the same to democrat assemblies – but again I’m getting off topic.

Yes, there’s hypocrisy in the MSM … feigning shock that she’d desecrate their idol, Obama.  What I found even more humorous though is the MSM was then so foolish to prove her belittling attitude by showing a snippet where she mocks Obama for saying that small-town people “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them”.

Okay.  All right.  So … apparently it’s okay for Obama to self-righteously belittle half the people in the US  by making a mockery of their faith and their right to personal defense, but Palin “belittled” Obama!  OH THE HORROR!!!  How could she!

What’s even funnier is all the so-called feminists who’ve ever since have been saying the most sexist remarks about Palin imaginable … claiming that either her kids will get the short end of the stick (ha! as if they really care), or the nation will get the short end of the stick.  Meanwhile I’m sure her husband’s thinking “what am I … chopped liver?”, but the most ironic things is nobody on the left has stopped to ask “Why doesn’t anyone say that about any of the men running for office”?

I mean, aren’t liberal democrats supposed to be the last bastion of equal rights?  Aren’t they the ones who pretend to champion the idea that men should be held to the same familial standards as women (a perspective I actually agree with)?  So why would they say that about Palin, but not Obama.  You know … he has young kids too.

And are they so stupid as to think that her kids will sit in squalor without any assistance from White House staff or more importantly without love and affection from a Father who’s been an excellent Mr. Mom for these last few years.  I’m guessing those kids will be doted on no less than Bush’s kids, Clinton’s kids, or any other White House kids and in many if not most cases receive just as much guidance and care from their father as the others received from their non-political parent.  Hey, wait a minute … Chelsea didn’t even have a non-political parent.  Amazing she hasn’t turned out to be some kind of axe-murderer.

Which brings up the other hilarious point.  I loved watching David Letterman last night – being his funniest (maybe “funny” is too flattering of a word … he was more like “ludicrous”) when he was trying to be his most serious.  You had to watch it to see just how clueless he was.  The audience was shocked really at what he said … his guest, Dr. Phil was a deer-in-the-headlights.  Both Letterman and Dr Phil commented on how silent the audience suddenly was, after which Letterman quickly realized he was way off base from all of his viewers.

I don’t remember Letterman’s exact words but in summary, Letterman was very harshly criticizing Palin for letting her daughter get pregnant.  That’s right folks … it was Sarah Palin’s fault her daughter got pregnant according to Letterman (apparently her husband was off the hook – but then I already mentioned the sexist views of the hypocritical left so let’s not delve further into that).  Essentially he went on to suggest that only an idiot would send their 16 yr old daughter out on a date without a condom.

Now I’ve seen Letterman say dumb things before where he’s revealed too much about his ridiculous ideas, but even I was a little surprised at this comment, but what’s more I was really dismayed by Dr. Phil’s response.

There was none.  I kept waiting for it but nothing happened.  I kept expecting Dr. Phil to at least fix things a little.  Dr. Phil is generally pretty straight forward even as a guest and will try to nicely shed some healthy balance in such situations like gently mentioning that perhaps not everyone shares Letterman’s wacky views, but Dr. Phil did nothing of the sort.  Instead they both quickly changed the topic and thereby perpetuated a myth that only idiots believe that morality is more important than birth control, and that a baby born into a very loving home where the mother is only 17 is a horrible horrible thing that should be avoided … perhaps aborted at all costs, even if the father is a good reliable kid who loves the daughter and wants to make it right.

So by-in-large I found the MSM responses to Palin hilarious – with a few moments of disgust here and there where I saw the ugly little underbelly and bizarre beliefs that underlie those responses.  It has been overall, delightful to see the MSM squirm.  Say what you must about the woman, but Palin has been making the MSM and their pundits run around like a bunch of decapitated chickens.

I only wish this show would have started sooner.  Sadly I don’t think she has her guard up or anticipates the onslaught being prepared for her.  She’s not an expert in foreign affairs and that along with other weaknesses she shares with Obama will be exploited by the MSM while Obama will get a pass.  Just you wait and see.

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July 16, 2007

Filed under: Politics,Religion — lullabyman @ 1:32 pm

I’m sick of people saying Bush got re-elected because of his religion and his pro-Christian views. It’s just plain not true. That’s like saying Clinton was elected because America loves womanizers – just watch our sitcoms – seems America does love womanizers, but that’s not why Clinton got elected. By the same token Bush’s religious agenda has done him more political harm than good, and he was elected both terms simply because the Democrats failed in nominating someone who wasn’t an extreme leftist wacko.

“The Democrats should have won the last election…”

The Democrats should have won the last election, and they would have if they nominated a moderate like Lieberman, and then we would currently have a Jewish man for a president. I would have voted for him in a second. Lieberman didn’t have a chance in the primaries though as he was far too moderate for the Democrats, and he was a “Jew” – heaven forbid. It’s okay to nominate a black man or any kind of woman, but not a Jewish man. No way. The Democrats thought they had the election in the bag in both terms and so they nominated their dream candidate each time: someone way out in left field who was neither black, female, or jewish. Now it’s funny that the Republican party seems to be the more tolerant, considering their flirtations with Mitt Romney, an LDS man.

“…the Republican party seems to be the more tolerant, considering their flirtations with Mitt Romney, an LDS man.  Harry Reid (also LDS) would never have made it so far in the Democrat primaries, and he knows it.”

So next time you want to say Americans are a bunch of gun toting Christian-proselytizing imperialists, remember it’s the Democrat’s fault that we don’t have a peace-loving, green-energy spewing, Muslim-tolerating Jewish man in that office. If religion had anything to do with american elections then Mitt Romney would have been a hiss and a byword long ago. Then again, once our beloved leftist Hollywood kingpins wreak their havoc next month with their “artistic liberties” (September Dawn) he just might be, but that’s a topic for another day.

May 22, 2007

Will Energy Conservation Ever Make Any Difference?

Will energy conservation ever make any difference? I wish.

Leonardo DeCaprio’s “11th Hour” eco-doomsday docu-drama has just been unleashed. This is following Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth”, which I recently saw. Undoubtedly DeCaprio will propose that we solve a very real problem with the equivalent of stopping a fire hydrant with a stick of buble gum, ie: better light bulbs, less driving, more trees, more efficient appliances, and more efficient cars.

“…we are spending far too much energy and time on squeezing out energy efficiency … what we really need is more energy and it has to be clean and it has to be cheap.” – Dr Klaus Lackner

Instead of spending big bucks on those 2 movies why don’t you watch a video of Physicist Dr. Klaus Lackner from the “earth institute” at Columbia University for free (http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/crosscutting/energy.html). It’s over 1 1/2 hours, but is so worth it. He demonstrates how futile most “energy conservation measures” are while providing you with the truly viable solutions to the greenhouse gas problem. At a minimum, I can guarantee you that you will be far more empowered after watching Dr. Lackner than you will after watching any Hollywood produced film. Why? Because afterwards you’ll know what you need to do to really make a difference: Change the way we make electricity, not just the way we use it.

You’ll learn that (based on math) Americans will have to reduce CO2 emissions by 97% just to keep the current environmental levels of CO2 constant. That means driving your car only 1day/month. That means only using electricity 2 days / month. If you wanted to plant enough trees to compensate for existing levels using reforestation only then you’d have to quadruple the # of full grown trees currently in existence.

The math says that even if severe energy conservation efforts are legislated, doing so will only buy us an extra 5 years before it’s too late.

The math says that even if severe energy conservation efforts are legislated, doing so will only buy us an extra 5 years before it’s too late. What we need is practically ZERO emissions from both power plants and vehicles. What we need is massive energy generation restructuring for both grid power and vehicles. Within 50 years (preferably sooner) all power must be generated by renewable sources, and cars must use that power be it through hydrogen or electric.

If everyone could put solar panels on their roof they you’d have a solution, but that costs 40K per roof – completely nonviable for 99% of Americans (and the subsidies would bankrupt the government). Don’t get me wrong … solar is the answer, but it will be solar at $0.03/kWh from a power-plant (most likely thermal, not PV), as compared to the true cost of today’s rooftop solar panels (PV) that average $0.33 kWh over their lifetime.

Americans will have to reduce CO2 emissions by 97% just to keep the current environmental levels of CO2 constant

In the meantime, scrubbers can be added to existing power facilities to totally remove all carbon emissions, at a cost of about 0.03$/kWh. That’s a 30% increase in energy costs, but for clean energy that’s pretty good. Not as good as current solar thermal rates, but it is close. Nuclear is also a viable alternative in the meantime (though not my favorite choice, when existing solar thermal can produce similar rates to nuclear).

Vehicles are a much more challenging problem because the operating costs of zero-emmision cars will never be competitive with fossil fuel cars. Why because nearly half of the power of fossil fuel is lost in the process of converting to electricity or hydrogen, sending that medium to the point of consumption, and then discharging that power through a motor. The only way around the problem is that at some point most fossil-fuel based vehicles will have to be made illegal. Now we’re talking about 40-50 years down the road, but that’s not too far away.

So should you conserve electricity? Heck yes. It may only make a few years of difference, but from what I can see, we’re going to need every year possible. Just remember to spend more time writing your elected officials and telling your friends about real solutions. And watch Dr. Lackner’s presentation from the earth institute (see the video on the right of this page) if you haven’t done that yet. You’ll be glad you did.

May 9, 2007

An More Inconvenient Truth

Filed under: ecology,economics,energy,environment,Politics — lullabyman @ 12:58 pm

I watched Mr “used to be president” Al Gore (as he likes to call himself) last night, as he spent over 90 minutes proclaiming the woes of global warming.

Hear! Hear!

At least there is something he and I can agree on. Then again, I can say that for most politicians.

If you haven’t seen it, please do. At some points the documentary becomes too much about him (like when he wallows in sorrow over his lost presidential election – here’s an incovenient truth: we’re sick of him whining about that), but those moments only last a few minutes here and there, and are worth bearing through in order to get to the other stuff.

“… he did a diservice to himself by not
being more forthright with truths
which are inconvenient to the global
warming hypothesis.

Here’s some other warnings: far too often he throws up graphs without giving you the scale of the y-axis, and sometimes the x-axis does not appear to be linear. The validity of data sources are also often taken for granted. Also statistical noise and data ranges is only mentioned in one of the many graphs he gives. Then there were the projections that were based on what – linear interpolation of that last few data points (shudder)? Who knows, he didn’t say. Lastly his time frames are often way too short – but then this can be attributed to a lack of data – nevertheless the results should be considered in reference to the entire epoch of sapient life. In short if you know much about statistics you might find it painful.

That said, I think he did a diservice to himself by not being more forthright with truths which are inconvenient to the global warming hypothesis. He’s a politician and in politics it does well to overstate your case and conveniently ignore unsupporting data, assuming your opponent will cover those things. In science, however, that’s not a good practice – as it seems to indicate a bias in the mind of the scientist which makes the audience more skeptical. One of the last things you want to say is that you bought into a theory before there was even sufficient statistical data or before you were able to investigate it independently – but that is exactly what Gore said he did. Gore said he was an instant advocate the moment he saw just one graph covering just a handful of years that a professor showed a class. Lucky for Gore that the professors hypothesis was right, but it did Gore a diservice when he admitted he was sold on so little data, and it does little to endear the trust of his audience.

“The more inconvenient truth is that
alternative industry funds
are controlled by lobbyists.
That’s wrong, and it’s killing the planet.”

I’m a skeptic of everything though (which has been known to bug those around me to no end), and even being the skeptic that I am, and knowing the critics response, I have always felt that prudence is the best policy for the health of the planet.

And that’s where I think this film fails the audience: encouraging implementation of the best policies. Recently we’ve seen the scientific community plead with the world to curb greenhouse gases, and nothing good has resulted. On the contrary, we’ve seen every alternative energy enteprenuer / company vying for more and more money with little regard from the governments where the best, cheapest, and fastest implementations exist. I mentioned this in my last post, but I could go so much further. The alternative industry funds are controlled by lobbyists. That’s wrong, and it’s killing the world. The money is not going to the right places and merely implementing policies to force capitalism to fix the problem isn’t good enough or quick enough.

Gore also failed to tell people enough on how to conserve: Quit buying gas guzzlers. Carpool whever you can. Shop locally, or online. Take a vacation this summer closeby instead of far away. When you buy a house live close to work – I’m convinced that one thing could cut our emissions in half. If you’re driving an hour to work each way then you’re driving too far – carpool with 2-3 others, move, or get a different job.

“The most inconvenient truth though
is that massive restructuring of our
energy economy is needed to save
the environment.”

The most inconvenient truth though is that massive restructuring of our energy economy is needed to save the environment. And not just us, but all other nations must do the same (oh, they talk the talk, but UN talk is incredibly cheap). It means politicians making unpopular decisions while in office. It means serious and pain inflicting government mandates, not to just automakers, but to power companies, and that will disrupt the economy and will result in many lost jobs.

On the otherhand there will be lots of new jobs building efficient solar-thermal plants (not solar-PV) in Nevada and new jobs building windfarms across the country. Or we quite possibly experience hell on earth. Hmmmm … what will it be?

May 2, 2007

The most viable energy solution

Filed under: ecology,economics,energy,environment,Miscellaneous,Politics — lullabyman @ 3:13 pm

Pundits everywhere are screaming we need to spend more money on alternative energy solutions, with little regard to what’s viable.

“Most of the proposed solutions to global warming that get serious attention employ technologies that continue to warm the planet at an alarming rate. Politicians also talk about the Hydrogen economy as if it’s a solution! It takes enormous energy to create hydrogen fuel.”

Wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, nuclear, and tidal are the only potentially saving solutions – but they’re too expensive, too difficult, or too restrictive. Or are they? Depends on how they’re done. My biggest bets are on wind and solar thermal (not the more popular solar-PV). Solar thermal, done right, seems to be the most immediately scalable, the cheapest, and the least restrictive.

Get used to seeing this.  It's the future.
The Parabolic Trough – the future of electricity.

I used to work in the solar-PV (PV = photovoltaic – the kind that go on your roof) industry – and let me tell you … what a boondoggle. All the research money goes to PV solar cells (which I used to make), instead of going to solar-thermal. The problem is – PV costs so much to make and takes so much time and space to purify the needed silicon, and the energy required to do so comes at such a high price as to make a mass adoption of the technology absolutely impossible for the next 100 years.  That isn’t to say it will always be that way … in fact there’s good reason to believe that PV will be the solution in 10-20 years because costs are going down fast.  But we need solutions NOW, not in 10 to 20 years.

Electricity generated from Solar-Thermal power fits that profile, it’s cheap easy and can supply the worlds needs at a ridiculously faster and more economical rate than PV with no technological bottlenecks. It’s simple too:

1) Cheap way: A parabolic trough concentrates sunlight onto a black pipe with circulating oil. More expensive: Parabolic Dish to focus on a single point for sterling engine use or to generate H2 for the hydrogen economy.  There are other focusing mechanisms too like fresnel (pronounced: freh-nail’ ) lenses, fresnel mirrors, but regardless of what mechanism used, it’s very cheap.

2) Thermal fluid expansion converts the thermal energy into physical energy to spin an electric generator. You can incidentally also skip the electric portion and directly spin a rotor to pump water, grind wheat, etc, instead of spinning an electric generator.

How it generates electricity

The largest solar-PV plant in the world generates only 12MW but by comparison the largest solar-thermal plant in the world generates 354MW (SEGS in Mojave Desert – uses cheap parabolic trough design) and it was built 20 years ago! That 20 times more!

And how many people even know about solar-thermal electricity? Squat (relatively speaking of course). There is at least 10 to 100 times more money spent on relatively worthless PV solar than what is spent on Thermal solar which is 10 to 100 times more promising for power plants.The current cost of electricity with solar-thermal is comparable to grid – about $0.10/KWh, but it is expected within the next 15-20 years that cost will drop to 1/2 if not 1/3 of regularly produced electricity ($0.035 /KWh)! How many plants are being built with this technology? Practically zippo (relatively speaking). See http://www.parc.xerox.com/research/publications/files/5706.pdf

So what do the cost numbers tell us? Scalability. Technologies can only be scaled up if they are very profitable. Solar Thermal is far more profitable than any other alternative energy candidate and will be for dozens of years . It doesn’t require exotic or highly refined or technologically advanced materials, and maintenance per MW is comparable to any coal powered plant. It seems a slam dunk, but instead solar-PV gets all the money despite that it’s only advantage is portability and distributed integration (solar thermal is largely a power-plant technology only).

“Solar Thermal Electricity is 10X more viable to fix our environment than Solar PV, but it gets less than 1/10th the grant and development money that solar PV gets. It’s an upside down pyramid.”

Now don’t get me wrong about solar PV. It isn’t a completely worthless technology, and eventually it will probably replace Solar-Thermal in terms of cost, maintenance, and expandability but none of the best experts see that happening any time soon and we can’t wait that long, but PV development is critical, which is why I still strongly support PV subsidies (not to mention that it’s needed to compensate for fossil fuel subsidies).

Europe's Pnergy Plan

Europe is already sold on parabolic trough technology (see the CSP plants above, concentrated solar power = trough technology), expecting it to play largest role in their future. The US on the other-hand is far more ideal for the technology (see world map above) and despite amazing success from the 20 yr old Mohave Desert plant solar trough implementation has approached a relative standstill since then. Solar troughs plants however have the potential to supply our continents electricity all from Nevada, and ultimately cost less than what we’re paying right now per kWh.

May 1, 2007

No, that isn’t who we are either

Filed under: Politics,Religion,Sociology — lullabyman @ 10:08 pm

I just watched the 2nd installment (see my last blog), and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by what I saw. Let me just say that none of the LDS people I know would intentionally plan to have another baby when the mother was 42 years of age and had gestational diabetes. The man who did that, I’m terribly sorry for his loss, but “another spirit waiting to come to our family” concept is not fully justified solely in LDS doctrine. The program presented many other similar stories where the questionable (if not downright wrong) actions of a few Mormons were once again misrepresented as being reflective of the Mormon religion and people as a whole.

All I can say is please know that the PBS “Frontline” documentary called “The Mormons” represented at best a very non-representative cross section of the body of the church, except for one family (out of dozens interviewed). If you want to know the truth then please get to know your Mormon neighbors and find out for yourselves. Personally I’m only further disappointed with the sensationalized focus the documentary placed on fringe members to have the audacity to call the documentary “The Mormons” and suggest that what they described was a fair cross-section of this religion and people.

No No, that wasn’t who they were!

Filed under: Mormonism,Politics,Religion,Sociology — lullabyman @ 3:54 am

I said in an earlier blog this was going to happen. As Mitt Romney’s chances of winning increase we’re going to see an increase portrayal of the Mormon church which will border anywhere from somewhat misleading, to filled with innuendo, to downright wrong. It’s already beginning.

I saw the first half of the public television special tonight “The Mormons” and I was appalled. Those were not my ancestors that they discussed so one-sidedly. One hour of instruction – footnotes given fanfare as minuscule as the short lived action-less Mormon Militia (but not the laudable and much larger Mormon Battalion), inordinate attention to portrayals of Joseph Smith wielding a sword as if he thought he was Napoleon every where he went, calling Smith our “Alpha” and “Omega” (could they get any more offensive?), the 1842 burning of the expositor, but no coverage on vandalized LDS property, a quarter of the time on early Polygamy, another quarter of the time drawing up an elaborate case to blame Brigham for Mountain Meadows massacre despite a complete lack of evidence that he ordered such a treacherous act, and another quarter covering recent polygamy which is outlawed by the LDS church and only practiced by less than 0.01% of Mormons (if you can call apostates Mormons). That’s who my ancestors were? That’s who the Mormons are? This program is called “The Mormons”, right?

Wow, talk about picking and choosing history. Why not discuss the Mormon battalion where 500 Mormon men marched 2000 miles on foot to fight for this country during the Mexican war, immediately after the government allowed Missouri to issue an extermination order allowing LDS people to be shot on site. Why not tell about the tremendous sacrifices made by 10,000’s selling all they had to come from Europe to “the promised land”? What’s with this “promised land” terminology? Why not tell about the multiple 1000’s (1 out of every 10) who died on the trek westward, or the Martin and Willie Handcart company alone wherein 220 people died? How about the unprecedented worldwide growth rate? How about telling what happened from 1900 to 1960, and the amazing welfare system that abolished poverty among the LDS during the depression … they completely skipped that period (1/3 of our history) … perhaps they couldn’t dredge up any scandals. Any scandals did happen afterward was with splinter groups who make up less than 1% of the “Mormon” population – but they still covered those right up until the program ended.

They gave whatever dirt on Joseph Smith they could find, so why not the many good reports given by non-LDS of Joseph Smith’s character and his good nature? What about all the early 1st hand accounts from non-Mormons of the time that admitted the Mormons were peace-loving and tried to be considerate as possible. How about a more detailed account of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and others who were there and the false charges he was held under, and the murders and raping of LDS people before the trek west, or the draining of the Nauvoo swamp and the 1000’s that died there from malaria? How about the method of church succession (Brigham Young didn’t just “take over” as PBS seemed to suggest), or how about the actual extermination from Kirtland and then Nauvoo and the massive burning of Nauvoo that followed? How about the massive splintering after the martyrdom? How about the surprise that most people followed Brigham to Mexico despite that he chose the most difficult trek of all the splinters? Or why not tell how all other splinters died off except those who inherited Nauvoo who have since struggled just to maintain their numbers. How about the building of the early temples, and the other temples, and what those early temples represent not just to Mormons, but to Americans?

Lastly they never got into the minds of those early converts. Why did Joseph’s church attract so many more dedicated followers than all the other upstarts in the “burned-over district”? Was it the Book of Mormon – or the unique concept of a priesthood restoration – or the 100% lay ministry – or the level of dedication that’s expected – Joseph’s mere magnetism – or the unique “plan of salvation” that he taught? Perhaps these things will be discussed in the second part of the series.

No, they didn’t cover those histories nor those events, but THOSE things were the substance of my ancestors. Not Mountain Meadows. Still, the Mountain Meadows massacre was a harrowing part of mormon history where a secluded group of members disregarded everything they were taught in order to commit so great a crime, and so I and all my Mormon freinds were taught about Mountain Meadows in our youth, and like all Mormons I will always be horrified and disturbed by it. The act was just as contrary to the LDS faith as it is to any other faith – a most important fact that PBS neglected to mention. Even worse, one of the PBS historians for unknown reasons then accused Mormons of not accepting the reality of Mountain Meadows and not having learned from it.  Note the unjustified subversive scare tactic they use that those who don’t learn from the past are condemned to repeat it – we will?!  Well, if you’re LDS then that may well be just what your neighbors now think of you.

I shudder to think that my non-member friends and neighbors saw that incredibly biased treatment of my heritage, and what they must think of my own ancestors now. What they must think of me that I might believe in that horrendous pick-n-choose history, and lastly that they might now consider something so hurtful and baffling as myself having a part of Mountain Meadows massacre in me. Way to go PBS … way to fuel the flames that one of your historians admitted were so unjustified.

February 8, 2007

Energy conscious and cold cold cold!

Filed under: Politics — lullabyman @ 3:42 am

I saw a PBS special (or was it a CPAN thing? – can’t remember) recently called “Peak Oil”. If you get a chance watch it.

Let me repeat myself: If you get a chance watch it.

Apparently in about 5 years we (mankind) will reach a point in oil production called “Peak Oil”. That’s when we’ve tapped pretty much everything there is to tap. From then on oil production will decrease. It will be gradual, and over the next 30-50 years oil production will drop at about the same rate it has increased up until now. Of course all this is theoretical, but it was very convincing and based on as about solid evidence as anything that I’ve heard.

It sounded more believable than global warming – and I believe in global warming. I became a believer about 5 – 10 years ago. Even before then however I thought that prudence was the best policy and have disapproved of the negligent attitudes that our government has had toward the issue.

Anyway, Peak Oil is a very closely related topic to the global warming topic, but in my opinion it is far more frightening. Then there’s global dimming – which is apparently far more statistically significant, and perhaps more influential on the world’s weather patterns than gloabal warming. The upshot of global dimming is that it is likely easily purged from the atmosphere within a short time, greenhouse gases aren’t though. What’s worse, when Peak Oil is reached then global dimming will likely go down while greenhouse gases remain or increase.

It is now known that the phenomena known as global dimming has counteracted the effects of global warming to a very significant degree. The result is that when the global dimming decreases then the earth will become very very hot very quickly. And that seems to be right around the corner.

The economic impact of Peak Oil is even far more significant. I used to work in a PV Solar Cell factory as an engineer. I know the alternative energy market industry, and believe me when I tell you it sucks. Nothing comes close to petroleum when it comes to bang per buck. Coal is the closest thing – but it has such a long way to go. Bottom line: when petroleum becomes more scarce (only 5 years away) all hell will break loose.

It kind of puts the Iraq confict into a whole new light. I don’t know all the alterior motives that may have existed for going into Iraq, but if we’re in for what it sounds like Peak Oil will give us then we would have been stupid to not secure a large portion of the middle east for ourselves to keep from being financially utterly destroyed after Peak Oil production is reached. Maybe we really did go in there to secure for ourselves a little future. Maybe, however unpopular it is now, in 5-10 years we’ll be very glad that we did.

So here it is, unbelievably cold … what do I do? We’ve dressed our kids in thermals and thick clothing. I’m wearing 3 pairs of thermals, warm clothes and a turtleneck sweater. We keep the temperature in the mid 60’s and let it get real cold at night. We have a pellet stove hooked directly into our forced air system that I plan on using next year.

I’ve been doing a lot of programming lately. Thank heavens the orders for kiosks have slowed down, as my shop is freezing and I don’t want to fire it up. Too expensive to keep warm when it gets down to the sub-zero temps (F).

So sadly I’m incredibly reliant on heating oil, and there’s little I can do about it. At a minimum I do think an extra hefty gas guzzler tax should be waged on gas guzzlers. Yes, that’s coming from me, a Republican that hates big government and beauracratic red tape. I also think they should triple the incentives given to adopt non-fossil-fuel technologies. Don’t give the money directly to the energy companies to develop new enery technologies – instead give it to comsumers who will invest in them. It should be financed with the gas guzzler tax.

Huge incentives should be given to make homes better insulated. Public awareness campaigns should advocate dressing warmly and keeping home temperatures at a lower setting in the winter. Public transportation needs to be made more inviting and convenient. All these things need to happen, and most of them aren’t even being discussed.

And no more Hydrogen Economy flap. Where do you think the hydrogen comes from? It comes from either water that is split by fossil fuel technologies, or directly from fossil fuel itself. H2 Economy is a clap trap and the public has been all too engaging.

And on top of that we need to secure for ourselves a mutually beneficial relationship with the bulk of Middle East countries as we prepare for this transistion.

January 11, 2007

Captain Moroni’s Plan for a Victory in Iraq

Filed under: Politics — lullabyman @ 2:52 am

I watched Bush’s new plan for Iraq, followed by the critiques, and I have to say I was disappointed with what everybody said, including the critics. I’m afraid Bush is mistaken … sending more troops with the same old strategy is not enough. It will help, but rebuilding the infrastructure faster only works if the infrastructure stays in the hands of the Iraqi people. I wish it did work, but “if you think what you’ve always thought, you’ll get what you’ve always got”, and we’ve been losing.

Pelosi is wrong too … merely sending more money while trying to “bring our boys home” with a blind eye to the consequences … things will only get worse. You can NOT have all our boys all home and have a surviving Iraq at the same time. What’s worse: Iraq is the litmus for global terrorism. The world IS watching. Duh!? And many of those watching are budding terrorists.

In short, we need a BETTER strategy against terrorism. Especially against a terrorist network that seriously threatens the existence of democracy. One that’s worked before. One that will work again.

What if I told you that modern terrorism was foretold over 2000 years ago in a record that surfaced in the early 1800s? What if I told you that it also gave a detailed account how to effectively defeat terrorism by strategy? What if I told you that the record itself documented how a group of people did it (after years and years of doing it the wrong way, like us)? What if the record claimed that entire purpose of the record was to help out a freedom-loving-people in the “last days” (our time) who would experience the same things as they experienced?

Regardless what you think about the Book of Mormon there’s one thing that’s obvious: It’s contains remarkable parallels with our current situation and it provides stunningly insightful solutions, especially to this situation.

In the Book of Mormon the terrorists from 2000+ years ago are called Gadianton Robbers. They have a secret society, built up for the sole purpose of personal gain at the expense of others. They live double lives, appearing as law-abiding citizens in daylight, and thieving murders at night to forward their own selfish causes. In many cases their members were part of an old aristocracy that has suffered when the public embraces sound moral principles and adopts a system of accountable judges instead of untouchable kings (sound familiar?).   At one point during the blooming democracy the secret criminals call themselves the “Kingmen” and demand an end to democracy, while their foes are are called the “Freemen” and the public debate is fierce.  Does that sound familiar – a public debate on the value of democracy in Iraq?

This is when they cause an insurgency and a war – even a sectarian war of sorts with religion playing a major part (freedom of religion vs. no freedom of religion). The result of this brings the criminals out into the public eye and they unite themselves with unsavory characters outside the city walls and start spending more time away from the city to foster their plans of destruction than within the city. During this time Captain Moroni, a military officer, raises a title of liberty that says “for our children, for our wives, for our god and for nation” during which time most of the king-men are driven out away from the city and it is at this time they are called the “Gadianton Robbers” (led by a master-of-secrecy, named Gadianton).

The murderous robbers are a festering problem that just gets worse. They threaten the survival of the entire civilization, and at one point it appears their numbers are greater than that of the law abiding citizens – and they nearly succeed in destroying the city. Their tactics seem all too familiar with us today. For example, doing most of their damage by waiting for people to leave the city to get food, and then they attack them (similarly, 90% of Coalition troop deaths have also occurred by roadside bombs).

Does any of this sound familiar? Then read on.

Moroni tries all kinds of things. One thing he learns won’t work is to fight them on their territory – the loss of life on his side is too great. Sound familiar? So he changes his tactics (novel concept – changing tactics if they fail). Essentially he commands his people to gather all the food they possibly can and store it into their main city, and then he builds a wall around the city (now I’m kind of blurring the time-line here, but that’s not important). Nobody goes in or out of the city – neither should they need to because they are up to thier gills in food.

Funny thing about terrorists … they’re ecologically stupid. They don’t know how to farm. Moroni’s people pretty much gleaned the foliage anyway of all it’s sustenance and stored it in the city, enough to subsist for years. So what do you think happened to the terrorists? They starved. Moroni would then bait and hook them – sending small battalions outside the city walls for a gander, after-which the ex-pulsed resurgents would attempt to attack. Of course, they were starving, and in no shape to fight, and were easy fodder for Moroni’s men. This went on until the Gadianton robbers pretty much dwindled to nothing.

Now, it didn’t stop there. Moroni exercises a twist to the starvation tactic -and a very significant one. Many robbers then united with another nation and inspired the other nation to go to war against Moroni’s people (sound familiar?). It was bloody, and the terrorists were so deft at war that they were made captains in the armies of the other nations (can you say Al Quaeda officers?). As a result, with their knowledge of Moroni’s tactics, and using the strength of the other nation they were successful at overtaking many cities leaving an amazing path of wonton destruction wherever they go. In response, Moroni started building great walls around the cities to make a safe havens. Now here’s the clever tactic: when a city is taken by the enemy (in some cases Moroni freely gave it up for this purpose) Moroni simply surrounds the city until they run out of food. He doesn’t fight them – he just picks them off as they try to leave to get food. Either the enemy gives up from starvation, or they try to fight their way out to food. Either way, it works. Even terrorists need food and water to survive.

Give up an empty city, let the terrorists invade it. Let the terrorists die of starvation. Go back and re-inhabit the city.

Okay now, back to today. There are other strategies Moroni provided us, but the one with food, and these sealed off safety zones are very significant and aren’t being adequately used in Iraq. I’m sure such things have been discussed, and have been exercised to a limited degree, but severe implementation has been dismissed for one reason or another – most likely because it would be inconvenient and the Iraqi people wouldn’t like it. Therein lies one of our biggest mistakes: the mistake of pretending life in a war zone can be and should be convenient. We are trying too hard to maintain a standard of normalcy in the free areas, and that is allowing the enemy to mix in among the Iraqi citizens. Those aren’t safe areas! They aren’t safe. Quit pretending that they are – or you’re aiding the enemy.

Let’s call a spade a spade and realize that if we want to destroy the enemy then we have to isolate them, like Moroni did. That means making some sacrifices in the coalition controlled areas. It means doing as Moroni did to drive the insurgents into the public view by demanding that everyone raise a title of liberty. Those who don’t raise the title must be driven out. Then resources can be controlled to weaken the enemy and strengthen the coalition.

The use of walls is very significant. We know Fallujah is the #1 stronghold. Seal it off (think West Berlin but in reverse: don’t go inside). Give the insurgents their own medicine: don’t let anyone enter or leave. People need food to survive. These are bomb-makers, not farmers. They will die eventually. It may take years, but if we keep them in Fallujah then they won’t be bothering anyone in the meantime.

In short, we’ve seen that the tightening of security in the states has been successful. We’ve successfully battled the war on terror in the homeland by making it a safe-zone. We need to do this same thing in Iraq, and that will require some drastic changes to the existing free citizens, but this is war. They’ll be safe and right now that’s what’s most important. It will mean the city declaring certain existing areas as being safety zones – and sealing off those parts of the city. This will result in a total evacuation of some cities, and crowded (however well supplied) other cities. The off-limit cities will be left alone, except that no food will be allowed in them. None. Period. People need food and water to survive.

If they want food – they must make an oath, and will be placed in a special safety zone where they cannot mix with the bulk of the people until the war is over.

Lastly – the Title of Liberty: Raise it for the Iraqi people. This war will either be won or lost in the battle of the air waves and it’s ridiculous that we’ve been loosing the airwaves. This is war, and in war “right-to-arms” doesn’t apply to the enemy – and what stronger weapon is there than the airwaves?! Since when did freedom of speech apply to the enemy who is trying to kill that freedom? Jam their signals. Raise among the Iraqi’s a radio-based title of liberty “for our children, for our wives, for our nation, for our right to worship according to our own dictates”. We have the technology. We can air drop millions of radios that tune only to a certain station, and jam certain Al Jezeer programs or any other station that promotes terrorism.

You don’t have to be LDS, or even subscribe to it’s doctrines to see the wisdom of Moroni’s strategies. Whether you think he was real or that he and his parallels with today were just an amazingly lucky guess on Joseph Smith’s part, you have to admit – he knew how to fight terrorists. Now, let’s fight. For we have a better cause: “Our wives, our children, our country, and our freedoms”. Raise the title among the Iraqi’s. Nothing could be more viral.

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