What a difference a day makes!

What a difference a day makes!

Ted Folkert – November 12, 2018

Yesterday was Veterans Day. Today is the day we honor it with bank, school, and government office closures. Most of us probably didn’t reflect much on the meaning of all the sacrifices of minds, lives and limbs damaged or lost by those who became our veterans.

Remember the song: “What a difference a day makes” and the line: “Only twenty-four little hours?” Our veterans probably understand that more than most of us. I suppose if we had spent 24 little hours on the battlefields of WWI, or WWII, or the Korean War, or the Vietnam War, or the Iraqi Invasion, or Afghanistan Invasion, we might really have an understanding of “what a difference a day makes” and a true appreciation for the bravery, diligence, and sacrifices demonstrated by those who either willingly or unwillingly represented our country and our freedom and survival.

We can read the history books and get many varied opinions about the causes of these conflicts and the propriety or rationality of decisions to involve our women and men in those battles. Which authors were right doesn’t matter now, especially to those who participated in the battles and their loved ones who remain.

Perhaps we can honor these fallen heroes by thinking more astutely and more unselfishly about who our chosen leaders should be in the future. We are somewhat stuck with what we have now, but many of wish we could have a do-over. Unfortunately, we usually choose not to take such action as would be required for a do-over. It gets ugly and divisive, two conditions we don’t want or need.

To show the utmost respect and appreciation for our veterans, maybe in future elections we could just ask ourselves questions like: which candidate will do the right thing, which candidate will make rational decisions, which candidate shows concern for all citizens, which candidate displays compassion for those who are less fortunate, which candidate understands the world we live in and the political ramifications of actions taken and importance of alliances with world powers, which candidate has an astute understanding of the concerns of others and the maturity to negotiate in a mutually cooperative manner, and which candidate reacts in such a manner as to reduce the likelihood of having additional war veterans in the future while maintaining our beliefs and standards for equality and fairness.

It is becoming more obvious day by day that we have been remiss in our electoral decision-making, which many of us still deny, and that like Ronald Reagan said about trading arms for hostages back in the 1980s when he made some rash decisions: “we didn’t do it and we’re not going to do it again.”

Can Human Progress be a Bad Thing?

Can Human Progress be Bad Thing?

Ted Folkert,
November 10, 2018

As we wallow in our pride and sense of superiority of our country as opposed to all of the other countries on the planet, we should consider some facts which we generally choose to avoid, ignore or perhaps of which we are unaware. Such facts about the future of the world population and the world economy can be not only revealing, but ego-deflating and reality-engaging, as we acquire a broader understanding of our place and our responsibility for the future of Planet Earth.

The International Monetary Fund has forecasted the position and current impact of the countries of the planet in terms of gross domestic product in the immediate future. They discuss what they call the New Economy, as opposed to the Old Economy, in which we have been a known world leader.

They discuss 155 countries which are home to 85% of the world’s population and 59% of global output. (The U.S. currently represents less than 3% of world population and, as of 2016, represents 20% or so of world output.)

These countries the IMF include, without listing all of them individually: Mexico, Central America, all of South America, all of Africa, all of Russia, China, India, the Middle East countries and adjacent countries in the Western Europe and Asian hemisphere, as well as Indonesia. The United States, Canada, Europe, Northern Europe and Japan are not included, in what they refer to as the New Economy.

The Chinese government is backing a city called Xiongan with a projected population of 3 to 5 million, a $300 billion project over 15 years, the Egyptian government backing of New Cairo with a projected population of 5 million, a project proposed to create 2 million jobs, the Nigerian government backing of Eko Atlantic with a projected population of 250 thousand, the Ecuadorian backing of Yachay, Ecuador with a population of 125 thousand, the Malaysian backed Forest City with a projected population of 700 thousand, the Qatari backing of Rawabi, West Bank with a projected population of 250 thousand – to name a few. It appears that many countries throughout the planet are expanding habitable territory to house and employ projected population increases over the immediate future.

As we discussed previously, world population is approaching 8 billion, up from 1 billion a couple of hundred years ago. It is projected to reach 10 billion, supposedly before tapering off a few hundred years from now. Nothing for you and me to worry about, but in reality we have a responsibility to future generations, who have not yet been born and cannot express an opinion or defend their rights, and who deserve being born into a world in which they can survive.

I seems imperative upon all of the developed countries to project and curtail consumption of precious resources, which can only be curtailed by population control. And it seems imperative to instill, declare, and enforce implementation of curtailment of environmental impacts which may, and the majority of our scientific community insists, will, render our wonderful planet to be unable to support human life or perhaps life of any kind.

The evidence is hiding in plain sight. All we have to do to confirm these findings is to digest the scientific research and studies of the oceans and the atmosphere by our brilliant scientists and engineers, and compare such findings in previous years, decades and centuries.

All we have to do to begin to curtail it is to elect leaders who understand these realities and have the intelligence and courage to ignore their personal careers, their personal wealth, their personal legacy, and join forces to convince 8 billion people that we must take steps to stanch the outflow of vital atmospheric conditions which sustain human life on Planet Earth.

Is it likely to happen? Probably so.
Is it likely to happen in time to make a difference? Probably not.

Think about it!

“How to Make America America Again”

Excerpts from Thomas L. Friedman’s article in the New York Times today, October 24, 2018:

“How to Make America America Again”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/23/opinion/midterms-democrats-trump-house-senate.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage&login=email&auth=login-email

“What is there left to say about the terrible murder of moderate Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and its aftermath? Only one thing, and I have said it before, but I feel it even more strongly now: In the midterm elections, vote for a Democrat, canvass for a Democrat, raise money for a Democrat, drive someone else to a voting station to vote for a Democrat.

I don’t say that because I’m particularly liberal and want to shift the whole country to the liberal agenda. I say that because I’m particularly American and I want to put the best of American values back at the center of our diplomacy and politics. President Trump has spent two years attacking our best values — truth and trust — and I believe that Democrats getting a lever of power is necessary, but not sufficient, to reverse that.

Democrats could blow it if they get back a lever of power and use it just to bully Trump and Republicans the same way he has them. But I’ll take that chance. Because there is a basic respect for truth, science and decency in the Democratic caucus and because I know that two more years of the G.O.P. holding every lever of power and blindly following Trump’s basic disrespect for truth, science and decency will make it impossible to elevate America’s best values.”

In sum, words today are not enough, investigative journalism is not enough, television special reports are not enough, documentaries are not enough, endless columns and editorials calling out Trump are not enough — even an audiotape of Khashoggi being killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul may not be enough — because the truth is just not enough today — not as long as we have a president who has no shame, who is backed by party that has no spine, that controls the House, the Senate, the White House, the Supreme Court and, indirectly, a major television network that has no integrity.

One day I hope the truth will be enough again. One day I hope great journalism will be enough again. But today only a lever of power — the House or the Senate — will make it so. Facts, science and truth — without power — are just leaves floating through the air in the age of Trump, scattering aimlessly without impact.

So, this year: No third party, no Green Party, no throwing up our hands and saying, “They’re all bad.” All of that’s for another day. For today, in these midterm elections, vote for a Democrat, canvass for a Democrat, raise money for a Democrat, drive someone else to a voting station to vote for a Democrat. It’s the only hope to make America America again.

Nothing else matters. Pass it on.

Please read the entire article: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/23/opinion/midterms-democrats-trump-house-senate.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage&login=email&auth=login-email

Abuse of Power

Abuse of Power

Ted Folkert

October 18, 2018

How many impeachable offenses must a president commit before our fearless leaders decide to remove him from office in favor of limiting additional damage to the country and the world?

What is an impeachable offense?

  • How about refusing to disclose his financial holdings and debts which may influence his decision-making regarding laws, rules, regulations, and disputes?
  • How about failure to perform the duties of office in an honest, fair, responsible, and professional manner?
  • How about failure to take executive actions based on the interest of the American people instead of personal interest?
  • How about innumerable violations of the emoluments clause in the constitution regarding personal gain derived from holding public office?
  • How about limiting the effectiveness of the Environmental Protection Agency by putting the fox in charge of guarding the hen house?
  • How about endangering our educational system by putting the fox in charge of guarding the hen house?
  • How about handing millionaires and billionaires a nice big tax cut and passing it off as handing a nice bonus to all the wage-earners in the country?
  • How about handing the fossil fuel industry the right to pollute waterways and exacerbate the danger of global warming?
  • How about calling global warming a hoax while ignoring the declaration of almost 100% of the world’s scientists that it will destroy the ability of the planet to support human life?
  • How about sidling up with Vladimir Putin, not in the best interest of the country but in the best interest of the president’s personal wealth, of which the Russians seem to have considerable leverage?
  • How about the obvious inclination to overlook the heinous murder of a news writer by a Saudi ruler of whom the president’s personal income and wealth may be considerably intertwined?
  • How about criticizing foreign leaders, American leaders, and many members of the news media with whom he disagrees with childish and vulgar verbal abuse?
  • How about tarnishing our image as a world leader by taking a “we are number one” stance while endangering the viability of various international organizations which rely on cooperation and the merging of common interests in maintaining a vibrant world economy and maintaining world peace?
  • How many outright irrefutable lies must a president shout to the American people before he should be removed from office?

The above are actions of a dictator, not the elected president of a democratic republic with two houses of congress to enact and oversee enforcement of laws which provide the basis for a government “of, by, and for the people.”

I rest my case!

News from Planet Earth

News from Planet Earth

Ted Folkert

October 12, 2018

A little dose of mind-boggling always reminds us of how insignificant day-to-day occurrences really are in the big order of things.

About 40 years ago our brilliant Planet Earth scientists and engineers designed and built two spacecrafts which today continue to achieve enormous strides in our exploration of the universe.

Voyager 1 was launched in 1977, shortly after the launch of Voyager 2, and is said to be flying away from Earth at a speed of more than 13,000 miles per hour and is now more than 13 billion miles away from Earth.

Flying at 13,000 miles per hour means that it could fly across the U.S. in about 15 minutes and circle the globe in about 2 hours, a trip which would now take a commercial airliner about 2 days. It could reach the moon (240,000 miles away) in less than one day and the sun (93 million miles away) in less than one year. The journey to the sun would obviously be incomplete because Voyager would be melted before it even got close.

It took 35 years for Voyager 1 to exit our solar system and reach interstellar space. Its power supply is said to be failing but we expect to continue to receive data from it until 2025. We can all look forward to this date with disappointment, only 7 years away, but we can’t look forward to the date of the next expected encounter with Voyager 2.

Flying for 35 years at 13,000 miles per hour to exit our solar system gives us a mindboggling idea of how large our solar system is, consisting of the Sun, the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, as well as many other smaller objects such as comets and asteroids.

And if you want to take exploring our universe a step further, some scientists tell us that the universe is 10 to the 30th power times the size of our observable universe. That is 10 with 30 zeros after it times the distance that a spacecraft can travel at 13,000 miles per hour for 35 years. If you calculate that please give me the answer, however, the number will surely take several pages to write down.

No need to put this next encounter with Voyager 2 on your calendar. It is anticipated to occur in about 40,000 years. Our scientists will have plenty of time to devise ways of communicating with Voyage 1 and 2 by then, but it obviously won’t matter for anyone now inhabiting Planet Earth. And, of course, unless we take steps “sooner than you think” to deal with global warming, there won’t be any humanoids around to witness this upcoming event anyway, so the whole project could be an exercise in futility.

I suppose we are dependent upon the scientists either way. But the scientists can only prescribe the medication. They can’t make us swallow it! And it seems that we won’t take the medicine simply because the challenge of convincing all the worlds inhabitants to relinquish any pleasures that they “can’t live without” is just that, an exercise in futility, particularly considering the obstacles presented by the global warming deniers.

How is this for mind-boggling?

More Inconvenient Truth

More Inconvenient Truth

Ted Folkert

October 8, 2018

A film featuring Al Gore in 2006 called “An Inconvenient Truth” opened our eyes about the danger of global warming and the devastation it could cause for the sustainability of human life on the planet. Of course, the naysayers made fun of his analysis, calling him a tree-hugger and accusing him of crying “the-sky-is-falling,” for fear that it could cause some adverse effect on the vibrant economy, corporate wealth and power, and advancing living standards.

According to a recent disturbing report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it seems that anyone younger than me has some serious concerns to consider. Such considerations would include the major question: “do we want a planet which supports human life, or do we want to subscribe to steps to deter climate change now before it is past the point of no return”?

This report points out a far direr picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.” They point to the year 2040 as significant to turning this dangerous tide.

This isn’t a question or concern for a hundred years or a thousand years from now as we chose to think in the past. According to this panel of leading scientists, it is a concern for 22 years from now, a time when my children will be beyond middle age and my grandchildren will be middle age and perhaps raising children of their own. This must be of serious concern for all of us.

We all have a common mother, Mother Nature, and she isn’t happy with the way we are treating the planet she arranged for our pleasure. With massive earthquakes millions of years ago she buried millions of plants and animals which decayed and became what we now call fossils. We have not been satisfied with the comforts she provided for us initially and consequently have proceeded to dig up these fossils, which have become oil, coal, and natural gas, which we now call fossil fuels, and burn them to make life more comfortable and to transport ourselves around the planet at will. And, of course, as invention and development of more things to make life more comfortable and more fun came about, we found it necessary to burn more and more of these fossil fuels to erect and manufacture additional comfort and pleasures of life.

It seems that the time has come to pay the ultimate price for our constant pursuit of more comfort. Now we are told that the planet is warming due to burning of these fossil fuels and that such warming is causing the oceans to rise. This will result in much loss of land area along coastlines which will ultimately cause massive migration of displaced people around the globe.

This loss of land area along with our ever-increasing population will eventually result in a lack of adequate essential necessities of life which may create a new meaning to the term “survival of the fittest.” It could also render whole new verses for the old song: “Sooner Than You Think.”

Of course, our head-in-the-sand president calls all this scientific discovery a giant hoax. This isn’t a surprising take on the situation for him since any action taken to reduce this imminent threat could have an adverse effect on the hospitality and golfing industries in which he is engaged. And, what happens a few decades from now is far less important to him than his current earnings and protection of his illusory billion-dollar fortune. After all, he may not be able to depend upon the financial support of the Putin clan indefinitely, so he needs to milk the cow while she is in the barn and poo-poo any comments by the world’s most respected scientists that may deter his personal wealth, regardless of the demise of a billion displaced people.

Think about it!

 

The Hog Dilemma

The Hog Dilemma

Ted Folkert

September 25, 2018

Jim Hightower, a much-admired writer, speaker, and progressive prognosticator, the editor of the publication “The Hightower Lowdown,” tells us what he learned in Texas as a child, that “the water won’t clear up until you get the hogs out of the creek.” We southerners and midwesterners call that good old down-home cowboy wisdom.

Well, in a few weeks we have a chance to help clear the water by removing some of the hogs from the creek, a chance we may not have again in such large measure until our laughing-stock-of-the-planet president attempts, by reelection, to extend his demolition of the common good of the country in exchange for a richer and more powerful upper class, while the middle class and lower class are losing ground, struggling to make ends meet under the strain of higher prices due to unnecessary trade tariffs, lack of wage equalization due to lack of collective bargaining, and painful impacts on social programs.

So, how do we get some of the hogs out of the creek? How to we gain more assurance that our election process will not be attacked in the same manner as when this, least-desirable-of-all, candidate was chosen by the election manipulators to grasp the power of the presidency, a role which provides many opportunities to make derogatory changes in laws, policies and enforcement thereof, to the disadvantage of the working-class with, and sometimes without, congressional approval.

The way we can help to assure success at the poles in November is to show up and vote. The way to have the votes required is to talk up the issues in an intelligent manner, not with right-wing sound-bites such as “I don’t want anyone taking my money and giving it to someone else.” Such an attitude is not well thought out and not in the best interest of a democratic republic which must maintain an attitude of helping each other and everyone chipping in to the cost of maintaining a vibrant and equitable society with equality of opportunity and social programs to assure the continuity of a well-educated and healthy populous.

And the step before urging everyone to vote is to urge everyone to register to vote. There is nothing wrong with asking your neighbor or your co-worker if they are registered to vote and telling them the steps to achieve registration. Such a question does not infer any political persuasion. That can come later. Besides, no matter your political party preference, the damage that has been done and is continuing to be done doesn’t separate political parties. It affects everyone simultaneously, without favoring one party or the other. The only difference in the effect on voters is by the level of income and wealth. Now the rich are getting richer and the poor and middle-class are, as they say in the South and Midwest, sucking hind teat.

And when the day to vote becomes imminent ask your neighbor or co-worker if they need transportation to the polls. Give someone a ride, don’t go there alone, take a neighbor. That is the only way to assure that everyone votes. We need everyone to vote and if everyone understands their best interest and votes their best interest we can take back a large element of our governance.

This election is more important than perhaps any in our lifetime. We not only have a fragile economy which has not fully reflected the damage done by the current administration. We also have a much longer range and life-threatening challenge – global warming – that disastrous environmental reality which, without drastic changes in lifestyle, will render the planet unable to support human life and eventually life of any kind as we know it. And with our current administration considering global warming a hoax and unleashing more coal mining and oil drilling which drastically damages our oceans and our atmosphere, this exacerbates the problem and moves us faster into a point of no return, a point of too little, too late, a point of the damage being irreversible, one in which the pace to uninhabitability accelerates out of control.

If we don’t act while we can, population control will never be the problem we anticipate. That problem will likely take care of itself.

Think about it!

The Delusion of Miracles

Excerpts from George Monbiot’s recent article in the Guardian:
“Plastic Soup” “The problem is not plastic. It is consumerism.”

(https://www.monbiot.com/2018/09/12/plastic-soup/)

“Do you believe in miracles? Plenty of people imagine we can carry on as we are, as long as we substitute one material for another.

The problem is pursuing, on the one planet known to harbor life, a four-planet lifestyle. Regardless of what we consume, the sheer volume of consumption is overwhelming the Earth’s living systems.

The most obvious is the fishing industry. Throughout the oceans, this industry, driven by our appetites and protected by governments, is causing cascading ecological collapse.

Buying prawns causes many times more damage to marine life than any plastic in which they are wrapped. Prawn fishing has the highest rates of bycatch of any fishery: scooping up vast numbers of turtles and other threatened species. Prawn farming eliminates great tracts of mangrove forests, crucial nurseries for thousands of species.

But we cannot address our environmental crisis by swapping one over-used resource for another. The answer to the question “how should we live?” is “simply”.

The problems we face are structural: a political system captured by commercial interests and an economic system that seeks endless growth.”

Author’s comments:

It is obvious that Monbiot’s above comments involve the endless growth in consumption of our planet’s scarce resources. This, of course, results both from the population explosion on the planet and the incessant human desire for more and better food, shelter, clothing, and entertainment. We all seem compelled to replace ourselves with enough offspring to not only offset the loss of our person but to continually increase the population of consumers on the planet. And we are in a bit of a trap in considering any solution to such a process.

There were 1 billion people on the planet as of about 1800, 2 billion by about 1925 (125 years), 3 billion by about 1960 (35 years), 4 billion by about 1975 (15 years), 5 billion by about 1990 (15 years), 6 billion by about 2000 (10 years), 7 billion by about 2010 (10 years), and 7.6 billion by 2018 (8 years). So, in 218 years the population of the planet has grown by a factor of 7.6, an average of about 30 million additional consumers annually.

From 2010 to 2018 the increase has averaged about 85 million additional consumers annually. Based on this rate of growth we will have 8 billion by 2022, 9 billion by 2030, and 10 billion by 2040. And where she stops, nobody knows! This would be like adding another country with a population like China or India every 10 years or adding another U. S. every 3 years.

And now comes the oxymoron, albeit one of finality at some point. Without a constant supply of young people there would not be an adequate number of workers required to provide food, shelter, clothing, and entertainment to sustain us all. We must have enough working-age people to provide adequate necessities but in so having we overpopulate the planet to the point of destroying the habitat which makes human life possible. Dead if you do and dead if you don’t. Not an inspiring choice.

Sounding an alarm for those of us who are well-seasoned individuals may be a fruitless effort in addressing this upcoming debacle, However, the young among us and those who follow should take serious heed to this history of population growth, the impact it will have on future generations and any corrective measures possible to extend human life. The outlook doesn’t seem positive considering the scientific evidence which becomes more severe on a continual basis.

We have a responsibility to future generations to correct and change any process of human consumption which will have a devastating impact on human habitation.

And here we have just discussed consumption. We haven’t even addressed the impact on human habitation we are incurring with our carbon dioxide emissions from normal transport and manufacturing or the impact of explosives which we use for nearly every facet of life, especially trying to make each other behave the way we wish, both in war and in peacetime conflict.

Think about it!

First Chance or Last Chance?

First Chance or Last Chance?

Ted Folkert – September 1, 2018

They say you only get one chance to make a first impression. That could very well be true. But making a first impression isn’t the only place where we may only get one chance. Which brings up a much more serious problem. We probably only get one last chance for making some strategic decisions about the sustainability of our planet. Apparently, if we choose to listen to our scientists, we may now have our last chance to save this planet for human habitation in future centuries, much to the denial of our simple-minded president.

Now that our president has as his mission the walking-back of everything that took place during the Obama administration, and his mission of ignoring all of these “ridiculous” warnings of climate change being mouthed about by these evil Democrats, and his mission to promote a stronger economy with massive wealth to be garnered by those who pursue it and who have the rules on their side to get it done, he has proceeded to block, change, ignore, and set aside any and all measures to deal with the real debacle that hovers over mankind.

The real debacle is not a faltering economy, it isn’t threats from foreign countries which force him to show off his bravery and make idle threats of warfare while strutting about our powerful military, it isn’t abusive taxation which threatens the lessening of massive wealth – no, the real debacle, the debacle that could end it all without us ever pulling a trigger or dropping a bomb, is global warming, that annoying term which our president calls a hoax while ignoring the stated belief and frequent warnings of nearly 100% of the scientists on Earth.

The common belief, and one which already has empirical evidence of an unbearable outcome, is that the warming oceans, which are fueled by carbon emissions which provide a blanket around our planet which traps the heat within our atmosphere, is and will continue to cause the oceans to rise, eating away at the land on which we live, and will cause the deserts to expand, eating away at the land on which we live, and the air we breathe will become more toxic with no method of cleansing it for life sustainability, and the climate favorable for growing crops and raising livestock will increase and provide an unfavorable impact on food production – and the list goes on.

Our scientists tell us that 80% of the remaining fossil fuels on Earth need to be left in the ground if we want to save the planet for ongoing human habitation or perhaps life of any kind. Well, our brilliant president knows better. He knows that this is all a hoax and therefore sets in motion the process of expanding coal production, oil production, offshore drilling, and probably, if he can find a way, nuclear power production – all the very processes which our scientists declare to be the fuel of our demise.

This policy of short term financial gain for the rich and powerful, a group which our president claims to be a part of, takes precedence over long term economic stability through increased equality of income and wealth. Of course, so long as our saber-rattling president (the same one with the bone spurs) can continue to amass a fortune for he and his heirs, nothing else matters one iota. We all are coming to realize that his entire plan to conquer the presidency was to enhance his own wealth and to garner some relief from the Russians who have lent him billions and have him over a barrel, obviously in more ways than one. All this seems apparent as we watch him pursue his romance with Vladimir Putin, the former strongman for Russian dictators and who is now a murderous dictator himself, and who seems to hold our president’s image and financial survival in his hand. This, of course, has inspired cartoons of Putin walking around with our president on a leash, a cartoon which has too much reality to be very humorous.

We have gone from perhaps the most admired and respected country in the world to probably the laughing stock of the world. And why not? We stood by and allowed this president who has been labeled as stupid, idiotic, hedonistic, narcissistic, rude, ungrateful, self-centered, and pathetic, become elected as the leader of the richest and most powerful country on Earth while we watched from the sidelines, assuming we didn’t need to enter the game. We didn’t even care enough to assure that we had two good candidates to choose from and then we didn’t care enough to elect the best of the two less-than-the-best candidates we were offered.

We have an opportunity to start atoning for the errors of our negligence, for correcting the errors of our lack of involvement to assure an ongoing stable country, for starting on the road back to an intelligently administered country and generous world leader, an admired nation of laws and not of men, an example of the rewards of free-enterprise, democracy, and equality of opportunity. And above all, a country whose leaders recognize the perils that stand before us and our obligation to future generations to take steps within our control to eliminate the eventual destruction of life on the planet.

Maybe we can render meaningless the cliché which could serve as our future epitaph: “the operation was a success, but the patient died.”

This first opportunity to instill change is in the November elections. We have an opportunity to elect state governors, federal legislators, and many other governmental officials who will have more respect and concern for the good of the state and nation than for their personal welfare, elected officials who will serve the nation and not themselves, officials who will understand the value of equality of opportunity and the rule of law.

We should take heed to something that Louis Brandeis is quoted as having said many years ago: “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth in the hands of the few, but we can’t have both.”

It seems possible that if we don’t improve our leadership, we may not be able to have either.

Think about it!

 

Climate Change Challenge

Climate Change Challenge

Ted Folkert, August 22, 2018

Our fearless leader Donald “Vladimir” Trump is, of course, rolling back clean air regulations on coal-burning power plants. It’s another head-in-the-sand attempt to revive the coal industry that threatens the environment to “save all those coal mining jobs,” as he promised to do while campaigning in coal mining states.

Robert Bryce, in his L.A. Times article, “A Fully Renewable California, discusses Bill McKibben’s “Do the Math” tour about renewable energy. This concerns California Senate Bill 100 which would require the state’s utilities to get all their energy from renewable sources by 2045.

As Bryce explains it, this would require more than 100,000 megawatts of onshore wind-power capacity, which would require more than 15,000 square miles of turbines. L.A County is about 4,000 square miles, so this would occupy an area 4 times the size of L. A. County, which houses, employs or educates more than 10,000,000 people.

It would also require more than 30,000 megawatts of off-shore wind capacity, and more than 200,000 megawatts of solar-energy capacity. The 200,000 megawatts of solar energy capacity would be about equivalent to the amount generated on the entire planet last year. The 30,000 megawatts of off-shore wind capacity would require more that 80 new solar facilities as large as that in the Mojave Desert which covers more than 5 square miles.

Obviously, the goal of this bill would seem a formidable challenge at best and, more than likely, impossible to achieve in the time frame which the bill sets out.

So, what has caused this problem of providing enough power to serve the state, or the nation, or the planet? There have been many books written about this subject, so it cannot be explained here in a few paragraphs. However, some obvious causational factors are apparent. The population of the state, country, and planet has grown geometrically over the last couple of hundred years. When we started using electric power there were less than 1 billion people on the planet. Now there will soon be 8 billion. And when there were 1 billion people we didn’t use electric power for everything we do, we didn’t all drive vehicles which were manufactured by the thousands, we didn’t all have well-lit houses and offices, we didn’t all have radios, televisions, air conditioners, multiple electric appliances, cell phones computers, printers, you name it.

Adding up the impact of population growth and multiplying it by the technological advancements for comfort, health, and entertainment equates to a simple explanation of the growth in demand for power generation capacity and the space and resources it requires.

And now that we seek alternatives to protect the fragile environment which supports human life, and now that we face depletion of scarce resources, and now that we face the cost and impact of providing adequate power generation capacity, we have some decisions to make that will probably not be made in a timely manner and which will endanger the fragile environment which we are responsible for preserving for future generations. Future generations obviously are those who have not yet been born and therefor are unable to voice their objection to our depletion of scarce precious resources and destructiveness of the planet.

But, on a brighter side, or uglier side, if we continue to choose world leaders like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jon Il, and Trump the over-population problem may solve itself through warfare, a very unpleasant sounding resolution.

Think about it!

We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both. Louis Brandeis