Traitriots

Wrapping themselves in symbols and rhetoric a band of religious extremists are occupying our government. Draped in remnants of past glory corrupt officials are shielded from the public they ‘serve’, access is For Sale to the highest bidder.

These so-called leaders (watch them congratulate each other for their leadership) are busy walking a middle of the road lie about any given topic, always with a hidden agenda hatched in the Backrooms of the Beltway, Washington D.C.

Observe the top leader, the president, appearing in public to give his latest speech in defense of the illegal war in Iraq. Why does the leader of a democratic republic need to be so heavily protected by dozens of Secret Service agents from just a few hundred of his own selected military, within the confines of a military base located in the U.S.? He was even wearing a bulletproof vest.

How can it be that the evil dictator, Fidel Castro, can stand before 1 million citizens for hours to give a speech and the crowd not only respectfully stands the entire time, but cheers in appreciation? Meanwhile, in the freedom of the U.S., our politicians hide in backrooms making deals with big business while armed guards protect them from the general public.

And yet, the jets are still flying, gluttonous consumption continues as mindless petroleum addicts feed the war machine with every purchase. To not participate in the consumer culture is to reject the petroleum warmongers. In fact, patriotism has been linked to consumption by the so-called president as the appropriate response to the tragedy of 9/11. Of course later he used the tragedy to justify escalation of a war that had been underway for decades, West v Middle East for petroleum resources. A careful look at his campaign promises will reveal the intention to escalate military development in any case. This is the secret to the fundraising power behind their political machine, their relationships with petroleum dependent aerospace and transportation industries.

The consumers are workers employed by these industries and have a vested interest in their success. The consumers drive the SUV’s to the facilities that supply the demand for more consumption to ‘grow’ the economy. The Consumer Culture feeds on itself at the expense of the environment and any non-conforming culture that has the misfortune of contact with and the subsequent conquest by the gluttons.

The so-called leaders of this debacle are empowered by a sometimes supportive and often apathetic population that is addicted to cheap oil. I watched as 150 busloads of obese consumers converged on the California State Capitol to demand more State entitlements and guarantees. Ok, fine, these workers certainly have a right to unite to demand better working conditions, but where are these people while thousands of tons of explosives are dropped on an innocent public in a sovereign nation? Are they glued to the TV watching the same coverage on 5 different channels? Or do they just go on about their lives, grumbling about the price of gas, blissfully immersed in the corporate entertainment world of Movies, Malls, and Massage? Are these kind of people, racing from red light to red light in their SUV’s, really so innocent? I say no, these are flag- waving Red, White and Blue, Star Spangled supporters of the Consumer Culture are in fact TRAITRIOTS. Yep, I merged Traitors with Patriots to emerge with a new word: Traitriots. They often readily identify themselves as they roll out of their Super-Sized SUV at the Mall to see a Movie and consume some culture, but also may be found hiding under a green-wash marketing effort to appear local and environmentally responsible. These may be spotted by the rhetoric and slick corporate look and feel designed to imply social responsibility, sometimes overtly with funds and programs but also in subtle ways such as design elements that convey select marketing messages. These days Organic is a good selling point, and with the lowered standard promulgated by the U.S. government, nearly every product may claim itself organic now, so consumption increases! The profits continue!

Facts are not what influence policy. Perhaps fraternity memberships or exceptionally ‘sharp’ business practices, but not facts.

For example, in Arizona ethanol is NOT an “Alternative Fuel”, by legislation pushed through by then Speaker of the House, republican Jeff Groscost, a SW Gas consultant later discredited and kicked out over the scandal you may have heard about, a $500 million shortfall in the State budget, which coincidentally was the cost of the alternative fuel program giveaway boondoggle that made national headlines a few years ago. While writing a law that disqualified ethanol as an alternative fuel, they also set up this half billion dollar program in which people bought huge SUV’s equipped with itty bitty CNG tanks added in addition to the standard fuel system. They could, and did, file for tax rebates that PAID FOR the hefty gas-guzzlers, and since there is no infrastructure to fill the tanks that only go 50 miles anyway, they all just use regular unleaded gas.

They already knew this because he had done the same thing with the City of Mesa police cars a couple years before. They even put stickers on the polices cars bragging about the clean CNG – but they were usually running on unleaded fuel, again due to the short range and lack of infrastructure.

So silly me shows up to offer an alternative to the failing cotton industry, in a town with more empty buildings than full, on an old refinery site in Coolidge no one knows what to do with anyway (well maybe they have re-fired that old thing for JP4 and asphalt for the war). I really had a complete package, legislation, University support, a farmer with connections to the Gila River tribe and other farmers…what I didn’t have was any fat lobbyists in thousand dollar suits, nor the budget to hire them.

At the end of the day, the project failed to move forward due to the chronic shortage of capital to waste. CNG won the day by bribing the public with free SUV’s while we could barely afford photocopy costs, in fact the attorney that helped never got a dime for his trouble.

Oil is Organic

Petroleum is organic. It is a naturally occurring substance found in concentrated deposits worldwide.

Technology has found ways to extract and refine this natural substance into a safe, versatile and low cost energy carrier that works fantastic. The problem is the gluttonous consumption. The entire political discussion is always about how to use more rather than less of anything. This is the exact wrong direction to setting policy in.

We do not need more solar energy, we have more than we can ever use already.

We do not need more wind energy; we don’t use a fraction of what is already there.

We do not need more of anything, what we need is to learn how to use less of everything, and the first step is to simply quit wasting it. The paradigm shift must punish those who ‘Waste to Impress’ and reward those who conserve resources.

To simply say some percentage of consumption needs to be this or that type of energy carrier while allowing consumption to grow is still just using more. Using more will not change the direction; only using less will have a real effect.

After years of study I have come to the conclusion that petroleum is not the problem, consumption is. In fact, fossil fuel is really solar energy in a very concentrated form, and technology allows us to do amazing things with this abundant, organic substance. I have come away disgusted at the corruption and selfishness that seems to be a requirement for success in the halls of legislation and meeting rooms of business people. Individuals are consistently offended by the prospect of personal responsibility and will eagerly band together to cast blame on some untouchable entity, thus seemingly absolving themselves.

We don’t need more, we need less.

One less recruit

This morning the Counter-recruitment demonstration for buses arriving at the Military Entrance Processing Station, 3870 Rosin Ct, #105, in Sacramento, California celebrated when a mother and her daughter changed their mind and left before the young girl was administered the oath or signed the eight-year contract for military service.

Obviously nervous and a bit embarrassed, the recruit and her mother did not take questions or converse with the cheering protestors, but they were smiling as they waved and shared the two-finger ‘V’ salute for peace as they sped away.

My reaction when I first saw the recruits getting off the bus in the pre-dawn darkness in front of the well-hidden Processing Station was that none of them seemed old enough to be signing up for military service. These recruits looked like a group of kids going to an amusement park or the State fair. It seemed like there were a lot of girls, maybe even half, or maybe it was just that the boys had not even finished puberty and still had child’s faces. One clearly disillusioned youngster gleefully exclaimed, “We’re going off to war!” as if he was going to a football game or something. Probably following instructions given to them on the bus, most hung their heads as they hurried to get their bag from the bowels of the bus and enter the building without looking any of us in the eye.

I have decided that Congress must pass a law that requires every recruit’s mother to accompany him or her on this crucial day when they hand over their lives to the government for eight years. There should also be a 72-hour ‘cooling off’ period when recruits can change their mind, without fear of reprisal, just like car buyers have.

Meanwhile, I have adjusted my sleeping schedule so that I wake up in time to ride my bike over to join the demonstration by 4:30 A.M. from Monday through Thursday. Crazy, you say? It turns out this is a swell deal for me, since during my ride the road is mostly clear of the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) that make bike riding so hazardous, which are safely put away in their garages and driveways, and the cool morning air is as clean as it is likely to get each day, until the WMD wake up and join the mad commute.

So for me, I get a nice 6-mile ride each way, plus I get to start my day doing something positive to resist the illegal ongoing war. I get to share my message of conservation as the pathway to peace and explain to others how we fuel the military industrial complex with jet air travel and the 201 million motor vehicles that are ruining our water, air, land and lives. Part of my demonstration is my bike, and I use the flashing red light to draw attention to whatever sign I am holding while standing near it. Sometimes I ring the handlebar bell to attract attention too.

One child went home with her mother today and this lifted the spirits of the several passionate demonstrators. I hope it does the same for you. There is one less recruit for the wars today; wish us luck tomorrow!

Tax and Regulate Marijuana Trust Fund

Proposed is a way to voluntarily pay a tax on marijuana sales, safely and anonymously if desired, while building a trust fund to be turned over to tax authorities upon decriminalization of marijuana.

The fund could be designated for use by state and local governments to pay for public benefit programs as defined by the funds board of directors.

After overhead costs are paid, income will be equally split between current contributions to programs approved by the board of directors and an interest bearing trust account to be held until marijuana is decriminalized by congress and then released to appropriate government tax authorities. This distribution will be contingent on development of a fair system of taxation and regulation for marijuana in the United States, and release of all non-violent marijuana prisoners held in American prisons.

If the Trust Fund were set up as a non-profit organization, would contributions be deductible? Is there already an organization that would be a good vehicle for such a project? Is there a level of interest to pursue this?

Pedestrian deaths: hold manufacturers accountable for the safety of their products!

Pedestrian deaths: hold manufacturers accountable for the safety of their products!

Manufacturers are held responsible for the safety of the products they sell. Safety features are built in to everything made for people to use. Unfortunately, this standard has not been applied to automobile manufacturers in regard to their products impact on innocent bystanders.

More pedestrians are killed every year than died on 9/11.

MORE PEDESTRIANS ARE KILLED EVERY YEAR THAN DIED ON 9/11

These ‘pedestrians’ are people. 10% are children, people less than 18 years of age.

This nation has mobilized the most massive military force in history in response to less than 3,000 deaths, while our roadways are drenched in the blood of innocent people mowed down by oversize vehicles racing to the next red light.

We have forgotten that the pedestrian ALWAYS has the right of way, and we have neglected to provide sufficient protections for safe and convenient pedestrian travel and access, which is in fact REQUIRED BY California State Law;

21949. (a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that it is the policy of the State of California that safe and convenient pedestrian travel and access, whether by foot, wheelchair, walker, or stroller, be provided to the residents of the state.

(b) In accordance with the policy declared under subdivision (a), it is the intent of the Legislature that all levels of government in the state, particularly the Department of Transportation, work to provide convenient and safe passage for pedestrians on and across all streets and highways, increase levels of walking and pedestrian travel, and reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
Added Sec. 6, Ch. 833, Stats. 2000. Effective January 1, 2001.

So who has failed, the manufacturers or the State? I suggest both, the State has failed to protect its citizens by allowing the manufacturer to sell such an unsafe product and allowing this deplorable environment to develop. The State needs to hold manufacturers accountable for their products. Here is a standard I think we can all agree manufacturers should adhere to:

If their product can cause harm to innocent people, it must be removed from the marketplace or made safe. The vehicles produced today do not provide for the safety of pedestrians in any way whatsoever. We can voyage to Mars, but we can’t provide safety for people walking or riding a bike? Perhaps it is time we look to the machines themselves for the answers. Modern vehicles are way oversized and over powered. What is the sense of every person hauling tons of steel around with them everywhere? Not only do we create this hazardous environment with these powerful overweight beasts, but also the corresponding pollution and resource consumption is shameful. This must change – or do we just tolerate the carnage, waste and gluttony?

• Automobile design concentrates on insulating the vehicles occupants from the environment with climate control systems, insulation, comfortable seating, power accessories, entertainment systems, tinted windows and more.

• Engineering that should have been used to improve efficiency has been squandered on these luxury items and speed, and none has been devoted to the safety of innocent bystanders, pedestrians.

• Everyone becomes a pedestrian the moment you step out of your vehicle, and tens of thousands of us are killed or maimed for life daily by motor vehicles.

• Government has utterly failed in its first mission to protect the public.

o By building and maintaining roadways that are designed to accommodate motor vehicles first, and pedestrians last, government has failed to provide safe and convenient pedestrian access to public roadways.
o By failing to hold manufacturers accountable for the safety of their products to innocent bystanders (pedestrians).
• Manufacturers have failed to even consider pedestrian safety, despite billions spent on occupant safety.
o Innocent bystanders have absolutely no protection from the slightest impact, No design practice asks the simple question: How will this impact a pedestrian?
o Operators have no assistance to help avoid these tragedies. We have the technology to explore Mars and watch DVD’s from the back seat of motor vehicles, but people cannot walk or ride a bike safely on a public roadway?
o The manufacturers focus on speed and comfort has left operators insulated from their immediate environment. The number one excuse for striking a pedestrian is that the driver didn’t see the pedestrian.
• Motor vehicle operators are resentful of pedestrian rights.
• Government’s utter failure to regulate the speed of traffic increases the hostility of the public roadway to pedestrians.

How to get rich in America

Here is the deal: Work for 50 years and give us 30% of your work product. In exchange, we will promise to return a fraction of your contribution to you when you get too old to work anymore. Meanwhile, I will use your money to subsidize my friends businesses, wage pre-emptive wars worldwide to increase my friends riches, and to support the lavish lifestyles of a few thousand empty-suit-puppets that will be used to perpetuate the deception posing as “leaders” in the political process we operate to appease you, the general population, and prevent revolt. We will also provide a steady stream of drugs and entertainment to soothe and comfort workers at the end of their workday.

Now, along the way there is a slim chance you may find your way out of this trap and become one of the wealthy few that don’t actually pay any taxes at all, because they are the friends of the empty-suit-puppets mentioned earlier. You may be asking how this can happen for you, if so I may have an answer for you.

Consider the price of gasoline at the pump, it always includes 9/10 of a penny per gallon. For example $1.23.9 or $2.35.9 per gallon. Isn’t there something dishonest about this practice? After all, it is impossible for anyone to actually pay 9/10th of a penny, so it is always rounded UP a tenth, so 1.23.9 is actually $1.24 and $2.35.9 is actually $2.36.

Let’s take another example, consider the cultural phenomenon called “The Fine Print”. Modern western culture is defined by “The Fine Print” to be found discreetly tucked into a dark nook or cranny somewhere. Consumers are lured by a statement that is accompanied by a longer statement, “The Fine Print”, which invariably disqualifies most people and/or exempts the authors from responsibility of any kind for truth, accuracy or integrity.

Get it?

Fossil fuels are not the problem

Gluttony is. The simple fact is that fossil fuels are an excellent source of concentrated energy both in liquid and solid form.

Consider that a very small amount of gasoline can power a machine able to move many tons over many miles and we begin to appreciate how potent a source of energy it really is! The liquid fuel distribution system is well developed and very easy to use, and vast reserves are located right here in North America.

Consider the trainloads of coal hauled daily from the bowels of our planet to fuel electricity generation on such a massive scale that we turn night into day in our homes, businesses, streets and ballparks. Again, the distribution system for this energy source is well developed and there are billions of tons stored right here on our own continent.

Fossil fuels are not evil. Gluttony on the other hand is, and gluttony is the real energy problem at hand. We simply use too much energy. 60% of gross energy is wasted directly in the processing and delivery. Of the 40% actually used for heat and transportation, dramatic savings of 25%-50% are easily demonstrated with no sacrifice in quality of life, in fact a strong argument is made that overall quality of life improves as conservation is merged into our daily living.

The proposal to include biofuels consumption has become popular, and for a few years I actively promoted the idea. I still do support the use of biofuels and view them as a key portion of a sane energy policy; however, I have come to the conclusion that simply substituting biofuels for petroleum at current consumption levels will be a LARGER ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM than staying the course until fossil fuels become scarcer. In other words, if we allow consumption to continue unchecked, soon the resource will be depleted enough, and our air water unsafe enough, to mandate conservation due to market and life forces. The wealthy will always have access, the poor will not. The wealthy will still need to move their workers around, so they will take the most economical route and build mass transit for them with some of the taxes they extract as a matter of good business.

To use biofuels now will only delay the inevitable, while actually increasing the damage by fueling the destructive fossil fuel dependent Consumer Culture we have become. This dependency has become a full fledged addiction, with all the hallmarks and symptoms of drug and alcohol addicts of mental incapacitation, violence, crime, and willingness to go to any length to secure the weeks supply. Each person must come to grips with their own addiction, and will suffer the same withdrawal symptoms any alcoholic or drug addict does. These will include physical pain, mental and emotional disturbance and drastic changes in lifestyle. Playmates and playgrounds will change and lifetime friendships will be lost. Addicted friends and family members will brand the liberated one “crazy” for choosing such a dramatic change that now includes bicycles, walking, public transit and local products rather than discount goods shipped from all over the world at the expense of human rights, and only possible in the first place because of cheap fossil fuels for transportation. Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory systems depend on the massive fleet of fossil fuel powered transportation/storage systems in constant motion worldwide. JIT has killed American small business by eliminating competition and ignoring the true costs associated for a short term consolidation of power and wealth. Commercial Biofuels will only extend this unacceptable balance.

On a personal level, I speak with authority regarding addictions. I have been liberated from addiction to alcohol since 1991, nicotine since January 2002, and I am recovering from my addiction to fossil fuel. I admit, this last is the toughest, especially when one considers that life is not unlike being in a room full of drunks in denial. There are millions of people racing each other from red-light to red-light, and they consider a non-addicted pedestrian a real nuisance because they may be required to slow down a bit.

I have had drivers actually lean on their horn when approaching me on my bike from behind! I followed one home to ask why he was honking at me. He said it was because he wanted to warn me that he was coming because I was going too slowly! I swear this is what he said! This petroleum addict’s denial is so deep he cannot even remember that pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way. Since all it takes is a bit of pressure with his right foot to increase the speed of his 2 tons of steel, any slow moving thing, including other cars, must be passed at any cost! The next red-light is waiting! Confronted with his inhumanity, the addict’s denial turned into rage and his real feelings were exposed when he told me I shouldn’t have been in his way, and that he would do it again.

The so-called “conscious” people, raw food, yoga, eco-tourist, rainbow tribe or whatever are all equally addicted racing around on jet aircraft, in SUV’s and living on remote property even more dependent on fossil fuel than city dwellers. These hypocrites claim some moral superiority based on a false perception of spiritual awareness induced by drugs and hypnosis. Truly conscious people would be unable to participate in the addictive behavior.

This is why I am going to consign Fuel and Fiber Company and all associated projects to my archives and will no longer promote biofuels as a viable commercial option. Note that I qualify my statement with the word “commercial”. I remain convinced that biofuels produced and consumed on a local level (within 50 miles or so) are a key part of a successful agrarian economy, and I will surely continue to look for ways to produce and use biofuels for myself when appropriate, but not as a commercial venture.

In closing, allow me to suggest a few important resources:

The New Athena Project regarding Energy Policy at www.fuelandfiber.com/Athena

The Precautionary Principle from www.rachel.org

The Carbohydrate Economy by David Morris of www.ilsr.org and related Project Areas

Citizenship Papers by Wendell Berry

Choose Climate online climate change calculator and information at www.chooseclimate.org