Thursday, July 25, 2013

Subsidizing the protection of the environment or its destruction?

It would sound absurd to say that we should subsidize the destruction of our environment and we would be much less likely to do that if we phrased it that way; but that is essentially what we have been doing for decades. A closer look at the long list of environmental disasters that could be found if you started Googling them would quickly make this clear. I have done this in several other posts including BP is just the tip of the iceberg. This made it clear that if I kept searching I would have found many other environmental disasters and at times I have without completely compiling them. This could be done with a variety of different types of disasters and the result will surely be the same. The commercial media and political establishment is simply not even trying to report on the full extent of the damage and this enables the energy companies to avoid paying for the devastation they've been doing for a long time.

However partially privatization and regulation, at the local level, of Solar, Wind or Geothermal might work to help reduce this. This would be better with a regulatory system based on a more accurate assessment of the facts but some of it can be done immediately and it already is. Most of what we hear about when they talk about "privatization" seems to mean privatizing things in the hands of the few with political connections. This generally results in an enormous amount of corporate welfare for the rich. A much more rational form of "privatization" would allow people at the local level to have small scale generating solar panels or wind mills for their own use and reasonable regulations to protect them from the excesses of large corporations that have been corrupting the system for decades.

Recently there appears to be a rift between the Koch Brothers and the Tea Party when it comes to who should control their energy policy; ironically the tea party seems to be supporting the use of solar against the wishes of the Koch brothers. This sounds good and it is clearly better than what the Koch brothers have in mind, which enables them to profit while ignoring the destruction of the environment; however it might not be the best way to put control of the energy policy in the hands of the people; and their might be flaws with both these options.

One of the issues involved is the reliance on leases as the following excerpt indicates.

Behind the Tea Party Push For Solar in Georgia

The hot button issue in the state in 2012 was solar leasing, the wildly popular business model employed by companies like Sungevity in California, Massachusetts and elsewhere. Under a solar lease, companies don’t sell solar panels under these contracts—they build small power plants on spare roof space and make their profits on the spread between their costs and the cost of power.

A 1973 Georgia law permits only regulated utilities to provide electric power to third parties. Homeowners can put solar panels on their roof, but they have to own them. If they lease, it’s a violation of the law. Residents and businesses that have entered leases have received cease and desist letter. Complete article

Allowing people to have more options seems to be a reasonable position and I don't see why they should have a law that might have the effect of reducing the amount of solar because they ban the leases; however that doesn't mean the leases are the most effective manner to increase solar. By relying on leases from Sungevity or any other company the home owners still don't own the solar panels and leases have historically been less cost effective for the customer than buying outright. This has been a common problem that has repeated itself over and over again and it often occurs most commonly when large corporations have a major control over any given market and they also have control over the information that the consumer receives about the financing plans.

Examples where corporations have been gouging customers over leasing deals include renting of phones that should have been paid off years ago and concerns about whether or not the customers of ADT own the equipment which might not be presented properly in the fine print. Leasing generally gives more control to the people that hold the lease and they often increase their profits at the expense of the consumer. There might be a few examples where it might be worthwhile, although even then I might be skeptical, but when encouraging large scale reliance on leasing it would definitely be worth taking a closer look and better options would almost certainly be available if the public reviewed all the facts and held their representatives accountable.

I have no doubt that if we tried we could come up with a better plan that would enable homeowners to privatize their own solar panels and perhaps other energy items that might include Geothermal or even wind generators in some cases. In the vast majority of times when the media talks about privatization they seem to mean handing ownership of government property or property that should be part of the commons shared by everyone over to a small group of well connected people that supposedly would handle it better for the best interest of the public; however in practice their top priority routinely involves maximizing their own profits at the expense of the public and they often get away with it when the majority of the public isn't fully aware of the information that impacts policies.

One of the clearest examples in recent history was Dick Cheney's famous energy task force which was implemented in secret with input from oil companies and other energy companies while shutting out environmentalists, human rights advocates, consumer advocates or anyone else looking out for the interests of the majority. When it comes to many of the simple details the commercial media has routinely declined to inform the public about many of them and so has the political establishment; however some lower profile sources including the following excerpt from Dave Roberts do a much better job explaining it.

Utilities vs. rooftop solar: What the fight is about

The conflict between electric utilities and distributed energy — mainly rooftop solar panels — is heating up. It’s heating up so much that people are writing about electric utility regulation, the most tedious, inscrutable subject this side of corporate tax law. The popular scrutiny is long overdue. So buckle up. We’re getting into it.

I wrote about the fight a while back — “solar panels could destroy U.S. utilities, according to U.S. utilities ” — but it’s worth taking a closer look at what’s under dispute. Some bits are unavoidably wonky and technical, but it’s important to understand exactly what’s happening. This is a pivotal issue, a trial run for many such struggles to come. Complete article

If you go to the full article by Dave Roberts, and some of his related articles, I'm sure you'll find that he does a better job explaining some of the details than I do. One of the things that he writes about is the claim that solar panels could unfairly drive the utilities out of business. Without regulations to prevent this I have no doubt this might be true; however it is also true that they never would have been in business in the first place without the regulations that enabled them to get started. Utilities have never been like other businesses that can work on the "free market" if multiple competitors ran lines they would both be too expensive if only one company ran lines they would be a monopoly; which is what we have. On top of that when they first ran lines to many rural areas it couldn't have been profitable for the utilities so the government subsidized some of them.

From the beginning in return for the regulations that benefited the utilities the government required them to abide by additional regulations that protected the consumers; or at least they were supposed to. Prior to the massive “deregulation” efforts the profit margins fore utilities were lower than many other businesses but the risk was also lower since the regulations were supposed to enable them to stay in business and protect the customers. When the "deregulation" efforts took place many people were told would enable the corporations to operate more efficiently if we just trusted them and allowed them to look out for the best interests of the public they could pass on their savings to the public and would be encouraged to by competitions.

Or so we have been told over and over again; however those familiar with the details almost certainly knew all along that it wouldn't work; and with numerous scams including the Enron melt down and many other problems it should be clear that the deregulation efforts were a disaster. A quick consideration of the fact that they haven’t eliminated many of the regulations that protect corporate secrets while they have been eliminating regulations that protect consumers, workers and the environment as well as allowing many companies especially utilities to avoid real competition which they claim would provide them with incentives to provide low prices and high quality should make it clear that deregulation is a disaster designed to benefit the utilities which happen to donate a lot of money to campaigns while consumer advocates and environmentalists don’t.

What we wound up with, instead of "deregulation," was re-regulation that enabled those with political connections to increase their profits while shifting the risk to consumers, increasing prices and reducing the quality of service resulting in more power outages that take longer to repair.

If we’re going to maintain a private system then consideration of their legitimate concerns would be reasonable and allowing them to make reasonable profits for their investments and their risks, assuming they actually take risks would be justifiable. However allowing them to avoid real risk through their political connections or avoid consideration of whether or not community owned or government owned utilities might work better would not be reasonable.

For now I’ll assume that we’re going to stick with the privatized system and consider reasonable regulation that are supposed to be made by elected officials that represent the public equally, or at least they pretend to; and they’re much more likely to do so if the public is well informed.

One of the concerns they have expressed is allowing the owners of solar panels to avoid paying anything is unfair, since they take advantage of the grid even if they produce more electricity than they use. As Dave Roberts describes it this involves “net metering” which enables the owners of solar panels to store excess energy during the day on the grid and use it at night when the solar panels aren't producing electricity. There have been several variations of this policy in many states over the years; but I suspect that in many cases as the deregulation movement has been progressing with the help of lobbyists and campaign contributions the protections for consumers may have been slowly eroding.

At times the utilities may have been required to buy energy from small producers at a regulated rate which almost certainly didn't provide small producer a major profit motive, although it may have added an incentive to those that buy solar panels to buy enough to meet their own needs if they could get a small return on any surplus even if it isn't profitable. And these meters may have been two way so that they often can’t even tell when they have been feeding the grid or when they have been getting electricity from the grid since some of the meters may have gone forward and back; although I’m not certain if modern meters still do this. This could be resolved very simply by allowing the utilities to charge a reasonable fixed fee which the solar panel owners would have to pay, either with surplus power that the utilities can resell to other customers or with money. This would enable the utilities to continue making a reasonable profit off of the power they do sell and it would actually increase the competitions that the utilities claim they have been providing all along although this clearly isn't as true as they claim.

The same could go for wind power as well and for the most part is already does for those that take advantage of Geo-transfer to heat or cool their homes. I haven't heard of nearly as many home owners buying wind turbines as I have of them buying solar panels but there is no reason why it couldn't become much more popular if the regulatory environment is more favorable to clean energy than it is to fossil fuels which come at a high cost that hasn't been figured into the price since they involve an enormous amount of destruction to the environment which the energy companies have rarely if ever been held accountable for. Allowing the energy companies to avoid paying for "negative externalities" or pass these expenses on to the customer essentially means that we have been subsidizing the profits of the energy companies and the destruction of the environment which is already catching up with many people that are already paying the price for it with dirty air and climate change.

It is possible for people to buy wind mills for under $500 although installation will cost more and the smallest ones might not be the most efficient. In some cases it might be better for people to buy them as a group if they can get along with their neighbors. Or if people have enough influence over their local government they can encourage them to buy them for town buildings. This would mean ownership by the towns not privatization but if they're using the electricity it might be the most efficient way to do it. Many people used to understand that it is much more efficient when the middle man can be cut out or minimized but middlemen don't like that and when people start generating their own electricity through wind and solar the utility companies are the middlemen that reduces their influence.

As long as they continue to have an excessive amount of political power then this will be tough but once more people understand the issues then they might not be able to rig the system quite so easily.

There have been plenty of complaints about subsidizing solar or wind from the conservative media and oil companies have been encouraging this; but the real subsidies are for the oil companies. Although they continue to try to pretend the damage they're doing to the environment doesn't exist ignoring it creates an enormous expense which we will all have to pay. There were subsidies in the past to get many of these utility companies started then once they were profitable the political campaign to "deregulate" began without acknowledging the past subsidies and the fact that the regulations were intended to ensure that those subsidies were intended to benefit us all not just the utility companies.

Another major way to reduce pollution and put more control of heating systems in the hands of the homeowner would be Geothermal heating sometimes referred to as Geo-transfer or Geo-exchange. This system is more efficient than traditional systems so it saves homeowners money; however it does cost more to instal so the upfront costs might be more. Taking advantage of financing or geothermal tax credits could enable the home owner to begin saving money immediately though; although the savings might be even greater if they take advantage of the tax credit and pay up front as well. this involved a system that works the same as air conditioning; however instead of relying on the outside air which is hotter in the summer it relies on the cooler temperature of the earth. Heat transfer works just as well in the winter if the process is reversed. the one downside, from an environmental point of view, is that it relies on electricity, which means the increased reliance on coal or perhaps nuclear in most cases. this can be offset by the use of solar panels or wind mills to produce that electricity so the utility companies would be providing minimal amount of services. this is all the more reason why we need a regulatory system that isn't controlled by energy lobbyists that don't have homeowners or the environment as a priority.

According to several stories, including Gamechanger: Next Generation Wind Turbines With Storage Are Cheap, Reliable And Brilliant and Solar Panel Costs Drop, Fueling Rise In Renewable Energy we can take advantage of the drop in production costs for both wind and solar and Geothermal has also been a cheaper way to heat as well and they're all more environmentally friendly than the traditional methods which only seem to benefit the energy companies that avoid paying for their environmental damage.

Unfortunately both the EU and the US have been imposing higher tariffs on Chinese solar panels claiming they have been selling them below costs. This seems unlikely since they wouldn't be able to cover their expenses if they did this for long and it would correct itself eventually anyway if that was the problem. a far more likely reason why they've been able to sell them cheaper is probably their usual reliance on cheap labor. If their concern was workers rights then they would be better off putting tariffs on all items across the board so they couldn't take advantage of the use of cheap labor to compete and this would protect local jobs as well and reduce the amount of items they ship half way around the world. The current version of "Globalization" seems to be designed to enable large corporations to make people compete with each other around the world without real competition among the corporations which have consolidated into a relatively small number of mulch-nationals. This means that they can move their operations overseas abandoning the advantage of factory direct purchases and adding on various additional middlemen and increasing the cost of shipping to drive wages down but the consumer doesn't actually benefit from this. consumers lose primarily in two ways; this has been accompanied by a significant drop in quality and they have to pay for the additional shipping costs and they also have to deal with the added amount of oil required to ship an enormous amount of low quality products that fall apart much faster.

Instead of putting tariffs on items that protect the environment they should be putting them on items that destroy the environment then they could use the money for the financing of the things the protect the environment or single payer health care or something worthwhile instead of unearned profits for those that donate to political campaigns.

While finishing this blog up I encountered an ad for "renting your roof" for solar purposes. Supposedly their are companies that will now rent roof tops and put solar panels which they own on them then sell the energy to other consumers or perhaps the same people they rent the roof from. This is often done by utilities but it is now being done by additional separate subcontractors. The classic saying, "if it sounds to good to be true it probably is," comes to mind. If these companies can make a profit from this and pay for the ad then it has to come somewhere and it is virtually guaranteed that the fine print will create problems for the property owner and if it is so profitable then the property owner would almost certainly be better off buying the panels and selling the power himself.

For additional information on the subject see the following articles:

Geothermal Heat Pumps – Kind of a Big Deal the federal government is willing to pay for 30% of the cost to install them in your home!

Geothermal Energy: The heat beneath our feet

This Old House: Geothermal Heat Pump: How It Works

Koch Brothers Vs. Tea Party Patriots: Georgia Solar Vote Sparks A Surprising Fight

Koch Brothers Fund Effort To Undermine Tea Party Support Of Solar Energy in Georgia

Former Mobil VP Warns of Fracking and Climate Change

Frontline at PBS: Steve Coll: How Exxon Shaped the Climate Debate

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Compost instructions Duuhhh

Step one: Do nothing.

Step two: Repeat step one.

Step three (optional): Scratch your head and say, "Why the hell are so many people making such a big deal out of this; nature has been handling this fine on it's own for millions of years?"

Whenever there is an effort to do anything that used to be simple there now seems to be an enormous amount of advertisements or in some cases information presented at what appears to be the grass roots level to convince people they can accomplish their goals if only they buy this that or any other thing; and in many cases it is accompanied by something to make it appear sincere.

As far as I can tell in many cases including activities for composting it is a crock of shit although I suspect that some of it might be from people that unwittingly repeated some of these ideas or became accustomed to thinking that they have to buy more of something every time they accomplish something.

For at least two decades I lived in two houses where composting, at least for leaves and small branches, was routine; however we didn't even think of it as composting; we just raked the leaves over a small cliff at the first location and when they were fresh we jumped off the cliff into the leaf pile for fun. Although if we weren't careful and did it before we raked up to many leaves from the latest year we found out what was growing in the leaves from the previous year. at the second location it simply involved picking a spot in the yard that was out of the way for the leaves to compost eventually and we never thought twice about it.

Now there seem to be a lot more talk about it and the vast majority of the recommendations seem to turn it into something more complicated than it has to be. They usually involve building boxes with materials that cost money and don't seem to be necessary although the people selling them make profits off it even if it doesn't do the composter much good; and some of the copmposters seem to be openly admitting that after going to all this trouble they aren't getting good compost at least not quickly. Some of the recommendations seem to imply that you can get compost in four to six months which might be true if you go to a lot of trouble but it hardly seems to be worth it when the alternative uses little or no resources or work and it still happens in a couple of years.

However there might be exceptions, especially if it involved composting trash that would otherwise go into landfills or be burnt. This would presumably include natural items like potato peels, egg shells, coffee grounds or other items to compost or avoid from Compost 101.

When it comes to the most effective ways of cutting down on waste or composting it, many people might think it is only something those "radical tree hugging fringe environmentalists" might consider. However if we continue destroying the environment all over the world without fully acknowledging the extent of it we may all have to become "radical tree hugging fringe environmentalists" when it can no longer be ignored and kept out of sight. When this happens it might not seem like such a bad idea and many people might wonder why we didn't do it before. Many of us live in areas where our trash is being hauled away or the worst of the environmental destruction isn't taking place but if you check with alternative news outlets or live in one of the areas that are being destroyed as a result of globalization it might be clear that the damage is building up much faster than the mass media and the political establishment is letting on and it won't be hidden much longer for most people.

In most cases it would be easier to do either if you live in area with a fair amount of land or do it as a community and keep it as simple as possible. There are already plenty of advise blogs on this on the internet but as I indicated most of them seem to involve complicated activities including turning the compost, watering it down or buying worms to help speed up the process. In most cases all of this can be done without work and by doing this you avoid using extra resources for the compost. One of the major concerns about environmentalists is people who use scarce water for their lawn; if it is a problem to grow their lawn why would you want to use the water which might be scarce either now or after people start doing this on a larger scale for their compost?

One of the best exceptions might actually be, well, a crock of shit!

The most important thing that could and perhaps should be composted might be animal waste including human waste and it doesn't appear as if it is necessary to do this in a primitive or unsanitary manner as some people might think. And I suspect that in the long run this might also be more cost effective than many of the things we have already become accustomed to since it might save money on plumbing and maintenance as well as water. I first encountered this years ago without even fully realizing that I was using a composting toilet in a rural campground and it was perfectly sanitary although it wasn't in an area that received an enormous amount of traffic. Ironically on several occasions I've seen at least a couple other areas where they were much more crowded and they had more traditional toilets that were much less sanitary due to over use and improper maintenance.

The simplest versions of Composting toilets probably require semi-regular removal of the compost but this might not be much if any more complicated than the maintenance that we need for regular toilets; and there already appears to be quite a few of these being experimented with around the world although they have received very little attention by most high profile sources. Frankly many of the best ideas aren't being covered by the high profile media or traditional political establishment since they're far more concerned with maximizing profit than giving the vast majority of us good ideas.

At least in the short term, this might turn out to be more popular in places like India where they haven't become accustomed to modern toilets. It they receive their resources to develop these then they could set a good example for the rest of the world; although this would require the political will to stop exploiting third world countries.

There seem to be mixed messages about composting pet waste and no doubt many people are still a little queasy about composting human waste as well but with time and a rational review of the more productive methods of accomplishing this I suspect that more people will realize that they're mostly based on prejudicial ideas. Farms have been using cow manure for fertilizer for decades if not thousands of years and it ahs been working just fine, unlike some of their attempts to genetically modify crops. In this case it involves replicating what nature has been doing for thousands of years so I see no reason why other animal or human waste can't be converted to a practical use as well. Some ideas that seem like they might be worth checking out include suggestions on Pet Waste Composting and even a study by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Alaska on composting dog waste; ironically when they do things that might actually be worthwhile it doesn't seem to get much attention; although that could change if we had election reform. Jennifer "Quirky Momma" also came up with some good reporting on Composting Toilets - Not Such a Crappy Idea!

In many cases the most effective composite projects might be when communities work together and do it on a medium scale where it might be more efficient than a small backyard composting effort or a large one that could be too bureaucratic. Many promoters of privatization might not like this but their primary concern is making profit for themselves not doing things in the most efficient manner for local communities so if the control stays local it is much more likely that they might respond to local people. This might include community composting efforts that have done so openly and subjected their work to scrutiny like in Portland Oregon where Friends of Trees toured a community compost pile, "From leaves to compost – and beyond."

If these community compost piles become more common they might not always be able to "turn" it all quite so often, especially if they compost a growing portion of the items that previously went to landfills but that would just mean that the compost would take a little more time and unlike land fills they won't require permanent growth which can't be done indefinitely without converting a growing percentage of the planet into landfills. Once a compost pile starts producing as much fertilizer as they take in it stops growing; if there is a surplus then it can simple be returned to it's natural state repairing the damage to nature that ahs been building up for decades.

If a variety of different communities try slightly different variations around the country with the control at the local even and they exchange their results openly then it would be much easier to find out which one works best and replicate it more often. If some of these community efforts make major mistakes at least it will only be at the local level while if the decisions are made by a far off corporation that privatizes everything then these mistakes could be much larger and if their primary concern is returning profit to the corporation the mistakes may be more likely since they might have conflicting motives.

Wikipedia: Composting toilet

El Polin Composting toilet

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bloopbert News: CNN plans to hire Jenna Jameson as news anchor!!

According to a reliable anonymous source without credibility CNN is now planning to hire Jenna Jameson as a news anchor to become more competitive in the news industry!

According to the anonymous source CNN has finally recognized that they no longer have any credibility as a news source unless the target audience is a bunch of mindless sheep so they're no longer going to worry too much about whether or not they appear credible anymore. The last straw was apparently when they bungled the Boston Bombing reporting so badly by reporting that a suspect had been arrested before there was an actual arrest! This was just one of the many blunders that they made in this instance and many others.

However this is only acknowledged be a small minority that only admit it when they feel that it won't be reported; officially they still claim to be "the most trusted name in news;" which is about as credible as the claim that Fox is "fair and balanced!"

At least they haven't tried to sue someone for using the phrase "the most trusted name in news;" unlike Fox who did make an attempt at suing over the trademark "fair and balanced!" If they had won then the only people that would be allowed to use the phrase "fair and balanced" would be those that are highly unfair and unbalanced!

Several executives allegedly claim that in order to compete with anchors like Megan Kelly and Mika Brzezinski they have to come up with even sexier reporters; and behind the scenes they might even admit that they no longer really care about reporting the news anymore and that they have turned into a reality show that provides more propaganda although they wouldn't admit this for the record.

By now it should be clear that most female news pundits are far more interested in flirting then they are in reporting the news and if the male pundits aren't flirting as well they're treating it like a sporting event or acting like high school bullies, certainly not trying to present news in a rational manner.

Photo source

This is what led them to hire Erin Burnett; they're now considering giving Jenna Jameson a time spot either just before Erin Burnett or just after. They might even have them show up for extra appearances on each others show especially when introducing Jenna Jameson's new show!

Photo source one and two

There is little concern about whether or not Jenna Jameson is familiar with any of the important issues of the day since few if any of their other pundits are anyway. Instead they generally spend an enormous amount of time saying their going to talk about this subject and their going to talk about that subject without actually talking about any of them; instead they seem to spend much more time repeating the phrase "talk about" over and over again making some people wonder if they have an incentive plan for people the repeat the phrase "talk about" most often perhaps even providing a special bonus for someone who say "talk about:" most often in a single sentence without actually talking about anything at all; and perhaps they offer even bigger bonuses if they convince each other that they're not doing this, as if it is possible for them to do this without some people noticing how often they say "talk about" without talking about anything.

(gasp) Let me catch my breath.

Even Soledad O'Brien is getting in on this fast talking routine; she used to be a good reporter; or at least she did a much better job pretending to be a good reporter before but when she did her recent stunt on morning news she was talking as fast as the most manipulative of them and she did an exceptionally good job saying "'preciate that," dropping the a; that just sounds so kewl; which is much more important than reporting the news properly now.

There has been some concern that some members of the public might thing they are sinking too low, as if it isn't too late for that; so they are planning a massive campaign to make this seem like serious news especially since there are some people who have come to the conclusion that "Sexy Lady News Anchors Are Rotting Your Brain!" as indicated in the following article:

Sexy Lady News Anchors Are Rotting Your Brain!

A new study found men retain less information when the woman delivering the news wears a sexier outfit. Could shorter skirts and form-fitting blazers be the reason that the 24/7 news cycle is leaving Americans more ill-informed?

Indiana University researchers Maria Elizabeth Grabe and Lelia Samson had 400 subjects watch one of two short newscasts featuring the same 24-year-old journalist. In the first, she "was dressed in a tight-fitting dark blue jacket and skirt that accented her waist-to-hip ratio," bright red lipstick, and a necklace. In the second version, the woman wore "a shapeless and loose-fitting dark blue jacket and skirt," with no lipstick or jewelry.

The result: Men retained less information from the report when it was presented by the more attractive version of the anchor, and "saw the sexualized version of the anchor as less suited for war and political reporting." Women recalled more information from the sexualized anchor, but the effect was far less pronounced than with male subjects. What the anchor was wearing had no impact on whether or not female subject felt she was competent. Complete article

Some people have expressed concern about the fact that this belief might be supported by some incredibly shallow discussions that have turned out on message boards like Mika Brzezinski vs Robin Meade and Early Morning News Hotties.

Leading supporters of hiring Jenna Jameson have come up with an incredibly simple way to address this problem.

They simply won't mention it to the public.

This is the way they've been handling problems that they don't want to address for years so why stop now?

Besides when the competition does things like when Megyn Kelly Challenged Britney Spears To Showdown Over "F**k Me" Video: "Bring It, Britney!" (VIDEO) it isn't hard to seem rational by comparison.

There were additional concerns about the possibility that some people might think they're turning into a porn channel as if they haven't come close to that already. supporters of hiring Jenna Jameson have said they could address that concern by presenting her in a very dignified manner and promising that they would never let it stoop down to an undignified manner.

If they repeat this over and over again they expect it to work as well as moist propaganda that they saturate the news with when trying to indoctrinate the zombies that still believe they're a sincere news outlet.

For some strange reason one of the supporters of hiring Jenna Jameson allegedly agreed saying that they could deal with that easily adding that although "they might have to make an exception if their competitors went so far as to arrange to have Mika Brzezinski climb into Ariana Huffington's bed with Katie Couric."

He went on to say that if something like that ever happened they would have to do anything necessary to remain competitive, even arranging to have Jenna and Erin having a lesbian affair on the air that could gradually get more sensual until they might as well be a porn site. They expressed some concern that Rachel Maddow might beat them to it; but this was quickly dismissed since Rachel Maddow is the only remaining pundit that still continues to at least try to do a good job pretending to report on the news; even though the well informed won't fall for it even from her, but she keeps trying.

I have no idea why they would make such an odd and specific example for making an exception but as long as they stick with it then people concerned about them stooping any lower shouldn't have anything to worry about after all it is hard to imagine that they would do something so shallow.

Damn did I speak too soon? They really did put Mika Brzezinski into Ariana Huffington's bed with Katie Couric for cheap thrills.

Some people may come to the conclusion that I might be sexist by posting this; or that I might be presenting these dignified ladies like whores. Nothing could be further from the truth!

I would never try to imply that whores are as bad as these manipulative media propagandists! At least when it comes to prostitutes you know what to expect; the commercial media continues to act as if they're actually reporting the news when clearly they aren't which makes them worse than whores and they get paid higher for doing much more damage.

As for being sexists the male reporters aren't any better; although they use different tactics most of the time. John King and many other commentators have been presenting the news and politics as a sporting event for a long time recently even saying that when a plain carrying Evo Morales was forced to land in Austria it was a "big win for the Obama administration." Other male anchors are just as bad like when Bill O'Reilly and Dennis Miller constantly ridicule people they disagree with like a couple of cool teenage bullies.

Besides I could easily come up with plenty of men and woman that act much more sincere than any of the commentators that regularly appear on the commercial media.

It isn't me that is making the anchors seem worse than whore!

They did that without any help from me; I just happened to notice it. Which has been extremely ironic at times like when Mika Brzezinski acts self righteous when interviewing Eliot Spitzer; does she think that many people won't notice how incredibly hypocritical this is of her?

Megyn Kelly's look has changed a bit since Bethlehem High School

Rumors that the idea for Bloopbert News is a cheap copy of Shroomberg News by Don Rich will neither be confirmed or denied due to the fact that we wouldn't dignify such a claim with an answer; besides here at Bloopbert News we like to learn from the manipulation tactics that the mainstream media use and replicate them when it suits our purposes.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Are Naomi Wolf, Edward Snowden, Prism, and ECHELON, dividing us?

The accusations about who is working for the CIA or the NSA have begun; and anyone who was familiar with these two organization might know that this would be inevitable; and that it has actually been going on for quite a while; only now it is becoming higher profile. Dave Lindorff recently wrote an article speculating about "Is Naomi Wolf working for the NSA?" It isn't until the third page of his article where he comes out and says that he doesn't really believe that she is but that he thinks it is more likely that she is doing this based on an "instinct for self-promotion and grandstanding."

His article is based on her Facebook article about "My creeping concern that the NSA leaker is not who he purports to be." The opening post doesn't actually state that she is speculating about the possibility that Edward Snowden might still be working for the NSA but it does imply it and she confirms this in her follow up post on it, Some aspects of Snowden's presentation that I find worth further inquiry - an update.

I have also had my doubts about the way this has been presented in the media and the fact that they haven't mentioned ECHELON in a high profile manner even though it seems to be virtually identical to the program which they now call "Prism." I went into this in Is “Prism” news? or is it ECHELON? In brief this post is about the lack of coverage of the ECHELON program which seem virtually identical to "Prism" but it was exposed as early as 1988 and it was featured in a much higher profile Manner in both 60 Minutes in 2000 and National Geographic on or about the same time. This means that the program was in place before 9/11 happened and it didn't serve the purpose that it was allegedly intended for. Whether "Prism" is the same program by another name or not it didn't serve the same purpose when it came to stopping the Boston Bombing either.

This also means that the most organized terrorists would have known about this type of activity long before Edward Snowden disclosed it. Furthermore they have reported on several occasions that terrorists like Osama bin Laden knew enough not to use electronic devises years if not decades ago.

My previous post goes on to raise some questions about the typical activities of CIA agents and the assumption, based on previous researchers into the CIA, that the CIA encourages those that enlist to stay on for life and that many continue to do so after officially retiring. This is similar to some of the claims that Naomi Wolf makes. There is also speculation about the possibility that this could be part of an effort to disclose the truth in a controlled manner that will lead to partial reform that is inevitable but this could enable them to increase their influence over it.

I try to differentiate between speculation and hard facts; although some people almost certainly won't conclude that I have succeeded, whether I did or not.

Do you think that I'm working for the NSA or the CIA or some other covert organization?

I'm not.

But after reading enough about the way the CIA has been operating for decades it wouldn't be surprising to expect many people to start speculating about who is or is not working for the CIA. It has been widely acknowledged by many people including some defenders of the CIA, although they downplay it, while the critics often present more evidence that they have connections with a lot of journalists and that they are heavily involved in propaganda at least abroad where they're expected to do so. According to the law they aren't supposed to be impacting propaganda in the USA but there is plenty of evidence that some of their propaganda abroad has impacted coverage in the USA and even if the CIA isn't directly impacting propaganda in the USA many people that might sympathize with the CIA or their "ex-CIA" agents might be producing propaganda and on top of that it is virtually guaranteed that other interests are conducting confidential activities that may not be related to the CIA but could have an impact anyway. Several books have reported on how marketers use on line "AstroTurf" to create the appearance of a grass roots movement and many political organizations or ideologues like the NRA or abortion related organizations might also do so and all these things can get mixed up so if signs of deception show up at times it may not be easy to tell where it is coming from especially on the internet where it is easy to create and anonymous identity.

My impression is that there are legitimate issues that have been raised by both Naomi Wolf and Dave Lindorff as well as many other people and that they also have problems with some of their claims as well so it may be difficult and tedious to sort through the details; but when trying to sort out the truth that is what needs to be done. Instead of accepting one package deal from one source it is often necessary to sort through the problems from multiple sources. And even though I haven't looked closely at either of them I have looked at enough material from them both to indicate that they have provided some constructive material that stands on their own merits which shouldn't be ignored. The same goes for many other pundits that may not cover all the material that they could or perhaps should have.

Under these circumstances it might be better to put more weight on principles that can be confirmed independently and understood by the majority of the public than those that are based on authority claims or principles that the public can't confirm independently.

It won't do anyone any good to turn this into a bickering match where no one is paying attention to the details while people take sides in one faction or another; although at times it won't help to completely ignore it when any given source, especially a high profile source that many people trust, makes flawed arguments.

As indicated in my previous blog my biggest concern is that the highest profile media outlets aren't even mentioning ECHELON as if it never existed, despite what should be an obvious similarity that many people at the grass roots that paid attention have been trying to inform them of. In many cases the only examples where it is mentioned in articles from the mainstream media is in the comments section where people ask about it and they decline to address these comments. Ironically on at least a couple of occasions the mainstream media has shown a brief glimpse of the ECHELON intercept station at Menwith Hill, England or similar equipment elsewhere, without referring to it as ECHELON, implying that this was the program that they were referring to as Prism and that it is something new that was established after 9/11.

Neither Naomi Wolf, Dave Lindorff or many other of the most popular alternative media sources have mentioned ECHELON anymore than the traditional media; which indicates that many of them might not be aware of it, or if they are they may not recognize the significance, or they seem to be avoiding it. Naomi Wolf has stated that she doesn't believe that Glen Greenwald is knowingly involved in abetting Snowden's possible deception but due to her additional sources, some of which she can't cite for confidentiality reasons, she was able to recognize some of the problems that he didn't. If she, or Edward Snowden for that matter, was familiar with the typical behavior of the CIA or NSA then they might have anticipated the possibility that they would try to minimize the disclosure by simply ignoring and that the commercial media would go along which is their typical course of action. This would have been a reasonable assumption yet they don't seem to have made it and they turned out to be right; which might imply a possibility that some of them had reason to believe that there would be a different response from the commercial media from the start.

Actually I suspect that when it comes to some of her legitimate concerns, they have been reported by other sources publicly in low profile manners; so with enough research she might be able to provide back up sources that aren't anonymous. Naomi claims, "I can’t write explicitly about many of the sources that have disclosed to me the ways," the CIA operates; but most if not all of what she reported in the two articles about Edward Snowden has been reported publicly and there is much more that she hasn't reported including a lot of important information that is relevant. Sorting through the enormous number of books and articles about the CIA over the years would take an enormous amount of time but there are many people who have been doing this for years and they may recognize that Snowden hasn't revealed much if anything new.

However as previously indicated I think some of the points that Naomi Wolf has raised are legitimate although others are not. He does seem to be well prepared as Naomi claimed although it is hard to tell whether or not all whistle blowers are so well prepared but when it comes to a few things he doesn't seem to be quite so well prepared. Another concern that she didn't mention might be how could he have known that his disclosures would create so much attention while most other whistle blowers have received much less attention. One concern that she did raise was why he would pick Hong Kong when they had connection to the UK as she said although they are now under Chinese jurisdiction although they're supposed to have a certain amount of autonomy. My impression is that he still could have picked better countries to go to as someone who was so well prepared including the ones that are being mentioned as potential destinations now like Ecuador, Venezuela, or Iceland. If he had done this it would have avoided an enormous amount of hype and he wouldn't have had to worry about possible extradition.

Another legitimate issue that she seems to express is the lack of a lawyer to advise him although that seems to have changed with the help of Wikileaks advisers and lawyers that are now supposed to be helping him. There should also be some doubts about his motives. It sounds good that he wants to reveal these for the good of the public but if that was the case he isn't the only one and when other whistle blowers also do this for the same reason there isn't nearly as much media attention. The problems surrounding this story aren't primarily with Edward Snowden, as far as I can tell, it is with the way the media and the political establishment are responding to it in such an irrational manner and that it appears as if they are also responding to it in a much different manner than they have in cases of other whistle-blowers who didn't draw nearly as much attention because they didn't have the help of the media providing non-stop coverage.

Naomi's claim that "It is actually in the Police State’s interest to let everyone know that everything you write or say everywhere is being surveilled, and that awful things happen to people who challenge this," may seem like a legitimate concern but in practice it has some flaws. In the past they have done this as low profile as they could and it hasn't stirred up enough opposition to inspire major changes that would interfere with the police state. This may be subject to change now that a much larger segment of the public have been made aware of it and many of them may be spurred to action. This wouldn't make any sense if they were attempting to conduct business as usual and they didn't want to change their current practices.

Many people including Naomi Wolf have raised doubts about how convenient it is that he has a sexy pole dancing girl friend that many people have become obsessed with. This enabled them to spend an enormous amount of time focusing on something that has nothing to do with the revelations that are allegedly being made. Another distraction is the argument between Glen Greenwald and David Gregory that doesn't involve discussing important issues either. This involves an enormous amount of hype and distraction that the commercial media has turned into standard operating procedure and a lot of it can be manufactured even when there is nothing to it; although at least when it comes to some of the circumstances surrounding his girlfriend it seems to be more convenient than usual.

It might make sense, however, if it was part of a controlled disclosure effort as I speculated about in the previous blog about this subject. This would enable them to put numerous people in the position of overseeing the disclosure and partial reform which could prevent an enormous amount of environmental damage as well as economic and social conflict without repercussions to those that have been responsible for a large amount of the damage that has been done to society by the current power structure. No doubt this seems absurd to many people but the version of the truth that is presented them by the political and media establishment is increasingly absurd as well. Something absurd is happening and in order to make the most sense out of it people need to sort through the details by checking facts instead of non-stop hype and appeals to emotions.

Ezra Klein satirizes the whole situation in his article "Wonkbook: Does Edward Snowden even exist?" where he points out the absurdities of two versions of events that don't make sense at all. One of them is the official version of events the other is an apparent hypothetical version that could be a conspiracy of some sort where Edward Snowden doesn't even exist; but in an editors note he claims that "It is not, in fact, all too perfect;" however he doesn't address many of the legitimate issues he raised in a satirical manner, as if by raising it in this manner he shouldn't have to.

This story was left with him in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport since flying in from Hong Kong, over a week ago now, but no one seems to have seen him there; nor as far as I can tell has anyone seen him on the flight from Hong Kong although we're told he was there. They have shown media footage of reporters asking people if they have seen him and he is, perhaps, the most talked about person on TV. This is almost as absurd as the satirical music video by the Dixie Chicks, "Good by Earl." When they play, 'The cops came by to bring Earl in They searched the house high and low Then they tipped their hats and said, "Thank you, ladies If you hear from him let us know,” ' they show the cops looking under small pieces of furniture too small to hide a person or behind pictures for Earl looking confused but sincere. This was supposed to be a satire but the story of Edward Snowden is real.

Why should we believe that the official version of Edward Snowden is less absurd than a Spy vs Spy cartoon from Mad Magazine?

With no sign of him or witnesses the commercial media doesn't even speculate about the possibility that he might never have been there in the first place or that he might have left shortly after arriving, which would explain how he could remain hidden.

On top of that they showed a flight plan that they claimed might be his potential route to Ecuador that went right past the east coast of the US without mentioning how close this was to the country that he was supposed to be avoiding until Jon Stewert pointed it out and exaggerated it by saying that his flight plan put him right over the US.

Alex Seitz-Wald at Salon has done his part to use ridicule and stereotypes without addressing many issues properly in an article, Here come the Edward Snowden truthers. This is a common tactic that often involves citing some of the most ridiculous conspiracy theories to distract from flaws in the official version. this tactic generally involves trying to pout a large number of people in the same category so that those that raised legitimate issues are perceived the same way that those that don't or that mix in so many false facts that many people won't want to pay attention or trust even the few things that they do get right. This tactic might be very effective when it is targeting people that are insecure and likely to go along with the crowd especially when doing otherwise might subject them to ridicule; but it won't work nearly as well if the target audience is someone who is accustomed to sorting through details and getting to the truth.

Alex Seitz-Wald also includes a couple of links to UFO related conspiracy theories in his article ridiculing conspiracy theories. These articles are among the more absurd UFO conspiracy theories and, more importantly it doesn't take much to realize that they are also factually flawed and it is easy to recognize this. this type of problem is quite common in discussion about UFOs; however it is also quite common for the skeptics to make many absurd claims as well and they often focus on the most absurd ones if it is easier than to try to debunk the more rational mysteries. In my previous post, Is “Prism” news? or is it ECHELON? I included some speculation about the possibility that this might involve controlled disclosure about the misinformation surrounding UFOs and the possibility that they might have been using advanced technology that was developed with the help, either directly or indirectly, from an unknown advanced intelligence based partially on alleged disclosure from Philip Corso. I did not attempt to make this appear to be what I would consider a strong hypothesis due to the fact that a lot of the information comes from sources that should be treating their work more scientific than they are but in order to either rule things in or out it needs to be handled properly, not with ridicule as this subject is routinely handled.

I don't know for certain that this is part of ac controlled disclosure attempt but if they're trying to make absurd theories seem more realistic by making the truth seem just as absurd it could look something like this. Even if that isn't the case when both versions seem flawed it would be a good idea to consider alliterative versions, not just assume that we have to choose from the versions presented to us.

One of the biggest and most obvious, for those that think about it, problems with this tactic is that the people that use it often treat some conspiracy theories one way and others another. For example when the establishment is presenting a conspiracy they never present it as a fringe theory although in many cases they often decline to call it a conspiracy. Both the official stories about 9/11 and the Boston Bombings involve conspiracies where the bombers or hijackers worked together to carry out their attacks. This is a conspiracy theory!

Why is it that when the government presents us with a conspiracy theory where supposed to accept it without question but when others do so we're supposed to consider it fringe without scrutiny?

On top of that the official job description of the CIA and the NSA involves activities that they do in secret that impact the public. this fits the description of a conspiracy. And there have been many examples where they have later admitted to doing this including Operation Northwoods, The Kerry Committee report and many others where previous conspiracies have proven to be true. In this case they are admitting that they've been involved in a conspiracy to collect phone records and access private information on the internet from some sources although they claim that others require warrants but they claim that they aren't involved in any other conspiracies, at least that they admit to yet.

One problem that they shouldn't be able to get around it it doesn't appear that most of the information that Snowden leaked was new at all, although those that don't keep track of these things might not have noticed those that do know something is wrong.

However according to some reports including, "NSA Deception Operation? Questions Surround Leaked PRISM Document’s Authenticity" by Steve Kinney some of what he revealed may have been disinformation. Steve Kinney speculates about the possibility that Edward Snowden may have been detected before he began disclosing information and set up without his knowledge; but it seems far more likely that if he was part of a controlled disclosure plan that he would have done so willingly. If they had spotted him ahead of time they could have done a much more effective job stopping him or returning him to the US if that is actually what they wanted to do. I don't know how reliable this claim is anymore than most of you might but this is just one of the examples where some of the information that he has revealed has allegedly been questioned. Many people that want to believe that he has been acting in good faith might assume that these are only attempts to smear him and that might be true but it might be worth considering other possibilities as well until the details can be confirmed.

On top of that the reaction from the government to this has been equally absurd acting as if the biggest problem isn't that they've been spying on us but that it has been disclosed. Several claims that others have been trying to "stick a finger in the eye of the U.S." or committing treason without acknowledged the information that has been revealed is something that they would never tolerate if anyone else but themselves was doing it is extremely hypocritical. It is hard to imagine that many rational people wouldn't notice this and those outside of the US that aren't constantly being subject to US propaganda certainly aren't going to fail to notice this. The US government is asking those that they've been spying on to aide them in capturing the person who disclosed this information in a high profile manner and acting as if they have been doing favors for those they have been spying on.

This is utterly clownish and it should be considered as absurd as many of the conspiracy theories that we're supposed to dismiss without scrutiny but it is being presented to us from the government so we should accept it without scrutiny?

photo source

Obviously there are a lot of people who aren't falling for this and no doubt many more will as well. for now many of the people are temporarily overlooking the problems with their whistle blower and some of the reporters that have been covering it, perhaps because it is right to have this discussion but at some time they may want to look closer if they want to avoid exchanging one group of manipulative leaders for another.

During Obama’s Remarks on NSA Controversy he actually made a very good point about the lack of trust that many people have in their government when he said, "That’s not to suggest that, you know, you just say, trust me, we’re doing the right thing, we know who the bad guys are. And the reason that’s not how it works is because we’ve got congressional oversight and judicial oversight. And if people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress and don’t trust federal judges to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution, due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here."

We do "have some problems here;" none of these so-called checks and balances have been acting in a rational and open manner and they are all concentrated in the hands in a relatively small group of people who have a common ideology that doesn't involve acknowledging many inconvenient facts.

The commercial media is also concentrated in a very small number of hands and they are also declining to report properly on many issues. the alternative media has often done a much better job but as I indicated in my previous post and this some from the alternative media aren't going as far on some issues as they should and that appears to include Democracy Now as well.

Democracy Now made it clear that they are aware of ECHELON when they reported on it in 2000, French Prosecutor Investigates US Global Listening System, but they have declined to revisit it recently.

Another indication that they might not be investigating some news as thoroughly as they could and perhaps should be might be in relation to a possible additional connection to the CIA. In 2007 Amy Goodman interviewed Philip Zimbardo on her show in, "Understanding How Good People Turn Evil: Renowned Psychologist Philip Zimbardo On his Landmark Stanford Prison Experiment, Abu Ghraib and More." The majority of this interview is a review of the material that Philip Zimbardo provides in his book and there isn't any critical questions put to him at least until the end; mostly this appears to be an opportunity for Philip Zimbardo to promote his book without scrutiny and it closes with the following comments before running out of time.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Zimbardo we have held several debates on the American Psychological Association’s position on psychologists participating in military interrogations. Quite different from the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association. Can you comment on the organization you were formerly President of.

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: Well, I have to begin by saying that psychologists really want to make their research relevant to society, that we want to give back. Our research gets funded, our students education gets funded, and so we are eager to do things, certainly I, all my life, have tried to make our research relevant to the needs of society. So, many psychologists are military psychologists, many psychologists work for the government in various capacities, doing really important good things. Psychologists were critical in the Second World War. So some psychologists work to give advice to interrogators on how to be more effective, the same way some psychologists work to give advice to police detectives to be more effective. The problem comes when you’re giving —

AMY GOODMAN: We have 10 seconds.

PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: — specific advice about a particular individual being interrogated, and at that point, you step across the line, that you cannot abuse your role as psychologist to help an interrogator break a prisoner, psychologically. And that I am strongly against.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Zimbardo, we’re going to have to leave it there. I want to thank you very much for being with us. The book is called The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.

This could have been a good opportunity for her to ask Zimbardo about his wort]k for the government as well as his involvement in the new ethical standards for the American Psychological Association that were put in place in 2003; according to the American Psychological Association's web site they were established during a meeting in 2002, which was while Zimbardo was president of the APA. These new guidelines were dramatically watered down and criticized by Susan Linn, a child psychologist who investigates marketing to children, who expressed shock about the removal of the Social Responsibility clause from the new guidelines; after looking at the guidelines I found that much more was also removed and this would almost certainly have an impact on the use of psychologists during interrogations that Amy Goodman and Philip Zimbardo claimed to be critical of.

Philip Zimbardo may have also been involved in research to develop these interrogation techniques as well as methods to improve the indoctrination of recruits during boot camp as I attempted to explain in a couple of previous posts about Philip Zimbardo, Lucifer Effect, Stanford Prison Experiment and Corruption or Bias in the American Psychological Association. I don't know whether or not Amy Goodman was aware of these conflicts of interest but Philip Zimbardo certainly should have although he has denied them at times, his denials don't seem to stand up to scrutiny.

Amy Goodman may have had the opportunity to ask him about these issues as well as the conflict of interest he had when representing Chip Frederick who wound up getting 8 years in jail and serving 3 before being released on parole. Philip Zimbardo made in issue of claiming that those higher up should have been held responsible for giving the orders but somehow managed to avoid including himself as one of those that may have developed the research and watered down the ethical guidelines for psychologists.

I doubt if Chip Frederick would have been to thrilled if he knew and understood how Zimbardo may have been involved but Zimbardo managed to avoid question from one of the critics of the A.P.A. that is being portrayed as a thorough investigator, which at times she almost certainly is.

In the past week another story has broken about an investigation into James Cartwright who allegedly leaked information that was published in a book "Confront and Conceal," about the participation of the US government in the cyber attacks on Iran in 2010. At the time when it was reported it was widely believed that the US government was involved and they didn't even try to discourage this belief although they didn't confirm it either as far as I know. This seems to be part of a possible pattern of behavior that makes no sense. Anyone familiar with it would have known about it beforehand, including the Iranians, but there appears to be a big issue for the sake of the media, if nothing else, to peruse people that disclosed information that was already, for all practical purposes public. There have been dozens if not hundreds of similar disclosures for many books that address the segment of the public that doesn't rely on the commercial media for their information on these subjects. Why would this one deserve any more scrutiny than the rest? Regardless of why the result is inevitably that it draws more attention to it and they would surely have known that.

Whether or not this is part of a controlled disclosure attempt there are many problems with the information that the public is being given about it and the politicians and media reporters don't even appear to behaving in a credible manner so there should be no doubt that there is an enormous amount of deception going on. It won't do any good to panic but when it is clear that some facts can be confirmed independently those should be trusted more than any source and they shouldn't be forgotten. If we start assuming that everyone or no one is part of the CIA or other organization with an ulterior motive it is a matter of time before these assumptions backfire.

Obama/Franklin quotes

The following are some additional related posts on the subject:

Additional articles on ECHELON at The Centre for Research on Globalization

Additional articles on ECHELON at Signs of the Times

This week in crazy: Naomi Wolf

Naomi Wolf Thinks Edward Snowden and His Sexy Girlfriend Might Be Government Plants

SOTT: Is "Prism" news? or is it ECHELON?

Annie Machon is a former intelligence officer for MI5 on ECHELON etc.

SOTT: Somebody's listening: How the NSA, GCHQ, Germany and China have spent decades working together to spy on the whole world

Libya 360: ECHELON: Exposing the NSA’s Global Spy Network

Bush wins passage of US spy bill to protect telecoms