proposals


I’m really sick of all the bumper stickers from “Friends of Coal” and telling me that if I don’t like Coal, I shouldn’t use electricity.  This came to me in the middle of the night as the logical extension of that sentiment:

Fiends for Coal

Moto: “Electricity from Coal – Use It or Else!”

  • Make burning wood for heat instead of paying for coal fired electricity a felony.
  • Ban all Energy Star appliances, compact florescent and LED light bulbs from homes in the coal fields.
  • Pass an ordinance that requires all thermostats to be set at 65 degrees in the summer and 78 degrees in the winter.
  • Create an energy monitoring police force to ferret out any attempts to save electricity.
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There are an alarming number of folks on the right in American Politics who are willing to fail to raise the debt ceiling because they believe that the vast majority of what government does is unnecessary and indeed “evil.” These are people many of whom do think that it would be a good thing for government to disappear, and that nothing seriously bad will happen if the August 2 deadline passes and the debt ceiling is not raised. They (wrongly) believe that a capitalist economy works best without government involvement, and so they apparently believe that rather than destroying our economy, crippling government by failing to raise the debt ceiling will free it to soar.

I have come to believe in recent days that it is necessary for those of us on the left to let them have their way. Let it fail. Let all those freshman, Tea Party Republicans have their way, let them block the raising of the debt ceiling. I believe it is time that the American people learn how much they really need government, how bad things can get if government is starved of funding.

The American people have been fed so much crap about the evils of government since 1980, that its time for a very serious, deadly object lesson; a lesson that is unmistakable in its dire consequences.

Once the lesson has sunk in, the debt ceiling can always be raised again. Yes, that will still result in the down grading of U.S. credit ratings, and that will cause some pain in increased interest rates among other things. But I’m beginning to think that it would be a small price to pay for the American electorate to learn that government is very necessary to the survival of the economic system of which they are so enamored.

Let it fail.

Better to let it fail, that to sacrifice bit by bit the programs like social security, medicare and medicaid that have provided a small bulwark against the complete disintegration of the American Middle Class.

On a blog I read occasionally I saw this proposal for moving the country to more sustainable energy use:

My proposal is that electric utility companies currently heavily invested in their own coal-fired generation consider adopting the model used by Bell Telephone in the 1950’s. In exchange for a modest installation fee (say a few hundred dollars that could be prorated over a period of time) well within the budgets of middle and working class families with “green values,” the utility company would deliver and install solar panels on the consumers home — but, and here’s what I think is a new idea (at least as applied to electricity generation) the utility company would retain ownership of those panels in perpetuity, and charge the consumer a monthly fee for the electricity consumed from those panels.

Here’s the details — the one’s that I think would make this idea appealing to both the consumer and to the utility company. The individual solar installations would 1) be large enough to provide for ordinary, peak daylight hours electricity use and 2) would be tied into the grid allowing for both inflow and outflow. The utility company would benefit, because all excess electricity generated would flow into the grid for use by other customers (and unlike the situation where a household customer owns the solar installation, the utility company would own that excess flow outright and not be paying the customer with the installation for it). With each household or business that added solar generation, the electricity generating capacity of the entire grid would be expanded. The capitalization costs would be spread out over time — no huge up-front investment in generation capacity years before any new power can be generated. Moreover, following current phone company and cable company practices, the utility company could charge a very small (a few dollars) monthly maintenance fee to consumers, to cover costs of periodic maintenance and repair.

The consumer would benefit in two ways: they would have the assurance that in the absence of sunlight they would still have electricity, and conversely, during widespread power outages due to downed transmission lines they would also still have their locally generated power. Indeed, if several households in a neighborhood had contracted with the utility for solar panels, the entire neighborhood circuit might be protected from electricity loss during a widespread outage….From the utility company’s perspective, they are able to gradually expand their generating capacity, using “green” sources, with small, periodic expenditures of capital that can be partially charged to the customer (installation fees), and also recouped by feeding all excess electricity generated into the grid. Customers without the panels who depended solely on the grid would pay the standard rate for their electricity. By dispersing solar generation through out the households served by a utility, there would be a substantial increase in efficiency, as electricity would be consumed closer to where it was generated, reducing the losses to long distance transmission. Most of all this idea allows utility companies to make the transition to renewable electricity generation gradual and incremental, and thus less painful and more acceptable.

Intriguing idea, particularly since it lays the ground work for a far more radical shift. Once solar installations had penetrated a significant percentage of housing units, the citizens could stage a take-over of power-generation. Instead of “nationalizing” the power industry, we could “communitize” the power industry. Okay, I made that term-up by what I mean is transferring ownership of means of production to community or neighborhood groups. So even though this proposal, on the surface seems to expand the power and reach of utility companies, it does have within it the seeds for a more radical, decentralized energy economy.

Last night I watched the SyFy channel’s new series Caprica, and I have to say I’m worried. It won’t be that long before we have the technological capability to create cyborgs and human clones and what happens when these creations demand the right to vote. They could both easily out number us real humans very quickly. Do you want to live in a country where the political power of soulless cyborgs dominates and controls the lives of us ordinary soul infested humans? [Okay you quibbling SyFy junkies, I know that one of the premise of Caprica is that Cylons have souls — they believe in a monotheistic god — but really now, can a machine have a soul?).

I mean we already have the political precedent established — you don’t have to be flesh and blood to be a person and have political rights. Corporations have had personhood since the 19th century–the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution was perverted by the Supreme court of that day to achieve that. And this week, today’s Supreme Court reasserted that the corporations as persons have the same political rights as flesh and blood persons. The problem of course being that corporations have a hell of a lot more money and power than most flesh and blood persons.

The time is right to prevent the future take-over of our nation by cylon-like cyborgs and human clones. We need a new amendment to the Constitution that defines once and for all that a person is only a biological human created by the combined sperm of a male biological human and a female biological human. This would not only protect us against future threats (think not only cyborgs and clones, but also aliens from other planets — you think we have an alien problem now!) but would also end the tyranny of large corporations in our political process. If they are no longer persons, then their political rights would disappear. The humans within them would still have full rights, but not the corporations.

This is an amendment that both the Tea Partiers and commie pinkos like myself could get behind. Those Tea Partiers don’t like big banks, big insurance companies, big oil, etc. any more than I do.

This is getting old — it seems like this happens every year at this time. Some new, extremely violent video game with a released timed to take advantage of Christmas buying, makes headlines for its shockingness and lawlessness; headlines that just serve to boost the sales of the game.

Well I have a proposal for a new game that could be ready for the Christmas 2010 season. I call it “Call of Duty: Class Warfare.” It will involve lots of gun play and blood and gore, and its scenarios will all be set in high-rise corporate headquarters and bucolic corporate campuses of America — and maybe some exclusive resorts and golf courses.

The targets will be the overpaid CEO’s and CFO’s of Americas top 500 corporations, especially those that ended up needed federal bailouts in 2008 and 2009. The players as “class warriors” will carry automatic weapons and earn points for kills — the higher the salary of the corporate head the more points. For example knocking off Laurence J. Ellison of Oracle who currently makes $557 million a year would be worth 10 times as many points as a hit on Mark V. Hurd of Hewlett-Packard who is only taking home $51 million this year.

Given the class warfare theme, there would be loss of points, or potential loss of play for collateral deaths of class comrades including secretaries, janitorial workers, or other working class stiffs that might be in the same locality as the “capitalist pig” targets.

Now this is a computer/video game I would buy — and I bet I’m not alone. None of those T-Partyers seem to be particularly fond of Wall Street and the corporate elite and they love guns!