Category Archives: Politics

Biofuels Technology Update

Here are some recent advances in biofuel technology. I’ve long held that if we apply ourselves to innovating in the area of alternative energy, we can and will succeed. Jazz, over at TMV highlighted a new technology involving bioengineered bacteria that produce petroleum oil. It is yet another example of how American ingenuity can free us from dependence on foreign oil if we really set our minds to it. More importantly, if we really allocate our resources to innovation rather than continuing to pour them down the same big oil rat hole that we are currently feeding.

While this new bioengineered bacteria is interesting, we are much closer to application with biodiesel from microalgae. This does not have to be done in big fermentation tanks, and uses current technology such as that used to grow spirulina. It will yield more than 30 times the oil per acre than corn or soy and does not require clean freshwater (in fact, salt water will do, something we have plenty of). Take a look at the first facility, which will produce 4.4 million gallons of oil and 110 million lbs of biomass a year. Better still, such algae production facilities could be placed at the mouths of big polluted rivers like the Mississippi, and could convert nutrients from agricultural runoff into fuel. Currently these nutrients create an enormous “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. Furthermore, the algae can be used to consume CO2 from power plants. Cleans up the river, sequesters carbon from polluting industries and turns it all into fuel. Oh, and the exhausted algae can be used as fertilizer after extracting the oil.

Another exciting technology in this area is a starch to hydrogen technology developed by Virginia Tech, that can convert a safe, non-toxic and nonflammable starch and water slurry into hydrogen to drive a vehicle. These are only the tip of the iceberg. We can lead in green energy and clean tech if we commit to doing so instead of bowing down to petroleum and coal interests.

We limit ourselves when we think that every problem has to be solved with current technology. This is a great failing of our current energy policies. We have shortchanged research budgets into alternatives and still, our tenacious scientists come up with new leads all the time. Meanwhile, the GOP and some of their supporters wail that the sky will fall if we don’t start drilling in Alaska today. That’s not the solution. Let’s turn the page on that old thinking.

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GOP: The Global Opinion Pounders

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Yes, the devastating fiasco that is the GOP neocon agenda is destroying world opinion of the US:

The Bush policies of war, occupation, torture and rendition are having a cumulative effect on global opinion. A recent BBC poll of more than 26,000 people found that 75 percent oppose the U.S. role in Iraq, two-thirds oppose the handling of prisoners at Guantanamo, and 52 percent feel that the U.S. has an overall negative effect on the planet.

Robert Sheer puts it poignantly:

President Bush has accomplished what Osama bin Laden only dreamed of by disgracing the model of American democracy in the eyes of the world.

According to an exhaustive BBC poll, nearly three-quarters of those polled in 25 countries oppose the Bush policy on Iraq, and more than two-thirds believe the U.S. presence in the Middle East destabilizes the region. In other words, the almost universal support the United States enjoyed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks has been completely squandered, as a majority of the world’s people now believe that our role in the entire world is negative. Continue reading

The Disaster of the GWOT

It started out so well, considering the tragic loss of 9/11. The whole world was on our side and largely supported our going after Al Qaeda and its Taliban supporters. Great article by Richard Parry at Alternet, who details how the so-called war on terror is more like a war on our Republic.

From the beginning of the “war on terror,” George W. Bush has lied to the American people about the goals, motivation and even the identity of the enemy — a propaganda exercise that continued through his 2007 State of the Union Address and that is sounding the death knell for the Republic. Since 2001, rather than focusing on the al Qaeda Sunni fundamentalist terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks, Bush has expanded the conflict exponentially — tossing in unrelated enemies such as Iraq’s secular dictator Saddam Hussein, Shiite-led Iran, Syria and Islamic militants opposed to Israel, like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Continue reading

Sums It Up Nicely

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Cheney Rejected Negotiating with Iran

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AP reports

An Iranian offer to help the United States stabilize Iraq and end its military support for Hezbollah and Hamas was rejected by Vice President Dick Cheney in 2003, a former top State Department official told the British Broadcasting Corp.

The U.S. State Department was open to the offer, which came in an unsigned letter sent shortly after the American invasion of Iraq, Lawrence Wilkerson, former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff, told BBC’s Newsnight in a program broadcast Wednesday night. But, Wilkerson said, Cheney vetoed the deal.

The Moderate Voice delves into the debate about negotiating with Iran, with several commenters taking the view that it is hopeless. Continue reading

HR 508 would bring the troops home in six months

posted by Anita Fieldman

Washington, DC – Joined by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA), and Maxine Waters (CA), Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (Petaluma) today introduced the Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act of 2007, sweeping legislation, which would establish a 6-month timeframe for withdrawal for all US military forces from Iraq, provide a framework for bringing stability back to Iraq, and fully fund the VA health care system. The proposal is a direct response to President Bush’s challenge over the weekend for those who oppose his planed escalation to put forth a plan of their own. Woolsey introduced the bill during a press conference held this afternoon in the Capitol. Below are her remarks, as prepared for delivery: Continue reading

Letter From a Military Mom

these are toy soldiers, Mr. Bush. play with them

My friend Claudine asked me to post this letter from a military mom:

Four years ago, I was watching TV, buying stuff and getting ready for Andy’s high school graduation. Then he joined the Marines and turned our world up side down. He’s now dealing with hearing loss, anger issues and PTSD, and even though he has less than seven months to go, he said he’s not leaving base for fear of doing something that might extend his contract. During these past years, there have been days I could barely speak, nights I couldn’t sleep and times I was paralyzed with fear for his safety. And now his Commander in Chief wants to subject 21,000 more troops to a war that began with a lie. Continue reading