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Commentary Last Updated: Apr 25th, 2007 - 01:36:42

Perspectives on our changing climate -- Part 3: Peace, clean energy, and priorities
By Rand Clifford
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Apr 25, 2007, 01:33

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Remember . . . the president throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for the Washington home team on the opening day of Major League Baseball? This tradition started in 1910 by William H. Taft has been, if not laid to rest, at least put into a coma in 2005 by George W. Bush. A certain facsimile sputtered in 2006 when Cheney�s bullet-proof vest bulked his red-and-blue Washington Nationals jacket, and under massive security, to a soundtrack of boos and jeers, from in front of the mound Cheney threw a limp sinker into the dirt. That was it.

Neither Cheney nor his Bush will ever again willingly expose themselves to such public reality, so widely despised by the American People that for years both have spoken only to groups sanitized of all but loyal supporters. And beneath the perfunctory platitudes shoveled at the �Great American People,� contempt and loathing for The People has petrified into our top leaders� perspective. So with We The People despising our leaders, and our leaders despising us back, any progress toward Peace and Clean Energy . . . let�s just say, they�ll never throw out a first pitch. Only dragged kicking and screaming will they ever approach genuine progress for The People, at the expense of their de facto constituents.

Considered the father of modern fascism, Benito Mussolini said that fascism could more accurately be called corporatism, the marriage of government and big business. This Bush administration and their cheerleading corporate media have stripped the term fascism of all meaning with such contrived oxymorons as �Islamofascist,� simplifying popular conception down to: fascism = BAD! But if we could ask Mussolini, surely he would say our government is as classic an example of corporatism as the world has seen.

Take for example the invasion and occupation of Iraq; for the American People this has been a profound disaster; for war-profiteering corporations it has been paradise. War is the most profitable enterprise going. Moral strictures have even spun off a whole separate industry to manufacture justifications for killing and maiming innocent people for profit, an industry lubricated by religion.

For an excellent example of corporate fortunes in war, look at Halliburton�s 284 percent increase in war profits for the second quarter of 2005. [1] With former CEO Dick Cheney currently belted into our War Pilot Seat, success of Haliburton securing no-bid rides into pseudo-performance contracts, plus slightly more conventional contracts -- performance of which is currently under illusory investigation, profits of Haliburton and subsidiaries could eclipse oil company profits, the most obscene of all time.

And when it comes to alternative fuels, old battle-hardened warrior Cheney would be first to tell you that they are for sissies. Oil, now that�s a Man�s kind of energy. Maybe that snarl on his face goes with a chip on his shoulder over being deprived of his chance for live combat in Vietnam because he had �other priorities� -- but he can kick-ass with that world-class snarl and send other peoples� sons and daughters into the meat grinder of war like nobody else. He�s also a terror with a shotgun, mowing down ducks released from cages while relaxing with Supreme Court buddies, even shooting other buddies in the face when hapless quail fail to obey The Snarl. He is SO good, hunting partners and even their families abjectly apologize for any embarrassment caused The Snarler and His family by partners sticking their face in front of a blast. OOPS, MY FACE -- er, FAULT, Richard, er, Dick.

And then there�s Dick�s Bush, who was also deprived of live combat in Vietnam because the skies of Texas needed a pilot seasoned in cocaine and booze and privilege for protection. . . . The point here is, with these combat-deprived warriors telling us it�s going to be a Long War, possibly spanning generations, a self-defense affair because the enemy hates our freedoms, and we will not be safe until we root out the Haters Of Freedom from every nook and cranny (wherever there�s easily-recoverable oil), we simply can�t afford peace -- we have other �priorities.�

Corporatism lives by a single priority: corporate profit. That�s the main reason our government has been one of the last two in the world to even tacitly acknowledge the existence of a burgeoning problem with the potential to toast civilization, fast. The main driver of global warming is carbon dioxide released from the combustion of fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas are lumped here into Big Oil [BO]). Any replacement of fossil fuels by Clean Renewable Energy hits BO in the profits. Their first line of defense was denial, the pouring of millions into convincing the public that global warming is not real. It�s already very difficult to convince people that what is happening is not really happening, and though returns on their denial-dollars investments are evaporating, those dollars keep flowing. [2]

BO, by its very nature, is branching out in profit protection. Eight major automakers have current plans to commercialize fuel cell vehicles. [3] And as the options for providing hydrogen to the fuel cells are being politicized down to natural gas, gasoline, or diesel, fuel cell vehicles have been getting some rather high-placed nods. Methanol and ethanol are renewables that can also provide hydrogen, but they are less, as BO�s euphemism for profitable goes, �versatile.�

Biomass ethanol is our greatest hope for clean and renewable transportation energy; biomass diesel our best clean energy for industry. [4] Both of these technologies have potential to hit BO profits hard. For another angle of profit protection, witness Arthur Daniels Midland (ADM: �The Supermarket to the World�) trying to twist the ethanol discussion into a �food versus fuel� framework, as though corn is the only -- or at least the very best feedstock for ethanol. For ADM, corn is best, and they certainly have receipts for the enormous political favor they have purchased -- enough to set records for corporate welfare. [5] ADM would have a profit crisis if the genuine very best feedstock for ethanol were utilized: hemp biomass. Various modes of energy are available from hemp and its seeds. [6, 7, 8] But hemp is a venerable pioneer, having already been demonized since the thirties for threatening the profits of Hearst, and du Pont -- if you don�t count the government�s �Hemp For Victory�! campaign in the final years of WWII. [9] Hemp is a true agricultural superstar, the only crop that can be grown in all 50 states, and with little or no petrochemical inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides. . . . ) As a rotational crop, hemp actually improves soil. A thriving biomass hemp industry would be a boon for local economies, empower farmers, create jobs, help balance the carbon cycle -- fighting global warming while minimizing petroleum imports . . . and that really is just for starters. Perhaps the benefits of hemp are clarified by what a profit nightmare it would be to BO, ADM, Monsanto -- elucidated by the fight they will put up if, like Canada, the U.S. smartens up into restoring to The People what is truly our most valuable resource.

Hemp is nature�s greatest �fixer� of solar energy, breathing in carbon dioxide and exhaling oxygen while turning sunlight into a cornucopia of useful, superior materials. Nothing grows faster, is easier to grow, or treats the soil better. Much of the solar energy the Earth has bathed in for billions of years has been fixed biologically, and through various metamorphoses, been stored as fossil energy. But the cheap, abundant energy of the eons carries a lethal legacy. Not only is oil extremely toxic, carbon locked up in fossil fuels will destroy balances that make Earth so hospitable. It�s almost as though all that stored energy is a test for humanity: If you are clever enough to tap the energy of eons, are you wise enough not to destroy yourselves with it?

We can live within our current energy systems, everything needed is constantly provided. But, everything we want, that�s the dark side. Will we show the wisdom to live on what is freely given, or will we dig out what was given over billions of years to have a big rush of energy we do not actually need? Will our cleverness for tapping what we want, for such instantaneous and exclusive profit, compromise our very existence, or will wisdom to live within our energy systems mean we�ll be able to look back on this hospitable speck in space, and thank the wisdom in humanity for conquering the want, and redefining the concept of profit.

Our current energy architecture has led to global warming, a potentially-terminal problem at least for civilization and the majority of Earth�s higher species. Everything we need to rebalance the carbon cycle is in our hands. But the enemy that has gotten enormously powerful delivering us to this crucial predicament will use this power to protect its profits. All the corporations. All the profits to be made warring for fossil energy reserves, and maintaining current energy architecture. All the profits from the upcoming conflicts over fresh water that global warming is guaranteeing. All the Armageddonists. . . .

There�s going to be hurricanes of rhetoric about feasibility, cost-effectiveness, price-at-the-pump, ad nauseam. But there is only one issue: profits. Do the corporations hang on to the vast majority while killing most everything off, or will The People gain control of profits, and point us back toward life?


[1] Halliburton Watch.

[2] Newsweek Hides Global Warming Deniers Financial Ties to Big Oil.

[3] Fuel Choice for Fuel Cell Vehicles.

[4] Special Report: Fueling Controversy.

[5] Archer Daniels Midland: A Case Study In Corporate Welfare.

[6] Hemp Biomass For Energy.

[7] Hemp as Biomass.

[8] Hemp as a Fuel / Energy Source.

[9] Hemp for Victory.

Part 1: Weather Versus Climate

Part 2: True Costs of Fossil Fuels

Rand Clifford lives in Spokane, Washington, and welcomes your comments at His novels CASTLING and TIMING are published by StarChief Press.

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