“[Adam] Smith’s intent [The Wealth of Nations,1776] was to create a system for the exchange of goods and services that was more equitable for both the producer of the good or service and the consumer. He discusses the idea of a fair wage for workers and a fair return on capital for investors.” – Bill Patrie, Bismarck Tribune, 02/24/22
“Politics and economics cannot be divorced from the mineral industries.” – Charles Park, Affluence in Jeopardy, 1968
“This (Ukraine/Donbass) situation echoes our history…Our borders were not of our own drawing. They were drawn in the distant colonial metropoles of London, Paris and Lisbon, with no regard for the ancient nations that they cleaved apart…At independence…we agreed that we would settle for the borders that we inherited, but we would still pursue continental political, economic and legal integration…We rejected irredentism and expansionism on any basis, including racial, ethnic, religious or cultural factors. We reject it again today.” – Martin Kimani, Representative of Kenya to the UN, npr news, 2/22/22
“Whatever the private opinions of scientists, their civic role has been to provide governing authorities with powers, while drawing resources from the state for science. The relation of scientists to the state in modern times has been one of partnership rather than partisanship, whether for or against programs of particular political parties. In my view, this consideration is further evidence that science is intrinsically relevant to means and indifferent to the choice of ends.” – Charles C. Gillispie, The Edge of Objectivity:…History of Scientific Ideas, 1960
“A Trump administration political appointee broke the law with a gag order banning Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) staff from talking to the media…That gag order came from Michael Caputo, HHS assistant secretary of public affairs for a brief time, but an important one: mid-April through mid-September, 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic really gained hold, abated, and surged again.” – Daily Kos, 12/13/21
“(In a Senate hearing, 1/10/22) Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, angrily accused Republican Sen. Rand Paul [KY] of making false accusations that are leading to threats against him – all to raise political cash.” – AP/Bismarck Tribune, 1/11/22
“The institutional capital world is done with coal.” – Goldman Sachs CEO to Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), 12/17/21
“…the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 has been suspended — a terrible idea from its conception…While energy implications…are far-ranging, they aren’t tragic. On the contrary, this is a blessing in disguise…Ramped up green transformation policies are required now for two reasons: to break free of Putin’s energy stranglehold on Europe and meet global climate goals to keep our planet livable…energy efficiency targets, too, have to be ratcheted up. Europeans (and Americans) simply have to use less energy: drive less, heat less, consume less…Europeans (and Americans) have to realize that they are living in precarious, crisis-fraught times.”– Paul Hockenos, CNN, 02/23/22
“Nuclear power (nuclear fission) [is] the only carbon free energy source that can reliably deliver power day and night, through every season, almost anywhere on earth, that has been proven to work on a large scale…France [gets] 70% of its electricity from nuclear.” – Bill Gates, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, 2021
“Categorizing used nuclear fuel as ‘waste’ is holding back a second nuclear era” – Ed McGinnes, CEO, Curio: A nuclear innovation and technology company; “It’s Time for a Homegrown U.S. Nuclear Manufacturing Base,” – Newsweek, 02/25/22
“Science doesn’t give a f*** what you believe.” – coffee mug logo
Professors of Military History in the U.S. are still teaching about the brilliant defense campaign tactics used against invading U.S. Army troops by the Nez Percé commander, Chief Joseph. Readers of Merrill Beal’s I Will Fight No More Forever will also learn that on August 9-10, 1877, American Army troops, in a surprise attack at dawn on Chief Joseph’s Camp, which included all of the women and children of his entourage, were instructed to fire low into the teepees of the sleeping Nez Percé so as to inflict as much damage as possible.
Those with a stomach for such atrocities can also read in Christopher Browning’s Ordinary Men: Reserve Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, how ordinary middle-aged family men of working-class background from Hamburg carried out orders on July 13, 1942 to descend upon the village of Jósefów and eliminate 1,500 Jews: working age men to work camps, women, children and elderly to be shot. Their commanding officer made them an unusual offer: “if any of the older men among them did not feel up to the task that lay before him, he could step out.”
If reports are true from Ukrainian battlefronts against Vladimir Putin’s invading Russian Army, there are some numbers of Russian soldiers surrendering rather that carrying out orders to shoot down their Ukrainian neighbors. Others are texting home that they were told that they were on “training exercises” not invading Ukraine. Their reluctance is backed up by demonstrations all over Russia against yet another war for oil empire, despite harsh treatment of dissenters common to the Putin regime; reminiscent of way too much over-policing in the United States.
The Jews of Jósefów had no chance in 1942; no weapons and no back up. The Nez Percé did have weapons, and they used them to great effect against the U.S. troops. But they had no back up in a white America determined to displace them from any lucrative piece of real estate. Such folks now dominate Congress with fossil fuel Senators from West Virginia to Wyoming, who have stood in the way of reasonable transition to green energy since the 1980s. As a result, we all now face either unreasonable, hurried transition to a greener planet, or slow extinction.
Ukrainians have both weapons and back up; possibly even from sources within Vlad Putin’s own FSB (the old KGB). Their willingness and ability to fight, coupled with the reluctance of their Russian neighbors to annihilate them, have forced painful choices not only upon Vlad and the Oligarchs (not a rock band), but also upon oil oligarchs in the West. “Which side are you on?” is an old song with new meaning.
For confrontations of empires, intent upon control of gold, oil and other minerals, without regard for those who live above or next to them, novelists J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter vs. Voldemort) and J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) have a better psychological grasp on such power usage and abusage than analytic narratives of today’s corporate and national dictators: star struck CEOs blasting off towards the Moon and Mars; polluting corporations blasting away clean air and clean water, and High Tech dictators blasting away their citizens.
“Ukraine’s vice prime minister asked Elon Musk to provide internet service (Starlink) to the country amid Russian attacks, and Musk delivered, according to a Twitter exchange between the two on Saturday.” – CNN, 2/27/22
As Elon Musk takes sides in “games of nations,” maybe he, and Jeff Bezos, might wish to do even more useful things for planet earth by spending more time and money on boosting green energies, not just rockets – making nuclear fuel safer to use; making wind and solar cheaper to use, instead of abetting corporate America in gouging their fellow citizens for every nickel and dime of their hard-earned money. Otherwise, the world is subject to petroleum blackmail by the likes of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Fossil Fuel Governors from North Dakota to Texas, and dirty dark money that fills coffers of almost all of Republican Party and some shameless Democrats. I asked my KGB animal friends for thoughts on this “energy draining” subject.
High Plains Reader: Dear friends, now that Vladimir Putin has invaded Ukraine to save his fossil fuel empire, and released nuclear waste from Chernobyl to boot, don’t you think Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk should make haste away from space travel and join their fellow billionaire, Bill Gates in getting serious about a Green New Deal for both the private and public sectors?
Rasputin: Vlad Putin’s war on Ukraine in 2022 is the same as Dick Cheney’s and Haliburton’s war on Iraq in 2003; Ronald Reagan’s war on Jimmy Carter’s clean energy initiatives in 1980, numerous wars involving Israel and the Muslim Middle East [some sitting on oil, others not] and the CIA’s war on democratic Iran in 1953. It is a war for oil; and against cheap green energy alternatives that give greater and greater power to more and more people.
Putin: Authoritarian corporate empires relying on carbon-based fuels, like Rex Tillerson and the Fossil Friendlies (also not a rock band), are no different from Russia or Saudi Arabia in suppressing dissent among their employees or citizens, just more efficient in extracting oil and gas than Vlad Putin.
HPR: Then why did Rex Tillerson, as Donald Trump’s Secretary of State, call his President, also a lover of fossil fuels, a f***ing moron?
Omar Khayyam: Because, in addition to being a sociopath and good only for lying to people, Trump was, and is, incompetent and a coward. Rex was the first to state the obvious in an official capacity. Trump proved him right again and again, of course. With all the power of what U.S. Historians of the past 50 years describe as the “Imperial Presidency,” he couldn’t even pull off a coup, though he had the cooperation of a totally corrupted Republican Party leadership.
Lena: On the other hand, democratic corporate empires, like Norway and Switzerland, have decided to put their money where Ukraine is. They accept that the world may possibly die with a bang if either Russia or the United States make a misstep, but that the world will certainly die with a whimper if they don’t side with green energy against fossil fuels, regardless of the impact of the transition on the lives of the rich, and the rest the world which wishes it were rich.
The Fossil Toad: Y’all have forgotten about Vlad Putin’s second front in the U.S.
HPR: You again! What are you talking about?
Fossil Toad: Donnie and the Putin Pimps (again-not a rock band) of course! Also, Texas and Oklahoma “Oil Boys;” in addition to self-centered, whiny, anti-vaxxing truckers; and vote suppressing, women hating GOP officials like Governor Greg Abbott. Abbott doesn’t just spread big lies about Trump’s election loss to cover up his suppression of women’s choices and voters voices, he spreads the big lie about the Texas big freeze of winter 2021, which gouged Texas energy consumers while depriving them of heat and electricity.
HPR: You mean ERCOT Corporation’s failure to winterize the Texas Energy grid?
Fossil Toad: Yep: ERCOT, Greg Abbott, and complicit Republicans blamed wind energy for sustained black outs that did not occur in the rest of the natural-gas-interdependent South and West. To save money and increase profits, ERCOT elected not to bury gas lines deep enough in the ground to avoid a harsh freeze.
Brenda Bison: Gas furnaces burn off the 10% of the water in your pipelines coming in to your home, that you see trickle toward your basement drain in normal operation. That keeps water from corroding the metal in the furnace in either North Dakota or Texas. But in North Dakota, the gas pipelines are buried deeper to prevent the watery 10% in the pipeline from stopping the 90% of home and hearth warming fuel. Fossil fuel executives and Republican State officials might be venal in North Dakota, but they are not stupid. In Texas they are both.
Mr. Swamp Fox: To protect their venality and their stupidity, the Texas Legislature and Governor Abbott have unleashed an all-out war on democratic practices and voting rights that has, so far, received the blessings of a reactionary U.S. Supreme Court. The Texas Primary of March 1, 2022 represents the opening phase of political wars in America that will spell the fate, not only of our democratic experiment, but also the environmental fate of the human experiment.
Chicago Dog: Despite the “lyin’ ayes” of legislative front men and women that pass laws favoring fossil fuels over green ones, the main source of American prosperity through electricity, heating and cooling, is cheap energy per se, not the nature of the source that provides it.
Brenda Bison: Lignite junkies doing P.R. at North Dakota power plants, have gnashed their teeth for years when obliged to show a map of U.S. power sources, with the Pacific Northwest dependent solely on water power from the Columbia River, rather than from coal.
Madame Inspector Chen: The following from a scientist with a human face, could help Joe Biden and NATO Build Back Greener from the wreckage of Vlad Putin’s yearning for Stalinism and Trump’s successful appeals to the greediest and most racist and misogynist among you:
“President Biden should immediately invoke the Defense Production Act to get American manufacturers to start producing electric heat pumps (which heat homes with electricity instead of gas) in quantity, so we can ship them to Europe where they can be installed in time to dramatically lessen Putin’s power…The current electric grid in Europe could handle fifty million heat pumps.” – Bill McKibben, The Crucial Years, 2/27/22
Ms. Recovering Republican Lap Dog: That success could inspire entrepreneurial production of heat pumps in the U.S. to break the monopoly of ERCOT and other bad acting fossil fuel barons. Another task for would be billionaires looking to sell their start up ideas to Shark Tank.
Señor Perro: With fossil free home heating covered, the next step is clean electricity production, and the technology is there, if politicians and CEOs have the guts to face down lethargy, cynicism, short-sightedness, and lobbyists for carbon.
Anabelle Anaconda: That a smart grid, built by smart people, is now technologically feasible strikes terror into the dark hearts of billionaire fossil fuel freeloaders, corrupting governments and destroying the only environment, Earth, even they and their children have to live in.
Mr. Crying Wolf: Big energy companies already have a stake in hydroelectric, bioenergy, geothermal, and even nuclear power that could phase out addiction to fossil fuels, but their biggest fears are that the two most essential green energy producers, wind and, especially solar, can be done on a small-scale basis by ordinary citizens, if politics and zoning laws permit.
Mr. Swamp Fox: That is what ties together the world-wide efforts against Vlad Putin and the efforts of Democrats, Independents, and renegade Republicans against dark and oil-dirty money, a Trump-besotted GOP and Putin-loving right-wing media, in the 2022 election cycle that kicked off in Texas on March 1st. Fat cats are terrified that runaway inflation, another Covid variant, or some other unforeseen event that hurts Biden, won’t bail them out from a Congress that might actually pass a greener agenda in 2023.
Fossil Toad: While hopping around the halls of big oil companies that were frantically trying to get their hands on ownership of wind and sunlight, in return for giving up coal and oil, I found this poetic memo that had fallen next to the document shredder:
Greenwashing Blues……Kermit the Frog’s Evil Twin
I can’t believe that Vlad could be so dumb;
To launch his troops only for sake of oil;
Without a better lie than Nazis’ toil—
To put Ukraine beneath his tyrant’s thumb.
And now his stupid move affects us all;
Our dark and dirty money well exposed
To greener energies; more cheap for those
Who do not care a bit for how we fail.
With wind and solar, all we’ve left to deal—
Oh! Geothermal, nuclear to boot;
Our bigness will command! We say goodbye
To fossil fuel folly and get real;
Pass on the short term pain of change and loot
The gen’ral public, OR! We don’t ride high.