Posts Tagged ‘Global Warming’

SORRY, Internet Closed! NOW WHAT?

February 3, 2011

Who pulled the plug?

(Geekspeak Alert! Multiple occurrences of Information Technology jargon and abbreviations follow. Approach at your own risk.)

What if, what if, what if…? The recent discussion of the Egyptians’ reliance on the Internet for communication in their uprising, and of the “Internet Kill Switch” legislation in our own Congress, led me to thinking about preparedness in general, and emergency communication in particular.

The Internet has gone from an obscure fad to a virtual communication spinal cord in a couple of decades. It’s “the network of networks.” It’s “the cloud,” and the “information superhighway.” To some, it’s a free-flowing gutter; to others, it’s a lifeline to information, communication and entertainment they can’t imagine being without.

You are “plugged in,” to one degree or another, to that “cloud,” or you wouldn’t be reading this.

What if it went away?

Egypt did its best to shut off public access to the Internet when the rioting in Cairo began to turn into a revolt.

According to a TIME online story, what the Mubarak regime did was order the Internet Service Providers that serve Egypt to shut down their Domain Name Service (DNS servers). The article offers a capsule explanation of DNS:

When you open up your web browser and type a domain name into the address bar—say Time.com, for instance—your service provider sends a lightning-quick request to whichever service provider Time.com uses to make its web pages publicly available on the internet.

The computer that holds all of Time.com’s web pages sends a response back through its internet service provider basically saying, “Yes, we’re online. Here’s the web page you requested.”

That’s part of the story. The critical part of the DNS process is address translation. The Internet doesn’t know from www.yoursite.com. The DNS server converts the Universal Resource label (URL), the “human-friendly” name for the site you want to see, into an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which, for now, is a series of numbers and periods in the format ###.###.###. That is what really travels across town or around the world, to arrive at “www.yoursite.com.”

There’s a lesson, for you. If DNS service is down, you need a list of Internet Protocol addresses you can put into the address field of your browser to get to sites directly.

To get to my favorite Internet news site, World Net Daily, in the absence of DNS service, I simply put “70.85.95.100”(without the quotation marks) into my address field, and go there.

How did I find that out? I opened a command line window (I speak Windows; sorry, Apple and Linux speakers – you’re on your own) and ran the PING command using several of my most frequent browsing destinations.

Here’s an example of the PING command and its output, from my IP address gathering process:

C:\Documents and Settings\Tom Cox>ping drudgereport.com
 Pinging drudgereport.com [209.234.251.93] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=105ms TTL=46
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=113ms TTL=46
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=112ms TTL=46
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=111ms TTL=46 
Ping statistics for 209.234.251.93:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
 Minimum = 105ms, Maximum = 113ms, Average = 110ms

The important information here isn’t the lousy ping times I get from my ISP, but the fact that when I enter the domain name — drudgereport.com in this case – (note the omission of “www” and the like), PING gives me the IP address, (209.234.251.93) it got from the DNS server I am currently connected to, which it uses to find the right server at the other end and measure the time required to get an acknowledgment.

Obviously, taking down the DNS service will impede access for those who don’t know how to get around it, but just as obviously, that is a porous barrier to the Internet. Not only can people who have stored their most-used IP addresses locally get through, but satellite-based ISPs, as well as any ISP who can be reached by dial-up, even in another hemisphere, can provide access, however slow and filtered that access may be. Any regime or force that wants to cut off Internet service completely, or at least much more completely than the Egyptian government did, has to take down wireline phone service, as well as cellular service, and jam satellite downlink frequencies.

The Internet is designed with “robustness” in mind, with multiple paths among connected nodes, and that makes an “Internet Kill Switch”more of a challenge than it may appear to be from a user’s perspective. (Thanks to Bruce Schneier, long-time Internet security and encryption expert)

If it were possible to take down the Internet in a given region, the results may be a classic, “be careful what you wish for” scenario. Governments that want to clamp down on the Internet may discover too late how dependent their own activities are on it. Will they be able to use government debit cards to refuel military vehicles? Will their air traffic control system’s communication network collapse? How about the electrical grid, public transportation, metropolitan traffic control systems, for starters – will a government that wants to enhance its grip on its population deliberately blind and deafen itself, just to silence social networks and news outlets?

Government suppression of the Internet may be the least of our concerns, in fact. We don’t even need our government to put the Internet at risk. Two other “actors” may be a lot more likely to succeed where governments fail: terrorists, and the sun.

All it will take is a little, tiny episode of solar flatulence, known scientifically as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The sun, notorious for its stubborn inclination to ignore and flaunt government regulations and environmentalist lobbying, is about due for another of its periodic episodes of instability. This instability includes a tendency to fling huge clouds of high-energy particles out from its nearly-endless supply of such materials.

A solar corona hole, February 3, 2011, courtesy http://www.spaceweather.com

 

Should our planet happen to be in the way of one of these clouds, the results will be spectacular and calamitous, but not unprecedented. As it passes through the cloud, the energy in the cloud will induce electric currents in any conductor, such as a power line or radio antenna, and the currents induced may be much greater than the conductor, and any connected equipment, can tolerate.

The earth itself will rattle with the shock of this blast of energy. A geomagnetic storm is a secondary effect of the CME. The earth’s magnetic field will ring like a bell, with effects on life and technology both known and unknown.

The history of these storms shows but a hint of the potential impact on the whole energy-transportation-communication-security-economy infrastructure.

This impact would not be an overnight phenomenon, but could bathe the earth in strong energy clouds for weeks or months. The associated Aurora displays might be spectacularly beautiful, but most of us will be too busy trying to survive the other effects to have much time top enjoy the show.

Aurora, courtesy Wikipedia

Aurora Borealis, courtesy Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Polarlicht_2.jpg

Ole’ Mom Nature and government shutdowns are not the only way uncontrollable forces can have a huge impact on the Internet and the rest of the infrastructure.  A small, but well-funded group of terrorists, or “axis of evil” agents, armed with a small nuclear weapon and a “SCUD” class, intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) can blind and cripple us, too.

SCUD on semi-trailer launcher, courtesy Wklipedia

 

A nondescript container ship could pull up off the Atlantic coast a hundred miles out from Washington DC, and launch a missile sold or donated by Russia, North Korea, Iran, or a non-state entity with lots of money. If the missile has a warhead consisting of, say, a refurbished Russian tactical nuclear warhead, furnished by the same thoughtful donor or another, or sold by some organized crime venture, the goal would be to detonate the missile not on or near the ground, as in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks, but a hundred miles or so above Washington, or nearby.

The nuclear detonation, even resulting from a very small, “suitcase”-style weapon, would have the expected blast effects from heat and sudden pressure – although they would be diminished on the ground due to the high altitude of the detonation — but it would also create a huge, sharp electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Before discounting the possibly existence of nuclear warheads small enough to launch above a SCUD-sized IRBM, recall that both the Russians and Americans developed and built thousands of nuclear artillery shells, one of which was successfully test-fired and detonated.

The upper atmosphere would interact with the pulse to create a huge, secondary pulse that would spread over an area of hundreds, or thousands, of square miles. There would be instant and dramatic effects on anything electrical for hundreds or thousands of miles in any direction. The impulse would be far stronger than a CME-induced surge, but lasting only a fraction of a second. The effect, though, would last for months, or years, in terms of its effect on the nation.

The effect on a society as dependent on electricity and electronics as ours, would be devastating, and that is not just the apocalyptic fantasy of a few catastrophe freaks and post-apocalypse survival enthusiasts. Credible groups have testified before Congress on the potential effects of such an attack, but with little apparent impact on our national priorities.

Nightmarish scenarios exist, such as a novel by a historian named William Forstchen, One Second After.

There is considerable disagreement as to the scientific and technical accuracy of the novel’s predictions, as one can see in the extended discussion of the book on Amazon, but not much disagreement that the effects will be severe and long-lasting. As long as the Internet stays up, you can learn more about EMP in its various forms at EMPact America, http://www.empactamerica.org/

Whether the cause of the outage is government action, terrorism or solar storms, doing without the Internet is

What’s a communication-dependent technophile to do? Do you carry a spare tire in your car? Why? The odds of a flat in the middle of nowhere are low, but the repercussions are severe – what disaster prep strategists refer to as a “low probability, high consequences event.”

Technophiles are smart to be ready with multiple options for communications, to fit the circumstances. Dead cell phone battery? Where’s your crank-up charger? Power out for an extended period? Cable system, wireline phone system, and cell service down? Where’s your CB radio, your GMRS/FRS portable radio set, your crystal radio, complete with rolled-up, ready-to-launch wire antenna, your HF ham radio and accessories, your fire starting kit, your wood stove, your bottled water, your toilet paper, your emergency food, your maps, your compass, your handgun, your rifle, your ammunition…

From a dead DNS server to the collapse of civil society and enemy attack – you can be a victim, or you can be prepared.

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A Flood of Inattention

May 10, 2010
Cumberland at Ashland City, TN in better days

Cumberland River near Ashland City, TN, in better days -- August, 2008

Ah, how nature can turn. The gentle, slow-moving Cumberland River and its tributaries have given us lots of comfort and beauty, and not a few catfish.

Last weekend (May 1 and 2, 2010), however, nature turned mean. A vast and unstoppable force, sometimes raging, and other times creeping, the Cumberland and its tributaries surged out of their banks and up miles of roads, in through thousands of front doors, stealing irreplaceable personal and public treasures, and destroying dreams and lives.

Flood water under Cumberland River Bridge

Flood water churns under the Ashland City bridge over the Cumberland, twenty feet higher than normal. 5/5/10

Riverview Restaurant/Campground, Ashland City, TN 5/5/10

There it met the water from the second day of rains flowing downhill, having saturated the surrounding ground to the point where it could absorb no more than a paved parking lot. Inconsequential creeks and streams became roaring whitewater monsters.

Take the most rain ever to fall in Nashville over 48 hours… and double it. At one point along the Cumberland, in better days, a relatively civilized river was a few hundred feet across. By Monday morning, after over a foot of rain, that same stretch of river had swollen to thousands of feet across, and it carried cars, livestock and whole buildings along at an astonishing pace. Structures that weren’t floated off their foundations were crushed under the weight and pressure of millions of tons of running water, pushing debris ahead like battering rams. Every crushed building, uprooted tree and floating car added to the mass that careened downstream, multiplying the flood’s destructive power.

As the flood waters recede – and they continue to recede, a week later — they leave behind mud, building materials, brush, dead things, an evil stench, uncatalogued contaminants and nightmarish memories that will last as long as the survivors.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the system of dams, locks and generating sites along the Cumberland and other rivers in the region, had no experience to guide them in operating the flood gates and locks to best manage the water, because not since the completion of the system in the late ‘60s has so much rain fallen in so short a period. The best they could do for a few days was operate the system to keep the floods from destroying it, adding greatly to the surrounding destruction. That they did.

When I had time to watch national news, which was seldom, I was amazed at how little coverage was given to our situation. My amazement diminished when I thought about it.

I composed a “top-ten list” of reasons the lamestream media ignored this story:

10. Tennessee is a Red state. You could skip 9) through 1) now, and know all you need to know.

9. Al Gore didn’t call a press conference at his Nashville estate to blame the flooding on global warming.

8. People in Tennessee don’t sit around and wait for the gummint to give them a hand. They help themselves, and each other. No government dependency story, here, folks; move along!

7. New Orleans Progressive hack Ray Nagin is not the mayor of Nashville. Karl Dean is. Dean took personal responsibility for his city’s rescue and recovery, and was clearly in charge. No whining, no blame-shifting, just good communication and effective action.

6. People in Middle Tennessee cling to their bibles and guns. Looting makes good video, but it has not become a popular leisure-time activity here, because it is publicly frowned upon, and is likely to be fatal.

5. There is no way to blame it on Karl Rove, Halliburton or Dick Cheney.

4. CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS and CNN did not inform the hacks and opportunists in Washington of events in Tennessee, thus depriving them of timely photo opportunities against a backdrop of hapless victims and tireless aid workers. No one watches MSNBC, so coverage there would not have mattered, anyway.

3. There was no way to blame it on Wall Street speculators, Big Oil or Big Tobacco.

2. It’s hard for the race mongers to claim racism, since people of all races got wet, and people of all races were immediately helping each other, without waiting for government permission or coercion.

1. There was no way to blame it on George W. Bush.

It doesn’t matter much to locals to notice the way we were ignored by a crisis-hungry White House and its propaganda engine, but it certainly tells us who our friends are – and aren’t — and how we stand in the eyes of the current establishment.

It’s not hard to imagine. Some primped New York twit from a network morning show in fashionable raingear, trailing a camera crew and makeup artist, walks up to a Bubba dragging soggy, stinking carpet out the front door of his mobile, or searching for his lost goats in the trees, or carrying a dripping family photo album. The twit sticks a microphone in his face, and asks, “So, how do you feel? Don’t you wish Bush and Cheney had done more to prevent this?”

Considering the most reasonable reaction to the kind of stupid question said twits are capable of, maybe it’s just as well. There were enough casualties from the flood waters, without adding any New York twits to the body count. A jury of peers would acquit Bubba in five minutes, but the lawsuits would go on forever.

Stick your microphone where the sun don’t shine, New York twits. We’ll manage without you, somehow.

After all, we’ve managed up to now.

Smart Grid Paranoia

October 28, 2009

WHmeter2b

Erica Lovley, (POLITICO.COM), 3/4/09Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus bill includes $4.5 billion in funding for the so-called Smart Grid, an ambitious plan to modernize the country’s electric grid that many Obama contributors are helping to shape.

Steve Holland, (Reuters) – ARCADIA, Fla., Oct 27President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced $3.4 billion in grants to help build a “smart” electric grid meant to trim utility bills, reduce blackouts and carry power generated by solar and wind energy.

Oh, don’t we feel good? The Obama administration is paying back GE, Google, IBM and Microsoft, among other evil corporations, for their support of Dear Leader’s presidential campaign. How? Why, they’re handing them a bag full of Scamulus Gigabucks to implement “Smart Grid,” the technology that is supposed to “modernize the country’s electrical grid.” What could be wrong with that?

See, our electrical grid has been patched and bandaged to keep it from repeating the sort of “cascading failure” that caused the Northeast Blackout of 2003, but much of the physical plant that makes up the electric power distribution system of the United States is old, obsolete, and subject to just such failures at any moment.

(Never mind that it is also terribly vulnerable to terrorist attack, either via the Internet or by any sufficiently insane country or extra-national entity with a few bucks to spend to loft a Scud from a freighter off the Atlantic coast, topped with a low-end nuclear warhead, and detonate said warhead a hundred miles above Washington or Baltimore, wiping out the whole system for months, or years. Never mind that.)

Why would the electric companies neglect their own infrastructure? Let me speculate: The big electric power companies are reluctant to put hundreds of millions of dollars of stockholders’ money into infrastructure improvements that will require a microscopic rectal examination by every regulatory agency and environmental group in North America to be sure that they don’t harm snails, owls and fish, or cause offense to favored ethnic groups, or allow career legislators to use them as punching bags when appealing to the aforementioned groups for campaign money.

And, these days, those greedy power company execs are probably wondering, “Is Obama going to nationalize us, the way he did the financial industry and the auto industry, and the way he wants to nationalize the health care industry? Will someone explain to us why we would want to sink money into improvements, when some Obama appointee may well wind up carving up our salaries and profit margins, or inventing regulations that make electricity so expensive no one can afford it?”

Well, now, simmer down. All this “Smart Grid” stuff is about is allowing the power company to reach into your house and instruct your dishwasher to run overnight, when power usage in your area is lower — your dishwasher, and any other appliance that has the right kind of microprocessor controller, and a connection to the Internet.  Never mind that you might want to set your own dishwasher’s timer to run later all by yourself, or that you have good reasons for wanting it done before bedtime.

Big deal, right? Oh, it may also allow Big Power to turn back the thermostat on your central heat system to 60 or so, on the next cold night, from your preferred 68. So, Global Warming takes the night off, and the house is a little chilly when you roll out of bed in the morning. So, it takes a while to get it back into a comfortable range, while you shiver in your bathrobe and sweats, in front of the coffee machine, waiting for it to receive permission from the Smart Grid to start perking. So what? We all have to make sacrifices, in this new world.

You’d like to warm up in the shower, but the electric water heater is still recovering from being put into “sleep” mode by Smart Grid, and it will be a while before there’s enough hot water to keep you from feeling like one of those Titanic passengers floating in the icy North Atlantic, waiting for Leonardo DiCaprio to shut up and drown.

You’d pass the time watching Fox News, but oddly, the new, microprocessor-controlled TV in the kitchen skips past Fox News and stops on MSNBC, and has been doing that for a while. You think about disconnecting the network line that connects that TV to the Internet, but (surely not!) the creepy tingle in your scalp may be less about the prospect of a cold shower, and more because the thought has wormed its way into your mind that someone has decided you are too easily influenced to be allowed to watch Fox News, and is using your power company connection to block it from your TV.

If you disconnect the network line from the TV, will somebody know, and just not allow it to power on, tomorrow morning? Fox News will just put dangerous ideas in your head, anyway. Might as well leave it connected, and do without Fox. That way, when your security system’s motion detectors indicate to Smart Grid that the kitchen is empty, it can turn the TV off, and save a few watt-hours. It saves you money, and allows the poor and unfortunate to use the power you would otherwise waste — or your self-righteous, vegan neighbor can use it to top off the charge in his little electric car.

So, what is there to be paranoid about? Sure, you flew that “Don’t Tread on Me” flag on September 12th, and you sent $20 via the Internet to that independent Congressional candidate that pledged to put the Constitution ahead of any desire for re-election, even though he wasn’t running in your district. A couple other people in your neighborhood did, and, in fact, your congressional district didn’t go for Obama in ’07.

Wait a minute… I wonder if it ever occurs to the Obama Administration to tweak the Smart Grid to favor “blue states” over “red states?” Once you have the power over power, the possibilities are endless. As I wrote a while back:

Once you have a stranglehold on the generation and use of energy, you have a stranglehold on people.  Let’s just suppose that, on this sub-zero night over a large swath of the United States, the feds decide to provide a little object lesson about how the Constitution is no longer a limit on government power.  It would be a little brazen for President for Life Obama to instruct everyone to hold his or her breath for a few minutes, just to get an idea of what it would be like to be prohibited from emitting the bad pollutant CO2.  Might be a little hard to enforce, too, at this early stage in the Administration.

No, let’s just “accidentally” turn off the power to some states that didn’t go “blue” in the last election, but they’re going “blue” now, from sub-zero temperatures.  Not for long; just for a few hours — say, overnight…the first time, anyway.  Maybe, they will be offered some half-hearted explanation about a squirrel getting into the transformer, and the dang computers shut everything down, dumb computers, or Christian fundamentalist  terrorists, or something.  But don’t try too hard to be convincing, because the point is to make a subtle threat.

See?  If you don’t play by the new rules, will the Constitution keep you warm?  (Maybe you could burn your copy of the Bill of Rights on the kitchen table.  That’ll last a minute or two.)  Yes, your wood stove may tide you over for a few days without power, but a passing car carrying a government official might just see smoke coming from the chimney.  A DEA helicopter might be scanning in the infrared for indoor hydroponic pot farms, and see the heat coming from your fire.  Whoa, we can’t have that, can we? Spewing CO2 out into the publicly-owned air, melting glaciers and drowning polar bears? Tsk.

No, that would never happen. Sure, Obama said before the election he was about to “transform” our country. Sure, he keeps hiring people to important posts who profess an affection for socialism and even communism, and for mass murderers like Mao tse-tung. But surely, they have no intention of making those quirky political views into policy, right?

I’m just being paranoid. Right? Hey! Who turned off the lights?

YOU’RE TOO STUPID!

October 14, 2009

For decades, the government has been telling you that you’re stupid. Are you too stupid to get tired of that?

You are too stupid to buy a car you can afford, and one that gives you and your family a chance of surviving a collision, rather than one that will crush like a paper bag because it had to lose weight to meet CAFE standards.

You are too stupid to manage your own health care. You need the government to choose your doctor, and to determine if, what, when and how you will receive medical care; and whether you and your loved ones will die because their care is too expensive, or rationed to those in a more favored political class.

You are too stupid to decide for yourself what the truth is, so government will decide who gets to use “public” airwaves to tell you what to think.

You are too stupid to buy a toilet that flushes the first time, a light bulb that doesn’t contain poisons you need a HAZMAT team to dispose of, or to set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature, just because you are the one paying the utility bills.

You are too stupid to distinguish honest expression of news and opinion appearing on the Internet from scams and lies, so government will move in, as in China, and allocate Internet access to the sources that get bureaucratic blessings.

You are too stupid to know how stupid racism is – especially of you are white, or non-white but conservative – so you need government to impose racist standards on hiring, college admissions and just about everything else.

You are too stupid to be responsible for your children’s education. You don’t have an education school degree, so you are not qualified to provide your children with moral education, let alone to home-school them. Government will provide them with all the knowledge and wisdom they need, thank you very much. And government will encourage your children to bring their wisdom home and lecture you  for not buying a hybrid deathtrap car and for running too much hot water, and for not standing whenever Barack Obama appears on TV.

You are too stupid to examine the actual positions of political candidates and decide for yourself, based on those positions, which are more qualified for office. Instead, you need government to restrict the right to run for office to members of one or the other establishment political party. “Independents” and “third parties” should get every possible obstacle thrown in their way, because you are too stupid to see their names on the ballot. The burden of choice would overload your stunted intellect, and you would be incapable of making the right decision.

You are FAR too stupid to own a firearm, because firearms, all by themselves, cause crime and suicide. You are incapable of learning which end of the gun the round comes out of, or how the unload a weapon and make it safe, or how to distinguish a home invader seconds away from crashing through your front door from your mother-in-law getting a midnight snack.

Some of us are at the end of our patience with genuinely stupid, selfish, socialist, statist do-gooders telling us we are the stupid ones.

Are you?

President for Life Barack Obama’s Post-Constitutional World

January 16, 2009

 

 

“His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC,  DSO, MC, Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”.  (Wikipedia)Idi Amin, Courtesy of Wikipedia

I’ll miss the Constitution.

Ron Paul and the rest of the feathers out at the tip of the right wing have been telling us for years it was going to happen, and we who paid attention knew something bad was happening, but we had jobs, and lives, and TV series to worry about, and it went on around us while we expressed concern, but not alarm.

I should now be alarmed, but it may be too late.  Darn.

The left runs Washington, and state and local governments hardly matter, as long as they are in substantial compliance with the federal standards that apply to just about everything.  Our fearless leaders in Washington dug the open-pit trap the economy fell into, and now they step up to the microphone with “solutions” that involve handing the economy a shovel.  Of course, the underlying purpose is power.

The consolidation of power has always been the agenda of “leaders” of both parties, and of most of their agents in government.

“Global Warming” (on this January night when the temperature will probably drop past zero, F, here in sunny Tennessee), is now also known as “Global Climate Change,” because that covers about everything the climate is likely to do, and anything it may do is cause for consolidating power in government.  By any name, it is nothing but a pretext for grabbing power.  Not just electric power, or nuclear power; political power.

If the government can say who will be able to generate the “pollutant” Carbon Dioxide, the government can say who will use electricity, or natural gas, or oil, or coal — who will generate or use energy.  When you get down to it, that gives the government the power do decide who breathes, but that will come later.

If you remember your elementary school science — that is, if you studied it before it consisted of learning how to recycle aluminum cans and put on a condom — everything is made of energy.  Matter is energy, if you divide it up small enough.  Everything we are, and everything we do, involves the conversion of energy from one form to another.

A drop of gasoline (chemical energy) explodes in an engine cylinder (heat energy) and moves the family car along (mechanical energy).  Crowd some Uranium atoms a little close for comfort, and they give off energy, which can be used as heat to turn a turbine, and run a generator.  Of course, that only happens on a large scale in France, Iran, and other countries in which the Left thinks it is OK to allow nuclear energy to be used for “peaceful” purposes.  Not in America.

Once you have a stranglehold on the generation and use of energy, you have a stranglehold on people.  Let’s just suppose that, on this sub-zero night over a large swath of the United States, the feds decide to provide a little object lesson about how the Constitution is no longer a limit on government power.  It would be a little brazen for President for Life Obama to instruct everyone to hold his or her breath for a few minutes, just to get an idea of what it would be like to be prohibited from emitting the bad pollutant CO2.  Might be a little hard to enforce, too,  at this early stage in the Administration.

No, let’s just “accidentally” turn off the power to some states that didn’t go “blue” in the last election, but they’re going “blue” now, from sub-zero temperatures.  Not for long; just for a few hours — say,  overnight.  The first time, anyway.  Maybe, they will offer some half-hearted explanation about a squirrel getting into the transformer, and the dang computers shut everything down, dumb computers, or Christian fundamentalist  terrorists, or something.  But don’t try too hard to be convincing, because the point is to make a subtle threat.

See?  If you don’t play by the new rules, will the Constitution keep you warm?  (Maybe you could burn your copy of the Bill of Rights on the kitchen table.  That’ll last a minute or two.)  Yes, your wood stove may tide you over for a few days without power, but a passing car carrying a government official might just see smoke coming from the chimney.  A DEA helicopter might be scanning in the infrared for indoor hydroponic pot farms, and see the heat coming from your fire.  Whoa, we can’t have that, can we? Spewing CO2 out into the publicly-owned air, melting glaciers and drowning polar bears? Tsk.

You’ll have to put that fire out, and schedule an appointment for the environmental impact study on your wood stove. What? Didn’t know you needed one? Well, it’s a new rule, and the standards are pretty stringent. In fact, Obama plans to apply the same environmental impact standards to your wood stove that he promised he would use to drive the coal-fired generating plants into bankruptcy. He just signed an executive order, putting the new standards into effect as soon as he takes the oath of office, where he tries not to roll his eyes when he swears to “uphold the Constitution.”

And, don’t expect to make a big, dramatic stand, holding off the EPA SWAT team with your firearms. That won’t last long, either. The UN wants us to get rid of them, for world peace. The EPA SWAT team will be armed to the teeth, but civilians need to be disarmed, because they just can’t be trusted with such dangerous instruments. First thing you know, people will be trying to band together and prevent the government from doing something that is for our own good. We are too dumb to understand that, sometimes, unpleasant things must be done to individuals for the good of the majority. People will just hurt themselves, if they have guns.  And, after all, the darn things do emit CO2 when firing.

Suppose not enough of us get the point the first few times the power goes off?  The weather might decide to give us a break (at least during Barack’s first term), and quit trying to kill us for a while.  Think we’re home free?  Well, how much food do you have stored away? Sure, you can boil stream water on the wood stove, until they come for that, but how long can you go without food? Do you have any idea how much energy is consumed to plant, grow, process and distribute food? How long will you last if that energy is cut off? Tractors and trucks burn petroleum products; canneries and processing plants use energy, stores have to have refrigeration and lights…

Forget Hoodia and Oprah’s latest diet scheme.  Try the Stalin Diet! Tens of millions reduced their energy needs to next to nothing in Russia, that way. Yes, there was energy consumed in decomposition, but that can be dealt with. That’s what mass graves are for!  The survivors and their neighbors in the politically favored areas of the late Soviet Union were quite impressed, and strongly persuaded that the government was right.

People who grow their own food use energy, too.  Remember that Roto-tiller? It’s a gas hog! Are you keeping a cupboard full of winter squash, carrots, canned goods and dried foods that will last for months? That might be considered hoarding, you know. People in “public housing” (and eventually, if the “emergency” goes on long enough, “refugee camps”) might eat pretty well on the food you are selfishly keeping for your own family. Remember, a few may have to suffer for the good of the many. Once they leave with your firearms, expect the truck to come back for your “hoarded” food.

What the hell, you’ll probably be moving into big “public housing” complexes anyway.  Concentrated housing is more energy-efficient, you see, and makes better use of land, according to UN standards.  Yes, the complexes may  be surrounded by tall, chain-link fences with razor wire and bright lights, and guard towers, but that’s just for your safety.  Can’t have people smuggling in guns or fattening foods, can we?  Goodness, no.  Outside of the concentration ca– I mean, the public housing complexes, will be plenty of government-mandated green spaces, of course.  The UN is big on green spaces, and so are the planning commissions in California, and the rest of the country.  You’ll be able to glance out at the green spaces through the chain-link fence, on your way from your apartment block to your government-mandated job.

All employment, see, will be government-controlled, because, when you control energy, you control industry and business, and well, who knows better where you should be spending your time than your government?  Heck, you live in public housing, you eat public food, and drink public water, why shouldn’t you be happy to work in the public sector?  Who better to determine where your skills will do the most public good, than the public employment service?

When you control the energy, of course, you control the health care.  Yes, that means “public” health care. Be ready for the same level of service in “public” health care that you are used to in “public” restrooms.  Maybe your public service job will be in the Kevorkian Pavilion of the Tom Daschel Health Care Resource Reallocation Center, where babies and baby boomers go to die.

Yes, as there always is in government health care, there will be temporary shortages of medicines, medical devices and health care professional services.  After all, why would anyone become a health care professional, to make the same money as a sniper in a guard tower, or a low-emissions crematorium attendant, according to the government pay schedule?  Some of us will be required to step up, and make sacrifices, for the good of the many.  Is that diabetes medication costing more, lately? Is that cardiac bypass going to put the clinic over budget for January? Euthanasia is so much cheaper, and unborn children are just “lumps of tissue,” right? Nip that cost item in the bud. Save energy!

Wow, I can’t wait to live in President for Life Barack Obama’s Brave, New, Post-Constitutional  World.  Of course, I probably won’t be around long. I already feel guilty about being white, a natural-born citizen (unlike Obama) , middle-aged, and a CO2 emitter. It’s only a matter of time before I have to step up, get in the game, do my part.

Hey, did the lights just flicker? I hope the power stays on long enough to see tonight’s crucial episode of my favorite TV show.

Environmentalism Three Ways: Pragmatists, Primitivists, and Watermelons

October 18, 2008

As a retired information technology worker, I find it convenient to organize some kinds of information into rows and columns, like a spreadsheet. It helps me get my mind around a complex topic.

While examining one such topic, environmentalism, I discovered that environmentalists can be divided into three general categories (spreadsheet columns): Pragmatists, Primitivists, and Watermelons. The three types address two, exemplary environmental problems – global warming and ozone depletion (spreadsheet rows) — and their solutions, very differently.

Theodore Roosevelt, a pragmatists who became an obnoxious Progressive (Wikipedia)

Pragmatists tend to follow the example of Teddy Roosevelt, an asthmatic city boy who developed a passion for understanding nature through science and personal experience. While developing enough respect for natural wonders to create the country’s first national parks, he saw man as the dominant species, and nature as his domain, to be exploited responsibly, but not to be destroyed needlessly.

Pragmatists seek to strike a balance between human needs and natural beauty, believing that, with recourse to accurate, scientific data,  humanity can benefit from nature without destroying it, and vice versa.

TR, unfortunately, set a strong precedent for government expropriating land for “public” use that was for esthetic reasons, rather than for meeting the nations practical needs — construction of fortresses, bridges, and other necessary evils. He did stop well short of turning the nation’s largest and most easily exploited sources of energy into untouchable preserves, however, leaving those morally-indefensible acts of government grand theft to later Progressives.

Pragmatists want to see objective evidence of global warming and ozone depletion, and to identify the most likely causes of these phenomena, before they entertain government policies meant to remedy them. Pragmatists become excited in the short term by the environment, if they find themselves at the foot of an erupting volcano, or in the path of a tornado, but otherwise, they tend to be focused calmly on the long term.

The romanticized "Indian," emblem of the Primitivist ideal -- the Unicorn, mascot of idealist nature-worshipers everywhere, was not available.

The romanticized “Indian,” emblem of the Primitivist ideal — the Unicorn, mascot of idealist nature-worshipers everywhere, was not available. (Wikipedia)

Primitivists have no use for science, other than political science, and its ugly, bastard son, junk science. Their ideal world is one from which humans and their civilization have been erased, or, better yet, one in which they never existed at all. If asked, they will admit to a desire to see about 99% of the world’s human population disappear, except for themselves and a few close friends with a similar orientation.

The most extreme Primitivists believe that human life is no more valuable than the life of an insect or a plant, and that the idea of exploiting an animal or a plant to extend or improve the life of a human is immoral and selfish. In their more tempered state, primitivists envision a romantically idealized harmony in the relationship of man and nature.

Their emblem of this ideal is the romanticized American Indian (whom they, of course, call a “Native American,” as if that phrase did not mean, literally, “one who was born in America”). This mythical character lives frugally and gently with the land, worshiping it as a god, seeing spirituality in every tree and rock. One assumes these characters would not build casinos and duty-free liquor stores in their pristine estates, or profit from the sale of mineral rights therefrom.

Primitivists accept global warming and ozone depletion without question, because these phenomena only serve to confirm their belief that man is a burden on nature, and that he will destroy it if allowed. Their remedy is simple and straightforward. Abort the unborn ones, and let the born ones freeze, bake and starve to death, and return their biodegradable packaging to the environment.

Green on the outside, but RED on the inside (Wikipedia)

Green on the outside, but RED on the inside (Wikipedia)

Watermelons are pragmatic, too, in their own way. Having been exposed as hypocrites or fools, these believers in a bankrupt, failed ideology that calls for government ownership of everything, had to find another rock under which to hide. Environmentalism is the perfect refuge for communists, because it allows those who are red on the inside to put a layer of green on the outside, and continue to spread their toxic theology. In the 21st Century, environmentalism is the last bastion of people who think private property is The Man’s way of oppressing the downtrodden.

In the Watermelon’s view, people are not entirely evil. A certain number of them are required to drive the party elite in their limousines from the halls of power to their dachas in the woods, to cook their gourmet meals, and to fight and die in the interest of preserving and expanding their empires.

However, the history of socialism in the 20th Century includes a laudable amount of population control in the form of purges.  The big-name socialist utopias lightened Mother Earth’s burden of humanity by a hundred million or so, in the interest of the state. While an unfortunate quantity of lead and carbon dioxide had to be introduced to the environment by firing squads, cattle trains and tanks, most of these deaths were accomplished with lower environmental impact — mass starvation and death by slave labor, predominating.

In the 21st Century, Communist China has recently taken the lead in recycling. Environmentally responsible Chinese leaders now harvest the skin, corneas and internal organs of the political prisoners they execute, and sell them on the open market. While this practice carries the unsavory taint of capitalism, watermelons believe any country that not only allows abortion, but requires it, must have its heart in the right place.

Watermelons readily embrace global warming and ozone depletion as crises, because the “solutions” for them involve government regulation of private industry. While not entirely satisfactory, government regulation of industry is a step in the right direction — toward the Watermelons’ ultimate goal: government ownership of industry.

Watermelons believe the best way to relieve human overcrowding (between purges) is to build large, ugly, concrete apartment blocks in major cities. Then, they force people selfish enough to live in their own homes to surrender these anachronisms to the state and move into the apartments. Problem solved.

Appalling tales of the worst environmental disasters on earth – horrible nuclear accidents and wholesale contamination of large areas with industrial poisons, perpetrated by communist states – do nothing to curb the Watermelons’ appetite for government control. After all, environmentalism is just a convenient form of cover for a Watermelon, not a real ideology.

The real goal of the Watermelon is, and always has been, government control of every aspect of life, from before birth, up to and including death. Individual humans are just too stupid to be trusted with running their own lives, and if they have to be sold on communism by bait-and-switch, well, so be it.

There you have it. I promised a spreadsheet, with rows and columns. Here it is:

Pragmatists

Primitivists

Watermelons

Global Warming

Identify real problems; Propose real solutions. Let people freeze to death in the dark. Abort or purge most people; forcibly relocate the rest and run their lives. Dominate the world.

Ozone Depletion

See above. Let people bake, and/or starve from lack of refrigeration. See above.