Our Blog: The Politics of Energy

written by David Dwyer

June 07, 2008 11:33 AM

Here’s an Energy Tax that doesn’t show up on your electric or gas bill-but you pay it anyway.

Senate debate over a major piece of global warming legislation will end tomorrow with a cloture vote and no substantive debate over amendments, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last night. Reid asserted his authority over the stalled climate bill after Republican opponents repeatedly blocked action on the measure over the opening three days of the floor debate, culminating in yesterday's nine-hour reading of the bill. E&E News

A partisan fight over judicial nominations derailed yesterday’s expected Senate floor debate on global warming legislation when Republican leaders insisted on a full reading of the 492-page bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he effectively put a halt to the climate debate because Democratic leaders did not fulfill a pledge to confirm three of President Bush's judicial appointees before Memorial Day. E&E PM News

These bloodsucking Congressional Representatives kept the doors open, lights on, air conditioning running and their salaries pouring in, while their unwitting interns read a 492 page bill to a roomful of deaf ears. And this single event cost us hundreds of thousands –no- millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, the rich, money and resource sucking politicians know that we won’t notice and bet that we won’t do anything. And for this they always tend to be right. ….Why?

Because, compared with the national budget and other huge government numbers, these wasted American dollars are but a drop in an already cracked bucket. That is the logic of those in power, and as long as we want to remain enslaved, that remains our logic too.

So, you ask, what can we do? Do we march on Washington (ha, ha)?

Unlike our representatives in DC, we don’t have a license to steal. Most American’s can’t afford the time or money it takes to march on Washington or anywhere else. Most American’s like you or me have to stay at home and keep scraping and working our crappy little jobs so that we can pay those big power bills, and in turn, make richer those big politicians’ and their larger than life government budgets.

Millions of our hard-earned dollars, per minute, are flowing out of our neighborhoods and directly into the pockets of those thieves we call leaders. Oh, but it’s not all their fault. In fact, most of it is our fault. If we can’t get our fat butts out from under the even fatter big screen TV, than maybe we deserve it.

Right now, today, the word slave describes you. It describes you and me and everyone else who thinks our big media, big energy companies, big food companies and our elected and un-elected big government is working for our best interests. We give up our freedom every day, a little bit at a time,-and willingly, I might add- to those we say should be doing more to solve our problems.

It was a military man, not a Unitarian or revolutionary, who first warned this country against the dangers inherent in the military-industrial complex. That was Dwight Eisenhower. Did we listen?

About forty years ago, we sent about 50,000 of our kids to death. We elected Richard Nixon president. Did we learn? I guess we did. We learned to sell out. About forty years later we elected our current president, and, as a nation seem intent on sending fifty thousand of their kids to death.

Have we done anything about the early warning from Eisenhower?

Sure. We’ve been vigilantly watching cable TV sports and listening to a watered-down version of hip-hop on our Ipod’s. We’ve been making big companies richer, government officials richer, and selling our kids’ future to China -pretty cheap.

Sure. We’ve nearly wrecked our own economy and many others, and we continue to blame the whole world for our problems. And guess who did learn something, and did do something about Eisenhower’s early warning?

The military industrial complex.

In the last fifty years it has changed size and shape. It is much bigger and vastly more powerful than it was in the 1950’s when the general gave us that prescient heads up. And now the monster is so much smarter.

See, the thing Eisenhower tried to warn us about has become the multi-national food-energy-military and government complex. We will call this crew the NGMFs for short.

But, you may wonder, what could be more American than making a Profit? Big Company=Good Company=Big Profits, right?

That’s how a small problem gains momentum- a couple of hundred million people sitting on their hands for about forty or fifty years, waiting for the problem-makers to become the problem-solvers. Waiting for the equation to become the reality, economic and personal freedom, Profit=Choices=Freedom.

But in practice, freedom has become an increasing variety of bad options, reinventing and recreating themselves via an accelerating positive feedback loop. Cloaked in robes of patriotism, and sold cheap by those who told us that the bad options were our only options in the first place, we are buying a picture that we think resembles freedom but really captures an ongoing snapshot of indentured slavery, with the average American pushing the plow. And we think cows are stupid.

Pick up a book and a box of tools or pick up a bucket of extra-crispy chicken and a remote. The choice is yours. We cannot talk our way out of the problems America faces with the current administration, we can only work our way out. No marches, no demonstrations, just education and hard work.

We will never get a chance to gain true Freedom until distributed renewable energy and local food production are an integral part of the neighborhoods that we live. These are the critical elements that make up the foundation upon which everything good is built. In this effort, which will require a drastic change of thinking and strength of character, we are not even sure that we can uncover, within our own selves, a way to participate successfully in creating a new world order: Distributed Renewable Energy and Local Food Production=Local Profits=True Freedom.

We can choose to unlearn the notion that having lots of gas guzzling cars, eating fatty, un-healthy foods, and watching violent movies are what constitute the parcel and practice of American Freedom. Instead, it is our choice, exercised or not, to take action, that reveals to us the true nature of American Freedom.

Remember the general’s warning: This may be the last chance we have. Let’s not sell out again.

May 13, 2008 7:34


You are going to buy solar panels and wind turbines for someone.

Shouldn’t that someone be you and your family? Every day I hear people complain about the ‘payback’ for solar power. They say: “If I save $500 in the first year -that means I have a fifty year Payback.” With logic like that, those geniuses deserve what they get. They can’t tell their kids they did the right thing or the smart thing. If Power Company executives and investors were as smart as the last genius we talked to, they would be living in slums and we would be burning twigs to cook our porridge.

-Do you think that centralized Wind and Solar power is going to save you? As the power companies acquire more solar, wind, and other renewable technologies, here is what you get to pay for;

  • Energy commodity costs
  • Delivery charges
  • Transmission fees
  • Distribution fees
  • System line losses
  • Government subsidies
  • Executive salaries
  • Company overhead
  • Employee benefit and retirement plans
  • Company bad investments
  • Company new investments
  • Tax benefits given to the power companies
  • Local taxes
  • State taxes
  • Federal taxes
  • Special assessments
  • Regular and unscheduled rate increases
  • …and they own the system and its value-you just get to pay for it.

In our new energy world, most of these costs will increase every year, some a little less frequently. All these costs apply to “regular” power-not just renewable energy and power. When you invest in your own system, you pay the initial cost and 6-7% interest on the investment. You also pay some maintenance costs, which are almost always less than $100/year.

In turn, you pay none of the other costs that I have listed above; no executive salaries, no bad investments, no taxes, no fees, and zero overhead and profit.

The value of your power production increases every year, as does your system’s value. And, you can tell your kids you did the right thing and the smart thing.

May 09, 2008 10:32AM

We are in an economic war with the governmental-industrial complex-the one General Eisenhower warned us about so long ago. Oil, Energy, Power, Agriculture, Transportation and Government seek to control their economic future by controlling ours. And billions of people around the world would love to live right here. This is still the Promised Land.

If we don’t take over the future of our country, someone else certainly will.

If we don’t become competitive again, our kids-with or without degrees-will be working for the new Americans; in quick marts, convenience stores, and mini-malls, without hope or help.

May 08, 2008 3:30PM

Most of us   consider ourselves Blue Collar because of the kind of work we do. Maybe we’re in a trade, or in a Teamster local, or in some form of the service industry. But the bottom line is, we work with our hands on something that’s not a keyboard.  There is a new kind of Blue Collar work that is beginning to take root in the city (ha ha).  Guess what.  It’s Farming. Urban Farming. Not urban cowboys.

It’s not like the Real McCoys or Green Acres. But it is real and it is green.  Right now it’s still in the hands of the wine and cheese crowd, but soon it will be in your neighborhood. Real people will be making a real living at this.

 Stay Tuned....