From The Huffington Post….by way of Charlie Peters…

October 27, 2008

An Abdication in Detroit

Carl Pope, Huffington Post, July 6, 2006

San Francisco — Last week, the Ford Motor Company joined the parade of stunningly hypocritical auto manufacturers by announcing that it was abandoning its goal of selling 250,000 hybrid vehicles per year by the end of the decade. Instead, Ford joined other automakers in promising to make 2 million flexible fuel vehicles. “In a joint letter sent Wednesday to members of Congress, General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler AG announced a new promise to double annual production of vehicles that run on alternative fuels, to 2 million per year.” Congress promptly responded to the announcement by refusing, once again, to increase fuel economy standards.

But the auto industry knows that making two million “flexible-fuelled vehicles” won’t dent our dependence on oil. First, the “alternative fuel” they are touting is a mix of gasoline and ethanol called E85, because it is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Regular cars can, and often do, burn ethanol-gasoline mixes that are up to 10 percent ethanol already — so the real difference with E85 sounds like it might be an impressive 75 percent.

But the reality is far different. First, it takes a fair amount of fossil fuels to make ethanol — diesel fuel for tractors to grow the corn and transport it, natural gas to make fertilizer for it, and gas or (worse) coal to distill it. But this doesn’t matter so much, because 99 percent of these flexible fuel vehicles never see a drop of E85 but run on gas instead. That’s according to a March 2002 study by the Bush Administration.

Since there are fewer than 700 gas stations selling E85, out of 176,000 stations in the U.S., these flexible fuel vehicles will mainly burn the same gasoline that the rest of the fleet does. For example, within 25 miles of my home there are NO gas stations selling E85 to the public! So, the actual savings from this big new auto industry commitment will certainly be trivial at best. Unfortunately, it gets worse.

The auto industry gets bogus fuel economy “credits” for selling flexible fuel vehicles, as if these vehicles were actually all burning ethanol-based fuel. As a result, U.S. gas consumption is actually going to go UP as a result of the auto industry’s latest maneuver. The Bush Administration’s study estimated that the combination of the fuel economy loophole and failure of 99 percent of the flexible fuel vehicles to use E85 would result in an increase in U.S. oil dependence of 17 billion gallons by 2008. On the other hand, we could easily reduce consumption by 50 percent by using more-efficient vehicle technology, the solution that Congress — and the auto industry — just rejected. ed. note: Did you notice the recent spike in food prices? These are connected folks.

Again, William Clay Ford and the rest of the auto know these numbers. This is not something someone just dug out. They don’t care.

If we really want to kick our oil addiction, we’re going to have to do it from the grass-roots up. That’s why the Sierra Club has just launched “Smart Energy Summer” — a campaign to connect Americans with the real solutions to our energy and global warming problems — ones that our leaders know about, but just won’t embrace.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-pope/an-abdication-in-detroit_b_24523.html


Do You Ever Wonder Why the Roads in Your Town are Turning into Gravel?

August 17, 2008

Wonder no more. It’s because ‘some people’ are not paying their fair share of the cost of government. Otherwise known as taxes. I know this story has been in the corporatist press but I thought this post:

Based on IRS records, a recent GAO report indicates that many corporations claimed to owe $0 in U.S. taxes from 1998 – 2005: roughly 28%-53% of large foreign-controlled and 23%-38% of large U.S.-controlled corporations. [The GAO considers a "large" corporation one with at least $250 million in assets or $50 million in gross receipts.

From NoQuarter had a lot more detail and so link to it.

There is a growing opportunity for those of us who are economically literate, a tiny minority, to take back the high ground in the never ending debate about taxes, government and what should be done by same. The ‘conservative’ shills who’ve been preaching the Friedman Lunacy for decades are gob-smacked that the ‘trickle down’ theory has at last been proved to be the utter bullshit that it is. There is a desperate air of ‘now what do we do…’  as the third artificial bubble of ‘asset building’, housing, pops following  the dot.com bubble and ‘financialization’ coming from the morons such as Greenspan who’ve been ‘supervising ‘ our economy. As Ol’ Shakespeare opined, ‘The truth will out…’ and now folks are waking up to the realization that while their real income has declined every year since Nixon under the Republican fantasy machine corporations and very wealthy individuals merely extract whatever amounts of cash they need from the U.S. Treasury, that’s us Homer, in the form of  taxes not paid.

This report points a finger at why you, yeah you Homer, ‘can’t’ have healthcare, good schools, well-maintained roads, safe food and on and on…. The next time some low-info fool tells you, ‘Oh, we can’t afford that…’ about some needed social program tell them the following:

‘Of course we can afford that. If corporations and the uber-rich would pay their fair share of taxes instead of bribing Congress to give them a free pass we’d’ have plenty of money to take care of the real, immediate needs of our society.’

And if they start bloviating tell them this:

‘Surely you are not advocating that some, particularly those best able to pay, should be excused from their social obligation to pay their fair share of the costs they helped create are you?’

More on how your are being screwed solely because you are NOT rich in future posts.


Fact not Fiction: Krugman vs. Galbraith…er…vs. versa….

May 10, 2008

I guess there is not doubt who the editors of The Economist favor, at least from the article’s title, but hey….This is a great exchange and the comments add to it. Clik on the opening para here to read the whole thing because I can assure you that discussions of who should be taxed and why, an important question with any doubt, will soon take a back seat to $8.00/gal. gas and trade balances….Not to mention the Pareto Distribution and ‘Complexity Economics’, a subject you will notice Paul and James tap-dance around pretty effectively:

‘Paul’s worldview rests on the belief that useful implications for important questions of public policy can be derived, essentially from first principles, with the help of a well-structured logic. Well-structured deduction from metaphysical first principles is the Krugman forte.

I don’t accept that much of use can be learned about policy in this way. When the world deviates from the principles, as it usually does, the simple lessons go astray. This is not a complaint against math. It is a complaint against indiscriminate application of the deductive method, sometimes called the Ricardian vice, to problems of human action. Mine is an old gripe against much of what professional economists do; not against science but against scientism, against the pretense of science. To combat it, I spend my research time wrestling with real-world data, and I spend much of my writing time warring against the policy ideas of aggressive, ahistorical deductivists.’

Whuh-oh…that bold by me….looks like James is gonna hand out some whup-ass for Paul. Actually, the whole thing is much more interesting than that.

Read it.


Uh…Miss Nancy? Excuse me…yeah, I know you are very busy……

May 4, 2008

planning the next great big give away to your corporate pals, gonna be hard to top the farm bill that’s for sure, but…well, you see…What with:

Impeachment of the table….

Another 178 Billion for Bush’s excellent adventure….

No action on literally dozens of folks accused of everything from child rape to big time embezzlement to a guy changing legislation after it was sighed by your best pal Mr. Decider…..

Some have made up their minds like this lady:

That it’s time for you to go. Go away where you can no longer damage the Democratic Party, no longer damage our nation, no longer damage our society.

As mah cousin Pat allu sez: ‘Don’t let the door  knob hit ya where the good Lord split ya!’ on your way out.


Barry sez……

April 11, 2008

We got a new feature here at B.R.A.G. the blog where we don’t hesitate to get in your face if you are ‘just going along with the program…’ but love you like a brother if you take nothing on faith and think for yourself. And you Clinton hatahs?

Do not worry we’ll be posting what she has to say.

This statement by our good friend Senator Obama is worthy of a look:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them…And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

          And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their
          frustrations.

Here go read the whole thing.

Then….’Think for Yourself’.

Me?

I got nothin’ to say about this.

Nothin’


The Poisoners remain ‘Confident’….

March 5, 2008
y Noam N. Levey, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 4, 2008
WASHINGTON — After a year of toy recalls that shook public confidence in product safety, Senate Democrats and influential industry groups are facing off over how the government regulates everything from baby cribs to all-terrain vehicles.Backed by consumer advocates, lawmakers are pushing to give the public broad access to information about potentially dangerous products and to increase penalties for companies that make or sell harmful products.But the campaign has run into fierce opposition from manufacturers and retailers, which have succeeded for decades in limiting regulation of consumer goods.Industry lobbyists have descended on Capitol Hill to head off tougher rules they say will trigger more lawsuits and slow the removal of dangerous products from the marketplace.Their efforts paid off late last year in the House, where industry groups thwarted a major overhaul of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Bush administration has also signaled opposition to giving the public more information and to expanding enforcement.

As debate shifts to the Senate this week, the battle is shaping up as a test of how much influence industry groups still wield, even with their traditional Republican allies now in the minority.

“This is a big one for us,” said Stephanie Lester, a lobbyist for the Retail Industry Leaders Assn. The association is part of a sprawling coalition, assembled by the National Assn. of Manufacturers, that for more than two decades has effectively shaped the agency charged with overseeing its members.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is less than half the size it was at its peak in the late 1970s, before the manufacturers coalition was created. It has fewer enforcement tools than other regulatory agencies, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Food and Drug Administration. And it is effectively barred from publicizing information about potentially harmful products without authorization from manufacturers.

“The [manufacturers] coalition is extraordinarily powerful,” said Michael Lemov, senior legislative counsel for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group founded by Ralph Nader. Lemov helped write the legislation that created the consumer commission nearly 40 years ago.

“They are up on Capitol Hill all the time, year after year,” he said. “Consumer groups can’t match that.”

The National Assn. of Manufacturers routinely spends millions on lobbying, according to data compiled by the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. In 2006, the association’s $13.2-million lobbying tab placed it 16th on the list of Washington’s biggest spenders on lobbying.

But record toy recalls last year — and the arrival of a Democratic Congress — seemed to signal a new political landscape in Washington.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Utter Stupidity and Greed of Our Current ‘Leadership’ is revealed quite clearly by this……

February 16, 2008

From Grist, a pretty cool blog, we have:

A recent issue of Scientific American featured a "Solar Grand Plan." Its authors described a way for the United States to obtain nearly 100 percent of its electricity and 90 percent of its total energy, including transportation, from solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal resources by end-of-century. Electricity would cost a comfortable 5 cents per kilowatt hour.

U.S. carbon emissions would be reduced 62 percent from their 2005 levels. Some 600 coal and gas-fired power plants would be displaced. The federal investment would be $400 billion over the next 40 years ($10 billion a year) to deploy renewable technologies and suitable transmission infrastructure.

If that future seems too good to be true, then look at two other studies during the past 13 months that have reached similar conclusions: one sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society (PDF), the other by the Nuclear Policy Research Institute and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. All three concur that energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies can satisfy the nation’s demand for power without additional nuclear or fossil-fueled power plants.

If $400 billion seems unaffordable, consider: It’s less money than the federal government already has spent on the Iraq war, only a third of the $1.2 trillion that some experts now predict the war will cost, and only a sixth of the federal government’s current annual subsidies for fossil and nuclear energy.

Kinda takes yer breath away don’t it.

Makes me want to go down in the basement and rustle up some rope for the likes of these assclowns:

Senator Reid       reid scowl.jpg
Senate Minority Leader

Senator Boxer     boxer.jpg

Senator Feinstein feinstein.jpg

Give ’em a call and ask ’em why we pay their salaries if they can’t figure this out?