My latest in PennLive, albeit highly condensed. Still, published less than 24 hours after submittal. Not bad:
Please leave a comment at the end. If it is signed, I will respond, regardless. I always do. If it is anonymous, I will respond on a case-by-case basis.
Before commenting, please read my entire original draft, from which it appears about a fifth was printed. I’ve posted it in the comments as well:
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: As I See It: False Profits
Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:31:58 +0000
Inevitably, climate deniers fall back on the false claim of uncompetitively expensive clean energy. Climate change or none, “free market” is laughable when clumsily applied to things we all need. Imagine if PA American or United Water tried gouging us on our water prices, or Exelon our electric. Would the “free market” come in, give us cheaper water/power and fix the problem? Of course not. The govt of, by and for us would make them provide affordable common needs, or would take our commonwealth back from them and distribute it affordably. Very, very quickly (two months tops in the case of electric, but within days for water). We are seeing it now, with healthcare costs unaffordable on any concept of free market. Same with food: the “free market” sets the price…until it sets it wrong, then We The People force it to where it has to be so we don’t die.
It is laughable to think Mr and Mrs Exxon go into Iraq and through their own hard work and diligence alone bring oil to market, without our military, and those activities set the price. It hasn’t and can not ever happen that way.
Just imagine a couple dozen corporations: Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, etc. Imagine one year with no demand for weapons of keeping fossil fuel markets stable. Just one, then back to super-duper-stealth-drone-whatevers. Imagine what they would HAVE TO do to make payroll. We would have effective mass transit and solar panels on every roof so fast your head would spin. Sure, it would be “subsidized”: Of, by and for us. As fossil fuels and the bombs needed to make them marketable now are. As the public bond financing nuclear and conventional power plants require, on our dime.
Free Market does not ever – and can never be allowed to have – any real place in providing societies common needs. We give it a placeholder spot, to make us think Exxon actually competes with Shell, and that is how you get cheap gas. But we know better. You and I don’t and can’t build a military or police force to protect our individual backyards. We can’t build our own, private road to San Francisco if we want to go…imagine the cost of the fence alone, to keep all the “trespassers” from using it when we were done.
Let’s leave the free market to do what it does well: distributing widgets and gadgets. Regardless how one feels about climate change, the sooner we quit pretending the free market currently makes fossil fuels the winner, the sooner we citizens of our planet Earth can start picking the winner going forward. I vote for clean energy sources.
Ignorance No Excuse
Grove City College’s Shawn Ritenour warns of the poor burning excrement unless we continue burning fossil fuels. This is as ridiculous as the DEP testimony I heard on Sept 25, preceding mine. There, a paid talking head (before I testified for free, on my own time) testified that we must continue to burn coal tailing or boney piles, or we risk pollution from them spontaneously combusting. Yep, with a straight face. We can easily deduce why the lobbyist preceding my testimony to the preposterous. But why would a humble econ prof…from Cornwall Alliance?
When you see something written that appears distorted or debunked, which the writer implies is true and/or popular, look closer. You’ll most often find the “findings” neither. They were simply what the funder of them wanted found.
I’ve been tracking money’s steering of politics, for about a decade. It is exhausting…OK, it is boring. You never could just look up someone like Ritenour’s connection to a manipulative sugar daddy like ALEC or the Kochs. Since Citizen’s United, it is infinitely harder. But you rarely need more than a couple cross ref’s, and a little thought, to get there. Here I needed four steps, so hats off to their attempts to hide.
Searching Cornwall Alliance yields no connection…but wait:
“Donors Trust, a shadowy funding vehicle, has laundered $146 million in climate denial funding (largely from the Kochs and Exxon) from 2002 to 2011…climate denial organizations that have received major funding in recent years by Donors Trust include the Heartland Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Cato Institute and the James Partnership (Cornwall Alliance).”
Then, taking their real name James Partnership, one finds the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, a “Vice-Chairman” level sponsor of ALEC. It funnels cash to ClearWord Communications Group, Inc., a “donor strategies firm” or “commercial fundraiser” that also raises funds for (drumroll, please):
And THAT is why Ritenour warns of the poor harming us by burning excrement, unless we continue burning fossil fuels.
Steve Todd, PE, LEED AP