Mass Extinction and Mass Insanity

SUBHEAD: We can see ourselves destroying our world, but we can not stop ourselves from continuing the destruction.

By Raul Ilargi Meijer on 8 December 2016 for the Automatic Earth -
(https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2016/12/mass-extinction-and-mass-insanity/)


Image above: An elephant cow and calf at play. From original article without attribution.
“Erwin Schrodinger (1945) has described life as a system in steady-state thermodynamic disequilibrium that maintains its constant distance from equilibrium (death) by feeding on low entropy from its environment – that is, by exchanging high-entropy outputs for low-entropy inputs. The same statement would hold verbatium as a physical description of our economic process. A corollary of this statement is that an organism cannot live in a medium of its own waste products.”
Herman Daly and Kenneth Townsend
What drives our economies is waste. Not need, or even demand. Waste. 2nd law of thermodynamics. It drives our lives, period.

First of all, don’t tell me you’re trying to stop the ongoing extinction of nature and wildlife on this planet, or the destruction of life in general. Don’t even tell me you’re trying. Don’t tell me it’s climate change that we should focus on (that’s just a small part of the story), and you’re driving an electric car and you’re separating your trash or things like that. That would only mean you’re attempting to willfully ignore your share of destruction, because if you do it, so will others, and the planet can’t take anymore of your behavior.

This is the big one. And the only ones among us who don’t think so are those who don’t want to. Who think it’s easier to argue that some problems are too big for them to tackle, that they should be left to others to solve. But why should we, why should anyone, worry about elections or even wars, when it becomes obvious we’re fast approaching a time when such things don’t matter much anymore?

The latest World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Report (WWF) shows us that the planet is a whole lot less alive than it used to be. And that we killed that life. That we replaced it with metal, bricks, plastic and concrete. Mass consumption leads to mass extinction. And that is fully predictable, it always was; there’s nothing new there.

We killed 58% of all vertebrate wildlife just between 1970 and 2012, and at a rate of 2% per year we will have massacred close to 70% of it by 2020, just 4 years from now. So what does it matter who’s president of just one of the many countries we invented on this planet? Why don’t we address what’s really crucial to our very survival instead?

The latest report from the WWF should have us all abandon whatever it is we’re doing, and make acting to prevent further annihilation of our living world the key driver in our everyday lives, every hour of every day, every single one of us. Anything else is just not good enough, and anything else will see us, that self-nominated intelligent species, annihilated in the process.

Granted, there may be a few decrepit and probably halfway mutant specimens of our species left, living in conditions we couldn’t even begin, nor dare, to imagine, with what will be left of their intelligence wondering how our intelligence could have ever let this happen. You’d almost wish they’ll understand as little as we ever did; that some form of ignorance equal to ours will soften their pain.

It’s important to note that the report does not describe a stagnant situation, there’s no state of affairs, not something still, it describes an ongoing and deteriorating process. That is, we don’t get to choose to stop the ongoing wildlife annihilation at 70%; we are witnessing, and indeed we are actively involved in, raising that number by 2% every year that we ‘live’ (can we even call it that anymore, are you alive when you murder all life around you?) in this world.

This is our only home.

Without the natural world that we were born into, or rather that our species, our ancestors, were born into, we have zero chance of survival. Because it is the natural world that has allowed for, and created, the conditions that made it possible for mankind to emerge and develop in the first place.

And we are nowhere near making an earth 2.0; the notion itself is preposterous. A few thousand years of man ‘understanding’ his world is no match for billions of years of evolution. That’s the worst insult to whatever intelligence it is that we do have.

Much has been made through the years of our ability to adapt to changing circumstances, and much of that is just as much hubris as so much of what we tell ourselves, but the big question should be WHY we would volunteer to find out to what extent we can adapt to a world that has sustained the losses we cause it to suffer.
Even if we could to a degree adapt to that, why should we want to?

Two thirds of our world is gone, and it’s we who have murdered it, and what’s worse – judging from our lifestyles- we seem to have hardly noticed at all. If we don’t stop what we’ve been doing, this can lead to one outcome only: we will murder ourselves too.

Our perhaps biggest problem (even if we have quite a few) in this regard is our ability and propensity to deny this, as we deny any and all -serious, consequential- wrongdoing.

There are allegedly serious and smart people working on, dreaming of, and getting billions in subsidies for, fantasies of human colonies on Mars. This is advertized as a sign of progress and intelligence. But that can only be true if we can acknowledge that our intelligence and our insanity are identical twins. Because it is insane to destroy the planet on which we depend one-on-one for everything that allows us to live, and at the same time dream of human life on another planet.
While I see no reason to address the likes of King of Subsidies Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking is different. Unfortunately, in Hawking’s case, with all his intelligence, it’s his philosophical capacity that goes missing.
Humanity Will Not Survive Another 1,000 Years If We Don’t Escape Our Planet

Professor Stephen Hawking has warned humanity will not survive another 1,000 years on Earth unless the human race finds another planet to live on. [..] Professor Hawking, 74, reflected on the understanding of the universe garnered from breakthroughs over the past five decades, describing 2016 as a “glorious time to be alive and doing research into theoretical physics”. “Our picture of the universe has changed a great deal in the last 50 years and I am happy if I have made a small contribution,“ he went on.

”The fact that we humans, who are ourselves mere fundamental particles of nature, have been able to come this close to understanding the laws that govern us and the universe is certainly a triumph.” Highlighting “ambitious” experiments that will give an even more precise picture of the universe, he continued: “We will map the position of millions of galaxies with the help of [super] computers like Cosmos. We will better understand our place in the universe.”

“But we must also continue to go into space for the future of humanity. I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet.”

The tragedy is that we may have gained some knowledge of natural laws and the universe, but we are completely clueless when it comes to keeping ourselves from destroying our world. Mars is an easy cop-out. But Mars doesn’t solve a thing. Because it’s -obviously- not the ‘fragile planet’ earth that is a threat to mankind, it’s mankind itself. How then can escaping to another planet solve its problems?

What exactly is wrong with saying that we will have to make it here on planet earth? Is it that we’ve already broken and murdered so much?

And if that’s the reason, what does that say about us, and what does it say about what we would do to a next planet, even provided we could settle on it (we can’t) ?

 Doesn’t it say that we are our own worst enemies? And doesn’t the very idea of settling the ‘next planet’ imply that we had better settle things right here first? Like sort of a first condition before we go to Mars, if we ever do?


Image above: An polar bear cow and cub in an affectionate moment. From original article without attribution.

In order to survive, we don’t need to escape our planet, we need to escape ourselves. Not nearly as easy. Much harder than escaping to Mars. Which already is nothing but a pipedream to begin with.

Moreover, if we can accept that settling things here first before going to Mars is a prerequisite for going there in the first place, we wouldn’t need to go anymore, right?

We treat this entire extinction episode as if it’s something we’re watching from the outside in, as if it’s something we’re not really a part of. I’ve seen various undoubtedly very well-intentioned ‘green people’, ‘sustainable people’, react to the WWF report by pointing to signs that there is still hope, pointing to projects that reverse some of the decline, chinook salmon on the North American Pacific coast, Malawi farmers that no longer use chemical fertilizers, a giant sanctuary in the Antarctic etc.

That, too, is a form of insanity. Because it serves to lull people into a state of complacency that is entirely unwarranted. And that can therefore only serve to make things worse. There is no reversal, there is no turnaround. It’s like saying if a body doesn’t fall straight down in a continuous line, it doesn’t fall down at all.

The role that green, sustainability, conservationist groups play in our societies has shifted dramatically, and we have failed completely to see this change (as have they). These groups have become integral parts of our societies, instead of a force on the outside warning about what happens within.

Conservationist groups today serve as apologists for the havoc mankind unleashes on its world: all people have to do is donate money at Christmas, and conservation will be taken care of.

Recycle a few bottles and plastic wrappings and you’re doing your part to save the planet. It is utterly insane. It’s as insane as the destruction itself. It’s denial writ large, and in the flesh.

It’s not advertized that way, but that doesn’t mean it’s not how it works. Saying that ‘it’s not too late’ is not a call to action as many people continue to believe. It’s just dirt poor psychology. It provides people with the impression, which rapidly turns into an excuse, that there is still time left.

As almost 70% of all vertebrates, those animals that are closest to us, have disappeared. When would they say time is up? At 80%, 90%?

We do not understand why, or even that, we are such a tragically destructive species. And perhaps we can’t. Perhaps that is where our intelligence stops, at providing insight into ourselves. Even the most ‘aware’ amongst us will still tend to disparage their own roles in what goes on. Even they will make whatever it is they still do, and that they know is hurtful to the ecosystem, seem smaller than it is.

Even they will search for apologies for their own behavior, tell themselves they must do certain things in order to live in the society they were born in, drive kids to school, yada yada. We all do that. We soothe our consciences by telling ourselves we mean well, and then getting into our cars to go pick up a carton of milk. Or engage in an equally blind act. There’s too many to mention.

Every species that finds a large amount of free energy reacts the same way: proliferation. The unconscious drive is to use up the energy as fast as possible. If only we could understand that.

But understanding it would get in the way of the principle itself. The only thing we can do to stop the extinction is for all of us to use a lot less energy.

But because energy consumption provides wealth and -more importantly- political power, we will not do that. We instead tell ourselves all we need to do is use different forms of energy.

Our inbuilt talent for denying and lying (to ourselves and others) makes it impossible for us to see that we have an inbuilt talent for denying and lying in the first place.

Or, put another way, seeing that we haven’t been able to stop ourselves from putting the planet into the dismal shape it is in now, why should we keep on believing that we will be able to stop ourselves in the future?

Thing is, an apology for our own behavior is also an apology for everyone else’s. As long as you keep buying things wrapped in plastic, you have no right, you lose your right, to blame the industry that produces the plastic.

We see ourselves as highly intelligent, and -as a consequence- we see ourselves as a species driven by reason. But we are not. Which can be easily demonstrated by a ‘reverse question’: why, if we are so smart, do we find ourselves in the predicament of having destroyed two thirds of our planet?

Do we have a rational argument to execute that destruction? Of course not, we’ll say. But then why do we do it if rationality drives us? This is a question that should forever cure us of the idea that we are driven by reason. But we’re not listening to the answer to that question. We’re denying, we’re even denying the question itself.

It’s the same question, and the same answer, by the way, that will NOT have us ‘abandon whatever it is we do’ when we read today that 70% of all wildlife will be gone by 2020, that 58% was gone by 2012 and we destroy it at a rate of 2% per year.

We’re much more likely to worry much more about some report that says returns on our retirement plans will be much lower than we thought. Or about the economic growth that is too low (as if that is possible with 70% of wildlife gone).

After all, if destroying 70% of wildlife is not enough for a call to action, what would be? 80%? 90? 99%? I bet you that would be too late. And no, relying on conservationist groups to take care of it for us is not a viable route. Because that same 70% number spells out loud and clear what miserable failures these groups have turned out to be.

We ‘assume’ we’re intelligent, because that makes us feel good. Well, it doesn’t make the planet feel good. What drives us is not reason. What drives us is the part of our brains that we share in common with amoeba and bacteria and all other more ‘primitive forms of life, that gobbles up excess energy as fast as possible, in order to restore a balance.

Our ‘rational’, human, brain serves one function, and one only: to find ‘rational’ excuses for what our primitive brain has just made us do.

We’re all intelligent enough to understand that driving a hybrid car or an electric car does nothing to halt the havoc we do to our world, but there are still millions of these things being sold. So perhaps we could say that we’re at the same time intelligent enough, and we’re not.

We can see ourselves destroying our world, but we can not stop ourselves from continuing the destruction. Here’s something I wrote 5 years ago:
Most. Tragic. Species. Ever.

We have done exactly the same that any primitive life form would do when faced with a surplus, of food, energy, and in our case credit, cheap money. We spent it all as fast as we can. Lest less abundant times arrive. It’s an instinct, it comes from our more primitive brain segments, not our more “rational” frontal cortex. It’s not that we’re in principle, or talent, more devious or malicious than more primitive life forms. It’s that we use our more advanced brains to help us execute the same devastation our primitive brain drives us to, but much much worse.

That’s what makes us the most tragic species imaginable. We’ll fight each other, even our children, over the last few scraps falling off the table, and kill off everything in our path to get there. And when we’re done, we’ll find a way to rationalize to ourselves why we were right to do so. We can be aware of watching ourselves do what we do, but we can’t help ourselves from doing it. Most. Tragic. Species. Ever.
The greatest miracle you will ever see, that you could ever hope to see, is so miraculous you can’t even recognize it for what it is.

We don’t know what the word beautiful means anymore. Or the word valuable. We’ve lost all of that, and are well on our way, well over 70% of it, to losing the rest too.

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Conferences with less CO2 gas

SUBHEAD: 1/3 of UCSB’s CO2 footprint comes from aviation emissions to take professors to conferences.

By Natasha Tandler on 10 December 2016 for Resilience -
(http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-12-09/a-climate-change-conference-without-the-carbon)


Image above: Aerial view of UCSB campus and Pacific Ocean.It is ranked No. 2 in the lorld in Leiden Ranking of top 500 universities. From (http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2013/013502/ucsb-ranked-no-2-world-leiden-ranking-top-500-universities).

English professor Ken Hiltner, of the University of California, Santa Barbera (UCSB)  was tending to his garden, but he wasn’t thinking about how to keep weeds away or if his tomatoes were getting enough sunlight.

Rather, the director of UCSB’s Environmental Humanities Initiative thought, “Why not make academic conferences virtual to reduce their carbon dioxide footprint?”

The inspiration for this idea came after Hiltner heard the startling discovery from a report conducted by UCSB’s Sustainability Office in 2014. It found that one third of the carbon dioxide footprint for the UCSB campus came from air travel that takes faculty and staff to conferences and talks. Hiltner knew that his idea of a digital conference could dramatically curb these unnecessary emissions.

In May, just a mere six months later, a virtual conference called “Climate Change: Views from the Humanities” was launched by Hiltner and his co-director, sociology Professor John Foran.

The conference had over 50 speakers and was sponsored by the Critical Issues in America series and UCSB’s Environmental Humanities Initiative. Foran called the conference “game-changing.”

The conference addressed climate change by bringing academics together from eight countries across the world, but it only produced 1% of the carbon dioxide emissions of a traditional fly-in conference. For this reason, Hiltner and Foran called the conference “nearly carbon dioxide neutral.”

The conference website reported that speakers would have had to travel over 300,000 miles and would have generated 100,000 pounds of carbon dioxide if the conference had been in person.

Having a hard time imagining what 100,000 pounds of carbon dioxide actually looks like? The Environmental Protection Agency reports that it is equivalent to the emissions that driving 188 different passenger vehicles for one year generate. 100,000 pounds of carbon dioxide is also the same as the emissions produced by driving one car 2,129,908 miles.

The Criticisms and Disadvantages
The digital conference did not come together flawlessly though. It received a fair share of criticism about the disadvantages of a virtual platform. Foran said that some lecturers “missed the paid trip to a place for travel purposes,” while others had a hard time using technology to give their talks.

Hiltner explained that the organizers attempted to create a “paradigm shift” in the social practice of academics flying to conferences throughout America.

In the United States alone, Hiltner stated that 200 million people attend conferences each year. He added, “Whenever you try to shift culture, there is going to be resistance to it.”

One of the main critiques about the conference was that the digital platform inhibited face-to-face interactions that occur at fly-in conferences. Keynote speaker Elizabeth Kaplan from Stony Brook University confessed that she missed having a live audience. She said that she prefers “to see the people that she is speaking to and gauge their reactions” to her presentation.

Rick Thomas, a graduate student at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, also disliked the lack of personal communication. He was one of the web platform designers for the conference and was a participant in many of the Q&As at the conference.

Thomas thought that the part of the conference where the most interpersonal connection was lost was actually during the talks. “Sometimes the speakers just used a PowerPoint for their talks and you just heard a voice,” he said.

Another critique of the conference was that it was not diverse. All four of the keynote speakers were white and Kaplan was the only woman. “If you look at the keynote speakers and panelists, there are too many men, too few people of color, and too little geographical diversity,” Foran noted.

The conference also left out those who do not have access to the Internet, which is surprisingly 60% of the world’s population according to The United Nations’ Broadband Commission.

The commission estimates that 4.2 billion people do not have regular access to the Internet and that only one in 10 people has regular access to the Internet in lesser-developed countries. This is a big problem since developing countries are affected the most by climate change because they do not have many financial resources to cope with its consequences.

The Social and Educational Advantages
Many argued that the online conference was actually inclusive to those in the developing world, such as UCSB Global Studies Professor Raymond Clémençon. He teaches a class called Global Environmental Politics and was the former Head at the International Affairs Division of the Swiss Environment Ministry.

“For developing countries, it is very expensive and they don’t have the capacity to travel to an in-person conference,” Clémençon said. He thought that the virtual conference is a good solution to this problem because it was free to participate in.

Hiltner and Foran also said that another advantage of the virtual conference was that it was actually “more democratic” than a standard academic conference. Hiltner mentioned that most academic conferences are “practices of privilege” because they are “closed door affairs” that prohibit the public from entering. An academic normally needs an invitation to attend one of these events.

However, anyone affiliated with an academic institution could have participated in the virtual conference and all of its contents are still available online for anyone to see.

Kaplan, one of the keynote speakers, said that in person conferences “rarely have records of what the speakers or audience members say.” Since all of the talks and Q&As are online, the conference is on record forever. This benefits academics who want to cite from the conference or teachers who want to share talks from the conference with their students.

Many of the speakers and participants also expressed how much they enjoyed the length of the conference, which was three weeks.

For someone like Rick Thomas, who juggles a rigorous graduate school workload, a time-consuming research project, and a social life, the three weeks were very necessary.

He was appreciative of the time frame because he could participate during his moments of leisure and because it gave him “a chance to sit back and think for a bit.”

Other attendees also enjoyed this time frame, as Hiltner proudly stated that the conference generated “three times as much discussion as a normal conference.” At a normal conference, the Q&A is usually limited to a 15-minute time frame. Not everyone in the audience gets an opportunity to ask his or her question.

With the online format, anyone could ask a question and receive an answer.
Hiltner also observed that the questions that were asked by audience members were “better formulated” and “more considerate” than questions asked spontaneously at an academic conference.

Attendees were able to provide research and statistics for their questions or responses. Both Hiltner and Foran thought that the online Q&A format was much more thoughtful and productive than the Q&As at fly-in conferences.

Environmental Benefits and Worldwide Impacts
The virtual conference not only provides a solution to reducing UCSB’s carbon dioxide emissions, but it is also an answer to reducing worldwide aviation emissions. According to Air Transport Action Group, “flights produced 781 million tons” of carbon dioxide in 2015.

The aviation industry is a large contributor to climate change, as it is responsible for 2% of worldwide global carbon dioxide emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions produced by the aviation industry could be significantly reduced if the 200 million academics in America who fly to academic conferences instead participated in digital conferences that do not require air travel.

Recently, the Environmental Humanities Initiative conducted a second virtual conference for three weeks during October and November of 2016. The conference was called “The World in 2050: Creating/Imagining Just Climate.” One of the speakers was Bill McKibben, a world-renowned climate change activist.

Hiltner and Foran made sure that many of the criticisms from the first conference were addressed in the second conference. The most important one was making the conference more diverse. The second conference had over fifty voices from six different continents. Antarctica was the only continent that did not participate, although the co-directors did reach out to many scholars there.

To address the criticism that the virtual format was not personal, the newest conference included “Nearly-Carbon-Neutral Salons.” These were virtual spaces where conference attendees could interact in real time with others through a video conferencing website called Zoom. There were three different scheduled salons to accommodate for different time zones of people throughout the world.

After the first conference, Hiltner created a “white paper” which is a practical guide for those interested in conducting their own virtual conferences. It is an extremely long and detailed document that outlines all of the advantages and frequently asked questions about digital conferences.

The white paper also provides a step-by-step guide on how to implement a virtual conference following the same format of the Environmental Humanities Initiatives conferences.

Many organizations not only commend this innovative conference type, but also want to implement it themselves. Bioversity International, a global organization that is designed to ensure genetic diversity on the planet, will be the first major environmental group to use this model. Additionally, The Modern Language Association is going to use the instructional manual to conduct its own virtual conference in April of 2017.

It is uncertain if numerous organizations or universities will use the virtual academic conference platform in the future.

However, it is clear that the UCSB climate change conferences have definitely started the “paradigm shift in a cultural practice” that the conference organizers hoped to initiate.






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Fukushima cleanup cost doubles

SUBHEAD: The estimated cost of cleaning up the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant has doubled to $190 billion.

By Mari Yamaguchi on 9 December 2016 in the Garden Island News -
(http://m.thegardenisland.com/news/world/japan-doubles-cost-estimate-for-fukushima-cleanup/article_dce56c40-7035-54cd-8973-3a3664d1509f.html)


Image above: A member of the media tour group  wearing a protective suit and a mask looks at the No. 3 reactor building  at TEPCO's tsunami-crippled Fukushima  Daiichi nuclear power plant. From original article.

The estimated cost of cleaning up Japan's wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant has doubled to nearly 22 trillion yen ($190 billion), with decommissioning expenses expected to continue to increase, a government panel said Friday.

The estimate raises the decommissioning part of the total costs to 8 trillion yen ($70 billion) from the current 2 trillion. Costs for compensation, decontamination of the area and waste storage have also grown significantly.

The plant suffered multiple meltdowns following a massive March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Officials say its decommissioning will take several decades. Rising cost estimates mean an increased burden on consumers.

Kunio Ito, a Hitotsubashi University professor of commerce who heads the panel, said it is inevitable that the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, will pass on to customers part of the costs.

He said the estimate for decommissioning is sketchy, but is needed to show the public how much the national project will roughly cost. The estimated increase of 6 trillion yen ($53 billion) is modeled after the example of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant cleanup in Pennsylvania following its 1979 partial meltdown.

The TMI cleanup took five years and nearly $1 billion to remove 136 tons of melted fuel from one reactor. The Fukushima plant has twice as much melted fuel in each of three damaged reactors, meaning six times as much melted fuel must to be removed, the government-funded decommissioning and compensation organization said.

It came up with the figure of $53 billion by factoring in the more extensive development of robotics and other equipment needed at Fukushima. The estimate does not include the cost of final waste management.

The panel has been discussing ways to keep TEPCO alive so it can cover the cost that it is responsible for. TEPCO has already received a government bailout, and the panel recommended that Fukushima cleanup-related operations effectively stay under state control until the next review in 2019.

The 10-member panel commissioned by the Trade and Industry Ministry plans to urge TEPCO to undergo a drastic restructuring and reforms, possibly with a new business alliance with companies in and outside Japan, to stay afloat. The panel will submit its recommendations in a final report to Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko later this month.

"This is a chance for innovation and cost-cutting to push forward Fukushima's reconstruction," Seko told reporters. "We expect TEPCO to fulfill its responsibility."

TEPCO President Naomi Hirose, who was summoned to parliament Friday, pledged to live up to expectations.

See also:
Nuclear fuel found 15 miles from Tokyo — Fukushima uranium in ‘glassy’ spheres flew over 170 km
Fukushima Nano Bucky Ball Hot Particles Filled With Uranium, Plutonium, And Cesiu
Ea O Ka Aina: Tokyo damaged by nuclear pellet rain 9/24/16
Ea O KA Aina: Nuclear Power and Climate Failure 8/24/16 
Ea O Ka Aina: High radioactivity in Tokyo  8/22/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Nuclear Blinders 8/18/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima and Chernobyl 5/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima radiation damages Japan 4/14/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima's Nuclear Nightmare 3/13/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Fifth Fukushima Anniversary 3/11/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima impacts are ongoing 11/8/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Petroleum and Nuclear Coverups 10/21/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Radiation Contamination 10/13/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Radioactive floods damage Japan 9/22/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fir trees damaged by Fukushima 8/30/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan restarts a nuclear plant 8/11/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima disaster will continue 7/21/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Too many fish in the sea? 6/22/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima prefecture uninhabitable 6/6/15
Ea O Ka Aina: In case you've forgotten Fukushima 5/27/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Radiation damages top predator bird 4/24/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukshima die-offs occurring 4/17/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Impact Update 4/13/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima - the end of atomic power 3/13/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Where is the Fukushima Data? 2/21/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fuku-Undo 2/4/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima MOX fuel crossed Pacific 2/4/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima worst human disaster 1/26/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan to kill Pacific Ocean 1/23/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan's Environmental Catastrophe 8/25/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Earthday TPP Fukushima RIMPAC 4/22/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Daiichi hot particles 5/30/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Japanese radiation denial 5/12/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Entomb Fukushima Daiichi now 4/6/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Disaster 3 Years Old 4/3/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Tsunami, Fukushima and Kauai 3/9/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Japanese contamination 2/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Bill for Fukushima monitoring 2/9/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Tepco under reporting of radiation 2/9/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Fallout in Alaska 1/25/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima engineer against nukes 1/17/14
Ea O Ka Aina: California to monitor ocean radiation 1/14/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Demystifying Fukushima Reactor #3 1/1/14
Ea O Ka Aina: US & Japan know criticality brewing 12/29/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Forever 12/17/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Brief radiation spike on Kauai 12/27/13
Ea O Ka Aina: USS Ronald Reagan & Fukushima 12/15/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Pacific Impact 12/11/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Berkeley and Fukushima health risks 12/10/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Madness engulfs Japan 12/4/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Edo Japan and Fukushima Recovery 11/30/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Reaction to Fukushima is Fascism 11/30/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Radioisotopes in the Northern Pacific 11/22/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima cleanup in critical phase 11/18/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima fuel removal to start 11/14/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima, What me worry? 11/13/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Remove other Fukushina fuel 10/29/13
Ea O Ka Aina: End to Japanese Nuclear Power? 10/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima & Poisoned Fish 10/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fuel Danger at Fukushima 9/27/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Reactor #4 Spent Fuel Pool 9/16/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima is Not Going Away 9/9/13
Ea O Ka Aina: X-Men like Ice Wall for Fukushima 9/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima House of Horrors 8/21/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Apocalypse 8/21/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Radioactive Dust 8/20/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Cocooning Fukushima Daiichi 8/16/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima radiation coverup 8/12/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Leakage at Fukushima an emergency 8/5/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima burns on and on 7/26/13
Ea O Ka Aina: What the Fukashima? 7/24/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Spiking 7/15/13
Ea O Ka Aina: G20 Agenda Item #1 - Fix Fukushima 7/7/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima and hypothyroid in Hawaii 4/9/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan to release radioactive water 2/8/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima as Roshoman 1/14/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushia Radiation Report 10/24/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Fallout 9/14/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Unit 4 Danger 7/22/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima denial & extinction ethics 5/14/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima worse than Chernobyl 4/24/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima dangers continue 4/22/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima children condemned 3/8/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima fights chain reaction 2/7/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Tepco faking Fukushima fix 12/24/11
Ea O Ka Aina: The Non Battle for Fukushima 11/10/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Debris nears Midway 10/14/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Radiation Danger 7/10/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Abandoned 9/28/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Deadly Radiation at Fukushima 8/3/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima poisons Japanese food 7/25/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Black Rain in Japan 7/22/11
Ea O Ka Aina: UK PR downplays Fukushima 7/1/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima #2 & #3 meltdown 5/17/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima sustained chain reaction 5/3/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Ocean Radioactivity in Fukushima 4/16/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan raises nuclear disaster level 4/12/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima No Go Zone Expanding 4/11/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima to be Decommissioned 4/8/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Poisons Fish 4/6/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Learning from Fukushima 4/4/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Leak goes Unplugged 4/3/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Stick a fork in it - It's done! 4/2/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima reactors reach criticality 3/31/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Non-Containment 3/30/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Meltdown 3/29/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Water Blessing & Curse 3/28/11
.

Standing Rock has changed us

SUBHEAD: As we work toward a post-fossil fuel society, we can look to these lessons from the Sioux.

By Sarah van Gelder on 7 December 2016 for Yes Magazine  -
(http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/how-standing-rock-has-changed-us-20161207/)


Image above: In a ceremony on Monday, veterans asked for forgiveness on behalf of the nation for theft of land and genocide of Native Americans. The veterans were led by Wes Clark Jr., who addressed Chief Leonard Crow Dog, a Lakota spiritual leader. Photo by Adam Johannson.
From original article.


At the Oceti Sakowin camp there were celebrations into the night when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision was announced. Fireworks lit up the sky, which is normally dominated by police searchlights, and there were songs, prayers, and dance. And tears.

The decision to halt work on the Dakota Access pipeline may be the victory that the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and thousands of water protectors were looking for.

On the heels of the announcement, Energy Transfer Partners issued a statement insisting that they will go ahead with the project. What that means is not yet clear, but whatever happens the events at Standing Rock have been transformative, and these victories are not ones that Energy Transfer Partners or even President-elect Trump can take away.

Here are just a few things that have shifted in our world because of the extraordinary Native-led uprising at Standing Rock.

Decolonizing
It was a scene I didn’t think I’d ever witness. Veterans at Standing Rock, led by Wesley Clark Jr., spoke of the many ways the U.S. military had brutalized Native people, through killings, through taking their lands and even their children. And then they knelt down and apologized in front of the elders.

These nonviolent warriors, sworn to uphold the Constitution, came to North Dakota to protect the water protectors, but they did something even more important by acknowledging historic harms and showing remorse.

Clergy too came with humility and apologies. At a gathering in early November, one Christian denomination after the next burned the Doctrine of Discovery, a centuries-old religious doctrine that made its way into law and condones taking the lands of non-Christians.

If it is possible to heal from the long U.S. history of genocide, these moves by clergy and veterans were powerful steps in that direction.

The work of decolonizing is much bigger though, and it is Native-led. Within the camps, Lakota culture is at the foundation of everything, from the early morning prayers at the sacred fire to the food line, where elders are served first. Newcomers are reminded to respect these ways. Native people have led this movement from the beginning, and they are reclaiming their power.

This time, non-Natives in large numbers stood with them and learned from them ways to live that are inclusive and collective.

And as people return home from the camp, the effects will ripple out into communities across North America for years to come.


Respect for Mother Earth and our own bodies

Walk to the edge of the Cannonball River at Standing Rock, or to the banks of the Missouri River, which provides water to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and Cheyenne River tribes, and to millions of others farther downstream. And then consider what it would mean if DAPL ruptured, spewing toxins into this precious shared water.

The core idea that “water is life” is self-evident, as our bodies are nearly two-thirds water. Yet the implications are radical. What would it mean to actually protect water and, therefore, to also protect our health?

Even more radical is the idea that we would sacrifice the comforts of fossil fuel-based consumerism for the quality of that water, giving a gift of well-being to our children and future generations.

Water is important everywhere, but the Sioux people, by protecting the water of their place on Earth, have shown what moral authority looks like. Their commitment attracted support from around the world, and showed people everywhere what it means to protect your home.

Finding our power
The American people want to switch to renewable energy—not invest more in fossil fuel infrastructure. Many are closing accounts with big banks and moving their funds into credit unions and community banks, thus helping to rebuild the economy to support communities and life.

And at Standing Rock, people found many ways to exert power. In the face of pepper spray, rubber bullets, dogs, concussion grenades, and water cannons, the water protectors remained nonviolent. They were arrested by the hundreds, strip-searched, and placed in fenced enclosures resembling dog kennels. But their responses were prayerful and sometimes even loving.

This display of courage moved the hearts of millions. As law enforcement escalated the violence, water protectors increased their presence.
And because of independent reporting and social media, the story got out in real time even when other media weren’t paying attention.

Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now coverage of dogs attacking water protectors was the first reporting to alert the world to the brutality of pipeline security. The beautiful short films featuring the people at the camp, the posters and art, the water protectors’ drones, the tweets and live feeds from Standing Rock—all have kept the story alive for months.
People power in all these forms works.

Thousands came to the remote plains of North Dakota. Hundreds of thousands took action through donations and demonstrations. The sense of power and hope that goes with this decentralized movement, and the accumulating know-how, will make the next action easier to pull off, and the next one after that.


What’s next?
The work, prayers, hardship, and collaborations are not over. There may be new rounds at Standing Rock, and more water protectors may be injured and traumatized there or at other locations. There may even be loss of life. And there are other pipelines that need to be confronted by water protectors. Just last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave the green light to the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and the presidency of Donald Trump could threaten everything we hold dear.

Nonetheless, this is a time to celebrate. The water protectors won a huge victory with the Corps of Engineers decision—a victory that benefits not only the Sioux tribes, not only those along the Missouri River, but everyone.

We all drink water and need a stable climate. As we navigate what may be the most dangerous time in human history, the lessons from Standing Rock can guide us.

As we create a post-fossil fuel society, we can take the lessons of respect and nonviolence, of valuing life over money, of learning from the indigenous peoples as cornerstones. A revolution in values and culture is rippling out across the country and the world, and it started at Standing Rock.

• Sarah van Gelder wrote this article for YES! Magazine. Sarah is cofounder and editor at large of YES! Magazine. Her new book, “The Revolution Where You Live: Stories from a 12,000-Mile Journey Through a New America” is available now from YES! Read more about her road trip and book here and follow her on Twitter @sarahvangelder.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: As Standing Rock celebrates... 12/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps denies easement 12/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: My Whole Heart is With You 12/2/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Loving Containment of Courage 12/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Beginning is Near 12/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Feds to shutdown NoDAPL Camp 11/25/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL people are going to die 11/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Hundreds of vets to join NoDAPL 11/22/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama must support Standing Rock 11/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump's pro oil stance vs NoDaPL 11/15/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai NoDAPL Demonstration 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama to Betray Standing Rock 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump impact on Standing Rock 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Ann Wright on Standing Rock 11/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Turning Point at Standing Rock 11/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jackson Browne vs DAPL owner 11/5/16
Democracy Now: Boycott of DAPL Owner's Music Festival
Ea O Ka Aina: World responds to NoDAPL protests 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL victory that was missed 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL hid discovery of Sioux artifacts 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Dakota Access Pipeline will leak 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Route of the Dakota Access Pipeline 11/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sanders calls for stopping DAPL 11/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama hints at DAPL rerouting 11/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: New military attack on NODAPL 11/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: How to Support NoDAPL 11/3/16
Unicorn Riot: Tweets from NoDAPL 11/2/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock & the Ballot Box 10/31/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL reclaim new frontline 10/24/16
Ea O Ka Aina: How far will North Dakota go? 10/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodman "riot" charge dropped 10/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodwin to face "Riot Charge" 10/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Shutdown of all tar sand pipelines 10/11/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why Standing Rock is test for Oabama 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why we are Singing for Water 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Labor's Dakota Access Pipeline Crisis 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Firm for Standing Rock 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Contact bankers behind DAPL 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL demo at Enbridge Inc 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Militarized Police raid NoDAPL 9/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Stop funding of Dakota Access Pipeline 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: UN experts to US, "Stop DAPL Now!" 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: No DAPL solidarity grows 9/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: This is how we should be living 9/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: 'Natural Capital' replacing 'Nature' 9/14/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Big Difference at Standing Rock 9/13/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jill Stein joins Standing Rock Sioux 9/10/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Pipeline temporarily halted 9/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Native Americans attacked with dogs 9/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Mni Wiconi! Water is Life! 9/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sioux can stop the Pipeline 8/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Officials cut water to Sioux 8/23/16

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Hedge funds economic predictions

SUBHEAD: QE will end either in hyperinflation, or a deflationary supernova resulting in bartering.

By Tyler Durden on 9 December 2016 for Zero Hedge -
(http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/top-hedge-funds-predict-how-it-all-will-end)


Image above: A barter transaction of trading a fish for seed corn. From (https://danthropological.com/2015/04/24/to-barter-or-not-to-barter-is-that-really-the-question/).

In early 2009, roughly at the time when this blog was launched which coincided with the start of the greatest monetary experiment of all time, we warned that there are two ways it will end: either in hyperinflation, or a deflationary supernova, the failure of currency and, eventually, barter.

Now, almost eight years later, some of the world's top hedge funds are in agreement, and they are worried.

As the WSJ reports, these prominent hedge fund managers join an increasingly bigger and louder chorus which says central bank bond buying programs that are pumping trillions of dollars into global markets will end badly.

In yesterday's main event, the ECB said it would extend its asset purchase program to the end of next year, buying bonds at a reduced rate. As the following chart from BBG projects, at the ECB's revised rate of bond purchases, its balance sheet will soon surpass that of the Fed.

So what happens next? Prominent managers have told The Wall Street Journal in recent interviews of their doubts about the endgame for quantitative easing around the world.

“There’s no non-messy way out of this,” said Luke Ellis, chief executive of Man Group, one of the world’s biggest hedge-fund firms with $80.7 billion in assets. “There’s two versions” of how this ends, he added. Either central banks could move to so-called ‘helicopter money,’ where they buy debt from the government, which then spends the proceeds or gives it to the population to spend.

This “for a few years looks golden then leads to hyperinflation,” he said. Or the speed at which money circulates within the economy could grind to a halt. “Then you effectively have a barter economy,” he said.

In a series of exclusive interviews with the Journal, hedge-fund executives overseeing around $280 billion in total highlighted a range of problems created by quantitative easing.

The problems they highlight are precisely those that QE was designed to solve, and are exactly the same problems we warned about since the 2009, for which we have been repeatedly branded some variation of "fake news." Now the skepticism has become mainstream.

This is what will happen,\ according to the hedge fund managers interviewed by the WSJ:

Damage to economic growth
Rather than kick-starting growth, quantitative easing may do the reverse. Some managers fear it distorts financial markets and undermines capitalism. That system relies on profit-hungry investors to differentiate between strong and weak companies—funding the strong while letting the weak die. QE, say some managers, doesn’t differentiate.

For instance, the Bank of England is buying the debt of firms it deems make “a material contribution” to the U.K. economy. That has led some investment banks and companies to create new debt especially for it to buy. The ECB has bought €48.2 billion ($51.2 billion) of corporate debt since June, but the hoped-for private-sector investment hasn’t materialized.

“What does a market do? It’s a voting mechanism,” said Michael Hintze, billionaire founder of hedge fund CQS, which runs around $12 billion in assets. “Instead you’ve got this 800-pound gorilla out there who’s hoovering up assets.

“There’s a misallocation of capital and an opportunity cost to the real economy,” added Mr. Hintze, whose portfolio is up 30% this year, ranking it one of the world’s top-performing hedge funds. “It means GDP is not growing as much as it might.”

Some put it even more strongly. “It’s definitely destructive of economic growth,” said Crispin Odey, founder of Odey Asset Management, which runs $8.2 billion in assets.

“Capitalism dies a death,” said Mr. Odey, who sees government policy as the main factor influencing markets. His fund, a top performer after the credit crisis, is down sharply this year because of being too bearish. “It’s all policy. It’s the Kremlin. And I’m in the gulags.”

Damage to society
In her speech to the governing Conservative Party conference in October, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May spoke of “some bad side effects” from quantitative easing as people with assets got richer while those without them suffered. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has said low rates have robbed savers.

Those side effects include “envy and distress” within society, “as people think ‘I can’t get out of where I am,’” said Andrew McCaffery, group head of solutions at Aberdeen Asset Management, who looks after $170 billion in assets.

Ultralow interest rates mean the large part of the population with few financial assets begins to despair of how to generate income to fund retirement, he said.

“People see a developing black hole,” he said. This “increases the sense of there being little to lose for many” people.

Andrew Law, chief executive of New York-based Caxton Associates LP, which runs around $7.8 billion, said quantitative easing averted economic depression after the financial crisis.
But he added: “The losers of QE are society, and democracy is also a loser, because central banks are not publicly elected officials.”

Deflation
Quantitative easing was also introduced as a way of increasing private-sector spending and raising inflation. Some investors even worried it would spark hyperinflation and rushed to buy gold. Instead, say some managers, it has led to deflation.

“It took me a long time to work it out,” said CQS’s Mr. Hintze. “It’s a very complex issue.” He said that massive amounts of liquidity mean that “liquidity’s not worth much anymore,” which leads to negative interest rates. “I do think it [QE] is a massive deflationary force. The reason is because money is worth less but the price of real assets goes up.”

Mr. Odey said quantitative easing leads to deflation because weaker competitors are kept alive by cheap debt as “zombie” companies.

Hard stop
Finally, hedge-fund managers see difficulty in ending quantitative easing.

.

Kauai General Plan open house

SUBHEAD: Waimea hosted a westside community meeting on proposed County General Plan update.

By Juan Wilson on 8 December 2016 for Island Breath -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2016/12/kauai-general-plan-open-house.html)


Image above: Kauai Planning Department Deputy Director Kaaina Hull explaining the General Plan Update as shown on the presentation boards for Waimea and Hanapepe. Photo by Juan Wilson.

On December 5th, 2016 I attended the Kauai Planning Department Open House on the Kauai General Plan Update proposal at the Waimea Theater.

About 25 people attended the meeting. When I arrived, just before 5:30pm, Leanora Kaiaokamalie (Lea) was setting up presentation boards in the lobby of the Waimea Theater and other staff were setting up tripods with boards of the General Plan proposal in front of the stage.

I asked Lea about setting up boards that I had done concerning the general plan including material I presented to HENA (Hanapepe Eleele Neighborhood Association). These consisted of material I have shared with HENA and material on my website.

She said I would have to wait until her boss arrived. The boss being Kaaina Hull, the Deputy Director of the Kauai Planning Department.

Ken Taylor arrived about that time with his own presentation boards. Ken showed me his boards showing his estimate of property tax increases that the plan's execution would require.

Kaaina Hull was late arriving so Ken and I set up our presentation material at the back of the theater. We engaged with some of the public that were interested and I handed out some presentation material.

Once Kaaina got to the theater the the open house activity got under way. In front of the Hanapepe-Eleele tripod board I engaged Lea in a conversation of the “neighborhood “rings” that seem a core concept across all of Kauai's community population clusters.

Walking Distance and Density
The proposed General Plan describes these "rings" as defined as neighborhoods characterized by walking distance to the community centers.

First I asked her if the names and colors of the nested rings might also relate to greater density at the core and lesser density at the perimeter. A gradient from red (Neighborhood Center), to red-orange (neighborhood General) to orange (Neighborhood Edge) to yellow (Residential Community). Lea  said that was “correct”.

I then asked her if the Planning Department had numbers with the ranges of density to these areas. I asked because I did not see that information in the Kauai General Plan Update Proposal or on the Kauai Plan website. Lea said there were such numbers, but they were not in the public presentation material.

When asked what the density numbers were she said one would have to go online and find them. She said they were buried in “Resources” on the website, but could not give link information or further detail.

One piece of information I have been trying to discover is the growth in population on Kauai that a build-out of proposed General Plan implies. For Hanapepe-Eleele area I have used the upcoming Lima Ola "affordable housing" project developed by the Kauai Housing Division on 75 acres of Alexander & Baldwin property adjacent to Eleele and south of the Kaumaalii Highway.

The Lima Ola project has proposed 550 units in single family, and multi-unit multi-story housing. The Lima Ola project takes up the bulk of the  "Residential Community" in the west Eleele area. The 550 units on 75 acres means 7.33 units per acre.

Using the average number of residence per unit on Kauai of 2.99 this means a population increase of 1,645 people. Projecting that level of development  across the greater Hanapepe-Eleele area could increase the population from 5,028 residents (in the 2010 US Census) to 13,545 new residents, or an increase of 269% people.

Later, after people had a chance to see the material and talk to Planning staff Lea handed the meeting over to Kaaina. He did an overview of the Planning Department effort and the prominent elements of the plan.

Population needs and Hazard planning
He took questions as he spoke, and I asked him why they were showing concentric rings crossing from Hanapepe Heights to Eleele that crossed the breadth of the Hanapepe Valley. I pointed out there was no ring because the landscape could not be traversed between the Heights and Eleele. One had to descend to the hazard area flood plain negating the “ring” function”.

I mentioned that in fact many assets of the community in the river valley would likely have to be abandoned as the hazard area now included our only area firehouse, neighborhood center, and library.

With the possible projected population increase and response to global warming, sea rise and tsunami/hurricane threats to low lying areas, it is likely that some of these community services would have to be expanded and placed at higher elevations.

This would include an additional elementary school in Hanapepe Heights, a neighborhood center in both Hanapepe Heights and Eleele, and a fire house in both neighborhoods.  The fire house would be needed in both locations because the flooding hazard zone has been increased to cross the Kaumaalii Highway and disaster relief and fire fighting might be unable to cross the valley floor.


Rationale for Population Planning
Kaaina made the case that there were compelling reasons the Planning Department had to plan for more housing on Kauai. One reason was the need for "affordable" housing so that the younger generation, our children, could stay on the island.

But also, the Planning Department also anticipated large increase in population on Kauai over the next few generation that necessitated the great expansion proposed in the General Plan update. Their study had shown a Kauai population increasing greatly going out to 2035.

Kaaina said that the bulk of that population increase would not be from the American mainland arrivals or foreign immigrants moving to Kauai. He said The bulk was from “Natural” population growth.

He explained that this was because local people’s births exceeded deaths by between 1% to 2% a year. He stated that it was “unconstitutional” to limit reproductive rights of Americans. Thus the extrapolation of that birth "excess" through 2035 necessitated the current update plan.

The Planning Department has put no other reason to accommodate a doubling of the population of Kauai that I am aware of.

I counter that the the plan will damage the island in many ways. The ecosystem will be threatened in ways not seen before (even discounting global warming, rising seas and less regular rain.) The cost of mitigating the negative effects of greatly increasing Kauai’s population  is not affordable.
  • It means more schools need to be built.
  • It means existing highways widened and new highways created. 
  • It means new recreational, sports, and community services with have to be provided.
  • It means greater impact on our delicate natural resources too. 
There are things that cannot be mitigated with "planning". You cannot manufacture additional sandy beaches. As it is, our sandy beaches are threatened by coral die-off, global warming, and sea rise, Just imagine Salt Pond Beach Park with triple the parking needs and Sunday crowds in 2035.

Natural Growth can be Adjusted
I said to Kaaina that the argument that "natural" growth demands we suburbanize Kauai like has happened on Oahu and Maui is false.

My point is, wouldn’t it be much cheaper and more desirable to mitigate the impact of 1-2% “natural” population growth through education, incentives, and other benign motivators. Statistically parents who restrict their offspring to two or less are better educated and do better financially. A birthrate a wee bit higher than two per family can support a steady total population as there is some unfortunate child mortality.

Does the Planning Department mean to say that we have so little self control that we must destroy the island’s nature, charm, culture to accommodate unborn hoards. 

Incentives and education are much less expensive than paving over the landscape building new highways, schools and other infrastructure. The island could even remain rural and be where you wanted to live… meaning living within Kauai’s natural beauty … not just seeing it afar from end of your suburban cul-de-sac amid the sprawl.

Again the Deadline to respond to the General Plan update is December 16th 2016. Island Breath recommends that the Kauai General Plan Update not be adopted as planned. It should be rejected.  A New approach is needed to marginally reduce "natural" population growth and avoid thus avoid unaffordable infrastucture costs as well as environmental and resource degradation.

The plan as written will make Kauai less resilient, and more dependent on off island resources for food and energy. "KEEP KAUAI RURAL!"

Comments to the draft can be emailed to plankauai@kauai.gov

or snail-mailed to:
Kauai County Planning Department,
Attention: Long Range Division
4444 Rice Street, Suite A473, Līhue, HI 96766.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Reject the Kauai General Plan Update 11/30/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai County "Keep it Rural" 11/17/16
Kauai County General Plan 2000-2020 undated
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai General Plan Update 9/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai Plan Disappoints 12/9/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Tax Donkey Purgatory - Lima Ola 7/18/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Lihue Loss of Vision 9/5/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Kilauea Development on Agland 4/9/11
Ea O Ka Aina: If a tyrant developed Kauai 3/24/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Potash King's Palace 6/24/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai Farm Worker Housing 7/14/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Let Moloaa farmers farm 4/2/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai General Plan 4/2/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Peak Oil Planning 1/29/09
Island Breath: Kauai Sustainable Land Use Plan 11/1/07
Island Breath: LEGS Sustainability Conference 10/13/07
.

Talk of more growth & globalization

SUBHEAD: And to think the economic meltdown hasn’t truly started yet, has been kept hidden behind a wall of debt.

By Raul Ilargi Meijer on 7 December 2016 for the Automatic Earth
(https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2016/12/more-talk-about-more-growth-and-more-globalization/)


Image above:Children point towards Christmas toys at The Fair Department Store, Chicago 1940. Photo by Arthur Gerlach. From original article.

The world is facing the “first lost decade since the 1860s”, said Bank of England governor Mark Carney this week. Arguably good for soundbite of the day, but the buck stops there. The only way that buck could have kept rolling would have been for Carney to take a critical look at himself and his employer(s), but there was none of that.

The Canadian import governor has no doubts about anything he’s done, or if he does he shows none. Instead he puts the blame for all that’s gone awry, on some -minor- elements of what he think globalization means, not with the phenomenon itself, or his enduring support for, and belief in, it. The problem with that is it’s indeed belief only; he can’t prove an inch of what he says.

Globalization is an act of faith inside a politico-economic belief system, and all it needs according to Carney and many others in his ‘church’ is a little tweaking. That globalization itself could be the driving force behind Brexit, Trump and the defeat of Italian PM Renzi does not enter into the faith’s ‘thought’ system.

Neither does the possibility that globalization is what it is, in and of itself, a process that in the end cannot be tweaked. That globalization is simply yet another form of centralization that follows the same rules and laws all other forms do, where power and wealth always, of necessity, wind up in the hands of a few, through pretty basic centrifugal forces.

Mark Carney launched a defense of globalization and set out a manifesto for central bankers and governments to boost growth and make the world economy more equal.

The Bank of England Governor said they must acknowledge that gains from trade and technology haven’t been felt by all, improve the balance of monetary and fiscal policy, and move to a more inclusive model where “everyone has a stake in globalization.”

Carney’s speech in Liverpool, England, comes amid rising disquiet about the state of the world economy and political status quo that helped propel Donald Trump to victory in the U.S. presidential election and boost support for the U.K.’s exit from the European Union.


Trump isn’t right to favor more protectionist policies in response to globalization , Carney said in a television interview broadcast after his speech. The answer is to “redistribute some of the benefits of trade” and ensure that workers are able to acquire new skills. “Weak income growth has focused growing attention on its distribution,” Carney said in the speech.

“Inequalities which might have been tolerated during generalized prosperity are felt more acutely when economies stagnate.” Describing the world as facing the “first lost decade since the 1860s,” the BOE governor said public support for open markets is under threat and rejecting them would be a “tragedy, but is a possibility.”
Carney also defended the central bank’s current policy stance. The BOE has faced criticism from politicians after officials took measures including cutting interest rates and expanding asset purchases in August to support the economy after Britain’s June vote to leave the EU. “Low rates are not the caprice of central bankers, but rather the consequence of powerful global forces, including debt, demographics and distribution,” he said, adding that they helped to prevent a deeper economic downturn.
People like Carney will insist that globalization spurs growth, right up to the moment where they’re either voted out or fired. And they’ll probably keep on insisting until their dying days.

But why are we in that “first lost decade since the 1860s” then? Is that really only because ‘we’ failed to “redistribute some of the benefits of trade”, something that can allegedly be easily rectified by enabling workers to ‘acquire new skills’?

Where is the proof for that? And why have economies stagnated in the middle of the entire process of globalization? Is that solely because ‘some of’ the benefits were not distributed well enough? If that is so, and wealth distribution is the only problem with globalization, at what point do we redistribute ourselves into the realm of communism? Where’s the dividing line? It all feels mighty vague and unsatisfactory, and not a little goal-seeked.

Like a large part of the Brexit voters in Britain, millions of Italians have been on the losing side of globalism’s ‘benefits distribution’. And this weekend they found an outlet for their frustration about it.

Like Brexiteers voted against Cameron and Osborne much more than they voted for anything in specific, and Trump won because Americans are fed up with the Obama/Clinton/GOP model, Italians voted against PM Renzi and his idea to take power away from parliament and give it to him.

Judging from poll numbers, they also seem to have gained confidence in Beppe Grillo’s, and the Five Star Movement’s, ability to do something real in politics. It has taken a while, and that makes sense because the movement doesn’t fit the model of politics as they’ve known it all their lives.

Also, there are many Italians who have largely agreed with much of what Grillo has been saying all along, but were deterred by the way he delivered it. Ask an Italian and they’re likely to say “too angry, too rude” when it comes to Grillo. And it’s true, his style doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest. But then that’s also exactly his forte. Because there comes a point when everything that does fit in, becomes suspect.

The old guard, from Renzi to Berlusconi to the socialists, will double their efforts to keep Grillo out of the center of power now. President Mattarella is in on it: he asked Renzi to stay on as PM until after the budget has been pushed through, and is then likely to install another technocrat government, tasked with changing laws with the express intent of making it harder for Grillo to get into power.

And Renzi, of course, is on the same wavelength as Carney, and the entire EU -and global- cabal: globalize, reform, re-distribute ‘some benefits’, execute more austerity, rinse and repeat.

What’s particular about Italy in this sense is what it has been able to preserve, unlike most other nations. That is, Italy has a lot of small enterprises, often family owned, with highly skilled workers. That doesn’t fit today’s globalization model, since it’s deemed not competitive enough when you’re forced to fight for market share.

But if globalization, and the entire growth model, is over anyway, as I’ve often asserted, it’s a whole different story. If that is true, the country had better save what’s left of its business model, because it’s ideal for a post-centralized world. ‘Workers’ wouldn’t have to ‘acquire new skills, and leave old and proven skills to be forgotten and gather dust.

The world is changing rapidly and that will become even a lot more evident in 2017. The incumbent economic and political systems, as well as their proponents and cheerleaders, are on the way out. They have all failed miserably. What comes next will be profoundly chaotic for quite a while, and that will be perilous. There is not one single (belief) system to replace them, there will be many and they will often clash.

In some places, the political right will prevail, in others the left. In most, from the look of things, neither will, if only because at the end of the day both left and right are still part of incumbent systems. Europe has a number of elections coming up and in at least some of these, parties from outside the incumbent systems will come out on top.

Whether they can then go on to form governments is perhaps another story; the system will not give up easily. But it is done. Carney’s recipe of ‘some’ redistribution of wealth and acquiring new skills is widely shared in power circles, and that will be the system’s undoing. All it has to offer is more talk about more growth and more globalization, and while people protest only the latter, neither is on offer.

One of the tools the media use to discredit anything that comes from outside the system is to label it all ‘populist’. It’s a miracle it hasn’t become a honor label yet. In Europe, all new rightwing parties (a label in itself) get called populist, Le Pen, Wilders, Frauke Petry in Germany, the Lega Nord in Italy.

But so does someone like Beppe Grillo, who politically has nothing in common with these people.
Moreover, many of their ideas are not to the right of existing parties at all.

Despite some of his views, new French Republican candidate François Fillon is not called a populist, ostensibly because he’s from a large incumbent party, but so are Trump and Sanders in the US, and they do get called populist.

Empty labels, fake news and oceans of debt keep the systems -somewhat- going for now. But the genie’s long left the bottle. The ‘incumbents’ have failed their people for far too long, most of all economically. And they keep on claiming that everything will be alright, everyone will be better off if only we execute more globalization, and give them all a few pennies more.

It really is too silly to be true that that is what existing systems and their servants are still trying to make everyone believe. While it is so obvious that so many have long stopped believing. You would think they’d change their messages to reflect that change in society. But they don’t know how. And it’s that very inability that feeds those pesky ‘populists’.

The same François Fillon could be a contender in France against anti-EU Le Pen because he’s expressed doubts on Brussels. Dutch PM Rutte has cautiously critiqued the union too. But those shifts in words if not real opinions come far too late. Britain has said No and there’s zero chance that more nations will not do the same. Just give them the option, give them a vote.

The only way to keep Europe from descending into chaos is to abandon the EU, lock the doors and throw away the keys. The same is true on a global scale, with all the globalist trade agreements that most people have long lost faith in. We will either see a peaceful transition to a system not based on centralization, or we will not see peace, period.

And to think economic meltdown hasn’t even truly started yet, has been kept hidden behind a wall of debt, and so many people are already so fed up with the whole shebang.

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GOP Elector won't vote Trump

SUBHEAD: Why I will not cast my electoral vote for Donald Trump says paremedic/emergency responder.

By Christopher Suprun on 5 December 2016 for the New York Times
(http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/opinion/why-i-will-not-cast-my-electoral-vote-for-donald-trump.html)


Image above: Christorpher Supran in From original article.

I am a Republican presidential elector, one of the 538 people asked to choose officially the president of the United States. Since the election, people have asked me to change my vote based on policy disagreements with Donald J. Trump.

In some cases, they cite the popular vote difference. I do not think presidents-elect should be disqualified for policy disagreements. I do not think they should be disqualified because they won the Electoral College instead of the popular vote.

However, now I am asked to cast a vote on Dec. 19 for someone who shows daily he is not qualified for the office.

Fifteen years ago, as a firefighter, I was part of the response to the Sept. 11 attacks against our nation. That attack and this year’s election may seem unrelated, but for me the relationship becomes clearer every day.

George W. Bush is an imperfect man, but he led us through the tragic days following the attacks. His leadership showed that America was a great nation. That was also the last time I remember the nation united. I watch Mr. Trump fail to unite America and drive a wedge between us.

Mr. Trump goes out of his way to attack the cast of “Saturday Night Live” for bias. He tweets day and night, but waited two days to offer sympathy to the Ohio State community after an attack there. He does not encourage civil discourse, but chooses to stoke fear and create outrage.

This is unacceptable. For me, America is that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan envisioned. It has problems. It has challenges. These can be met and overcome just as our nation overcame Sept. 11.

The United States was set up as a republic. Alexander Hamilton provided a blueprint for states’ votes.

Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence.

Mr. Trump shows us again and again that he does not meet these standards. Given his own public statements, it isn’t clear how the Electoral College can ignore these issues, and so it should reject him.

I have poured countless hours into serving the party of Lincoln and electing its candidates. I will pour many more into being more faithful to my party than some in its leadership. But I owe no debt to a party. I owe a debt to my children to leave them a nation they can trust.

Mr. Trump lacks the foreign policy experience and demeanor needed to be commander in chief. During the campaign more than 50 Republican former national security officials and foreign policy experts co-signed a letter opposing him.

In their words, “he would be a dangerous president.” During the campaign Mr. Trump even said Russia should hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. This encouragement of an illegal act has troubled many members of Congress and troubles me.

Hamilton also reminded us that a president cannot be a demagogue. Mr. Trump urged violence against protesters at his rallies during the campaign. He speaks of retribution against his critics.

He has surrounded himself with advisers such as Stephen K. Bannon, who claims to be a Leninist and lauds villains and their thirst for power, including Darth Vader. “Rogue One,” the latest “Star Wars” installment, arrives later this month. I am not taking my children to see it to celebrate evil, but to show them that light can overcome it.

Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s pick for national security adviser, has his own checkered past about rules. He installed a secret internet connection in his Pentagon office despite rules to the contrary. Sound familiar?

Finally, Mr. Trump does not understand that the Constitution expressly forbids a president to receive payments or gifts from foreign governments. We have reports that Mr. Trump’s organization has business dealings in Argentina, Bahrain, Taiwan and elsewhere. Mr. Trump could be impeached in his first year given his dismissive responses to financial conflicts of interest. He has played fast and loose with the law for years.

He may have violated the Cuban embargo, and there are reports of improprieties involving his foundation and actions he took against minority tenants in New York. Mr. Trump still seems to think that pattern of behavior can continue.

The election of the next president is not yet a done deal. Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience.

I believe electors should unify behind a Republican alternative, an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. I pray my fellow electors will do their job and join with me in discovering who that person should be.

Fifteen years ago, I swore an oath to defend my country and Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. On Dec. 19, I will do it again.


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