Monday, November 23, 2009

Coming to an electric company near you, environmentalism meets corporate greed

Public polling has been shifting toward increasing skepticism regarding anthropogenic global warming and chances are science actually has less to do with it than green marketing. While more evidence mounts the changes occurring now are part of a natural cycle and not the result of human industry, the tip-off for most consumers is coming right through the never ending barrage of going green.

Consumers know when they’re being sold a load-of-goods and the all out push to buy this or that product to help the environment now looks like a profit angle being overplayed. One cannot watch a game-show or sitcom without being guilted by marketing pitches.

And nowhere is this more exhaustive than in utility company commercials and so-called PSA’s. Here in Tampa Bay, we’re constantly being told by Swiftmud (the Southwest Florida Water Management District), Progress Energy and TECO (Tampa Electric Company) how we as consumers can save, save, save using their handy tips. Of course, these tips are not unlike those shown all over the United States, most of which are centered on the supposedly environmentally friendly compact fluorescent light bulb.

A typical utility’s commercial advises listeners to set their home thermostat to 78F and elaborates, “…every degree above 78 saves up to 10% on your energy bill!” By that logic, all one would have to do is set their thermostat to 88F and save 100%. There are other clever little tricks given like taking shorter showers, using a microwave to heat leftovers instead of an oven (is there a single person in this day and age wouldn’t use a microwave). All of these steps will save you money on your electric bill – so you’re told. Yet electric rates continue to rise.

And in Cleveland, the utilities company, First Energy, is not only giving its consumers handy-dandy tips, it is taking the crusade further. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported, First Energy’s customers are about to get more environmentally friendly, whether they like it or not.

First Energy is delivering to every one of their customers two 23-watt CFLs at the low cost of $21.60 (though the bulbs cost FE only $3.50 each), to be reimbursed via a .60¢ monthly charge over the next three years on their electric bill. And for such a convenient, environmentally friendly gesture, that $21.60 includes a small assessment to cover the projected loss FE will experience from their customer’s saving energy by using the CFLs. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s columnist Kevin O’Brien puts it, “Think of it as paying money to save money so First Energy won't lose money.”

-- The Editors, Killswitch Politick

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Political correctness is the death knell to diversity…why aren’t we calling Ft. Hood for what is was?

We now know a lot more about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and it isn’t what the media wants to report, nor is it what the Army wants to admit. For fear of crossing the politically correct divide, military officials, suspicious of Maj. Hasan, kept silent. An FBI investigation dropped and no one would dare ask why.

Intelligence agencies intercepted communications last year and this year between Hasan and a radical cleric in Yemen known for his incendiary anti-American teachings, Anwar al-Awlaki.

Anwar al-Awlaki, an Imam, served at two US mosques in 2000 and 2001, visited by three 9/11 hijackers. Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi attended San Diego’s Rabat mosque, where Mr. Awlaki later disclosed meeting Mr. Hazmi several times according to the report of the national Sept. 11th Commission, “claimed not to remember any specifics of what they discussed”.

Both Mr. Hazmi and another hijacker, Hani Hanjour, attended the Falls Church Dar al Hijrah mosque in Virginia after Mr. Awlaki had relocated there in early 2001. The Sept. 11th Commission report stated “suspicion” about the concurrence, but said its investigators were not able to find Mr. Awlaki for questioning. Major Hasan attended the same Falls Church mosque, but it is unknown whether they met.

Moreover, it’s now known that Major Hasan sent money to the Middle East and had email communication with Al Qaeda members. It has also been well documented that Maj. Hasan had told many other service-members he considered himself a Muslim first and an American second, often got into religious debates and was openly against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Army chief of staff, General George Casey said, “This terrible event…would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty." Begging to different with the good general, but there would be no military diverse or otherwise if radicalized individuals systematically infiltrate the armed services on to try and collapse them from within.

Had this been a Michigan militia overthrow-the-government right-winger, there would be no eggshell walking and little call to keep from jumping to conclusions. The justice department would be knocking on his door in his compound ready to reenact Waco.

-- The Editors, Killswitch Politick

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Monday, November 9, 2009

More questions than answers, the Army Major who killed in the name of Allah

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist set to deploy to Afghanistan, reportedly shouted, "Allahu Akbar!" — an Arabic phrase for "God is great!" — as he went on the worst mass murder ever to be committed on a US military base at Fort Hood, TX.

Investigators inspected Hasan's computer, his apartment and garbage last week, in an effort to learn what provoked the now comatose suspect. Hasan was shot four times by civilian police officer, Sgt Kimberly Munley, stopping the bloody rampage that killed 13 and wounded 38 – hospital officials reported some of the victims had very serious wounds and might not live.

Among the dead were a pregnant woman who was preparing to return home, a man who quit a job in the furniture business to enlist the armed forces about a year ago, a newlywed who had toured Iraq and a woman who sworn to take on Osama bin Laden after 9/11.

Investigators are attempting to piece together how and why Hasan allegedly gunned down his fellow service members in the medical center where some 300 unarmed soldiers were lined-up for vaccines and eye tests. Police said they are trying to verify if Hasan posted Internet writings that source his name about suicide bombings and other threats, likening suicide bombers to soldiers who throw themselves on a grenade to save the life of fellow soldiers.

What is most disturbing is Major Hasan, a practicing Muslim, had related to several people over the years the Army was not truly tolerant of his faith and that he felt isolated. The officer will surely be a case-study in military protocol, both for the standards of which religion is recognized and regulations regarding personal arms.

Following the massacre, many questions remain: why did this man who counseled returning troops wasn’t realized as a potential threat? Have the many years of political correctness seep into the military finally allowed for such a tragedy to go un-averted? Is the military doing all it can to assess those who render counseling?

Service members have voiced their discontent for the ever changing, politically correct environment of the armed forces and there is little doubt the culture of the military has undergone a transformation over the years, in the wake of this tragedy, it’s time to reassess just what that transformation has wrought.

-- Killswitch Politick

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Call it what you like, it still costs the same – too much

Hill dems are trying to recast health care reform with semantics and strong-arming: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) re-dubbed the "public option" as the “consumer option” while Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) called it the "competitive option", but the only thing they're competing for is support from with their own party.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) used the lure of a bill with no public option to ensnare moderate Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) only to throw it right back in after they gave their support.

Whether it be Pelosi’s "consumer option" or Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s "competitive option", both suggested new language may get them past any persistent misgivings among the public, an admission the public is not buying what they and other health care reform proponents are selling.

The democrat majority’s tone-deafness on this issue is reminiscent of 2006’s immigration reform – the American people didn’t ask for it and they certainly don’t want to be solicited by ivory tower politicians who deem to know best by outright fiat rather than grassroots swells. What is clear from the tea-parties to town hall debates is the citizens of this country aren’t trusting of what their elected officials are saying.

What happened in 2006 is repeating, though the GOP aren’t the only cool-heads prevailing in Washington, Senator Joe Lieberman, (I-CT) recently told Bob Schieffer, “Well, the truth is that nothing is better than [a public option] because I think we ought to follow, if I may, the doctor’s oath in Congress as we deal with health care reform…do no harm”.

Clearly there are fissures in the democrat party and Mr. Lieberman, a long time liberal democrat, is not alone. Fearful of the 2010 mid term elections, many blue-dog democrats side-stepped any town hall meeting in the most recent recess. And that’s directly a result of the five or six plans that have been crafted, only a few have been scored by the CBO (Congressional Budget Office), and each – by the rosiest of projections – are in excess of $1 trillion and will add not only to the deficit but to the annual budget a new bureaucracy.

And that is the true name of health care reform: bureaucracy; by any other name, causes just as much waste, fraud and abuse and the American people are tired of being abused by government agencies and its supposed deficit-neutral programs.