Advantages of self employment

SUBHEAD: Working for yourself provides avenues of wealth-building that are not available to employees.

By Charles Hugh Smith on 25 OCtober 2016 for Of Two Minds -

Image above: Wilbur Wright working in the Wright brother's bicycle shop in Dayton Ohio in 1897 at age thirty. From (

There are still opportunities to not just earn a wage, but the overhead, profit and capital skimmed by global corporations.

So how can someone earning $15 an hour as an employee get ahead? The short answer is: they can't. One worker earning $15/hour will struggle to get ahead, which I define as building capital that generates an income stream.

A family with four adults working full-time at $15 an hour with benefits can get ahead; together, they're earning $60/hour plus another $40/hour in benefits. Assuming they live under one roof and live frugally, their combined earnings of $100/hour will enable investing in income-producing capital.

There is another path to getting ahead: self-employment. Working for yourself isn't for everyone, but it does provide two avenues of wealth-building that are not available to employees: overhead and capital accumulation.

Consider a typical Corporate employee, and what the company charges customers for their time. The corporation charges the customer $100 an hour for the employee and pays the employee $20 an hour.

The other $80 an hour goes to the corporation for labor overhead (Social Security, healthcare, pension /401K contribution, workers compensation insurance, etc.), general overhead (office, vehicles, accounting, Internet, phones, etc.) and profit.

Now consider the self-employed person who charges $70 an hour for the same work. The customer not only gets a 30% discount, they get someone who is motivated to do the job well enough to earn a referral or renewal of the contract.

The self-employed worker has $50/hour for overhead and hopefully some profit. The corporate employee earning $20/hour has to pay for his/her own vehicle, Internet service, etc. out of his/her wage.

The self-employed person pays the business-related expenses for vehicles, tools, Internet and phone service, accounting, home office, healthcare and other overhead expenses with pre-tax income--the $50 an hour he/she earns above and beyond the $20/hour wage.

The self-employed worker is also constantly investing in the capital of his/her enterprise. Capital comes in many forms: new tools, skills, contacts, collaborators/ subcontractors-- all the many variations of intellectual, social and human capital that create value.

In the corporate/employee setting, the corporation captures much or most of the employees' capital accumulation. The self-employed worker captures 100% of all capital accumulated.

Over a decade, this accumulated capital generates wealth that is unavailable to employees of corporations or the state. If we compare wealthy people with everyone else, what we notice is the wealthy own businesses and have very little debt, while everyone else owns very little productive capital while being burdened with plenty of debt.

Is it easy to be self-employed / start a new enterprise? No, it isn't. If anything, it's become more difficult in an era of corporate/ cartel dominance and regulatory capture.

But there are still opportunities to not just earn a wage, but the overhead, profit and capital skimmed by global corporations. Entrepreneurial success ultimately flows not from just from specific skills but from the eight essential skills that anyone can develop--skills I describe in Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

Let's face it--lots of stuff no longer works very well. As costs rise, globalization supplies defective, pirated parts, and fewer people care due to burn-out, more and more of everyday life falls into the category of "no longer works very well."

Every one of those things that no longer works well offers an opportunity for a self-motivated person to fix someone else's problem-- and not just for a wage, but for the overhead, profit and accumulated capital that is currently skimmed by global corporations.


NoDAPL reclaim new frontline

SUBHEAD: Despitey police escalation, pipeline opponents "Reclaim" new front line with tents on DAPL path. Scores arrested.

By Lauren McCauley on 24 October 2016 for Common Dreams -

Image above: There will continue to be resistance, people putting their actual bodies on the line, because this is such a larger issue," said Tara Houska, national campaigns director for Honor the Earth. "We're fighting for future generations." Photo by Sacred Stone Camp. From original article.

"If DAPL can claim eminent domain on landowners and Native peoples on their own land, then we as sovereign nations can then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland."

There will continue to be resistance, people putting their actual bodies on the line, because this is such a larger issue," said Tara Houska, national campaigns director for Honor the Earth. "We're fighting for future generations." (Photo via Sacred Stone Camp)

Undeterred by the escalating attacks on protesters by local law enforcement officials, the native movement to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has fired back with a new frontline camp, which they have reclaimed through eminent domain, and a new resolve to "stand and face the storm."

One day after North Dakota police maced and arrested dozens of peaceful water protectors, the Sacred Stone Camp released a statement on Sunday announcing that the Standing Rock Sioux and allied tribes have erected a new winter camp, currently comprised of several structures and tipis, on Dakota Access property, which they said was "unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie."

"We have never ceded this land," declared Joye Braun, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network. "If DAPL can go through and claim eminent domain on landowners and Native peoples on their own land, then we as sovereign nations can then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland."

Ladonna Bravebull Allard with the Sacred Stone Camp added: "We stand for the water, we stand on our treaties, we stand for unci maka—we stand and face the storm."

Appearing on Democracy Now! Monday, Couchiching First Nation member and national campaigns director for Honor the Earth Tara Houska explained that since a U.S. federal court of appeals ruled against the tribes' request for an injunction, pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners is now "moving at an incredible pace to try and get this pipeline into the ground."

And with the new camp located on the final three miles of the proposed route, just two miles east of active construction, Houska predicted that "the interactions will continue between water protectors, and the police. There will continue to be resistance [...] people putting their actual bodies on the line, because this is such a larger issue."

"We're fighting for future generations," she added. "We're fighting for the protection of water for the 17 million people that live along the Missouri River."

Ladonna Bravebull Allard with the Sacred Stone Camp added: "We stand for the water, we stand on our treaties, we stand for unci maka—we stand and face the storm."

But North Dakota officials, from local law enforcement to Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple, have also made it clear that this is a fight from which they are not backing down from.

Responding to a question from Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman about the escalating charges against the demonstrators—which have grown from disorderly conduct to criminal trespass to now riot—Houska said she thinks "they're looking to scare folks off. They're also looking to drain resources," as they can "increase the amount of bail for each individual arrested."

Meanwhile, DAPL opponents in Iowa who live near where it would cross the Mississippi River are currently blocking the access road to an essential drilling waste storage site, shutting down construction for at least two days.

In an early Monday update, activists with the campaign Mississippi Stand wrote :
It's been confirmed this morning that the drill is not operating—we have indefinitely halted the Black Snake at the Mississippi Stand! This slurry site is crucial to their operations and we continue to occupy the dump site and have for nearly 24 hours. This is a call to action. We need reinforcements to defend the space as soon as possible! This is the time for MASS MOBILIZATION!

Video above: Democracy Now! Amy Goodman's coverage of NoDAPL arrests over weekend. From (

See also:
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 


Saving the Colorado River Delta

SUBHEAD: Two Years After the Colorado Pulse Flow to restore the river delta — An abundance of life.

By Maureen Nandini Mitra on 21 October 2016 for Earth Island -

Image above: Martha Gómez Sapiens, a monitoring team member, stands on a riverbank next to willows and cottonwoods that germinated as result of the pulse flow. Photo by Karl W. Flessa. From original article.

Birds, plants, and groundwater continue to benefit from effort to revive the Colorado River delta.

Back 2014, an unprecedented transnational experiment attempted to restore, temporarily, the flow of the Colorado River to the Gulf of California. As part of a landmark agreement between the United States and Mexico, the International Boundary Water Commission unleashed an eight-week “pulse flow” of some 105,000 acre feet of water from a small dam on the US-Mexico border to help restore the Colorado River delta.

Conservationists hoped the water would revitalize the delta — which has been bone dry for nearly 60 years as a result of upstream dams and diversions on the Colorado — and bring back trees, animals, and aquatic life that were once abundant in the region when it was flush with water. (The transnational agreement authorized environmental flows of water into the Colorado River Delta from 2013 to 2017.)

Two growing seasons after that engineered release, it appears that birds, plants and groundwater in the delta, which lies south of the US-Mexico border, have indeed been benefitting from it.

Native willows and cottonwoods have sprung up wherever the pulse flow inundated bare soil and in response to this post-flood vegetation, birds have begun flocking to the area, according to the latest monitoring report prepared for the International Boundary and Water Commission by a bi-national University of Arizona-led team.

The interim report, released on Wednesday, documents the effects of the environmental flows in the delta from the initial pulse in March 2014 plus subsequent supplemental deliveries of water through December 2015.

"Some of the cottonwoods that germinated during the initial pulse flow are now more than 10 feet tall," Karl W. Flessa, UA professor of geosciences and co-chief scientist of the team that’s monitoring the impact of the pulse, said in a statement.

Migratory waterbirds, nesting waterbirds, and nesting riparian birds have all increased in abundance, the report says. The monitoring team found that the abundance of 19 bird species of conservation concern, including vermillion flycatchers, hooded orioles, and yellow-breasted chats, was 43 percent higher at the restoration sites than at other sites in the floodplain.

Image above: The abundance of 19 bird species of conservation concern, including vermillion flycatchers (pictured here), hooded orioles, and yellow-breasted chats, was 43 percent higher at the restoration sites than at other sites in the floodplain. Photo by Sarah Murry. From original article.

Some of the water from the pulse flow and subsequent smaller environmental flows recharged the groundwater, which had both ecological and social benefits, said Eloise Kendy, a senior freshwater scientist with The Nature Conservancy's North America Water Program who helped compile the report.

The vegetation greened up in areas that received surface water and also in some areas that did not. "The farmers [whose irrigation canals were used for some of the water deliveries] were happy because it recharged the aquifer they use for groundwater irrigation," she said. "And plants that were outside the inundation zone got a big drink of water.

Dams and river diversions built in the twentieth century have for decades prevented the river — that once flowed freely from the Rocky Mountains all the way to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico — from completing its journey to the sea.

These days it dies after it crosses the US-Mexico border. The southernmost dam on the river — Mexico’s Morelos Dam, near Yuma, AZ — diverts nearly all of the river water into an aqueduct that serves agriculture and homes in Tijuana. South of the dam, the river channel travels about 75 miles to the Gulf of California. With the exception of a few wet years, the river has not reached the Gulf of California since 1960.

Before 1960, spring snowmelts regularly sent water gushing down the Colorado River into the delta, scouring the river bottom and overtopping the bank and creating the ideal conditions cottonwood and willow trees to germinate and establish.

But since then, salt cedar or tamarisk, an invasive plant, has taken over the riverbanks. Since cottonwoods and willows need bare ground and sunlight to germinate, they cannot establish themselves on tamarisk-covered riverbanks.

The March 2014 pulse flow delivered a fraction of the water the pre-1960 spring floods used to bring to the delta. Staff from the Sonoran Institute and Pronatura Noroeste, a Mexican conservation group, cleared some areas of non-native vegetation beforehand. The researchers hoped that reducing competition would allow native plants such as willows and cottonwoods to germinate and grow after the pulse flow.

"We reconnected the meanders to the main river channels so when the pulse flow came there were these nice backwater areas where the conditions were good for the establishment of native trees," said Karen Schlatter, a restoration ecologist of the Sonoran Institute's Colorado River Delta Program, who was part of the monitoring team. In those restoration areas, cottonwood and willow seeds that germinated after the pulse flow have become 10 to 13 foot trees, and bird diversity and abundance has increased.

"Now we have diverse habitat types, including lagoons, cottonwoods-willow forest, mesquite bosque and marshes," Schlatter said. "We are seeing a much higher diversity of riparian bird species in the restoration sites compared to other areas along the river."

The pulse flow has also reduced soil salinity in some areas that had been targeted for restoration. "We didn't expect that — it is a huge bonus," Schlatter said. Reducing the soil salinity makes conditions more favorable for native plant species.  If there's another pulse flow, she suggests clearing tamarisk and other non-native vegetation from the river's bank ahead of it would be helpful.

The pulse was the only water release planned so far. Once this pilot project ends in 2018, US and Mexican officials will review findings and discuss whether other discharges should be made.

Part of the impetus for the pulse experiment was to determine whether a healthy delta system can be maintained without a lot of water. Of course, the delta can’t be restored to what it was a say, a century ago, given the cities and towns that need Colorado’s water aren't going anywhere, as well as the fact that much of the delta land has since been converted to farmland.

But, as Flessa says, this short-term experiment “really demonstrates that a little bit of water does a lot of environmental good."

As the World Burns

SUBHEAD: We've had the luxury of pretending that we could grow our economy forever. Not any more.

By Kurt Cobb on 23 October 2016 for Resource Insights -

Image above: Smoke rises from a fire near Butte Mountain Road near Jackson, California as it rages out of control in 2015. From (

In the melodrama that passes for the U.S. presidential campaign, Donald Trump got practically all the post-debate headlines last week when he hedged on whether he would accept the outcome of the upcoming presidential election. But for those most concerned about genuine sustainability, what both candidates agreed on should be far more troubling. And yet, it elicits nothing more than a yawn these days in political discourse.

The candidates agreed that the U.S. economy needs to grow more rapidly. What they argued over is whose economic plan will make it grow faster.

The push for economic growth has become sacrosanct in modern political discourse. Growth is the elixir that heals all social and economic divisions and makes possible the solidarity that comes from the feeling that the path to wealth is open to everyone.

For the vast majority of people on the planet that path was never really open. And, since the so-called Great Recession, it has been closed off completely for all but those at the top of the income scale.
There are many explanations. But most of them are financial and political.

The world's economists and political leaders are ready with both diagnoses and prescriptions for lackluster growth throughout the world. However, the laws of physics, chemistry and biology never enter their heads.

Growth is supposedly something that comes from the "minds of men." (Pardon me, women, for it is men who mostly say this.)

While there is truth to the idea that the cleverness of humans has accounted in part for the astonishing growth of the world economy in the last three centuries, it is more true that humans have leveraged increasingly available fossil fuel energy to achieve that growth.

Without fossil fuels, we as a species would not appear so clever. And we must keep in mind that we did not invent coal, natural gas or oil. In fact, our extraction and use of them more closely resembles the pattern of a hunter-gatherer society than of a modern agricultural one.

We know that on our current growth trajectory we will cause irreparable damage to the climate and the biosphere upon which we depend. The hope is that somehow we can prevent this damage with technology that won't require giving up on economic growth. While anything is possible, the odds are stacked gravely against such an outcome.

We are pursuing incommensurable goals by saying that we must lift all those still in poverty out of it--with little or no redistribution of wealth--while preserving the biosphere and the climate.

We are not taking the second part of this proposition seriously or we would understand that the first part--under current definitions of wealth (meaning increased use of energy and resources)--will necessarily destroy the world in which we hope to enjoy this wealth.

Some may say that this is not a sure thing, that we can't really know this. In a very narrow sense, they are right. If only the risks were trivial, we could wait to see.

But the risks are monumental and, in fact, existential. Under such circumstances, we should not ask for absolute certainty, but rather inquire about the weight of the evidence from our observations and the models of Earth systems as we understand them.

However imperfect our understanding, the evidence and models are all flashing major warning signs.

This is not a one-alarm fire; this is a million-alarm fire. We have vast areas of agreement from disparate disciplines that something is seriously wrong with planet Earth from the coral reefs all the way up to the ozone layer in the stratosphere.

We are too many people consuming too much per person and creating waste in the form of greenhouse gases that are overwhelming the Earth's natural thermostat. The solution to our problems cannot be to do more of the same.

And yet, that is precisely what both major U.S. presidential candidates champion. It is, of course, political suicide to propose a downsizing of American life to something commensurate with the survival of advanced human societies.

Such a downsizing would have to coincide with much greater redistribution of existing wealth in order to insure social peace--which is why politicians of all kinds avoid the issue.

Yet, the issue remains, and from here on out it can be framed as follows: Will ignoring the imperative to redefine completely what makes our lives good--that is, beyond more resources--lead to suicide that is of an entirely different order?

In the past we've had the luxury of pretending that we could grow our economy forever. We don't have that luxury any more. Continued exponential growth will extract heavy costs. In fact, it already has.

• Kurt Cobb is an author, speaker, and columnist focusing on energy and the environment. He is a regular contributor to the Energy Voices section of The Christian Science Monitor and author of the peak-oil-themed novel Prelude. In addition, he has written columns for the Paris-based science news site Scitizen, and his work has been featured on Energy Bulletin (now, The Oil Drum,, Econ Matters, Peak Oil Review, 321energy, Common Dreams, Le Monde Diplomatique and many other sites. He maintains a blog called Resource Insights and can be contacted at


Global Biosphere Collapse

SUBHEAD: The human family is spinning through space upon a naturally evolved living organism that it is killing.

By Dr Glen Barry on 24 October 2016 for Counter Currents -

Image above: Leopard on a branch over river in the Amazon Jungle. From (

Miraculous nature is being murdered. Everywhere we look inequitable over-consumption is devastating the natural ecosystems that sustain a living Earth. Together we yield to ecological truth – personally embracing a global ecology ethic, and demanding others do so as well – or we all needlessly die at each others’ throats as the global ecological system collapses and being ends.

The Signs
Everywhere you look humans are destroying nature. We are eating the ecosystems that sustain us, crapping in our own habitat, calling it development as we destroy our one shared biosphere.

Look outside your window. Chances are that the “nature” you see – some degraded secondary forests, power lines and roadways, with disturbed soil and degraded waterways – was a million year old naturally evolved ecosystem but a few generations ago. Never has naturally evolved magnificence been so swiftly dismantled to produce throw away consumer crap.

We are witnessing the age of ecocidal, conspicuous, and inequitable over-consumption. 90% of old growth forests have been mowed and large ocean fish harvested. Half of both natural soil and vegetation have been destroyed. Oceans are dying from bottom trawling, acidification, and over-harvest.

Abrupt and runaway climate change is well underway as humanity continues to treat our atmosphere as a waste dump. We piss and worse into our natural waterways as billions lack clean drinking water. Plants and animals as well as people are fleeing collapsing ecosystems.

And most people are too fucking dumb to realize what is occurring, little more than microbes being pickled in their own waste as their and all being ends.

The Outlook
China is going to ecologically collapse first, as industrial filth on behalf of all nations has proliferated, and it will be soon. Collapse of this ecocidal tyranny may well by itself pull down the biosphere.

Similarly India and Europe are most at risk – where millennia of ecological simplification, along with tremendous over-population, will ensure mass migration and conflict until these population bases are brought into balance once again with natural ecosystems.

The United States may persist longer as the ecocide has not occurred for as long. But here nationalistic militarism along with an unparalleled sense of entitlement, and a lack of understanding of community and the natural world, is perhaps most dangerous. If every American is not allowed to realize their exceptional birthright of wantonly overconsuming, they damn well will destroy everybody and everything in fits of infantile rage.

Prepare to see the vegetation, what remains, wither and die. Get used to there being no water in the tap much less locally available. Be ready for major energy shocks where your car sits lifeless in the driveway, a chunk of immobile metal, as your house remains unheated and uncooled. Consider what food can be raised locally, and at what price, as that is all that will be available.

Expect bands of marauders to pillage your belongings and have their way with your wives and daughters. The re-emergence of slavery and warring autocratic city-states is a virtual certainty as centuries of social progress are jettisoned.

Entire bioregions are going to be laid to waste and have to be evacuated as they become uninhabitable. Mass migration at unprecedented scales is imminent.

Given uncertainly in lag times, and what wells of ecological resiliency remain in the Earth System, it is difficult to know how long it will be until the biosphere goes into positive feedback and collapses and dies. It is also virtually impossible to know when it is too late and will occur regardless.

That is why we must seek an ecological ethic and way of life until our dying breath. Despite its shortcomings, ecocidal inclinations in particular, the human species is an amazing creature.

Our ability to think abstractly, examining and learning from our natural surroundings, are unsurpassed. Our opposable thumbs are cool too. Now if we could learn to not destroy nature we will be set to live essentially forever as a species.

The Options
We have everything we need to construct a just, equitable, and verdant future for all. Plentiful renewable energy sources exist. We know how to recreate natural ecosystems and permaculture gardens from the plant diversity that remains. Educating girls, providing free birth control, and economic incentives for small families can stabilize and then reduce the population.

Throughout human history we see time and time again people coming together to do what must be done to beat back evil, reset the social order, and advance. Together we will have to shutdown the fossil fuel industry, demand global demilitarization and demobilization, and insist upon a reduction in the size and influence of corporations and governments alike.

So much of our prospects depend upon living more simply and naturally. That is why posing, preening “climate activists” like Leonardo DiCaprio are so dangerous. They tell us climate change is real from the back of a polluting private jet, spewing emissions from luxurious lifestyles that the majority seek but can never attain. We are going to have to learn to live more simply materially, as we explore the rich abundance in knowledge, sport, arts, leisure, and making love.

A global ecology ethic based upon ecological truths must arise spontaneously utilizing all the tools at our disposal including the Internet.

We must come to realize we are one human family spinning through space upon a naturally evolved living organism upon which we are utterly dependent. Gaia’s ecosystem organs – old-growth forests, natural waterways, bountiful oceans, vibrant soils – will be restored and maintained at all costs as global ecological reserves to power the biosphere and maintain a living and livable Earth.

Such a global ecological ethic goes well beyond the obvious and demands a complete reorganization of the dominant paradigm. We perish unless we come to accept the truthful worldview that nation states are a lie, there is no god, and ecology is the meaning of life.

Together we embrace and act upon ecology and other self-evident truths or we face vicious, merciless death at each others’ hands as we collapse the biosphere. And then being ends.

• Dr. Glen Barry is the President and Founder of Ecological Internet (EI). He is recognized internationally by the environmental movement as a leading global visionary, ecological policy critic and public intellectual committed to communicating the severity of global ecological crises – and related justice, rights and equity issues – while actively organizing with others sufficient solutions.


Oahu in energy self delusion

SUBHEAD: But one underground nuclear reactor at Schofield Barracks could power the entire island.

By Juan Wilson on 23 October 2016 for Island Breath -

Image above: Lego nuclear power plant workers photo illustration from 2008 article advocating mini-nuclear reactors be built over the next five years (by 2015). As if! From (

We follow Henry Curtis' blog Ililani Media. A recent article asked whether a nuclear power generation plant on Oahu would be a good idea. See ( The article opens with.
A comment received for a recently blog post dealt with nuclear power.

“One small modular, nuclear reactor (same as reactors in Navy ships at Pearl Harbor) in an underground facility on Schofield Barracks could power the entire island without the need for inter-island cables.”

While the comment is easy for many to dismiss, it raises questions about the AES coal plant in Campbell Industrial Park that are worth exploring.

Legislative bills have been introduced at the State Legislature to get pass the Constitutional nuclear power hurdle, but they not have come close to passing.

Article XI, Section 8 of the Hawai`i State Constitution states, “No nuclear fission power plant would be constructed or radioactive material disposed of in the state without the prior approval by two-thirds vote in each house of the legislature.”
The article demonstrates many of the problems associated with such an endeavor but does not breach the subject of learning to live without the dependence we have on fossil fuels or exploring a life on Oahu using less energy.

I commented on the article with this:
Nuclear power is literally a dead end. Fukushima is the poster child for the end of that technology. Japan will continue the intensification of radioactive poisoning of the Pacific Ocean for millennia.

Hawaii is and will be further damaged as a result.

There is no sustainable way to keep Oahu in the power it is accustomed to. Discretionary use of fossil fuels use for consumers is closing out over the next few decades as more important industrial use will have  higher priority

There are no substitutes for fossil fuels. Even large scale wind farms are unlikely to be much of an alternative (see and

Solar power is the real alternative, but it will provide only a fraction of what we use today. Storage and distribution are big limitations - but life can go on.

Here on Kauai my wife and I cut of ties to KIUC (including them taking the meter and cutting their cable) and are heading into our second winter with nothing but solar and battery storage. Over several years installed over time seven small systems to take on specific (and partially overlapping) functions. Our largest system just barely takes care of our refrigerator and freezer.

We have only modest retirement incomes so it consequently took us almost 8 years for us to afford the system. About forty batteries and 40 panels are involved. Most of the batteries are deep cycle marine batteries from Walmart. We think we will be ale to replace them over time as long as they are available.

If we live long enough the panels will fail likely from either water corrosion or flying debris. As our power capability diminished over time we hope that we'll be accustomed to lower energy consumption end eventually live on rural Kauai like the Hawaiians did in the past.

Oahu is unsustainable. It's population will likely have to partially re-emigrate back to the Mainland and be distributed partially to Hawaii's outer islands. A rough estimate would be about doubling of population in Kauai, Maui and Hawaii counties.

It will be tight but with concentrated effort to provide food and water we may get through the upcoming bottleneck of economic failure and climate catastrophe with some kind future to look forward to. 

It is critical no to move quickly and embrace a lower level of power consumption. won't be comfy and it won't be suburban but it can be livable.
Having visited Oahu recently for a few weeks I must conclude that people there, for the most part, are living in an shiny bubble of media reinforcement that denies reality. And that's how they like it. Nuff said.


TruthDigger of the Week

SUBHEAD: Julian Assange, WikiLeaks publisher of the Clinton Campaign emails.

By Alexander Reed Kelly on 22 OCtober 2016 for Truth Digger -

Image above: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reads from a U.N. report as he speaks from London’s Ecuadorean Embassy in February. Photo by Frank Augstein. From original article.

Every week the Truthdig editorial staff selects a Truthdigger of the Week, a group or person worthy of recognition for speaking truth to power, breaking the story or blowing the whistle. It is not a lifetime achievement award. Rather, we’re looking for newsmakers whose actions in a given week are worth celebrating.

Should we condemn Julian Assange for his recent interventions in U.S. politics?

The Australian hacker-turned-journalist became an international hero for free speech and government transparency in 2010 when he published through WikiLeaks, an organization he co-founded, a quartet of award-winning disclosures revealing the U.S. military behaving far worse in its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq than it had admitted and U.S. State Department officials speaking frankly about their allies and intentions around the globe.

Under threat of exposure, the Obama administration, led by Hillary Clinton’s State Department, leapt into action, opening a criminal investigation into Assange and pursuing him through its international allies to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2012, where he remains to this day, functionally imprisoned under asylum.

This week, while he was still coordinating his work with others, the Ecuadorean government suspended his internet access.

Now, after publishing searchable databases of thousands of emails over the summer hacked or leaked from the servers of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta (messages that include transcripts of Clinton’s paid speeches to Goldman Sachs and give further substance to allegations of duplicity, disdain for activists and compromising self-interest that have followed her and her circle for more than a decade), Assange is under fresh attack from familiar adversaries representing the establishment and taking hard criticism from erstwhile allies.

Citing rationales that U.S. intelligence agencies have not made available to the public, Clinton and her aides assert—and their media allies uncritically report—that Assange is working with the Russian government to help Donald Trump win the presidency by strategically timing the release of the emails—the authenticity of which the Clinton camp has not denied—to cause maximum damage to her presidential campaign.

Relative newcomers to the critique of Assange are NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, journalist, author and activist Naomi Klein and Harvard Law professor and civil liberties advocate Lawrence Lessig.

They take issue with the failure of Assange and his colleagues to strip the leaked documents of information that is not essential to the business of informed democracy and which unnecessarily spotlights the personal lives of the people involved.

In a conversation with The Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald (who maintains that public interest requires that powerful people, especially officials, forfeit a measure of their privacy), Klein eloquently expressed her concern “about the subjectivity of who gets defined as sufficiently powerful to lose their privacy,” adding that she is “absolutely sure there are plenty of people in the world who believe that you and I are sufficiently powerful to lose our privacy.”

“I’m not comfortable with anybody wielding that much power,” Klein said. “I’m not comfortable when it’s states, but I’m also not comfortable when it’s individuals or institutions.”

As a high-profile role model to journalists and activists for his role in bringing Snowden’s NSA leaks to the public, Greenwald has a special responsibility to protect the ethics that underpin his efforts in public service.

And that means criticizing Assange (whom Greenwald, a trained lawyer, ably defended in the press during WikiLeaks’ initial burst of activity in 2010) when Assange fails to meet his own ethical standards, or those he once claimed and practiced.

In 2010, Greenwald explained, “WikiLeaks, contrary to the way they were being depicted by the U.S. intelligence community and their friends, was not some reckless rogue agent running around sociopathically dumping information on the internet without concern about who might be endangered.

And in fact, if you look at how the biggest WikiLeaks releases were handled early on—the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, as well as the State Department cables—not only did they redact huge numbers of documents on the grounds that doing so was necessary to protect the welfare of innocent people, they actually requested that the State Department meet with them to help them figure out what kind of information should be withheld on the grounds that it could endanger innocent people.”

But, “[s]omewhere along the way, WikiLeaks and Julian decided, and they’ve said this explicitly, that they changed their mind on that question—they no longer believe in redactions or withholding documents of any kind.”

Similarly, after WikiLeaks released a batch of DNC emails in July, Edward Snowden tweeted:
Democratizing information has never been more vital, and @Wikileaks has helped. But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake.
Following Assange’s writings in 2010, when he stated that he seeks to tip the balance of power away from powerful institutions and actors by depriving them of the ability to operate behind closed doors without fear of being exposed and terminally and legally reckoned with by the public, Assange, in his work this summer, clearly targeted Clinton, whom he regards as an enemy of the public for championing U.S. hegemony and a personal antagonist for pursuing his prosecution.

“There is clearly a vendetta element going on,” Klein told Greenwald, “which is understandable, because Hillary Clinton is massively responsible for his lack of freedom.” But Klein “is very disturbed by [Assange’s] seeming willingness to burn it down” and “by the ego of seeing this election through one’s personal lens when the stakes are so incredibly high.”

Here’s a question few are asking: Would Assange, who set out to perform the honorable service of exposing government corruption, behave as he does today if he, a single individual with limited resources, had not been relentlessly pursued into the corner of a single room for 5½ years by people atop the most powerful state in civilized history?

And can he, under burden of stress and loss of staff, associations and resources, be expected to fulfill the ethical obligations he once honored and still perform the service of making essential, willfully concealed information public?

History is full of people who undertook to do good and were reshaped for the worse by the opposition they confronted. I’ve heard more than a few of Clinton’s progressive supporters casually justify her record of capitulation in the face of corporate and Republican forces in this way.

Do honesty and decency not require that we regard people, including Clinton and Assange, complexly?

The difference between the two, of course, is that Clinton wields tremendous wealth and state power, whereas at terrific cost to himself, Assange succeeds in performing the essential service of revealing what leaders do in secret in our name.

Because of Assange, we know that Clinton said politicians like her “need both a public and private position” when handling controversial matters, a comment that is as close to an admission of lying as we have heard from an official in recent years, and which should cast into doubt everything she has said or will say to voters.

Clinton’s supporters seem to expect that she’ll wield this trickiness in their interests. We hope they’re right. In the meantime, Julian Assange is our Truthdigger of the Week.


Death Blow to CETA

SUBHEAD: Enough delegates hold firm against pro-corporate Canada-European Union Trade deal.

By Lauren McCauley on 21 October 2016 for Common Dreams -

Image above: From ().

"It's time for a fundamental shift toward international agreements that put people and the planet before corporate profits. That's the message from Europe today."

Dealing what campaigners say is the final "death blow" to the pro-corporate Canada-European Union trade deal, negotiations collapsed on Friday after representatives from the Belgian region of Wallonia refused to agree to a deal that continues ignore democracy in favor of multi-national corporations.

Canada's International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland reportedly walked out of talks with the Wallonia delegation, which had ruled to maintain their veto against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) after the parties reached a stalemate over the controversial Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system.

"We made new significant progress, especially on the agriculture issues, but difficulties remain, specifically on the symbolic issue of arbitration, which is politically extremely important," Wallonia president Paul Magnette told the regional parliament. ISDS permits companies to sue governments over perceived loss of profits due to regulations or other laws.

Magnette had told reporters Thursday that the delegation had particular concerns over "matters affecting U.S. companies in Canada which will benefit from the system."

Campaigners who have led the fight against CETA and its sister trade deals—the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—rejoiced over the news, saying the planned October 27 signing ceremony now looks "improbable."

"Canada's trade minister may be 'very, very sad', but there are millions of people in Europe who will be very, very happy," said Mark Dearn, senior trade campaigner with the UK-based War on Want.

And while many were happily toasting Magnette and the Wallonia delegation, critics of the deal also emphasized the growing movement against these anti-democratic agreements that helped lead to CETA's downfall.

"This major setback for CETA is not just because of Wallonia alone," said Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. "There is deep, widespread opposition to CETA and many millions of people agree with Wallonia's stance."

"Thousands across Europe and Canada spoke up and took action to make this happen," added Barlow, who is currently in Germany campaigning against CETA. "This collapse of attempts to reach a deal on CETA shows governments should listen to people instead of trying to push these deals through against the wishes of the people they're elected to represent."

As Dearn further explained, "Since talks first started on CETA back in 2009, the deal has sat alongside TTIP [referring to the U.S.-E.U. agreement] as an example of how not to do a trade deal—absolute secrecy, zero input from public interest groups, and sheer contempt for the very valid concerns of people across Europe."

"Today we have seen the European Commission's chickens come home to roost," he continued. "If the Commission fails at yet another trade deal, the fault lies wholly with its anti-democratic approach."

Speaking from the negotiations in Belgium, Sujata Dey, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians, agreed. "It's time to take a long hard look at CETA and what this breakdown means for corporate-led globalization, including for other controversial deals like the [12-nation TPP]."

"It's time for a fundamental shift toward international agreements that put people and the planet before corporate profits," she added. "That's the message from Europe today."

Friday's talks were held as a last-ditch effort to save the trade deal. After they fell apart, an emotional Freeland told reporters, "I've worked very, very hard, but I think it's impossible," referring to the impasse. "It's become evident for me, for Canada, that the European Union isn't capable now to have an international treaty even with a country that has very European values like Canada."