Thursday, January 22, 2009

Grudge against a Dead President

Gerald Ford did a monumental disservice to my country when he pardoned Richard Nixon.

By so doing, Ford prevented any investigation and thorough public discussion of the Nixon atrocities. Worse, he negated any deterrents that such an investigation would have had on future Presidential misdeeds. This has serious ramifications at the present. I firmly believe that Ford has given comforting precedent to the people who subverted the workings of our Constitutional checks and balances...And...I believe that the future of our Country depends on us enduring the investigation of the many transgression of the Bush and Cheney years.

We have been lied to repeatedly. We have been harmed.

The suppression and harassment of scientists and their warnings have lost us precious years in the fight against global warming. Climate meltdown will be far more severe than we were led to believe and Bush knew it. He did the same thing with the scientific reports telling him that the Southwest United States face serious and permanent dewatering by 2050 as he did with his briefing, "Osama Bin Laden determined to strike inside the United States."

Now we are finding out that Bush simply lied about his domestic Spy program. Bush stated that only Americans who have been talking with terrorists overseas were eavesdropped on without a warrant. That is as bold a lie as a President has ever told the American people. Who was targeted?

...Everyone, but especially journalists and news organizations.

It is a fundamental tenet of American democracy that the electorate must be informed. Without accurate information, we the people cannot make good decisions and cast our votes responsibly. Anyone who stands in the way of telling citizens the truth is a traitor.

The time has come to shine a light into the crevasses that the Bush Administration has hidden the truth, not so much that we may punish George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, however deserving, but so that we may deter the most powerful people in the entire world from lying to us ever again.

Let the investigations begin. Let the chips fall where they may. There is no reason on earth why we should know more about a stained blue dress, than we do about our stained Constitution.

This will be a test of our strength as a Nation.



The damning NSA Whistleblower interview on Olbermann

Monday, January 19, 2009

In the spirit of the gift...

...Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.

True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit...

...We do not distrust the future of essential democracy. The people of the United States have not failed. In their need they have registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I take it.

From Franklin D. Roosevelt's Inaugural address

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Constituent Service?

As my Junior Senator from Tennessee spirals off into the land of unbridled conservative ideology, I am a bit amazed at his ability to remain in his alternate universe where he works against the best interests of his own constituents.

After we dutifully paid our taxes for the billions of dollars spent to rebuild New Orleans, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida, Goldman Sachs, AIG, etc. etc. etc., Senator Corker wants us to pay for our own damages from an entirely preventable disaster that was an act, not of god, but of his own chosen conservative ideology. Corker seems to applaud the cronyism of the Bush Administration's packing of the TVA Board of Directors (including a director whose qualification is that he is Chairman of the Republican National Committee...Isn't that a bit obvious, guys? Where's the finesse?) which led us in a straight line to the devastating event of 12:20 am, December 22, 2008. Cut costs, increase profits, increase bonuses, blame someone else and get out of town when disaster strikes.

Where is the competency and professionalism? Where is the concern for people's health...Their lives?...Concern for anything except profit and personal gain? It's the manifestation of the "I've got mine so things are fine" creed that has us in our present National condition. What I don't understand is who deserves a bailout and who doesn't? Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton when it became the target of an avalanche of class action suits involving its subsidiary's asbestos liabilities. When ehe became Vice President, one of his major successes was to get Congress to bail out Halliburton by assuming the liability for thousands of mesothelioma cases.

Republicans have no problems with bailing out rich people and corporations, but they go all outraged if anythings looks like it will actually help, you know, people. And if those people belong to a Union, Bob Corker will be the point man in the attempt to bring them to ruin. In Corker's world unions are bad. No reason except that they are Unions and Unions are bad. Forget the fact that unions are simply groups of people working together for better working conditions. This goes directly agains the conservative mantra of cut costs, make more money. Treating people like human beings is bad for business. Bob Corker is all against it.

Unions want things like humane working conditions, which is really bad for the coal business. Unions want things like proper training for workers and adequate safety precautions and adequate planning for emergencies and trainging and proceedures installed so that when something DOES go wrong, the aftermath is minimized. Lives are saved. Screwing people should not be a good business plan. Unions are the primary entities that keep corporations from screwing workers. Senator Corker hates Unions. He was willing to let millions of jobs be lost in order to get the United Auto Workers Union. Nice guy, Mr. Corker.

Let's think about Unions and the debt we owe them, shall we? Particularly some customers of a large corporation that was forced to provide training to its workers by their unions...Training that gave them proceedures and equipment to react and save lives when bad things happen. Some people are calling it a "Miracle". Well miracles happen when people lay the ground work for miracles to happen. Here are some of the unions involved in this miracle:

Seafarers International Union.
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association
Uniformed Firefighters Association
Uniformed Fire Officers Association
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
Airline Pilots Association
US Airline Pilots Association

In yesterday's miracle where the lives of 155 people were saved after the US Airlines crash into an icy river, there were no CEO's or Senators flying planes, piloting boats, jumping out of helocopters, guiding people out emergency doors, deploying lifejackets and inflatable chutes, or co-ordinating the efforts of the massive New York response organization. Every one of them was a union member.

Bob hates Unions. Well, except for the one he belongs to...The Republican Party.

It looks like he doesn't much like his constituents, either.



A better look at the Unions involved is here

Sunday, January 11, 2009

This is totally uncalled for, and I apologize in advance

Therre are scores of unanswered questions about who did what in the Bush Whitehouse. Did Cheney commit treason in the outing of a covert CIA agent?

Where is the "Undisclosed location"?

How well did Georege W. Bush actually know Osama Bin Laden back in his business days with Osama's big brother?

Well sure, those are important but other events are happening that will bring up the opportunity to ask some other questions...

Former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe is returning from exile in Poland.

Now will someone ask the question enquiring minds want to know the answer to?

Who was fake reporter/real male prostitute, Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert being paid to visit in the WhiteHouse?

Or maybe fill us in on this one?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Senator Corker: Roane County should Pay for its Own Rape Kit

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker has just pissed me off.

Rarely does anyone try to take me for a fool in such a juvenile way as he just did. For Corker to make the statement that the people harmed by the TVA Disaster do NOT deserve to get help from the Federal government might be the most transparently asinine statement by a Tennessee politician ever…And Tennessee has set the bar higher than a Beale Street hooker when it comes to asinine statements by politicians. I don’t get it. Why would Corker make the mother of all irrational statements by a person previously thought to be coherent is beyond me, but he did.

If a utility in another state had a similar problem, "certainly I think we would expect (the utility) to deal with that," Corker said. Corker noted that many efforts have been made to make TVA a self-standing entity that runs independently and has a corporate-like board.

First of all, TVA IS in another state…Several of them in fact, but it primarily serves Tennessee, or rather it is supposed to.

Second of all...This not about TVA. It is about the people, tens of thousands of us, that TVA has harmed emotionally, physically, and economically.

At any rate, TVA is NOT a Tennessee utility. We don’t run the damned thing, Bob Corker and his fellow Senators do…And for 10 more days, George W. Bush.

Hey Bob…Take a moment and read this:

The nine-member TVA Board of Directors sets policy and strategy for TVA. The members are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve five-year terms.

That's from the TVA Board of Directors web site.

The operations people on the ground, including CEO Tom Kilgore, are hired hands doing the bidding of the TVA Board of Directors whose appointments are blessed by Senator Corker and his fellow Senators. And you would have to be a fool to think that our Tennessee Senators didn’t sign off on the SIX new Directors created and installed by the Bush Administration, so that they take over TVA policy from the three members of the Clinton era Board. So check out who is now on the TVA Board:

Chairman William B. Sansom of Knoxville, Tenn., is chairman and chief executive officer of The H.T. Hackney Co. and has held that position since 1983. Hackney is a diversified company involved in wholesale grocery, gas and oil, and furniture manufacturing. His term expires May 18, 2009.

Howard Thrailkill of Huntsville, Ala., recently retired as president and chief operating officer of Adtran, Inc., in Huntsville, which supplies equipment for telecommunications service providers and corporate end-users. Previously, he was president and chief executive officer of the firm Floating Point Systems. His term expires May 18, 2010.

Mike Duncan of Inez, Ky., is chairman, chief executive officer, and director of Community Holding Co.; chairman, CEO, and director of Inez Deposit Bank; and Chairman of the Republican National Committee. He is a director of the regional Center for Rural Development. His term expires May 18, 2011.

There are four more Directors currently listed on TVA’s web site…There are supposed to be Six more. I don’t know why this is but it is a violation of the TVA Bylaws to have less than Nine.

I list those three Directors for a reason. The TVA Board has committees that are charged with overseeing particular phases of TVA operation, such as this one:

Operations, Environment, and Safety Committee

Howard Thrailkill, Chair
Mike Duncan
Bill Sansom

Yes, that’s right, boys and girls, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, good old Bob Corker’s party, sits on the committee that directs TVA’s Safety and environmental actions.

The Republican National Committee Chairman also sits on the TVA ETHICS committee. I totally trust the Chairman of the Republican National Committee to make sure TVA operates in an ethical manner. Don’t you?

And…If there’s anybody in America I trust with the personal safety of my family, it’s a big time pro-corporation, anti-worker, Republican. And if there’s anybody in America I trust to do the right thing for the environment it’s a pro-global warming, pro-coal, big time Republican.

And…If there’s anybody in America directly responsible for the TVA disaster that has ruined Christmas for any number of Roane County, Tennessee families and made thousands of Roane Countians fearful of their family’s safety and preserving a healthy environment in their homes, it’s the TVA Board of Directors and the people who installed them into their positions of power with laws that also make them legally untouchable for putting a bullet in the back of Roane County Tennessee in the name of a Federally owned corporation’s enterprises.

And…If there’s anyone in America who should step up, say, “Hey, wait a minute!” Call out these people and do everything in his power to make the Federal Government correct the deep injustice it has put upon his constituents, it should be Senator Bob Corker, who is the people of Roane County’s voice in the very Federal Government that did this to us.

I hope that somewhere in Bob Corker’s head there’s a voice saying, “Hey…Wait a minute.”

Roane County took a bullet for America… We’re bleeding proof that Coal power has to be phased out. We have subsidized coal with our health, lives, and the safety of our very homes. The least we could expect of a Senator is to go to bat for us against the very people that put us in this fix, which inescapably includes Senator Corker himself.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Please be Thoughtful About the TVA Ash Spill

Headlines that start with hyperbole (Radioactive![Not] Much Worse than Thought![Not]) are as misleading and as wrong as the local Chamber of Commerce saying "There's no problem here."

There is a sorry trail of lax oversight, poor management, and misplaced compensation incentives from the TVA Board over many years that led to this disaster. The blame for this event can be laid squarely at the feet of TVA's corporate mindset, the anti-environment Bush Administration, his appointed TVA Directors, and also, everyone who has ever flipped a light switch into the ON position.

Hysteria may serve a radical agenda but it won't help the community directly affected by this nor will it serve the people on the ground working to make sure this thing gets all the attention it deserves and gets properly re-mediated. Nor does it serve those of us who are working hard to lay the ground work for a healthy and viable community going forward. The TVA Ash Spill is a disaster, a big damned mess, and has health considerations all its own. In addition to the environmental damage caused by mining and burning coal for energy, there is the unpaid economic damage of Coal energy, from cradle to grave. We lose the ears of those we need when we exaggerate.

Publishing a water quality analysis from water dipped out of the soup at ground zero and then screaming about it containing 300 times the arsenic levels allowed in treated drinking water is absurd and simply not helpful to the credibility of environmentalists. That would be like screaming that apples contain an unhealthy amount of arsenic. They do, but very few people eat apple seeds in any quantity and very few people are getting their drinking water out of the soup at ground zero. In fact, most of us who live here feel like we have never had such good testing and oversight of our water supply. Even normal water treatment removes every contaminant associated with the ash spill. As of right now with everybody watching, I would bet that our water processing is as good as there is anywhere in the country.

There have been breathless pronouncements that TVA and TDEC have not been truthful with us. In fact, not one incorrect water testing analysis has been published by TVA or TDEC and they are regularly posted publicly. The delays I have run down have turned out to be due to incompetence rather than any malicious intent, and have been corrected quickly. TVA quickly released a map showing the testing locations and has continually posted their results, as has TDEC. The test results have been completely in line with the results published by some environmental groups, regardless of what you may have read.

We've had the expected positioning by politicians, big and small, and lawyers are swarming over our public meetings like rats at the old dump, and some environmental activists (not all) are running around scaring people. Inaccurate information has appeared in nearly every respected news outlet. It needs to stop. Nobody has been able to find an inaccuracy in any of the published test data and there is a ton of it out there. What it shows is that we have a mess...There are hazards...They are manageable...We have to be vigilant...We have to be truthful! We don't have to exaggerate anything to show what a foobar TVA has given us. We have to look into the future toward the greater long term good for our community.

The next couple of years are going to be harder than they needed to be. We are getting hurt economically with depressed property values and tax base, and it is going to be more difficult to attract the right kind of community based businesses to our area. Particularly if they buy into the hysteria and think those apple seeds are going to crawl out of the lake in the middle of the night and get them. Every community has its problems, but thanks to TVA's monumental mess up, we now know what ours are and what we have to do to fix things. The good news is that this mess can be contained, even though it will take time. Roane County Tennessee is a stunningly beautiful area. The people who have come in here to look at the spill can concentrate on the less than one square mile that is for real a disaster, and they can look around at the rest of our area.

Looking around at what is happening, I see good things coming out of this down the road. TVA's corporate practices are getting a white hot light shined on them. I expect their environmental awareness to jump off the scale. Orders for new coal plants are being cancelled across the country. The myth of "clean coal" has been forever exposed for what it is...a plain and simple lie. The coal waste storage practices will change forever. It is going to cost money to clean this up and it's going to cost money to make people whole. Community groups are being formed to insure that this happens. There is a common bond created when people come together to face a mutual disaster.

With all this said, we need to be aggressively vigilant, holding TVA and our officials to the task of setting things as straight as they can ever be. But even though their motivations may be personal rather than altruistic, there's nothing to be gained from stabbing them in the back when they're headed in the direction we want them to go.



On the ground daily information and links can be found at

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Environmental Justice to All in 2009

We got screwed this year.

Been happening for a long while...We're just now finding out how much and how bad.

So far there has been little discussion of the TVA ash spill on conservative TN blogs. They must be freaked right now. This disaster is absolutely the result of the "rah rah for coal", "burn baby burn", "drill baby drill", lack of ethic promoted by conservatives in their never ending quest for lobbyist dollars.

Right now, Tennessee Republicans are cowering in back rooms wallowing in a mix of fear and ectasy.

On one hand they have to be thinking this is a chance to squeeze Big Coal lobbbyists for a ton of money. Coal energy is looking like really nasty stuff right now. Not only are Republicans backing plans to level the Appalachian mountains and dump the nasty leftovers into the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River, but all the world has to look at the TVA disaster and think about that "Free Market" bull crap and what the constant Republican quest to eliminate environmental oversight. Republicans are telling Coal lobbyists that it's gonna take a lot more money for the GOP to keep on taking the "Clean Coal" message out to the public.

On the other hand, this is the perfect opportunity for Progressive Democrats to hang a sign around the neck of Tennessee's GOP that says, "Republican = Murderer". The weakening, in the name of deregulation, of laws that require businesses to operate in such a manner as to not kill people can be laid directly at the feet of the Republican Party.

Republicans have built the current rabid conservative iteration of their once noble party on their absolute conviction that Tennessee voters are stupid. It absolutely worked in the last election.
Can the GOP message that a clean environment is bad and clean coal good?

Public schools are bad and vouchers for rich people to send their kids to private schools are good?

Fair markets are bad and free markets are good?

The environmental callamity that has befallen Roane County, Tennessee can be laid squarely in the laps of Conservative Republicans, who have eviscerated just environmental law, and the weakling who call themselves Conservative Democrats what stood by and watched them do it.

At this very moment, Tennessee Republicans are being told to shut up, say nothing about the environmental aspect of Roane County's disaster. The message is boiled down to "Yes, but...We need Coal!"

Well no we don't...Air and water that won't make you sick would be really nice though.

Where are our Democrats that can spread the message that We aren't going to get a healthy environment as long as Tennessee voters continue to live up to Republican's expectations of how stupid they are?

Coal is killing us...Republicans (and conservative Democrats) are helping.

Now we get to play the "HOW STUPID ARE THEY?" game as we watch to see if TN voters make the connection that Conservatives have superior marketing "Be afraid, very very afraid, of the scary black guy, (while we kill you slowly for money)".

Superior marketing...But no Product!

Now is the moment for Progressive Democrats to step up and shout loud in the New Year.

Peace on Earth, Good will and Justice to All in 2009!

Might as well start right here in Roane County Tennessee.