The Preamble; Fix it or Nix It?



Transportation Without Petroleum or Biofuels

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

At present, oil saturates the Gulf Stream.  An official six-month cessation of permits for new drilling did not actually affect the industry or government decisions.  Despite Moratorium, Drilling Projects Move Ahead.  To explain such an authorization and waiver, the Department of the Interior and the Minerals Management Services Division which regulates drilling, pointed to public statements by Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar.  He did not intend to forbid all first cuts in the Earth’s crust.  Absolutely not.  The Federal Government approved wells off the coast of Louisiana in June. Regardless of the day, or realities that are anathema to our citizenry, little has truly changed.  Today, just as in yesteryear, we, the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect Union, polish policies to appear as though our civilization would wish to protect and defend all beings, equally.  

In an earlier era, and now, the electorate embraces practices that establish justice, while we unreasonably raze the planet.  As a devoted citizenry, we insure domestic tranquility through appeasement. Furthermore, for the sake of homeland harmony, we adopt practices that encourage petroleum production, excessive oil and coal profits, whilst we also rob crops of their inherent dignity.  We, the countrymen, commit to the promise that we will provide for the common defense. In accordance with the demands of the public, policymakers further endorse perilous practices.  

These pursuits are realized in the form of perpetual war.  Blood for oil, minerals, or any resource that makes more money for the few, is what we, believe brings security to the native soil.   Our energy plans, or was it the profound Preamble to the United States Constitution, afforded us world prominence.  Globally, America is seen as powerful, so much so other countries chose to emulate us.  

Our governance and Preamble now belong to many a proud nation.  Collectively, in this country and the next, people clamor, “We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”

Over the years, there have been many opportunities to consider our constitution, our commitment to country, and our love of power.  Before this country was born, we could have seized on the chance to harness energy in a way that did not cause harm.  In 1766, British Scientist Henry Cavendish identified the energetic element, hydrogen.  By 1838, Swiss Chemist Christian Friedrich Schoenbein stumbled upon the “fuel cell.”  Only seven years later, Sir William Grove, an English Scientist and Judge, demonstrated the practicality of the discovery.  Mister Grove created a “gas battery.”  For this feat, he acquired the title “Father of the Fuel Cell.”

Most recall the Franklin kite experiment, which, while not the first appearance of an electrical consciousness certainly was one that gave us a jolt.  That event occurred in 1752.  Then, people began to realize that electricity, not produced from coal or dependent on fossil fuels, could make a meaningful difference in the society.  Initially, there were struggles.  Some people were afraid of an incomprehensible current.  A few did not wish to succumb to a change in lifestyle.  Convenience at a nominal cost convinced the citizenry to change their conventional ways, and of course, modify the meaning of the Constitution.

By 1769, with the advent of the first automobile, people began to ponder inexpensive means for mobility.  The invention of engines and the Industrial Revolution completed the conversion. Steamships and steam-powered railroads became the foremost forms of transportation.  These vessels used coal to fuel their boilers. Still, it was not until the 1880s that “coal was first used to generate electricity for homes and factories.”  Since then, there seemed no desire to turn back.  Way back when, our constitution, or at least the Preamble as practiced today, was set in stone.  

Give it to us cheap and dirty is the American credo.  We guzzle gas, burn through barrels of oil, and belch out endorsements for big businesses that earn billions on our backs.  Americans strip the countryside in search of more and more coal.  We savage the seas and shores whilst we annihilate all the creatures dependent on these.  Indeed, we ignore that we too are reliant on the chain of life to survive.  We disregard what science teaches us; each species and specimen plays a part in the planet’s endurance.  Instead, we loudly state, “We the people commit to cheap fossil fuels and biomass consumption that we have become accustomed to.”  Damn the damage to the planet, and ultimately to humans and all other populations.  We travel on, full speed ahead!

As the Gulf Bay puncture wound bleeds, present and former Governors, Jurists, and citizens clamor, Drill Baby Drill!  In June 2020, be it in Alaska, in the Gulf, anywhere, almost anywhere, regardless of known risks, we are ready!  We want our fix.  Fossil fuels and biomass flow through our blood.  Petroleum, or the reliance on this and other hazardous forms of energy, run our boats, cars, trains, planes, and our lives.  Even if a pipe, mineshaft, or the food chain are broken, the people say, Let it be!”

“Fix It or Nix It” defines the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity campaign. This statement is not an endorsement for renewable energy policies. Nor does it address the altered Preamble, No. This group does advocate for further advancements in fossil fuel usage.“ACCCE.cannot support the Kerry-Lieberman draft bill.”  This all-“powerful” organization considers these two Senators dissenters, or their proposed legislation a threat to the American way.  Reflective of past policies and practices, those who rebel are often forced into submission.  Popular opinion can suppress opposition.

Peers, polls, any pressure, can sway the people.  Promotional pieces are abundantly persuasive.  Ample advertisements feed the public and influence actions. Perhaps this explains why millions of people are easily fooled, or more likely just want to believe as we all do, that what we do now is wise.  

Factoids from associations such as the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity offer us food for thought.  Statements that support what we yearn for speak to our heart, head, and soul. These satisfy the American appetite for energy and satiate the anthem.  “We the people commit to inexpensive energy and welcome any reassurance that all is well, just as it is.”  

  • Coal costs less than any other major fossil fuel source.
  • According to an electric power industry journal, 23 of the 25 power plants in the U.S. that have the lowest operating costs (and therefore provide power to their consumers at the lowest prices) are powered by coal.
  • Thanks, in part, to $90 billion invested in new technologies, the environmental footprint of coal-based electricity generation has been significantly reduced.
  • Since 1970, the use of coal to generate electricity in the U.S. has nearly tripled in response to growing electricity demand.
  • Using coal to generate electricity is less than a 1/3 of the cost of other fuels.

Corporations that profit from the use of coal, petroleum, and biomass fuels flood the airwaves with anti alternative and renewable energy oratory.  Lobbyists and Legislators who like the status quo are also hard at work.

Commentaries, commercials, Congressional concessions, and common clichés do not negate the reality that whenever we invest in naturally replenished resources, environmentally friendly green energy, we ultimately provide jobs, as well as preserve the planet.  Research abounds.  studies confirm.  Pew Charitable Trusts asserts Clean Energy Economy Generates Significant Job Growth.

Nonetheless, the well-established Preamble persists.  We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”  Nations that did not accept our programs, sooner or later, were “willingly” brought into the fold. Money and might can move mountains, petroleum fields, and large quantities of botanical mass. Indeed, the production and use of any fossil fuel is encouraged.  Promised earnings offer a profound argument to dissenters.  

Some followers of the more modern Preamble, an altered petroleum policy, were brought onboard reluctantly. The bid for biofuels proved profitable.  Influential Advisors and Advertisers offered a rationalization. Plants can be grown.  Vegetation is renewable.  This thought removed a sense of guilt.  The public purchased the argument.  For most ethanol is envisioned as euphoria.

Some were less relieved by this opportune “reality.”  However, in time, they too do as the devotees do.  They drive hither and yon.  Petroleum and plants fill their gas tanks.  These persons call themselves environmentalists.  Yet, they know that they too, myself among them, consume gargantuan quantities of fossil fuels and biomass energy. To participate in present day life, we, the people, must pump petro and pledge allegiance to the American way, or else . . . For the sake of convenience, expediency, pragmatism and the Preamble, in a Twenty-First century culture, even conservationists surrender.  

Perchance, as gas and oil fill the Gulf Stream, and travel North, South, East and West, as microbes, mammals, and all other creatures in its path perish, we, the people, will think it is time to reflect.  Let us ponder our proud past.  Perhaps, through the plumes, we will unearth what the petroleum, coal, and biofuels Preamble has hidden, the history of hydrogen and how we abandoned this truly renewable and reliable source of energy.  

1920s German engineer, Rudolf Erren, converted the internal combustion engines of trucks, buses, and submarines to use hydrogen or hydrogen mixtures. British scientist and Marxist writer, J.B.S. Haldane, introduced the concept of renewable hydrogen in his paper Science and the Future by proposing that “there will be great power stations where during windy weather the surplus power will be used for the electrolytic decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen.”

1937 After ten successful trans-Atlantic flights from Germany to the United States, the Hindenburg, a dirigible inflated with hydrogen gas, crashed upon landing in Lake- wood, New Jersey. The mystery of the crash was solved in 1997. A study concluded that the explosion was not due to the hydrogen gas, but rather to a weather-related static electric discharge which ignited the airships’ silver-colored, canvas exterior covering…

1958 The United States formed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA’s space program currently uses the most liquid hydrogen worldwide, primarily for rocket propulsion and as a fuel for fuel cells.

It would seem that we, the people, could have endowed and empowered the energy that was first recognized before our forefathers penned what was the United States Constitution.  We might realize that great strides have been made in endlessly renewable hydrogen energy.  However, we, the people, never stopped to consider what we accepted as our manifest destiny.   What we defined as divine intervention or intervention by design was our chosen well-deserved deliverance.  As independent Americans, free spirits, mavericks, we would not be bound by physical boundaries.  Petroleum, coal, and biofuels, we decided, would set us free.  We would drive as if we were driven, deliberately.  

We did. Whilst barrels of oil flood from the ocean floor, we still do.  Nary a person proclaims; it is time to stop the madness, completely.  Hardly an American truly thinks he or she will reinstate the Preamble in its original form.  No, the “better life” has been fashioned. Yet, in Louisiana and elsewhere in the South there is reason to question what had been our truth. “We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”

Possibly, now we will acknowledge belatedly, the better question would have been why did we rely on reports released by the International Oil Spill Conference.,  This organization offers studies sponsored by those who are the worst offenders, who are most dependent on petroleum, and who gain greater power and prowess when oil flows. After the fact, will we abandon the Advisors who brought us our present burdens, our blunders, and our oddly converted Preamble?

Will humans resume operations and disregard reality?  Will we proceed on a false premise that biomass is the better source for fuel? Will we look beyond the boundaries of our desires or will humans, not BP, Exxon, the company of your choice, nay the Governments of, the United States, Britain, Nigeria, or . . . rape the land, place food in the mouths of machines rather than man?  Might we finally admit, that we need not concede to consumption, crave petroleum products, and biofuels?  Will we choose to see that people, and the planet, will not survive if we rely on what has been our folly, our friend, and our funeral march, our converted constitution, and a corrupted Preamble?   Only we can decide.  Fix it or Nix it?  Perhaps, we must do both.

Written with thanks to By Larry Hartweg Zero Energy Design® for a visual presentation that inspires and investigates, Transportation Without Petroleum or Biofuels

Katrina’s [America’s] Hidden Race War



Katrina’s Hidden Race War: In Aftermath of Katrina, Vigilantes Shot 11 Blacks in New Orelans (1 of 2)

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Racism, in reality, is fear of the unknown.  It is apprehension for what is alien to us.  A bigot is often one who claims to be colorblind.  However, indeed, he or she is more likely colormute.  Rarely do persons who think themselves tolerant speak of the scorn they feel for those who differ from them.  Often the intolerant are not aware of the rigidity that rules their lives.  Few amongst Anglos in America, since most appear as they do, consider what the life of one whose complexion is cause for rejection experience.  However, in an exposé, A.C. Thompson muses of what most rather not mention.  The author addresses “Katrina’s Hidden Race War.”  

Through the tales told, after a tumultuous tempest, readers learn of what they may know, and just not discuss freely.  In this land of the free and home of the brave, few people of color are truly free.  Yet, these same individuals are genuinely brave.  They have to be.

It is common to hear Caucasians say, “Some of my best friends are Black, Brown, Yellow, or Red.” People hope to create an impression.  Most wish to prove they willingly accept those unlike themselves.  However, the acquaintance they speak of may be the one and only person of color that they know.   People may think the person that they associate with is the exception to the rule.  He or she is a good gal or gent.  All other folks who do not don a pinkish hue are not to be trusted.

In this country, to publicly proclaim a hatred for a person whose complexion is dark is just not done.  That is unless a person can conceive of a circumstance that allows for a reasonable abhorrence.  Hurricane Katrina afforded such an opportunity for white residents of Algiers Point, Louisiana.

Algiers Point has always been somewhat isolated: it’s perched on the west bank of the Mississippi River, linked to the core of the city only by a ferry line and twin gray steel bridges. When the hurricane descended on Louisiana, Algiers Point got off relatively easy. While wide swaths of New Orleans were deluged, the levees ringing Algiers Point withstood the Mississippi’s surging currents, preventing flooding; most homes and businesses in the area survived intact. As word spread that the area was dry, desperate people began heading toward the west bank, some walking over bridges, others traveling by boat. The National Guard soon designated the Algiers Point ferry landing an official evacuation site. Rescuers from the Coast Guard and other agencies brought flood victims to the ferry terminal, where soldiers loaded them onto buses headed for Texas.

Facing an influx of refugees, the residents of Algiers Point could have pulled together food, water, and medical supplies for the flood victims. Instead, a group of white residents, convinced that crime would arrive with the human exodus, sought to seal off the area, blocking the roads in and out of the neighborhood by dragging lumber and downed trees into the streets. They stockpiled handguns, assault rifles, shotguns, and at least one Uzi and began patrolling the streets in pickup trucks and SUVs.

The newly formed militia, a loose band of about fifteen to thirty residents, most of them men, all of them white, was looking for thieves, outlaws or, as one member put it, anyone who simply “didn’t belong.”

The Nation Magazine, in the January 5, 2009 issue, recounts tales as told by those foreign elements who, while residents of the broader community, were shot as though they were criminals.  Their crime was perhaps only their skin color.  

The way Donnell Herrington tells it, there was no warning. One second he was trudging through the heat. The next he was lying prostrate on the pavement, his life spilling out of a hole in his throat, his body racked with pain, his vision blurred and distorted.

It was September 1, 2005, some three days after Hurricane Katrina crashed into New Orleans, and somebody had just blasted Herrington, who is African-American, with a shotgun. “I just hit the ground. I didn’t even know what happened,” recalls Herrington, a burly 32-year-old with a soft drawl.

The sudden eruption of gunfire horrified Herrington’s companions–his cousin Marcel Alexander, then 17, and friend Chris Collins, then 18, who are also black. “I looked at Donnell and he had this big old hole in his neck,” Alexander recalls. “I tried to help him up, and they started shooting again.” Herrington says he was staggering to his feet when a second shotgun blast struck him from behind; the spray of lead pellets also caught Collins and Alexander. The buckshot peppered Alexander’s back, arm, and buttocks.

Herrington shouted at the other men to run and turned to face his attackers: three armed white males. Herrington says he hadn’t even seen the men or their weapons before the shooting began. As Alexander and Collins fled, Herrington ran in the opposite direction, his hand pressed to the bleeding wound on his throat. Behind him, he says, the gunmen yelled, “Get him! Get that n*gg*r!”

Persons who were presumed guilty, merely by their presence, were neighbors from another section of town.  The poorer people sought safety and shelter after the storm placed them in a precarious situation.  Contrary to reports, the Black population did not loot or engage in thievery.  African-Americans did as the Anglos who were also chest-deep in floodwaters.  They “found” food and fluids to drink from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina destroyed all they had.  However, trepidation distorts perception.  Frequently, white Americans are apprehensive when they consider African-Americans.  

From birth, children are taught not to talk to strangers.  Little ones are cautioned to beware.  Different is dangerous.  Perchance, the Associated Press Reporters or Editors who covered the Katrina story were Anglos.  Hence, when Journalists, just as the residents of Algiers Point, saw persons who look as they do, they defined their actions as honorable.  However, the sight of a Black individual in a similar situation was not viewed through a clear lens.  The question might be asked, in America will it ever be.

Please ponder the images.  Then, consider the captions.



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Shared By Dustin

Some, of every complexion, did take possession of life’s littlest necessities.  In a few neighborhoods, not Algiers Point, white persons were benevolent towards those “others” of color.  However, Caucasian citizens might contemplate the reality that, before Katrina, the plight of Black Americans was hidden, and it is again.  

The depth of poverty experienced by many African-Americans, the people whose ancestors physically built this nation, was not realized until a natural storm churned up a crisis so critical.

White Americans acknowledge that in some areas, a bridge was built.  Yet, few wish to admit this association only appears in a time of crisis.  While a scant few channels were opened another, many more were closed.  In other locales, where dark skinned persons were presumably welcome, the Anglo inhabitants roared with resentment.  Reports offered the rationale for what in America is the conventional wisdom of an apprehensive Anglo populace. Karina victims are to blame for an increase in Houston crime.  Certainly, these same “undesirables” would propagate misdeeds wherever they may be; hence, we have Algiers Point.

Granted, pinkish persons in other neighborhoods, even in New Orleans, opened their hearts.  A restaurant proprietor, aware of the depth of destruction, 80 percent of the city was under water, opened their eateries to anyone in need.

Tommy Cvitanovich, co-owner of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, is but one of what might be many.  This sympathetic fellow spoke of the reason he, his family, and his staff felt they must serve all survivors.  For the entrepreneur, there was no reason to fear.  Mister Cvitanovich, when confronted with the circumstances of his fellow man, felt he could not turn away.  Nor could he, his kin, and the folks they worked with grab a gun and shot at persons who sought food and a safer shelter.  The tale is beautiful and worth a peek.

“For eight weeks we gave away meals.  People were waiting in line,” he says.

For five weeks, the meals were given outside the restaurant.  When the restaurant reopened, Drago’s moved the effort to Lakeview where the need was greater.

“There were no fast food restaurants, no convenience stores or grocery stores open,” he says.  “Most people brought food (from outside the area) Food sources were non-existent.”

In a moment of horror, what is often hidden, good, and bad is revealed.  Honorable Americans such as Tommy Cvitanovich are to be thanked for what their endeavors can teach.  Some persons pale of skin felt the pain of the poorer, less protected population.  However, when the waters receded, might residents of the United States inquire; would benevolence still prosper.  

Several, such a Tommy Cvitanovich might show compassion as they had done in the past.  Yet, we cannot be certain.

In America, sweetness is often subdued by racism.  Much is restrained, not realized, or hidden from view when consternation is prevalent.  When people react to anxiety, rather than act and discover we are not that different, we have what we had in Algiers Point, guns ablaze

Inside and outside of a New Orleans enclave, Caucasians are challenged to conceive that persons of color did not seek to violate the law.  Indeed, white vigilantes victimized those who have, for centuries, been casualties in a civilized American society.

What received less attention from the press and from the paler people is Whites Sought More Katrina Aid Than Blacks.  African-Americans, too often buried by the burden of bigotry, did not know that they might be able to apply or appeal a decision for inadequate assistance.  Nor did some have the means before the tempest to secure property or proper insurance.  What also was and remains out of sight are the financial abuses brownish-purplish persons are victim to.  Credit is not colorblind.

In America, privilege is a white man’s prerogative.  Prosecution is reserved for “other” races.

Tulane University Historian Lance Hill, who runs Tulane’s Southern Institute for Education and Research, has studied the city’s racial divide.  He understands why Algiers Point gunmen have avoided arrest.  “By and large, I think the white mentality is that these people [the Anglo lawbreakers] are exempt–that even if they committed these crimes, they’re really exempt from any kind of legal repercussion.” People of color only commit crime, in the mind of many.

Professor Hill ponders and proclaims; “It’s sad to say, but I think that if any of these cases went to trial, and none of them have, I can’t see a white person being convicted of any kind of crime against an African-American during that period.”  Such is the sound of silence.  When people are blind, or white, racism becomes a more colorful spectrum.

The stories of Algiers Point, and the plight of Katrina, tell a tale too terrible to imagine.  Perchance, that is why in America people prefer to remain colormute.  To report as The Nation did is to attest to what most prefer to hide.  Racism remains rampant in the land of opportunity.  In a country considered great, bigotry is not criminal.  Fear is not a felony.  Trepidation, even with a gun in hand, and shots fired, is fine in United States.  

Apparently, as long as Caucasian citizens transgress only against the unfamiliar, the supposed unruly, persons whose only crime is that his or her skin color is not white will suffer fates so ghastly, even storm waters will not wash the stain away.

Please peruse the portrait of America, “Katrina’s Hidden Race War.”  Ponder what might be too true.  If Americans do not love thy neighbor, if fright rules, no one is authentically free and fewer are brave.

References for Racism . . .