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President Obama Unfit for Office

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20, so I won’t second guess what happened leading up to the death of our US Ambassador and 3 other Americans in a Sept 11th attack on our embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

I won’t second guess, first guess,or third guess because nobody has to guess at the events leading up to this attack and murder.  All of those events were readily available to anyone reading the news or their daily security briefings.  All it would have taken to avoid this tragedy was for someone in a position of power to show a little foresight and leadership.

Yes, someone in the White House could have and should have shown leadership and stopped this dangerous situation from turning tragic.   What kind of leader wouldn’t recognize the danger, or if they did recognize the danger, what kind of leader doesn’t act on that danger?   What kind of leader wouldn’t recognize a 9/11 anniversary as a potentially dangerous situation for Americans living in Muslim nations and especially Muslim nations that recently went through a violent revolution.

My answer is the kind of leader we have in President Obama, who refers to this tragic event, with diminished concern, as a “bump in the road.” President Obama is the kind of leader who apparently either doesn’t recognize the true danger, doesn’t want to recognize the true danger, or is simply incapable of leading Americans safely through these dangers.

As you read through this tidbit list of events leading up to the 9/11/12 attack on our Benghazi Embassy, ask yourself at what point would you increase US security beyond the two men assigned to protect two embassy personnel?  When would you decide that this is a dangerous situation warranting additional security?

 

February 2011 – beginning of Libyan revolution against Qaddafi regime.

On February 16, 2011 Libyan protesters clashed with police in an anti-government demonstration inspired by the uprisings that brought down the rulers of Libya’s neighbors, Egypt and Tunisia. Opposition activists, organizing through social media, rallied against the country’s long-time leader, Moammar Gadhafi, in the country’s second-biggest city, Benghazi.

Global Security

Mid-March 2011 – UN resolution supporting Libyan Rebels

Shortly before midnight, the streets of Libya’s de facto rebel capital, Benghazi, were quiet, nearly deserted.

A few minutes after midnight, tracer bullets and celebratory machine-gun fire were racing into the air from every direction and residents piled into their cars for a massive street party.

In between, the United Nations Security Council voted by 10-0 to not only impose a no-fly zone over eastern Libya but to allow for “all necessary measures” short of an occupation to protect the country’s civilians from Col. Muammar Qaddafi, the dictator who’s ruled Libya for nearly 42 years.

Christian Science Monitor

Late March 2011 – President Obama offers special support for Libyan Rebels

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

Reuters

October 2011 – End of Qaddafi regime

Five days after he was sodomized, beaten, and shot in the head, former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi was finally laid to rest at a “secret location” in the Libyan desert, according to the NTC, the transitional government in Libya. And not a moment too soon. Qaddafi’s body has been on display in a meat cooler in Misrata since Thursday

NY Magazine

November 2011 – Transitional Government established in Libya.

TRIPOLI, Libya – Libya’s transitional leaders swore on a Quran to uphold the ideals of the revolution that toppled Muammar Qaddafi as they took their oaths of office Thursday, another key step in the country’s hoped-for march toward democracy.

CBSNews.com

January 2012 – President Obama appoints Christopher Stevens as US Ambassador to Libya

President Barack Obama on Monday night announced his intent to nominate career Senior Foreign Service member John Christopher Stevens as US ambassador to Libya.

Feb17.info

March 2012 – Attitude check

(CBS News) Armed vandals attacked and smashed the headstones of Allied and Italian service members laid to rest in a World War II cemetery in Benghazi and then posted video of their desecration online.

CBSNews.com

May 2012 – Attack on International Red Cross in Benghazi

BENGHAZI (Reuters) – A rocket-propelled grenade hit the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi overnight, leaving a small hole in the side of the building but causing no casualties, an ICRC spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Benghazi has suffered a series of small attacks since the beginning of the year that have raised concerns over the ruling National Transitional Council’s (NTC) ability to impose its authority and ensure security after last year’s rebellion ended Muammar Gaddafi’s 40-year rule.

Reuters-Africa

June 2012 – US embassy in Benghazi, Libya.  US officials ask Libyan government for increased security.

A bomb went off outside the US embassy offices in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi Tuesday night, causing minor damage to its main gate.

A US embassy official in Tripoli told BBC that no one was injured in the attack, by unknown assailants.

The US official deplored the attack and asked the Libyan government to increase security around US facilities.

BBC-UK

Washington had confirmed a few hours before the attack that a U.S.-operated drone had killed Abu Yahya al-Libi, a Libyan-born cleric and senior al Qaeda operative, in Pakistan.

The U.S. State Department said it had asked Libyan authorities to increase security around U.S. facilities.

“We deplore the attack on our diplomatic mission in Benghazi,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a news briefing.

Toner said a local guard reported that an attack was underway against one of the Benghazi compound’s perimeter walls and warned diplomatic staff to take cover.

The bombing will revive concerns about the lack of security in Libya, where last year Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in an uprising supported by NATO air power.

Chicago Tribune

July 2012 – Libyan elections

Despite violence that left at least several dead, numerous gun battles, allegations of voter fraud, dozens of polling places unable to operate, mass protests, militias running wild, and whole regions still in chaos, Western governments and the United Nations — largely responsible for the recent “regime change” that killed dictator Moammar Gadhafi and thousands of innocent civilians — celebrated political elections in Libya on Saturday, July 7 as a success. Meanwhile, multiple armed factions are still threatening to unleash full-blown civil war amid ongoing battles all across the chaos-stricken nation.

The New American

August 27th – State Dept. issues Travel Warning citing potential for political assignations among the reasons.

Travel Warning U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Libya

August 27, 2012

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Libya. The incidence of violent crime, especially carjacking and robbery, has become a serious problem. In addition, political violence in the form of assassinations and vehicle bombs has increased in both Benghazi and Tripoli.

Travel.State.Gov

September 4th – Libyan news notes increased security fears over increase in Islamist groups.

Small-scale crimes, such as carjacking, robberies, and petty theft, and more serious acts of violence such as car bombings and political assassinations, are posing an increasing challenge to the Libyan authorities.  There are also increased security fears over apparent increase in Islamists groups and Qadhafi regime loyalists has increased security concerns across Libya, particularly in Tripoli and Benghazi.

Libya-Business News

September 5th – President Obama receives final daily briefing before 9/11 anniversary

According to the White House schedule President Obama receives last daily briefing Wednesday September 5th with no more daily briefings in the five more days leading up to 9/11 anniversary.

September 10th Early – Inadequate security at US Embassy

Benghazi, awash in guns, has recently witnessed a string of assassinations as well as attacks on international missions, including a bomb said to be planted by another Islamist group that exploded near the United States mission there as recently as June. But a Libyan politician who had breakfast with Mr. Stevens at the mission the morning before he was killed described security, mainly four video cameras and as few as four Libyan guards, as sorely inadequate for an American ambassador in such a tumultuous environment.

NY Times

September 10th Late – Video posted calling for attacks on Americans

In a video posted late Monday on militant websites, al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri described his late lieutenant Abu Yahya al-Libi as a “lion of jihad and knowledge.”

The killing of al-Libi, who was Libyan by birth, was the biggest setback to al-Qaida since the death of Osama bin Laden.

Al-Zawahri also urged Libyans — al-Libi was born in the north African country — to attack Americans to avenge the late militant’s death, saying his “blood is calling, urging and inciting you to fight and kill the Crusaders.”

Associated Press

September 11th – US Embassy in Benghazi still operating in “an interim facility” with a reduced level of security compared to formal embassies in permanent facilities.

A senior administration official Wednesday called the Benghazi consulate “an interim facility,” which the State Department began using “before the fall of Qadhafi.” It was staffed Tuesday by Libyan and State Department security officers. The consulate came under fire from heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades at about 10 p.m. local time on Tuesday. By the time the attack ended several hours later, four Americans were dead and three others had been injured.

The Benghazi consulate had “lock-and-key” security, not the same level of defenses as a formal embassy, an intelligence source told POLITICO. That means it had no bulletproof glass, reinforced doors or other features common to embassies. The intelligence source contrasted it with the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt – “a permanent facility, which is a lot easier to defend.” The Cairo embassy also was attacked Tuesday.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0912/81134.html#ixzz27sFnS41w

September 11th – US Embassy in Benghazi attacked killing four Americans

The US ambassador to Libya and three other American staffers died on Tuesday night in an attack on the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, US officials have said.

An armed mob attacked and set fire to the consulate building during a protest against an amateur film deemed offensive to Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, after similar protests in Egypt’s capital.

The two incidents came on the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 al-Qaeda attacks in the US.

The US government confirmed that Ambassador Chris Stevens and information technology officer Sean Smith, in addition to two unnamed personnel, died in the attack. Libyan security source told Al Jazeera that Stevens died from smoke inhalation.

Aljazeera

September 12th – News of the rape and murder of Ambassador Stevens surfaces

Sources said that “the U.S. ambassador to Libya was raped sexually before killing by gunmen who stormed the embassy building in Benghazi last night to protest against the film is offensive to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh),” The sources said that “Ambassador was killed and representation of his body in a manner similar to what happened with Gaddafi ahead kill him. ” has reported: kill the U.S. ambassador in Libya Christopher Stevens and three Americans in an attack on Tuesday evening 09/11/2012 the U.S. consulate in Benghazi

Google Translation of www.tayyar.org

September 13th – President Obama sends in the Marines…to Tripoli…because there are no Americans alive in Benghazi.

President Obama condemned the killings, promised to bring the assailants to justice and ordered tighter security at all American diplomatic installations. The administration also sent 50 Marines to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, to help with security at the American Embassy there, ordered all nonemergency personnel to leave Libya and warned Americans not to travel there.

Obama administration officials and regional officials scrambled to sort out conflicting reports about the attack and the motivation of the attackers. A senior Obama administration officials told reporters during a conference call that “it was clearly a complex attack,” but offered no details.

NY Times

September 15th – US Embassy attack is attributed to al Qaeda

Benghazi, Libya – The attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans and ten Libyans was the work of “experienced masterminds” that had been planned well in advance, the Libyan president says.

“I think this was al-Qaeda,” President Mohamed al-Magarief told Al Jazeera on Friday, in his first interview with foreign media since the violence three days earlier.

“If you take into account the weapons used like RPGs and other heavy weapons, it proves that it was pre-planned,” he said. “It’s a dirty act of revenge that has nothing to do with religion.”

His comments to Al Jazeera marked the first time his government has openly attributed acts of violence to religious extremists.

Aljazeera

So at what point did you decide to increase US security?  Was it when we first located US Citizens in the Embassy?  Was it after the spring bombing at the embassy?  Was it in the weeks leading up to the 9/11 anniversary?  Was it Sept 10th after the release of a video calling for death to Americans?  Or did you wait to send in the Marines, like President Obama, until after our ambassador was raped and then killed with the the other three Americans?

When I heard about the attacks on our embassy in Libya I was dumfounded to hear that all four Americans at the embassy had died.  I was not dumfounded that they had died in the attack, I was dumfounded that the casualty list was just four Americans dead, rather than something like 20 Marines wounded and 4 Americans dead.  I wondered, especially on 9/11, why there was no US security for the four Americans?

It was heartbreaking to hear that they were dead, it was angering to hear the way they were killed and I was ashamed that our leaders didn’t see fit to protect them from such a clear an present danger.  How could President Obama apologize to the world for the amateur movie that didn’t cause this violence, yet not apologize to Ambassador Steven’s family for failing to protect a person he appointed to his dangerous position,  I don’t think President Obama is at fault causing the violence, but he is at fault for not providing the leadership necessary to protect these Americans.  One more reason President Obama is not fit for the office he holds.

Hey Look! That One is Way Ahead!

debt2I’ve seen a “Who Increased The Debt?” chart here and there around the net and on more than one Facebook post, so odds are you’ve come across it or one of it’s variations.  I also think that I hear Joe Teehan allude to these same figures somewhat regularly on the KGMI Morning Show.

Through one of the Facebook links I located this copy of the chart on the right at Politcususa which is a self described liberal politics blog.  With the title Politicausa centered between images of  self-proclaimed  socialist Senator Bernie Sanders and by most accounts socialist President Obama, I had no doubt that the “facts” on the site were skewed to the left.

I wasn’t really sure how far left and exactly what actual information they were skewing so I had a look see.  It turns out that Snopes already had a go at the chart six months ago and they had deemed the Who Increased the Debt chart a mixture of truth and fiction.  What they actually determined was that the chart was probably based on accurate information (as of April 2011) just not well represented or of any use.

“So, as far as raw numbers go, the chart is reasonably accurate…

The chart isn’t a true comparison of equals…

the increase reported for Barack Obama will be considerably higher by the time he leaves office.”

Snopes bottomline really says all that anyone needs to know about the Who Increased the Debt chart,

All in all, this is a case of relatively accurate information which is of marginal value due to the lack of proper comparative context

Alternative debt analysis1Being of marginal value hasn’t stopped Barack Obama supporters from spreading it around the net though.  Apparently it is of some value to them if they get enough people like Joe Teehan to pass along the misinformation as truth.  And we all know that lies become truth if you hear them enough. Way to go Joe!

So as not to make this blog post just a negative commentary or a repost of a Snopes post, I thought I would add a couple of charts of my own that actually contain proper comparative context.  I used the same data, but I didn’t compare apples to oranges nor mush and manipulate the numbers into a chart where I tell you who is at fault in our national debt problem.  Instead,  I just charted the hard numbers, dollars vs. time.

 

Alternative debt analysis 2Anyone with out a preconceived agenda will probably agree with my 9-year old, who when seeing the charts proclaimed, “Hey look! That one is way ahead!” as he pointed to the Barack Obama spending line.  How do you disagree with that?   If spending taxpayer money were a race, President Obama is clearly in the lead.

My charts don’t bode well for a sitting President seeking a second term in office.  It would be one thing to spend this much money if our economy were booming, but it isn’t.   It would be another thing if this outrageous level of spending were actually kicking our economy into overdrive, but it isn’t.  Frankly I can’t see anything positive coming from this level of spending nor the Obama Administration in general.

And President Obama is asking us to offer him 4 more years of spending?  I don’t think we can take it.

PS

And what about all the probamas who blame President Bush for much of President Obama’s early term spending?   I say sure, there is always some carryover spending from one administration to another, but don’t tell me that President Obama and his administration don’t have a spending problem when they couldn’t even wait to take office to start spending.

UPDATE on November 10, 2008 at 7:15 PM EST:
A source tells NBC News that Obama pushed Bush on an economic stimulus package, saying that action is needed now, not after the inauguration:

According to the source, Obama told Bush that action is needed on a stimulus package now – in a lame duck session – and cannot wait until after the inauguration.
Obama also urged help for automakers and encouraged the acceleration of the disbursement of $25 billion dollars for the industry.

On his third focus – housing – Obama voiced his concern that homeowners whose mortgage rates are about to go up will need aid to prevent more Americans from defaulting on home loans.

HuffingtonPost

And another,

President-elect Barack Obama asked President Bush today to request the release of the second $350 billion in federal bailout funds so he would have “ammunition” if the country’s fragile economy weakened further.The White House said that Bush has agreed to request the money.
Obama, speaking after a meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, said it would be “irresponsible” to enter the White House without having asked Bush to request the funds. He called the cash “potential ammunition” in case the economy worsened.
Bush to Ask for TARP; Obama to ‘Rebrand’ It

By MARK MOONEYJan. 12. 2009

Another Look at that Planned Parenthood Chart

care providedI’m talking about this chart that has been running around Facebook and other parts of the internet recently.  I’m certain it is showing up in response to a recent announcement by Susan G. Komen for the Cure that they would be pulling funding from Planned Parenthood(PPH).  I am not going to talk about why they pulled funding or why they have now reversed their decision, however I do want to address that chart and the misleading way that it is being used.

The chart shows that Planned Parenthood commits about 3% of it’s resources to abortion services and I don’t question it’s validity.  I do question the way that the 3% figure is used by abortion supporters.   They say things like we pro-lifers focus on the tiny little 3% and throw out all the good stuff that PPH does for women.  This was exactly the position that Joe Teehan took when he quoted this 3% number on the KGMI Morning Show with Joe & Patti and I believe the same argument was used again on his later airing Joe Show, where he interviewed local Planned Parenthood executive director Linda McCarthy.

So are they right?  Should pro-lifers ignore the 3% number as pro-abortion advocates such as Joe Teehan, Linda McCarthy and others suggest?

I’ve got to go with an emphatic NO as my answer because I don’t really care if it takes 3%, 30% or 100% of their resources each year to kill hundreds of thousands of children.   It’s like asking us to ignore a teacher who is molesting only 3 of their students because they are not molesting 97 other kids.  That’s what the people who use the 3% chart are saying to me and they are quite frankly sick.  What person in a right mental state is proud that they have become so efficient at killing unborn children, that they only have devote 3% of their resources?   WTH!  What next?  Apply “lean principles” and kill more children quicker using only 2% resources?

But set aside mental illness if you can and let’s look at the chart and data behind it in a more objective and less financial fashion.  The chart comes directly from what I believe is still the latest report out there from Planned Parenthood.  It is the same report I linked to in a previous blog post about Planned Parenthood’s access to our school age children.  Again, I don’t question the validity of the report, but an important thing to remember about the 3% of resources number does not accurately portray what goes on in the portion of PPH’s business that relates to pregnancy.  Here is some other quantity data, not financial data, from the same 2008 report that produced the 3% pie chart.

adoption versus abortion

My immediate reaction upon my first reading of the report was that Planned Parenthood had in one year participated in the murder of 324,008 unborn children.

So my second observation was that the ratio of Pregnancy Tests to Abortion Procedures is roughly 3:1.  In other words, the data shows that on average every  third pregnancy test administered resulted in Planned Parenthood aborting a child.  That is a frightening statistic in my mind and I’m actually giving PPH the benefit of the doubt since I’m assuming that all pregnancy tests were positive.  If only 1 in 3 were negative then the ratio of actual pregnancy to abortion would be 2:1.  How is that for Planned Parenthood family planning, if every other pregnant woman is given an abortion?

My next observation was also a ratio.  This time I looked at the ratio of Pregnancy Tests to Adoption Referrals and found it was roughly 462:1 and when you compare actual Abortion Procedures to Adoption Referrals the ratio is still at an astonishing 134:1.  In other words…well there aren’t any other words that can be written cleanly because PPH makes 134 referrals for the Abortion Procedure, for every 1 Adoption referral that they made.  That ratio of 134:1 tells me that Planned Parenthood has made a purposeful and conscious effort to ignore adoption.  I would expect no less from a business that performs abortions.  Remember that fact the next time someone says they are pro-choice and not pro-abortion.  Anyone who knowingly supports Planned Parenthood is not pro-choice they are pro-abortion because Planned Parenthood is 134:1 pro-abortion.

Those that are pro-abortion are not quite without “choice” though as Angie Murie, executive director of Planned Parenthood Waterloo Region in Canada had this to say about “choice” when it came to abortions,

“I wrestle with gender-based abortion more than any other reason [for having an abortion]…From a macro perspective, I don’t think it is a good idea for us to be eliminating women. But if you look at it at the individual level, which is what we do, I don’t have any right to say that one person’s reason is better or worse than another’s.”

Ok, back from that little tangent.  In looking at one of those 3% charts that showed up on Facebook, I was led to the Catholicvote.org site that also had comment on the above data as well as more information that is well worth reading and they even had a few charts of their own.

catholicvote chart

 

How do you not notice that the above chart represents about 2.5 million children aborted at the hands of Planned Parenthood over the last decade or so.  And how do you not notice that in the same decade or so that the number of abortions almost doubled, the number of referrals for prenatal care and adoption has consistently fallen.  Again, how do you call that kind of performance anything but pro-abortion.

And this was an interesting pie chart,

catholicvote chart 2And here’s how Catholicvote.org interpreted the data in their pie chart.

In other words, 96.3% of Planned Parenthood’s services to pregnant women in 2008 were abortions, and the other 3.7% were adoptions and prenatal care (I’m not a math major so someone is welcome to review my calculations).

I’ll say it again, Planned Parenthood is pro-abortion!

So when you see that Planned Parenthood pie chart floating around cyberspace, remember that the 3% is simply a financial number,nothing more, and that it doesn’t paint an accurate portrayal of Planned Parenthood.

You might also ask what I say to the Joe Teehan’s of the world?  What do I say to those who argue that Planned Parenthood is primarily about women’s health issues and that people like me need to get over the abortion thing and quit ignoring all the good things that PPH does for women?   First I say that abortion is the primary issue that I have with Planned Parenthood because they are a significant abortion provider and because abortion is at odds with the very definition of being pro-life.  Killing unborn children is a non-negotiable issue.  I challenge them to help convince Planned Parenthood to quit aborting children and then step back and watch how much support they find coming from the left, the right and the middle for all the other good stuff.  As long as Planned Parenthood is in the abortion business, pro-life people will oppose them.  The will oppose them because as much as some would like us to believe, these children are not just lumps or masses of tissue.  They don’t magically become children when they are born and there is no set date during their fetal development when they become children.   Children are surviving earlier and earlier births every day as medical science advances.  I endorse this line of thought,

“Doesn’t simple morality dictate that unless and until someone can prove the unborn human is not alive, we must give it the benefit of the doubt and assume it is? Therefore, it is entitled to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Ronald Reagan

It really is time for our nation recognize these children as children and put an end to this barbaric practice of voluntary abortion. There is only one answer in my mind and that is to honor the both the mother’s and child’s right to live.  Leave abortion legal only as a last resort family and medical decision in the rare case where a decision must be made between the life of the child and the mother.

Energy

To the extent that we burn “fossil” fuels, the people of our nation and our world are existing on banked capacity. The energy stored in tar and crude oils was banked away long long ago. In those days, just as today, solar energy drives a mechanism whereby energy and carbon (mostly from CO2) is stored in plant and animal matter. In those days the plants were not burned for fuel thus releasing carbon and energy back into the atmosphere. So year after year, layer after layer of this material fell to the ground essentially making energy deposits into the Earth.

Now millions of years later we are digging and pumping what has become tar and oil so that we can now burn it releasing the energy we need to drive our world as well as CO2, the much maligned combustion byproduct. This mechanism is not the only source of CO2 in our atmosphere, nor is CO2 the only greenhouse gas so I won’t be going into the whole global warming issue again. Suffice to say that we are not taking CO2 out of the atmosphere at the same rate that we are putting it in through burning “fossil” fuels and other means. We are not operating on a balanced energy budget.

I hate that the word sustainable, like the word progressive has been hijacked by the left, so I try to keep using them as a little push back. In order to sustain our environment we need to be operating on a balanced budget. If we are going to keep pulling up crude and burning it then we need to be pulling the CO2 and other combustion byproducts back out of the air and put them back into the ground at the same rate. Alternatively, we can reduce or eliminate the burning and correspondingly reduce or eliminate sequestering the compounds. Nurturing new rain forests and making more efficient choices are both very doable moves in the right direction. Eliminating all burning of fossil fuels is not going to happen without accompanying war, famine and generally immense human suffering. We need energy to power society and right now our system is built primarily around fossil fuels.  Saying we need to change is a lot easier to say than to do.

Enter our hope and change President Obama who says he’s  up to the challenge of leading us out of our fossil fuel age.

In the near term, as we transition to cleaner energy sources, we’re going to have to make some tough decisions about opening up new offshore areas for oil and gas development.  We’ll need to make continued investments in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies, even as we build greater capacity in renewables like wind and solar.  And we’re going to have to build a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in America.  Remarks by the President on Energy

Though his positive message is a bit mired by the aim he took on large oil companies during his campaign and by the psuedo anger he seems to be showing post-spill.

Since the gas lines of the ’70’s, Democrats and Republicans have talked about energy independence, but nothing’s changed — except now Exxon’s making $40 billion a year, and we’re paying $3.50 for gas.

I’m Barack Obama. I don’t take money from oil companies or Washington lobbyists, and I won’t let them block change anymore. They’ll pay a penalty on windfall profits. We’ll invest in alternative energy, create jobs and free ourselves from foreign oil.  Obama Campaign ad

“And I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers so I know whose ass to kick, right? “ Obama looking for some “ass to kick” in BP oil spill catastrophe

The prime target of the newfound ire was, of course, BP and the mess they created in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. “You know,” he [President Obama] told King, “I am furious at this entire situation because this is an example where somebody didn’t think through the consequences of their actions.”

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/furious-barack-obama-talks-bp-israel-immigration-with-larry-king/

Really?  A multi-national company the size of BP didn’t think through the consequence of their actions in the risky and dangerous arena of deep water oil drilling?  Yeah, I’ll just throw the promise of sustainable energy on the stack of things that I won’t look to our President for leadership.   Truly sad that our nation, the light of the world, is lit by a dim bulb.

But back to hope.  We’ve made a lot of progress in the last hundred years or so in world societies fueled by primarily crude oil. If not for the oil industry we could still all be living back in the 1800’s so I really don’t get all this hatred  for oil companies that is coming from the left.  Frankly I find it all a bit too hypocritical coming from people who use plastics, waxes, rubber and other petroleum based products. And let’s not forget that all the renewable hydro power comes from dams that were built using gas and diesel powered construction equipment. Sometimes I think they need to be 3 Stooges slapped into reality because reality is where we all need to be, if we are to move away from our dependence on crude oil without plunging our world into a second dark age.

Reality is that windmills and solar power are both great ways to supplement, our electrical needs but neither will supplant our use of fossil oils. First, we don’t have the infrastructure to transport enough electricity to replace the fuels we burn and second we don’t have the electrical storage technology to rival tanks filled with petroleum fuels. I’m not saying that this can’t be done, but I am saying that it is a long road with a lot of technological hurdles and the end result is not one I think I’ll be happy with. Imagine how many batteries we would need to store energy just to get us through the night or during a calm afternoon? And imagine the enormous mines that would grow with demand for mineral elements needed for these batteries and other electronics? And what about the mountains of spent batteries? And without crude oil, where do we get the plastic for battery casings?

Also consider how long it will take to fill up your electric car compared to a fill up at any station other than Costco.  Even if new technology were to cut the charge times down to an hour, what’s that do for the line of people waiting behind you?   After just hearing that our government is building a charging station in Custer along I-5, I’m wondering if people will be keen on spending a couple of hours in Custer while their car charges?  Is there something to do in Custer?  Pure electric is far from a drop in solution for people who drive fossil fuel cars and I wish our government would think things through before spending our taxes.

So, at best I see wind and solar as supplements to our existing electrical infrastructure and not a solution to our fossil fuel needs.  At worst I see wind and solar as a visual blight on our landscape to make a few people feel good.

Nuclear power does have one great benefit over wind and solar towards meeting our nation’s energy needs in that it is a continuous and consistent supply. It does still have most of the infrastructure and mineral issues as well as some of the storage problems, specifically vehicle batteries, as wind and solar. It does also have the nagging and unsolved problem of radioactive waste. I’ve yet to see a way to deal with it that isn’t either a tremendous liability or a tremendous safety hazard, or both.

I hate to think that we are stuck with no alternatives but to keep drilling oil until we run out and then let our children’s children deal with a new dark age or to let our government and environmental lobbyists plunge us into one right away. As both an optimist and a Christian I firmly believe that we have been given in our world, everything we need to crack this sustainable energy nut.  And not surprisingly that everything, involves carbon.  After all life on our planet is all carbon based and revolves around a natural carbon cycle.

540px-Carbon_cycle-cute_diagram.svg

Just like I feel that the best way to solve the Lake Whatcom water quality issue is to return normal flow to the lake, my feeling is that the closer we can live to this normal natural carbon cycle, the more sustainable and happier it will be for all of us. Really, there are just two technical problems with the sustainability of our current energy model. First we don’t pull enough CO2 out of the atmosphere to remain in balance with what we are burning, although we could conceivably grow more plants.  And the second problem is that even if we grew more plants,  we’d have to wait 50 million years or so to harvest the energy that we store. However tough they may seem, if we solve those problems then we reach a true sustainable state.

And I’ll get on a soapbox here for a moment and tell you that the fastest most efficient way to solve these problems is not through taxes, lobbyist, caps, trades, more taxes, commissions, czars, pacts, nor treaties. The fastest most efficient way is for our government to get out of the way, of those that will solve the problem because they believe they will profit from the solution. Yes, capitalism can and will solve this problem just as it has so many others.

The sustainable solutions will come from utilizing the suns natural solar energy to grow plants that pull co2 from the atmosphere and then, without waiting 50 million years, we create fuel from those plants to burn in our cars, trucks, trains, planes etc. Plants both convert and store the sun’s energy. Solar, the way God intended.

There are several ways to accomplish this plant growing solution and they all seem to have some merit in one way or another. The main camps are divided between producing ethanol or oils. We see these as the products like E85 ethanol/gas or biodiesels. Even within the two camps there are division regarding what type of plants to use. And there are even the unintended consequences to consider such as the destruction of the palm forests that Doug Ericksen brought to our attention. There are lots of options out there that need to be carefully weighed so that we don’t invest resources, either public or private, into technology that won’t solve our problem. And this is where government really loses out over business. If they follow their normal process, and all indications are that they will, we will see significant investment of our tax dollars into numerous schemes with little or no judgment regarding the potential for a technology to efficiently deliver energy.   Bill Gates addressed the potential for government waste in A Business Plan for America’s Energy Future that he is involved with.

2. Research can be managed and tracked through pre-defined performance gates, to ensure that projects on course keep receiving support and those failing get terminated.
3. Support must be given to technologies that have real potential to scale. The federal government should focus on supporting technologies with potential for national impact—the sectors where there is a major gap between the best technologies available and the technical and economic potential.

Privately held businesses have to be profitable or they fail, it’s a natural consequence of poor performance.  Government on the other hand, just holds special sessions to figure how best to tax us without pissing us off so much that we rebel.    Bill Gates whom many know as a capitalist, a visionary and a leader in new technology also happens to be invested in alternative energy.

Bill Gates’ investment firm is funding Sapphire Energy, a company that intends to make auto fuel from algae.  Sapphire Energy said Wednesday that a series B round will bring the total amount it has raised to more than $100 million.

Perhaps it is investments like this that allow very profitable big companies like Microsoft to not be maligned the way that very profitable big companies like Exxon and BP are?  And if that is so, then it is a matter of public perception, rather than substance, because two of the biggest companies leading us to a sustainable non-fossil fuel future are the now much hated Exxon and BP.

Oil giant BP has so far invested $3 billion in alternative energy globally and is set to reach its target, set in 2005, of spending $8 billion.

At a Beijing conference, BP China President Chen Liming said that BP will focus mainly on wind power projects in the US, solar in India and China and biomass in Brazil. The alternative energy unit of Europe’s largest oil firm set aside $8 billion of investment in the decade through 2015.  Oil & Gas

To complement its new ethanol and biobutanol plants, BP is spending billions on biofuel research. The company has been eyeballing algae as a possible feedstock, largely because algae do not affect fresh water resources, can be produced using ocean and waste-water, and are biodegradable and relatively harmless to the environment if spilled. While algae are expensive to produce, they can yield over 30 times more energy per unit area than other, second-generation biofuel crops. The company is also spending some $1 billion on research on sugar-cane based biofuel in Brazil, which in 2008 produced 37.3% of the world’s ethanol-based biofuel.  heatingoil.com

On Tuesday, Exxon plans to announce an investment of $600 million in producing liquid transportation fuels from algae — organisms in water that range from pond scum to seaweed.  NY times

Remember from above that campaigning Barack Obama said with regards to big oil corporations, “They’ll pay a penalty on windfall profits. We’ll invest in alternative energy, create jobs and free ourselves from foreign oil.” I hope when the well is plugged and the oil spill quickly becomes a thing of the past, that we will remember who has actually been investing in alternative fuels and who has been blowing a lot of hot rhetoric.  I have no doubt that BP will pay damages.  However, if we allow a vindictive President to break BP with penalty after large penalty, then we’ll just be pushing our independence from fossil fuels further into our future.

According to Environmental News Network Algae could yield more than 2000 gallons of fuel per acre per year as opposed to corn which they estimate at only 250 gallons per acre per year.  Algae also can be grown using land and water that isn’t suitable for other uses, so good land is still available for food crops.   Petrosun with an ex-big oil CEO, is a leader in algae based biodiesel and they describe the benefits in a little more detail.

Extensive research was conducted to determine the utilization of microalgae as an energy source, with applications being developed for biodiesel, ethanol, and bioplastics. Independent studies have demonstrated that algae is capable of producing in excess of 30 times more oil per acre than corn and soybean crops. Biodiesel produced from algae contains no sulfur, is non-toxic and highly biodegradable.
One of the biggest advantages of biodiesel compared to many other alternative transportation fuels is that it can be used in existing diesel engines, which relieves manufacturers of having to make costly engine modifications. Biodiesel can also be mixed, at any ratio, with conventional petroleum diesel. As a result, the alternative fuel can be used in the current distribution infrastructure, replacing petroleum diesel either wholly, or as a diesel fuel blend with minimal integration costs.

And the big oil state of Texas is a leader in biodiesel production with

Biodiesel sales are booming in Texas, the country’s largest producer of biodiesel transportation fuel. Texas has a current production capacity of over 100 million gallons per year. As of 2008, Texas has more than 20 commercial biodiesel plants with additional plants under construction or being expanded, as well as over 50 retail biodiesel fueling sites…

Go Texas!

I don’t like paying high prices at the pump, I don’t like smog and I don’t like seeing the damage that the oil spill is doing.  I am thankful though for the positive impact that oil and gas has had for good in this world.  I don’t bear any ill will towards the people who make a living in that industry and as I’ve said,  I have a tough time understanding why they are demonized.

My feeling is that biofuels, and most specifically algae produced biodiesel are the best direction we can take at this time towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy system.  From trucks, cars and planes to fossil fuel generated electricity, our nation has the infrastructure in place to make a smooth efficient transition to non-fossil biofuels.   And driving where I want and when I want in a biodiesel fueled car or truck sounds a lot more appealing than a dooming future generations to a new mass transit dark age.

What is Wrong with Lake Whatcom

Since moving to the area 9 years ago, I’ve gotten used to bickering, accusations, partisan slams, and science nitpicks, all surrounding the issue of Lake Whatcom water quality.  As someone who spent my first few college years studying chemistry with the intent of  spending my career life outdoors, I am somewhat familiar with the subject and so found it interesting.  The science is interesting, not the bickering and partisan stuff.

In my opinion it would be foolish to argue that the problems with Lake Whatcom are not due primarily to we people.  It seems intuitive that if man had never visited this lake, the water quality would generally be much better.  The area ecosystem would also be much more robust and able to handle periodic heavy rains, occasional dry spells, and a mud or land slide here and there.

Last time I checked there were people living around the lake and it didn’t look like they were packing to leave.  So the problem we have is the problem we have.   There are too many nutrients and too little oxygen.  Too much phosphorus in various forms.  Too much fecal coli form.  Too many algae blooms and too many dead fish.  And the list could go on.   I read various shades of partisanship when experts and officials study pollution sources, but whether it’s bird poop or human poop, it’s still too much poop.  And whether soils entering the lake come from natural slides or excavators getting stuck, it’s still soil that wasn’t in the lake before.

We should encourage responsible use around Lake Whatcom as well as every other piece of land or water in the county, but encouragement alone won’t solve the problem and neither will draconian measures regarding sewage treatment, storm water, open soil, dishwasher soaps, etc.   And finger pointing is pretty counter productive unless everyone redirects their finger away from each other and towards the problem that we have created.

The real problem is that the natural state of the lake, which took thousands of years to develop, was forever altered about 70 years ago when we installed an intake pipe and a dam.  These two measures were taken to provide a consistent water supply both for drinking and industry.

1937, Control Dam installed on upper Whatcom creek to regulate level of lake

1939, new 7460 foot cement-lined 6.5 foot-diameter tunnel dug between treatment plant and lake. By early 40′s, joined to 1260-foot wooden intake pipe extending into basin 2

lake whatcom normal flowThis solution to their water supply issue at the time, created a 2-fold interrelated problem that we are still suffering from today.  The natural flow of the lake and the natural level of the lake were significantly altered.

Prior to these events all water coming into the lake went out over Whatcom Falls alone, creating a natural South to North flow and consistent mixing throughout the whole body of water.  The lake level was also regulated by the shelf at the falls which is at about 308 ft. above sea level.

The legal maximum lake level was established at 314.94 feet by Whatcom County Superior Court in 1953.  The City of Bellingham controls lake level by a control dam at the head of Whatcom Creek

Considering that Lake Whatcom has about 30 miles of shoreline, how much new soil was introduced into the lake as the water level was raised by 7 ft?   Just a rough order of magnitude calculation suggests several  million cubic feet.  One of the arguments against development in the lake area has to do with the potential damage from soil erosion.  Again, I’d be foolish to argue that development won’t have any impact on the lake, but any normal development issues or unmulched garden soils, would seem to pale next to 30 miles of shoreline mixing in the lake.

It may not have been a coincidence that one historical source I looked at noted that during the “1940′s and since: there has been about one fish-kill per decade “

Another thing to consider in the phosphorus equation is that the newly created shoreline, with water levels held constant by the dam, will continually leach more phosphorus into the water than the stronger natural shoreline.    Natural shorelines with their varying water levels promote healthy riparian zones with plenty of plant life to protect shoreline soil.  We’ve all seen ponds, streams and natural lakes where as water levels recede during the late part of summer, grasses and plants keep growing right down to the water level.  Then as water levels rise in the fall and storm driven waves lap against the shoreline, the grasses are there in abundance to hold the soil in place.  In contrast, when dams hold water levels to a year round consistent level the riparian areas all but disappear except in the most shallow shorelines and without riparian areas wave actions constantly undercut shorelines with continually drops fresh soil and phosphorus into the lake.

lake whatcom piped outHistorical information also pointed out a big issue regarding water flow through the lake.  Prior to the COB pipeline, when the lake flow was natural, as little as 5-8 million gallons of of water per day flowed through the creek during much of the year.   I can’t find a definitive number, but it looks like the COB and others are draining anywhere from 5-20 million gallons per day from near the middle of the lake.  The net effect during much of the year would be the creation of backwater areas with relatively little flow.  To add insult to the condition of the lake, these backwater areas are also the shallowest and most developed areas of the lake.  Anything, natural or unnatural that enters the lake in these areas during warmer weather will just sit there simmering in a big crock pot.

I’m not advocating flushing the lake with extra water to remove pollutants, however restoring normal flow would both move the warmest water off the surface and down the creek as well as helping to mix the layers of water that remain in the lake.

duck-with-diaper So what’s wrong with Lake Whatcom is that we screwed it up trying to make it water reservoir.  We put in the dam and we put in a new drain.   We can stop all development, fine people who won’t use eco-friendly soap, bring litigation on parents who let their kids pee while learning to swim, heck we could even diapers the ducks, but the lake won’t be fixed unless we undo our screw ups; plug the hole and remove the dam.  Restore the lake to restore the lake.

Plugging the drain would initially leave a lot of thirsty and ripe smelling hamsters who could either leave or come up with a solution that keeps the lake healthy.  One solution would be to remove the water after it leaves the lake and storing it in a reserve that is protected from landslides, diaperless ducks and other previously mentioned calamities.  And perhaps some progressive thinker would figure out a way to glean a little hydro power from the water as it travels down the hill to the holding pond.

I’ll grant that this is a costly solution, but it is the only real solution seen.   And it’s not like their hasn’t been a lot of money thrown at studies, experts and enforcement, we just need to redirect the aim towards a solution.

links,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Whatcom

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/pubs/0803024.pdf

http://www.cob.org/services/environment/water-quality/lake-whatcom.aspx

http://lakewhatcom.org/faq4.shtml

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/biblio/0403015.html

http://www.acadweb.wwu.edu/cpnws/RWC/Draftnar.htm

Pacific Reporter

http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~gmyers/ehe/lake.whatcom.timeline.html

http://cob.org/

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