Blogs Related to Occupy MS Power and Stop Kemper Coal Plant Scam

by Dr. Tom Baldwin

Biloxi, MS, February 29, 2012

Below is a collection of most of the blogs I have posted relevant to the Stop Kemper Coal campaign by Occupy Biloxi in support of the MS Sierra Club.  These were posted in the three month period from the beginning of December 2011 until the end of February 2012.  It is an ongoing effort;  thus additions will be  made to this blog periodically. Here are four of the latest blogs which have been distributed on Facebook pages:

Kemper Coal—Final Flyer (If you click on this link you can download the Flyer. Please make copies and circulate to your neighborhood businesses, churches and others!) In January, 2012, you..

Here is Derek Gipson’s excellent letter on the Kemper Coal Plant presented on my blog. Please read and share widely with all of your friends!

http://proactvoice.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/is-the-mississippi-power-kemper-coal-plant-corporate-socialism/

proactvoice.wordpress.com

by Derek Gipson Long Beach, MS February 26, 2012 Real capitalism involves risk. Unfortunately, the Public Service Commission of Mississippi has absolved Mississippi Power of all risk in their …
 

The blog here represents the latest letter Will Watson has sent to the Sun Herald (Gulfport-Biloxi) and the Clarion Ledger (Jackson). I jazzed it up a bit with some photos!

http://proactvoice.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/corporatism-mississippi-style/

proactvoice.wordpress.com

by Will Watson, Ph.D., Long Beach, MS January 24, 2012 Although people always say Occupy Wall Street (OWS) lacks clear cut goals and policy ideas, its overall goal is to end “corporatism”. T… 

 
 
The list below represent blogs posted on my blog site since December specifically on Kemper:
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Is The Mississippi Power Kemper Coal Plant “Corporate Socialism”?

by Derek Gipson

Long Beach, MS

February 26, 2012

Real capitalism involves risk.  Unfortunately, the Public Service Commission of Mississippi has absolved Mississippi Power of all risk in their building of the Kemper County Coal Plant.  In June of 2010, the Public Service Commission, including the Coast’s commissioner, Leonard Bentz, approved the financing of the 2.88 billion dollar coal plant by the ratepayers.  The ratepayers will be paying higher electricity bills for power yet to be used.  This is like asking future customers to finance the startup of a company before consuming any of its products.  The real kicker is that if this experimental plant does not produce as planned, we still have to pay for its construction plus a profit.  And it is indeed experimental.  While not fundamentally against new technologies, I am against absorbing the risk of new technologies without my consent. 
In May of 2010, all three commissioners voted to cap the financing at 2.4 billion. This was not enough for MS Power.   A month and a letter from Governor Barbour later, the Commission said that 2.88 billion dollars was acceptable.  Could the vote switch be because one of Barbour’s current clients is A Southern Company?

Also, natural gas has never been cheaper.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the price of natural gas is down 32% from last year and is expected to stay there for two years.  Unfortunately, no risk equals no incentive to keep costs low, hence coal instead.  Casinos, Ingalls, and other big businesses are exempt from this rate-hike which passes more of the expense to small businesses and residences.

The Mississippi Supreme Court is reviewing the Commission’s vote.  Please call Mr. Bentz and ask questions.  We can influence our government.  Our elected officials do listen.

Lastly, Brandon Presley, the one consistent “no” vote, called this thing “Socialism for the rich.”   Well, its definitely not capitalism. 

To contact Leonard Bentz to voice your concerns:

Leonard Bentz – Vice Chairman, Southern District
Voice: (601) 961-5440 • Toll-Free: (800) 356-6429 • Fax: (601) 961-5842
                                    

Is this America from “Exceptionism” to Complete Fascism?

by Glen Sandberg, Gulfport, MS

February 24, 2012

We need to remember what we learned in the 1930s and ’40s!  Born in 1928, I was there!  At age 83, now a dozen years retired from working in Medical Physics (Radiation Therapy), I see the United States (we think with the best of intentions!) becoming the enemy of the whole world.  (Glen Sandberg–Occupy Courts)                                                                 

 The German people were persuaded with mass-media propaganda that they were the MASTER RACE and they would conquer the world for everyone else’s benefit!  Would-be aristocrats everywhere, including Britain, France, Norway, and the U.S. were glad to support them because they were all afraid of the RED MENACE, the people-power of the day.

“FASCISM should more appropriately be called CORPORATISM because it is a MERGER of State and Corporate Power.”  ~ Benito Mussolini

“We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike.” ~Adolph Hitler, May 2, 1933

“When they came for the Jews, I did nothing, for I am not a Jew. When they came for the Socialists, I did nothing, for I am not a Socialist.  When they came for the labor leaders, the homosexuals, the gypsies, I did nothing, for I am none of these, and when they came for me, I was alone, there was no one to stand up for me.”  ~ Martin Niemoller, a Lutheran pastor from Nazi Germany.

“They (American Fascists) claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”  ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The anti-democratic nature of financial power is not news; our revolutionary founders revolted against the monopoly power of the British Crown Corporations.

“Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor liberty to purchase power.”
~ Benjamin Franklin – 1785

“Nothing could be more irrational than to give the people power, and to withhold from them information without which power is abused.”
~ James Madison

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”  ~ Thomas Paine

“What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760 – 1775, in the course of fifteen years, before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington.” ~ John Adams, Letter to Thomas Jefferson, August 24, 1815

“I hope we shall… crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of our country.”  ~ Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Logan November 12, 1816

” If the American people ever allow private banks to control issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and the corporations will grow up around them, will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” ~ Thomas Jefferson.

“I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”  ~Thomas Jefferson

And the conflict between Investment-for-Profit and Power to the People has been with us throughout history.

“The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace, and conspire against it in times of adversity. The banking powers are more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. They denounce as public enemies, all who question their methods or throw light upon their crimes.”  ~ Abraham Lincoln

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country…corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.”  ~ Abraham Lincoln, letter to Col. William F. Elkins, Nov. 21, 1864

“We stand equally against government by a plutocracy and government by a mob. There is something to be said for government by a great aristocracy which has furnished leaders to the nation in peace and war for generations; even a democrat like myself must admit this. But there is absolutely nothing to be said for government by a plutocracy, for government by men very powerful in certain lines and gifted with “the money touch,” but with ideals which in their essence are merely those of so many glorified pawnbrokers.”  ~Teddy Roosevelt, 1913

“Congress is not preparing to defend the people of the United States. It is planning to protect the capital of American speculators and investors…. Incidentally this preparation will benefit the manufacturers of munitions and war machines…. Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought! Strike against manufacturing shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder! Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings! Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction! Be heroes in an army of construction!”  ~ Helen Keller at Carnegie Hall January 5, 1916

“The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson.”  ~FDR, Letter to Col. Edward Mandell House, November 21, 1933

“Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any other controlling private power.  The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living. Both lessons hit home. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing.”  ~Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937

This speech by FDR  in 1936  shows how a strong, effective  president dealt with these corporate fascist forces within.  And he  didn’t just talk about these things;  he did them!

What’s different today is the overwhelming power of the commercial media.  In the 1930s Motion Pictures and Radio were new and expensive; industrialists and financiers used them to put the NAZIs in power, to do their dirty work, and they didn’t know, or didn’t care, what they were getting.  Today several generations have been immersed in the cultural ambiance of Television, run by professional propagandists whose job is to bend public opinion for the benefit of their owners and sponsors.  They know what they can get away with – make it sound plausible, and attributed to a higher authority, and repeated, and people will believe their lies.  So we get perpetual war in the name of democracy!  And an unsustainable fossil fuel dependence, and a dead-end, depressed, low-wage economy while short-term corporate profits were never higher!

But there’s hope!  With the economy of digital communication everyone has access to information, and the world has shrunk to milliseconds!  We can make everyone our enemy, but war is obsolete.  Insurgencies will go on forever thanks to our own revolutionary founders who showed that self-government is possible.

The world, and the American people, can wake up and see their way to a real Populist revival.  And a cultural renaissance that does not depend on unsustainable consumption.

Glen Sandberg     <glens@ieee.org>

Angry? You’re Damn Straight I’m Angry. Roger that. by Jill Dalton

by Jill Dalton, NYC

February 16, 2012 (Reprinted with permission)

After reading Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis’ first hand account of his recent time spent in Afghanistan I’m more pissed off then ever. Yet another military officer comes forward to tell the truth about yet another ill-fated war we find ourselves engaged in.  Another illegal war of aggression with no end in sight and surround sound corruption aided and abetted by an enabling government and a bloated military too full of its own hubris to admit defeat. 

“On his (Davis’) second yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis traveled 9,000 miles, patrolled with American troops in eight provinces and returned in October of last year with a fervent conviction that the war was going disastrously and that senior military leaders had not leveled with the American public.” 

Davis lays out his experiences and views in the article, “Truth, Lies and Afghanistan: How Military Leaders Have Let Us Down.”  

“How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding and behind an array of more than seven years of optimistic statements by U.S. senior leaders in Afghanistan? No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan. But we do expect — and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve — to have our leaders tell us the truth about what’s going on.”

Davis brings to mind Colonel David H. Hackworth, the most decorated officer in the history of our military, served in Korea and did several tours of Vietnam until finally he was so disillusioned by the lack of response from the military to heed his warnings and recommendations he spoke out publically.  In June of 1971 he appeared on the national TV show, “Issues and Answers” thereby revealing the Pentagons fundamental misunderstanding of the Vietnam conflict and of the bureaucracy, corruption and self-interest that fueled that lost war.  He spoke of the Generals who continued to paint a rosy picture of the war because they’re more concerned about their stars and pensions then with what was really going on in Vietnam. And still we kept that failed war going for another four years and for what?

In Vietnam over a million North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong were killed, somewhere between half a million to 5 million civilians and there are 58,196 names on the Vietnam wall.  The wall doesn’t include the names of the homeless vets, the vets who lost their families, their souls or the vets who committed suicide.  That war of empire finally ended in defeat after 9 years.  Our soldiers had become so dejected many finally refused to fight and started ‘fragging,’ murdering, their commanding officers.

Our military also dumped tons of toxic chemicals on Vietnam, which defoliated and decimated the landscape.  These chemicals caused horrible deforestation and birth defects in their children and these effects are not going away any time soon.  The Vietnamese have tried and failed to receive any reparations for what the U.S. did to their country and their people. 

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

I grew up in the military.  My father fought in WWII, Korea and served in military intelligence Saigon so I know first hand and at close range what war does to families.  War destroys families.  I’m always amazed by the chicken hawks in Washington who so willingly send other people’s children into harms way with no regard for the consequences of their actions.  They don’t care because the majority of our elected officials never served and neither will members of their families.  How convenient for them.  There ought to be a law any member of congress whose children are of age must serve in the wars they vote for.

Same old crap.  Different war.  And so we find ourselves in a war like Vietnam all over again but our government and the military are too cowardly to admit it.   The Generals comply with our government to protect their rank while our soldiers and civilians continue to die for a cause that never was and never will be.  We just keep sending more troops and throwing billions of borrowed dollars, which we can never repay, down a rat hole.  And for what?  For the profits of the military industrial complex?

Jill and Shamar Thomas

And why?  Why?  Because quite simply a few people bilk billions from these wars.  Gen. Smedley Butler, USMC, two-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, called it like he saw it.  “War is a racket.  A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”  General now President Eisenhower warned us about the military industrial complex in his farewell address to our nation.  Our military has now become a giant cancer metastasizing across the globe.

But still we do not listen.  Why?  War’s big business.  The military industrial complex and our government officials, drunk on power, are blind and cannot see.  They do not hear our cries.  They don’t care about our soldiers.  Sure they pay lip service to them.  Talk is cheap.  I’m disgusted by the lack of leadership in Washington.  I see our so-called leaders as traitors to our republic, our Constitution and the American people.  Yes I said it, they’re traitors.  Our leaders, now totally dependent on corporate dollars, have become nothing but corporate hacks shilling for the almighty dollar.

I was recently called out by a person I went to college with for expressing my opinions about President Obama and the Democrats being corrupt and complicit (like the Republicans) regarding these wars and using them as an excuse to take our rights away.  He shot back at me, “Gee you seem really angry.”  And we all know nobody likes an angry woman.  Right?  I had to pause and think about that.

Angry?  Really?  Hmmm.  More like outraged.  I’m outraged our soldiers are redeployed 3,4,5 times but who’s counting?  Outraged they’re committing suicide in record numbers and nobody gives a damn.  Outraged we’re spending $120 billion a year on these illegal wars, building mosques and schools in Afghanistan while closing firehouses, post offices libraries and schools at home.  Outraged the Pentagon consumes 52% of our budget as they threaten to cut Medicare and every safety net we’ve ever known.  Outraged our government is completely corrupt and runs on lies and warmongering.  Outraged at the chicken hawks in Washington who start these illegal wars by using lies and fear.  (WMD’s, the smoking cloud, Saddam Hussein is Hitler, they hate us for our freedoms.) all the while bilking billions for themselves and their crony’s.  Outraged their children never serve.  Outraged they never served.  Outraged the Pentagon’s drunk on power and consumed by false pride.  Outraged they’re taking our freedom’s away one by one with the Patriot Act, NDAA, TSA, Citizens United.  Outraged you’re not outraged.  Angry?  Your damn straight I’m angry.  So my question is why aren’t you?

In the words of Dante, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”

It’s my duty as an American citizen to speak out.  “Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.”  Albert Einstein.

When will these wars end?  These wars will end when the American people stand up en mass and say, “Enough!  No more!  Not on my watch!”

About recoveringarmybrat

Jill Dalton is a recovering army brat/writer/performer who has appeared in film and television as well as performing her solo plays in New York and around the country. Most recently she can be seen in and consulted for William Hurt on the HBO film, “Too Big To Fail.” Her articles have been published on: Dandelion Salad, RSN, OpEdNews & Progressive Activists Voice. She is currently writing a screenplay.View all posts by recoveringarmybrat

Will Watson’s Letter to Barry Haywood, USM Center for Human Rights

From: William Watson <Wil.Watson@usm.edu>

To: Barry Haywood <Barry.Haywood@usm.edu>
Cc: “coastgreen1@yahoo.com” <coastgreen1@yahoo.com>
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2012 10:59 PM
Subject: RE: Occupy Biloxi

Barry: 

I’m not sure if our current campaign would fall into the category of human rights, strictly defined, or not, but I’m glad you contacted me. Here’s what we’re about. Occupy Biloxi is working with the Sierra Club and the STEPS Coalition to raise public awareness of the threat posed to people’s pocketbooks, health, water and air by Mississippi Power’s Kemper County Coal plant scheme. Let me lay our case here. 

We’ve taken to calling the Kemper plan a boondoggle because it so clearly epitomizes the detrimental impacts of unrestrained corporatism. It will be expensive, dirty and unnecessary. It will rip off ratepayers and harm the environment and make MPC shareholders a lot of money–whether it  works or not– while dumping all the risk on ratepayers and the federal government. It looks very much like a Mississippi version of the Wall Street crony capitalism that led to the crash of 2008. 

The residential ratepayers of Mississippi Power will see rate increases of nearly 40% in 2012 to pay for the construction of a highly experimental $2.88 billion “clean coal” plant in Kemper County, up by Meridian. This will be the largest single capital investment in the history of the state, and none of the capital belongs to Mississippi Power or its shareholders. About $300 million will come from DOE loan guarantees and grants, with the rest being raised by sharp rate increases on MS Power’s 190,000 residential ratepayers. Corporate customers, such as the casinos, Chevron Pascagoula and Ingalls-Lytton shipbuilding will be spared the increase. Mississippi Power is even charging ratepayers for the $11 million spent lobbying the state legislature to approve the plan back in 2009! 

Besides being expensive, the Kemper Plant will also be dirty. The plant will be fueled using lignite–soft coal–from a nearby, and gigantic, open cast lignite mine–with up to 40 square miles slated for extraction. According to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) filed with the DOE, the mine will have no protections against toxic run off. The same looks to be true–again, based on the EIS filed with the DOE–of the 500 acre ash dump. These pollution sinks are smack dab in the middle of the Pascagoula River headwaters and will thus pose a major water pollution threat to the Pas river–the last free flowing river system in the continental USA. The toxins also pose a risk to any number of threatened and commercially valuable species, both in the river and surrounding wetlands and eventually in the Mississippi Sound. Finally, the terms of the DOE loan guarantees stipulate that MPC only has to capture CO2 from its waste stream if there are commercial buyers for the effluent. If no buyers queue up to buy Kemper’s expensive CO2 waste–which seems likely given that nobody has ever tried to actually sell so much toxic waste before–the DOE will allow the plant to simply emit it into the atmosphere, about 5 million tons of CO2 and 80 pounds of Mercury a year, making the plant a major pollution source under the EPA.  

Finally, the plan’s expense is totally unneccessary. If Kemper comes fully on line it will produce about 590MW of power. The particular process being planned for the plant has never produced power on that scale anywhere in the world before, but even if it works, that output is dwarfed by the 7000MW that could be produced by the series of natural gas powered plants built by independent producers in the MPC service area back in the 1990′s. These plants produce power at only about 10-15% of capacity because MPC steadfastly refuses to buy MW’s from them, citing the “price volatility” of natural gas, a complaint rendered hollow by recent new nat-gas finds and increased infrastructure investment. The independent gas fired plants could easily handle any projected increase in base load demand, and cheaply, given that natural gas prices are at an all time low. 

The cooperation of CHR and its member organization could  be very useful to our initiative to stop this monstrosity. And your help wouldn’t involve students driving to the Coast. I’ve attached a very concise flyer on the Kemper boondoggle. If this flyer could be produced and distributed–on campus bulletin boards, through member organization meetings and e-mail chains–it would extend our reach considerably. 

Mississippi Power serves ratepayers in the lower 27 counties of the state. Further, smaller power co-ops buy much of their juice from MPC. Thus, this scam will harm the families and budgets of many USM students and staff. In the current moment of economic crisis and ecosystem degradation, the Kemper scam really does pose a human rights impact. And it’s happening right on our doorstep. 

Let me know if I can be of any assistance in your deliberations on this matter. I have a plethora of research on this question. My comrades in the Sierra Club and I have been researching it since the Kemper Plant was first proposed. Thanks for the chance to make my case, All Best, and Solidarity!

 Will Watson Ph.D

English Department, USM GC

Occupy Biloxi/Sierra Club

Is This What Insanity Looks Like in the Body Politic?

 

Albert Einstein:  “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Is It Me or Them?

by Barbara Carvallo, Northglenn,  CO

February 7, 2012

There has been a kind of creeping insanity in the political system including the Democratic Party for years.   I first noticed it when the Party started to become  afraid of the word “Liberal” and cowered to the right wing.  Carl Jung said, and I am paraphrasing now, “When you separate yourself from some part of your humanity that from which you are separated returns as disease.” Welcome to Bedlam.

It isn’t just the Democrats; it is the whole damn body politic.  Some days I think that I have awakened in the movie, “Snake Pit.” The sensation is reinforced by the fact that Secretary of Treasury Geithner looks like Robert Stack.  Jan Brewer, Governor of AZ  reminds me of Lady Macbeth in her final scene – washing her hands and completely out of her mind.  Governors Rick Scott and Scott Walker are mental defectives riding the crest of madness. That helium balloon Christie in New Jersey is a megalomaniac and, I believe, a sadist. Obama is the first man of color to prominently play Hamlet, caught in an Existentialist crisis and driving himself nuts because he can’t make and stick to a bloody decision. In short they all appear to be  nuts in the Theater of the Absurd.  

Shakespeare loved madness as a color on his pallet. It makes a point. Today, the point is that the system has moved so far into the dysfunctional that only the seriously, clinically, dysfunctional can survive and continue to rise to the top of the pack. 

When insanity becomes the norm, the sane become a threat to the state.  When our insane government has its head so far up Wall Street and corporate America’s ass that their whole world looks like a gallbladder, the sane are not supposed to notice. When we do we are “undermining capitalism.”  When the insane put on stiletto heels, stroll up and down the Washington Mall singing “Hey Sailor” to every passing lobbyist, the sane are not supposed to know that they are whores.  When we do we are undermining the “free market.” 

It is a mark of lunacy to personify concepts.  Capitalism and the free market are concepts – they don’t eat, sleep or go to the toilet.  They are simply thought forms unless you are crazy enough to imagine them to exist as living entities and drag them around like a breathing teddy bear.  If that is your bag, then everyone who doesn’t’ want to play with your bear is a threat to the state.

So on days when I think I have awakened to the movie, “Snake Pit,” I walk out doors and  glance at the beautiful snow capped Rockies to the West of me  Then I am prepared to say, “Don’t go east young person (to Washington) unless you want to join the insane asylum.  If I can’t get out, then there is no point in screaming.  My voice would be lost amid the screams of a million others who are really suffering as our two party political system strives to make us all crazy and destroy our  Republic.

Barbara Carvallo lives at the foot of the Rocky Mountains with her husband, sister and two cats. She is a hardcore Liberal leaning Socialist. A writer by trade and poet by disposition, she is also a master gardener deeply in love with the essences of beauty – the rose.