2012 in Review–My Blogging Site at Progressive Activists Voice

A really nice gift from WordPress.com which is one of the best blogging sites on the Internet!!—Thomas Baldwin

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Important Sierra Club Press Release: Harrison County Chancery Court Issues Disappointing Decision, Sierra Club Will Press On

Sierra Club Wilderness imageFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 18, 2012

CONTACT:

Jenna Garland, (404) 607-1262 x 222, jenna.garland@sierraclub.org

Louie Miller, (601) 624-3503, louie.miller@sierraclub.org

 Sierra Club Challenge to Kemper Plant to Move Forward

Harrison County Chancery Court Issues Disappointing Decision, Sierra Club Will Press On

JACKSON, MS – The Sierra Club will continue to challenge the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s unlawful approval of the multi-billion dollar Kemper County Coal Plant project after a disappointing ruling from the Harrison County Chancery Court. The Chancery Court  issued a ruling late on the afternoon of Monday, December 17, declining to reverse the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) approval of the experimental and controversial coal project. Sierra Club will appeal the ruling.

“We respectfully disagree with Chancellor Persons’ decision today,” said Louie Miller, State Director of the Mississippi Sierra Club. “We know that the PSC wrongly approved this dirty, expensive, and unnecessary project, and the economic wellbeing of thousands of families on the coast hangs in the balance. The Kemper plant was a bad deal when it was first proposed, but in the last few months we’ve seen huge cost overruns and delays, which will make this project even more unaffordable for coastal Mississippi Power customers. The PSC has made the wrong decision twice, and we’ll keep fighting to protect those customers.”

Sierra Club challenged the Public Service Commission’s initial approval of Mississippi Power’s proposed Kemper facility, and in March 2012, the Mississippi Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision supporting Sierra Club’s challenge, ultimately sending the Kemper project back to the Public Service Commission for reconsideration with additional information. Following the Supreme Court order, the Public Service Commission acted swiftly and in a brazen manner to protect the interests of Mississippi Power at the expense of its captive customer base in Southern Mississippi. Commissioners Lynn Posey and Leonard Bentz voted to re-authorize the Kemper plant in a meeting lasting less than one minute.

Since the PSC voted to reauthorize the plant, a series of independent reports has revealed that Mississippi Power has struggled with construction and engineering problems, leading to massive cost overruns and delays. Recent estimates have shown that capital costs for the project alone could reach $3 billion, a significantly higher figure than that authorized by the Public Service Commission. The Mississippi Business Journal projected that the Kemper plant would lead to rate increases of at least 45% for residential ratepayers; if the Kemper project remains over budget, ratepayers may be forced to pay even more.

“Mississippi Power can no longer credibly claim that the Kemper plant is in good shape,” added Miller. “They need to stop putting lipstick on this pig and come clean about the true state of the plant’s finances and construction, and the Public Service Commission needs to step in and pull the plug before customers are made to foot the bill for Mississippi Power’s $3 billion mistake.”

 

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Haley Barbour’s Dirty Money: Lobbying for the Kemper County Coal Plant

I have requested permission from Louie Miller, MS Director of the Sierra Club to distribute this report and been granted permission from Jenna Garland, Press Secretary and author to release it as a blog.  It is entirely consistent with the blog I wrote (Barbour’s Love Affair) , not as a member of the Sierra Club, on Thanksgiving 2012. Please pay attention!!

Thomas Baldwin, Biloxi, MS    12/12/12

Sierra Club Wilderness image

A SPECIAL REPORT FROM THE SIERRA CLUB  

View as web page Sent to . Not you? Sign up here.
Sierra Club Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

December 10, 2012

Contact:  Louie Miller, louie.miller@sierraclub.org, (601) 859-1054, Cell: (601) 624-3503 

Haley Barbour Fails to Disclose Lobbying Ties to Southern Company, Kemper Plant

New Sierra Club Report Details Barbour’s Lobbying Gains 

JACKSON, MS – A new report from the Mississippi Sierra Club has revealed that former Governor Haley Barbour has failed to disclose his financial ties to corporate giant Southern Company, parent company of Mississippi Power (MPCO). In recent public statements the former Governor has lent his support to the experimental and controversial Kemper County Coal Plant. Two weeks after his term as Governor ended in January 2012, Barbour rejoined his Washington, D.C., lobbying firm, Barbour, Griffith, and Rogers (BGR), and resumed actively lobbying for Southern Company again. According to filings with the United States Senate Office of Public Records, the company has already paid Barbour $150,000 dollars in 2012. Barbour founded BGR in 1998.

Further inquiry showed that Barbour’s son, Haley Reeves Barbour, Jr., was listed as a lobbyist in 2011 for Southern Company when his father still held the office of the Governor of Mississippi. Southern Company paid BGR Group $200,000 dollars for lobbying services in 2011 and $2.6 million total since hiring the firm in 1999.1

“Governor Barbour should admit that he is on Southern Company’s payroll while he is out publicly trying to blame the Sierra Club for the failure of the Kemper project,” stated Louie Miller, State Director of the Mississippi Sierra Club. “From 2008 to 2012, the years that Kemper has been on the front burner, BGR Group has received almost $1 million doing the bidding of Mississippi Power and Southern Company. Funny how the Governor forgot to mention this in his recent Op-Ed and public statements attacking the Sierra Club.”

Barbour’s attacks on Sierra Club, and his vigorous, fact-free defense of the Kemper plant have recently appeared in almost every state newspaper, apparently in response to the massive budget troubles encountered by the Kemper plant.  

Recent Independent Monitor reports of the Kemper project found that Kemper is $400 million over budget and rising, and only 41% complete. With current capped costs of $2.88 Billion and uncapped costs of $744 Million, Kemper’s current price tag to state tax payers and Mississippi Power customers is $3.62 Billion.2

“The reality is that Mississippi families and businesses – not MPCO – will be forced to shell out billions to pay for a plant that is already hundreds of millions over budget and is not guaranteed to work on day one.3 Once Mississippians start to pay, they will be paying for 40 years, even with vastly cheaper and cleaner energy options are available,” added Miller.

The Mississippi Sierra Club will continue working to protect Mississippi families and businesses from the Kemper boondoggle.

View the Report Online: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B1dk6uYv0lc2NDN6T2lQNlR3VWc

  1. Center for Responsive Politics, http://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/summ.php?disp=I, 11/27/2012
  2. URS Independent Monitor Report; September 2012
  3. Mississippi Power Vice-President Testimony, Mississippi Public Service Commission Hearing, 6/22/2012

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My blog (Baldwin) on this subject from 11/22/12:  

http://proactvoice.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/ex-governor-haley-barbours-love-affair-with-the-mississippi-power-co/

 

Will We Fall Off the “Fiscal Cliff” Before the “End of the World?”

biloxi-lighthouse-stamp-25

By Thomas Baldwin, Biloxi, MS   12/12/12

Insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  Albert Einstein(attributed)

The drama being presented for the public this month, especially from our centers of power, the totally corrupt Washington D.C. collaborating with our corporate media, is designed to make us all babbling idiots.  It appears that Hurricane Sandy temporarily disrupted their script, so they created a new focus to distract us, the “Fiscal Cliff”.  The visual image the public is supposed to form is one of falling off a cliff and perhaps even being shoved.  This is such a disgusting political ploy, we should identify the origins of this and hang the persons responsible in the public square!  It is worse than crying fire in a theater when there is no fire.

And then we have separately those fear mongers predicting the “End of the World” will occur on 12/21/12.  This is based on the end of the Mayan Calendar developed in Guatemala in about 696 A.D. The Mayan’s failed to give us an update and, thus, some are being obsessed with ambiguity.  Those on the radical right, e.g. Christian right leaders, will seize on this to predict another religious apocalypse.  It will serve as a good time for them to recruit “followers.”

Here’s your firm December 2012 Calendar of “Events”:

12/12/12—This date is a fact and occurs only once in a century.

12/21/12—The “end” of the Mayan Calendar

12/21 or 22//12—The beginning of the Winter Solstice either 12/21 or 12/22 (and end of Fall)

12/25/12—Christmas

12/31/12—Deadline for shoving the Middle Class, poor people, the unemployed and the elderly off the Fiscal Cliff.

12/31/12—New Year’s Eve—Get ready for Year 13!

The Politics of Fear

The U.S. has become a fear based society propagated by Washington politicians and the corporate media, especially the major TV networks.  This was accelerated greatly in 2001 by the shock of 9/11.  As discussed recently by Dr. Brian Moench, who wrote an article  entitled, “Psychopaths and Schizophrenics are Holding America Hostage”, we are being endangered by mentally ill persons posing as leaders rather than “terrorists” in our own country. They have been elevated to positions of power in the political sector. Former V.P. Dick Cheney was one of the best examples of this and able to make himself acting president for at least four years after 9/11, having suffered from severe PTSD.  Many others in the nation have been encouraged to continue their post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with no rational treatment and without even recognizing it.  In Congress as well as the Executive Branch we now have an abundance of those who are suffering from mental disorders and become highly susceptible to brain washing and group think. They are addicted to both money and power; they have adopted Gordon Grekko’s philosophy from the movie, “Wall Street”,  “Greed is Good.” They offer to save us from another financial disaster but are only concerned about their own prosperity and survival. It is no accident that their behaviors have led to the lowest approval ratings on record for the Congress.

Facts Surrounding the Fiscal Cliff

Nearly every night David Letterman asks his audience: “Does anyone know what  the Fiscal Cliff is?”   Of course, no one really tries to answer but everyone suspects our elected officials are up to no good.  It is an artifact set up by Congress and approved by Obama in earlier “negotiations” created around the crisis of raising the Debt Ceiling.  It didn’t become an issue during the last election because no one wanted to address it honestly.  It was reserved for the lame duck session because nearly all of the people running for office were cowards afraid to address the crisis that was set in motion by Congressional and Executive Branch incompetence. It was done with the intent to generate pressure for a decision to resolve our economic crisis caused from the crooks and liars on Wall Street who want to make sure that the public pays for the crimes they themselves caused in the crash of 2008. And they won’t rest until they blackmail Congress in cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and prevent the real cause of our debt problem which is decades of reducing taxes on the rich and corporations. It has become an excuse to drive the nation into a prolonged period of austerity when history has shown that is no solution for a serious recession.

fiscal cliff--Santa going overAs I described in a recent blog, Washington  is always designing “Weapons of Mass Distraction” to avoid addressing the real problems.  Unemployment has become a chronic problem and where even those able to find jobs do so at lesser wages including part time and temporary positions. And each month hundreds of thousands drop out of the work force and no longer appear in unemployment figures, giving the illusion that things are getting better.  The Obama administration is only too happy to take credit for these perpetual lies.

No attention is given to the fact that income/wealth inequities in the U.S. are nearly the greatest in history and in the world.  In fact, it will create a situation where the deficit and the debt will become even worse creating an even greater excuse for cutting “entitlements.”  The psychopaths and the schizophrenics are winning another battle at the expense of the masses and the inmates of the asylum are very much in charge. In the meantime, the Executive Branch under Obama can continue to practice their international imperialistic wars (using robots) wherever possible and deprive us of our individual Constitutional rights to protest.  Thanks to Obama with the full support of Congress, you can now be indefinitely detained with no rights of due process if you complain!  Chris Hedges and Glenn Greenwald have given an excellent description of this and placed it in perspective.

It is also nearly a perfect example of Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, the brilliant book of examples of Disaster Capitalism.  Barack Obama has served nearly perfectly as the “Manchurian Candidate” or Trojan Horse acting on behalf of the corporatist class. He has totally “neutralized” the “Liberal” opposition and made the Democratic Party nearly totally impotent. So occupy the courts--gulfport 004 (4)--Glen Sandberg cropped --newwhether you want to be invited to jump off the cliff or simply wait for another asteroid or planet  to hit the Earth you are about to be given a choice.  You may have this opportunity sooner than you think and  December may be the time for you to decide.  Of course, as my colleague, Jill Dalton, wrote recently, you can also “Go Back to Sleep America at your Own Peril” but then the silence will become deafening!

**Photo by Thomas Baldwin.  Cartoon from Drew Sheneman, Tribune Media Services. Lighthouse is a reproduction of a stamp of the Biloxi Lighthouse.

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About the author;  Thomas Baldwin, Ph.D. has a doctorate in Physics and a Masters degree in Management.  He has had long careers in both physics and management consulting including university appointments as a professor both at the Southern Illinois University and Colorado Technical University.  He has been a corporate consultant to many well known large firms in project management and is current “officially” retired.  In the last four years or more he has been focusing on applying his skills to better understand the political sector including socioeconomic conditions which are affecting our welfare and basic economic health. He can be reached at  doctom2010@yahoo.com