REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

After watching Mitt Romney attempt to communicate over the years, I watched his jerky movements, his speech patterns, his argumentative manner, and his general inability to connect with the many different kinds of people who come to his political gatherings. I then remembered back to my years in high school and in teaching at all levels from elementary through high school and college. I am certain that at one time he went to school with the top button of his shirt buttoned, his pants buckled above his waste line, and if he got the chance he sat in the front row, got his work done on time and volunteered the answer to every question, often with off of the subject answers, and tended to be a little on the prissy side. There are also female versions of this type of person, but as a male, I have a little harder time describing them. Although after watching the Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, she fits in the female nerd category, without the prissy traits of Mitt. She has trouble telling the truth, first claiming that her meeting at the White House, with President Obama was very gracious, until she met him on the tarmac as he got of the plane, shook her finger in his face and claimed she felt threatened by him. She was definitely not gracious nor prissy, but would be better suited for a roller derby. My son fit into the male nerd mold, and my ex-wife was a female nerd who could always come up with an off the wall comment. She, like Mitt, could not tell a joke without it falling flat. I am certain after watching Mitt, that he fits the stereotype of a male nerd.

Rick Santorum is a religious fanatic, although my father, who loved a play on words, would have described him as a “religious frantic”. He is very intelligent and can give a very good speech, but I am not certain he can tell a joke or appreciate one. His intensity regarding his religious beliefs make one wonder if he can focus on tasks unrelated to his religious beliefs. Santorum appears to have been the victim of religious brain washing to the extent that he appears to be unable to think for himself.

Newt Gingrich has a long history as a member of the House of Representatives until he was forced to resign amid scandal. One former Republican House member stated that Gingrich wanted to tell other members how to vote and how to think. This particular attitude has been a problem with Republicans for a long time. If one of their members thinks out-of-the-box, they tend to get shunned and relegated to the less prestigious committees until their thinking is reformed. The Republican pledge not to vote for a tax increase by signing the document by Grover Norquist is a prime example of the pressure exerted by the Republican Party to follow the Republican “Group Think”. Newt may have been picked upon as a child and grew up as a bully.

Ron Paul does not fit the Republican Mold. He is better suited for the Libertarian Party than the Republican Party. He wants less government interference, less regulation, more states rights, no foreign wars, unless we are attacked first, no government snooping or interference with private citizens, and so on. Some of his ideas are easy to agree with, but the world is much more complex and our national boundaries and interdependence is much more complex due to our communications, trade, and international affairs.

Reincarnation–Fact or Myth

I have found this a very interesting topic over many years. It is not one that is treated as a serious issue particularly in the scientific community which views life as a biochemical state made up of atoms and different compounds, but with no spirit or concept of an afterlife. Since I started out as a liberal arts major and ended up with a background in physics and mathematics, I tend to bridge both worlds in my thinking. I have many books on the subject of reincarnation and have read many accounts of near death experiences in which people have been declared clinically dead and yet survived. Many of those who survived recount experiences in which they viewed their operations from the ceiling and heard themselves declared to be clinically dead. Others recount experiences of going through a tunnel toward a light in which they were greeted by friends, relatives and counselors who told them their mission in life was not yet finished.

Many of the major religions accept reincarnation as part of the cycle of life where one works out problems they have before they are accepted into a permanent state where it is no longer necessary to reincarnate. Most Christian religions accept the idea of Jesus of Nazareth as a soul worthy of resurrection without the need to reincarnate. Buddhists, depending upon the particular version of Buddhism, view the quest for enlightenment as a means to attain a state of permanent reincarnation. Buddhism is based upon the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who sought enlightenment, rather than to follow his father as the ruler of a state or region in eastern India. I have no intention of going into the various versions of either Christianity, Buddhism, or the Islamic religion. The topic is too vast for my purposes which is to discuss briefly the concept of reincarnation which is permanent state of existence where birth and death as we know it is no longer necessary. Wikipedia has an excellent overview of Buddhism which you can read if you are interested. My interest and reading has been primarily devoted to Zen Buddhism and to the Tibetan version of Buddhism.

One of my favorite books is a compilation of Zen thought, ZEN FLESH ZEN BONES, A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings(1957 and 1985) compiled by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki. It consists of a series of Koans which are thoughts designed to help the unenlightened to become enlightened. Here is an example of having attained enlightenment: MUDDY ROAD

TANZAN AND EKIDO were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.

Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

“Come on, girl” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. “We monks don’t go near females” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous, Why did you do that?”

“I left the girl there,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?”

Another book I found of great interest was written by a Irish Priest who left Ireland and spent ten or more years studying with a Zen Master in Japan. The book is entitled: CHRISTIAN ZEN: A WAY OF MEDITATION, by William Johnston. He was amazed that he could ask any question without fear of reproach by the Zen Master, who would usually answer much like Tanzan did in his answer to his fellow monk. William Johnston was amazed at the manner used by the Zen Master to enable the Priest to answer his own question for himself. He stated that if he had stayed in Ireland as a Catholic Priest he would never have thought through the answers to his questions in such depth.

Another author I have read extensively, was Ruth Montgomery who wrote many books on the subject of reincarnation, including one entitled Strangers Among Us(1979), and one entitled Aliens Among Us(1985). In the book Strangers Among Us, she discusses people who she calls Walk-ins, as enlightened beings who are permitted to take over the body of an adult being who wishes to depart and has given permission to an enlightened being, who has undergone many reincarnations, to come back and work on a specific task without going through rebirth, childhood, and adulthood. Ruth Montgomery started out as a journalist and turned to writing books on many topics related to reincarnation. Among her associates were Edgar Casey a medium who worked with a medical doctor to help develop cures or treatments for diseases of his time. Casey had many books written by others based upon various topic he discussed over many years one entitled Edgar Cayce on Atlantis, compiled by Edgar Evans Cayce(1968) his son and who was the Director for the Association of Research and Enlightenment.

There are so many authors who have written upon this subject that I will not attempt to name them all, but I must at least list some of the books in my personal library which relate to the topic of life and other lives.

Gina Cerminara, Many Lives, Many Loves(1963), Lobsang Rampa, The Third Eye(1956), Carlos Castaneda, The Fire From Within(1985), George Gamow, One,Two,Three Infinity,…Facts and Speculations on Science(1988), Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics(1976), The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, translated by Edward Fizgerald(1962), Kahlil Gibran, The Profhet(1923), and R.G.H. Siu, The Tao Of Science, An Essay on Western Knowledge and Eastern Wisdom(1957). My list is short because it is up to the reader to explore this topic and come to their own conclusions. If you choose to explore it, you will come across many more authors, skeptics, who deny any afterlife. It is up to you. I hope you enjoy your journey.

The US House of Representatives and the US Senators Getting Rich

It appears that members of Congress are immune from the laws governing insider trading on the stock market. Suppose a member learns that a firm is going to come out with a new invention that will cause the stock price to increase dramatically. They can use that information to get rich, but if I were working for the same company and used that information to help out a relative, I would be subject to being indicted and possibly sent to prison for the same act. But members of Congress can use such information without fear of reprisal. Retired Senator Judd Greg and his brother made millions over the closing of an obsolete Air Force Base.  This explains why so many members of Congress do not want to increase taxes on  millionaires, because they are protecting themselves from paying more taxes.  No wonder the middle class voters have such a low opinion of Congress.   It is too bad that so many members of the middle class, who are uninformed, do not choose to vote out these millionaires and allow public financing of elections.  Public financing of elections would bypass the need to become a millionaire first or rely upon corporations to buy a Senator or Congressperson in order to become a member of Congress.

The other problem is with the Supreme Court.  We appoint the members of the Supreme Court for life, with no real means of removing them for failure to uphold a balanced view of the law and the constitution.  We have seen the willingness to the Current Supreme Court members to sell themselves to the highest bidder in their Citizens United case making a Corporation a person and allowing corporate money to buy anyone without any moral or  ethical values.  The current crop of would be Republican Presidential Candidates has gathered millions from Corporations, and the Supreme Court has made themselves available for purchase by attending ALEC meetings and have dipped into the Corporate coffers for their own accumulation of wealth.

The Republican Presidential Candidates have made their approval of the Citizens United windfall by using podiums which are labeled “Citizens United.”  I have no doubt that if we have a Republican elected as President, it will be business as usual and that the middle class will continue to decline until we have as a richer class of the “Haves and the Have Mores.”  to quote the Supreme Court Appointed but not Elected President George Bush.  My final admonition to the voters is to become informed, and to vote for those with ethical values which favor the entire population.  We do not need Senators like Mitch McConnell or Congresspersons such as Boener.  We need people willing to compromise and to vote for laws favoring the best interests of this nation.

Politicians, Supreme Court Justices, and Other Public Officials for Sale or Already Sold

Walter L. Bell, Ph.D.

It is amazing that with all the attention paid by various media outlets that more attention is not paid to investigating politicians who are obviously for sale or have already been sold by large corporations who funnel money to them. We have not yet heard anything new regarding Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who failed to file proper income tax returns on money earned by his wife. His excuse that he did not understand the tax laws is inexcusable. I personally do not understand all the tax laws, so I do the next best thing and hire a trustworthy Certified Public Accountant to do my income tax. We have also not heard anything about censoring Supreme Court Justices Thomas, Scalia, and Alito for their attendance at the secret meetings held by the Koch Brothers to plot ways to secure control of state, local, and the federal government by buying politicians such as Governors Scot Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasik of Ohio.

To give you a concrete example of the great Governor of Ohio, Cooper Tire Company negotiated a contract at one plant in Ohio and convinced the union employees to give up about $30,000 each, in wages and benefits over a three year period of time, to help make this particular plant profitable. The union did so and the plant became one of the most profitable in the Cooper Tire Company. After getting the union to give up wages and benefits, the management used much of the money to vote themselves huge bonuses. Now after three years of profits, the management of this particular Cooper Tire installation is trying to coerce the union to renegotiate their contract to again give up more wages and benefits so that they can again give themselves huge bonuses.

It is time for the workers to vote out any politician, like Walker and Kasik, who were bought and paid for by the corporations belonging to ALEC, and to get a Democratic majority in the House and Senate, with Obama as President and recall the Supreme Court Members who voted for Citizens United. Only the House of Representatives can recall a Supreme Court Member, so we need a solid majority of Democrats who have not been bought and paid for by the Corporations who belong to ALEC. You can easily tell who those politicians and corporations are by looking up www.ALEC.com. You can easily find your own state representatives and senators as well as the corporations, such as WalMart, who are providing the money to buy the politicians.

If you remember, former WalMart women employees tried to get the Supreme Court to force WalMart to compensate them for wages and promotions given to male employees while ignoring equally qualified women employees. It was reported that Supreme Court Justice Kennedy was rude and made disparaging remarks to and about the women in the this class action suit. We as citizens should not tolerate actions by the Supreme Court which are derisive to 99% of the citizens of the United States. I am in favor of the so-called Tea Party and the 99ers who have been out peacefully protesting politicians of all flavors who flaunt the will of the people. I do not always agree with the solutions proposed by these two groups, but I applaud their dedication to our nation.

We also have two of the Right Wing Supreme Court members who were invited to a meeting and lavish dinner by the big pharmaceutical firms, and who want the Supreme Court to rule on the Obama Health Care provisions and return the laws to the same firms who disallowed Health Care for preexisting conditions and for the provision that would require everyone to pay for at least a minimal amount of health care. This provision would allow the costs of emergency medical care to be added to those members who already pay for their health care. It appears that the Supreme Court is going to hear the case that the pharmaceutical firms want them to hear, so it certainly appears that the Right Wing members have already made up their minds to vote against the new health care laws just as they did on the Citizens United Case. Again, we have not only our Congressional politicians being bought and sold, but the Right Wing Supreme members are apparently on the “Take” as well.

Setting Up A WordPress. Org Blog

I have had many questions regarding how to set up a WordPress.org blog and how to choose a host, so I thought I would attempt to answer as many questions as I can in a post for all the readers who want to set up their own blog.

First of all, it is important to note that WordPress.com and WordPress.org serve different functions. WordPress.com can be easily set up but does not allow any advertising and self appointed persons can take down one’s site without any explanation. So I abandoned WordPress.com and set out to develop my own blog using WordPress.org. I now have a luxury car rather than a tricycle.

1. For a WordPress.org blog one needs to subscribe to a hosting service. I chose to host with Blue Host because it has online help for the beginner, live help 24/7, and Blue Host will help you set up your first Blog. I used this extensively when I first started blogging. So, if you are serious about starting your WordPress.org blog, I would CLICK HERE TO SIGNUP FOR BLUEHOST.COM

2. WordPress.org frequently updates their versions of of the blogs. The major problem I had with updates was not disabling the plugins, prior to updating to a new version. This caused me much grief and much wasted time. I had to try to find my posts which were scattered all over the internet, and when I found them I had to copy and paste them back to the blog and also edit them because all the posts are written in HTML. If you google HTML you will get a page on Wikipedia which provides you with an explanation of HTML. Web browsers such as Camino, Safari and others translate HTML into Visible and Audio Pages, so that you and I do not have to take the time. I have done a little of HTML coding, but it is not my idea of fun. The reason one cannot take a Word Document and copy and paste it into a Blog post is because the browsers do not work nicely with Word Documents which are not written in HTML, and therefore are not translated properly.

3. WordPress.org uses what are called Plugins which are coded using HTML and perform a variety of tasks. I will list a few of these to give you an idea of what a value they are to bloggers.
a. Akismet Stats separates spam emails from good ones, but for the ones which are accepted you still have to check for pornography which is abundant. One of the worst sites was written in Russian which I missed the first time until I used a translator provided by Camino.
b. Other plugins are Site Stats which keeps track of visitors to your blog, such as the Top 10 Recent Posts, the most commented upon, and so forth.
c. The most important plugin of all is the Autoresponder plugin, which you can pay for monthly, such as AWeber, or buy the GWA Autoresponder, which is a double optin/optout responder. These are mandated by law because one has the right to optout of an email, blog, a news magazine, spam and porn.

4. Finally to make this short if you are interested in blogging I would go to WordPress.org and read through their website, sigh up for their forum and learn how to set up your own blog. I have gotten all kinds of offers from persons to set up a blog or website for me for as much as $5000.00. My response is why should I do such a thing when I have four of my own which are designed primarily for writing articles on topics which interest me. I should note that if one wishes to write articles it will take a long time for people to find you, and you will get all kinds of offers to buy software which will provide you with instant success. I wasted money on these schemes without success, until people started to find me and my readership started to build. My other major blog: http://walter-bell.com/The Education Exchange: is devoted to Education related issues since I taught in the Public Schools for 19 years from 3rd grade through Senior High and taught all subjects in the elementary and mathematics in the junior high and high school. I also served as a Mathematics/Science Curriculum Supervisor for 3 years in a large public school system. I quit this job and spent 13 years in Higher Education teaching and earning a Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science. I am hoping to write more on Education, because for any of you who are sending your children through college, one needs to know that not all public schools are not a waste of time, and one does not have to go to a prestigious college to get a good education.

5. One last item of extreme importance is to read your post and read again and again, to check for misspellings, incomplete sentences, and poor grammar. I am embarrassed when I find errors in my posts, but the only way to prevent mistakes is to go over them many times.
I have a little book, The Plain English Handbook, which I used when I was in the 9th grade. It is the best source of of English usage I have come across. Go to my Amazon page and look it up. It will cost you the same whether you buy it from my site or from Amazon, but if you buy it from my site, I get a small commission.

NEW AND SMALL TECHNOLOGIES

The Federal Government and private corporations tend to fund large technologies and to overlook small technologies that cost relatively small amounts of start up costs and yet can make significant changes in our quality of life. One example is planting gardens on the roof of apartment and commercial buildings. This innovation can save thousands of dollars in energy costs with a small outlay of renovation costs. Another example is the use of rail systems which are rarely used, but can be used for public transportation in both metropolitan and rural areas. For example, in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area and the Willamete Valley, we have short rail lines which are already in place, and can readily be used with the installation of new platforms for passengers to step onto the train. We have one line which runs from downtown Portland to Wilsonville. This provides cheap transportation and saves commuters time and money which would otherwise be used sitting in traffic on the freeway. This train is composed of an engine car with passenger seats and one other passenger car. We do have a light rail system which has been rebuilt after it was abandoned during the 1950’s. It works well but has problems in the winter time when the overhead lines freeze with coats of ice and the railcar stalls. We could easily connect the coastal regions of Oregon using the existing short rail lines. Our own small community of Sherwood has a little used rail line which could also be used with a similar passenger rail car. At one time there were small passenger rail cars linking communities together all over Oregon so we would only reintroducing an old idea at a small cost.

In the area of power generation, the windmill farms are providing more energy than we can utilize because our power grid is not capable of transmitting all the available power being produced. Having traveled all over the western states in motor homes for several years, I know from personal experience that we have an abundance of wind energy that has not yet been utilized. Many times I have fought the wind in trying to keep the motor home on the road because it acts as a large sail. Large trucks have the same problem, particularly those with smooth sides. We are currently subsidizing oil companies for drilling for oil while ignoring the power grid and the storing of mechanical energy from the windmills until it can be converted back into electrical energy. One way to overcome this problem is to place fiber flywheels next to hydroelectric dams and windmill farms. These fiber flywheels already exist and can be spun up to 60,000 revolutions per minute or more and allow the storage electrical energy as mechanical energy until it is needed as electrical energy. The fiber flywheels run in a evacuated chamber and now have magnetic bearings so that their usable life is greatly extended. The fiber flywheels can also be used in automobile, trucks and locomotives. They can be used to capture energy in braking, or they can be charged through the electrical grid and used in automobiles in place of lithium batteries which contribute to pollution when discarded. The gyroscopic effects of using fiber flywheels in cars has been overcome, so there is no excuse for ignoring their use in cars along with electrical storage.

New Technologies for a Oil Free Future

We keep hearing about becoming independent of the Oil Companies and their million dollar contributions to judges, representatives, senators and any other person or entity that alter a vote, or provide legislation favorable to big oil. We need to quit trying to guess what the oil companies want and need and try to look at what is best for the common good of the people of this nation. How about considering some of the following:

1. Develop Hydrogen as a source of energy for the nation. I am certain that with a concerted effort such as occurred in World War II, we could have a Manhattan project to develop a nation wide project to use hydrogen as a fuel source. A recent article suggested using ammonia as a source of hydrogen. Other sources of hydrogen incorporate using a catalyst to break the hydrogen bonds and creating hydrogen by demand either at the home level as suggested in Switzerland or in moving transportation as suggested by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Still others suggest using solar panels as a means of breaking the hydrogen and oxygen bonds in water to create hydrogen on demand. Many of these do not demand a nationwide system of pipelines and storage facilities for a complete system for the use of hydrogen as a fuel.

2. Green buildings are not only affordable but are easily built as new construction or as a retrofit. Using the latter, building simple rooftop gardens on existing buildings can save millions in the loss of heat or in air conditioning costs which result from black roofs which absorb heat in the summer. Using silver colored shingles can cut the costs of air conditioning in the summer. Retrofitting buildings with solar panels and new low e windows can effectively lower the cost of heating and the loss of heat via conventional windows. Also, there are some new buildings either under construction or already completed which utilize solar panels, vertical windmills, and rooftop gardens to move this country toward self sufficient sources of energy so that our nation is not held hostage by foreign oil.

3. The move toward a self sufficient oil free future needs to be done on a national scale with the federal government supplying incentives to US based industries, and state and local governments to provide the means of developing and using and employing our own citizens to develop such a system. The Manhattan project was begun in World War II to develop the atomic bomb and became an example of the cooperation of all levels of industry and the universities to develop an atomic bomb before Germany and Japan did. It is amazing that when our security is truly threatened that we as a nation can unite and use our vast resources to protect ourselves. Practically every country subsidizes research and development to help its own citizens to earn a living. It is considered a Patriotic Act. In this country, the idea of considering our own citizens first has been labeled Socialism or Fascism or Communism. Patriotism means using our common resources to build a proud and self sufficient nation. If we want to continue as a nation, we have to rebuild this nation with our own citizens and with jobs provided in the United States. Out sourcing all of our manufacturing to other nations while neglecting our own citizens is a prescription for national disaster.

We Need Innovative Thinking and Solutions to Our Current Problems

We have many problems including the oil spill, the monetary problems with the banks, insurance companies, and stock market, the political deadlock in Congress, the Right leaning excesses of our Supreme Courts, and what has become a nation by the corporation, of the corporation, and for the corporation. We are not in danger of becoming a socialist nation, but we are being dominated by multinational corporations who care nothing about the citizens of the United States. The idea of loyalty and patriotism and personal sacrifice to the welfare of this nation has slowly declined since World War II. The wealthiest one per cent of this nation care only about their personal wealth and will do anything to protect themselves from paying taxes by removing their money into secret and protected off shore accounts. The bailouts of the banks and insurance companies came about due to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which was passed after the 1929 stock market crash to prevent the wild speculation that occurred in the past decade and resulted in two costly stock market declines and then the meltdown of banks and insurance companies. The instrument used to bring about this meltdown was the derivative which should have been a commodity product with a margin requirement. Instead it was allowed to be sold to very wealthy individuals without a margin requirement so that the banks and insurance companies could leverage the money a thousand to one or more. This would be like buying a house for $500,000 with a down payment of $50.00. Not only was there no margin requirement, there was no transparency so even the investors had no idea of how their money was being invested. Let say you had a CD of $500,000 invested in a bank, and the bank could take your money and invest it in a derivative without a margin requirement. The bank was essentially using your money as collateral for a smoke and mirrors derivative, but the investor did not have to post a margin of 20%, 50%, 75% or at best 100%. To give you an example of how risky this kind of transaction can be, the Hunt family tried to corner the market on silver in the 1970’s, and ended up have to sell valuable properties at a discount because they could not meet the margin requirement. They lost millions of dollars partly because the Silver Commodities Board changed the margin requirements for the purchase of silver in midstream and made them retroactive in order to punish the Hunt family. So if you had purchased $100,000 of silver with a margin requirement of 50%, you would have had to pay $50,000 to own a $100,000 worth of silver. If the margin requirement was changed to 75% in midstream, you would have to pay an additional $25,000 to own the $100,000 of silver. This was what was done to the Hunt family by the Silver Commodities Board, except there were millions of dollars involved. Also, if you purchased 10,000 ounces of silver at $10.00 per ounce, with a 50% margin, and the price went down to $9.00 and ounce, you would have to add $10,000 to bring your margin back to 50%. However, the banks and insurance companies had no margins plus they could hedge their bets by placing a put or call to make money if the price went down or went up. What a sweet arrangement for the banks and insurance companies. They had your funds on deposit and were free to play with your money in any irresponsible manner they chose and when they got in trouble, they went to the treasury for a bailout of taxpayer money. If a private citizen did this kind of fraudulent transaction, they would be put in jail. So when your congress person or supreme court makes a statement or makes the corporation a person and rewards that corporation, bank, or insurance company with additional funds without any penalty, just remember our government is no longer of the people, by the people, and for the people, it is of the rich, by the rich and for the rich, or you can substitute corporation for people.

A Clearing House for Green Technology Is Needed

With the recent announcements by President Obama that he will be pushing the construction of nuclear power plants and drilling for oil in Alaska, on the Eastern Coast and the Western Coast of the US, it is abundantly clear that Green Technology is being ignored as an alternative to oil and nuclear power.

1. The construction of Nuclear Power Plants has long term consequences such as the raising of the temperature of the surrounding regions because the amount of cold water to keep the reactor core cool is enormous. France, which has the largest concentration of nuclear power plants, has had to move some of its vineyards for their wine industry to Great Britain because the warmer climate caused by the heat produced by the nuclear power plants has warmed the surrounding atmosphere to such an extent that the grape vines cannot grow properly. Trying to build nuclear plants in the Western United States is a losing proposition because the entire region is too arid to support its population, provide water for irrigation for agriculture and for the millions of acres of lawns, and to provide water for its cities.

2. The problem of what to do with the spent nuclear waste is not only a political problem but a long term health problem. In Oregon we still have a problem with two environmental hazards left over from World War II. These are the Hanford Nuclear Facility located near Kennewick and Pasco, in the State of Washington. which has allowed the nuclear waste to leak into the Columbia River. Across the river in Oregon near the town of Boardman, we still have enough nerve gas to kill the entire population of the Northwestern States. The containers for this nerve gas has been leaking for years. About fifteen or more years ago, the US Army was supposedly going to build an incinerator which would be used to burn the gas and render it harmless. I have no idea the present state of both of these hazards because the tendency is to keep everything quiet until a problem is discovered by the press. The eastern states would like to ship all of their waste to the western states where it would eventually leak into our aquifers and politute our water for thousands of years.

3. The western states have been the most active in their efforts to clean up the pollution brought on by mining, nuclear power plants, nerve gas and many other activities, but with corporations being granted the same rights as persons by the stupidity and crass behavior of five Supreme Court Justices, the efforts to clean up environmental disasters is enormous and costly. Individual states do not have the financial resources to fight the corporations who are responsible for much of the environmental disasters.

4. The western states have the greatest land mass of the United States yet we are treated as if we do not exist by the politicians in Washington. If and when we have a policy for Green Technology, we need to have a say in where the efforts to achieve energy independence are being focused, with the western states having a larger proportion of the political clout. We in the west should not become the dumping ground for nuclear waste or any other waste produced in the states east of the Mississippi River.

5. In view of the disaster with the British Petroleum, it would be interesting to have the Supreme Court comment on their ruling making this negligent corporation a person, since the so-called little people appear to be the neglected pawns of this giant corporation. Also, the Supreme Court should now be required to give monthly press conferences to explain their decisions to the general public. We also need a better mechanism to remove Supreme Court Justices from their posts than an Impeachment by the House of Representatives.