There are a few stories I’d like to discuss. One is getting a bit of play. One has been completely forgotten. We’re not getting the full story on another.
Our Overseas Troops
I’m glad we’re finally talking about endless wars and the number of troops we have overseas, particularly in the Middle East.
I'm happy Liz Warren thinks we shouldn’t have any troops in the Middle East, as she said in the debate last night.
I think most Dems feel the same way, but they have to act like they want them there so they appear at odds with the president.
Strange times, indeed.
Getting concrete numbers on our military isn’t always easy. We know that in 2016 we had 1.3 million total military personnel. We know that in 2017 we had 217,000 of those folks stationed overseas. Our troops are in 40% of the world’s nations.
Last year we had these troops in these places:
- 56,000 in Japan
- 35,000 in Germany
- 26,000 in South Korea
- 13,000 in Italy
- 10,000 in Afghanistan
- 9,000 in the UK
- 6,000 in Guam
- 5.000 in Iraq
- 4,000 in Bahrain
- 3,000 in Spain
- 2,000 in Kuwait
We’re fighting our wars with one arm tied behind our back.
We have 46,000 more troops in Germany than we do in the war zone of Afghanistan.
It’s because we’re not really interested in winning wars anymore - we just want to fight them endlessly. This is where the money is.
Our military has spent $1.9 trillion fighting terrorism since 2001, and since 2002 we’ve spent $127 billion training military and police around the world.
Last year American arms dealing companies made $200 billion from their wares.
Lockheed Martin leads the pack, with $50 billion in earnings.
War is big money, and this new conflict between various forces in Syria will make a lot of people a lot of money.
Japan’s Nuclear Water
The Fukushima nuclear disaster was 8 years ago.
Today at the site, they’re storing 1 million tons of contaminated water in 1,000 separate tanks spread around the area.
The tanks could fill 400 olympic-sized swimming pools.
The idea is to store the water until it can be reprocessed, which takes two years to do. At that point it can be dumped into the ocean.
This process will continue until the reactors are dismantled, which could be done by 2050 or 2060.
A big problem is that even after the 2-year process to make the water safe, there’s still Strontium-90 in many of the tanks that have been sampled. Tritium is another unsafe nuclear element that can’t seem to be processed away.
Getting this stuff in your body makes it very likely you’ll get bone cancer or leukemia.
Alas, by 2022 there won’t be anymore room for water tanks at the Fukushima site. The plan is to simply dump the contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean, then dilute it with additional water.
While it’s true that the vast majority of nuclear contamination at the plant was already released with the 2011 meltdown - which was caused by an earthquake - there’s going to be a lot more contamination released starting in two years, and once it begins, it will be a steady release that’ll happen each month for decades.
I don’t hear many of the climate change activists discussing this issue, but when we start to see more cancer deaths in seafood eating populations in the coming decade, perhaps it will become an issue.
We’ll see what happens. Until then, enjoy your Red Lobster.
CA Power Grab
The power company is trying to remove the governor of California...again.
You heard that Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) shut off the power for millions of customers in California this past week.
Because they didn’t want high winds to knock down power lines, possibly causing a wildfire.
This was complete bullshit.
Many living in California were saying that the wind was hardly blowing, so that bit of the story didn’t hold up.
Mostly, PG&E learned.
They learned back in 2001 that the “rolling blackout” story simply didn’t hold up. The devastating wildfires that wiped out Paradise in 2018 is a story that would hold up.
Safety is very important, and people will eat that story up.
So PG&E was able to shut off the power to millions, and I’m sure they’ll try to do it again.
Wildfires have nothing to do with it.
The reason PG&E is cutting off the power is to send a clear message to the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, that he needs to play ball.
Play ball how?
By giving PG&E the money it needs to build its new power grid.
Currently, the governor wants PG&E to go to its shareholders and have them pay.
This is a big no-no, and Newsom found that out the hard way this past week. If he continues down this road of trying to get a company to fix its own infrastructure as opposed to having taxpayers bail them out on it, then PG&E will have Newsom removed from office.
Think they can’t do it?
Who do you think was the biggest backer of the 2003 recall election in California? It was PG&E.
Back then Gray Davis was complaining about drought, which made it hard for hydro plants to create electricity. The state didn’t have enough plants, which can be traced back to the deregulation of the California energy industry in 1995.
You see, the idea before voters in the mid-90s was that energy prices would go down with deregulation. Sadly, market manipulators came in, causing utilities to see their costs increase...costs which they now legally could not pass onto customers. PG&E actually filed for bankruptcy because of this.
Five years later the drought came, electricity got short...or so we thought. The big issue was Enron, and how they manipulated the market to make it appear there were shortages. Another issue was the governor’s desire for more regulations. Alas, instead of going along with the governor, PG&E just got rid of him. Arnold Schwarzenegger came in, and he didn’t make the mistake of challenging the power company.
But Newsom is challenging it.
It’ll be interesting to see who wins this: some young governor that’s made his way up awfully fast, or a giant utility company that’s been around for a century.
We’ll see what happens.