wpe50.jpg (1913 bytes)     TigerSoft News Service    7/20/2008      www.tigersoft.com    

                                               GLOBAL CLIMATE CRISIS

The "Tipping Point" Is  Now.

                               We Must Act Now.

                                                          Gore and Pickens Have Bold Energy Plans.

                                                      The Secret Enron, Bush, Cheney Energy Plan.
                                                Enron's Convicted Swindler Ken Lay Put Bush in Office.
                                                                       So What Did You Expect?

by William Schmidt, Ph.D.  
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                            GLOBAL CLIMATE CRISIS
                                We Must Act Now.  

                  Climate change is a real and worsening. The Earth is the hottest
          it's been in two thousand years. By 2100, if the trend continues,
          Earth will be hotter than at any time in the past two million years.

                   The greater heat is global and cannot be explained by natural
           cycles.  There is a broad scientific consensus that we humans
           are in large part responsible for this change.  That means the
           choices we make from now on will determine the Earth's future

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                  "The Arctic ice cap is melting faster than scientists had
            expected and will shrink 40 percent by 2050 in most regions, with
           grim consequences for polar bears, walruses and other marine
           animals, according to government researchers"
Scientists at
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expect
         hundreds of miles of sea ice to disappear this summer.  Previously,
         it was predicted that the by 2100, Artic sea Ice would be "almost
         entirely" gone unless there are drastic cuts in greenhouse gas
         emissions.  Now NOAH oceanographer James Overland and
         meteorologist Muyin Wang say that the world's carbon dioxide
         levels are so high that much of the polar ice may be gone by 2050.
         Alaska's Bering Sea will change the most.  Alaskan polar bears,
         walrus and crabs will be the most threatened. 
         (Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/06/AR2007090602499.html )

                                     We Have Eight Years To Act

                Japan's agencies for such research have reached
             even more pessimistic conclusions.  The amount of sea ice
             that had been predicted in 2040-2050 by the Intergovernmental
             Panel on Climate Change will be reached far sooner.

                   The UN's IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological
              Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),
             two organizations of the United Nations.   The IPCC shared the
             2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President of the United
             States Al Gore.

                  The IPCC reported that it believed that only .12% (1/800th) of
              the world GDP might have to be sacrificed to stave off the harmful
              effects of climate change.  Not to take action would quickly would
              result in much more costly and profound changes to the world economy.
              Like the British Government's comprehensive Stern Report, it shows
              that the only thing we should be afraid of is doing nothing. Emissions
              must start declining by the year 2015 to prevent the world’s temperature
              from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrialized temperatures.
              Such an increase would be catastrophic.

                   The UK's stern report offers overwhelming evidence of the reality
               and threat of global warming.  It makes plain that we can cut emissions
               radically at a cost to the economy which is "far less than the economic and
               human welfare costs which climate change could impose" Adair Turner,
               Former Director of UK Confederation of British Industry
                  (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stern_Review )

Renewable Electrical Energy

                          Former Vice President Al Gore said on Thursday that Americans
               must abandon electricity generated by fossil fuels within a decade and
               rely on the sun, the winds and other environmentally friendly sources
               of power.  It is a matter of national security.
               wpe115.jpg (6541 bytes)   “The survival of the United States of America
               as we know it is at risk... The future of human civilization is at stake.”

                            Just as the US went to the moon, after a concerted national effort,
               it must now commit to producing all its electricity using renewable energy,
               which is truly clean and carbon free.  “This goal is achievable, affordable and
               transformative...It represents a challenge to all Americans, in every walk of
               life — to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to
               every citizen.”  The dependence on foreign oil has "dangerous" implications.
               There may otherwise hundreds of million "climate refugees."

                            Gore advocated new taxes on carbon dioxide production to
               take the place of payroll taxes.  This seems very contentious.  But it
               is true that if the government wants people to use less of something
               like gasoline or jet fuel, a higher price will achieve that end.  It would have
               been more convincing if he had talked about how people are supposed
               to get to work, since public transportation is usually slow or non-existent. 

                           He aptly pummeled Bush and Cheney, for not being able
               to break clean from their oil background.  He said he could not imagine
               a more perfect economic storm than the one the Administration has
               produced: a vastly wasteful and unnecessary war, a refusal to acknowledge
               the science of global warming, no Energy Plan other than to borrow
               and borrow from China and allow gasoline prices go up and up, and
               a lack of vision and financial regulation in creating a housing bubble
               and then not having a clue what to do when the housing.

                          There are solutions.  But not if we look to Bush an  his defenders.
               Some scientists reckon that there is enough solar energy falling on
               the surface of the earth in 40 minutes to meet the world’s energy needs
               for a year.  The winds that blow across the Midwest every day could
               meet the country’s daily electricity needs.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/18/washington/18gorecnd.html?_r=2&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin )

                         You can hear Gore's ideas and sign up for on-going press releases
               at   http://www.wecansolveit.org/
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T Bone Picken's
                   Plan for Energy Independence

            T. Boone Pickens, the “legendary Texas oilman, corporate raider,
                   shareholder-rights crusader, philanthropist and deep-pocketed moneyman
                   for conservative politicians and causes” has now become the loudest
                   and most prominent businessman boosting wind and natural gas. 
                   Cheap and easily reached oil is gone.  Off shore exploration will help,
                   but is 20 years away from making a difference.  The US is now importing
                   almost 70% of its oil.  (In 1970, it was 20%.  In 1991 it was 42%.
                   Sending $700  billion or more to the Middle East is unsustainable and
                   strategically crazy.    His solution is for the US to back wind energy,
                   use wind energy for electrical generation and switch natural gas
                   from electrical power generation to running trucks and cars. He is
                   planning a huge ad campaign to show America that it can cut its
                   dependence on foreign oil by more than a third in 10 years.

                            I should add that liquefied natural gas is highly explosive.  Pickens
                   did not address safety issues in its use.

                                                     Pickens on Wind Energy

"There's not much to Sweetwater except for wild grasses, scraggy mesquite trees and rattlesnakes (Sweetwater hosts its famous Rattlesnake Roundup each spring). The gently rolling terrain and vegetation make it ideal for raising cattle, which is what its first settlers did in the 19th century, and what their descendants do today. A regional oil boom in the 1950s and 1960s poured money into the area's economy, as have two oil revivals since: one in the 1980s and one now. But the exciting new industry in town is wind energy. You can drive for 150 miles along Interstate 20 and never be out of sight of a giant wind turbine, claims Sweetwater Mayor Greg Wortham, who does double duty as executive director of the West Texas Wind Energy Consortium.  Were it a country all by itself, Nolan County, Texas, would rank sixth on the list of wind-energy-producing nations, says Wortham. Year-round wind conditions, the terrain, low land prices and a small population make it an ideal location for wind farms. It already produces more wind-generated electricity in a year than all of California. And the business is growing so fast that he struggles to define it by numbers. By year's end, there'll be more than 1,500 turbines in Nolan County, representing a $5 billion investment. In the multicounty Rolling Plains region, there are already 2,000 operating turbines. Add those operating further west, the Permian Basin region around Midland and Odessa, and the entire area has more than 3,000 turbines operating, producing about 6,000 megawatts of electricity — about equal to the power produced by two to three nuclear power plants."

                                                               Growth potential

"The growth potential is, well, electrifying.   New turbine towers are going up at a rate of three to four a day in the Sweetwater area, Wortham says. "It depends on the (Texas) Public Utility Commission, but the number could be 20,000 ultimately," Wortham says.   Pickens, who over the past two years has become the USA's biggest wind-power booster, is quick to note that "there could be lots of Sweetwaters out there," especially in the nation's midsection, where winds are ideal for power generation.  Indeed, though Sweetwater is a windy place, plenty of locations farther north in the Great Plains are even better suited to wind farming. One is about 250 miles north of Sweetwater, near Pampa, northeast of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. That's where Pickens is building what would be the world's largest wind farm, four times larger than the current titleholder near here. So far, he has spent $2 billion on the project, including a record purchase of nearly 700 wind turbines this year from General Electric. He expects to spend up to $10 billion on the project and to begin generating electricity in 2011.

                                                              Natural Gas Cars
The key, Pickens says, is that wind energy can be used as a substitute for natural gas now burned to generate electricity. That, in turn, will make far more natural gas available for use as a transportation fuel. Pickens' plan is to produce enough wind power within 10 years to divert 20% of the natural gas now used to fuel power plants for use in cars and trucks. That's much more aggressive a growth plan for the development of wind energy than envisioned by the Department of Energy, which doesn't expect the USA to be getting 20% of its total energy needs from wind until at least 2030.
         "Pickens foresees as many as a third of the vehicles running on natural gas within only a few years. Julius Pretterebner, director of the Global Oil Group at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, says getting 15% to 20% of the USA's cars to run on natural gas — in some cases, in mixtures with other fuels in dual-fuel vehicles — by 2020 would be an outstanding achievement, and doing that will require federal support to expand the necessary infrastructure.Powering vehicles with compressed or liquefied natural gas, CNG or LNG, has been Pickens' pet project since the late 1980s.Yet the concept has been very slow to catch on.

          "Distribution is a major problem. CNG drivers can, like Pickens, install inexpensive equipment to fill up at their homes. But with fewer than 800 natural gas filling stations around the USA, drivers can't count on being able to fill up wherever they go. So, for the most part, CNG, or LNG, has remained limited to fleet operators, such as local bus companies or big-city police departments.   And that's where David Friedman, research director in the vehicles program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, says most natural-gas-powered vehicles will continue to be operated because of the distribution problem, the lack of vehicles made specifically to run on CNG, and the cost of converting conventional vehicles to run on CNG.  "I honestly think (natural gas') role will be in medium- to heavy-duty vehicles and fleets — and as a stepping stone to hydrogen fuel-cell-powered vehicles in the future," Friedman says. Only one car, a version of the Honda Civic, is available from the factory ready for CNG fuel, he says, and only at a significant premium over the price of a conventionally fueled version.

                                                    Support from The Sierra Club

        "Pickens aims to shout down the skeptics by taking his case to the people via his TV ad campaign. If the nation is to break its addiction to foreign oil, a network of CNG stations could be built along interstates and in major cities for a relatively small investment, he says. Some gasoline retailers have told him they would add CNG pumps to their stations once they're certain there'll be enough vehicles capable of running on natural gas to justify costs.

          "Washington, Pickens adds, "can encourage the move to natural-gas-powered vehicles by providing modest economic incentives for fuel retailers to invest in CNG pumps at their stations, for automakers to build CNG-powered cars and for individuals to convert their existing vehicles to CNG use. And it should continue to provide tax incentives for another 10 years to encourage wind energy's rapid development as part of an overall plan to wean the nation from foreign oil, he says.

          " "It certainly would be cheaper than what they're doing already for nuclear," Pickens adds. But he's also in favor of developing more nuclear energy, and every form of alternative energy to reduce oil imports. "Try everything. Do everything. Nuclear. Biomass. Coal. Solar. You name it. I support them all," he says. "But there's only one energy source that can dramatically reduce the amount of oil we have to import each year, and that's (natural) gas."

           "   Pickens is an outspoken believer in the so-called peak oil theory that holds that maximum world production has peaked at about 85 million barrels a day — vs. current demand of about 86 million barrels a day — and will never rise much above that even with lots of new drilling and production.   "Even people who continue driving gasoline-powered cars and trucks will benefit" from his plan, he says.  Critics could easily accuse Pickens of advocating a major new public policy initiative that will line his own pockets. He is, after all, a big player in both the wind power and natural gas businesses. Pickens says while his hedge fund will earn money for its investors, earning more money personally is meaningless: "I'm 80 years old and have $4 billion. I don't need any more money."   He's more concerned that his efforts to make reducing foreign oil dependency the No. 1 issue on the national agenda will be dismissed by the public and, therefore, by Washington. So he says he's carefully steering his plan clear of partisan bickering.

          "   He's already enlisted an unlikely supporter: the Sierra Club. "I will be in the front row of the chorus cheering" him on, says Carl Pope, its executive director, who flew with Pickens to Sweetwater.

                                                      Bush and Cheney's Energy Plan

                            Make Oil Companies Rich and Gouge Consumers.

                                Oil and gas prices have tripled since Bush became President.  His war
                    in Iraq  has wasted more oil than anyone can calculate.  He has driven the
                    US Dollar down by 36%.  He has had 7 years to devise an open Energy Plan
                    to reduce American dependence on polluting, carbon based foreign energies. 
                    He has been a "total failure" to everyone who does not own an oil well.    And
                    even many of those lucky souls realize now, the national price of his Administration
                    has been far too high.


                                         Enron Crook Kenneth Lay Made Bush President

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                                                         ( http://www.hellblazer.com/media/bush_cocaine.jpg )

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                                                                  More Bush Lies

                                 Bush has denied how close he and convicted swindler Ken Lay were.  That is an
                      insult to the truth.

                                Convicted Enron swindler Kenneth Lay helped Bush enormously in raising campaign
                     contributions.   He had given "$122,500 to Bush Gubernatorial campaign. Lay had Enron give
                     $50,000 to pay for Bush's second inaugural party in Austin in 1999 -- a showcase event that was
                     organized by Karl Rove and others to help the Texas governor step onto the national political stage.
                     After Bush gave Enron exactly what it wanted in 1999, by signing legislation that deregulated the state's
                     electrical markets, Lay knew he had found his candidate for president.
                                "When Bush opened his campaign, Lay opened the cash spigots. As a "Bush Pioneer" in the
                     run-up to the 2000 presidential election, Lay was a key member of the Bush campaign's fund-raising
                     inner circle. Under Lay's leadership, Enron ultimately gave Bush $550,025, making the corporation
                     the Texan's No. 1 career patron at the time the 2000 election campaign began, according to the
                     Center for Public Integrity. Lay personally pumped almost $400,000 into Republican hard- and
                     soft-money funds, while Enron slipped another $1.5 million into the GOP's soft-money cesspool.
                               "But that was just the beginning. Lay sent a letter to Enron executives urging them to
                     contribute to Bush's campaign. More than 100 of them -- including Skilling, a major Bush giver since
                     1993, when he cut his first $5,000 check to GW's gubernatorial campaign -- did just that. Dozens
                     of spouses wrote, including "homemaker" and frequent $10,000 donor Linda Lay, gave as well,
                     making the Enron "family" a prime source of the money... 
All told, it is estimated that, over the
                     years prior the company's bankruptcy, Lay, his company and its employees contributed
                     close to $2 million to fund George W. Bush's political rise.  
Lay found other ways to help,
                     as well. He put Enron's corporate jets at the disposal of the Bush campaign in 2000. He
                     kicked in $5,000 to pay for the Florida recount fight, while a top Enron "consultant," former
                     Secretary of State James A. Baker III, ran the Republican's recount effort. He even paid for
                     his own bookkeeping, chipping in $1,000 to help the Bush-Cheney campaign comply with
                     campaign-finance laws. And Lay and Enron gave $300,000 to underwrite the Bush-Cheney inauguration
                     festivities in 2001. 
                     (Read - John Nichols, Nation article on the Lay and Bush connection.
http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0526-27.htm )
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                                 Insider Trading by Bush's Buddy, Ken Lay

Kenneth Lay of Enron disguised his insider sales of Enron.  "During 2001 he
                         repeatedly drew down an Enron line of credit in order to answer margin calls from banks
                         and repaid it by selling almost $80 million of stock back to the company. Yet because
                         such sales don’t technically have to be disclosed until year-end, anyone looking at
                         publicly available information would have thought that Lay’s stock ownership was
                         slightly increasing (as a compelling slide put up by Hueston showed), when in fact he
                         was unloading almost two-thirds of his Enron shares.... (It is) easy...to legally circumvent
                         SEC rules as an insider... (T)his is another reason not to take reported insider transactions
                         too seriously.
                                  (Source: http://www.fatpitchfinancials.com/314/tracking-insider-trading/   )

                       Cheney Shafts Californian Consumers

                             "In the spring of 2001 the severity of the California energy emergency had inspired
                     demands for government action, and Enron had a problem. Officials in California were
                     arguing that federal price caps on wholesale energy sales would prevent profiteering and
                     stabilize wildly fluctuating energy markets, and even some Republicans were saying that
                     caps made sense. But the caps would cost Enron--which had come to dominate energy
                     markets by taking advantage of deregulation--a fortune.

                            "Enron CEO Kenneth Lay knew he needed high-level help. So he arranged to meet
                     with a man who had headed a corporation with extensive business ties to Enron and who
                     had been a prime recipient of Enron's political largesse. Vice President Dick... At the meeting
                     Lay handed Cheney a memo that read in part: "The administration should reject any attempt
                      to re-regulate wholesale power markets by adopting price caps.
..."    The day after he met
                     with Lay, Cheney gave a rare phone interview to the Los Angeles Times...Price caps were
                     out of the question. Dismissing the strategy as "short-term political relief for the
                     politicians," Cheney bluntly declared, "I don't see that as a possibility."

Cheney's prognosis was flawed; within days, the Federal Energy Regulatory
                      Commission agreed to price caps and the markets calmed down. But Cheney was undeterred
                      in his drive to deliver for Enron. The Houston-based firm enjoyed a level of vice-presidential
                      attention during the Bush/Cheney team's first year that included explicit support of Enron's
                      choices for key regulatory positions, intervention in the affairs of a foreign government
                      and the structuring of an energy policy task force to allow Enron and other corporations
                      to effectively set policy... He (Cheney) told the Today show that he wants to 'protect the
                      ability of the President and the Vice President to get unvarnished information advice from
                      any source we want,'" notes former White House counsel
John Dean. "That sounds
                      all too familiar to me. I worked for Richard Nixon."
                      (Source: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20020415/nichols )

                               In his second week in office George W. Bush created the task force, officially known
                    as the National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG) with Dick Cheney as chairman.
                    This group was supposed to “develop a national energy policy designed to help the private
                    sector, and, as necessary and appropriate, State and local governments, promote dependable,
                    affordable, and environmentally sound production and distribution of energy for the future."  
                    You can  read their final plan here.

                              Because both Bush and Cheney came from the same oil and gas industry that had heavily
                     financed his campaign,  critics have charged that the energy industry was exercising undue
                     influence over national policy.  The secrecy with which Cheney's Energy Task Force met added
                     to these suspicions. To no one's surprise, a newly Bush appointed Republican judge has ruled
                     that these meetings with oil and gas company executives are not public, though the taxpayer paid
                     for them and the conclusions have directly taken money from the taxpayers' pockets.
                     September 1995 until leaving in March 1997, Judge Bates had worked as Deputy Independent
                     Counsel for Kenneth Starr and the Independent Counsel's office during the investigation into
                     President Clinton.  On July 19, 2007, he dismissed a lawsuit filed by Valerie Plame Wilson and
                     her husband against Vice President Dick Cheney, White House political adviser Karl Rove,
                     former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and former Deputy Secretary of State
                     Richard Armitage.)

                            Most of the activities of the Energy Task Force had not been disclosed to the public,
                    even though Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests (since 19 April 2001) have sought to
                    gain access to its materials. The organisations Judicial Watch and Sierra Club launched a law suit (U.S.
                    District Court for the District of Columbia: Judicial Watch Inc. v. Department of Energy, et al.,
                    Civil Action No. 01-0981) under the FOIA to gain access to the task force's materials.

                              "On 5 March 2002 the US Government was ordered to make a full disclosure;
                     this has not happened, pending appeal
. In the Summer of 2003 a partial disclosure of these
                     materials was made by the Commerce Department. This resulted in the release of documents,
                     maps, and charts, dated March 2001, of Iraq's, Saudi Arabia's and United Arab Emirates' oil fields,
                     pipelines, refineries, tanker terminals and development projects. That case eventually went to
                    the Supreme Court and the ruling was to send the case back to the Court of Appeals."

                                 One Meeting with Environmentalists.  40+ Meetings with Oil Companies.

                             "On April 4, 2001, representatives of 13 environmental groups, including Erich Pica of Friends
                     of the Earth and Anna Aurilio of the U.S. Public Interest Group, met with the Task Force
                     (although not with Vice President Cheney personally). [1] Environmental groups have speculated
                     that this meeting was an attempt to appease them, since it is reported that a draft paper had
                     already been produced at the time of this meeting and that half of the meeting was spent on various
                     members introducing themselves. No further meetings between the task force and the environmental
                     groups were reported, although there had been at least 40 meetings between the task force and
                     representatives of the energy industry and its interest groups [1]     ...                          

                           "On July 18, 2007, the Washington Post reported the names of those involved in the
                     Task Force, including at least 40 meetings with interest groups, most of them from
                     energy-producing industries. Among those in the meetings were James J. Rouse, then
                     vice president of Exxon Mobil and a major donor to the Bush inauguration; Kenneth L. Lay,
                     then head of Enron Corp.; Jack N. Gerard, then with the National Mining Association;
                     Red Cavaney, president of the American Petroleum Institute; and Eli Bebout, an old friend of
                     Cheney's from Wyoming who serves in the state Senate and owns an oil and drilling company.[1]

                    (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Task_Force )


                                  Let's Not Make The Same Mistake

                            Now is certainly the time for renewable energy.
I recall all the
                 interest in renewable energies and conservation in the 1980s.
                 Until three Mile Island, Jimmy Carter favored nuclear power.  Oil prices
                 peaked in 1980.   America soon took its eye off the ball after 1982
                 when oil prices were falling and Republican Presidents wished
                 to let the iron law of the "Free market" solve the energy problems.

                           But that did not work.  Energy planning is desperately needed.
                 Global warming, $150 oil and a rapidly falling US Dollar show us
                 we cannot again just hope that natural economic laws will solve our
                 problems.   Left to themselves, the forces now at work will lead
                 inevitably to world wide poverty and a desolate, very brown planet. 

What We Can Do Now?
                Reducing Energy Usage and Going Green

                   There is a lot each of us can do, beginning with educating ourselves
                and then educating others.   Here are some links and ideas to start with.

                    Driving and Transportation:
                          Cars, MPG, Aggressive Driving, Tires, Junk in the Trunk

                    Reducing   Energy Usage at Home:                    
                             Lots of ideas at this Blog

                   Going Green at Work



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