Monday, April 26, 2010

On The Left Podcast Episode 10

This week will be talking a little about Earth day and a new report that came out from the Pew Charitable Trusts Environment Group called “ Who is winning the clean energy race?:Growth, Competition and opportunity in the world’s largest economies” This report is for the G-20 countries.
I will link to the Pew’s web page were you can read the summary of the report and you can link to the PDF of the report, it is only 44 pages and a very easy read and it breaks down each counties clean energy profile in some detail. Over all a great report, but I would expect nothing less from the researchers at the Pew Charitable Trust.
The underlying data for this report was compiled for the Pew Environment Group by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the world’s leading provider of news, data and analysis on clean energy and carbon market finance and investment. Always remember that Bloomberg calls themselves that, it is not an endorsement by me, but the underlining data looks sound. Now this report was on just the G-20 nations.
This is from the Executive Summary of the report.
Within the G-20, our research finds that domestic policy decisions impact the competitive positions of
Member countries. Those nations—such as China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain—with
Strong, national policies aimed at reducing global warming pollution and incentivizing the use of renewable
Energy is establishing stronger competitive positions in the clean energy economy. Nations seeking to
Compete effectively for clean energy jobs and manufacturing would do well to evaluate the array of policy
Mechanisms that can be employed to stimulate clean energy investment. China, for example, has set
Ambitious targets for wind, biomass and solar energy and, for the first time, took the top spot within the
G-20 and globally for overall clean energy finance and investment in 2009. The United States slipped to
Second place.
There are reasons to be concerned about America’s competitive position in the clean energy marketplace.

Relative to the size of its economy, the United States’ clean energy finance and investments lag behind
Many of its G-20 partners. For example, in relative terms, Spain invested five times more than the United
States last year, and China, Brazil and the United Kingdom invested three times more. In all, 10 G-20
Members devoted a greater percentage of gross domestic products to clean energy than the United States
In 2009. Finally, the Unites States is on the verge of losing its leadership position in installed renewable
Energy capacity, with China surging in the last several years to a virtual tie.
The U.S. policy framework for reducing global warming pollution and promoting renewable energy
Remains uncertain, with comprehensive legislation stalled in Congress. On the other hand, America’s
Entrepreneurial traditions and strengths in innovation—especially its leadership in venture capital
Investing—is considerable, giving it the potential to recoup leadership and market share in the future.
Policy, investment and business experts alike have noted that the clean energy economy is emerging as
One of the great global economic and environmental opportunities of the 21st century. Local, state and
National leaders in the United States and around the world increasingly recognize that safe, reliable, clean
Energy—solar, wind, bioenergy and energy efficiency—can be harnessed to create jobs and businesses,
Reduce dependence on foreign energy sources, enhance national security and reduce global warming
Nations seeking to compete effectively for clean energy jobs and manufacturing would do well to evaluate
The array of policy mechanisms that can be employed to stimulate clean energy investment. This is
Especially true for policymakers in the United States, which is at risk of falling further behind its G-20
Competitors in the coming years unless it adopts a strong national policy framework to spur more robust
Clean energy investment.

Monday, April 19, 2010

On The Left Podcast Episode 9

Once again coming to you from the great state of Minnesota, welcome to On The Left Podcast Episode 9
This week Mike brings you Headlines and Matthew Talks about the Mining disaster and its connection to Mitch McConnell and the Bush Administrations Department of Labor.
This week I would like to start with a follow up on last week’s subject. On April 15th the Senate finally passed H.R.4851 Continuing Extension Act. This was the bill the house passed back in February.
The vote on H.R.4851 was 59 for and 38 against, that means all the dems voted for it right, well you would be wrong on that count. 3 repugs voted for the bill, Snowe,Collins of Maine and Vionovich of (OH)
But not voting were Bayh (IN), Nelson (FL), and Warner (VA). I would like to know why they did not vote on this bill. Now there had to be an amendment to the bill, because it took so long to pass it would have only extended the benefits until May 5th so it was amended so that it will expire on June 5th, so it has to go back to the House and be voted on again. Now it is good they did this new extension but they really need to do a long term fix for this problem, unemployment is not going down any time soon and we can’t have one month extensions, every month.
He is the link to the article that Cenk talks about in the Young Turk Clips

One of the things that I have not heard about much is the connection between the Repugs, the Bush administration, The Coal industry and the department of Labor.

From 2001 until 2009 the Department of Labor was headed by Elaine Chao. Who is Elaine Chao, well during her tenure at the department of Labor she not a friend of Labor but a big supporter of Business.

Chao “updated” the white collar overtime rules, so that companies did not have to pay you for overtime if you were a “supervisor” of any kind, she had the rules for union financial disclosure rewritten to make it harder for Unions to comply with the regulations costing them money. After analyzing 70,000 closed case files from 2005 to 2007 the GAO reported that the Department of Labor Wage and Hour division inadequately investigated complaints from low-wage and minimum wage workers alleging that employers failed to pay the federal minimum wage, required overtime ,and failed to issue a last paycheck after letting an employ go. Remember when Wal-Mart was locking employees in and not letting leave and not giving them breaks, not paying over time, and just stealing hours off their paychecks.

That was Chao’s job, she was suppose to be looking after the workers but she was helping the companies, steal from their employees

Monday, April 12, 2010

On The Left Podcast Episode 8

This week the On The Left Team brings you another great episode. Mike brings you headlines and Matthew Talks about unemployment.

This week I will be talking about a subject close to my heart, Unemployment.
A little back ground on my situation. In 2009 my job of 10 years was eliminated. I was given 1 hour to clean out my desk and that was it. This was Feb. of 2009, I then went on Unemployment, I started the long road of going on line everyday going through the many jobs sites sending out resumes and waiting for the phone to ring. In May I found a part time job at a sports store, it sucked but it was some money coming in since I was only working 20 to 28 hours per week I still was on unemployment, you must work over 32 hours before you are not eligible for weekly benefits. In august I once again found full time work. It was for a temp agency but it was 40 hours per week and the pay was just little more then what I was making on unemployment. After just two and a half months of 40 to 60 hour weeks I was once again laid off, this was the end of Oct 2009, I once again went onto unemployment, luckily I was called back to work in early Dec. of 2009 and worked every day 10 to 12 hours until the end of the year, I was then picked up and stayed at that job until once again being laid off on March 31 of 2010.
So when I say I know what is going on for workers right now, you have some context.

Monday, April 5, 2010

On The Left Podcast Episode 7

Welcome to On The Left, This week Mike gives us headlines and Matthew talks about energy policy. Please enjoy the show.

This week president Obama announced a number of programs that have to do with our energy problems. First there was the press conference where he came out and announced that he will be opening up some new coastal areas for off shore drilling. Next on April first of all dates, he announced that the EPA will be starting a new national program to reduce greenhouse gases and improve fuel economy for cars and trucks.
First, off shore drilling, let’s listen to the announcement:
Issue 1: In the first part of his speech he has once again made the assumption that there is only two ways to look at this issue the left side No drilling and the right wing side drill baby drill, no this is false he does this just so he can say see I found the middle, and then he makes the mistake of using the straw man that those that fail to recognize his reality are making a mistake.
Well I don’t buy his reality, because it’s not a true reality it is his political reality, he once again is compromising to the center position before we even start the debate, so the bill or program can only go farther to the right from here, just like keeping single payer off the table at the start of the health care debate, made the weak public option as far left as they would go. What this tells me is he has sold out already to big oil and gas, made a deal and is now going to cave.
Why do we want to open up more areas of leasing when the Oil and gas companies are already warehousing land leases already? Do you remember House Bill 6251, it never made it out of the house but this is what is said:
The responsible federal oil and gas lease act of 2008 would bar companies from obtaining any more leases for drilling onshore or on the outer continental shelf, unless they can demonstrate that they are producing oil and gas from the leases they already hold or are in the process of diligently developing the leases they already hold.
The 68 million acres of leased but inactive land- equal to the size of Colorado- could produce an addition 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day, which could nearly double U.S. oil production and cut imports by one-third.
What this means is that there are already 68 million acres of lands that the oil and gas companies are already sitting on and not developing. And why are they not developing this asset that’s easy, to drive costs up, supply and demand, if they were to extract all the oil and gas from those leases that would cause the price of oil and gas to go down. So they sit on the leases to make sure that no one else can extract the resource, H.R. 6251 would have made it so that if they wanted to bid on more leases they had to show that they were extracting from the leases they had and not just warehousing the lease.
Makes sense right. I think they could get it passed now right?
Let’s go to an interview from Democracy Now with Brendan Cummings who is Public lands Director at the Center for Biological Diversity. This first part is a question on our growing dependence on foreign oil.
As Brendan points out this is the Drill baby drill policy from the 2008 presidential election, this is something that Obama said he was against, and he even mocked it.
The next clip is on the false debate between what Obama says is the old tired debate between the left and the right.

This last clip from Brendan Cummings is perfect; he talks about who he thinks is the biggest beneficiary of this new policy is.
That is what I have been saying now for months you push Obama from the right and he caves and says “oh, please don’t hurt me, I will do what you want” that is if you push him from the right, he has no trouble saying piss off to the left. I will bet you right now that once the bill gets out of the Congress it will be so watered down and so far to the right it will make me sick to my stomach, but the press and the Obama cheerleaders will say at least it is a good first step.
Next we move onto his next press conference of the week on National Fuel Standards
The EPA announced this week that they are actually going to do their jobs and came out with a new set of MPG targets for cars. To be fair it was called EPA and NHTSA Finalize Historic National program to reduce Greenhouse gases and improve Fuel economy for cars and truck.
The last part should be Light trucks after reading the plan it will exempt most of the larger trucks from the regulations.
The new standards apply to new passenger cars, light duty trucks and medium duty passenger vehicles, covering model years 2012 thru 2016. The EPA is finalizing the first ever national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards under the clean air act, and NHTSA is finalizing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards under the energy policy and conservation act.