Flash Editorials November 16, 2012

November 16, 2012

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By Russell D. Longcore

Welcome to Flash Editorials for November 16, 2012. I am Russell D. Longcore, owner and editor of DumpDC. Flash Editorials is presented by w w w dot Dump D C dot com. DumpDC is the world leader in secessionist thought. We show the world that secession is the only hope for personal liberty and property rights on the planet.

Some of the stuff I’ve seen happen this week…you can’t make up. Weeellll, that’s actually not true. Fiction writers fill novels with this kind of crazy stuff all the time. You just don’t usually see these stupid human tricks play out in real life. As the Chinese saying goes…“May you live in interesting times.” Let’s go to the news.

The Nation I: This week, some resourceful folks planted a bunch of secession petitions in the WhiteHouse.org website, and people from all over the nation began electronically signing them. As of today, there are petitions filed for all 50 states, and there have been over 700,000 digital signatures filed. I wrote an article this week in which I stated that the petitions are entirely incorrect, and that this is not the way a state secedes…by begging the current administration for permission to leave the Union. A few people left comments here at DumpDC fussing at me for not being wildly in favor of the petitions. So here is my latest comment. In the public relations game, even when they are talking ugly about you, they are still talking about you. I am glad that the secession petitions raised awareness about secession here in America. I am glad that Sean Hannity interviewed TNM president Daniel Miller on Hannity’s show Tuesday night. The more that America hears the word “secession,” the more comfortable they will be with it. And because America heard about it on TV, that somehow lends credibility to the story and the concept. Secession is a long way from reality. No governor or state house in America will take up this topic in a serious manner until AFTER the economic collapse. Then they will deal with it out of self-preservation.

The Nation II: The CIA/Benghazi/Petraeus story got legs. Lots of legs. Girls all over the place. Two generals are now in trouble along with two Florida military brass groupies (who knew that generals had groupies?). Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’ principal squeeze, has been found to have classified data on her computer, although the source of the data has not yet been revealed. Most of us only know about the CIA from what THEY tell us about themselves, or what we see on fictional TV shows or movies like The Bourne Trilogy. So America in its ignorance THINKS that our intelligence community is the best in the world. But that is just public relations. Our spies seem to be bumbling idiots that can’t run an “op” (operation) right, even if it means their own skin. And when the guys at the top are the biggest security risks of all, you know that shyt rolls downhill into the organization. I don’t want to demean all the operators in the CIA. There are career guys and gals that care deeply about doing their jobs right. But don’t you forget this…Afghanistan’s poppy crop had been all but obliterated by the Taliban. Now the Afghanis supply 90% of the world’s heroin market. Who is running that op? The CIA. Why? One reason…off-budget cash cow that funds all kinds of CIA shenanigans. And the guys at the top are always political appointees who couldn’t spell “intelligence” before they got their cushy jobs. Case in point…Leon Panetta. Are you kidding? This guy never even sat on a House Intelligence committee when he was a Congressman. Then all of a sudden, he is qualified to be head of the CIA? Based on what? And now the guy is the Secretary of Defense? Based on what? The fact that he was a second lieutenant in the Army in 1964? Pulleeeze. The CIA is broken, and won’t be fixed by DC. It will be fascinating to see what trained monkey that Obama will nominate as the next CIA Director.

International I: Oil giant BP (British Petroleum) has agreed to pay the largest CRIMINAL penalty in the history of the world because of its responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. BP is going to plead guilty to obstruction of justice for lying to Congress about how much oil was spewing into the Gulf waters. The amount of the fine is $4.5 Billion. Up to now, the largest corporate criminal penalty ever paid was paid by drugmaker Pfizer in the amount of $1.2 Billion. But don’t worry about BP, though. They made a net profit of $5.5 Billion….in the third quarter of this year.

Business I: I am Founder of a private, secret, members-only Twitter group. We are limiting our membership to just 20 members, 5 are already in. If you have a Twitter following larger than 10,000, my group will give you exposure to over 200,000 tweets each day FOR FREE. If you want this kind of exposure for your Tweets, contact me on Twitter @russlongcore. Follow me, then leave me a direct message. We require members to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

Business II: A couple weeks back, I learned about a new business concept called “Social Commerce.” We all know about Social Networking and how big it has become. The use of websites like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others has exploded in just a few short years. Remember, Facebook launched in 2004. So in eight years, it has become the giant it is now, with over 1 billion worldwide members.

“Social Commerce” is simply gaining access to the vast numbers of eyes looking at Social Networks for business purposes. Now, the traditional method of gaining that access is advertising. But advertising on social networks is not working out as well as expected. Facebook thought they were going to make a killing selling ads to business who wanted access to all those eyes. But Facebook’s stock price has gone from its IPO high of $38 to today’s price around $22.

Turns out that social network users don’t like ads any more than they do on TV. I want to see a show of hands. How many of you record TV shows…even sports events…to view later? And how many of you fast forward through the commercials? That’s what I thought. You ALL DO. So, how can a business take advantage of Social Networking?

Referrals. Networking. Word Of Mouth advertising…the most powerful and effective form of advertising in existence. And Word of Mouth advertising costs nothing. Think about this. You went to a movie you liked and you recommended it to friends. You ate a great meal at a restaurant and told your friends. That is Word Of Mouth advertising. But let me ask you this…did the theater or restaurant pay you any commission when your friends spent money there? Of Course Not!!

So how can you harness the power of Word Of Mouth advertising for your business? An even better question is…How can I start a business using Social Networking and turn in into Social Commerce?

That question leads me into tonight’s commercial message. Would you like to learn how you can make all your social networking PAY YOU! Let me introduce you to a new company named Solavei. Solavei just launched nationwide on September 21, 2012. They have created a company that will allow YOU to refer your friends and relatives and make money by doing it. You don’t have to sell anything. Simply post messages and links and let your friends family and acquaintances look for themselves. If they like what they see and make a purchase, you get paid!!

Solavei’s first Value Proposition is this: Unlimited talk, text and data on a 4G nationwide network for $49.00 per month. No Contract. No Credit Checks. No Deposits. You can bring your phone and phone number with you. And enrolling takes about 5-6 minutes online. I saved $46 a month by switching! That’s $552 a year and I’m getting more that I got with ATT.

Think about this: Cell phone service is a life-essential service that nearly every person from age 10 to age 100 has. And mobile phone users will not voluntarily give up their phone service. What would they do? Get a land line? That requires credit checks and deposits. So phone bills…like utility bills…will get paid every month even if other expenses get cut or eliminated altogether. That makes the business recession-proof.

Solavei’s business model is this: Refer people you know to Solavei. When those people sign up like you did, you will receive monthly commissions as long as those new customers remain Solavei customers. Solavei even has a plan whereby members can have their mobile phone service FOR FREE. How many people getting free phone service are going to switch to another carrier? NONE! No other phone provider can beat FREE, can they?

To learn more, go to http://www.DumpDC.com and look for this Flash Editorial article. Scroll down to the Solavei video, it’s only six minutes long. Watch it, then sign up TODAY!!

What is Solavei? from Solavei on Vimeo.

Economy I: The number of actual initial unemployment claims filed under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 466,348 in the week ending November 10th. This is a whopping increase of 104,548 over the previous week and is attributable to Hurricane Sandy hitting the Northeast. Yet when I heard a news report of this story on Fox Business this morning at 8:40 am…just ten minutes after the Labor Department released their numbers…Fox reported the cooked numbers of the “4-week moving average” of “only” 383,750 as a positive trend for the economy. You may get tired of seeing this story every week, but every week the Labor Department LIES TO AMERICA. Friends, this week’s figures increased by over 100,000 in a single WEEK! That is a hundred thousand people MORE than the usual 380,000 WEEKLY NEW CLAIMS! If any economic stories concern you, this slow-moving train wreck should bother you a lot. When is YOUR JOB going to be threatened? Do you have a Plan B just in case?

In Sports: The Atlanta Falcons lost to the Saints last Sunday so their record is now 7-1. Still pretty great. Just 3-4 years ago, the Falcons led the NFL in rushing yards gained. This year, they don’t seem to be able to move the ball on the ground. Can’t win games without a ground game. Time will tell. Other than that, nothing much to talk about in Sports this week.

Sports Part II: Anytime you get a chance to watch college football, watch the SEC games. The SEC is the number one college conference for rookie NFL players. And any SEC team can beat any other SEC team on any given Saturday. Top to bottom, the SEC is the best college football in America.

Finally, in Entertainment: Actor Channing Tatum has been named “Sexiest Man Alive 2012 ” by People Magazine. First thing I did when learning this is look at Wikipedia about the guy. I figured no way that Channing Tatum is his real name…sounds made up. My bad. It’s just a very Southern name. He’s a Mississippi boy and his daddy’s name is Glenn Tatum. But have you seen this kid? He’s mighty pretty. Hope he doesn’t get all paunchy and rotund like me later in life. I was pretty once, too. See? That’s me in my wrestling pose as a high school senior. Cute, huh?

That’s all for tonight. Thanks for watching. I am Russell D. Longcore. For all of us here at DumpDC: Good night and good luck.

DumpDC: Six Letters That WILL Change History.

Copyright 2012: Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Flash Editorials April 21, 2012

April 21, 2012

By Russell D. Longcore

The Nation I: Twelve Secret Service agents and ten military personnel went to Colombia on an advance security detail before the President attended a meeting in Cartagena last week. They stuck to the old adage…”wheels up, rings off.” When they got there, they rounded up at least 20 hookers and did what men do with hookers. The next morning, one of the agents tried to stiff (yes, I know) his paramour and she called the cops. I don’t know what the big furor is. Men of too much power and too little morals regularly step out of line. And military personnel? Please! Ever been to the area just outside a military base? More titty bars, porn shops and massage parlors per square mile than anywhere else. I’m just thinking that they were good consumers trying to get a volume discount. It’s laughable that anyone in America cares about this while this President is taking American into the gulag as fast as he can. Perspective, folks…perspective.

The Nation II: This week, the Virginia Legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill that nullifies the National Defense Authorization Act. The governor has promised to sign the bill. You remember where Virginia is? Sharing a common border with Washington DC? This is a small glimmer of hope that the states haven’t completely caved in to DC’s plans for America. But signing a bill don’t mean shit. Let’s see what Virginia law enforcement does when some Federal goon tries to enforce the NDAA on a Virginia citizen. I hope the Virginia law allows for clapping a Fed in irons and throwing him in jail…if he didn’t get shot first.

The Nation III: George Zimmerman had a good week. One judge recused herself from his case, and in Friday’s hearing, another judge granted him bail at $150,000…of which he only has to post 10% to be free from the Greybar Hotel. In a newsclip, I saw Zim’s lawyer questioning one of the detectives in the case. He asked him if the police had any evidence who started the fight that ended in Martin’s death. “No,” the cop replied. The attorney was trying to make the case that a charge of Second Degree Murder was a politically motivated charge, not based in facts. Zim’s lawyer won. Naturally, the family of Martin was not happy.

International I: India successfully launched a missile on Thursday that can carry a nuclear warhead up to 5,000 kilometers. Why isn’t Washington having a hissy fit? Iran doesn’t have anywhere close to this technology. And India is buying oil from Iran with gold and rupees. Answer: because India has a billion people and isn’t cowed by DC. Answer 2: India also has lots of gold and is one of the BRIC nations. India doesn’t need America, except to pay for Tech Support and Customer Service.

International II: In Bahrain, the government and protesters are having constant violent clashes, and much blood is being spilled on both sides. The Formula One Grand Prix event is supposed to be held there Sunday, but race officials are talking about canceling the event. That’ll show em. Nothing worse than a spinout when a tire runs through a puddle of blood.

Business: I saw a video Friday by Gerald Celente, founder of the Trends Research Institute. He was talking about how the rich and powerful can steal billions in fraudulent scams and go scot free, yet if you or I steal a pack of gum from the 7-11 we will be face down on the pavement with a cop’s knee on our neck. And he’s right. When banks and investment houses can play fast and loose with your money, you don’t really own it. Here is Celente’s money quote: “If you don’t have your money, it’s not yours.” The only money you can count on is the money that you physically hold and can touch. Celente has liquidated all his paper investments and is 100% in gold and silver. In fact, Celente had made a purchase of gold on a future delivery contract through MF Global, and when that company went bankrupt, there went his gold purchase. He said he’s recovered about 60% of his money, but the rest is gone. And this video by Celente only backs up what I have been telling you now for months…How much of your savings and investments should you keep in stocks, bonds and mutual funds? Only that amount you are willing to completely lose. Liquidate ALL paper assets right now and get into precious metals that you can hold and touch.

That brings me to tonight’s commercial message. Quick Question: Do you know how much invested money it takes for you to earn $1,000 month in income without touching the principal? The math is easy. $1,000 a month is $12,000 a year, right? But what kind of return on investment can you expect these days? Could you get a 3% return? Maybe. But let’s use that number. You would have to have $400,000 in some investment that earned 3% a year to get yourself $1,000 a month. Next question: How many of you could live on $1,000 a month? Don’t you need $3,000…$4,000…$8,000 or more to live? And we haven’t factored in the inflation rate, which is about 3% and is going higher. Do you have $1.2 million, or $1.6 million…or $3.2 million in investments? No young families I know have that kind of money. Only a few six-figure income earners that I know have it either. And in an economic depression…which we are in NOW…putting that kind of money away is next to impossible. But there’s a business in America right now that throws off monthly income just like an annuity. It’s my energy business. Think about your utility bills. You pay your energy bills every month, and every month, your energy provider earns a little profit on your payment. Now multiply that times thousands. Folks, there is a huge amount of money in the energy business, and you could get paid just like the big monopolies. Imagine owning a business that throws off income every month on a life-essential service that every adult that lives indoors pays every month. To learn more about this unique business, and see if this business is right for you, go to: MasterpieceEnergy.com. Look to the left and click on “The Ignite Business Plan” to learn about a truly recession-proof business.

Economy I: The number of actual new unemployment claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 367,550 in the week ending April 14, a decrease of 22,916 from the previous week. Yet, the Labor Department reported 386,000 new jobless claims last week. I know that many of you just skip over this because this heading is always the same, showing how breathtakingly stupid the Labor Department is. But think a little deeper, friends. Labor is only one Federal department or bureaucracy. You’ve seen how the GSA acts when no one’s looking. And the Secret Service imbroglio is merely the tip of the iceberg. ALL OF THE bureaucracies are wildly wasteful, and they know that Americans won’t do ANYTHING about it.

Sports: OOPS! At a team event, the parent of one of the University of Alabama’s football players was holding the $30,000 Waterford crystal football-shaped trophy when he caught his shoe on a rug. He dropped the trophy which shattered on the floor. Team officials are looking for a way to replace the trophy. Excuse me? This is easy. The parent likely has homeowner’s insurance, which provides liability insurance. File a claim with his insurer, and call Waterford. They still remember how to make the trophy…they make one each year. Done.

Entertainment: So sorry to hear of the passing of two enormous talents in music. Levon Helm, the founder of The Band, died Thursday after a long battle with cancer. A gentle man, superb musician and a gentleman, he was still performing until recently. And Dick Clark died this week from a heart attack. Clark founded “American Bandstand,” the teen music show that started all other rock music shows. I remember in the early 60s that “Bandstand” came on ABC at noon on Saturdays. Everybody I knew tried to be home for the show on Saturdays. You might not know that Clark also created and produced the American Music Awards show that has been fantastically successful for decades. Both men made enormous contributions to American music.

Dump DC: Six Letters That Can Change History.

Copyright 2012: Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Flash Editorials March 31, 2012

March 31, 2012

By Russell D. Longcore

The Nation I: It is reported that Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant last Saturday. That’s not quite true. Yes, he did have heart surgery, but it was to install a heart that had never been there before.

The Nation II: John Corzine, the former President of MF Global, was found to have personally placed orders to move billions of dollars out of his own customer’s accounts into wildly risky Credit Default Swaps. And this criminal will not see one minute of jail time for his felonious actions.

The Nation III: Did you buy a lottery ticket for the Mega Millions lotto game for Friday night? The jackpot is an estimated $650 million, an all-time record. If you tune into this website next week and find it unchanged, you’ll know I won and I retired. I guess I could leave a final video saying goodbye. We’ll see…

The Nation IV: President Barry has been running around making speeches this week about how the big oil companies are making huge profits, that he wants to take their tax benefits away from them. Just like a socialist to blame everybody for the shit that he caused. Ladies and Gentlemen, the reason that American are paying north of $4 a gallon for gasoline is that Barry and the Congress borrowed trillions of dollars and then flooded the world with them. America, what you’re experiencing is INFLATION, not obscene corporate profits. When the value of the dollar drops, it takes more dollars to buy the same products and services. All of Washington lies, friends. They caused our economic trouble. They just count on you being too stupid to know the difference.

The Nation V: And here’s another stupid thing Obama is saying lately. He keeps telling audiences that the rich have to “pay their fair share.” I could go on for hours about this one, but let me make one point. I’ll even concede the high ground of the lexicon, and accept the ridiculous concept of the “fair share.” I will pay my fair share as a taxpayer after, and only after, Washington starts SPENDING its fair share. Spending $1.40 and only taking in $1.00 is not fair. Borrowing trillions is not fair. And a Federal budget running north of $2 trillion a year is not fair. When DC gets serious about making real spending cuts in current year budgets, then and only then will I come to the table and talk about paying my fair share.

The Nation VI: Final Obama story, I swear to God. I don’t want to create nausea in you fine viewers and readers. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments for and against ObamaCare this week. And many State Attorneys General were in attendance. But this is being handled in the wrong place. No state should come hat in hand to the US Supreme Court and ask for standing and a ruling against the FedGov. The State legislatures should pass laws nullifying the ObamaCare law in its entirety, with monetary and criminal penalties for Feds who try to enforce the law in states. Oh…I forgot. The state governments have accepted that they are little more then provinces of the kingdom and must bow to Washington. There is an old saying…“You train people how you want to be treated, even when you do nothing.” Apparently, the states like being slaves.

The Nation VII: Mitt Romney picked up the endorsement this week of globalist former president George HW Bush. So the New World Order has started to show its hand as to its chosen candidate. Folks, don’t you get it? The election system is rigged. If you continue to vote, you are part of the problem, not the solution.

International I: Pope Bennie spent three days in Cuba last week and met briefly with hard-to-imagine-he’s still-breathing Fidel Castro. So there they were together, face to face…two despots…one man representing a system whereby human beings are oppressed and impoverished while their human liberty is stolen by repressive laws, dogmatic rules and fear…and Fidel.

International II: Myanmar…formerly known as Burma, is having a national election soon. The Union Solidarity and Development Party is led by President Thein Sein. The nation has an autocratic president, a rubber-stamp parliament and a strong military. Even if the seats in parliament that are up for grabs are won by the opposing party, nothing will really change. Sounds exactly like the United States. Even the name “Union Solidarity and Development Party” is like Washington. The Federal Government is the honey pot for the unions in America, and in the USA, “development” means “fund-raising,’ like the Development Department of your favorite charity. So it’s unions and raising money in DC. Congratulations, Washington. You’re just like a repressive totalitarian regime in Southeast Asia. Or perhaps Myanmar is like you.

Business: Today’s business report is a lesson in trends. Electronics retailer Best Buy is in deep trouble. This week, they announced that the company is closing another 50 stores and laying off over 400 employees in management and support. Same store sales are down over 2%, and they are headed for doom like their old competitors Circuit City and CompUSA. Why? Because lots of shoppers go to the Best Buy stores to test out various electronics and games, and then go to the Internet to make their purchases for lower prices. Best Buy is trying to switch from its big-box-store format to smaller stores in a bid to save the company and maintain profitability. How is this about trends, you ask? Being on the back side of a trend is a ticket to oblivion. Think about all the trends you’ve seen come and go in your lifetime. Remember leisure suits, and disco, and vinyl records, then reel-to-reel tape machines, and cassette tapes, and urban cowboys, and day traders, and music on CDs, and pagers? And cell phones in a bag or the size of a brick? Trends are also some of the economic bubbles America has experienced, like the stock market run-up of the mid-80s with the Black Monday crash of 1987, the tech boom of the mid-90s to early 2000s, and the real estate boom that just collapsed in 2006. When a trend is building, it’s easy to make money. But on the down slope of a trend, lots of people go broke. If you were the best vinyl record manufacturer in the USA, who cares? And if you are betting your financial future on a sunset industry, you are in for some rough times ahead. So in business, don’t you think it would be best to take advantage of any trend that is gaining momentum…rather than losing momentum?

That brings me to tonight’s commercial message. Energy is the last industry in North America to deregulate. Think about all the industries that have deregulated in the last hundred years…shipping, trucking, air travel, long distance services, the phone companies, and more. When deregulation happens, there is always a massive transfer of wealth from the old monopolies to the new competitors. Companies like UPS, Fedex, Sprint, Verizon, Southwest Airlines and Airtran….none of them existed until deregulation happened. And now energy deregulation is sweeping across America. The energy industry is also the biggest industry ever to deregulate, a $500 Billion a year giant. The new trend, my friends, is energy deregulation. Here’s my question: Do you want to take advantage of a fast-growing trend that will continue growing over the next 20-30 years? Every adult that lives indoors pays an energy bill every month. Energy is a non-negotiable life-essential monthly expense. Many people will pay the light bill before the rent simply because if they don’t, the utility will cut off their service. But YOU can position yourself so that you get paid a monthly income when hundreds or thousands of individuals and businesses pay their monthly energy bills. Those visionaries who get in early stand to make fortunes over the coming years! To learn more about my Energy business, go to: MasterpieceEnergy.com. Watch the opening video about “Lifestyle.” Then look to the left and click on “Defining Moments” to learn about a truly recession-proof business.

Economy I: The number of actual new unemployment claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 319,349 in the week ending March 24, down only 33 from the previous week. Yet once again, the Labor Department reported 359,000 new jobless claims…a number higher than the real number by over 39,000!! For an administration that wants to get re-elected in November, these bureaucrats certainly have forgotten how to cook the books to make Obama’s economy look better. If they just told the truth. But what was I thinking? The Federal Government NEVER tells the truth.

Sports: The NCAA Final Four is Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State and Kansas. Who do you like? I like coach Rick Pitino of Louisville. He’s been to the Final Four six times with three different schools. They spanked Michigan State to get there. Go Cardinals.

Sports II: Coaching legend Bill Parcells will be the head coach for the New Orleans Saints for this coming season, replacing Sean Payton who has been suspended from coaching for A YEAR by the NFL for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal that put price tags on opposing players. Good choice by the Saints. Parcells sure knows how to win, although he wasn’t able to put together a winning program as the VP for the Miami Dolphins.

Entertainment: The movie Hunger Games opened on March 23rd and took in $152.5 million in its first weekend. If you want to see a fantastic film that is entirely Libertarian in philosophy, see this flick. And remember that this book series is wildly popular with teens. So What? That means that the upcoming generation understands that big government is the enemy, and they will be looking for an alternative. Secession is the answer to all their questions.

Dump DC: Six Letters That Can Change History.

Copyright 2012: Russell D. Long core. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

John F. Kennedy and Energy Independence

March 9, 2012

By Russell D. Longcore

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy made a speech before a joint session of Congress. In that speech, he challenged America with the goal of sending an American astronaut to the moon before the end of that decade.

That speech took the American “can-do” spirit by storm. Over the next eight years, rocket after rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral… ironically later named Cape Kennedy…with crews of astronauts on board. American technology soared ever higher with every space flight. Our leaps forward were breath-taking. Remember, Orville and Wilbur Wright flew at Kitty Hawk only 58 years earlier.

Little boys used to dream of going into space. Science fiction TV shows, movies and books all allowed us to walk among the stars.

Now, whether a moon landing actually happened on July 20, 1969 is debatable. But the technological advances that were spawned by the space race are not debatable.

My point is that an American president called the nation to commit to a technological goal that eventually set the USA apart as the world leader in space technology. After a few years, the Space Shuttle program began and completed 135 missions over 20 years. It became so mundane that shuttle launches and landings only got a 20-second mention on the nightly news.

In 2012, America is faced with another technological challenge that remains unmet. That challenge is energy independence.

There are myriad reasons that the USA imports so much oil. And this article is not written to explore all the conspiracies that keep America strung out on Middle East crude. But there is an alternative that even the greenies cannot criticize.

Natural Gas.

The United States is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. We have hundreds of years of proven reserves, and more that lies untapped beneath American soil and sea. Sure, America will always need crude oil. But most crude is refined into fuels that power our vehicles. Electric cars are not practical yet because the storage battery technology has not advanced far enough yet to allow automakers to create 100% electric cars with the range of a petroleum-fed vehicle. Chasing the ethanol butterfly won’t work. Ethanol-based fuels create mechanical problems in modern cars. And forget solar applications… they’re too unreliable. Automakers face the CAFE requirements of overall fuel economy, and meeting those un-meetable standards will be monstrously expensive. And that STILL doesn’t get America off foreign oil.

But ALL internal combustion engines will run perfectly well on compressed natural gas (CNG). In fact, engines run cleaner, last longer and pollute less on CNG. There are tens of thousands of vehicles already operating daily on CNG, like buses, big trucks, and fleet vehicles. And the price of CNG for transportation fuel is only about $1.40 per gallon!!! So, why isn’t there a big push in America for CNG vehicles and CNG fueling stations? Honda already makes a Civic model that uses CNG. And when a diesel engine is converted to CNG, it becomes a hybrid, burning both fuels. There is absolutely no downside to CNG as transportation fuel and the more popular it became, the more the price would drop.

I dream of an American president standing in the well of Congress and announcing that his only goal as president is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. But that is not going to happen. So, wouldn’t it be exciting to have an American president stand in the well of Congress and announce that his only goal as president was to make America energy independent in his term in office? Here is what that president could do:

1. Create the demand among Americans by showing the benefits of CNG fuel and CNG vehicles.
2. Show Americans how much money they would save by operating CNG autos and trucks.
3. Work with Congress to rewrite current laws and regulations regarding fuels and the manufacture of CNG vehicles.
4. Cancel many regulations already on the books that impede our goal.
5. Create tax incentives for gas producers and oil companies to build hundreds of thousands of CNG filling stations. One incentive could be to allow the cost of a CNG filling station to be 100% expensed in the year it is built.
6. Refrain from loading on Federal sales and excise taxes into the price of CNG.

The more we use CNG, the less will would need supertankers to deliver foreign oil. Perhaps it would even be possible to use CNG so efficiently and effectively for transportation that America could supply its crude oil needs from its own production. I don’t know if that is a likely scenario. But common sense tells me that if 98% of our vehicles now use petroleum products, and we changed over to even 75% CNG, vast amounts of crude oil would not have to be imported to America. And if America stopped importing so much crude oil, the world spot price of crude would plummet, since demand determines the supply and the price.

And if we made such a commitment, do you think that it would effect job creation? The jobs created would be in manufacturing and other tech fields, which are the very jobs that have been going offshore for decades.

For those of you that read my work here at DumpDC on a regular basis, you may shudder to read that I am promoting tax incentives. My writings about taxation are primarily directed toward a post-secession new nation. What I am trying to do here is to look at where we are as a nation and deal with it constructively.

There is no reason whatsoever that our nation could not become entirely energy independent by the year 2020. Look what America did in the space race. We can do it again to make ourselves energy independent. The spirit of independence is what created this American experiment. We can re-capture that independence once again.

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2012, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Flash Editorials March 3, 2012

March 3, 2012

By Russell D. Longcore

To watch an entertaining animated version of this article, click below.

The Nation I: Andrew Breitbart, the blogger that exposed Anthony Weiner for his sexual indiscretions, and became a high profile, Drudge-like alternative news figure, made a speech about three weeks ago at the CPAC convention that he would release footage about Barack Obama’s connections to Marxists Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dorn on March 1st that threatened to derail the Obama re-election. But late Wednesday night the 29th, he spent time in a bar near his home with friends, and then about 11:30, left the bar alone to walk home. On his way, he allegedly had a heart attack and died at age 43. This death is far too coincidental to be accepted at face value. We wonder if Andrew entrusted that video to others who will now release it? Julian Assange of Wikileaks, call your office.

The Nation II: Mitt won the Michigan primary, but not convincingly. In all but Oakland County…where he used to live…Santorum tied him. Mitt won by about 30,000 votes, and that was the difference in Oakland County. And Mitt and Rick both get delegates. Super Tuesday is coming next Tuesday. Oh Boy…

The Nation III: I stumbled and tripped into a story this week about the US becoming self-sufficient in transportation fuels. The biggest use of crude oil is in the production of gasoline and diesel fuel. That is the blood in the veins of the American economy. And every day we see headlines about how the price of fuel is rising. We feel powerless to do anything about it. But did you know that the technology ALREADY EXISTS to get America off foreign oil? The United States is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. We have hundreds of years of reserves of natural gas in our own country. And ALL internal combustion engines will run perfectly well on compressed natural gas (CNG). In fact, engines run cleaner, last longer and pollute less on CNG. There are tens of thousands of vehicles already operating daily on CNG, like buses, big trucks, and fleet vehicles. And the price of CNG for transportation fuel is only about $1.40 per gallon!!! So, why isn’t there a big push in America for CNG vehicles and CNG fueling stations? Honda already makes a Civic model that uses CNG. And when a diesel engine is converted to CNG, it becomes a hybrid, burning both fuels. There is absolutely no downside to CNG as transportation fuels and the more popular it became, the more the price would drop. That is, if Washington could keep their filthy mitts off the program. Another conspiracy? You explain why it’s not happening.

International I: The town of Rasquera, Spain has approved a land lease to private individuals who want to grow cannabis…hemp…or marijuana by any other name. There will be 7 hectares (about 17.33 acres) under cultivation. And in Spain, no one is getting the red-ass about it. Maybe this will be a good example for the rest of us.

International II: The bank of Israel began shifting some of its capital from US Treasury Bonds into US equities beginning Friday, March 2nd. This is a sovereign central bank that has committed $1.5 Billion to start, and will now invest directly in the stock of US companies. This is illegal for the Federal Reserve to do here in America. Why a problem? Because if the Fed is doing swaps with a foreign entity, it is equivalent to the Fed doing the same thing. And that means that central banks can take very aggressive stock positions and back them with Credit Default Swaps Then when the stock goes in the shitter, they can hit up the citizens for their losses. These guys just keep coming up with new and more cunningly dirty ways to rape and pillage the world economic system.

Shameless Plug: Nearly everyone over 16 buys insurance. But is it a good idea to switch companies? Are any of the TV commercials by insurance companies telling the truth about switching? How often should you shop for new coverage and lower rates? Does loyalty to one particular company matter anymore? How do you find the best value in insurance? A new way to shop is online. But low price is not everything. Learn to think like an insurance adjuster, not like an insurance agent. To learn more and get FREE quotes online, go to: www.InsuranceQuoteHQ.com

Business: In the theaters now is “The Lorax,” a Dr. Seuss knock-off that raps on consumerism and commercialization. Of course, you’ll have to pony up about ten bucks to take little Johnny to see this crap in the theater, and don’t forget to do business with the 70 or so companies that are using the Lorax images to sell their products, from IHOP pancakes to Mazda to HP. Why isn’t there a McDonald’s Happy Meal with a Lorax inside? I’ll bet that the Lorax and all the other little woodland creatures in the movie would be delicious on a toasted sesame-seed bun.

Economy: The number of actual new unemployment claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 331,906 in the week ending February 25th. But the “seasonally-adjusted” number reported by the government is 351,000. This week, the Labor Department actually reported 20,000 MORE new claims than actually occurred. If you haven’t figured out by now that these numbers are entirely cooked week to week, hold a mirror under your nose and check for fog on the mirror. Meanwhile, don’t forget that 331,906 people’s lives got severely changed in the last seven days because they got fired or laid off. A week ago they had a job. This week, none. 331,906…this week. Got any compassion?

Sports: NASCAR kicked off its season at Daytona last week, and Matt Kenseth won the 500-mile race. Here is how a NASCAR fan counts to ten: “McMurray, Keselowski, Dale, four, Kasey, Stenhouse, Robby Gordon, eight, Ambrose, Danica.”

Entertainment: The Academy Awards show was the women’s biggest fashion show of the year. The guys are mere extras. A silent movie got multiple Oscars, and Hugo mopped up the rest. The best Oscar of the night went to “The Separation,” for Best Foreign Language Film. It was made in Iran…you know that Islamic country that hates us for our freedoms. I always love to see somebody stick their thumb in DC’s eye.

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2012, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Flash Editorials January 14, 2012

January 13, 2012

By Russell D. Longcore

The Nation: The story about the New Hampshire primary is not that Mitt Romney won. Any drooling moron knew that was going to happen. The story is Ron Paul in second place with 24% of the vote. Gingrich and Santorum weren’t even close, and Jim Dick Perry was only at about 1%. South Carolina is next, and anything could happen. Which leads me to…

The Nation II Newt “Tweedledum” Gingrich has some rich friends who started a super political action committee, or SuperPAC. They have produced and released a 28-minute video called “When Mitt Romney Came To Town.” It’s all over the Internet if you want to watch it. This propaganda piece has the potential to really hurt Romney. It paints him as a Wall Street corporate raider that took pleasure in buying companies, running them into debt, laying off most of the work force, and then letting the companies go bankrupt after Bain Capital cashed out. It never says one word about the big successes Bain Capital made. The movie is produced much like a Michael Moore picture, completely slanted to make a point. But Americans like videos and hate corporate raiders and Wall Street. If the message of the movie sticks to Mitt, anything could happen. Can you imagine seeing Ron Paul win a primary? Which leads me to…

The Nation III On Friday, a Federal judge ruled that Jim Dick Perry, Gingrich, Santorum and Huntsman may not appear on the Virginia Primary ballots. The only two candidates will be Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Get ready, folks. Four years ago, few thought front-runner Hillary Clinton could be beat for the Democratic nomination.

International: In Beijing, China, hundreds of people lined up outside the flagship Apple store to buy the Apple iPhone 4S. They were turned away when the store ran out of phones. The news story said that upset shoppers pelted the store with eggs. Do you think this might have been staged? Think about it. Mr. Lee says to Mrs. Lee: “Honey, I’m going down to the Apple store to buy a new phone. Hand me a couple eggs, would ya?” Who takes eggs with them to buy a phone?

International II: Today, nine European countries received credit rating downgrades. Here’s a tidbit that you won’t see most places. The credit downgrade could easily cause defaults in major corporate borrowers. If your company borrowed money and pledged AAA government bonds as collateral…which is pretty normal…and your AAA bonds are now rated AA+, you are technically in default. The lender could call the loan, or demand more collateral. Either one could cause a borrower to go bankrupt. So here’s another layer of potential financial collapses that could domino the European system.

International III: More about European default, but this time…let’s talk about time zones. Most of Europe is six hours ahead of the Eastern time zone here in America…London is five hours ahead. If a cascading domino-effect market collapse happens in Rome or Athens when banks open in the morning…say 9:00…it’s still 3:00 am in New York…midnight on the West Coast. By the time the banks open in New York, the default has already been burning down Europe for six hours. Actually, the American banks would not open. They would declare a “bank holiday.” The world cable news networks would have been broadcasting the European collapse for six hours. The parking lots outside East Coast banks would be jammed with people desperate to get their hands on their money. Riots would ensue in a time zone wave from the East Coast to the West Coast. Doesn’t that sound fun?

Business: World oil prices dipped this week as two European Union officials said that the proposed Iranian embargo and sanctions are going to be put on hold for as much as six months. What does that tell you? First, that US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is full of shyt. Second, that this is all about oil, not about who has nuclear weapons.

Shameless Plug: There are very few glowing and growing segments of the American economy. Energy is one of them. When I talk about “energy,” I’m talking about natural gas and electricity. As the population grows, the demand for energy grows. Energy is the last major monopoly to be deregulated, and deregulation is sweeping across America. And, when deregulation occurs there is a massive transfer of wealth from the monopolies to the new competitors. The energy business is the nearest thing you’ll find to a recession-proof business. Think about it. Energy is a life-essential service that everyone already had in their monthly budgets. Just imagine if you had an energy business in which you got paid a little profit every month when your customers paid their energy bills…just like the big guys get paid. Find out more about this business at MasterpieceEnergy.com.

Economy: Remember last week when all the network news shows gushed about the unemployment numbers dropping to only 372,000 that week? This week, 399,000 new unemployment claims were filed. THIS WEEK. And in my opinion, the only reason the number wasn’t above 400,000 was that the government cooked the numbers. I could be wrong. But 399,000 people that had jobs a week ago don’t have them this week.

Sports: OK. Last week I proved what a goober I am about the NFL. I predicted that New Orleans and the Packers would meet in the Super Bowl. I didn’t remember that they are both in the NFC. Maybe it will be the Saints and Denver. The Saints will still take home all the marbles.

Entertainment: A New York Philharmonic performance was brought to a standstill Tuesday night…by a ringing cell phone. Conductor Alan Gilbert was in the last few moments of the Mahler Ninth Symphony when a front-row audience member’s phone began ringing…and ringing…and ringing. Gilbert finally stopped the orchestra until the patron silenced his infernal phone from ringing. Apparently, the audience member was convinced that he was more important than the orchestra and a house full of people. This is the etiquette of the second decade of the 21st Century.

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2012, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

America’s Oil Price Inflation Crisis is Yet to Come

July 5, 2011

courtesy The National Inflation Association

(Editor’s Note: We were also stunned when Barry (The One) dipped into the Strategic Oil Reserve for no apparent reason, at a time when world oil prices were dropping. Clearly, the US President has no clue whatsoever what supply and demand means. But he is certainly a Marxist, since he believes in government intrusion into the market. God help the USA when idiots are in the highest offices.)

NIA is very disturbed by President Obama’s decision to sell off oil from the U.S. emergency oil reserve, in an attempt to drive down oil prices. One week ago it was announced that the U.S. and other oil-consuming nations that are a part of the International Energy Agency (IEA) will begin releasing 60 million barrels of oil from their reserves, with 30 million barrels coming from the U.S. government-owned reserve. They hoped that by flooding the market with excess supply, they would cause an artificial forced liquidation of oil futures contract holders who bought using leverage.

The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve is the world’s largest government-owned stockpile of emergency crude oil reserves and is maintained by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It holds 727 million barrels of oil reserves at four different sites along the Gulf of Mexico. Considering that the U.S. is releasing 30 million barrels of oil from these reserves, we are reducing the size of our emergency reserve by 4.1%.

After Obama’s decision was announced on June 22nd, crude oil prices originally dipped as much as $5.71 per barrel from $95.41 per barrel down to a low of $89.70 per barrel on June 23rd. Oil prices declined slightly more during the next two trading days, reaching a low this past Monday of $89.61 per barrel and closing Monday at $90.61 per barrel. However, oil prices have surged $4.81 during the past three days and are currently $95.42 per barrel. Oil has recovered the entire dip that came after Obama’s decision was announced and is now a penny higher than before his announcement. Unlike 2008 when most oil futures contract holders were hedge funds using leverage in an attempt to make short-term profits, today most oil investors are much stronger hands who bought with cash, because the world is now flooded with dollars thanks to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

It certainly wasn’t worth jeopardizing the homeland security of this country by reducing our emergency oil reserve by 4.1%, just to see a $4 reduction in oil prices that lasted for only 3 days. If the White House had any faith whatsoever in Bernanke’s assertion that rising oil prices are only transitory, there would be no reason to release 30 million barrels of oil from our emergency reserve. The rising oil prices we have experienced so far is far from an emergency. The emergency will come soon when the world turns its back on the U.S. dollar and we see a rapid decline in its purchasing power. The emergency will be here when the U.S. can no longer import oil from foreigners at any price due to hyperinflation, and we are forced to live with only the oil produced in this country.

At any time that they choose, China has the power to set off in our country the economic equivalent of a nuclear bomb. China can at any time announce that they are no longer going to buy U.S. treasuries, but they are going to take their $2 trillion in U.S. dollar reserves and use them to buy gold. The price of gold would double overnight, with the U.S. dollar immediately losing half of its purchasing power. The yuan would then skyrocket in purchasing power, automatically giving China the world’s largest economy with the Chinese GDP soaring past U.S. GDP. There would be a massive rush out of the U.S. dollar with our trading partners unwilling to export any oil to us.

The U.S. currently produces only 5.5 million barrels of oil per day, but consumes about 19.3 million barrels of oil per day, with total input into refineries of 14.7 million barrels of oil per day. This means the U.S. currently needs to import 9.2 million barrels of oil per day. U.S. commercial crude oil stockpiles are currently 359.5 million barrels or enough to last for 24 days without any domestic production. In the event of hyperinflation where the U.S. is cut off from oil imports, if we were forced to live off of our own oil production of 5.5 million barrels of oil per day, our commercial stockpiles would be gone in 39 days.

Without an emergency oil reserve, in the event of a major oil shortage due to hyperinflation, after a period of just 39 days, farmers won’t have enough oil to produce food, manufacturing plants won’t have enough oil to process and package food, and logistics companies won’t have enough oil to get finished food products into our supermarkets. This is why we have an emergency oil reserve, to prevent store shelves from becoming empty in our supermarkets due to a fuel shortage.

It takes 13 days for oil from our emergency reserve to begin entering the market and once it does, the most it can add to the market on a daily basis is 4.4 million barrels of oil. Therefore, in a crisis we must first use only our commercial stockpiles for 13 days, which would cause our commercial reserve to decline down to 239.9 million barrels of oil. Beginning on the 14th day of a crisis, 4.4 million barrels of oil per day can come into the market from our emergency reserve with 4.8 million barrels of oil per day entering the market from our commercial reserve.

After 50 additional days, our commercial reserve will be depleted and all that will be left is 507 million barrels of oil in our emergency reserve. That will give us 115 more days where we can withdraw 4.4 million barrels of oil per day, but the U.S. will be forced to reduce its daily oil consumption by 33% during those 115 days. This is based off of an emergency reserve of 727 million barrels of oil. With Obama this month prematurely releasing 30 million barrels of oil from our emergency reserve, we will actually only have 108 days where the U.S. will be able to consume 2/3 of its normal oil consumption, after 63 days of full oil consumption.

The solution to high oil prices is not more government intervention, but is less government interference in the free market. Instead of trying to manipulate oil prices down using artificial methods that will only last temporarily, the U.S. government should look at the root cause of rising oil prices. Oil is rising due to the U.S. government’s deficit spending and the Federal Reserve’s willingness to monetize our deficits and debts. If they want to see lower oil prices, the government should start out by eliminating the DOE. The DOE was created in 1977 to make the U.S. less dependent on oil imports. In 1977, we imported 44% of the oil used in U.S. refineries. Today, we import 63% of the oil used in U.S. refineries. Eliminating the DOE would save this country $27 billion annually.

Priced in terms of real money (gold), oil prices haven’t been rising at all. The Federal Reserve’s QE2, in which it printed $600 billion out of thin air, has created artificial demand for oil. If it wasn’t for the Federal Reserve working tirelessly trying to prevent a much needed recession, Americans would be cutting back on oil consumption and oil prices would be declining. If the free market was allowed to operate, falling oil prices would make it easier for Americans to live with the real unemployment rate currently at 22.3%.

It is important to spread the word about NIA to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, if you want America to survive hyperinflation. Please tell everybody you know to become members of NIA for free immediately at: http://inflation.us

Will Texas Politicians Ever Grow A Pair?

April 30, 2011

Will Texas Let EPA’s Lizard Choke West Texas Oil Industry To Death?

from Texas Tenth Amendment Center

(Editor’s Note: It appears that there is no affront…no violation of individual property rights…no Federal intrusion into State sovereignty…no blatant power grab by Washington…no level of tyranny…that the Austin politicians will stand and fight. When it comes down to secession and Texas Independence, Texans will have to look to non-politicians to become a new nation.The EPA has no jurisdiction in a New Texas.)

A three-inch lizard that thrives in desert conditions could shut down oil and gas operations in portions of Southeast New Mexico and in West Texas, including the state’s top two oil producing counties.

Called the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard, it is being considered for inclusion on the federal Endangered Species listing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A public rally to oppose this move is being sponsored by the Permian Basin Petroleum Association on Tuesday, April 26 at Midland Center beginning at 5 p.m. Congressman Mike Conaway will speak, as will Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson; other public officials have been invited.

”We are very concerned about the Fish and Wildlife Service listing,” said Ben Shepperd, president of the PBPA, noting the service also has proposed listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken next year. “The wolf at the door is the lizard; we’re concerned listing it would shut down drilling activity for a minimum of two years and as many as five years while the service determines what habitat is needed for the lizard. That means no drilling, no seismic surveys, no roads built, no electric lines.”

The move would impact activity in Andrews, Crane, Gaines, Ward and Winkler counties in Texas and Chaves, Eddy, Lea and Roosevelt counties in New Mexico.

Not only would the move impact oil and gas operations but agriculture, Shepperd noted, shutting down agricultural activities like grazing and farming — “anything that disturbs the habitat.” While the industry is perfectly willing to undertake conservation measures to protect the lizard’s habitat, he said, naming it an endangered species “would shut down activity and be devastating not only to Permian Basin economies but to the national economy. We are the one bright spot month after month; in our economic turnaround, the main driver is the oil and gas industry.”

The concern is, he said, that the Fish and Wildlife Service lacks enough data to conclude that the tiny lizard is endangered and is basing its action on flawed methodology. “They didn’t spend enough time looking for them or the right technique to find them,” he said.

In New Mexico, where the lizard can be found on both private and public lands, Shepperd said a number of companies have entered into voluntary agreements to help conserve the lizard’s habitat, mitigate threats to the lizard and remediate any damage while continuing to operate. He said he wants the same to happen in Texas. The association favors such joint agreements between the federal government and landowners to protect the lizard’s habitat while allowing drilling operations to continue responsibly.

”The point is, we think the best way is for land owners and industry actually on the ground where the lizards are, who know how to protect the lizard, to be in charge instead of the feds putting up ‘Do Not Enter’ signs on every gatepost,” Shepperd said.

A sign of hope is that four counties — Lea, Andrews, Ward and Winkler, and the town of Monahans, have passed resolutions demanding to have standing during the comment phase, which ends May 16. Under the National Environmental Protection Act, or NEPA, Shepperd said, the federal government is required to work with local governmental entities when they make such a request.

”This will enable them to bring in the economic impact,” he said. “We feel like the counties demanding to be part of the process should require the Fish and Wildlife Service to work with them to develop a reasonable conservation process that we all can live with.”

Secession and Energy Independence

April 3, 2011

New Age Nuclear

by Tim Dean

Issue 8 of Cosmos, April 2006

(Editor’s Note: We already looked at the Pebble Bed reactor on March 27th. Dennis Morrisseau of the Second Vermont Republic told me to Google “Thorium Reactors” to learn about an even better technology than the Pebble Bed Reactors. Here is what I found. Dear readers, you will have to wade through some dubious “global warming” stuff in the article, but take the time to learn about the Thorium reactors. These reactors could be the answer to our energy needs as well as a way to clean up the spent nuclear material stored over the last 70 years.

How does this relate to secession? Any state that contemplates independence and nationhood will have to become energy self-sufficient. Thorium reactors could provide that technology.)

Nuclear energy produces no greenhouse gases, but it has many drawbacks. Now a radical new technology based on thorium promises what uranium never delivered: abundant, safe and clean energy – and a way to burn up old radioactive waste.

What if we could build a nuclear reactor that offered no possibility of a meltdown, generated its power inexpensively, created no weapons-grade by-products, and burnt up existing high-level waste as well as old nuclear weapon stockpiles? And what if the waste produced by such a reactor was radioactive for a mere few hundred years rather than tens of thousands? It may sound too good to be true, but such a reactor is indeed possible, and a number of teams around the world are now working to make it a reality. What makes this incredible reactor so different is its fuel source: thorium.

Named after Thor, the warlike Norse god of thunder, thorium could ironically prove a potent instrument of peace as well as a tool to soothe the world’s changing climate. With the demand for energy on the increase around the world, and the implications of climate change beginning to strike home, governments are increasingly considering nuclear power as a possible alternative to burning fossil fuels.

But nuclear power comes with its own challenges. Public concerns over the risk of meltdown, disposal of long-lived and highly toxic radioactive waste, the generation of weapons grade by-products, and their corresponding proliferation risks, all can make nuclear power a big vote-loser.

A thorium reactor is different. And, on paper at least, this radical new technology could be the key to unlocking a new generation of clean and safe nuclear power. It could prove the circuit-breaker to the two most intractable problems of the 21st century: our insatiable thirst for energy, and the warming of the world’s climate.

BY THE END OF this century, the average surface temperature across the globe will have risen by at least 1.4˚C, and perhaps as much as 5.8˚C, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

That may not sound like much, but small changes in the global average can mask more dramatic localised disruptions in climate.

Some changes will be global: we can expect sea levels to rise by as much as 0.9 metres, effectively rendering a huge proportion of what is now fertile coastal land uninhabitable, flooding low-lying cities and wiping out a swathe of shallow islands worldwide.

The principal culprit is carbon dioxide, a gas that even in quite small quantities can have a dramatic impact on climate, and has historically been present in the Earth’s atmosphere at relatively low concentrations.

That was until human activity, including burning fossil fuels, began raising background levels substantially.

Yet while we’re bracing ourselves to deal with climate change, we also face soaring demand for more energy – which means burning more fossil fuels and generating more greenhouse gases.

That demand is forecast to boom this century. Energy consumption worldwide is rising fast, partly because we’re using much more of it – for air conditioning and computers, for example. In Australia alone, energy consumption jumped by 46 per cent between the mid-1970s and the mid- 1990s where our population grew by just 30 per cent. And energy use is expected to increase another 14 per cent by the end of this decade, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Then there’s China, which, along with other fast-growing nations, is developing a rapacious appetite for power to feed its booming economy.

And fossil fuels won’t last forever. Current predictions are that we may reach the point of peak production for oil and natural gas within the next decade – after which production levels will continually decline worldwide.

That’s if we haven’t hit the ‘peak oil’ mark already. That means prices will rise, as they have already started to do: cheap oil has become as much a part of history as bell-bottomed trousers and the Concorde.

Even coal, currently the world’s favourite source of electricity generation, is in limited supply. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that at current levels of consumption, the world’s coal reserves could last around 285 years. That sounds like breathing room: but it doesn’t take into account increased usage resulting from the lack of other fossil fuels, or from an increase in population and energy consumption worldwide.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as of 2003, coal provided about 40 per cent of the world’s electricity – compared to about 20 per cent for natural gas, nuclear power and renewable sources respectively. In Australia, coal contributes even more: around 83 per cent of electricity.

This is because coal is abundant and cheap, especially in Australia. And although a coal-fired power plant can cost as much as A$1 billion (US$744 million) to build, coal has a long history of use in Australia. Coal is also readily portable, much more so than natural gas, for example – which makes it an excellent export product for countries rich in coal, and an economical import for coal-barren lands.

But the official figures on the cost of coal don’t tell the whole story. Coal is a killer: a more profligate one than you would expect.

And it maintains a lethal efficacy across its entire lifecycle.

One of the main objections held against nuclear power is its potential to take lives in the event of a reactor meltdown, such as occurred at Chernobyl in 1986. While such threats are real for conventional reactors, the fact remains that nuclear power – over the 55 years since it first generated electricity in 1951 – has caused only a fraction of the deaths coal causes every week.

Take coal mining, which kills more than 10,000 people a year. Admittedly, a startling proportion of these deaths occur in mines in China and the developing world, where safety conditions are reminiscent of the preunionised days of the early 20th century in the United States. But it still kills in wealthy countries; witness the death of 18 miners in West Virginia, USA, earlier this year.

But coal deaths don’t just come from mining; they come from burning it. The Earth Policy Institute in Washington DC – a nonprofit research group founded by influential environmental analyst Lester R. Brown – estimates that air pollution from coal-fired power plants causes 23,600 U.S. deaths per year. It’s also responsible for 554,000 asthma attacks, 16,200 cases of chronic bronchitis, and 38,200 non-fatal heart attacks annually.

The U.S. health bill from coal use could be up to US $160 billion annually, says the institute.

Coal is also radioactive: most coal is laced with traces of a wide range of other elements, including radioactive isotopes such as uranium and thorium, and their decay products, radium and radon. Some of the lighter radioactive particles, such as radon gas, are shed into the atmosphere during combustion, but the majority remain in the waste product – coal ash.

People can be exposed to its radiation when coal ash is stored or transported from the power plant or used in manufacture of concrete. And there are far less precautions taken to prevent radiation escaping from coal ash than from even low-level nuclear waste. In fact, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the U.S. estimates the amount of exposure to radiation from living near a coal-fired power plant could be several times higher than living a comparable distance from a nuclear reactor.

Then there are the deaths that are likely to occur from falling crop yields, more intense flooding and the displacement of coastal communities which are all predicted to ensue from global warming and rising oceans.

There’s so much heat already trapped in the atmosphere from a century of greenhouse gases that some of these effects are likely to occur even if all coal-fired power plants were closed tomorrow. Whichever way you look at it, coal is not the smartest form of energy.

THERE ARE MANY REASONS to move away from coal as our primary source of electricity generation, but it’s not an easy task. The list of required attributes for an ideal power generation technology looks intimidating.

First of all, it should offer abundant power.

It also needs to be clean, safe and renewable as well as consistent. And ultimately, it needs to be economical.

Solar power contains much promise as a clean and practically infinite renewable power source. But photovoltaics, the most common form of solar electricity generation, are still a very expensive form of electricity, and lack the consistency to be suitable as a primary source of power – to provide the ‘baseload’ that is, the kind of power you can rely on to be there to keep everyone’s refrigerators humming all day and night.

Wind has seen application in specialised wind farms, both onshore and offshore, especially in Europe where solar power is less efficient than in sunnier climes such as Australia’s. Germany alone accounts for around 40 per cent of the total wind power generated worldwide.

Wind is an effective and clean form of power, but it too has its drawbacks. First, it is uncommon for a wind generator to be operating at more than 35 per cent of capacity, and 25 per cent is more common. This means it’s idle and not generating power for 65 to 75 per cent of the time. Wind power is relatively cheap, with a cost per kilowatt-hour similar to that of coal in some places, although the volume of wind power is limited and often the best locations for wind turbines are far from the populous areas where electricity is needed. Environmentally, wind power poses a minor threat to birdlife, as well as being considered an eyesore in some communities.

While solar power is relatively expensive, and wind is limited in its implementation, both have a highly important role in renewable electricity generation. Unfortunately, even granting considerable advances in technology and efficiency of both technologies, neither has the potential to become a primary source of electricity because of their intermittent nature: neither could ever be relied upon to meet baseload supply.

IN THE 1950s, nuclear power generation, or the so-called ‘peaceful atom’, promised to unshackle us from fossil fuels and provide our society with limitless clean power that was going to be “too cheap to meter”. Like many utopian visions, the truth was considerably less appealing. While nuclear power has for the most part provided bountiful energy without significant environmental impact, what everyone remembers are the accidents: the Windscale fire at Sellafield in 1957, the meltdowns at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986. At a time when the public psyche was reeling from the fear of global nuclear war, the threats from nuclear power plants were suddenly seen in a similar light.

Another issue that caused growing public concern was the disposal of high-level nuclear waste. Some of the by-products of nuclear power include spent fuel rods: mostly byproducts of nuclear fission, including some highly radioactive actinides with half-lives of many thousands of years – which means they remain lethally toxic for millennia. They have to be housed in waste dumps isolated from all possible contact with the environment for up to 10,000 years. This means building a structure that will survive for twice as long as the Great Pyramid of Egypt has to date.

Needless to say, the engineering difficulties involved in building facilities that can safely contain such waste for 100 centuries, are immense – as are the costs.

Then there are nuclear weapons. Some waste can be reprocessed into weapons-grade plutonium. In particular, the processing of plutonium for re-use as fuel for reactors is difficult and, as such, much of the waste is left to build in weapons-grade stockpiles that could pose a serious security threat were some to fall into the wrong hands.

All three of these issues result from the nuclear fuel cycle in conventional reactors.

The typical nuclear fuel cycle kicks off with a quantity of refined uranium ore. This ore is primarily composed of uranium-238 (U-238), the most common, weakly radioactive isotope that has a very long half-life and is not fissile.

This means U-238 doesn’t easily undergo fission, the process in which the nucleus of the atom splits, releasing tremendous quantities of energy.

Usually, a very small percentage of the ore will be U-235. Unlike U-238, U-235 is fissile, and makes up the primary fuel for most nuclear reactors. It is also, incidentally, the uranium isotope that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

This is because when a U-235 atom splits, it releases a spread of high-energy neutrons.

If one of these neutrons then collides with another U-235 atom, it can cause the atom to split, releasing more neutrons in the process.

This runaway chain reaction is responsible for the fantastic explosive power of an atom bomb – and for the meltdowns at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

However, there is too little U-235 in mined uranium ore to maintain enough fission for a nuclear reactor or a bomb. The ore needs to be ‘enriched’, boosting the proportion of U-235 in the ore. Nuclear reactors require around 3 per cent to 5 per cent of U-235, while nuclear weapons often require 85 per cent or more. One of the most popular methods of enriching uranium is a gas centrifuge, where the uranium in the ore is converted into uranium hexafluoride gas and rapidly spun, forcing the heavier U-238 gas to the extremities for separation.

Once a sufficient proportion of U-235 is achieved, the ore can be made into fuel suitable for a reactor. Also, while U-235 is busily destroying itself in the reactor, the U-238 in the fuel is not sitting idly by. This is because U-238 is ‘fertile’, which means it can transmute into other, fissile elements in a process called ‘breeding’. In this process, if an atom of U-238 absorbs a neutron, such as one thrown out by a nearby splitting U-235 atom, it can transmute into the short-lived U-239. This then rapidly decays into neptunium-239, which itself quickly decays into plutonium-239 (Pu-239). Pu-239 is another possible fuel for nuclear reactors because, like U-235, it is actively fissile and can maintain a chain reaction. The problem is that many reactors are not optimised for burning plutonium, and as a consequence large quantities of Pu-239 remain as a waste by-product in spent fuel rods.

Pu-239 can be reprocessed from spent fuel rods and turned into a compound called MOX (Mixed Oxide) fuel. This can then be reused in some nuclear reactors in the place of conventional enriched uranium. However, it is Pu-239 that also represents the greatest weapons proliferation threat. So reprocessing plutonium becomes a very costly and a politically sensitive business. This means it is less likely to be used as a nuclear fuel for a civilian power plant and is less likely to be reprocessed.

Nuclear physics is a complex and messy business, especially when dealing with large unstable elements such as uranium. When the U-235 in nuclear fuel burns down to around 0.3 per cent concentration, it’s no longer of use in a reactor. At this point, the proportion of U-238, along with other fission by-products, including some very radioactive isotopes of americium, technetium and iodine, is too high. Many of these elements are called ‘neutron poisons’ because they absorb neutrons that would otherwise be happily colliding with other U-235 nuclei to spark off more fission.

This spent fuel can be reprocessed – but this is a much more difficult job than basic enrichment because of the high number of fission by-products in the spent fuel. This means that a great deal of spent fuel – highly radioactive as it is – becomes waste that needs to be stored. For a very long time.

THIS IS WHERE THORIUM steps in. Thorium itself is a metal in the actinide series, which is a run of 15 heavy radioactive elements that occupy their own period in the periodic table between actinium and lawrencium. Thorium sits on the periodic table two spots to the left (making it lighter) of the only other naturally occurring actinide, uranium (which is two spots to the left of synthetic plutonium). This means thorium and uranium share several characteristics.

According to Reza Hashemi-Nezhad, a nuclear physicist at the University of Sydney who has been studying the thorium fuel cycle, the most important point is that they both can absorb neutrons and transmute into fissile elements. “From the neutron-absorption point of view, U-238 is very similar to Th-232”, he said.

It’s these similarities that make thorium a potential alternative fuel for nuclear reactors. But it’s the unique differences between thorium and uranium that make it a potentially superior fuel. First of all, unlike U-235 and Pu-239, thorium is not fissile, so no matter how much thorium you pack together, it will not start splitting atoms and blow up. This is because it cannot undergo nuclear fission by itself and it cannot sustain a nuclear chain reaction once one starts. It’s a wannabe atom splitter incapable of taking the grand title.

What makes thorium suitable as a nuclear fuel is that it is fertile, much like U-238.

Natural thorium (Th-232) absorbs a neutron and quickly transmutes into unstable Th-233 and then into protactinium Pa-233, before quickly decaying into U-233, says Hashemi- Nezhad. The beauty of this complicated process is that the U-233 that’s produced at the end of this breeding process is similar to U-235 and is fissile, making it suitable as a nuclear fuel. In this way, it talks like uranium and walks like uranium, but it ain’t your common-or-garden variety uranium.

And this is where it gets interesting: thorium has a very different fuel cycle to uranium. The most significant benefit of thorium’s journey comes from the fact that it is a lighter element than uranium. While it’s fertile, it doesn’t produce as many heavy and as many highly radioactive by-products. The absence of U-238 in the process also means that no plutonium is bred in the reactor.

As a result, the waste produced from burning thorium in a reactor is dramatically less radioactive than conventional nuclear waste. Where a uranium-fuelled reactor like many of those operating today might generate a tonne of high-level waste that stays toxic for tens of thousands of years, a reactor fuelled only by thorium will generate a fraction of this amount. And it would stay radioactive for only 500 years – after which it would be as manageable as coal ash.

So not only would there be less waste, the waste generated would need to be locked up for only five per cent of the time compared to most nuclear waste. Not surprisingly, the technical challenges in storing a smaller amount for 500 years are much lower than engineering something to be solid, secure and discreet for 10,000 years.

But wait, there’s more: thorium has another remarkable property. Add plutonium to the mix – or any other radioactive actinide – and the thorium fuel process will actually incinerate these elements. That’s right: it will chew up old nuclear waste as part of the power-generation process. It could not only generate power, but also act as a waste disposal plant for some of humanity’s most heinous toxic waste.

This is especially significant when it comes to plutonium, which has proven very hard to dispose of using conventional means.

Current programs used for the disposal of plutonium reactor by-products and weapons-grade material using the MOX process are both expensive and complex. Furthermore, thorium proponents say that in conventional reactors, MOX fuel doesn’t use plutonium as efficiently nor in the same volumes as thorium fuel would at lower cost.

So thorium might just be able to kill two birds with one stone. Not only does a thorium-fuelled reactor produce significantly less high-level waste, but it can also dispose of the decommissioned nuclear weapons and highly radioactive waste from nuclear reactors using more conventional fuels. Oh yes, it can also generate electricity.

SO WHY ISN’T EVERYONE using thorium reactors? The main drawback to thorium is that it’s not vigorously fissile, and it needs a source of neutrons to kick off the reaction.

Unlike enriched uranium, which can be left to its own devices to start producing power, thorium needs a bit of coaxing.

Thorium also cannot maintain criticality on its own; that is, it can’t sustain a nuclear reaction once it has been started. This means the U-233 produced at the end of the thorium fuel cycle doesn’t pump out enough neutrons when it splits to keep the reaction self-sustaining: eventually the reaction fizzles out. It’s why a reactor using thorium fuel is often called a ‘sub-critical’ reactor.

The main stumbling block until now has been how to provide thorium fuel with enough neutrons to keep the reaction going, and do so in an efficient and economical way.

In recent years two new technologies have been developed to do just this.

One company that has already begun developing thorium-fuelled nuclear power is the aptly named Thorium Power, based just outside Washington DC. The way Thorium Power gets around the sub-criticality of thorium is to create mixed fuels using a combination of enriched uranium, plutonium and thorium.

At the centre of the fuel rod is the ‘seed’ for the reaction, which contains plutonium.

Wrapped around the core is the ‘blanket’, which is made from a mixture of uranium and thorium. The seed then provides the necessary neutrons to the blanket to kick-start the thorium fuel cycle. Meanwhile, the plutonium and uranium are also undergoing fission.

The primary benefit of Thorium Power’s system is that it can be used in existing nuclear plants with slight modification, such as Russian VVER-1000 reactors. Seth Grae, president and chief executive of Thorium Power, and his team are actively working with the Russians to develop a commercial product by the end of this decade. They already have thorium fuel running in the IR-8 research reactor at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow.

“In the first quarter of 2008, we expect to have lead test assemblies in a full-size commercial nuclear power plant in Russia,” said Grae.

He believes mixed thorium fuels can not only dispose of weapons-grade plutonium, but also be developed into a fuel for many conventional reactors to prevent production of any further plutonium as a by-product.

Thorium Power believes there is a market for about four thorium-powered reactors each in Russia and United States just for plutonium disposal. It’s also aiming for reactors dealing with commercial plutonium by-products in Europe, Japan, Russia and the USA.

Grae is also enthusiastic about the benefits thorium fuels offer the environment. “All nuclear compares well to coal, in terms of no emissions into the atmosphere, including no carbon dioxide,” he said. The environmental credentials of his company are also boosted by the presence of environmental lawyer and former member of the Centre for International Environmental Law, David MacGraw, he added. Grae muses that Thorium Power may be the “only nuclear company in the world with an environmentalist on the board”.

AN ALTERNATIVE DESIGN does away with the requirements for uranium or plutonium altogether, and relies on thorium as its primary fuel source. This design, which was originally dubbed an Energy Amplifier but has more recently been named an Accelerator Driven System (ADS), was proposed by Italian Nobel physics laureate Carlos Rubbia, a former director of one of the world’s leading nuclear physics labs, CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.

An ADS reactor is sub-critical, which means it needs help to get the thorium to react. To do this, a particle accelerator fires protons at a lead target. When struck by high-energy protons the lead, called a spallation target, releases neutrons that collide with nuclei in the thorium fuel, which begins the fuel cycle that ends in the fission of U-233.

A nuclear reactor that requires a particle beam to keep it running might seem a bit strange. But on the contrary, this is one of the ADS design’s most attractive features. If the particle beam is switched off, it is impossible for the fuel to enter a chain reaction and cause a meltdown. Instead, the rate of fission will immediately begin to slow and the fuel will eventually cool down and die out. According to Sydney’s Hashemi-Nezhad, a sub-critical reactor such as this has clear safety benefits over uranium reactors. “It has zero chance of a Chernobyl-type accident,” he said.

Another major advantage of this design is that it only requires thorium as fuel.

Hashemi-Nezhad also says thorium is a highly abundant resource “550 times more abundant in nature than uranium-235”.

It’s also an element in which Australia is well blessed – we have the largest known thorium reserves in the world. Thorium mining is also less complex than uranium mining; and the ore doesn’t even require enrichment before use in an ADS reactor.

In a non-proliferation sense, there are also good reasons to prefer a sub-critical thorium reactor, as it is impossible to make weapons-grade materials from thorium.

Even traces of unburnt U-233 in thorium reactor waste products are more difficult to convert into a usable nuclear weapon than U-235 or Pu-239. Imagine the West offering thorium-fuelled ADS reactors to countries such as Iran or North Korea: this would satisfy their demands for cheap nuclear power, but entirely avert the risk of the civil nuclear program leading to the development of nuclear weapons.

The other key advantage of the ADS design is that it can be used to dispose of dangerous weapons-grade material and commercial reactor by-products in a similar way to mixed thorium fuel.

While the ADS design has promise, it presents challenges. First, there’s the design itself: while lab tests have proven the concept of using a particle beam to start the thorium fuel cycle, the physics of scaling it up to the size of a commercial reactor are unproven and could be more complex. Then there’s the way the particle beam interacts with the spallation target and the fuel in order to operate efficiently. Also, while there are plenty of existing conventional nuclear reactors that can be fairly inexpensively converted to mixed thorium fuel, an ADS reactor would have to be designed, built and paid for from scratch.

Retrofitting old reactors is not an option.

Does this make a large-scale ADS reactor viable? CERN thinks so. It recently released a detailed report covering the financial viability of the ADS design for power generation, and found it to be at least three times cheaper than coal and 4.8 times cheaper than natural gas. Any nuclear reactor will have a high establishment cost, but CERN stresses that a long-life reactor will be highly competitive compared to fossil and renewable energy fuels.

Hashemi-Nezhad has been working on the ADS reactor concept with colleagues in Germany, Russia, India and Eastern Europe, and is enthusiastic about it. “The future of nuclear reactors is in ADS because it operates in a sub-critical condition. Only under this condition it is possible to transmute waste isotopes while gaining energy and producing fuel at low cost. And it’s safe,” he said.

He also thinks Australia could play a leading role in the development and promotion of thorium-fuelled reactors. “It is up to the Australian government to make an investment in this research. Huge thorium resources in Australia can provide green energy at low cost for several centuries.” An enticing prospect, to say the least.

CAN ATOMIC POWER be green? Physics suggests it can. And our consumption of energy is accelerating at the same time the climate is being affected by power generation.

Unless we start seriously exploring energy alternatives to burning fossil fuels, erratic and destructive weather conditions could be with us for generations to come. Renewable energy such as wind and solar have bright futures, and will play a large role in any future energy program – but they can never hope to satisfy baseload requirements of a city.

Hydroelectric power is an option – but most of the economical sites have been exploited, and biodiversity suffers when valleys are flooded to create dams. So, unless some groundbreaking discovery in nuclear fusion is made, making it not only possible but efficient and economical – then nuclear fission will remain on the agenda for promising baseload energy alternatives.

Despite its drawbacks, conventional uranium-fuelled nuclear power is a realistic option that is likely to be continued worldwide.

But it is thorium reactors that present a real quantum leap forward. Humble thorium could potentially alleviate three of the most pressing issues facing modern civilisation in the 21st century: the hunger for energy, the spectre of climate change and the need to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Tim Dean is a science and technology journalist in Sydney, editor of the Technophile section of COSMOS, and a former editor of the computer magazine, PC Authority.

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