A Carbon Bomb Train Runs Through It

July 18th, 2017 No comments

Glaciers Melting – Fires Raging – Tourist Hordes Destroying

Bold And Severe Restrictions Must Be Imposed Immediately

US Border Agent: “You have no Constitutional rights”

Bomb train at base of mountains that form boundary of Glacier National Park

Bomb train at base of mountains that form boundary of Glacier National Park

I’ve visited and written and posted photos about Glacier National Park and the disappearing glaciers before, so won’t repeat or waste your time with more pretty landscape photos (see this and this).

In my view, Glacier is by far the most spectacular and significant National Park.

Apparently, many other folks feel the same way, as I was disgusted to learn last week.

First, the coal trains and carbon bomb trains – I can think of no more tragic juxtaposition, given the melting and projected  elimination of the glaciers in the Park by 2030 (here’s another broader shot. Location of train is literally straddling the Great Divide. On the right (not shown) is where Lewis and Clark National Forest meets Flathead National Forest):

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My prior visit in 2007 was soon after a huge 2003 fire in Flathead National Forest on the western edge of the park. That fire burnt 136,000 acres in the park. I was pleased to see the healthy forest recovery underway there.

But, there was also another huge fire in 2015 on the eastern side of the park that still looks really bad. Both fires were caused by humans.

Worse, last week, the tourist hordes were so massive, I simply drove right through the Park without stopping, not even for a photo.

Instead I camped on the shore of Lower St. Mary’s Lake, just a few miles north of the eastern park entrance/exit (take a look – how’s that for a campsite? No fees, no rules, no rangers, no noisy neighbors):

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After 3 nights there, I drove up to the Canadian side of the International Peace Park and spent some time in lovely Waterton, Alberta (photos – notice how the Canadians emphasize the international aspects and the “Peace Park”! Sadly, that’s something you don’t see on the US “National” side):

Waterton Lake, Alberta Canada

Waterton Lake, Alberta Canada

entering Waterton International Peace Park, Alberta, Canada

entering Waterton International Peace Park, Alberta, Canada

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We don't need no stinking "Peace Park"! We're #1! USA! USA! USA!

We don’t need no stinking “Peace Park”! We’re #1! USA! USA! USA!

Crossing the border into Canada was a pleasant experience. The officer was courteous and friendly and asked relevant questions (any guns or explosives?, etc). In comparison, on re-entry, the US Border official was a total asshole.

We rolled up for inspection on the passenger side. I had the passenger side window half rolled up to keep the dog from jumping out and to protect the officer.

But before even asking any questions, he immediately demanded that I roll the window all the way down and as I was attempting to do so he opened the door.

I objected, grabbed the door to shut it, and said he should ask permission. He tussled with me and the door and said he could do whatever he wanted without permission because he was conducting an inspection.

I told him I was a US citizen with Constitutional rights – including privacy – and that I had a dog I was trying to protect him from. I said “You don’t just go and open people’s doors without asking”.

But, after briefly acknowledging my valid point about the dog, he railed on. Instead of the usual appropriate questions, he instead first asked if I was working (because I have a work van?). I replied that I was retired. He then demanded to know “from what?”. I told him that that was an irrelevant question and that I had Constitutional and privacy rights that he was violating.

I was absolutely stunned by his reply – which he repeated 3 times: “No you don’t. You have no rights. You are trying to enter the US. I can do anything I want, including inspecting your vehicle without permission and asking any questions I want. You must comply and answer if you want to enter the Country.

Fuck that. I turned the engine off and told him he was wrong – that I had rights and that anything he did must respect them and must have a reasonable basis and that my prior employment was not relevant and private information.

He replied that I might be a retired nuclear physicist trying to smuggle nuclear material!

I told him to X-ray the van!

He said “I’m not going to argue with you” and then walked around back, got my plate number, and began a computer check of me and my visa. A few minutes later I was on my way.

The damn fool didn’t ask me if I had guns! Could the NRA Gun Nuts have made such questions taboo? (similar to the terror watch list and gun purchase screening issues, which do not consider gun ownership questions). How could my employment status be more important than whether I had guns?

But, aside from the US border excess, given the existential and immediate nature of the climate change threat to the Park – compounded by fire and way too many tourists – I write this open letter to park Superintendent Mow to remind him of his moral duty to act in light of the nature and gravity of the threats and the overwhelming science on climate change.

Mow has high profile political experience to understand how to make this happen, see his Bio:

Jeff has served on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and with the NPS Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs. His additional experiences have included: 1) DOI Incident Commander on the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, 2) investigator on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Alaska, and 3) Policy Advisor to the fledgling NPS Climate Change Response Program.

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Dear Park Superintendent Mow:

I am writing regarding existential threats to Glacier NP and your moral and professional duties to act, based on consensus science, the immediacy and magnitude of the threats, and the mission of the Park Service.

According to NPS visitors literature, there will be no glaciers in Glacier National Park by 2030!

The current joint NPS – US EPA national “Climate Friendly Parks Policy”  and the timid Glacier NP “Action Plan are woefully deficient and a prescription for the literal death of Glacier NP!

The climate change threats alone demand immediate and bold actions – but the gross excedance of the park’s ecological and cultural carrying capacity by hordes of tourists driving in cars is of a similar magnitude.

So here’s a few suggestions to illustrate what I’m driving at:

1. Impose an immediate ban on all motorized vehicles entering the park (except electric powered vehicles and bona fide emergency fire, police and rescue service vehicles).

2. Revoke all vendor service and concession contracts and renew them with a contractual demand that all shuttles, vans and bus fleets be limited to electric vehicles and all buildings be zero carbon by 2023.

3. Order all park employees to commute to work by foot, bicycle, or horseback.

4. Order that all buildings in the park become zero or negative carbon emitters by 2023, via energy conservation measures and on-site generation of non-carbon based renewable energy technologies.

5. Rescind the current ban on bicycles between 11 am and 4 pm! It is absurd!

6. convert current NPS vehicle fleet to electric vehicles.

Glacier National Park is internationally recognized and the existential threat of loss of the park’s namesake glaciers due to climate change demands bold action.

I suggest that you write a policy decision memorandum to your boss in Washington -based on the above list and more! – and copy all Park Superintendents, the Congress and news media.

All you have to lose is your job. And just think of the leadership and public education and parallel actions such bold action on your part would generate!

And you can sleep at night knowing that you did all you could do.

Respectfully,

Bill Wolfe

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Free NJ Weedman

July 18th, 2017 No comments

Demand That Trumped Up Charges Be Dismissed and Abuses of Power Investigated

Here is the latest in the outrageous abuse of police and prosecutorial power in Trenton NJ and the unjust prosecution and persecution of “NJ Weedman”, written as a LTE by my good friend Steve Fenichel, MD.

I urge readers to pressure the NJ Attorney General and the local prosecutor to dismiss the charges and demand an investigation into Trenton Police tactics and gross abuses of power:

7/13/17

Dear Editor,

Yesterday I attended the Bail Request hearing of Ed Forchion, aka NJ Weedman. His words were as inspiring to me as if I witnessed Patrick Henry’s famous statement: “Give me Liberty or Give Me Death”!

Forchion was targeted by the Trenton Police because of his refusal to comply with the Pot Prohibition. The cops forced someone desperate for a “deal” to become their Confidential Informant (CI). The CI was then assigned to entrap Forchion by getting him to sell him Cannabis.

Forchion being indigent was without the tax generated resources of the Prosecutor. His Public Defender advised him to appeal to the Public for help in identifying and understanding all the legal issues which made the CI vulnerable to Police pressure. The public’s response was overwhelming and soon the identity of a troubled individual in major legal difficulties emerged.

Mr. Forchion then made a widely viewed video clip in which he revealed the identity of the CI. In it he requested that his supporters not threaten or intimidate this person. Also, he revealed his legal strategy of forcing the CI to be a witness in his trial. He believed it would prove that he was being targeted and entrapped by the Police which is illegal.

The Prosecutor got the Grand Jury to indict Mr. Forchion for the sale of Cannabis . Then the Prosecutor went further- he got the Judge to add charges of witness tampering by claiming that threats were being used to force the CI to give false testimony. Then as the coup de grace the Prosecutor got the Judge to deny Mr. Forchion his Constitutional Right to bail. All this based on intentional distortion as the Prosecutor was in possession of Mr. Forchion’s clearly laid out strategy video.

So after more than 4 months in Mercer County Judge Massi held a hearing on 7/12/17 to reconsider Mr. Forchion’s bail request. The Judge promised to view the video clip and give an expedited decision early next week after more than 4 months in the jail.

It is hard to imagine a more Kafkaesque incident where a falsely accused person sits in a cell for months while a cynical prosecutor hides the truth of their innocence- but in the USA, regrettably, this is not unusual. When will dishonest Prosecutors be held accountable?

Steven Fenichel, MD

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The Creepiest Place In The USA!, USA!, USA!

July 10th, 2017 No comments

Living In Their Own Private Idaho Of Denial

I challenge readers to name a place with a creepier Town motto, scarier tourist destination, more destructive major industry, and celebration of a notorious history with continued reliance and pride in Orwellian propaganda.

Take a look at the town motto:

Arco Idaho – The First City In The World To Be Lit By Atomic Power

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Here is the local tourist draw:

On December 20, 1951, EBR-1 became the first power plant to produce usable electricity using atomic energy.  Idaho National Laboratory (INL) visitor’s brochure

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The largest employers are a nuclear waste disposal facility (the Fluor “Radioactive Waste Management Complex”)

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and the INL nuclear research facility:

INL’s nuclear energy mission is to develop advanced nuclear technologies that provide clean, abundant, affordable, and reliable energy to the United States and the world [note how they left out the word “safe energy”.]

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Take the EBR-1 tour and see what’s behind the building with the Blue Sign and Blue Door with the ominous warning:

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Deeply in denial over the total failure of the so called “nuclear renaissance” and zombie nuke plants and still wedded to and shamelessly promoting the same old propaganda for the next generation of nuclear fools: (“Look kids, controlling a nuke plant is sort of like a big video game!” So why don’t you give it a try!)

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Notice that they fail to mention the insane Obama revival of the Russian arms race parading as a “nuclear modernization”  ( or Trump’s mimic) or problems at Hanford, or Three Mile Island, or Fukushima (or Hiroshima and Nagasaki, eta l):

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Greetings From The Top Of The Rockies

June 27th, 2017 No comments

Independence Pass – 12,095 feet

view from Independence Pass

view from Independence Pass

We had another incredible day –

The day began as we broke camp along Chalk Creek at the base of Mt. Princeton (in the San Isabel National Forest just south of a trailhead for Colorado Trail, which we walked for only a few miles)

Mt. Princeton shrouded in clouds

Mt. Princeton shrouded in clouds

Chalk Creek roars by our campsite

Chalk Creek roars by our campsite

and ended camped off a National Forest Service road above Turquoise Lake just outside Leadville Colorado:

check out the view from our "dispersed campsite"

check out the view from our “dispersed campsite”

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Leadville is a hardscrabble old mining town, but it is surrounded by incredible beauty.

Too bad the federal money (and Big Ag corporate subsidies) spent by the Bureau of Reclamation building dams, fake lakes (reservoirs) and other absurd irrigation and boondoggle water infrastructure couldn’t instead be spent on improving the lives of the mostly poor people who live there.

We’re in Boulder today, waiting for our bike to arrive and be re-assembled at the local bike shop.

Take a look at one of our better days (and I left out the reservoir we swam in and a lovely stroll through Twin Lakes):

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more from the top of Independence Pass

more from the top of Independence Pass

headwater stream of the Arkansas River, draining Mt. Ebert

headwater stream of the Arkansas River, draining Mt. Ebert

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we stealthed just off a forest service road. Had to negotiate with a nearly homeowner. Chalk Cliffs in background.

we stealthed just off a forest service road. Had to negotiate with a nearly homeowner. Chalk Cliffs in background.

Boie on guard - waiting for nightfall and coyote's.

Boie on guard – waiting for nightfall and coyote’s. He managed to worm his way into and slept in the tent with me!

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Oh Be Joyful – Crested Butte, Colorado

June 22nd, 2017 No comments

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Above is the view I woke to this morning. Low light sunrise.

Oh Be Joyful!

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Seriously, that’s the name of the trail I camped at last night.

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Here’s more from gorgeous Crested Butte, a very upscale tourist but still rugged old mining town (great biking and hiking and fishing and all sorts of outdoor activities!):

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Apologies to anyone still reading that I’m so far behind in posting about places we’ve seen along the way. The weather and landscape have been just so spectacular that I’ve had little interest in going inside and writing. Plus, there is very little shade and difficult find a spot to park for a few hours to keep the van cool with Boie inside.

For weeks now – not in any systematic way – we’ve been following rivers towards their mountain sources – Rio Grande, Dolores, San Miguel – and now the Gunnison River.

Now that we’re out of the harsh desert southwest, we’re crawling up the spine of the Rockies now. Here’s a few of the places we’ve enjoyed in the last few weeks:

Black Canyon National Park: (off the SOB Draw Trail)

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same shot, different foreground:

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Just off BCNP North Rim – cattle drive (how the West was lost):

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Sunrise on the San Juan’s, from Hermit’s Rest – Curecanti National Recreation Area:

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San Juan’s, from Ridgway, Colorado (a great little town!)

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The San Juan’s from a lovely park in the center of Ridgway, Colorado: (classic western movies like True Grit and How the West Was Won were shot here):

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Apologies for the low quality photos, I sold my Canon camera and L lenses and am using a small Sony A6000.

All for now. Enjoy.

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