Saturday, December 21, 2013

Luddites

I came across this term and had to look it up.  It was used in this context on my friend Nathan Brown's Facebook page.  My picture from New Zealand has nothing to do with this story, I just like it!

"Plans to build new, major shipping terminals in the Pacific Northwest that would boost our ability to increase exports are under government scrutiny, not because anyone is opposed to providing new facilities for shipping agricultural goods to Pacific Rim nations, especially China, but because they will also move domestic coal to fuel Chinese power plants. Environmentalists who oppose carbon-based energy, led by organizations like the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council, are fighting to a stalemate against unions, regional shippers and the broader business community. Agriculture and all other exporting industries are collateral damage.    
                                                         
But American farming's prodigious output is possible because American biotechnology leads the world. The green revolution will rival and surpass the industrial revolution for its effect on the everyday quality of life of billions of people who live at or below subsistence levels.

In addition, biotechnology married to agriculture means we use less fertilizer and make fewer passes over fields with heavy equipment, and better soil conservation while producing bigger yields.

Yet American agriculture has become a magnet for negative attention from the professional, activist left. As a nation, if we are not careful, this underappreciated economic gem will cede its future to antibusiness activists who use a variety of political and regulatory ploys to substitute scare tactics for science in our food systems."

That is exactly what I am trying to do.  I may use biotechnology differently than the average farmer but so far that is OK.  However, it was not a good year for Liberty.

John points out many things that I believe are leading this country in the wrong direction for the good of the people, especially my kids and grand kids.

What do you think?

Ed Winkle

5 comments:

  1. The new terminals in Oregon and Washington are strictly for coal as far as I know. They would not be equipped to handle ag products, especially the refrigerated/perishable ones mentioned in the article.

    I am also opposed to these terminals, although not just because it deports pollution on another country (in the short term, and on the whole planet including the U.S. in the long term). My view has more to do with the fact that coal is so cheap that it would hardly make any different in the country import/export balance, but most importantly, coal is basically oil in the making and densely packed with energy: At such a low price, it just doesn't seem right to basically give away that energy for almost free and thus subsidize a big chunk of the development of China for the short term profits of a half dozen coal mining companies that contribute nothing to the U.S. economy.

    I'd rather keep that coal under ground until such time when oil and natural gas have become things of the past and we have clean cheap technology to transform and use that coal. We will for instance need a hydrogen replacement to natural gas to make ammonia. Current coal gasification technology provides that, but it is too polluting and costly for that purpose. Give it a century more...

    Only loosely related, but I just watched the High Tech, Low Life on the on-going (r)evolution of China, and one 69 year old man interviewed said he used to be a coal miner for $5 daily wages. The Prime Minister of China visiting a rural village: "Only when our agriculture is stable, we can solve our other problems." Wise words! Sad pictures of the actual Chinese countryside that contradict these words, showing soil so polluted with literally flowing rivers of human feces and industrial waste that it cannot grow any crop. This confirms some other reports on China that I have read this year. Sad...

    As for ag products, at least grain, there would be no need for new terminals, all the cargo ships from China go back mostly empty. The fee to ship products from China to the U.S. already includes the cost of the return shipping, so shipping to China is essentially free. So much so that the whole West Coast use the empty containers to dump our garbage to China, to be recycled, burned or burried there. Not also something that I support...

    About your other article, I don't see how the government shutdown has anything to do with a loss of liberty. The NSA spying on Americans and on the whole world more so, and so does PPACA, since it is a mandatory assurance, but the main issue I have with it is that, while the first phases deployed smoothly for the past two years, this last stage was just a culmination of incompetency, from design to planning and execution, so I don't expect great results either.
    Still, with all conservatives saying that the government has no business interfering with private individuals and enterprises, I am shocked that the author actually supports the NSA spying business. For me, privacy is one important liberty, and an article about the loss of liberties should probably give it more importance.

    Oh well, all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds, as Pangloss used to say.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candide#Philosophy

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  2. "the High Tech, Low Life (*) on "

    (*) "documentary"

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  3. I'm not all that excited about shipping coal to China.
    A few years ago we shipped our raw logs to Asia only to have them process them on factory ships offshore and ship them back to us. Lost a lot of working class jobs over that one. At the same time we locked up the National forests over the Spotted Owl lie and killed funding for local schools.
    We have the technology to build much cleaner coal burning energy plants and so we have essentially outlawed coal plants and are shipping the coal to China and we will get it back in the form of Acid rain.
    Note: I consider myself a conservative.

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  4. I don't know what the answer is, truly don't. I know we need trade and markets. The smoke was so bad in 85 in Beijing you couldn't breathe, of course now it is worse.

    I like clean coal stacks and the fly ash that comes off the scrubbing process.

    I don't think I agree with shutting down our coal business.

    Ed

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  5. More on the ag exports from Washington to China today:
    http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2022511096_chinaagxml.html

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