On his Thursday night
CNN Headline News crapfest, Glenn Beck (ironically, during a segment called
"Real Story") brought on some guy whose seeming purpose in life is to
shill for the nuclear power industry. (He’s not, which we’ll get to a bit later
on…) He started off with the basic Beck idiocy; actually, I think right wing
talk show hosts have this sort of crap patented somewhere, because they all use
it. They simply state something as if it’s fact, and since there is no one
available to rebut them, it simply lays there, like the steaming turd that it
is. IN introducing this guy, he let off a few stinkers;
let`s move into another hot topic: $9-a-gallon gasoline in Norway is
ridiculous. How about the $3 a gallon that we`re paying here in the U.S. now?
It`s no day at the beach. And the "Real Story" is, gas prices are
getting so high, most people aren`t even going to be able to afford to go to
the beach soon. According to a new poll, nearly half of all Americans would
rather reduce their driving, retail and entertainment spending if gas goes to
$3.50 a gallon — and trust me, it ain`t a matter of if, it`s a matter of when
— so what do you do?
One newspaper in Norway claims that taxes cause a gallon of gas to cost $9 per gallon, but there is no evidence that it’s a fact. According to almost every source EXCEPT that one article, including AA Roadwatch, the price is about $6.50 currently.
About 15 seconds
later, Beck begins to get philosophical.
bottom line is that we`re all going to have to keep driving, because it`s a
reality. We`re all going to all have to heat our houses, and we`re all going to
go on living our lives. So we can`t afford literally, or figuratively, to
dismiss any energy option.
Okay, so shitting into
a large box and burning it in our living rooms to keep warm is still on the
table? Putting millions of orphaned dogs and cats onto treadmills to generate
electricity is still being considered? Can we burn corpses for fuel? We really can’t dismiss ANY energy option?
We ALL can’t keep
driving, to the extent we do now. I mean, for Chrissakes, folks, look at
traffic now, and compare it to traffic 20 years ago. The reality is, we must
change our lifestyles in significant ways, and part of that is to demand more
public transportation, such as electric rail lines, monorails, or whatever we
can manage, and we have to stop moving farther and farther out of town. And we
have to work toward electric cars.
You see, one of the
reasons Europeans, like the Norwegians, pay so much more for gasoline is
because they tax it and use that money to build transportation infrastructure.
Compare that to the United States, where our genius lawmakers reduced the gas
tax by almost a nickel a few years back, because that nickel was such an
incredible burden on taxpayers (how’s that working out for you?), and who keep
trying to cut funding for public transportation. Norwegians have a smaller
country, so they don’t have to drive very far in the first place, but they also
have far higher mileage standards than we have, and they have an excellent
public transportation system.
We need some sort of
truth detector when it comes to news. The news channels seem to strive for
balance between right and left, but there seems to be little attempt to correct
the record, for the record.
It used to be that all
news outfits had several layers between the reporter and the audience, be it
print or electronic media. Woodward and Bernstein weren’t allowed to print
anything about Richard Nixon, unless there was corroborating evidence that it was
true. Fact checkers used to comb over every work, to make sure the story was
accurate. Yes there were papers that engaged in "yellow journalism,"
which were less concerned about the facts, but everyone knew which those were.
Nowadays, the line is blurring between The National Enquirer and CBS News. And
with more and more radio blithering heads moving their bullshit to the
ever-more-aptly-named "boob tube," well, why can they continue to
call the channel CNN Headline "News"? Seriously, what does an idiot
like Glenn Beck offer in the way of news?
This is the kind of
garbage that was thrown out there:
Avery is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and author of
"Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years." Dennis, is there a
shortage of three-eyed babies in Russia? Why are they thinking about 26 nuclear
reactors when they`re really not good at it?
AVERY, HUDSON INSTITUTE: Well, the death toll from Chernobyl is only about 50
people, and they think it`s been overstated. And the rest of the world thinks
they can build nuclear reactors with safety shields. And the French have done
it. They`re getting two-thirds of their electricity from nuclear plants. And
we`ve been backed into a nuclear corner by the environmental movement.
Well, I tell you, you know, it is amazing. I mean, Dennis, let`s not kid around
here. Chernobyl was a bad thing. But…
Yes, it was.
… you see on the news about Tokyo, it`s my understanding that the nuclear
spill that has happened is one one-billionth of the legal level. Is that even
possibly true? Because I sure don`t hear that on TV.
How many people die in coal mining accidents every year?
I don`t know. A lot.
A lot. The total safety profile of nuclear is very safe.
First of all, don’t
you love how these guys just throw the names of their organizations out there,
as if every "Institute" or "Foundation" was automatically
legitimate. The "Hudson Institute" isn’t exactly a purely scholarly,
non-partisan group. Its focus these days is on foreign policy and national
security issues, and their web site features a smattering of moderate pieces,
mixed among a huge number of poorly researched opinion pieces written by former
Reagan and Bush 41 appointees. I mean, the Trustees include Al "I’m in
charge!" Haig, Pete DuPont and Dan Quayle, although in Quayle’s case, the
designation (honorary) appears next to his name, so to their credit, they do
understand he’s not exactly a scholar. But if you read the articles on the Hudson Institute’s web site, you find a
hodgepodge of articles that do not reveal a tremendous amount of actual
But let’s do some fact
checking, shall we?
First of all, let’s
start with Avery himself. Dennis Avery is NOT a nuclear expert. His specialty
is food production. He has written
about nuclear power before, in which he attempted to discount the ill
effects, should the United States nuclear industry proliferate and there were
suddenly hundreds of plants all over the country, and even seems to suggest
that increased radiation levels decreases the incidents of cander. The article
was written in 2004, and to his credit, he did at least acknowledge that the
globe was warming, although he included the obligatory right wing
anti-conservative non-argument that we’re not sure if humans are the cause. He
also demonstrated that he is either extremely lazy, intellectually speaking, or
just knows he’s full of shit, because he mentions study after study in the
article, but gives no details about the study. Sorry, Dennis, but I don’t buy
anyone’s interpretation of a study until I can read the whole thing in context.
I’m funny that way.
So, after reading
Dennis’s previous writing on nuclear power, I’m not surprised by the enormous
number of half-truths and outright bullshit he hands the audience, and village
idiot Glenn Beck just lets lay there like so many radioactive turds.
The direct, immediate
death toll from Chernobyl around the reactor itself was 56. But what Avery
leaves out of his instant analysis is the estimated 9000 cases of thyroid
cancer among children, and many others who may still contract cancer throughout
the area most heavily affected. Sixty percent of the fallout, for example, fell
on Belarus. In fact, radiation from the explosion was carried through most of
the world, including North America. He also fails to note that more than
336,000 people were evacuated.
Avery also failed to
note, that the reactor that blew up was being shut down for testing, and was
not even close to full capacity. The problem was, the nuclear technicians
brought in to test, made a mistake, and shut down the reactor too fast. In
other words, human error. He also failed to note that, under the circumstances,
what ended up coming from that particular reactor was a cloud of radioactive
dust, not water vapor, which meant the radioactivity was more highly
concentrated over a smaller area. Still, the highest concentration covered more
than 155,000 sq. km, and affected 7 million people. In Belarus, the worst-hit
country in the region, more than 6,000 sq km of farm land is unusable, and more
than 100,000 people had to be resettled. Throughout the region, they are still
finding cancer clusters, and the affected seem to be mostly children. In the nuclear industry article cited above,
Avery dismisses cancer as "overwhelmingly a disease of old age." So,
how does he explain so many children with thyroid cancer?
He is right, that the
nuclear industry’s safety profile is very good, by traditional standards, but
the fact of the matter is, the potential for major damage is unlike anything
we’ve seen before, and the question we have to ask ourselves is, if there are
many other ways to generate the energy we need, why put any of our eggs in the
nuclear basket? If one small nuclear reactor explosion in the boonies in the
middle of the night can displace hundreds of thousands of people and make so
much farmland unusable, the only question that matters to us should be, are we
willing to take the risk for a few measly megawatts of electricity?
See, if the only
choices available were oil and nuclear, we’d have to choose oil, because an
oil-fired power plant isn’t likely to create a plume of radioactivity that
could affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. Yes, the French
get three-quarters of their energy from nuclear power right now, but the fact
that one country does something doesn’t mean there isn’t a better alternative.
They also spent more than a half TRILLION dollars building that infrastructure,
for a country that is about the size of Colorado and Wyoming, and with a
population roughly one-fifth the size of ours.
It seems to me that the environmental movement has been very, very good at
marrying the word "nuclear energy" right to "nuclear bomb."
The word "nuclear" scares people. And there is — you know, you
should think of the energy of the sun, not the energy of the atom bomb. There`s
a difference. I don`t want to live on the sun, but as long as we use the sun
appropriately, it`s a good thing, right?
They`re suing to stop two geothermal plants in Northern California, which have
no emissions of any kind, just two nine-acre sites in the middle of the
boondocks. And the environmentalists say, "Well, that was really pretty,
and we don`t want to mess it up." It`s 18 acres with no emissions, two
Yes. The problem is — and this is what I tried to say to, you know, RFK Jr., I
mean, we`ve got to come together. There are no perfect solutions, but it
doesn`t seem like they want any solutions. You know, one of the founders of
Greenpeace who was on who said, you know, the answer is clean nuclear energy.
You`ve got to have energy. This is clean. And when Greenpeace said, "No,
no, no," he realized this is all about politics. It`s not really actually
about keeping things clean and green. Isn`t it true that nuclear energy has
zero CO2 emissions?
Zero C02. And then we contrast it with corn ethanol, which produces 50 gallons
worth of gasoline per acre per year, against an annual demand of 135 billion
gallons. How much of America`s forest are we going to destroy to grow low-grade
auto fuel at 50 gallons per acre per year?
I`ve got to tell you, the ethanol thing, I`m sorry, heartland, I know you love
it. It`s good for the farmers. It is bad, bad news for the environment and bad
news for the country and bad news for our energy needs in the future.
Okay, let’s start with
the "environmental movement." By implication, Beck means
"liberals." But here’s the funny thing; the far right has done far
more "marrying" of "nuclear energy" with "nuclear
bomb" than any liberal. Iran’s trying to build a nuclear plant to generate
power, but the Bushies (perhaps rightfully) refer to it as a "nuclear
program," and imply that Iran wants to build a bomb. Ditto North Korea.
As for ethanol, I’m
not aware of anyone who is proposing ethanol as a permanent solution to our
energy needs. Ethanol should be an interim solution, to break our dependence on
oil, but our ultimate goal simply has to be natural energy production, such as
solar, wind, tide and geothermal power. And we have to make everything far more
efficient, so that the same amount of energy stretches twice as far.
They did get one thing
right; there are no CO2 emissions from nuclear plants. But do you know what
they forgot to mention?
You see, you don’t
have smoke coming from a nuclear plant, but there is an awful lot of
radioactive waste to dispose of somehow. And right now, we have tons and tons
of waste just waiting for someplace to dispose of it, and more nuclear plants
would mean more of that.
Another aspect of
nuclear power Avery just kind of blew off include the immense cost. He throws
around the French model as an example, but fails to mention that France has
spent more than $600 billion on their nuclear infrastructure over the years,
for a country that’s about the size of Colorado and New Mexico, and has a
population roughly one-fifth the size of ours. If you like $1000 a month
electric bills, you’ll love nuclear power.
The bottom line on all
of this is, if the idiots in the news media want more
viewers/listeners/readers, they’re going to have to start supplying the market
with a product that it doesn’t already have; the facts, unvarnished and
certified as facts. In other words, real journalism we can trust. We can all hear blowhards’ opinions anytime
we want; we all work with people like that, we all have a relative like that;
we can overhear that sort of thing out on the street, if we just keep our eyes
and ears open.
What we need from the
news is, well… the news. Unvarnished facts, parading before our eyes and ears
without the spin of the person presenting them.
If you want to make
money hand over fist, just give us the facts. That’s all we ask. Glenn Beck
doesn’t deal in facts, and has no place on CNN Headline NEWS.
Copyright 2007 The PCTC Blog