Radically Inept
Friday, May 14, 2004
  Who is Harry Braun, and why is he running for President?

Well, I got this email this morning concerning Harry Braun for President. This is from his web site:
"A Statement of Candidacy
As a technical analyst and author of The Phoenix Project: Shifting from Oil to Hydrogen, I am seeking your support for my independent campaign for president because I am the only candidate who has proposed a multi-trillion dollar integrated energy, economic and environmental plan that will supercharge the economy by making America 100% energy independent of all fossil and nuclear fuels by 2010. This 'transition of substance' will be accomplished by employing millions of Americans to mass-produce wind-powered hydrogen production systems, including sea-based 'Windship' systems, whose deployment will also provide a vast sanctuary for the remaining ocean ecosystems that are in the final stages of being driven into extinction from oil and chemical spills and destructive fishing practices.

A ccording to a number of recent scientific studies published in the Journal Nature (May 15, 2003), over 90% of the large commercial fish in the global oceans are now gone, and the remaining 10% are so contaminated with mercury, a neurotoxin emitted from coal plants, they are unfit to eat.

According to recent data from EPA (The New York Times , Feb. 5, 2004) roughly 630,000 babies (I in 6) are now at risk each year for developmental disorders from the mercury contamination found in the mother's womb. If that were not bad enough, recent studies have shown that the farm-raised fish that most consumers now eat also cause cancer.

Moreover, it's not just the large fish that are being contaminated and hunted into extinction. Unregulated 'free market' ocean trawlers use weighted nets that operate like football field-sized underwater bulldozers, which are devastating the very ocean habitats on the seabed floor that are needed to replenish the fish populations. Given this scale and rate of mass-destruction , without extraordinary efforts, the remaining ocean ecosystems will be exterminated well before 2010. As such, as President, I will have the U.S. Navy and Air Force assigned to assume the responsibility of protecting the remaining ocean ecosystems and managing the development and deployment of the Windships like the Liberty Ships of World War II."
Also, he apparently runs this web site:Home Page of The Phoenix Project: "THE PHOENIX PROJECT: Shifting from Oil to Hydrogen with Wartime Speed".

Now, personally, this sort of gets to several areas where I find myself unconvinced and undecided. First, I'm not totally sold on hydrogen. Actually, let me back up just a second. We can not generate or capture energy for our use without having an effect on the environment. If you use wind, you are capturing energy that could affect the weather. If you try to harness ocean waves, you change how much erosian waves 'normally' cause to a beach or coast. You also change the environment for animals that live where ocean meets the land. Solar panels block the sun light to the land below the panels. So, we have to be cognizant of the of the trade offs we make in any energy system. Oh yeah, nuclear energy leaves you with that wonderful by-product called nuclear waste (at minimum) which we have strewn across the country, and now want to place in a hole in a mountain that experiences a fair amount of geological pressures and movement. And fossil fuels, whether or not we are at peak oil production, cause their own form of environmental problems from spills to VOCs to green house gasses.

So, I'm not convinced that any single fuel source is the 'best' fuel source. I think you have to see what you're getting out of the system in the form of energy, measure the disturbance to the eco system with in which it operates, and decide if it's a viable trade off. How many coastal creatures are we willing to lose when we harness wave energy? How many birds get killed tin the blades of a wind turbine? How much hydro energy is worth how many stocks of salmon.

But, this isn't some enviro rant. The other thing I'm not convinced about is John Kerry, and the only thing I am conviced on is that I don't want four more days of Baby Bush, much less four more years.

Harry Braun for Prez? I'm not even sure this is really a bid for election, and not just a marketing ploy for wind farms, so I'm going to reserve my judgement. Besides, I have no loyalty to either major party. I don't believe that our current two party system serves us all that well. Several of the founding fathers (I'm not going to look up which ones, right now) where afraid of a two party system developing, and we got it. I'd prefer a multiparty system. No, it most certainly isn't more efficient, but than government is not a business, and hence economic efficiencies are a poor measure to use on government effectiveness. But, what a multiparty system does, is make corruption more expensive. That's why I like it. If you are an industry player, rather than give a few thousand to each of two parties and a couple of their candidates, you'd have to give out several thousand dollars to five, six, or even ten parties and their individual candidates. It starts to get expensive, and it becomes almost impossible to bribe everyone or even hold any of the receivers of your largesse to the 'bargain' of support for your issues.

So, Harry Braun for Prez. I don't know. I'm not convinced. But, I'll watch and see. I have until Nov to decide. 
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