Tuesday, June 15, 2021


“There’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class has won.” -- Billionaire Warren Buffet, 2011

Last week's blog, No War But Class War, didn't seem to reach as many people as usual, and perhaps this week's blog subjects are the reason behind the shadow banning. After all, even capitalists are scared sometimes. They can't have workers and poor folks educated about who their real enemies are, can they?  They genuinely want to be viewed as "heroes," and soulless oligarchs who want to keep you slaving in an underpaid job with the hopes of health care coverage can't be seen as heroic if the truth of how they rarely (never) pay taxes is told.

 But all is not lost! Strap in and get your jet-packs ready... Are you ready to experience (for real) Billionaires-in-Spaaaace


by Coast Watcher

Big Money has always ruled space exploration and development. First it came from the public purse. US taxpayers funded various space missions culminating in the Apollo Project geared toward President John F. Kennedy’s order to "put a man on the moon and bring him safely back to Earth before the decade was out."

As everyone knows it was mission accomplished. The Soviet Union was beaten to the prize, American honor post-Sputnik was saved, and prestige established. What everyone doesn’t know is that the Apollo program was entirely funded, with the equipment and expertise in place, up to and including Apollo 20. In a spectacular exercise in wastefulness, politicians eager to score brownie points with the voting public then did that public a huge disfavor by canceling the program after Apollo 17.

Some component parts were used in the Skylab program on the 1970s, and it did good science—but it wasn’t as sexy as a moon-shot. Most of the component lifting bodies and lunar modules wound up as museum exhibits. At its height the space program employed over 400,000 people, thousands of educational institutions, and thousands of manufacturers. All those employed spent their money like anyone else—on rent/mortgage payments, food, clothing, education for themselves and/or their children, and so on. The money wasn’t wasted. It really was spent here on Earth.

NASA entered something of a doldrums in the following decade. Although various highly successful missions to other planets and space probes beyond our solar system were launched, their main focus was on the "space-going truck," a.k.a. the Space Shuttle, and there’s nothing sexy about space trucking.

Forward to the 1990s, and the rise of private space ventures. Companies came and went with various projects involving space development usually focused on Earth orbital projects. Some prospered; others fell by the wayside. The field divides into three categories: Cargo transport, suborbital, and orbital.

SpaceX has the highest profile of all the private space ventures. Owned by Elon Musk, it was recently awarded the contract to provide hardware for the Artemis project which is scheduled to take humanity back to the moon beginning this year.

Blue Origin is owned by multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos. His company failed to win the contract for the Artemis project, so as "compensation" for losing out in the bidding war the government awarded Bezos’ company $10 billion in taxpayers money.

Bezos himself and his brother are due to lift into orbit aboard the Blue Shepherd rocket soon. It will reach an altitude of 60 miles where it’ll spend about 11 minutes before returning to Earth.

Rival multi-billionaire Sir Richard Branson plans to usurp Bezos’ private venture by a matter of days, aiming to beat him to orbit aboard his own Spaceship Two vehicle.

I’m old enough to have watched Apollo 11 lift off on its way to the moon, and remember that grainy footage of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the lunar surface coming in live. That was excitement, and the knowledge that humanity had witnessed a new dawn in human endeavor. What I see now smacks of rats deserting a sinking ship. 

I’m all for space exploration and development. I really want to see humanity expand into space. We should mine asteroids and build factories in orbit instead of mining our poor suffering Earth for ever dwindling resources and displacing yet more people from their homes to make way for polluting factories, pipelines, and strip mines. I’m just not convinced billionaire space enthusiasts really have the public interest at heart. You only have to look at the recent exposure of American billionaire tax returns to see what’s wrong here.

I believe there’s a case to be made to nationalize private ventures and use them for space development in an effort to help the human race instead of providing the means by which billionaires will reach Mars and establish their own empires free of any rules and laws bar their own. Somehow I doubt it’ll happen, and we’ll all be the sorrier for it.

BIO: Coast Watcher looks to the skies, and he doesn't always like what he sees. The heavens should belong to the people--not to elitist country club members. It's time we get the stars out of our eyes and search out those who are keeping us grounded and distribute the benefits of life in this century to all human beings. Power to the people!


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Protesters holding signs that say Honor our Treaties and Stop Line 3.
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)

The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is dead. TC Energy, the company behind KXL, officially cancelled the project after the Biden administration revoked key permits that were rushed through under former-President Trump.

I'm proud to say that this would not have happened without the vision, tenacity, and unflagging optimism of NRDC supporters like you who fought this hard-won battle with us over the last 12+ years.

This victory is proof that together, we can break the fossil fuel industry's iron grip on our energy supply. But there are a slew of dangerous pipeline projects around the country that still threaten our climate and clean energy progress, including the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), the Line 3 and Line 5 oil pipelines, and the Pacific Connector and Mountain Valley gas pipelines.

These projects were championed by former-President Trump — and now President Biden must make sure these dangerous pipelines never see the light of day.

Send an urgent message to President Biden right now: STOP THE TRUMP FOSSIL FUEL PIPELINES. The only way forward is towards a future free from dirty fossil fuels.

NRDC and our members and supporters were part of the movement against Keystone XL from Day One. We stand with the Indigenous and frontline communities who are fighting to protect their lands and waterways from other dirty, dangerous pipelines that violate decades-old land treaties, circumvent bedrock environmental laws, and derail our path towards the 100% clean energy future we need to continue life on Earth.

The Biden administration shut down the Keystone XL pipeline, and they have the power to shut down DAPL, the Line 3 and Line 5 oil pipelines that would pass through large swaths of the Midwest and under the Great Lakes, the Pacific Connector gas pipeline that would cut across nearly 500 waterways in Oregon, the Mountain Valley gas pipeline that would pass from West Virginia to North Carolina, and every other climate-busting fossil fuel pipeline greenlit under the Trump administration. In this moment, our voices must be louder than the fossil fuel industry as it desperately attempts to cling to the status quo.

Send your message to President Biden today. Every Trump pipeline, including the DAPL, Line 3, Line 5, Pacific Connector, and Mountain Valley pipelines must be stopped — for communities, for the climate, and for the future. And the Biden administration MUST block any new pipelines from being developed.

Thank you — for everything you've done to help stop Keystone XL, and for fighting alongside us now to ensure these remaining fossil fuel pipelines meet the same fate.


Anthony Swift
Canada Project Director, NRDC

DAPL Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Line 3 Photo: Lorie Shaull

The mission of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.

Charity Navigator 


From Friends of the Earth:

Monarch butterfly populations in the West are being pushed to the brink of extinction. Take action now.

What was once a dazzling display of monarch butterflies migrating to Mexico each year has become barely a trickle. This past winter, only 1,914 monarchs were recorded -- the lowest number in history.

Monarchs are running out of time. I need your help to push for stronger conservation efforts to save these crucial pollinators.

Demand stronger protections for monarch butterflies.

Sign Now

Our most iconic pollinator is nearing population collapse. The decline of monarchs could have a ripple effect throughout already fragile ecosystems.  

Congress could help monarch populations recover. It could provide funding for on-the-ground conservation projects and habitat protection. This would give every state the resources to stop monarch butterflies from declining further.

These precious pollinators are fading before our eyes. C.A., your voice is needed to help save the monarchs. 

Tell Congress to save these iconic pollinators.

Sign Now

Big Ag is a significant driver in the decline of monarch butterflies. Glyphosate -- the key ingredient in Bayer-Monsanto’s Roundup -- kills milkweed, the only food source for young monarch caterpillars. As the use of glyphosate has increased, monarch populations have dropped.

Researchers recently found that neonic pesticides produced by companies like Bayer-Monsanto and Syngenta reduce the number of monarch eggs that hatch and survive. Millions of monarch larvae are dying each year because of these pesticides.

Every day that Congress refuses to act, monarchs are pushed closer to extinction by companies like Bayer-Monsanto. We need your help to show legislators that a groundswell of activists support protecting monarchs!

Tell Congress to stop Bayer-Monsanto from wiping out the monarchs.

Sign Now

Standing with you,
Jason Davidson,
Senior food and agriculture campaigner,
Friends of the Earth

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