Monday, 20 July 2015

Is it illegal to collect rain water?

Collecting rainwater is not illegal. In a few states it was very restricted like in Colorado, Utah and Washington. That ended in 2009 when those three states relaxed their bans. In a handful other states, rainwater harvesting is regulated. In these states you have to obtain a permit, which is in most cases is about making certain that your harvesting equipment doesn't contaminate groundwater. So it isn't illegal. It is like saying "Building a house is illegal" no, it isn't. Building a house without following the law is illegal.

There was a guy in Colorado who was jailed for 30 days back in 2012 but this is because he had been denied a permit, but went ahead and built three HUGE reservoirs anyway. So he broke yes he broke the law but not in the way this graphic suggests. Should he be allowed to defy the state regulatory agency?

Think about the situation tho. The idea of regulation of rainwater harvesting is pretty simple. Water falling from the sky is public property, not private property, and belongs in the water table where it can restore diminished streams and reservoirs. Those who collect it privately are "hoarding" it. Of course the opposite theory is: a person who uses rainwater first is consuming less public water. So it isn't a simple issue especially in places. You'll find that there are even communities that require rain water collection because it reduces the burden on the public water works.

The problem here is that on the Internet people are not being subject to any kind of screening, editing, fact checking, or anything else. It is a great place to plant and spread misinformation for political purposes.

Here is a good article about the actual situation instead of converting it into a sound byte that makes it sound like it is just big government getting in peoples faces for no reason.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Obama Hope and Change?

Yup he didn't enact most of the Change I wanted and I lost a lot of Hope on him because of that.  Like  many other presidents he disappointed me in many areas including the A.C.A. His position to be thought of at the great compromiser compromised the ideas he should have been known for.

What the average person hoped for was a better health care system.  What they got was a better health care system but not as good as it should have been.  Why? He compromised using a republican plan that still gives too much to a bloated and corrupt industry.  There are too many examples around the world of better health care systems to ignore them and go for a solution that ultimately is a big boon to the health insurance industry.  For example here in Australia we have a single payer system augmented by an individual mandate for those over a certain income level. This gives the government the power to control exploitative practices by the healthcare industry while still having a private healthcare and insurance option.  This leads to better healthcare across the board by providing a baseline of coverage that everyone gets with the option for persons to still have higher level coverage and access to doctors of their choice.

What the average person hoped for was a change to the politics in Washington.  What they got was the GOP stating that their number 1 goal was to make Obama a failure as a president by voting against him regardless of the benefit of the policies put forth.  Even when he compromised and decided to go with a “republican plan” as with the A.C.A. the GOP would vote against it. If you think about it he could have pushed through a better health care plan but compromised with an opposition that didn’t want compromise. Fuck they didn’t even want their ideas.  They just wanted Obama to fail.

What the average person wanted was some sensible gun regulation.  What they got is a few speeches and a ton of people not only not willing to even listen to some sensible gun regulation but even a loosening of gun regulations in many cases.  All backed by the straw-man argument that sensible gun regulations = take away all guns.  Often using false dichotomy that if everyone didn’t have guns America would be a lawless land. Using a Historian's fallacy that the founding fathers thought everyone should be able to have any type of weapon they wanted and that they would think that the same combat tactics of the 1700s could be used today against a 21st century military.

What the average person wanted was corporations and those running them to be held accountable for their actions.  What they got was more of the same privatization of profits but socialization of the risks. What they got was the words that corporations can be “too big to fail”.  What they got was inaction by the DoJ to pursue criminal charges against executives who commit white collar crime that dwarfs blue collar crime by several orders of magnitude.

I could go on and on. But I ask what was the alternative?  With Romney we probably would have got the A.C.A. at best and at worst a watered down A.C.A. where insurance companies could deny you coverage or cut you off when you got a major illness.  We would have still been kicked out of Iraq by the government there because the people were sick of seeing innocent people be killed by US contractors with no repercussions.  We probably would have seen social security get abolished and those funds used for more tax breaks for the highest end of the economic spectrum with the same flawed trickle down economic justification we’ve heard for the last 3+ decades.  We would see more workers rights eroded away leading to more corporate welfare like the abolishment of minimum wage in the argument that it hurts the economy to pay someone enough that they can live without working 80+ hours a week leading to a shifting of the burden of those people from their employers onto the social program systems.

Was Obama against marriage equality? Historically no.  We have his statements from over a decade before he ran where he was clear that he supported it.  He then did a typical politician move and changed that position when he needed votes.  He finally went back to that position when he needed the money from those that supported the position.  So his moral convictions wavered, as most politicians convictions do, when faced with a population that doesn’t care about getting rid of a bigoted law.

I’ll leave it there. You can read more about my position, both positive and negative, with respect to President Obama in other posts on my blog.

A review of a review of a book of a collection of essays.

This is a post in response to the following blog post about the content of a book found at

I've got a few problems with that abstract and I'll highlight them here. First: the need for a Western “forward policy” in the Gulf in order to protect U.S. and European interests, particularly oil and its transport, against both Soviet adventurism and the greed of Middle Eastern potentates. translated : the need for policies to protect western multinational corporations and their greed and shift the risks on to the American public via a cost in both American citizens lives and tax dollars to protect said western multinational corporation's interests. The mentality that the Middle East, or for that matter any place in the world where multinational corporations want to exploit local resources, fighting against said multinationals is a bad thing is simply "Fuck the locals, the world's rich people we identify as like us deserve that resources, and ultimately money, more than they do". When the Eastern block countries do it then it is "adventurism" when the Western multinationals do it then it is called "capitalism". One only has to look at the number of times crony capitalism, or as we call it in the USA 'Capitalism', has little to no regard for anything but short term gain because they know the risks they take will most likely not be shouldered by those that take the risks and get the reward regardless of the outcome. The "greed of Middle Eastern potentates" is also rich. It rubs us wrong in the west because of its imperial implication but our rich are effectively the same. They often inherit their wealth and control the politicians and thus the laws to keep themselves wealthy and thus in power. Would you complain if a US leader stopped Russia from trying to exploit any of the US's natural resources? Nope. Funny enough we let western multinational corporations rape those same natural resources further demonstrating Western potentates or as we call them "the mega rich American's" The issue is many American's look at those rich people and think "If I work hard enough I could be just like them" when the reality is it will never happen. Even winning the lottery a few times in a row wouldn't get you there. The American dream is just that. A dream that has been swapped out by those that already have theirs. So it is not much different then a "Royal family" in the Middle East. Second: The use of the word "liberal" in this synopsis with reference to the "West". The article refutes it's own claims by its own lead "how little we’ve learned about the Middle East.". One can not start out by pointing out how little the west has learned about the Middle East then call the US liberal. Third: The “affirming a disjunct” logical fallacy throughout the entire article. Is there truth to many of the reasons they claim there are problems? Fuck yea! But that doesn't mean that the way the West has exploited the area for almost a hundred years isn't also a significant part of the issue. You can’t handwave away those issues. Yet this is what many people want to do or are just ignorant of those issues. It reminds me of Bill Cosby. Denial that he did anything wrong. Shifting the blame and rationalisation when he is forced to a point that he can’t deny what he did wrong any longer. Much of the USA does it with regard to the black community. The idea that slavery was oh so long ago. “The got the right to vote decades ago!”. All the while ignoring the reality then trying to claim that blacks deserve to be targeted by law enforcement because they are just thugs. That all crime in the black community should cease before we attempt any further discussion about racism within the USA. Fourth: The idea that the "West" only wants democracy for the area and it is just these primitive people that won't accept it is the major problem. The reality is we've never really brought democracy to the area. We supported and often put in place the same autocrats the article complains about. Fifth: The idea of tribalism as bad. The USA can be thought of, in one respect, as one huge tribe. You'll hear it coined by other terms like "National Exceptionalism". The article will complain about a "tribe" wanting what is best for their local people while we want what is best for "our nation" which these days isn't really for the nation but again what is best for the multi-national corporations. We often subdivide our national tribe when we don’t like what is good for the national tribe. We push these things into terms like “State’s Rights” The fact is we are humans with a fairly well understood social evolution. For hundreds of thousands of years most humans, Homo sapien, whole social world was a few hundred people at most and tribal. People point to the bible thinking that it is a moral code for all people but in reality it is a code for a tribe. It is full of laws on how you treat people within the tribe compared to how you treat people outside of your tribe. Even western people still pull this tribal mentality all the time. Look at any competitive activity we are involved in. Fuck even things that shouldn’t be competitive we still do it. Every sporting team is drilled how they are some how better and more deserving than the others. When anyone tries to belittle “tribalism” like they are above it I’ll point out the hypocrisy they display every day of their lives. The comment of “Any progress towards political maturity has been stultified by their inability to comprehend any loyalty other than that to family, tribe or religious sect. Loyalty to the nation or to the constitution is a concept devoid of meaning for them.” ignores so much it isn’t funny. Look again at issues we have in the USA where people bitch about “State’s Rights”, often in a vain attempt to hold on to some bigoted view that most of the country finally recognizes is bad for society. Look at the religious divides in the USA. A small but vocal component of the Christian majority will cry persecution any time their doctrine isn’t allowed to be shoved down the throats of all Americans. Non believers make up about 14% of the US population yet when you look at representation within politics, especially federally, it is devoid of non believers. Why? For the same reason every president ever elected so far has claimed to be Catholic. Most people in the USA will vote for a candidate based on their stated religion over an opponent even in the face of the politicians actual positions. Iraq should not have been 1 country. It would be like if the USA the North East was primarily Secular Humanists, the South East was primarily Southern Baptists and the West was Hindu. You’d see that the USA wouldn’t work very well together. We need not look far to see this type of behavior. Look at Canada and the strong divide between the East and west and their mentality. Fuck look at Texas and tell me a decade that has gone by where there hasn’t been people bitching that Texas should secede from the union. When a national disaster hits you always hear people bitch how their tax dollars should not go to aid some other state. Realistically Iraq should have been 3 countries. The north which is primarily Sunni Kurds, the West where are primarily Sunni Arabs and the south which is primarily the Shia Arabs. It is understandable that a Sunni Kurd will have little ties to the Shia Arabs in the south and may not want to risk their lives for them. Fuck you have plenty of Americans that wouldn’t want to risk their lives for their neighbors because their neighbor is Black or White or Latino or gay or Muslim or atheist. If we had a civil conflict in the USA how do you think it would pan out? Oh fuck me we did and look America almost split in 2.