Wednesday Movie Commentaries

Comments on the movie "Freedom"

posts: 384

Letter sent November 17, 2011, 9:49 PM:

I really have trouble with the scheduling of the movie "Freedom". We already gave this corporation an hour of our time previously. Some of our people went down to Lincoln and saw the movie there.

My problems with this are probably already well known. But I will state them here for clarity:

1) They are pushing ethanol, a fuel that is not environmentally sound in that it uses great quantity of water and produces little real energy gain when all the fuel, pesticides, fertilizers and so forth are figured into the equation. All the talk about alternate methods of producing ethanol from switch grass etc is basically talk. I have yet to see any working plant or production that purports to use these supposed better fuels. Even if they were used, the ethanol produces CO2 just as does all hydrocarbon fuels when burned. As a long-time environmentalist, I read extensively from many sources about energy topics and solutions. The overwhelming weight of this material is that ethanol is not good for the environment.

2) One of the primary reasons these alternate fuels are being pushed for the last 10 years or so is the need for people in the establishment and the common public to pretend that these "solutions" can or will provide a temporary bridge towards better energy solutions. The game here is to keep our auto industry and other energy users bound to fossil fuels and to fleets of vehicles that are powered by essentially the same methods of the last 100 years as opposed to pushing hard for real solutions that include mass-mass transit, mass cutbacks in plane and individual auto traffic, and the extinction ASAP of piston internal combustion engines. The whole idea is related to the hydrogen fueled cars which, if we look just at their use w/o regard to where the H comes from, will produce only water as exhaust.

For a while there Hydrogen fueled cars were to be our saviors and, in fact, a few fueling stations were actually set up. This was a smokescreen to allow the public to believe that there was an alternate fuel that would allow our economy to continue to waste at will, driving autos that contain everything including the kitchen sink.

3) The title of the film is "Freedom", a word that is used in many ways currently but frequently in ways designed to mask truth. W/O even seeing the film, I can tell you the context in this case for lo, for the last 10 years or so politicians and fossil fuel companies have been hawking the concept of "Freedom from Foreign Fuels". Nothing like using patriotism and flag waving to convince the citizen that the problem is "Foreign" fuels not an earth under severe attack from hundreds of years of burning fossil fuels. From this we get the "Drill baby, Drill" mentality that has been brought on by the industry and by people who see this as a way out of a serious problem by faking out the mass population with tons and tons of money and slick ads. (Not to mention films)

4) There has been considerable talk of so-called Bio-fuels. Bio-diesel, for instance, is touted as some significant source of fuel that somehow will help the environment. Much of the actual Bio-diesel is composed, as is ethanol, of fossil fuel and some fairly small amount of non-fossil fuel. The quantities of diesel saved in this is minimal yet the industry can make it seem large if they put all of it together in a stat w/o showing how much non-bio is also being used. If Bio-Diesel is the type used where we take vegetable oil from the local grease factory (like Mc Donalds) with the proper preparation then the small number of vehicles using such do not use fossil fuel directly and there could be a savings for the persons so using. However, while this grease can smell better it is still a hydrocarbon fuel and therefore MUST produce CO2 when burned just like all the fossil fuels. Of course, the whole idea is again a good diversion since to burn this Bio-diesel you need a diesel car which is rare in the USA. Also how much grease is available? How many people will be willing to burn it in their expensive Mercedes or VW knowing that the companies undoubtedly will question the use of non-traditional fuel under any warranty claim?

5) Lastly, The pressure to plant corn from road to road already has set in motion farmers who are cutting their woodland for a few more bushels production AND, more importantly, has driven up the price of corn to record heights. With this record price goes a corresponding rise in food costs across the country and even in those "foreign" countries. In addition, the last thing we need is more push for more mono-culture crops especially corn.

Respectively submitted,

In light of the USA's blocking of any meaningful movement in the Global Climate talks in South Africa we need to be even more viligant against attempts to continue pretending that Ethanol, Bio-Fuels etc are methods of addressing either fosil fuel shortages or Climate change. Billions are being spent to convince the public in the USA that we can continue down a path that 99% of the world's scientists say is bringing us disaster right now let alone in the latest target date of 2020 to BEGIN to take serious action.

Corporate power was able to keep the public from the truth about the Tobacco industry for decades and decades. The very same tactics are being used in the Global Climate Change issue. Indeed, some of the same people are active in GCC denial as the smoking issue. The latest game is to brand Tar Sand oil as "Ethical Oil". This is not a joke. Ads are actually running calling them that. The idea is that since they are not from the Middle East they somehow do not support the evil regimes who do not even let their women drive. So we all know that if tar sand oil is actually used women in Saudia Arabia will become liberated. This campaign joins "Clean Coal" as another lie that boggles the human mind.

posts: 384

I should have commented on the use of “switch grass” as a source the alcohol in our gasoline. I asked two people about how long they had heard about the use of Switch grass as an alternate source for the ethanol. Both said 5 or 6 years. The next question OUGHT TO BE: How many actual plants or actual switch grass uses have they seen. The answer is
None. What this indicates to me is that the use of switch grass versus corn is a cute way of pretending that corn will not remain as the most likely source of the needed alcohol for years and years to come.

Up here in the Seattle area, ethanol based mix costs around 20 cents/gallon more than the regular gas. This, at least partially, reflects the use of subsidies for ethanol that apparently are needed to be able to manufacture it economically. Of course, corn itself is also subsidized to make the whole idea even more of a problem. In Brazil, ethanol is based upon sugar cane mostly. At face value, this source might be considered better but Brazil is cutting the Rain Forest partly to plant more “fuel crops” just as we are planting more and more corn.

I hope these real problems will be brought up there tonight. Sorry that I cannot be there.