A Green Marshall Plan


After World War II, the United States provided massive aid to rebuild the shattered economies of Europe. Most experts believe this “Marshall Plan” was an overwhelming success. Most Americans at the time believed that sending aid to Europe would provide more jobs for Americans in the long run.

World War II is long gone, but the world now faces another enemy–the specter of climate change. Whether you believe we only have 12 years to live or that “global warming” is just a Communist plot, nations and international alliances are under unprecedented pressure to respond to rising levels of CO2. Some Americans support a “Green New Deal” which would spend countless trillions to decarbonize just one economy–our own. Others oppose this, arguing that this “green new dream or whatever” might do more harm than good, especially to disadvantaged people around the world. Solar powered scooters in the US won’t prevent India and China from building new coal-fired plants, and won’t keep poor people in Haiti and Gambia from burning their last bush to cook their last meal.

We believe a Green Marshall Plan can solve more problems for less money than the Green New Deal. Read on to find out what it involves!

A Green Nuclear Deal

Step one towards a Green Marshall Plan is a “Green Nuclear Deal” here in America. This would be a grand compromise between left and right; between skeptical “climate deniers” who don’t think CO2 is a problem and skeptical environmentalists who don’t think nuclear power is the only solution. As we adults fight over our old partisan differences, our children live in fear of the future. It’s time for us to act like grown-ups and come up with solutions.

The broad outlines of a Green Nuclear Deal have been addressed elsewhere, but the essentials are that:

  1. New reactors (“Gen IV”) can be built which can’t melt down; they also consume nuclear waste.
  2. No matter how inherently safe a reactor may be, it must be protected from terrorists, tsunamis, tornados, and other foreseeable threats. Every reactor needs to be adequately protected.
  3. Property values surrounding reactor sites must not suffer; neighbors deserve tax or other incentives to make up for the impact on their homes.
  4. More reactors produce more nuclear waste, but more reactors can pay for a National Greencycling Center that will initially store and ultimately transmute hazardous isotopes into safer forms of matter.

An International Carbon Tariff

Once the United States adopts the Green Nuclear Deal, it will be on its way to decarbonizing the economy. Some other nations are well ahead of the US; France has already converted the vast majority of its electrical grid to fully nuclear sources. Other nations are capable of decarbonizing but do not choose to do so. Still others lack the capital to invest in nuclear or renewable power.

The United States can impose a carbon tariff on goods produced by carbon-intensive means in countries that can afford to decarbonize but do not choose to do so. China and Russia both have large economies and nuclear capability, for example. A tariff on Chinese goods would generate a new stream of revenue that the United States can use to help the countries that can’t afford atomic power.

Safe Harbors

The United States State Department should lease cargo ships and equip them with small modular reactors that can operate on board ship. These “Greenpower” vessels should be anchored in “safe harbors” in the developing world where they can provide power to the mainland while staying safe from natural and man-made threats.

There are thousands of ports, bays, and natural harbors around the world that are sheltered enough to keep a ship safe during storm surges or other weather events. Not all of them can be protected from concerted terrorist attacks, such as happened to the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya. The State Department should consult with the national government of each host country to ensure that US forces will be allowed to protect the Greenpower ships if they are suddenly attacked, and that the ship will be free to leave the harbor if there are long-term threats.

Two of the many possible sites that could host a Greenpower vessel are (1) the mouth of the Gambia River, in West Africa and (2) Bahia Intera de Santo Tomas in Guatemala (near the border of Honduras and not far from Belize).

Trash to Treasure (and Dawsonite)

A Greenpower vessel in a safe harbor can provide plentiful, affordable energy for the citizens of the host nation, which should stimulate some economic growth without any other incentives. But the Green Marshall Plan funds can pay for a major Dawsonite plant at each host location. Dawsonite (chemical composition NaAlCO3(OH)2) may be the most cost effective way to remove CO2 from the environment. Using only seawater, aluminum scraps, and electricity, a Dawsonite plant can remove over 800 million tons of CO2 from the environment each year.

The Green Marshall Plan would pay to ship mixed recyclables to the developing nation, where nationals would sort the materials which would then be turned into steel, glass, plastic, etc. by means of the plentiful power from the reactor. Unusable aluminum would feed the Dawsonite plant, which would run at nights when power is not needed for other purposes.

States and countries with carbon offsets should pay handsomely for Dawsonite–which is good, because it has no known uses, at present. In time, scientists may discover a way to turn millions of tons of this inert material into something valuable.

Exit Strategy

Gen IV reactors may be dramatically safer than earlier models, but they still contain hazardous materials that could be used for dirty bombs or other evil purposes. The Green Marshall Plan includes a transition to an energy supply that cannot be misused. When and if fusion power becomes effective and affordable, the fission reactor shall be removed and replaced. The cost of decommissioning shall be recouped over time from the sale of power from the replacement plant.

Fusion power may not be available for some time, however, and national governments need to be able to say “no” to America, even when America comes bearing gifts. For this reason, every Green Marshall Plan agreement with a host nation shall include an optional plan to transition to some renewable power source (wind, solar, hydro, or biofuel power) under the exclusive control of the host nation or a corporation with a majority ownership of that nation’s citizens.

Incidental Advantages

The Greenpower ships in safe harbors don’t just provide opportunity for the poorest people on our planet. They bring down the unit cost of each new reactor and spread the burden of cleaning up nuclear waste. Each Greenpower reactor would need to generate enough revenue to pay the National Greencycling Center to warehouse and (ultimately) transmute any waste generated.

Americans after World War II believed that their economy would benefit if they helped Western Europe. Subsequent events have proved them right. Americas would probably benefit from global growth under a Green Marshall Plan, as well. People in Gambia save up their money to buy a machete to chop down firewood today; with a Greenpower vessel floating in Gambia Harbor, they might be buying iPhones or electric cars instead.

One final, sobering thought–the Green Marshall Plan would address the underlying issues that lead some to want a Wall with Mexico or a ban on travel from Muslim nations. Whether you think such notions are exactly right or a violation of human rights, you probably agree that they merely treat the symptoms of distress instead of curing the disease. Providing power to the people of Gambia (96% of whom are Muslim) would reduce the risk of a Gambian terrorist attack here in the US by giving Gambians something to live for. Providing power to Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize with a ship in Saint Thomas Bay would give the migrant caravans a better place to go.


The United States is the most generous nation in the history of this planet, and the richest. Some argue that our generosity has helped us prosper. It certainly did with the original Marshall Plan. The Green Marshall Plan draws on the best of American history, technology, and national spirit to lower CO2 and lift up hope around the world. Support the Green Marshall Plan today!

How Can I Support the #GreenNuclearDeal?

If you got here, you probably already believe that Gen IV nuclear reactors can’t melt down, consume nuclear waste, and emit zero CO2. Whether you think climate change will kill us all in 12 years or think the whole “global warming” thing is a Communist plot, you agree that a #GreenNuclearDeal is the common sense solution. So how can you help?

First, look at the following list and choose the category that best describes you. Click the hyperlink, read it carefully, and make the world a better place!

  1. Twitter user with less than 100 followers
  2. Twitter user in the developing world

Twitter User With Less Than 100 Followers

Every person on Twitter can make their voice count, no matter how few people follow them. That’s why hashtags were invented. When you post or retweet something with the #GreenNuclearDeal hashtag in it, you add to the measurable activity of that idea. Right now, #GreenNewDeal gets about one tweet per minute. #GreenNuclearDeal gets about one tweet every ten minutes. If you and nine other people keep pushing that hashtag, we can outperform the Green New Deal in activity. (We’ve already outperformed in in viability!)

Bonus–if you are one of the activists who keeps promoting the message, you won’t have less than 100 followers for long! So keep reading.

Twitter User in the Developing World

The “Green New Deal” spends up to $93T and does nothing that directly helps poor people around the world. By contrast, the #GreenNuclearDeal could include a “Green Marshall Plan” that puts Gen IV reactors on board ships and stations them in safe harbors in the developing world. The US can pay for this by imposing a “carbon tariff” on big economies that could decarbonize (but won’t) in order to help small economies that can’t decarbonize without some help.

A picture is worth a thousand words on Twitter. Send pictures that help people understand that the debate isn’t just whether to buy a pickup truck or a Tesla in prosperous America. It’s between chopping down the last tree in the last forest and having plentiful power, clean water, and a vibrant economy.

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Flaw Answer Choice Flashcards

[qwiz] [h] Flaw Answer Choices

[i] The LSAT requires no formal training in logic. This is usually an advantage, but creates some challenges when it comes to identifying logic errors and informal fallacies. A person who is familiar with the traditional names for fallacies may instantly identify a particular flaw as a case of “denying the antecedent” yet still be bewildered by the answer choices that are presented. These flashcards matches examples of actual LSAT answer choices (carefully paraphrased, out of respect for copyright) to the Wikipedia names for the respective fallacy.


[q multiple_choice=”true”] fails to consider that there may be other necessary conditions for the result beyond the specific condition that was identified


[c*] Affirming the Consequent

[f] Correct!

[c] May/Must Fallacy

[f] Not the best choice–but it has been credited as a correct answer for this situation.


Flaw Questions

“Flaw” type questions come in three basic forms–assumptions, logical errors, and fallacies. Doing well on flaw questions means doing well on each of these three very different challenges.


Assumptions are easiest for people with no special training in logic. It is easy to spot an assumption type answer, since  it tends to start with a phrase like “fails to consider that” or “takes for granted that.” In a typical assumption scenario, the answer choice will provide a new fact that would make a big difference to the argument. You don’t need to be a logic whiz to figure out how that new fact might change things. Since each assumption-type answer is unique to the facts in that particular argument, there is no easy way to train up to do better on assumption answers.

Logical Errors

Logical errors, by contrast, do not involve new facts. They are technically known as “formal fallacies,” which means they are wrong because of the “form” of the argument. Any “formal fallacy” can be reduced to symbolic logic so that the actual terms under discussion no longer matter. A stimulus that says “Albion is in Britain” can be rewritten as “A->B.” In a “formal fallacy,” it doesn’t matter whether “B” stands for “Britain” or “Botswana.” For example, if I say “I am in Britain, therefore I am in Albion,” I have committed the logical error that PowerScore refers to as a “mistaken reversal.” To do well on this type of flaw question, you need to do well on conditional logic as a whole. I am working on a flashcard deck for logical errors.

  • Logical error flashcards

The third type of flaw is a specialized version of logical errors that cannot be reduced to symbolic logic. These “informal fallacies” involve a host of tricks and traps for the unwary. Unscrupulous people have been using these fallacies to dupe people for so many centuries that most of them have Latin names. These Latin names never appear on the LSAT, which adds an unintended degree of difficulty to the test. The LSAT answer choices that describe these informal fallacies can be more bewildering than Latin, especially to people who have some familiarity with the traditional names. To address this problem, I am working on two sets of informal fallacy flash cards–one that identifies all the most common and/or recent fallacies by their Wikipedia names, and another which then connects those names to wording that mimics the LSAT answer choices.

  • List of fallacies
  • Fallacy flashcards
  • Flaw answer choices

Informal Fallacy Flashcards

[qwiz] [i]

Informal Fallacies: This quiz identifies all the informal fallacies in 10 Actual Official LSAT Preptests Volume V. Since many fallacies have more than one name, we have chosen the name used by Wikipedia for each fallacy.

[q multiple_choice=”true”] presents a situation in which only limited alternatives are considered, when in fact there is at least one additional option.

[c]  Sampling bias

[f] No, that would involve some kind of survey error.

[c] Begging the question

[f] No, that would mean assuming what you are trying to prove.

[c*] False dilemma

[f] Good! 

[q multiple_choice=”true”]  infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some (or even every) part of the whole

[c*] Fallacy of Composition

[f] Good!

[c] Argument from ignorance

[f] No, that would mean using a lack of proof as a way of proving something.

[c] May/Must Fallacy

[f] Wikipedia doesn’t know about this one–it is the error of saying something must be true just because it might be true.




Eliminating Wrong Answers

I’m always looking for objective ways to eliminate wrong answers. Here’s a tip from “bswise2″ I just read on the 7Sage.com forum:

In an “assumption” question (whether necessary or sufficient), read the conclusion and look for any new terms that do not appear elsewhere in the stimulus. The right answer MUST contain that term. Eliminate all that do not.

Logic Games: Must Be Easy

I have been struggling to explain “must be” questions to my logic games students. Sometimes they are super easy. Sometimes they are super hard. In the first case, you can read the correct answer right off your sketch. In the second case, the only way to solve one “must be true” question is to find four “could be false” solutions–and my students who are having trouble with logic games in general get tied up in knots trying to figure that out.

i have also been struggling with helping students know when to stop working out initial inferences. They know they are supposed to draw a sketch, write down the rules, and start looking for the obvious implications of those rules, but how do you know when you’re done?

As things would happen, it turns out that there is one simple answer to both of these difficult problems. I call it the “must be easy” rule.

Most logic game questions fall into one of two categories: “must be” and “could be” questions. “Which of the following must be true” is an obvious “must be” question, and so is “which of the following cannot be true.” In theory, the answer to “must be” question is something you might add to your logic game sketch. Thus, if question 3 asks, “Which of the following cannot occur on Tuesday,” you should be able to pencil in a “Not X” underneath Tuesday on your sketch.

A “must be easy” question is one where the answer is already penciled into your sketch. The only way to tell whether a “must be” question is a “must be easy” question is to look at it. It should take about three seconds per answer to decide whether you have already deduced the answer to this question. If you have, you’re done. That was fast–and easy!

If you haven’t already found the answer to your “must be” question, take another look at it. Is it a “focused” question? Logic game questions that ask about  a specific entity or slot are “focused,” a “must be focused” question is practically shouting at you, “Hey! There’s something about this slot or entity that you haven’t figured out yet.” If so, now is the time to think it through and add it to your sketch.

If it’s not easy, and it’s not focused, it may still be important–especially if it comes early in the game. I have seen this on several grouping games that have “/A->B” rules on grouping games.  (I have written about the importance of such rules here.) Take a moment to ask whether this is a “must be important” question.

If it isn’t easy, and it isn’t focused, and you can’t quickly think of any less-common but very-important deductions you should be making, it “must be hard.” That is a subject for another day. (Add hyperlink HERE when that day comes…)

Here are some examples from “10 Actual, Official LSAT Preptests Volume V.”

Preptest 62, Game 1, Question 4: if you already noticed that both gas and satellite must both fall on the last three days, Question 4 is a “must be easy” question. If not, now’s the time to ask, “What do I know about these days?”

Preptest 62, Game 2, Question 8: if you realized that “/P->O” means you have to have either purple or orange in every window, this “must be easy.” If not, this is neither easy nor focused–but it’s a critical inference. If you don’t understand that every window must have either purple or orange in it, this is one of the two hardest logic games in recent years. If you do see that the “/P->O” rule means “P or O” in every window, then it’s pretty straightforward.

Preptest 63, Game 1, Question 2: if you realized that “/H->P” means “H or P” on each court, including the appellate court which only has three slots and one is already filled, then this “must be easy.” If not, this is neither easy nor focused–but it is important! Question 3 and 4 both depend on exactly the same inference.

Preptest 63, Game 2, Question 7: if you noticed that W can’t come last and T comes before W so T can’t come next to last, then this was easy. If you notice that “at least two of the members dive after so-and-so,” then this is focused. The question is asking, “Who can’t dive last or next-to-last?”

Preptest 63, Game 3, Question 12: if you always knock out a whole staircase of entities at either end of a sequence that includes an ordered chain (“A…B…C” means B and C are out on the first day, and C is out on the second day, and A and B are out on the last day, and A is out on the next-to-last day), then this question “must be easy.” If you don’t, then it focuses your attention on Thursday.