Showing posts from September, 2011


Politicizing Energy Independence

 (Please note, due to the Rosh Hashana holiday and the Sabbath this blog will not be updated until Sat night.) Three years after energy independence and alternative energy measures had bipartisan support under the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration has not only succeeded in politicizing alternative energy until it became a divisive issue, but with the Solyndra scandal, it may have also tarred the entire alternative energy field with another Enron. The problem was always one of goals. For environmentalists alternative energy was never really about independence, it was about austerity and rationing for the good of the earth. The last thing that people who believe that there are already too many people on the planet driving cars, buying consumer goods and otherwise despoiling the virgin paradise of what was once a lovely desert or wetlands, want is cheap energy. If there was a car that ran on water, they would be the first to outlaw it. If solar panels provided cheap and

The Trash of Islam

Two years ago the Egyptian city of Cairo, the largest city in the Arab world and the "timeless city" of Obama's Cairo speech, the heart of the Arab Spring, was suffering from a garbage crisis. The crisis had a very simple cause, the pigs that used to eat the garbage were killed to prevent the spread of Swine Flu. The pigs living in "Garbage City" had served as both organic garbage disposals and food sources for the Zabaleen, families of marginalized Christian Copts who made a living by collecting the garbage, reselling the inorganic garbage and feeding the organic garbage to pigs. The system worked fine so long as there were pigs, but without the pigs, Cairo's streets are filled with giant mounds of rotting garbage. It might be shocking for most people to realize that the trash collection system for the largest city in the Arab world, the capital of what passes for Arab Muslim civilization, depended on a class of "untouchable" garbage collect

Replacement Theology

In the Washington Post's "On Faith" section, a story asks; 'Judaism without God? Yes, say American atheists'. You can have Judaism without G-d, much as you can have an "On Faith" section without anything to have faith in. It's all a matter of definition. If you define Judaism by its covenantal document as a binding agreement between a people and the Creator of the universe, then an atheistic Judaism is a contradiction in terms. But if you define it as a cultural experience that calls us to social work and spirited debate, then it makes no real difference what you believe, so long as you volunteer at the Tikkun Olam soup kitchen. What goes for Judaism, also goes for Christianity. The issue is not atheism, it's the nature of religion and what it is and what it isn't. Either religion is a specific belief in a deity accompanied by textual revelations, or it's the Democratic party with its own pulpit.  The issue comes up every time the

Serfs in Warrenville

If nothing else, Elizabeth Warren's campaign for Commissar of Massachusetts deserves to be credited for getting at the heart of the issue. And the issue is private property. Is there such a thing as private property? According to the Warrens, private property is a false construct. Property is generated, maintained and protected through the state. The individual is a sharecropper whom the state generously allows to retain the majority of his wealth and land. But when the individual begins getting uppity and asking why he has to give the state so much, then it's time to remind him that everything he has really belongs to the state. Elizabeth Warren is unsurprisingly a lawyer, even less surprisingly, a Harvard Law professor, still less surprisingly, she had a string of government appointments on influential committees. Her resume is representative of how unrepresentative Harvard lawyers with government connections  are to the people on whose behalf they claim to hav

Why Illegal Immigration Matters

The last round of Republican debates has brought the issue back to the fore, even though some hosts and pundits have warned the party not to get sidelined by discussing illegal immigration. But the question is does it matter? Republicans in the last few years have begun surrendering values issues to focus on economic issues, but illegal immigration is not a values issue. It's not even simple a law issue-- it is an issue of basic economics. The social safety net is undermined by demographics and uncontrolled spending, but the arrival of large numbers of people with large families who work off the books is a major load. It's a major load in the UK and through Europe. It's a major load here. There are two diametrical responses to this problem. Some form of legalization, whether it's full amnesty or a path to citizenship or a special status for migrant workers. Or enforcement. The problem with the variations of the first approach is that it is attempting to tame t

Friday Afternoon Roundup - Classless Warfare

The UN is now hard at work pandering to terrorists and shutting down midtown traffic, but do we really need the UN? My Freedom Center pamphlet, 10 Reasons to Abolish the UN argues that not only don't we need it, but the whole world would be better off without it. The 51 founding members of the UN were roughly balanced between democracies and dictatorships. As the United Nations membership expanded, the ratio of tyrannies to democracies increased.3 According to the Economist’s Democracy Index, there are 26 full democracies and 55 authoritarian regimes with the latter outnumbering the former in population 3 to 1.4 The average UN representative is statistically less likely to be speaking for a democratically elected government and far more likely to be there as the personal representative of a tyrant or an oligarchy. ...and then there's this... During the Cambodian Genocide, the UN Security Council did not issue a single resolution on it. While millions we

Israel's Lose-Lose Scenario

No matter the outcome of the statehood bid for the Palestinian Authority, the only sure loser in this scenario is an Israeli government which has once again allowed itself to react to events, rather than dictating them. The price for defeating the statehood bid is almost certain to be more concessions. Whether Abbas gets his UN vote or gets blocked at the gate by Obama, he can still count on more Israeli territory extracted under pressure. The terrorist game has always been fairly simple, create a crisis and force Israel to react, and then collect their winnings. The Israeli game has been to point at the terrorism and lawbreaking on the enemy side and expect the world to finally acknowledge that the Palestinian Authority has lost its credibility and force it to negotiate honestly. After decades of terror and lies this clearly isn't going to happen, but that hasn't stopped the Israeli government from playing that one card over and over again. Sharon, for all his many flaws

It's Time to Tax the Trillionaires

Obama says that it's time to tax the rich. I agree, but while he wants to limit the tax to millionaires and billionaires-- I want to advance it to trillionaires. Forget Warren Buffett and his secretary and the rest of the small timers, let's look at where the real money is going-- to the trillionaires.Who are the trillionaires? They're the people who spent and spent until we ended up with a 15 trillion dollar deficit. Now it's time to make them pay their fair share. Politicians, public sector unions, crony capitalists and the rest of the rotten body politic that left us with a debt so big that it can't be repaid without selling an entire state. It's time to make the trillionaires pay. How do we make them pay. Obama has complained that unless we raise taxes on the rich, there will be no money for Medicare. That's a fair point, so let's tax the trillionaires to recoup the costs. And let's make it a whopping progressive tax too. Forget taxin