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“Demography is Destiny” ~Auguste Comte

Posted by penuruloki on November 8, 2012

It’s normal after an election for the defeated party to take stock of the situation, figure out what went wrong, and figure out what changes to make. Too moderate? Too far to the left/right? Paying too much or too little attention to one segment of the coalition or another? This year’s immediate response among Republicans seems to split in a different fashion than I’ve seen in previous years. There seems to be a strong split between those who take an almost sporting approach to politics, and those who take an ideological approach to politics.

The sportsmen of the party are already discussing “the bench” for 2016, how to shake up the playbook (which issues to abandon; which new positions to take), and who they want to recruit onto the team. They’re looking for a new formula for victory.

The idealogues are focused on the fact that even with as poorly as the country is doing, as unfavorable as the status quo is going into the election, and much compromise and effort they already made, the voters sent the same people back to work. Under conditions about as good as Republicans could hope for, they could not convince voters to support a change. Given that, there is now a serious question about whether there is now any chance for a real victory; that is, is it even possible any more to preserve a future for the country that is recognizable to the center-right coalition that forms the base of the party? If winning elections involves abandoning the ideal underlying the platform, then why bother?

Much of the explanation for the election results has been derived from the Comte quote above. The electoral divide along racial, ethnic, and gender lines has generated a shifting electorate as the demographic mix has shifted. We usually discuss this in terms of immigration, the people entering into the country. The new, less optimistic discussion now taking place, is broaching the subject of emmigration; now we’re talking about the people who will leave it.

There’s been a great deal of talk in the past few years the situation in California, and its impact the country as a whole. California is a now a single-party fiscal basket case. Cities and towns are cutting services to the bone to pay debts and pension promises. They voted against a Republican with business experience promising fiscal and economic reform in 2010 (a wave year for Republicans) and embraced their liberal socialist path. The state has lost population since 2005 (vs a net increase of ~10 million for the previous 20 years), as people leave to find jobs and get away from taxes and overregulation. The only solution to the state’s problems offered by politicians in the capital is to raise taxes on the rich.

There is a very real possibilty now that California represents the future of the country as a whole.

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Election Storm Clouds

Posted by penuruloki on November 3, 2010

It’s supposed to be a triumphant year for Republicans, but I can’t ignore what I see some storm clouds on the horizon as well. I didn’t talk much about politics before the election this year, so I think a recap is appropriate.

1) California is essentially done. Republicans put up two accomplished business women at the top of the ticket in a wave year where the economy is the top issue, and they still lost. There’s no way around it. Cali is now so deep in the liberal stranglehold, there’s really no chance for Republicans to make it there. Thing is, Cali was already the “Greece” of the United States. Problems with public deficits and debt, high unemployment, and strangled by public unions. Last night was the civilized equivalent of the riots in Greece over austerity measures. For entrepreneurs and capital in California, the message is clear: time to look for a warmer climate. Expect Cali to get worse, and maybe collapse before there’s any chance of fixing their problems.

2) Dayton in MN. It’s my neck of the woods so it matters more to me than others, but I’m still shocked he was on the ballot, much less won (I see no chance of finding 8k more Rep votes in the recount in a blue state). By his own account, he was a terrible Senator. Why did people elect him Governor? It seems even more mystifying when you realize that they bucked the 2006 Dem wave to keep Pawlenty around. To top it off, voters gave both state houses to the Republicans, yielding an exact reversal of the status quo (Rep Gov & Dem Congress -> Dem Gov & Rep Congress). I understand the appeal of divided government, but the final outcome here baffles me. We’ll see if the Rep Congress can hold the line as well as Pawlenty did. I can’t say I’m too optimistic about the immediate future for MN.

3) Tea Party loses key senate races. There’s no doubt that some people will be looking at NV, AK, and DE and thinking that establishment candidates could have won those races. They may even be right. The two questions going forward for the TP movement are A)”How much can the TP influence the Republican agenda in Washington,” and B)”Can the TP maintain their momentum into the 2012 races” (where there are many more opportunites for Republicans to gain than in 2010 anyway). Even with several nice victories under their belt, those high profile losses will hurt their chances to influence the agenda. That, combined with the limits on what they can do with just the House may increase the difficulty of holding onto their momentum. This is an issue for the party and the country.

4)The House. Lets talk about what control of the House actually means. For the next two months, we’re relying on Senate Republicans to hold together and filibuster any last-minute liberal adventures (I have no doubt they’ll try to get something through, however small). In January, that duty passes to the Republican House. The House must also originate any spending bills, which should put an extra damper on the Dem’s ability to spend  more taxpayer money (debt of course, not cash). That’s really all the power they have at this point. There will be no rollback of Obamacare. You’ll not likely see the Bush tax cuts extended either. This is Dunkirk. The losses have been stemmed, but there’s no great victories to be won yet.

Economically, once Republicans take over in January, their ability to hold back Dem’s liberal adventures will give businesses a chance to take stock of the situation, assess the numbers, and finally move off their cash stockpiles and start hiring again, although not in the numbers people would like to see. This could actually hurt Republicans in 2012 if things pick up enough (both sides will take credit for a recovery caused by doing essentially nothing), but the country needs a breather pretty badly right now, so it’s a good thing no matter what the cost politically.

5) The Senate. There are some finding a silver lining in not gaining the Senate, in that it becomes harder to paint an obstructionist congress as simply a problem with Republicans. What gets missed is that the Senate ratifies treaties and approves judicial appointments. Those are huge opportunities for Dems to use to keep moving their agenda forward. They’re farther away from 60 votes for Cloture (to stop Republican filibusters), but they still have the ball here, and Republicans still have to play defense. That stings a bit. Opportunities were always limited in the Senate (this was class of 2004 up for reelection, while 2006 and 2008 were the big Dem years with vulnerable freshmen), but control here is a big deal, and the Dems still have control.

 

Overall, the night was good news, in that we’re moving toward a better alignment. Despite the headlines and heady predictions though, the work is just beginning, and there’s still a lot to be nervous about.

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It tolls for thee

Posted by penuruloki on November 9, 2009

I’m used to the fact that many of those around me don’t want to listen to my political rants, and probably regard me as a crackpot alarmist. Depending on the time line of the prediction, I usually get a grudging admission later that I was right. It’s frustrating sometimes because I don’t really want to be right. I want the warning to be useful, but it rarely is.

I’m not right about my predictions because I’m smart, or psychic, or lucky. I’m right so much of the time simply because I’m careful about what I say, and I’m usually paying attention. If you really look around, dig up the appropriate information, and suspect anyone who tries to hide their sources from you, it’s really not that hard to figure out what’s really going on, and you don’t have to resort to conspiracy theories to make sense of developments in the world.

People who were paying attention last year during the campaign remember when Obama promised AGW inspired legislation that would bankrupt the coal industry and drive up energy costs. This isn’t something worked out by looking at his proposed policies, this was a stated goal in a political speech.

Right now, his cap-and-trade bill, the centerpiece of this policy, is making its way before the Senate. It was forced out of committee by the majority Democrats over a Republican boycott. I could talk about what this policy will do to America, but I don’t have to sound warnings about the future this time. It’s too late for me to sound any warnings about what this bill represents for the future.

The future is here. Right now.

For those not paying attention, I’ll summarize where we stand. Our economy is driven by energy. When you limit energy, you limit the ability of our economy to do work. When you kill power plant construction, you cut off productive industry, and industry closes its doors. Jobs are lost, less work is done, and society loses the fruits of that labor. This time it’s an aluminum plant. What’s next?

The environmental movement has spent the last 40 or so years killing off any expansion of our energy supply. They fought power plants using nuclear, coal, and even wind and solar power. They fought against both oil refineries and biofuels when they started to look effective. They have been fairly successful. Now America’s largest Aluminum plant has closed. Consider it the first of many. The question isn’t if we were warned. People have been raising the spectre of energy shortages for decades, but obviously we haven’t been paying enough attention.

The lesson here is simple and obvious, but many will ignore it. I still expect things to get worse before people finally get motivated to make a real change. Odds are, this isn’t your job lost, it’s someone else’s. It is, however, a sign of things to come. Your turn may yet come. If you’d like to be part of the solution, instead of part of the problem, I have one small suggestion:

Start Paying Attention!

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Maximum Wages?

Posted by penuruloki on October 20, 2009

I’m not the only one with an eclectic posting habit. Tobold, posting on his MMO blog site, brought up the topic of fair distribution of profits, citing a Wall Street Journal article drawing attention to the compensation that bankers have been receiving in the wake of the banking crisis. The problem with the article isn’t his contention (that banker compensation seems more generous than other professionals receive), it’s with his conclusion:

But what really makes many people angry is that while bankers get so much more money than other employees, a lot of other people actually lost a lot of money to the banks. If you bought bank shares in early 2007, you probably lost most if not all of your investment. And then many banks got propped up with taxpayer money. That all looks like paying somebody else to play in a casino for you, with him keeping a good part of the winnings if he wins, and you still having to pay him a lot if he loses.

So while there is a lot to be said against the state dictating how much people should earn, I do think that both minimum wages and maximum wages have some justification as long as they aren’t too restrictive, and are just designed to prevent the worst cases of excess.

This kind of proposition always starts with “the worst cases of excess,” but if you give people a hammer, they start seeing nails. Pretty soon wage caps abound in an attempt to even out pay scales, and the winners and losers become determined by political contest rather than being linked to actual production. Once you decide that appropriate pay level is a political question, every future move down that road is a matter of degree. No, the limited government controls on compensation is a good thing, and not the problem at issue here.

Guess what? In that quote above, Tobold even catches the real problem. Let’s zoom in on that quote a little [emphasis mine]:

And then many banks got propped up with taxpayer money. That all looks like paying somebody else to play in a casino for you, with him keeping a good part of the winnings if he wins, and you still having to pay him a lot if he loses.

The problem is that people have already confounded economics with politics. If the banks had been allowed to fail, the bankers would have been out on the street competing with each other for lower compensation, just like everyone who wasn’t saved by a bailout. The “excessive” compensation is a result of past political meddling, not an excuse for more. People should be reflecting on the damage already done by the government throwing its weight around in the business sphere, not looking for more easy answers from politicians.

I realize it’s easy for me to talk tough about letting those companies fail, since it isn’t my house or my job, but guess what? I know more people that lost their home anyway than I know people who benefited from all the stimulus and bailout money. Anecdotal sure, but there’s a reason why bad businesses have to fail. If you prop them up, then bad business practices continue, market corrections are not made, your economy suffers, and it drags down everyone without the connections to get preferential treatment. If the figures on the WSJ page offend you, blame the politicians for spending your money to prop up that segment. Don’t encourage them to make things worse.

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The Retreat Dividend

Posted by penuruloki on October 13, 2009

Charles Krauthammer has a new piece in the Weekly Standard that is, quite frankly, an amazing read to understand what is before us down the road the liberals are taking us. As he says, Decline is a Choice. And the agenda of the liberals in charge is exactly to choose decline over renewal.

It seems like a harsh charge. Calling the opposition “anti-American” is an easy slur, used by both Conservatives when Bush was in office trying to win support for the war in Iraq, and now by Liberals with Obama in office trying to push through significant changes in the American economy and Health Care system. The reality is more nuanced. The reality is that liberals are pursuing an agenda of reduced American influence in the world, and declining economic preeminence, while conservatives push for a more dynamic, open domestic environment and a foreign policy deliberately designed to secure a stable world system. Neither one is a direct assault on America per se, but an attempt to remodel America to match their vision. The liberal vision however, depends on the decline of American power and influence.

[T]he ultimate purpose of [New Liberalism’s] foreign policy is to make America less hegemonic, less arrogant, less dominant.In a word, it is a foreign policy designed to produce American decline–to make America essentially one nation among many. And for that purpose, its domestic policies are perfectly complementary.

Domestic policy, of course, is not designed to curb our power abroad. But what it lacks in intent, it makes up in effect. Decline will be an unintended, but powerful, side effect of the New Liberalism’s ambition of moving America from its traditional dynamic individualism to the more equitable but static model of European social democracy.

This is not the place to debate the intrinsic merits of the social democratic versus the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. There’s much to be said for the decency and relative equity of social democracy. But it comes at a cost: diminished social mobility, higher unemployment, less innovation, less dynamism and creative destruction, less overall economic growth.

Liberals want to trade our current incarnation for one modeled on Western Europe. The first question is “Do we want to be like Europe?” Certainly we all have different answers, depending on our own situation and the particular trait we’re looking at. “Free” health care sounds great to some. Others don’t like the sound of having hired goons going around checking our trash bins to make sure we’re recycling. We don’t necessarily get to pick and choose what we want. It tends to come as a package deal. The second question has to be “What is it going to cost us?”

There is always a cost. Economics refers to “opportunity cost,” the value of the next most desirable alternative. Cost can sometimes be measured in monetary terms, but money is not always the next most desired option. Regardless, there is always some alternative that is forsaken to get anything. The next most desirable alternative is this case is most obviously what we have now.

Growth provides the sinews of dominance–the ability to maintain a large military establishment capable of projecting power to all corners of the earth. The Europeans, rich and developed, have almost no such capacity. They made the choice long ago to devote their resources to a vast welfare state. Their expenditures on defense are minimal, as are their consequent military capacities.

I can’t put it in better terms than Krauthammer does. Heed these words well:

There is no free lunch. Social democracy and its attendant goods may be highly desirable, but they have their price–a price that will be exacted on the dollar, on our primacy in space, on missile defense, on energy security, and on our military capacities and future power projection.

But, of course, if one’s foreign policy is to reject the very notion of international primacy in the first place, a domestic agenda that takes away the resources to maintain such primacy is perfectly complementary. Indeed, the two are synergistic. Renunciation of primacy abroad provides the added resources for more social goods at home. To put it in the language of the 1990s, the expanded domestic agenda is fed by a peace dividend–except that in the absence of peace, it is a retreat dividend.

And there’s the rub. For the Europeans there really is a peace dividend, because we provide the peace. They can afford social democracy without the capacity to defend themselves because they can always depend on the United States.

So why not us as well? Because what for Europe is decadence–decline, in both comfort and relative safety–is for us mere denial. Europe can eat, drink, and be merry for America protects her. But for America it’s different. If we choose the life of ease, who stands guard for us?

This is not a new struggle. This has been the struggle of the conservative movement against the liberal movement of the past half century. In the words of the late great Ronald Reagan, spoken during the campaign of 1964:

Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, “We don’t know how lucky we are.” And the Cuban stopped and said, “How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to.” And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.

The promises of the liberals, on health care, the economy, their foreign policy, are all based on a lie. They are trying to promise the security and comfort of Europe, when we’re the ones footing the bill for their security right now. If we stop picking up the tab for maintaining the world system, who’s going to step up to the plate?

Make no mistake, someone will come forward, but not to fill the same role the US does now. Regardless of our decision to abandon our leading role in the world or to defend it, there is always a power in the world striving to contest the power of the current hegemon with an eye toward remaking the global system to suit their vision. The international institutions that form the basis for international relations are all a product of hegemonic power, first of the British Empire, and since WWII a product of US power and design. The UN, NATO, the World Bank, etc. that institutionalize foreign relations are all a product of US hegemony, not an independent successor if we should step away. They are an incarnation of US power, not a power source. The League of Nations failed precisely because every entity in the world that had some power to make it work either abandoned it (as the US did) or challenged it (as Germany and Japan did). The previous hegemon (Britain) was in rapid decline and either would not, or could not order or enforce world system. The breakdown of the 1930s happened largely because of a refusal of those with power to play a constructive role in the world.

The world system authored by the US in the wake of WWII, and modified to suit the needs of the Cold War, represented a departure from the world system authored by Britain. Britain and other American allies (the “First World”) endorsed the new system designed by the US and lent it additional power. Those who challenged it (mainly the “Second World” of the communists) never achieved the power to supplant it with their own design. If the US steps back, and abandons their dominant role in the world, we can not assume that our allies will increase their contributions to maintain the status quo. If that was their intent, they have had ample opportunities to contribute already, but their contributions are diminishing instead as their power diminishes, traded away for comforts. If the US is supplanted as hegemon, we certainly can not assume that our successor will endorse a similar system to the one that currently operates. There may emerge a new dominant power with a radically different vision of global order (China and Russia would be the current leading contenders here). We could also enter a new era of instability as contenders move to fill a perceived power vacuum, as an echo of the situation in the inter-war period that culminated in WWII and the Cold War.

The suggestion that we can step aside, reduce our role in securing and ordering the world, and somehow collect a financial windfall to support a European style welfare state is an outright LIE. Europe could only do it with the US provided security, and a US structured world system. Who would provide security for us to do the same? Try to find a global entity with the will to power and sympathies toward the current system. If you disregard the US (which may or may not have the will at this point), there exists no such thing.

All of this brings us back to Voegeli’s Claremont article I referenced in June. To reiterate:

The danger liberalism poses to the American experiment comes from its disposition to deplete rather than replenish the capital required for self-government.

The liberal program isn’t simply an attempt to redirect or redistribute a vast quantity of wealth in America toward an unproven social experiment. It’s an attempt to deplete exactly the capital that has supported the freedom and prosperity of western civilization. This is the political struggle of today, to determine the shape of the world tomorrow. Keep it well in mind next time you have a chance to weigh in.

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Obama’s Election

Posted by penuruloki on November 19, 2008

I really hadn’t intended to comment on the presidential race any more. There seemed to be little to comment on until Obama takes office. After all, now that the decision has been made, there’s no point to slamming the policies that he preached on the campaign trail; might as well wait on comment on the policies he supports in office.

My election posts may have been a seemed a little harsh. Even those who disappointed me in their willingness to process political information and produce a rational decision were not what I would consider truly “ignorant” in a general sense, which is perhaps why I expected more vigor and commitment in taking a political stand. Voting for Obama (or any lefty) doesn’t make you a blather idiot. I just expect otherwise intelligent, educated people to be able to express their reasons coherently.

But the question could definitely be raised about how much Obama’s supporters really knew about him and his policies, not based on the assumption that leftists are necessarily ignorant or stupid (which really wouldn’t be a fair assumtion about anyone who forms and defends a personal political agenda left or right), but in the context of an election where policies and issues were very poorly covered by the media in general.

Well someone has asked the question. Zogby was solicited to poll Obama voters about exactly what they “knew” going into the election (the scare quotes are used for a specific reason!).

The actual press release is here, with full poll results available here. Yes I could have just linked the blogs and right-wing web sites that trumpet the results (and they are easier to wade through if you’re short on time or effort), but I consider a link to the source more trustworthy. Rumors of poll results don’t rate a post even on my personal blog. =)

Sadly, while the results are depressing, the conclusions that can be drawn are limited, not based on sample size or bad poll tactics, but by missing data. Where is our data on what _McCain_ voters knew. How accurate was their “knowledge” of the candidates and the race? Did their “knowledge” match the typical Obama voter (with different reactions) or did they “know” and entirely different set of facts? I really wish someone would commission a matching poll to find out. It would make these results a lot more interesting.

And the scare quotes?

87 percent said that Sarah Palin was the candidate who said she could see Russia from her house. Actually, it was Tina Fey who said that.

I’m not surprised that Obama voters got their information primarily from traditional media sources (the correlation between what they “knew” and media coverage seems the only solid conclusion that can be drawn from the poll), and that the notable bias in reporting for this cycle are reflected in the results. But pulling “facts” from a satirical sketch comedy show? This could be a YouTube effect, where most people that saw the clip saw it out of the context of the show and mistook it for footage of Palin. I have a hard time believing that people saw it on SNL and thought it was real. Correction, I have a hard time believing that many people _watch_ SNL anymore.

I considered the possiblily that the question might have forced people to guess, but “Not Sure” was an option on every question (one of the reasons why percentages are so low). The majority of those who picked an answer was right most of the time. The exceptions were the above question, and “Which candidate said their policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket?” Where voters put their weight behind McCain (who is more environmentally sensitive than Bush, but hardly pro-bankruptcy for our energy industry), when it was an Obama gaffe relatively late in the campaign.

At any rate, feel free to look at the poll and comment on what you think. Attack it, defend it, whatever. Maybe I’ll get my wish and someone will put up somthing more comprehensive.

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Election thoughts

Posted by penuruloki on November 7, 2008

I’ve been meaning to comment on the election, but I’d been hoping to wait for it to be over first. Democrats are still voting, and likely will be until they can claim victory for Franken, but I’ve waited long enough to comment at this point.

The meme being shoved down our throats by the media is that this was an election about hope. If that’s true, I have very little left for this country. It isn’t simply that Obama won and I’m a conservative. I’m old enough to have watched the ’92 and ’94 elections, where Clinton won, albeit from a greater distance. Political junkies all know that they can’t win all the time, and despite the significant irreparable damage I expect to be done by liberals over the next 2-4 years, there is an inevitability to losing elections in a country that is closely divided politically as we are.

What has sapped my hopes for the future is the human response I saw during this election cycle. I have several friends who lean democrat, and whether I could change their minds or not, I did feel obligated to make some small attempt to sway them. My failure to do so is unsurprising given my history, but their reaction is troubling. Over and over, I was basically told by most people I talked to that they didn’t want to hear about Obama’s campaign finance fraud, or his associations with those who hate this country as it exists today. Conversely, the only statement of support they could muster was some vague notion of wanting “change.” Everyone wants some changes made, and any new administration will bring change. Bush ’41 was a change from Reagan, and he was _in_ Reagan’s administration! Yet no one ever articulated what they wanted changed, or what changes they expected from Obama. For all intents and purposes, they approached the polls as willfully blind as they could possibly be. They worked as hard as possible toward their own delusion.

Is this where the Republic is at now? Integrity of law and process, and rational decisions by the electorate matter less than some grand public display of emotion? Do people care so little about their future that they cast their vote so lightly and so carelessly? That isn’t to say that _all_ Obama voters are ignorant of what Obama’s policy tendencies actually are; some are certainly for exactly the future he wants to pursue. I’m _less_ worried about those people because while we disagree, they at least cast informed votes for policies they want. I understand that. I don’t understand voting blindly on principle, and I have to admit that I’ve lost a great deal of respect for those who voted for Obama.

I also don’t understand all the talk about “unifying the country.” This is a liberal meme predicated on the idea that conservatives piss people off and are “dividers,” but somehow everyone likes liberals. It simply isn’t true. Obama hasn’t unified ideological differences in the country. All the election has done is put a different group out in the cold. Instead of liberals being left out and hating the policies of their president, it will be conservatives. Please don’t insult me by pretending that Obama stands for _anything_ that I stand for. It simply isn’t true. It’s part of the delusion. The country is still divided. It’s just a different group that will complain.

As a final note, after Obama was declared the winner, I asked Pete (who was watching the returns with me) how the stock market would respond the next day. Without hesitation, he predicted a 500 point drop. It turned out to be -486 at closing time, which is incredibly close for an off-the-cuff prediction. It went up by a similar amount on election day, so there was the possibility that the drop simply represented some profit-taking. Turning in a similar drop the next day might suggest that the election was a factor though. So far today the market hasn’t moved significantly. It will be interesting to see if the post-election drop is permanent.

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Politics

Posted by penuruloki on April 17, 2008

So far, using Chuck Norris jokes in a television campaign ad has been about the coolest moment of the campaign so far, but I have to admit that Hillary shooting whiskey at a bar in PA for a photo op ranks up there. I would never vote for her for policy reasons, but I haver to give credit where it’s due.

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ABx?

Posted by penuruloki on October 31, 2006

One of the great failures of the Democrats in the 2004 election is that they ran on an “Anything But Bush” platform. The best they could offer was an alternative, regardless of the quality (or lack thereof) of the candidate. They were widely derided for this, and rightly so, both during and after the election. It certainly didn’t work.

That’s why it’s a little frightening to see the same phenomenon appearing in the Republican end-of-cycle drive for votes as the election draws near. It’s appearing in the form of “this is what the alternative really looks like” type of story. That’s not quite as bad as 2004 (the jabs being more educational and less emotional), but it does show that our democracy isn’t healthy.

The problem is that everyone wants to send a message to Washington, but there are so many forces trying to shape the message that getting the right one across requires way more thought and finesse than it should. The hype about the Foley scandal and the controversy surrounding the war in Iraq mean that a vote against a Republican will likely be interpreted as a response to those issues, rather than a revolt against earmarks and the expansion of entitlements under Bush.

Ultimately, disgruntled conservatives are being asked to hold their nose and vote anyway because the cost of revolting now is too great. We’re supposed to focus instead on getting our issues addressed in the 2008 primary season. While this effort relies on a sad but true situation, and may very well work, it exposes a greater cynicism than we’ve seen in a while. Not even in 2004 was the official slogan of the Democrats “Do you really think you even have a choice?”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my own experience with elections, it’s that you have to start early if you really want to have any impact on the results. As hard as it is to think about politics right after the ugly election season, anybody that wants to make any positive changes needs to start thinking about 2008 now.

As far is it goes, 2006 may well already be in the can.

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Fallout from Kyoto

Posted by penuruloki on May 1, 2006

This isn’t a political blog, but I do care about politics, so I will feel obligated to comment from time to time.

This entry brought to you by the BBC, which reported today that energy firms could end up making up to £1 billion from trading carbon emmisions permits. The scheme was dreamed up as part of Kyoto, where a maximum number of “pollution permits” are issued, but can be bought or sold among firms. This puts a price on pollution to encourage firms to get cleaner, and provides a way out for firms who fall behind.

In practice, firms that use high carbon sources (like coal) are simply purchasing them from firms that have extra and raising electricity prices to compensate. The higher prices not only increase the profits for firms (like nuclear power producers) that don’t need to purchase the permits, they provide free money to the permit sellers, since they were _given_ the permits for free to begin with. So the net result of government policy is that consumers are facing higher bills to help stuff corporate pockets! The best part comes at the bottom of the article:

The UK government is failing in its carbon emissions targets. It planned to cut CO2 20% by 2010 to tackle climate change – described by Tony Blair as the biggest long-term challenge for mankind.

But under Labour emissions have gone up by more than 2%.”

I could continue by pointing out how Kyoto is failing, and ultimately encourages greater pollution rather than less, but I think the point has been made. At least our government has kept us out of that mess. Now if they could only get smarter about dealing with our gasoline supply, rather than running around and acting like liberals.

I’m all for saving the environment, but I see way too many people that think they can legislate pollution out of existance, like waving a magic wand. Life isn’t that simple, and if you want to accomplish anything on the subject, you first have to recognize reality, not dream up a utopia where all your schemes will work just because you want them to.

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