Archive for the 'election' Category

Ron Paul gets on the Front Page…. It’s about time!

Ron Paul recieved 4.2 million dollars for his campaign in one day.  He did it without a big old professional staff, without a political or media machine behind him.  He was able to make it happen because he inspires people.  Having almost 40,000 Americans donate to you on one day is quite a feat.

Romney spent massive amounts of money on getting out the vote.  He has gotten a decently wide response, but it seems to be only one inch deep.  Ron Paul’s response, on the other hand, was $100 deep.   Those are volunteers that will move around to get out the vote, and make sincere contacts with voters, meanwhile costing Paul’s campaign relatively nothing.

The other candidates have to be frustrated.  They have a machine behind them, and still they can’t get the deep support Ron Paul does.   The big question is can he widen out that support?  He is tapping into people who are frustrated witht he way things are done and want ot see a change.  They don’t really trust any of the other candidates.  Ron Paul supports civil liberties, he opposes illegal immigration, is against nation building, for smaller government.  He wants to make sure that government power can’t be abused too much by making sure the government doesn’t have too much power.  I like it.  I think the founding fathers would also.  In the article on yahoo, it states that he is carrying the Pat Buchanan voters.  This is partially true, but he is big into free trade and very zealous in protecting civil liberties.

I was just excited when I saw the information.  I hope the big wigs will take notice, and give him some coverage.  He is a phenomenon.  Maybe the people writing those articles aren’t as in touch with America as they think.  Some American’s sure seem to like Ron Paul.  I am one of them

Who should be able to vote? Heinlein’s opinion

I just read a book called Starship Troopers.  I had seen snippets of the movie and they were truly terrifying-  The plot was nonexistent, the dialogue transparent, and the creativity absent.  The book was full of great ideas.

You may see these ideas as wrong, but they do show some thought.  They revoke the idea of universal suffrage.

Today as Americans we think it is blasphemous for someone to say that only a portion of the population should have the right to vote.  It is not very far back in our history when women didn’t have the right to vote.  Universal suffrage is a very recent event.  Democracy is the worst form of government, besides all of the others that have been tried (Churchill).  The problem is that people tend to vote themselves a portion of the governments largess.  When we have universal suffrage, we invite all to decide what to do with the resources, regardless of whether we have contributed.  The fact is, whichever group is currently in charge makes laws that are beneficial to them.  The object is to get selfless people in charge.

The founding fathers tried to guard against this tendency by limiting the power of the government.  We have decided against their advice and have made the government very powerful.  When in high school, I thought the government in the US was nearly without corruption.  Now I recognize that their is favoritism everywhere, with contracts made with companies government officials trust (who are generally friends), and  zoning made to match the beliefs of those in charge, generally benefiting them.  The premise of the government in Starship Troopers was that the only ones who could vote or hold office were those who had previously served in the low paying, dangerous military and been honorably discharged.  The idea was that those that were willing to risk themselves for the greater good would also put the greater good ahead of themselves when they voted.  Their military boot camp started with over 2000 recruits, and 187 graduated, with 14 dead.  Our military today is very risk averse, and boot camp for many services is getting less and less vigorous.  The pay is good, and the benefits are fantastic.  People in the military also learn how to thrive in bureaucracy.

The greeks limited voting to landholders.  They wanted the government to be run by people who had a financial stake in  the outcome.  Now only allowing taxpayers to vote has a certain allure to me.  At this point, I would not be able to vote.  I have three children and am in the military, so a significant portion of my pay is sheltered as food and housing allowance.  I do not contribute to the pie, so I should not have a say in how it is divided up.   Anyway, this is always problematic.

Proposing that we should only give the right to vote to certain people is heresy these days, but Starship Troopers shows an interesting viewpoint in a very effective way.  I really liked it both for the ease of reading, the storyline, and the ideas.

Science and Politics Don’t Mix

You can hardly get through a day without seeing a story about the benefits of some new technology in the energy sector.  Wind turbines, ethanol, solar cells, and a host of other solutions beckon at the door.  This doesn’t include the age old answer to all of our energy questions, “Just Use Hydrogen”.

These policies are based on politics and not logic.  If you don’t believe me, ask an engineer.

Ethanol, as a fantastic fuel source of the future, is one of the most popular myths.  I am sure that they have nothing to do with the Iowa Caucuses.  The states that seem the most excited about using ethanol as an alternative fuel are those that grow corn.  Corn is extremely demanding in terms of fertilizer, water, and top soil.  It has also been argued that producing ethanol consumes more energy than is produced in the ethanol.  Ethanol is less of a solution than a slogan.  Everyone can feel good about getting fuel from beautiful green plants.  It’s the same feeling you get when you are getting food from beautiful fuzzy animals.

The biggest problem is that even if it wasn’t environmentally retarded, it is economically unfeasible.  Ethanol from corn gets a $.51 a gallon subsidy in the US, according to The Economist.  Ethanol is actually viable in some foreign countries, because manufacturing ethanol from sugar cane is much more efficient and cost effective, but the government slapped a $.54 a gallon tariff on sugar based ethanol.  We could import the sugar to make it ourselves, but Washington has put quotas on the amounts of sugar we can import to protect lobby groups.  Meanwhile, oil and gasoline can be imported tariff free.

This whole system becomes more nauseating in an election cycle, when every presidential candidate is trying to kiss up to Iowa to ensure that they come out ahead in the race.  It is not good for the country, but politicians don’t care what is good for the country.  They are concerned with the next election cycle.  They apparently suck at science. The big problem is that the voting public is scientifically idiotic.  They spout some sound bite they heard, and expect that with enough research, we can break the laws of thermodynamics.  I think we should just start a “Manhattan style project” and make x-wings, beaming technology, and light sabers.  That is just as practical, and much cooler.

Wind turbines work where the wind blows and where politicians who’s names rhyme with “Eddy Kennedy” don’t care if their view is impeded.  They require repairs more frequently than many other sources, and only produce power when the wind blows.  Wyoming has wind farms, but they already generate more than enough power there, and ship off vast amounts to California.

Solar cells are so cost ineffective it’s disturbing.  They are good for two things.  Providing power to locations to which it is hard to run wires and helping environmentalists feel better.

People’s knowledge on hydrogen is laughable.  “Just use fusion.”  There is one minor catch.  The only reliable way we know to jump start fusion is with large amounts of fission… those nuclear bomb things.  “Well just use it in a fuel cell.”  Umm . . . It takes more energy to take it from water and get it into the car than it releases.  “Let’s just all ride ponies then.  Together, with and for the children.  And have world peace.”  All those people think if you think positively about something for long enough, it will happen.  It doesn’t work.  I had a crush on a girl named Ashley in 7th grade.  I thought positively about me going out with her a lot.  Going out with her would have violated one of the laws of eternity, that in junior high, cute girls don’t go out with nerds.  They wait till college when they find out nerds make many times as much as jocks.  You just can’t violate physical law.

All the same, people vote for the politicians that put forth the pretty promises. This is great if you live in a primary state and have billions of dollars going to you in subsidies.  If you are a normal joe, you are screwed.  You are especially screwed if you like candy (the quotas on sugar cost the US $1.9 billion annually).  So I guess the same old song will move forward unless we want to choose a candidate who will do some things based on principle and knowledge, not based on where the earliest primary states are.  I know what you are all thinking. . . .


Awards for the Republican Debates

I watched the Republican Debates tonight over the internet. The talking heads all have their favorites and so do I, but they should really have debate awards

  1. Repeated the same phrase over and over for every question. Winner is . . . Rudy Giuliani. You mean you were really the governor of New York? Did crime drop? Wow!! Could I get that again?
  2. Best attempt to recruit a vice-president. . . Huckabee wins. Apparently, a lot of people would like McCain as a vice president. “You are my hero. You are braver and stronger than anyone I know.” Don’t get me wrong, McCain is a tough guy, but they were laying it on pretty thick all of the sudden.
  3. Rudest Candidate. . . Rudy Giuliani. I don’t care if you completely disagree with the other guy, DON’T ROLL YOUR EYES AND SMIRK ON CAMERA. That was incredibly rude to Ron Paul. If I knew who was snickering during the questions to Ron Paul, they would take the cake. It surpasses rude. Remember Al Gore? The only redeeming part is that Saturday Night Live made a hilarious skit out of it. (Lockbox. Strategory)
  4. Best line of the night . . . Ron Paul! ” We should take our marching orders from our Constitution.” He’s crazy, isn’t he? He thinks that the government of this country should be based on a constitution. Weirdo.
  5. Slickest sidestepping . . . Two way tie. Giuliani and Romney. These guys love to avoid answering questions. They are very skilled speakers and dance around the issues very, very well. All the same, you are left with an empty feeling after their answers. An honorable mention goes to Fred Thompson, who seems to be so weak on the issues that he doesn’t dare even debate them. I guess Leno gave more accommodating questions. (wuss)
  6. You were there? . . . Hunter takes the cake. You hardly knew he was there. He just came off of a big straw poll win and he blew that momentum by being blah.
  7. Painful Performance . . . McCain. His campaign is slowly dying all around him and it is sad to watch. His debating is not bad at all, but you can see him slowly slipping out of the first tier. He isn’t as polished as Romney and Giuliani, and he is not eloquent enough to stir up people with a simpler style of speech.

I think that as a whole people remain about where they were. McCain has probably slipped back a little based on the performance, and Huckabee moved up just a bit. Ron Paul once again fired up his supporters, although they are small in number, they continue to be devoted. They are the people that are motivated enough to vote in online polls after the debate, because they feel that what Ron Paul brings to the table is worth voting for.
My favorite candidate overall is Ron Paul. He says what he thinks, and he is right on a lot of the issues. I will support him all the way even though I don’t think his chances of success are very great. I want to support those who are truly in favor of smaller government. The rest of the republicans just pay lip service to the idea. If God suddenly eliminated the Department of Housing and Urban Development, I don’t think they would object too loudly, but they would never amputate the cancerous limb themselves. I think we should let the Dr. start the cutting out the cancer. With a machete.