6 Bullets

August 19, 2014

6 shotsI have been on hiatus, but this blog has never been far from my mind.  I decided to make the time, even if no one reads – it is good to put thoughts to the page.

The controversy in Ferguson Missouri is disappointing but not surprising.  On one hand you have marginalized youth with little opportunity and even less respect for authority.  On the other hand, you have a para-military police force that is unrepresenting of those it polices, out of touch, and deservedly afraid for its officer’s safety.  At root at it all is the crux of this problem – both sides do not represent what America is supposed to be about and are symptoms of a larger disease.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Think about that famous American line from our the Declaration of Independence for a second and how it applies to Ferguson Missouri before you get my two cents.  We’ll circle back around in a moment but you will see a critique of both sides of the debate.

First, this is America, not Liberia…but why do our inner cities feel and behave more like an impoverished African nation?  We will spend trillions on foreign wars, a billions on incarcerating our citizenry, but will not invest the needed monies/energies for our infrastructure or the education of our youth to help keep them out of those expensive prisons… things that government is supposed to do.  This is no greater felt than in places where young men like Michael Brown live.  They physically live in but are not cultural citizens of the greatest nation on earth.  Largely the system has failed them – their government, their culture, their fathers.  You will not hear me bemoan or give excuses for poor life choices.  You will hear me bemoan a system of dependency, a system that gives no bootstraps for people to pull themselves up by, a system that makes it okay to loot your or other’s neighborhood – not because you really care about Michael Brown, but because its an opportunity to score some free booze while you break shit and have ‘fun’ at another’s expense.

Secondly, you have the increasing police state that We The People are subjugated to.  How many times have you been the victim of petty power or known someone who was…and all because the cop knew he could get away with it?   The bad federal government policies exacerbate the problem.  The war on drugs, the Patriot Act, the offloading surplus military gear…are all easy examples of what contribute to the problem of an abuse of power by the police.  They are all misguided and top-down endeavors that empower the police in ways they shouldn’t and give them more say in our daily lives.  Their role is supposed to be about law enforcement, not veiled martial law and big government.

Back to Thomas Jefferson’s words.  Both sides are violating our core values as Americans.  Life:  Michael Brown is dead – that one is obvious – it is unfair and possibly unjust that he’s dead.  What’s even worse is all the other young black men taken at the hands of police or in the names of gangs and drugs.  Why are all these other young black men dead too?  Why does it take racial sensationalism to mourn their deaths – they die by the score every day across America and their lives are just as worthy of being saved and lamented upon as Michael Brown’s.  Liberty: We now see the beginnings of a push back against the militarism in our police forces, but this is nothing new.  Since the sensationalism of the North Hollywood police being outgunned and out-armored by two robbers, police forces have better armed themselves in an arms race against criminals.  The problem is that government handouts of military gear for civilian police work is incongruous.  Taxpayers do not need to pay for MRAPs – which is a far cry from having an M-4 in every police cruiser’s trunk.  That militarism only enables those with petty power to abuse it.  Pursuit of Happiness.  I cannot believe that officer Wilson enjoys the feeling of being an unwelcome occupying force on the streets that he is assigned.  How does his wife feel about it?  Further, he is not a part of the community.  He has no ties, he’s not from there, he doesn’t look like those he’s supposed to ‘serve and protect’ – and that counts for something, I don’t really care if its not PC – its the truth.  On the other side, how happy is the community with law enforcement when the police are seen as a 21st century SS squad?  This is not hyperbole, the sentiment is a direct parallel.  That is an untenable relationship from both sides and how can the social contract between the people and the government be consoled with such incongruous circumstances?  Even if the police were from the local hood, they would most likely be seen as an Uncle Tom rather than someone who gets it and represents their values…even if that particular officer does…he works for a system run by white men who don’t.  While this is an unfair oversimplification and no excuse for reverse discrimination, there is some merit to the sentiment.  The debacle did not begin with the death of a white police officer at the hands of a black man…yet on the other side, it is not the police who cause problems every night when the sun goes down.

My whole point in this article is that the root of this evil is one of un-Americanism and bad policies pushed and entrenched by big government.  It is about things far more insidious than poor urban neighborhoods with little opportunity, race, police militarization, or even the heralded and untimely death of a young black man.  We have lost our way as a nation – in our civic duty to hold our government accountable in our name, how to fight for your rights while preserving others, and what your role is supposed to be as a member of the republic.  This kind of stuff isn’t even on the radar and yet is the cause.  It is why we are here and its only getting worse…

 

 


Tourniquets and Feces

July 15, 2011
The debt ceiling debate – a false choice fostered by Republicans

He’s Going To Turn Green Next!

 I have opined at length in the previous article and I felt it was way too scattered and didn’t drill down to the point, so I crafted this post to refine it.

 The bottom line is that the Republicans are wrong on this one.  I philosophically agree with their stance on containing big government, but this is not the way you go about it AND they are showing the part of the problem in Washington by being more concerned with politics than what is best for our country.  This is due to:

 1)      Raising the debt ceiling is not a question.  It must be done, it is a foregone conclusion.  To state that raising the debt ceiling itself is a compromise is a false premise.  The consequences of not raising the ceiling are catastrophic and is not an option, hence what they are offering is not a compromise and understandably something the Democrats can not agrree to.  If you disagree with me about what a default would mean, just read a couple of articles from the Washington Post, New York Times, or the Wall Street Journal.  It is very, very bad and unnecessary.

 2)      Which leads us to point #2.  The definition of compromise is that both sides give up things they want to meet in the middle.  You aren’t 100% happy with the end result, but you can live with it and the deal moves forward.  The Democrats offered up their sacred cow of entitlement cuts, the Republicans must offer up their sacred cow of raising taxes. 

3)      Raising those taxes isn’t on middle class or the poor.  It’s on the wealthy and on corporations, both in explicit raises and loophole closures.  Those guys have been getting breaks for years, it is only fair that they pay their fair share.

 4)      It is a false statement to then claim that the Democrats are raising taxes on ‘job creators’.  That is BS because if these ‘job creators’ really needed or wanted to create more jobs, they could.  Small business entrepreneurs are who are getting crunched – and those are the guy who DO hire employees and shouldn’t have their taxes raised.  I’m not saying raise taxes on them.  Large companies have been making record profits of late – they are FLUSH with cash.  They have plenty of money to reinvest in their companies, expand business, and hence hire more employees.  They don’t not because they can’t but because they won’t due to ‘uncertainty in the market’.  If they put their money where their mouth was and expanded their business, they would put more people to work, stabilize local economies, and add more money to government coffers via additional taxes; helping government revenue figures as well. It would create a virtuous cycle instead of a downward spiral, but it is an exercise in the chicken or the egg that no one can force big business to make. 

 5)      Transversely, we should also help small business out any way we reasonably can, even if it means spending money because the return will be far greater than the investment.

 6)       The exercise is as simple as only raising taxes on wealthy individuals and on medium and large companies, but exempt small business (places with 50 employees or less).  Also, redefine wealthy.  The current tax system classifies my father in law as wealthy, but he is simply well-to-do, upper middle class.  However, he has a neighbor who while is not filthy rich, he is wealthy and can afford more taxes because in part, his expenditures have less bang for the buck by having large sums of dollars go into the hands of a certain expensive enterprises.   The neighbor pisses away hundreds of thousands of dollars on unneeded prize llamas and wings to an already huge house in addition to already having two other homes.  The money doesn’t trickle as far or into as many places in the economy.  I am not saying he doesn’t have a right to do this; what I am saying is that he can afford to be taxed more because raising his taxes is not going to negatively impact the economy.  On the other hand, I see my father-in-law spending money in the real economy, just like the rest of us.  He has a budget, retirement, and real financial concerns.  The only difference between him and the average American is that he makes more money, but not to the point where his spending is luxurious, profligate, or wasteful.  He isn’t the one you tax; instead it is his neighbor, Lady Gaga, and the Wall Street bankers are they who you raise taxes on.  Besides, letting my father-in-law keep some of his money instead of going to the tax collector is more efficient.  It is more efficiently spent back into the economy by him directly rather than wasteful, more centralized government control.  Thus the line of proposed taxes on ‘the rich’ is not $250K.  I don’t know if its $350K or $500K or $1MM, but it is somewhere between what my father-in-law earns and what his neighbor makes.

 7)      Given dedicated time on the issue, the size and scope of government could be cut way back while also finding the common-sense and fair places where taxes can be raised.  There are so many loopholes and people and institutions that take advantage of the tax code that it needs reform to reduce the overall tax rate while actually raising revenue.  Savers should be rewarded and not punished for their long-term outlook

 8)       On the other side of the house, the government is so large and has so much fraud, waste, and abuse in it, that there are plenty of ways to cut government across the board, save hundreds of billions of dollars, and get the same result because government becomes more efficient.  ABUSE:  How many times have you heard of overpaid, lazy government workers who do not fear for their jobs?  Fire those people, pay their replacement a fair wage, and expect more out of them.  If not, fire them too.  Real unemployment is somewhere around 16.5%.  WASTE:  How many times have you heard people in government spend money because it’s there to spend?  If they don’t use it, they lose it.  It is that mentality of ‘other people’s money’ that leads to the waste.  Break that cycle through alternative incentives – possibly shared monetary compensation for efficiency.  FRAUD:  How many people scam the federal government on rigging their welfare, healthcare, and other forms of government assistance to both the states and individuals?  Root those people out, stop the bleeding of money, and throw those people into jail to show the rest of the cheats a lesson.

 9)      If anyone is serious about reigning in government AND getting the country’s fiscal house in order, they know that a 4 trillion figure in deficit spending cuts is just the beginning.  Anything less that is proposed is an insult when $4 trillion in cuts is on the table.  I believe the President because of the mantle that he has assumed in trying to solve this problem.  I do not believe the Republicans.  The Republicans don’t want to give the President the political advantage of having a solution to make real inroads into solving this problem.  Like they say, he owns the economy.  Republicans are more worried about politics than what is right for the country, thus they wouldn’t want the President to get the credit since he owns the economy for good just like he would for the bad. 

 10)    Lastly, a grand bargain of $4 trillion dollars in cuts over 10 years is a great start to getting the country’s debt problem in order, but it is just the beginning.  That still means deficit spending, just slowing the growth of it.  To get to a budget that actually has money left over at the end to pay down the national debt means you have to have cuts to spending programs AND you will have to raise taxes.  THERE. IS. NO. OTHER. WAY.  We have already gone too far down the path of fiscal irresponsibility to only have cuts.  We need both.  Anyone who tells you either is not looking at the long term trend nor are being honest with you.  As we have seen, taxes can be cut, but not until the books are back in the black.  There is nothing saying taxes increases have to be for perpetuity.

  I am a true libertarian, I am told in the auspices of Jeffersonian Liberalism.  I am a conservative, but not a Republican, and certainly not a partisan fool.  It is better to ‘tear the band-aid off and eat your peas’ now, then do it later when the country is in a true survival situation (because this is an optional crisis) and the analogy shifts to applying a tourniquet and eating your own feces…

– G.S.


A Game of Chicken

July 13, 2011

EAT YOUR PEAS DAMMIT!!!!

I will take a break from my ‘solutions’ series and interject an article about the current politics of the nation and the game of Chicken that quite frankly, my Republican friends are playing.  Yes, you heard me right, I am siding with the Democrats on this one, but just in political substance, not policy.

You see my fellow citizens, the Republicans are giving a false choice to you.  They say that their ‘compromise’ is the raising of the debt ceiling at all.    They will raise the debt ceiling and the Democrats have to enact entitlement program cuts.  Taxes per Grover Norquist are OFF THE TABLE for the Republicans.  That is a red-herring fallacy.

Not raising the debt ceiling is not an option.  It has to be done because there isn’t any time left to make a problem that would truly stem the tide of rising costs.  They haven’t done the legwork to truly figure out how to pare the federal government down without ripping the country apart since its presence is felt everywhere.  I agree it needs to be done, but you don’t cut out cancer with a broadsword, you use a laser scalpel.  Since the Republicans have frittered away the MONTHS of time that they had where they could have made such a plan, they now posit the untenable position of simply targeting entitlement programs and not the huge amount of fraud, waste, abuse, cronyism, and special interests that actually make government so large, expensive, and inefficient.

Not raising the debt ceiling is also not an option because of the  completely unnecessary financial and economic crisis that would descend upon this country.  We saw it before in 2008 – the markets are all a confidence game.  You lose confidence and the bond-holders go running.  Even if it is voluntary, the costs to further debts in the future due to rising interest rates would be long-term and real.  It would cost more to borrow money.  It will even sit worse with the electorate if the US pays its debt holders first (China) and doesn’t send Grandma her Social Security check.  For political reasons of voter wrath, there is no way that a politician thinks that is a good way to get re-elected.

Scarily, it is the President that is actually showing leadership on this one.  He recognizes what compromise is and if people are serious about curbing national debt, then they’ll take the current opportunity to take a real chunk out of future spending.  he honestly proposed touching liberal third rail issues and give on them and expected the Republicans to do the same.  I believe he is generally misguided in what he thinks is best for the country, but he looks like a centrist who appeals to centrist nature of the country more than the Republicans who truly believe are posturing at this point.  I honestly do not believe the Republicans are sincere on wanting to really make the best effort possible of curbing debt because we have dug a hole that is way too deep for ourselves as a nation to not have tax increases and even reasonably expect us to get out of this mess.  It is a combination of loyalty to Grover Norquist and his pledge for fear of what a negative endorsement will do, and it is also due to the fact that a failure on the President’s part is good for them.  Maybe so, but it’s certainly not good for the country – just like a default scare or wasting a bunch of time on a scare good for the country.  There are plenty of problems to solve – unemployment, energy, trade deficits, etc and this is basically all Washington has done for months.  Absolutely pathetic.

Also, don’t tell me that raising taxes and closing loopholes on the riches of Americans and corporations will hinder growth.  Major companies are reaping record profits and are sitting on the cash.  They are not expanding their businesses or re-investing it.  They claim uncertainty and weakness in the markets…but what comes first, the chicken or the egg?  People won’t feel good about the economy or spend money if they continue to see layoffs.  BUT, if a company took some of the those record profits and reinvested into a local economy and opened up a new division…  The same argument can be said for the richest of Americans as well.   They as a percentage of income pay less than the average American.  There is a point where their wealth doesn’t efficiently go back into the economy.  For every yacht that a fortune 500 company CEO owns, how much could the livable wage be raised for the rank and file hourly workers making $10 an hour whose empire is based upon their work.  You know that $10 an hour is not a livable wage, so those people have to get a second (or third job) sometimes.  Undue taxation for wealth-creators is un-American, but also is not paying your fair share back to a system that you have greatly benefited from while also semi-victimizing the same people who enable your empire.  I’m the furthest from a socialist that you’ll find, but this is a country based upon freedom and having to work 80+ hours a week just to scrape by at $10 an hour is just a form of economic bondage and is also un-American.  There has to be a balance and asking the most vulnerable in our society to have cuts to the programs that help support them while not asking the richest of institutions and individuals to give up a dime is simply wrong on top of bad policy and economic fantasy.

Thus, I propose finding that line where a business is no longer small and an individual ‘has more money than they know what to do with’.  At that point and higher, that is where you raise taxes.  You are getting the most economic bang for the buck as you are not hindering the real engines of economic growth – small business, but you are also not taking bread out of the mouths of people who actually put the money back into the economy versus just pissing it away of opulent, foreign-made luxury items.

So, with all that said, you can see that I am yet again proud of my libertarian stance.  Its shit like this that makes me glad I am not a Republican.  I disagree with Democrats philosophically in most ways, but they make the sound and correct argument in this case. 

Lets just say the US does default and the government has to pick and choose what obligations it pays.  How will it look to the voters (especially the most active block – seniors) when we dutifully make our interest payments to the Chinese, but Grandma’s social security check doesn’t go out in time?  The Republicans would get blamed and they’d get washed out in the tide of the 2012 election, Obama would get re-elected, and then the country would be set up for even worse things to come with an emboldened and empowered Democratic legislative and executive branch.

I weep for my country and the lack of leadership that we have.  I’d be kicking somebody’s ass if I was the President.  It would be time to pull out the weapons-grade, Ross Perot style charts and insultingly lucid Jon Stewart interviews that show all the holes and fallacies in the opponent’s argument.

–  G.S.


No Fly Zone? Really?

March 17, 2011

Get Ready For These...

Gaddafi and his craziness would have been ‘great’ mass-media news by itself, now he has to compete with the buzz from Japan – but it doesn’t cloud the irony of the UN resolution for enforcing a no fly zone.  Let me make a series of  points and then a series of comments and you can draw your own conclusions. 

To give away the punch-line, this is an ‘easy’ win where we can do ‘what is right’ without real repercussion, loss of life, or long-term fallout since everyone knows that Gaddafi is a whack-o.  Oh yeah, we’ll still get our oil tanker from the Saudis as well.

POINTS

1) A no fly zone means not only not letting the bad-guys fly around, but blowing up airfields and anti-aircraft batteries to protect the fighter planes that are flying the combat air patrols (CAP) to support the no fly zone.  That means air to ground offensive strikes.

2) France, Italy, and the UK are eager to directly support and engage in an enforcement campaign.

3) As of yet there has been little discussion about the U.S.’s direct involvement except to say that we have a seat at the table and are certainly part of the NATO planning.

4) Gaddafi, a self-agrandized despot of  a looney-toon, openly threatened hostilities now and in the future in the Mediterranean if the world imposed a no-fly zone on Libya.

5) The world has been deafeningly silent on protests in Bahrain and Yemen due to needed cooperation from the non-democratic despots there.

6) We had similar actions under Bill Clinton in Bosnia with air patrols and cruise missile strikes.

7)  Fighter pilot types would love nothing better than to have a no-fly zone.

COMMENTS

1) No one has a better military or equipment to wage an air war than the U.S.  We have tomahawk missiles, F-22s, B-2s, SEAD mission F-16CJs, and the experience with all this hardware in actual wars.  I find it hilarious that the French think they are up to the task and they probably want as little help as possible from the USofA.

2) We had a no-fly zone over Iraq as well for a very long time.  We got very little support the second time the US kicked Saddam’s ass because nations like France did not feel we were justified in intervention.  Why the change in heart?  Because Libya isn’t that far from France maybe?  Because this one is ‘easy’?  Both?  Its far more complicated that simple solidarity with the Libyan rebels – there are legitimately beleaguered revolutionaries all over the world that are ignored every day.  Why are the Libyans so different and special?

3) The world loves to hate the US, but when push comes to shove, we are the only ones with the hardware, know-how, and force projection capability to do the job right.  Why?  We are America.  We are too good to the rest of the world and we go unthanked for it, but god-forbid if we don’t kick someone’s ass when everyone thinks it should be.  The media doesn’t know it yet, but our NATO brethren desperately need our know-how and hardware.  We spend a lot of treasure and spill a lot of blood so that others don’t have to – largely because they don’t need to fight any more because we too willingly go do it for them as the world’s defacto policeman.  Now our allies and the ‘good guys’ of the world have grudgingly grown dependent upon our strength and just dominance.  This is what you get, responsibility to protect France get again – for at least the 3rd time now. (I especially enjoyed that one by they way)  What other nation has been the ’empire’ of the world and done it so benevolently?

4) This no-fly zone could be a slippery slope.  All it takes is one flight of Libyan migs to execute a reprisal attack against a French cruise-liner in the Mediterranean.  That  then greatly ups the ante for NATO to ask itself if it is going to live up to its charter and say that an attack on one is an attack on all.  Gaddafi is a crazy-man.  You’re wrong if you think he lacks the stones to do something like that.  Thomas Jefferson warned against foreign wars of entanglement for exact scenarios like the fictitious one above.  Look up the cause of WWI; a web of alliances is how it started and America had to eventually get drug in via alliances to end the damn thing too. 

5) We want Libya’s oil, but the country doesn’t make Saudi Arabia amounts of it.  Also, Gaddafi is unsavory and crazy.  The pro-democracy demonstrators in the other Arab countries are just as right and just in their cause, but the situation in those countries are much more complicated.  We NEED the autocratic ruler’s  support there because of their oil (Saudi Arabia being the clearest example). Our dependency on foreign oil is why we waste so many lives and $$ in that part of the world in the first place.  They know it and that is what protects them and keeps them loosely aligned with the West even though they don’t like us and refuse to move beyond a 10th century mentality in how they rule or look at the world.

6)  True to form, the West picks and chooses its battles.  Today, Libya is a worthy while Darfur is not.  Yesterday Bosnia was, but Somalia was not (and today you hear about the consequences of those actions in the news – pirates).  These guys could very well be thinking that this is a mini-Desert Shield type operation.  Of the lot looking at this no-fly zone, the US is the only player that has the ability and will to go it alone –  right or wrong.  You see that both in our introduction and pull-out of Somalia and our mounting successes in the new Iraq.  You saw it in defeat in Vietnam and the barest margin of victory in Korea.  All but the First Gulf War show that victory is never easy coalition or not.

7) Fighter pilots get to justify their existence and over-inflated egos if they shoot down some ancient Mig 19s using their AIM-9 air to air missiles from 20 miles away.  That’s not war, that’s  shooting fish in a barrel.

Don’t think that victory of this despot will be as easy as it could appear.  If Gaddafi is going down, he won’t go without a fight – he’s already shown that these past 2 weeks.  If anyone would have the audacity to lob a russian missile at Sicily, sink a french passenger liner, or attack an American cargo ship – it would be Colonel Gaddafi; certainly more so than Slobodon Milosevic or even Saddam Hussein himself.

Those men were evil, this guy is both evil and deranged.

– G.S.


The New Manhattan Project – Part II

December 30, 2010

 

…continued from Part I, here.

Energy Independence

Fusion power has so much potential that we could have so much energy that  there would be no strain on the system’s supply to have electric car docking stations at every person’s house and place of work   They’re already paid for with the stimulus money ‘free’ of cost to the tax-payer.  How many people could you put to work over the coures of 10 years with that project in a country as large and developed as ours?  Gas stations would be paired (and eventually replaced) with rapid battery swap shops that take your cars standardized old battery that is drained and give you a freshly charged one.  Going back to the shah in Oman…100% of the money in your pocket is paying for your power from American sources because we invented the economy that the money all goes to. 

     100% of the money also means we are not dependent upon the shah for his oil anymore.  We don’t need him – we can run our economy on our own energy sources.   American sources mean dollars back into your community.  By not having to worry about a supply of oil, we are free to let the Middle East fight itself instead of us once again.  No more wars of foreign involvement.  Our soldiers aren’t there spilling their blood, we aren’t spending our treasure on waging war, and the radicals there get what they want by not having the US in their lands.  I say let them descend into a 9th century level of barbarism again.  Tell them we don’t need their oil and so they get what they want – the US to leave…and we would.  It’s not that easy though, I’m not naive liberal.  Realistically, that wouldn’t be good enough for the jihadists; they would still blame us for our past involvement and try to send more terrorists our way.  That is a solvable problem though, but not for today.  

  Carbon Reducing Green Energy

Lastly, we can reinvent our country all while being green.  Fusion power doesn’t emit hydrocarbons – like fission reactors, you’re not burning anything.  Fusion power emissions are energy and water.  That’s it.  There is no radioactive waste with a half-life of 20,000  years that you have to dispose of.  Guess where you get the fuel for nuclear power reactors?  Salt water.  Yes, the fuel deuterium comes from ‘heavy water’ commonly found in sea water.  You mix that with tritium (which is merely a hydrogen atom with two protons in it) and a whole lot of energy and the two atoms ‘fuse’ together to make even more energy, a helium atom, and a neutron.  That’s it.

The Problem and Reality
  The only reason that fusion is so hard is that like the sun, the process is extremely hot.  So hot that the plasma produced can melt anything.  The only way to contain it is to basically make an electromagnetic shield of energy around the reaction.  It’s similar to shields in Star Trek, but instead of keeping energy from a  weapon out, it keeps energy from the reaction in and thus prevents the plasma from melting the reactor chamber.

   Our current reactors take more energy to power up and run than the process makes.  Improving the technology takes research and eureka moments.  You get that with the best minds working together, being excited about their work and pulling long hours over the concentrated effort of 5-10 years, not the snail’s pace of 100 years like the current proposed rate of progress.  Talk about a pathetic, flacid approach.  Real research with the best of minds means that the money has to be there to spend. 

 My Vision

Unlike a devalued dollar and papered-over banking problems, fusion power is a solution for the ages.  What is a half a trillion dollars to the hundreds of trillions of dollars that near limitless energy is worth?  The world is not running out of sea water anytime soon and with limitless energy, things are far more possible.  First, we stop heating up the planet.  Global warming is real.  It may come from a hotter sun too, but throwing an extra wool blanket around the plant from more carbon dioxide than plants can take in doesn’t help.  Secondly, energy intensive processes like reverse osmosis water purification can desalinate and purify salt water or poisoned water.  So much of the world’s suffering comes from having a poor water supply.  You could now do grandiose civil engineering projects like fueling california’s agriculture industry from reverse-osmosed sea water that is pumped to the farmland.  The energy from fusion power could drive the massive pumps and purifiers that you would need.  You could even take the idea a step further and slowly terraform deserts and make them arable again – combating their slow spread.  Other things even more grandiose are possible.    Remember how hydrogen is the key ingredient, well it is also the most abundant element in the universe and floats freely around the vacuum of space.  Space ships, space travel, space colonies, and asteroid mining and the inherent resources there, are all far more possible because you have now have an efficient engine to power your spacecraft and a ready source of fuel to power it.

Yes, my ideas for the future may be grandiose, but with near limitless energy, it is possible.  All it takes is leadership and vision.  I wish we had more of it.

The Bottom Line

You can’t do something like this on the cheap.  Its going to cost hundreds of billions to do it on the scale and pace of breakthrough I’m talking about, both in infrastructure development and technology.  Politicians can spend the same amount of money bailing out banks, printing fiat currency, and generally kicking the can of economic collapse down the road, but they can’t do what I propose.  Its all because special interests in DC and Congress’ general lack of vision prevents it from actually being the body politic it needs to be.  There are too  many politicians and not enough statesmen; we need less power grubbing and more visionary leadership.   

This is our silver bullet, but we’ve got to fire it or its of no use.

– G.S.


The New Manhattan Project

December 22, 2010

Worship Me! I Am The Solution To All of Your Woes.

  I have hinted at this post in the past and now it’s here.  This is my non-scientific stab at:

 – The Next ‘American Innovation’

–  American Reinvestment

– Effective Stimulus

– High-Paying, Sustainable Job Creation 

– Energy Independence

– National Security

–  and A Carbon Reducing, Green Energy Source

     The caption says it all.  Fusion power – the source of energy for the suns and thermonuclear weapons is the answer.  Name one thing, only one thing that can realistically accomplish all of the above bullet points and I’ll eat my hat.  Lets get started.  There may be overlap as some pertinent factors can be shared.

  The Next ‘American Innovation’

     This country has maintained its greatness because it has an edge.  The ideas and entrepreneurship that are part of our identity have given rise to our modern world and the standard of living that we so enjoy.  Since the industrial revolution and throughout the 20th Century, this country’s economy is generally propelled by some sort of new innovation.  It might be something great like Carnegie and his telegraph and steel empire, or it could be something as terrible and destructive as the First and Second World Wars.  All three examples drove American innovation forward and provided new technologies, industries, jobs, and money for this country’s citizens.  Why not use this technology and its benefits today – providing that next needed industry.  We could corner the market and benefit as we spread the technology to the world instead of dragging the development process out for the next 50 years.  I am serious.   The development of the most promising reactors take decades with further designs behind them.  The pace and the money are a pittance.  My one source said it was a total of about a billion dollars a year.  Yes, that is a lot of money, but not for a country that builds a plane that cost $1.2 billion back in the early 90’s and doesn’t blink to spend $20 billion on foreign aid a year and $787 billion to bail out Wall Street. 

American Reinvestment

    This technology would be an investment in America because we have to spend the money here to make the technology and integrate it into our economy and lives.   This case alone should be enough when I say that with a serious committment and expenditure of dollars, we can not only keep that money in our nation’s collective pocket, but spend more on power grids, power plants, turbines, electric cars, cement, and training.  This doesn’t even begin to account for all of the other supportive roles that put people to work while making something that is real and actually is a return on investment.  Real product you say?  Return on investment…that sounds like manufacturing!?! 

    Yes it is.  We used to be really good at it.  This is just manufacturing a new energy economy.  Why send over $400 billion a year overseas when we can keep that money here while also reinvesting in America?

Effective Stimulus

    This stimulus comes in two parts.  The first is the one we are all too familiar with;  the one from the government.  It means we spend money we generally don’t have on something in the hopes we get a greater return than what we put in.  These days, government stimulus is considered a ‘win’ when it gets back the  money it put in.  Now here is the hard part…stuff like this always involves Congress approving, creating, and managing a program that would be what I call ‘The New Manhattan Project’.  Instead of making fission bombs, we are making fusion energy.  The scale is debatable, but if we can spend hundreds of billions of dollars time and time again on terrible and perversely incentivized stimulus, why can’t the government pony up say $500 billion ($50 billion a year for 10 years) to invent fusion power that gives us more energy than it takes, and also completely revamping our nation’s energy grid in preparation for the technology and as a way to repair it.  Yeah, if you didn’t know, our energy grid is far from smart – its crumbling in a lot of places. 

     The reality is that this government and that of the whole EU might invest $40 billion over the next 50 years.  Might.  They’ve only put up about $10 billion to get where they have so far.  BP has a claims fund twice that size for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  That is a paltry sum for a slow process that doesn’t have enough impetus behind it to create leap-frog breakthroughs.

High-Paying Job Creation & Sustainment

     The second part of the stimulus is that it directly equates to American jobs and careers.  No, this is not seasonal or temporary work for minimum wage but high-tech jobs that pay well and will not go away.  Linemen, mechanics, power plant workers, engineers, professors, surveyors, the list goes on – these are jobs that can’t be exported because that are manufacturing something that can’t be exported.  The power lines and the power plants aren’t going anywhere.  This investment in the American worker and American infrastructure is money put back into our own pockets.  It is spent by you and your family and also by the company you work for in goods and services.  Some of that money ends up in the hands of the cement factory owner across town, who then has to get his cement trucks serviced by a local truck garage that your neighbor works at.  Like in this example, the same $1 goes a lot further went it is spent multiple times in a community instead of lining the pocket of a shah in Oman.  Why take 65 cents or so of every dollar and give it to people over in the Middle East who we shouldn’t trust because they really don’t like us that much…but they are all to glad to take our money? 

… Part II is now complete and is here.


Naked Pictures or Groping. What Choice Does A Guy Have?

October 18, 2010

That's About All You Get Out of Many When They're Awake Too...

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  So I got the following blog forwarded to me from a close friend and its right up my alley.  This whole post is a bit more  of a puff-piece than I am accustomed to, but I think you’ll like the change of fare.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig11/roberts-m1.1.1.html

  This blog describes the ridiculousness an Airline pilot encounters when opts out of the new protocols with the full body imaging equipment being installed at many airport.  Let me address the glaring holes in his argument first and then I will get to what I want to comment about.

1) The body sensing equipment IS as sensitive as he fears, but it is programmed to give images to the operator that are not very detailed about your body.  They are looking for contraband.  Most of us aren’t that in shape or good looking and the TSA agent doesn’t want tot ‘check you out’ any more than the next person.

2)  He refused being frisked.  I have a belt that sets of the alarm and I forget to take it off from time to time.  It then invariably sets off the metal detector, I go back, take it off, and then I am sometimes still frisked.  No biggie.  No one is touching me inappropriately and it takes an extra 30 seconds.

   So, as you can see, my beef with the TSA is not really the same reasons as this gentleman’s.  My problem is that the guy had credentials, is a low-risk threat, has passed through the ‘old’ metal detectors for years before without incident.

–  Why are they requiring airport/airline staff to go through these things?  Do you know how few of these things are out there because they are so expensive?  They are a waste for that reason alone – they are spending our tax dollars to solve a problem that isn’t that much of a risk to our society post-9/11 but everyone throws the ktichen sink at the problem when a couple of guys put explosives in their shoes and underwear.  People are the best deterents to terror when they refuse to be afraid (ask the passengers of Flight 93 proved that) and also when they are doing their jobs as alert screeners.  No technology can replace vigilance, duty, and bravery

– Where is the common sense?  How many people did this one pilot talk to?  How much time was spent?  How was this made to be such a big deal?  Where is the common-sense, customer service, or any number of things?  It is this kind of behavior along with seeing my tax dollars standing around in blue uniforms that are in groups of 3-7 not really doing anything except talk to each other as I get driven like a cow through the security line. 

– It’s disgusting that a civil servant acknowledges that the government who pays him is infringing upon our rights and since its already happened…who cares?  Just get along to keep things moving along.  It is that kind of apathetic mentality that let the Nazis take control of Germany.  People recognized that those guys were extreme, but they just wanted to get along in their day and slowly, but surely, they began to get used to the idea of a totalitarian regime.  I am NOT saying that is happening or will happen here in the US – I am just making an observation that your average middle-class American family is really not that different from the average German one from in the 1930’s.

I paraphrase Ben Franklin when he said:  “Those who give up even a little liberty for just a bit more security, will get neither anddeserve to lose both”

– G.S.