To Drill or not to Drill: That is the Question

So I was reading a couple of articles on the legislation in the United States that was stopped before it began on the possible drilling of off-shore locations for an increase in the domestic oil production of the US.  The bill was designed to allow lands, that were previously off limits, to be accessed for use in drilling to increase the domestic supply of oil in the US and help brunt some of the increase in costs on the amount per barrel.  Many politicians saw this as a way to help the consumer absorb some of the cost that they were paying at the pump, while others saw this as a “big oil” or  “anti-environmental” movement aimed at furthering the destruction of the planet.  Continue reading

Trade Subsidies: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In the market oriented world, trade subsidies are supposed to be an advantageous means to protect a country’s ability to produce a good and have a chance to be marketable on the global market.  Thus when one country produces a product at a lower cost and begins exporting it globally, another country has the ability to place an export duty or a trade subsidy on it so that their product meets the price of the same or similar product in that nations market.  Thus, if an African country can produce, say wheat, at a lower cost and ship it worldwide, then Europe would subsidize their farmers and pay them the difference in the market value so that the European farmers could sell their wheat at the same price as the African country.  Thus, the African country loses the battle because their product is no longer as competitive as it was when it was shipped from their ports.  Continue reading

The New Deal: Savior from the Great Depression or Creator of the Welfare State?

Looking back over the history of not only the United States, but the history of most of the now modern world, the Great Depression was a defining moment in many people’s lives.  This was a time when the world economy came to a grinding halt for some, or slowed down so significantly that the people were desperate for any means possible to get out of their economic depression.  The evils of capitalism would not and could not allow for the economies of the world to rebound as fast as the people wanted or needed and thus drastic measures were required.  At least that is how the political figures in-charge defined their arguments for such “New Deal” policy and legislation.  Continue reading

The Gore-Ax: By the Castaway Castro

Yo, I am the Gore-Ax, who speaks for the trees
 I speak for the Earth and she wants to say “Please!”
 “Address global warming as soon as you can.”
 “The sun cannot cause it. The culprit is man.”
 Oh Gaea, so fragile, she can’t take the heat
 A few more degrees and the Earth is dead meat
 From choking on carbon emissions, you hear?
 More threat’ning than any munitions you fear
 Your minivans, Hummers, immense S.U.V.s
 Are wreaking great havoc on Earth and her trees
 And muscle car drivers, you ruin the air
 So switch to a Prius to show that you care
 Or better yet, travel by bus or by train
 And then my new limo can have a clear lane

 For I am the Gore-Ax, who speaks for the trees
 I’ll speak for the Earth until everyone sees
 The danger that climate change poses to all
 Especially if suburbs continue to sprawl
 We must limit suburbs if we’re to defer
 The global catastrophe soon to occur
 If glaciers keep melting, the oceans will rise
 And polar bears surely will meet their demise
 My house in the Hamptons, right there by the shore
 Will be underwater if Earth heats up more
 When oceans get warmer, more hurricanes form
 My house in the Hamptons might fall in a storm
 It’s Earth in the balance.  Am I getting through?
 Do all that you can to reduce CO2

 Now, I am the Gore-Ax, who speaks for the trees
 When saving the Earth I refuse to appease
 You stubborn deniers who won’t see the light
 We have a consensus that says that I’m right
 You shill for big oil and guzzle gas, too
 It’s time for a carbon tax levied on you
 The planet’s in peril, so cut back or pay
 Your country should bow to Kyoto today
 I know it’s not easy, but what can you do?
 A truth inconvenient is nonetheless true
 I’ve so much to teach you, but must say goodbye
 My Gulfstream is waiting. It’s time that I fly
 To Hollywood, Davos and maybe to Cannes
 So limit your energy use when I’m gone

NATO: The Price of Defense

In a world that is ever changing and in a time where providing for your nation is tantamount to the survival of your people and society, we need to have a better understanding of the governmental regimes that are at play in our world.  From dictatorships to monarchies, democracies to socialist regimes, countries around the world are creating a future for themselves in which government has an important role and place in their society.  Some societies feel that government should be the “be all and end all” of their world and provide for it, everything they need to live the best life possible.  Others believe that the people should decide how they live their lives and that government should be there to provide stabilization and a governing force to protect their basic needs and tenants. Continue reading

Scare Science: Fear in Sheep’s Clothing

Today I received an email providing me with a link to a website from a broadcasting company in Australia known as ABC.  I clicked on the link and to my surprise I was not sent to the website to learn about the news or to read a story that would be pertinent to my life or enrich my experience as a human being but to a website about “my CO2 influence on global warming.”  Now, first off, I want you to understand that I was surprised that something like this existed.  Secondly, I was shocked that they were portraying this as some kind of “scientific” measure of my contribution to global warming.  The debate over what causes global warming is still raging, whether people choose to believe this or not.  So why do these websites exist in the first place?  What is their true purpose, and why do people take them as “intelligent pieces of equipment” capable of giving us a true indicator of what is really going on in the world. Continue reading

Policy vs. Politics: The Unknown Battle in Government

In our ever changing world, the idea of policy and politics tends to have a powerful and often times contentious meaning.  People see politics as a necessary evil in their day to day lives and for the most part completely forget the policy behind the politics.  In some cases, and more than most of us would like to think, we combine the world of politics and policy and blur the lines of what they truly are and represent. Continue reading

Common Sense: Where Have You Gone?

The world today is driven by empirical data, scientific findings, and quantifiable results that are supposed to lead us to a greater understanding of the world around us and point us in a direction that will greatly benefit us.  However, somewhere along the way, scientific findings trumped pragmatic thinking and common sense ideology that ran the world for centuries.  Why are we predisposed to disregard common sense logic?  Can things truly be scientific in their global implementation, especially on issues that have subjective sectors to the issues?  And lastly, why is it that we have this “your way or the highway” mentality when it comes to certain issues?  Continue reading

the politics of fear

there are countless historical examples wherein the governing regime demands cooperation from the people “for their own good”. alex gourevitch addresses the politics of fear in a recent article in n+1, arguing that compliance in the name of the war on terror has now been replaced with compliance based on the war for the environment. he says, “environmentalism is one of the few movements on the left that presents itself in the same totalizing political terms that the war on terror does on the right, and its influence only seems to grow as the war on terror’s influence declines” (n+1).

furthermore,

The global warming argument can be as morally coercive as the infamous ticking time-bomb torture scenario, even if the clock ticks slower. It’s not just that we should unite; we are, as Gore puts it, “forced by circumstance” to act. In the face of real political opportunities, there is always an element of freedom. One chooses between two alternatives, picks a principle, and commits to it. Imagining ecological collapse as an overweening crisis demanding immediate action and collective sacrifice, with emergency decisions overriding citizens’ normal wants and wishes, is not really a politics at all, but the suspension of politics—there is no political choice, no constituencies to balance, nothing to deliberate. There is no free activity, just do or die. It seems we will have traded one state of emergency for another.

We have already seen that political action based on fear has disastrous consequences, “we have seen that security is an unstable foundation for institutions—the separation of powers, constitutionalism, federalism, civil society—that liberals have recently sought to rehabilitate. It is a principle that can only constrain and limit politics, not renew our political imagination. No social change is possible without a great deal of uncertainty, and even the production of insecurity. No truly democratic choice comes with a guarantee of success, and always produces unintended outcomes. Democracy must embrace an experimental attitude toward society” (n+1).

a rebuttal by benjamin kunkel
-an anti-growth opinion by chad harbach

five years

On the five year anniversary of the war in Iraq, President Bush continues to defend America’s presence in the Middle East. Below are excerpts from his Wednesday, March 19 speech – flowery rhetoric that ignores the reality of the situation:

Five years into this battle, there is an understandable debate over whether the war was worth fighting … whether the fight is worth winning … and whether we can win it. The answers are clear to me: Removing Saddam Hussein from power was the right decision – and this is a fight America can and must win…

Over the past five years, we have seen moments of triumph and moments of tragedy. We have watched in admiration as 12 million Iraqis defied the terrorists, went to the polls, and chose their leaders in free elections.

And we have watched in horror as al Qaida beheaded innocent captives, and sent suicide bombers to blow up mosques and markets. These actions show the brutal nature of the enemy in Iraq. And they serve as a grim reminder: The terrorists who murder the innocent in the streets of Baghdad want to murder the innocent in the streets of American cities. Defeating this enemy in Iraq will make it less likely we will face this enemy here at home.

A little over a year ago, the fight in Iraq was faltering. Extremist elements were succeeding in their efforts to plunge Iraq into chaos…

My administration understood that America could not retreat in the face of terror. We knew that if we did not act, the violence that had been consuming Iraq would have worsened, spread, and could eventually have reached genocidal levels.

Baghdad could have disintegrated into a contagion of killing, and Iraq could have descended into full-blown sectarian warfare. So we reviewed our strategy – and changed course in Iraq. We sent reinforcements into the country in a dramatic policy shift that has become known as “the surge.”…

The surge has done more than turn the situation in Iraq around – it has opened the door to a major strategic victory in the broader war on terror. For the terrorists, Iraq was supposed to be the place where al-Qaida rallied Arab masses to drive America out. Instead, Iraq has become the place where Arabs joined with Americans to drive al-Qaida out. In Iraq, we are witnessing the first large-scale Arab uprising against Osama bin Laden, his grim ideology, and his terror network. And the significance of this development cannot be overstated…

The challenge in the period ahead is to consolidate the gains we have made and seal the extremists’ defeat. We have learned through hard experience what happens when we pull our forces back too fast – the terrorists and extremists step in … fill the vacuum … establish safe havens … and use them to spread chaos and carnage. …

The successes we are seeing in Iraq are undeniable – yet some in Washington still call for retreat. War critics can no longer credibly argue that we are losing in Iraq – so now they argue the war costs too much. In recent months we have heard exaggerated estimates of the costs of this war.

No one would argue that this war has not come at a high cost in lives and treasure – but those costs are necessary when we consider the cost of a strategic victory for our enemies in Iraq.

If we were to allow our enemies to prevail in Iraq, the violence that is now declining would accelerate – and Iraq could descend into chaos. Al-Qaida would regain its lost sanctuaries and establish new ones – fomenting violence and terror that could spread beyond Iraq’s borders, with serious consequences to the world economy.

Out of such chaos in Iraq, the terrorist movement could emerge emboldened – with new recruits … new resources … and an even greater determination to dominate the region and harm America. An emboldened al-Qaida with access to Iraq’s oil resources could pursue its ambitions to acquire weapons of mass destruction to attack America and other free nations. Iran could be emboldened as well – with a renewed determination to develop nuclear weapons and impose its brand of hegemony across the broader Middle East.

And our enemies would see an American failure in Iraq as evidence of weakness and lack of resolve. …

In the long run, defeating the terrorists requires an alternative to their murderous ideology. So we are helping the people of Iraq establish a democracy in the heart of the Middle East. A free Iraq will fight terrorists rather than harbour them. And a free Iraq will be an example for others of the power of liberty to transform societies and replace despair with hope. By spreading the hope of liberty in the Middle East, we will help free societies take root – and when they do, freedom will yield the peace we all desire.

Ted Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, offers the following argument for withdrawing from Iraq.  In the article he states, “Staying in Iraq is a fatally flawed policy that has already cost more than 3,000 American lives and consumed more than $350 billion. The security situation in that country grows increasingly chaotic and bloody as evidence mounts that Iraq has descended into a sectarian civil war between Sunnis and Shiites. Approximately 120 Iraqis per day are perishing in political violence. That bloodshed is occurring in a country of barely 26 million people. A comparable rate of carnage in the United States would produce more than 1,400 fatalities per day”.  Read the rest of his article here.