Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Global Warming’

Bob Barr disgraces the Libertarian Party yet again

In Global Warming, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics on July 18, 2008 at 10:11 pm

Bob Barr’s true conversion: Not from hardcore statist to libertarian, but from hardcore statist to even harder-core statist… Now he buys into the global warming hysteria of Al Gore.

I tried giving Barr the benefit of the doubt when the story was first breaking:

Bob Barr praised by Al Gore for ‘serious attention to global climate change’

It must be noted, of course, that Barr’s mere attendance at the event in no way indicates an endorsement of Gore’s views. However, Gore certainly seems to think — erroneously, probably — that it does.

That turned out to be a bad idea:

Al Gore praised by Bob Barr for ‘commitment to addressing climate change’

There obviously is a role for government,” Barr said, deviating substantially from libertarian philosophy for at least the second time this week. Earlier, he said he wanted to give the Federal Reserve more oversight powers to regulate the housing market and “privatize” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by contradictorily increasing government support for and regulation of the publicly traded firms.

“There’s a role for private industry,” Barr continued. “There’s a role for nonprofits and certainly a role for the American people, individually and collectively.”

And then, Anthony Gregory confirmed it:

Bob Barr ‘flip-flopping’ on global warming confirmed

On the Glenn Beck show, in early June, Barr said, “Global warming is a myth. And yet it`s being used by the environmental folks, by the internationalists. A lot of the pressure is coming from the United Nations and other countries. Some of which, like China, of course, are pushing the Kyoto Protocol. Why? Because they`re exempt. It`s going to saddle us. And what is McCain doing? He`s out there buying into this global warming, carbon emission cap and trade.”

Now Barr says, “Former Vice President Al Gore and I have met privately to discuss the issue of global warming, and I was pleased and honored that he invited me to attend the ‘We’ Campaign event. Global warming is a reality as most every organization that has studied the matter has concluded, whether conservative-leaning, liberal oriented or independent.”

This, of course, after Barr had the audacity to say that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — which trade on the New York Stock Exchange and are considered “quasi” private due to the implied backing of their debt by the government and their heavily regulation — should be “privatized” by making that implied backing a reality and increasing regulation further, saying the Federal Reserve should be given more power.

I haven’t heard from my friends who were foolish enough to vote for Barr, even in later balloting. I hope your silence is out of shame because you should be ashamed for making this cretin the LP’s standard-bearer. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t disgrace the party.

George Phillies on Global Warming

In George Phillies, Global Warming, Libertarian on June 6, 2008 at 2:36 pm

The following is posted with the authorization of its author, Dr. George Phillies.

That cesspit of lunacy termed American conservatism continues to kick up claims that there is no global warming. Unfortunately, right wing nonsense is now infiltrating press releases allegedly from our national committee.

Conservative lie #1): Global Warming stopped in 1998. So here is the graph courtesy http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/

There is an averaged trend line (black) and there are year to year fluctuations (year numbers are the red and blue lines). 1998 is the red line sticking way way up, the line that does not match neighboring lines at all.

The trend is overwhelmingly visible, with flatness until around 1920, and then trending up with shorter and long term bounces around the trend.

Of course, if you are an American conservative, you take 1998 as ‘typical’ and say ‘we’re getting colder again’ which is clearly not the case.

Oh, why do we get these bounces from the trend? The air holds heat. The ocean holds about a thousand times more heat. The deep ocean is shielded from the air. Change how the shallow ocean is stirred, and you will change how heat exchanges between ocean and air. This cools air all around the world, or heats air all around the world. The La Nina and El Nino Pacific events are examples of this mixing effect. These events last around a year, are unpredictable in advance, and cause some of the bumps you see in the above graph.

Conservative Lie #2) If you can’t predict weather, you can’t predict climate. To predict my climate, you need to predict that Worcester gets around 4″ of rain a month, more in some months, less in others. To predict weather, you needed to predict that, for this June, 3″ fell on one day, and *which day* the 3″ fall would occur. Obviously getting the day right is harder than getting the month right.

Conservative Lie #3) We can’t measure climate change. I call the reader’s attention to the marvel of modern 18th century science, the thermometer, a device that measures temperature quantitatively. Around the world are vast numbers of people recording and reporting the weather. Earth satellites measure much of the rest of the globe. Careful averages–some areas have fewer measurements than others–eliminate fluctuations, smooth out day to day changes, and give accurate measurements of the temperatures of the whole earth, with precision visible in the above graph.

I could go on, but the short message is that climate change denial is wrong and dangerous, both to our country and our party. Denial is dangerous to our country, because it leads us to take bad decisions as private citizens and entrepreneurs. Denial is dangerous to our party, for the same reason that homophobia is bad for our party: The younger generation will reject us, even as the younger generation is rejecting that sinkhole of bigotry that is American conservatism.

Phillies “Sensible Answers To Tough Questions Part 2: The Environment”

In Environment, George Phillies, Global Warming, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 6, 2008 at 3:29 am

George Phillies for President 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sensible Answers to Tough Questions, part 2: The Environment

Global warming is now widely accepted as a fact within the scientific community. What is not yet accepted is the extent to which the planet will warm and the impact that it will have. What will Libertarians do about this issue?

Ruwart: When our weather reporter’s can’t get tomorrow’s temperature right, it’s difficult to believe that global warming can be predicted, isn’t it? (This sentence should be told lightly, as a joke, to elicit agreement.)

As you mentioned, we really don’t know what the effect of global warming might be. High temperatures and CO2 stimulate crop and other plant growth, so global wamring could actually be good for us. Any action we take has to be based on the facts, and we just don’t have those yet.

In a libertarian society, if a chemical such as CFC caused a problem, victims could sue the manufacturer for damages. The high cost of restitution would be apssed on to CFC consumers, driving up the price. People would turn to cheaper alternatives and CFC production would be automatically curailed.

People could sue before actual harm was done, so long as they could convince a judge or jury that CFCs actually posed a threat.

Phillies: Research on climate and climate change represents an enormous effort by thousands of people. Vast computer facilities exist primarily to study climate change. Billions of dollars are spent to deploy specialized earth satellites and other scientific instruments to study our atmosphere. Polar expeditions set forth, at significant risk to the lives of participants, to examine arctic ice conditions.

What about the question “When our weather reporter’s can’t get tomorrow’s temperature right, it’s difficult to believe that global warming can be predicted, isn’t it?” For almost all academic scientists, the reward of scientific research is almost entirely the personal satisfaction of untangling a scientific puzzle. If there were no hope of predicting climate accurately, wouldn’t real scientists have noticed, and transferred their work elsewhere?

The answer, of course, is that it is actually almost infinitely easier to predict climate than it is to predict the weather. Why? It’s actually very simple. To predict climate, you only need to predict odds accurately, and it’s much easier to predict odds than to predict results. If I roll a quality Las Vegas die, the odds are very exactly one in six that I will roll a “two”. If I roll that die 600 times, I will roll “two” a hundred or so times. If you try to predict whether you will roll a “two” on your very next roll, well, that’s a lot harder, isn’t it? For the same reason, predicting climate is a lot easier than predicting weather.

In dealing with pollution, litigation can make sense if there is a single source that does a lot of damage to specifically identifiable people. If the local power company decides to save money on disposing of clinker ash by dumping ten tons of it on my front lawn, the responsible party is identifiable, the repair costs are identifiable, and the responsible party’s pockets are deep enough to support litigation.

In the global warming case, the responsible parties are everyone mining or using any fossil fuel or any process that vents methane into the air, the persons damaged include almost everyone, and the cost of assessing responsibility is astronomical. You have around the world several billion damaged parties, each with different facts of their cases requiring separate adjudication, against a similar number of differenced defendants. That’s trillions or potential lawsuits. Where do you find the lawyers? Furthermore, for most of the injured parties, money is not the issue. They don’t want money, they want an ozone layer. For this sort of diffuse case, the litigation-restitution approach is completely unworkable.

How do we deal with global pollution? (page 30)

Ruwart: Thankfully, most pollution does more local than international damage, thereby discouraging polluters. For example, governments try to prevent Chernobyl-type accidents because their local population is put at greater risk than the international community. The country that polluted the oceans enough to cause global damage, for example, would destroy its own fishing first. The country that polluted its own air enough to disturb other nations would asphyxiate its own population in the process. Thus, global pollution is a highly unlikely event.

Phillies: While our understanding of atmospheric chemistry and its effects on meteorology has advanced considerably in the last decade, it remains clear that individual countries have created and are creating global atmospheric pollution.

A simple example of global atmospheric pollution is supplied by the chlorofluorocarbons, substances that are nearly inert and harmless on the ground. These safe, harmless materials were once manufactured all around the world. When transported to the stratosphere and brought in contact with stratospheric ice crystals, these substances had a catastrophic effect on the ozone layer near the poles. The effect is only now coming under control, as a result of rigorous planet-wide treaty restrictions on CFC production.

Similarly, there is massive evidence that the current global changes in climate are being driven in considerable part by man-made releases of carbon dioxide and methane. The huge increases in energy consumption in China, India, and Russia lead to matching increases in production of carbon dioxide. Fortunately, there is appreciable evidence that natural law will do what legislative law has not, namely the supplies of oil and coal will be exhausted before atmospheric carbon dioxide reaches levels vastly higher than those now encountered.

In the atmosphere, levels of carbon dioxide and methane are essentially never harmful to local populations. However, rising ocean levels are causing property protection questions along the coast. An increase of a foot or two in sea level is really bad if your home started a foot or two above sea level.

For more information on Phillies and the Environment, please visit www.ChooseGeorge.org.

To support the George Phillies campaign, please visit http://ChooseGeorge.org/donation today.

To arrange an interview or obtain a short quote from the candidate, contact:

Carolyn Marbry, Press Director pressdirector@phillies2008.org
(510) 276-3216
George Phillies for President 2008 http://ChooseGeorge.org

A Conversation With Mike Gravel

In Civil Liberties, Congress, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Democracy, Democrats, Drug War, Global Warming, History, Iraq War, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Medical Marijuana, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Second Amendment, Taxation, US Government on March 28, 2008 at 1:21 am

Mike GravelEarlier today, I had an opportunity to speak by telephone with Senator Mike Gravel, a presidential candidate who has switched from the Democratic Party to the Libertarian Party. Senator Gravel welcomed my questions, and I had a very positive impression of him. He is extremely well spoken, and quite passionate about many of the issues near and dear to the Libertarian Party.

My purpose, of course, was to ascertain why he decided to switch parties, and whether he truly holds Libertarian views as opposed to only conveniently holding libertarian views in order to get the LP nomination. I quickly discovered that his most basic belief, which he has provably held for over 30 years, is thoroughly libertarian: the right of the American people to bypass and even overturn Congress and the President, when those elected officials act in contradiction to the will of the people.

Senator Gravel believes that “the American people are not empowered to do anything, and this is wrong.” He therefore believes Americans should have the ability to directly make laws through federal ballot initiatives. At present, many states allow citizens to present laws directly through initiatives which, if supported widely enough, will be placed on the ballot to potentially become law; an example of this is Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana in California. Senator Gravel believes citizens should be able to do the same thing on the federal level, under his National Initiative For Democracy.

The government is a tool, the people can use it. But if the people have the direct power to use it, then you’re going to see the government as a real tool, not the tool you have when the special interests determine how the tool of government is handled, by the lobbyists, who pay for the campaigns, who manipulate you to vote for them. That’s the process that has to change.

When he says that the government has the duty to release information to the public, so they can make sound decisions, he is not blowing smoke, nor is he promoting something he hasn’t already done himself. During the Vietnam War, Senator Gravel released the Pentagon Papers, reading thousands of pages into the Congressional Record, so that Americans would finally know the truth behind that war; and his defiance, by informing Americans of information which was previously viewed as classified, was a pivotal moment in American history.

Under his National Initiative For Democracy we, as citizens, could end the war, end the federal income tax, or pass a federal law allowing Americans to carry guns openly; we could make any law we want, as long as there is sufficient citizen support for it. Senator Gravel says that “the real power in this country does not lie with the leadership, with Congress or with the President; it lies with you, the American citizen”. This program would in fact become an important part of the checks and balances system, which Senator Gravel believes should have been in force from the beginning, so citizens could more easily keep Congress and the President in check.

Of course, when he was running for President in the Democratic Party, the Democrats weren’t very happy with that idea. I asked the Senator whether they oppose it because it threatens their power, or if they oppose it because they believe the average American is unable to make sound legislative decisions. He immediately replied, “Both.” He went on to explain that “the average person in Congress believes they are more intelligent than the average American, and there are a few in Congress who are very intelligent; but at the same time the average American is smarter than the average Congressman, and perfectly capable of making sound decisions.”

His suspicion of the leading presidential candidates was made clear when he said, “Don’t trust anyone who says they have all the answers. Nobody has all the answers; I don’t have all the answers. But the American public knows what is best for them, and I trust them to make those decisions.”

Talking war with Senator Gravel, for someone my age who lived during Vietnam, is like getting into a time machine, and going back to the last destructive war this country faced, when he forced a filibuster to end the draft, and thus end the Vietnam war. Senator Gravel was a maverick, and he defied Congress again and again.

As you may recall, even before we sent troops to Iraq, he warned the American public that there were no WMDs in Iraq. I asked him why, in his opinion, President Bush lied about the presence of WMDs. “Oil. He wanted to get control of the oil, and it’s all just more American imperialism and the military-industrial complex.” He went a step further, and agreed that Bush and Cheney should not only be impeached, but that they should face trial for war crimes. “Americans must stop thinking we’re above the law,” he stated. He believes that the United States should stop getting involved in foreign conflicts altogether, and “stop being the world’s policeman”.

Senator Gravel is completely against the War on Drugs, which he categorizes as a failure. “We spend 50 to 85 billion dollars a year on a drug war that does no good to anybody other than criminalizing people who shouldn’t be criminals. We have 2.3 million people in jail right now, and half of them shouldn’t even be in jail …. if you want marijuana, why not go to a package store? A fifth of gin will do more damage to you, to your health, than will a pack of marijuana. As for the rest of the drugs, why not legalize them and regulate them? We put addicts in jail when they aren’t criminals, but there they learn to be better criminals, to steal and commit crime to feed their habit. It’s a public health problem, and we need to solve it as a public health problem, and save all this money we’re spending to keep people in jail for drugs, $30,000 a year for each of them.”

He is therefore in support of decriminalizing and regulating all drugs. “If you need to get some coke, go to a doctor and get a prescription. If you’re an addict, you’ll have to register so we can help you. But the way we do it now, we catch you with drugs, we throw you in jail, and you don’t get any help.”

With regard to whether legalizing all drugs would increase addiction, he states, “That’s what they told us about alcohol, during Prohibition. Alcohol is more addictive than marijuana. Should you go to jail for having marijuana, when you don’t go to jail for having whiskey and alcohol? It’s a stupid policy, it’s gutless, and it’s damaging our inner cities. Seventy percent of the people in jail are African-Americans, and most of it is for drugs. It’s gutless on the part of our leaders to not solve this, to not treat it as a public health problem rather than a criminal problem ….. For those who say we have a drug problem, yeah, we have a problem, and it’s with stupidity at the highest levels of our government.”

As for those in prison for drug offenses, he would educate nonviolent drug offenders – whether it’s a college degree or technical training – then grant them a full pardon so they can not only be released from prison, but also have the tools they need to immediately become fully productive members of society.

He is for Second Amendment rights, saying “I have a weapon, and I’ll fight to keep it.” Insofar as how openly Americans should be able to carry weapons, he referred me back to the federal ballot initiative, saying that the American people should decide that issue.

When I asked him about reducing the size of government as well as its spending, he agreed that it has gotten completely out of hand, and that severe cutbacks should be made. The first steps would be dismantling the IRS (which would no longer be needed with his national sales tax program), and the “War On Drugs” arm of the DEA (since all drugs would be legalized). He also believes that “if we empower the people to make laws, they will shrink the government.”

I could actually hear the thrill in his voice when one question pointed out that libertarians are, by and large, for open borders. He believes that we have so many illegal immigrants here because our own laws caused them to not have work available in their own country; he states that 1.3 million farming jobs were lost in Mexico when NAFTA was passed. For that reason, he believes repealing NAFTA would cure most of the illegal immigration, as more jobs are created in their home countries. As for those who are already here and don’t want to leave, he wants to simply “put them on the path to citizenship.” He believes that we should create completely open borders, similar to what is in place in Europe, whereby citizens could cross into or from Canada or Mexico, with no questions asked.

It is undeniable that the federal government is deeply in debt, and must raise revenue. Senator Gravel, however, is opposed to the income tax, since it over-taxes the poor and middle-class, and grossly undertaxes the wealthy. He therefore proposes dismantling the IRS altogether. He would replace the income tax with a 23% sales tax, and give a rebate each month to every American family to pay for necessities. Senator Gravel believes that this would allow the poor and middle class, who spend mostly on necessities such as food and housing, to have far more disposable income. He believes this program will create the same amount of federal revenue, but in a manner which is far more fair to the poor and working class.

“I don’t know whether it’s a step to end taxation, but at this point it is a good way to fund needed revenue. Right now we tax income and investments, and investment income is taxed at a lower rate than income. We don’t tax the wealthy, and that’s what’s wrong with our system.” He again reiterated that the American people could make the final decision regarding whether federal taxation should eventually end, through his ballot initiative program.

Senator Gravel believes that Social Security funds should be left alone, rather than used by the government for other purposes as is now the norm. At this point, most Americans have already paid into Social Security. He wants everyone’s Social Security funds invested in the free market, and he wants everyone to get an accounting of their money and interest earned, just as if they had invested it with a bank; and if they die before spending what they have invested and earned, he believes that the surplus in their Social Security account should go to their heirs.

As for private investments, he believes his sales tax program with refunds for necessities will give the average American the additional funds needed to save in an IRA or other investment vehicle, as additional retirement savings to supplement what they have already put into Social Security.

He is aware that many libertarians are against Universal Health Care, but believes his plan will meet libertarian standards. He came up with the idea of a Healthcare Security System 30 years ago. Senator Gravel pointed out that he knows the healthcare system “up front and personal”. One year, he ended up with over $150,000 in healthcare costs, and went bankrupt as a result.

He believes the Democratic health care plan, wherein businesses are forced to provide health insurance for their employees, is “the wrong way to go, because it is not the responsibility of businesses to provide healthcare; their job is to be competitive in the global marketplace.” So instead, he wants to enact a Universal Single Payor Voucher plan, similar to the plan which the Veterans Administration has in place. Every American would be given a health care voucher. The vouchers would have a very modest co-pay, and a very modest deductible. Americans would have their choice of hospitals, their choice of doctors, and a choice of five or six plans. There would be no exclusions for preexisting conditions.

He doesn’t think we need to raise taxes in order to provide health care for all Americans; we just need to make our healthcare system considerably more efficient than it is at present. He believes that if we computerize healthcare records, it will streamline the system, because he says 30% of healthcare cost is in paperwork. He intends to provide every American with basic healthcare services, and if they want more or different coverage, they can choose to buy additional or supplemental plans in the free market.

He is aware of Ron Paul’s belief that the Federal Reserve is responsible for the inflationary effects which are harmful to poor and middle-class Americans. Senator Gravel wants to reexamine the Federal Reserve, and study the gold standard with an eye toward a global monetary system, which will better protect the value of our money in a global marketplace.

Senator Gravel was pivotal in shepherding the Alaska Pipeline though Congress, but at this point he would oppose any effort to drill for oil in the Alaskan Wildlife Preserve. He states that instead, he wants us to end our dependence upon oil within five years. His goal would be to replace oil with alternative energy sources.

I asked Senator Gravel if there was any one moment – a light bulb moment, if you will – in which he realized that he was a libertarian. He stated, “Not really. It’s an awareness that goes back 30, 40 years, that the best way to to change things was from inside, within the power structure. Now, it’s time for a change. I am joining the Libertarian Party to become its presidential nominee. I can take the Libertarian Party to a level they’ve never been before. I am against war, I am against taxing income, I am against the war on drugs. I am for smaller government, open borders, and the ability of the American people to self-govern. I am a libertarian. I scored seven out of seven on Reason’s “Seven Ways To Win Votes” – I am for internet gambling, for medical marijuana (but I go much further than that, by decriminalizing all drugs) …. so I’m more libertarian than Ron Paul, because he scored lower. And I will work very hard as the Libertarian Party’s candidate, I will get the libertarians the national playing field they need to grow. And not just libertarians, either. I will raise the playing field for all third parties.”

All in all, Senator Gravel impressed me as sincere, intelligent, and passionate about libertarian issues. I did not at all get the impression that he is a pseudo-libertarian; I think he’s the real deal, because his actions even decades ago indicated that he is a libertarian. He left the Democratic Party because he realized that they are not receptive to his ballot initiative plan, and are not in agreement with his healthcare plan, his opposition to the War on Drugs, and many other issues. He has the presence, he has the speaking ability and dynamic personality, and he has the name recognition and contacts to place us on a more even playing field.

The Democrats’ loss may very well be our gain.

Senator Gravel suggested that those interested in more information about his views read his book “Citizen Power: A Mandate For Change”, which can be ordered online here. It is also available on Amazon.com, but their new book price is actually several dollars higher than the price on his website. Amazon’s description of the book is as follows.

As author of Citizen Power in 1971, Senator Mike Gravel determined that much of what he wrote then is apropos in America today; hence, the release of Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change that reflects the accuracy of his evaluation of problems then, his current position on a number of issues facing America now, and the process that Americans can undertake to become empowered as lawmakers in partnership with their elected officials. Most chapters of Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change present material from the original book, as well as new information and revised positions. The exceptions are Chapter 2: The National Initiative, and Chapter 7: The War on Drugs. All other chapters cover similar topics in both books, but with the senator’s fresh insights for today’s world. Each chapter ends with how the National Initiative, once enacted, could help solve the problems presented in that chapter. The Table of Contents is as follows: Chapter 1 – Now It’s the Citizen’s Turn Chapter 2 – The National Initiative Chapter 3 – America’s Failure in Education Chapter 4 – Tax Reform – The Fair Tax Chapter 5 – The Health Security System Chapter 6 – National Environmental & Energy Policy Chapter 7 – The War on Drugs Chapter 8 – Crime & Punishment Chapter 9 – The Shroud of Secrecy Chapter 10 – American Imperialism Chapter 11 – Global Governance Chapter 12 – Who Stole the American Dream?

All three customer reviews give the book five stars. There is a “look inside the book” feature, and based on that material and given that it was originally written in 1971, then updated recently, I don’t think there is any real question whether Senator Gravel is a libertarian. Based upon his statements in that book, it appears that he was a libertarian even before there was a Libertarian Party.

Here are the reviews:

It’s all about lawmaking!,

February 25, 2008
By Goodrich (Dearborn, MI USA) – See all my reviews

Those who still want Mike Gravel’s original Citizen Power, but can’t afford to pay over $200 for the few rare copies that are available, will be pleased with the new Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change. In some chapters, Senator Gravel has incorporated substantial excerpts from his original book and then updated his thoughts on each issue, often admitting that his position on a certain issue in the 1970s was naive and that he now views that issue with a mature mind. This is a refreshingly candid look at a presidential candidate’s positions on key issues facing the American people today. Most importantly, however, is Chapter 2 and supplemental appendices about the National Initiative, which Senator Gravel and some of the nation’s top constitutional scholars crafted to empower citizens as lawmakers; after all, lawmaking is the cornerstone of democracy. All subsequent chapters address how the National Initiative for Democracy (NI4D)would work to alleviate problems, such as healthcare and education.

From ending the war on drugs to restructuring the UN,

March 8, 2008

Senator Gravel has produced an engaging book! He presents complex and difficult issues facing the US and the world in understandable prose and proposes solutions that call for transformational change. In response to a legislative process controlled by corporations and special interests Gravel proposes the National Initiative on Democracy that would empower the people to legislate through direct democracy in national referendums on issues. In response to ineffective global governance Gravel calls for a restructuring of the UN including an end to veto powers for the permanent members of the Security Council. I was delighted to see his position on American exceptionalism. Granted that we are #1 in the world in the numbers of people in our prisons, on many key measures such as education, healthcare we are far from being the best in the world. I was most pleased by the optimism of Mike Gravel’s vision for the future of America in the world. He sees solutions to problems such as global warming, energy, and national security through greater cooperation with other countries. The beginning of his space policy statement on page 59 is particularly encouraging: “SPACE REPRESENTS A LIMITLESS FRONTIER for humankind. Laws modeled on the Law of the Sea need to be agreed upon to make energy, natural resources, and knowledge available in a manner that fosters greater cooperation, rather than greater competition, among all nations. In keeping with this spirit, space must not be militarized.”

Gravel’s Populist Manifesto,

March 19, 2008
By D. Douglas (California) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

An eloquent and lucid political manifesto by an increasingly refreshing, honest and prudent politician.
Citizen Power showcases a myriad of power-to-the-people proposals, and sways from your politics as usual demagoguery, while Gravel’s prose is filled with solemnity and earnestness, contrary to his political opponents.
The book’s motif is the National Initiative for Democracy, a populist program that will enable ordinary citizens to become legislatures, moreover eliminating large bureaucracies and big government lapdogs.
An emphasis is brought upon the military-industrial complex and its draconian, unproductive results. Suggesting the ultimate disintegration of the latter, if not grave consequences will ensue
Gravel’s proposals on education is most interesting, and offer an ingenious subsidiary, if utilized in orthodoxy, to our failing educational system.
The War on Drugs chapter was dismaying at least, and produced a sharp contempt for the activities our government continues to perpetuate.

I have probably forgotten important topics of this book, and my review is ultimately asymmetrical and lackluster. I can only recommend this fine book, so you can make your own judgments and discoveries.

Senator Gravel was kind enough to state that, if any of our readers have additional questions, I can phone him again to get those answers. Therefore, if you have any questions which aren’t answered here, post them and in about a week I will give him another call to get your answers for you.

Gravel announces Libertarian presidential run

In Congress, Global Warming, Guantanamo, Health, Iran, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Science, Taxation, Torture, US Government, Veterans, War on March 26, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Mike Gravel

A Personal Message from Mike

I wanted to update you on my latest plans before news gets out. Today, I am announcing my plan to join the Libertarian Party, because the Democratic Party no longer represents my vision for our great country. I wanted my supporters to get this news first, because you have been the ones who have kept my campaign alive since I first declared my candidacy on April 17, 2006.

The fact is, the Democratic Party today is no longer the party of FDR. It is a party that continues to sustain war, the military-industrial complex and imperialism — all of which I find anathema to my views.

By and large, I have been repeatedly marginalized in both national debates and in media exposure by the Democratic leadership, which works in tandem with the corporate interests that control what we read and hear in the media.

I look forward to advancing my presidential candidacy within the Libertarian Party, which is considerably closer to my values, my foreign policy views and my domestic views.

Please take a moment to make your most generous donation to my presidential campaign today. $10, $20, $50 — whatever you feel you can afford.

I want to thank you all for your continued support.

_______________________________

So, what are Gravel’s views on the issues? Here are some issue statements from his website:

The War in Iraq Senator Gravel’s position on Iraq remains clear and consistent: to commence an immediate and orderly withdrawal of all U.S. troops that will have them home within 120 days. The sooner U.S. troops are withdrawn, the sooner we can pursue aggressive diplomacy to bring an end to the civil war that currently consumes Iraq. Senator Gravel seeks to work with neighboring countries to lead a collective effort to bring peace to Iraq.

One of the leading opponents of the Vietnam War, Senator Gravel was one of the first current or former elected officials to publicly oppose the planned invasion of Iraq in 2002. He appeared on MSNBC prior to the invasion insisting that intelligence showed that there were indeed no weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq posed no threat to the United States and that invading Iraq was against America’s national interests and would result in a disaster of epic proportions for both the United States and the Iraqi people.

Today, more than four years into the invasion, the death toll of U.S. troops has climbed over 3,300 with over 50,000 more permanently maimed, some having lost limbs, others their sight. Tens of thousands more are afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and urgently need psychological care. The Iraqi civilian death toll nears three-quarters of a million, and still there remains no end in sight to the bloodshed.

As President, Senator Gravel will call for a U.S. corporate withdrawal from Iraq and hand over reconstruction contracts to Iraqi businesses which will empower Iraqi nationals to reconstruct their own country.

The National Initiative for Democracy Mike fully supports the National Initiative for Democracy. The NI4D is a way to bring legislative power back to the people. In many states, citizens can put measures on the ballot and Mike believes as citizens of the United States we should all have that power.

Iran and Syria Senator Gravel opposes a military confrontation with Iran and Syria and advocates a diplomatic solution to the current situation.

Global Warming/Climate Change Senator Gravel believes that global climate change is a matter of national security and survivability of the plant. As President, he will act swiftly to reduce America’s carbon footprint in the world by initiating legislation to tax carbon at the source and cap carbon emissions. he is also committed to leading the fight against global deforestation, which today is second only to the energy sector as a source of greenhouse gases. However, any legislation will have little impact on the global environment if we do not work together with other global polluters. China, India, and under-developed nations all work together fighting climate change can only be effective if it is a collective global effort. As President, Senator Gravel will see that the U.S. launches and leads a massive global scientific effort, integrating the world’s scientific and engineering community, to end energy dependence on oil and integrate the world scientific community in this task.

Progressive Taxes – A fair Tax Senator Gravel’s Progressive Fair Tax proposal calls for eliminating the IRS and the income tax and replacing it with a national sales tax on new products and services. To compensate for the tax on necessities, such as food, lodging, transportation and clothing, there would be a “rebate” to reimburse taxpayers. This would be paid in a monthly check from the government to all citizens. The focus on taxing new goods would also help tackle the global climate change problem.

Healthcare Senator Gravel advocates a universal healthcare system that provides equal medical services to all citizens, paid for by a retail sales tax (a portion of the Progressive Fair tax). Citizens would pay nothing for health benefits.

Reproductive Rights Senator Mike Gravel supports a woman’s right to decide if and when to have children. He also supports a woman’s right to make the difficult decision about abortion without interference by government authorities. Comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education, including accurate information about contraception, can always be provided in order to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions. Parity in health insurance and access to specialized family health care services, including family planning education, would also benefit the health and welfare of infants and children, who need and deserve to be wanted and loved.

Immigration Senator Gravel favors protecting our borders and monitoring the flow of immigrants into our country. He also favors a guest worker program and setting up naturalization procedures that would fairly bring immigrants into legal status. America must address the root cause of illegal immigration. Any discussion of immigration must include NAFTA and the concept of “free trade.” The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a disaster for the working class of both the U.S. and Mexico and a boon to the international corporate interests. A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that over 1 million U.S. jobs were lost as a result of NAFTA, a third of them manufacturing jobs. In Mexico, 1.3 million farm workers lost their jobs in the same period. This has led to a wave of immigrants looking for work in the U.S. Reforming unfair trade policies spawned by measures like NAFTA will stimulate job growth on both sides of the border.

LGBT Rights Senator Gravel supports same-sex marriage and opposes the Defense of Marriage Act. He supports expanding hate-crime legislation and opposes laws that allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or one’s gender identity or expression. Senator Gravel strongly opposes the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” legislation on the grounds that it is unconstitutional, as it restricts the rights of gay Americans. He opposes any state or national constitutional amendment that restricts the rights of the gay community.

Social Security Senator Gravel wants to put real money, rather than borrowed money, in the Social Security Trust Fund. He advocates investing it properly and identifying the interests of individual beneficiaries so they can know what their retirement fund is and leave surplus funds to heirs.

Education Access to public education is a bedrock American value. Why is it then that the United States ranks 49th in literacy and that an estimated 30% of our students don’t graduate from high school? Investing in education provides a pathway to a thriving national economy, to individual and family economic opportunity, and to the reduction of poverty. A successful education system requires the commitment of families, the community, and government. It’s time to re-order our national budget priorities in order to improve the American education system. Parent education and access to preschool programs such as Head Start need to be expanded so that children from low income families are equally ready to benefit from elementary school. Universal pre-kindergarten would also enhance readiness. Encouraging our students to be the best they can be will require flexibility from the federal and state governments, within school systems, and from groups with a stake in educational success. Flexibility may mean extended school days and summer learning opportunities or extended school years. It may mean online and broadcast courses to provide access to highly qualified teachers. It may mean charter schools to address the needs of local communities, smaller classes, enrichment programs for students at risk, and vocational options. One thing we know for sure: No Child Left Behind has left too many children behind. It needs to be reformed and adequately funded. It needs to acknowledge the need for a fuller curriculum that encourages critical thinking-not just math and science test-taking. A high school diploma should be the minimum goal for all students; without it, our children will be condemned to a substandard economic existence.

Veteran’s Affairs As President, Senator Gravel would ensure that veterans receive full funding for their most important needs, including healthcare that is indexed to the increasing cost of care and medicine. He would make sure that all soldiers receive a full medical diagnosis to assess what their individual needs would be. He would also make sure that the VA system is fully financed and has sufficient well-trained personnel to provide the finest care that is available. As the Senator says, “We can do no less and we will do much more.” Mike Gravel is the only military veteran in the democratic race.

The War on Drugs The War on Drugs has been a failure. It is time to end prohibition and start treating addiction as a public health problem. This has ravaged our inner cities, and we are losing an entire generation of men and women to prisons. We must regulate hard drugs for the purpose of treating addicts, which would emphasize rehabilitation and prevention over incarceration. We must decriminalize minor drug offenses and increase the availability and visibility of substance abuse treatment in our communities as well as in jails and prisons. The United States incarcerates more people and at a higher rate than any other industrialized nation in the world. Some 2.3 million Americans are now behind bars. This tragedy must end.

Net Neutrality Net Neutrality aims to keep the Internet free from large companies, which are trying to limit the number of web sites their customers can view and the speed at which they can view them. Senator Gravel guarantees a free and open Internet with unlimited access to all sites. He will do this by supporting legislation and regulation that keeps you in control of your Internet usage and promotes free speech.

Human Rights Senator Gravel is adamantly opposed to torture, indefinite detention, and the deprivation of lawyers/speedy trials. He opposes the Military Commissions Act, flagrant ignorance of the Geneva convention, and Guantanamo.

The real ‘green’ candidate for president: Dr. Ron Paul

In Environment, Global Warming on October 27, 2007 at 9:23 am

What we call “environmentalists” aren’t environmentalists at all. They are communists. They hate private property and want to effectively abolish it so that all lands may be collectively governed according to “green” principles.

The real environmentalists are libertarians, and this in-depth interview on the environment with Ron Paul proves it. The interviewer, Amanda Griscom Little, did a great job in asking questions that allowed Dr. Paul to articulate free-market environmentalist principles. Here are some highlights.

On energy policy:

I would say that the reliance on the government to devise a policy is a fallacy. I would advocate that the free market take care of that. The government shouldn’t be directing research and development because they are bound and determined to always misdirect money to political cronies. The government ends up subsidizing things like the corn industry to develop ethanol and it turns out that it’s not economically feasible. So, my answer to energy is to let the market work. Let supply and demand make the decision. Let prices make the decision.

On environmental protection:

Governments don’t have a good reputation for doing a good job protecting the environment. If you look at the extreme of socialism or communism, they were very poor environmentalists. Private property owners have a much better record of taking care of the environment. If you look at the common ownership of the lands in the West, they’re much more poorly treated than those that are privately owned. In a free-market system, nobody is permitted to pollute their neighbor’s private property — water, air, or land. It is very strict.

On abolishing the EPA:

Environmental protection in the U.S. should function according to the same premise as “prior restraint” in a newspaper. Newspapers can’t print anything that’s a lie. There has to be recourse. But you don’t invite the government in to review every single thing that the print media does with the assumption they might do something wrong. The EPA assumes you might do something wrong; it’s a bureaucratic, intrusive approach and it favors those who have political connections.

On the threat posed by global warming:

I think war and financial crises and big governments marching into our homes and elimination of habeas corpus — those are immediate threats. We’re about to lose our whole country and whole republic! If we can be declared an enemy combatant and put away without a trial, then that’s going to affect a lot of us a lot sooner than the temperature going up.

There’s much more, but I don’t want to quote the entire interview. The interviewer comes from a more typical leftist “environmentalist” perspective, and she is clearly taken aback by Ron Paul’s answers. But she can’t help but offer him at least some faint praise for his free-market ideas — which were clearly foreign to her. Read the entire interview.

Mike Jingozian: Libertarian/Green Fusion Presidential Candidate

In Global Warming, Green Party, Libertarian Party-US, Mike Jingozian on July 18, 2007 at 6:03 pm

What follows is an excerpt from Jingozian’s extensive website.

Mike JingozianObservations on the Campaign Trail – Libertarians can be Environmentalists Too

The very first Libertarian event at which I spoke was at the Oregon State Convention in early March 2007. I spoke about the six areas of sustainability. Following my speech, a group of people formed around me, and through the crowd, a man approached. When he made his way to the front, I noticed that veins were pulsating in his forehead. He pointed right at me and said, “YOU SOUND LIKE A GREEN!”

I believe global warming is occurring. I know that this opinion is out of favor with some Libertarians. During the candidates’ forum at the Libertarian Party California Convention, held in April 2007, I was the only candidate (out of five) who publicly recognized that global warming exists. (Although to his defense, Steve Kubby did acknowledge that “something is going on with the environment.”)

However, far more Libertarians are concerned with Environmental Sustainability than those who are not. In fact, between 77 and 83% of Americans believe global warming poses a serious problem. The majority of Libertarians are no different. Certainly, there are some who question the data. If that is how you feel, so be it – we don’t harbor any hard feelings. We still live in a free country (that is, unless that Bush Administration gets its way).

Nevertheless, we find that most Libertarians embrace our principles. Regularly, I am approached at events, receive emails and phone calls from Libertarians who support our message. Even many “Purists” like our message as it reminds them of Harry Browns’ position on compromising to achieve political ends. These comments may not be from the more vocal segment of the party, but they are, nevertheless, the majority.

However – and I say this with the utmost respect and sincerity – I will not represent a party where the majority does not believe that global warming exists or who are not willing to compromise on this issue for the greater good.

Building the Libertarian and Green Parties Together

If we have any chance to even start addressing these issues, then we must destroy the 2-parties as quickly as possible. Viable solutions to solve these problems exist today. But, frightfully, these solutions will not be viable for much longer and these problems are growing in money and getting worse.

As a people, we must support only Independent and 3rd party candidates. We must band together during this next election and say: “Enough is enough!” We must elect an Independent Congress and an Independent President and we must do it in 2008! The two political parties that I support are the Libertarians and the Greens.

I am attracted to the Libertarians for its positions on personal accountability, small government, and maintaining and even bolstering freedom and democracy.

I am attracted to the Greens for its concern for the environment and our health and well-being.

The Libertarians and Greens are not in competition; rather, they complement each other in many areas.

Sharing Common Goals… What the 3rd parties have in Common

Each election brings forth Independent and 3rd party candidates. Many of these candidates promote their own agendas or those of their respective parties. The chart depicts our view on the areas of interest among the four major 3rd parties and Independent candidates.

As shown, the Libertarian Party generally addresses issues regarding the Economy, International Diplomacy, and Democracy & Freedom while the Green Party tends to focus more on Environmental, Health & Well-being, and Societal issues. The Reform Party, Working Families Party, and Independents vary in their focuses.

We admit this is a major simplification of the policy issues important to each party. Furthermore, we are not suggesting that Libertarians are not concerned with well-being or that the Green Party is not concerned with economic issues. The chart merely shows how the major 3rd parties relate to the six areas of Sustainability. Read the rest of this entry »

Energy Vortex II

In Civil Liberties, Economics, Environment, Global Warming, Health, History, Iran, Iraq War, Media, Middle East, Military, Police State, Terrorism, War on June 16, 2007 at 8:26 am

A while back I wrote about the Energy Vortex and others have commented on the same issue.

The most cited instance of this is the War in Iraq (and possibly Afghanistan; it may have had a lot to do with the proposed oil pipeline through Afghanistan).

This view of

Operation
Iraqi
Liberation

has worked its way into popular culture:

Many have denied the connection, but the new Iraqi Oil Law
makes it harder to give any credibility to such denials.

Nor is the regime’s energy fascism solely confined to grand projects abroad; sometimes, it can also be quite petty and domestic.
Francois Tremblay
reports:

Despite his good intentions, the state fined Teixeira $1,000 for not paying motor fuel taxes. North Carolina officials also told him that to legally use veggie oil here he’d have to first post a $2,500 bond.

Such penalties have also been levied against other North Carolina drivers whose vehicles were powered by alternative fuels.

It’s enough to make you do a Katrina Clap…

Faulty Logic

In Global Warming on June 14, 2007 at 8:32 pm

This guy thinks he has impenetrable logic saying that “we” should do something about global warming: To be fair, if you follow the same assumptions he does, he’s correct. However, one of his implicit assumptions is that the government program(s) to stop global warming will succeed. Firstly, if anybody can name me a government program that was an unqualified success, I’ll give them a virtual cookie.

So what’s the most likely scenario if government “does something about global warming”? Well, let’s go with the assumption that global warming is real and anthropogenic. Governments put programs into place to stop CO2 emissions. Even giving them the very unlikely benefit of the doubt that the programs would work as written, sleazeball politicians would without a doubt let some of their big corporate friends through. Shady countries like China would claim compliance but let their projects continue with no care to CO2 emissions in the areas of the country where nobody else can go. So, you’d have a huge amount of resources devoted to stopping something that happens anyways, and those resources aren’t available for the market to adapt.

If you seriously think government is capable of doing something about climate change, look at the Kyoto Treaty. It’s based on economic assumptions that are not necessarily true – that certain countries need fossil fuel energy to develop, that other countries can stay developed without using fossil fuels, population estimates that could be wildly variant from what actually happens, etc.

Worst, even if the Kyoto Treaty were signed onto and fully followed by all the world’s nations (unlikely, since secretive countries like China would probably try to cheat on it), it won’t prevent all climate change. Assuming the greenhouse theory is right (which I believe it to be), we’ve already changed the atmosphere significantly – a great deal of warming is already committed to.

Positive feedback from this unstoppable warming is likely to happen, too – Siberia’s rapidly melting permafrost, for example, holds a huge about of carbon that is already going into the atmosphere, exacerbating what we’ve already done. Greenland’s ice sheet is melting, potentially unstoppably, raising sea levels and decreasing the amount of reflective ice preventing energy absorption by the earth.

This is stuff we can’t do anything about. Climate change is going to happen no matter what. The best solution for humanity is to get government out of the way and let the market do what it does best and what government does worst – adapt, because things are going to be changing soon.

Destroying the Environment for “Renewable” Fuels

In Corruption, Economics, Environment, Global Warming on March 31, 2007 at 12:26 pm

It’s a good time to be a corn lobbyist. The largest acreage of corn since 1944 is to be planted this year, with a record harvest predicted if weather is even slightly cooperative. Here’s what the Washington Post tells you:

Corn prices have doubled since last fall due to explosive growth of the ethanol industry, driving up costs for cattle, dairy, hog and poultry producers.

“Explosive growth of the ethanol industry” translates to higher ethanol content in gasoline, thanks to government, high tariffs on Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, thanks to government, and massive subsidies for ethanol production, thanks to government. This government support for corn ethanol isn’t around because your representatives just care so much about CO2 emissions. In fact, corn ethanol does very little for net CO2 emissions. But it’s awesome for Midwestern special interests. Sugarcane ethanol is far easier to produce, and thus far more environmentally friendly, but since there’s nowhere in the US that is suitable for growing sugarcane (except, with huge government subsidies, the Everglades – government helping out the environment again), it must be imported from countries like Brazil. This might be a good idea, but the corn lobby and their pet politicians won’t hear of it, so ridiculous tariffs on ethanol have been imposed.

The larger acreage of corn being planted means that corn is being grown on land less well-suited for corn farming, which means that farmers will use more chemicals on their land to get a yield. These chemicals don’t all stay on their land, however. Some will end up in runoff, which means they’ll get into streams and rivers. There, pesticides and herbicides kill things, and fertilizers cause runaway growth of algae. When the algae dies, its decomposition uses up all the oxygen in the water. Then all the animals not killed by pesticides and herbicides die. Bam, dead stream/river/lake. As government continues to tweak the market, encouraging naturally uneconomical uses of land, the environment will continue to suffer – all in the name, supposedly, of renewable energy.

Wake Up and Smell the Hysteria

In Environment, Global Warming, Science, Socialism on March 11, 2007 at 5:20 pm

I preface this by saying that I consider myself an environmentalist. I see crap in streams, smell what comes out the end of cars, and it annoys me. I also believe the free market to be the best solution to this. Then I see the crap spewing out of the faces of those who latch onto anything they can to justify their hate for development, growth, and freedom. This documentary is interesting and probably different from anything you’ve seen before on the subject, especially if you’re an anthropogenic global warming fence-sitter like me.