Monthly Archives: January 2011

Energy Usage Per GDP Unit Declines Everywhere (via No Money No Worries)

Great chart showing improving energy efficiency around the world.

Energy Usage Per GDP Unit Declines Everywhere Recent data from BP (reprinted in the Economist) highlights the fact that energy usage required to produce one unit of GDP has declined for nearly a century in the US and has gone down almost everywhere else for the last twenty years. Note:  1 tonne = 7.33 barrels (click to enlarge) Even China has made great strides in reducing energy consumption per unit in recent years.  The spikes there correspond to the two periods of the greatest Maoist luna … Read More

via No Money No Worries

Prisons Vs. Schools (via Compromised Conservative)

This is an insightful analysis of the cost of prisons versus the cost of schools. In sum, prison expenditures are a very small component of the nation’s GDP.

I stumbled across this piece at News Junkie that makes an impassioned argument that the U. S. is too concerned with keeping prisons fat with slave labor to spend any money on the education of America’s youth.  I’m highlighting the piece primarily to talk about the ways that we can draw false conclusions by relying solely on logic rather than real analysis. The prison system bothers me.  I agree with Liam Fox that we have too many prisoners, and t … Read More

via Compromised Conservative

Ballot propositions: The voice of the people or the tyranny of the majority?

When I moved to Phoenix in 1986, the sales tax was 6.7%. Today it stands at 9.3%. How have we let our state legislature, county, and city councils raise our taxes so? Well, actually, they didn’t. We did! Correct me if I’m wrong, but every sales tax increase in Arizona, Maricopa County, and Phoenix, except the recent food tax, has been approved by us at the ballot box.

That’s democracy for you. Aristotle, Polybius, and the Founding Fathers all warned about the evils of democracy. Tocqueville called it the tyranny of the majority. In our case, the majority votes to raise taxes, collected mostly from the rich, to distribute as gifts among themselves.

But hey! We are doing it for the kids. We are doing it because we need more cops and firefighters to protect us. Spending ever-increasing amounts of money on schools, most of which goes to bureaucrats, is not “spending” but an “investment.” An investment in the future.

Just about every year we have tax increases on the ballot. Some fail, but some pass. The result is steadily rising taxes. But when we voted to raise taxes for more police and fire, Phoenix announced cutbacks just a few months later. Taxes rose while the number of police and fire remained largely unchanged. It was all a big shell game. A trick to raise our taxes.

So why do we fall for it time after time? More than 2000 years ago, Polybius wrote that the people become “accustomed to feed at the expense of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of others.” We just can’t help ourselves. If we didn’t receive our free schools for the kids, our free police and fire services, our cheap public transportation, our welfare, our unemployment, and our food stamps, we’d all suffer the consequences.

Most of you may find this a shock, but I hate democracy. I hate referendum and initiative. Politicians use it to skirt responsibility, saying that they weren’t the ones who raised taxes. Public unions use it to push for bigger government.

Our Founders knew the evils of democracy. Democracy had its place in American cities of the 1700s, at a very small local level, but the Founders knew that it could not work for large numbers of people. It only worked in small communities where just about everybody knew everybody else. The largest American city back then had just 100,000 people or so. Phoenix with well over a million people, Maricopa County with three million people or so, and Arizona with six million or more are just too large for democracy. That’s why the Founders made the US a republic. Except possibly for small communities, all our governments should be republics.

Democracy is based on majority rule. Republics are based on rule of law. I prefer the protection of stable and well-known laws than the whims of the public. The public’s job is not to vote for higher taxes or more “free gifts” either. As Jefferson said, the people are the “ultimate, guardians of their own liberty.” That is our job. To protect our liberty. Protect our liberty from foreign invasion. Protect it from our government. Protect it from each other.

So what is the true purpose of ballot propositions? Are they to defend our liberty? Sure doesn’t seem that way. Or are they designed to trick us and grow government? Based on our history, it sure seems that way.

NASA’s James Hansen attacks democracy, supports totalitarianism

The Washington times reports that NASA’s laboratory head James Hansen is:

Citing the Chinese government as the “best hope” to save the world from global warming. He also wants an economic boycott of the U.S. sufficient to bend us to China’s will.

“I have the impression that Chinese leadership takes a long view, perhaps because of the long history of their culture, in contrast to the West with its short election cycles. At the same time, China has the capacity to implement policy decisions rapidly. The leaders seem to seek the best technical information and do not brand as a hoax that which is inconvenient.”

“After agreement with other nations, e.g., the European Union, China and these nations could impose rising internal carbon fees. Existing rules of the World Trade Organization would allow collection of a rising border duty on products from all nations that do not have an equivalent internal carbon fee or tax.”

“The United States then would be forced to make a choice. It could either address its fossil-fuel addiction … or … accept continual descent into second-rate and third-rate economic well-being.”

Does Mr. Hansen really believe Chinese totalitarianism is better than American democracy? Does he really support an economic boycott of his own country? And what is the source of his ideology? Does he really favor these positions because it would help the environment? Or is he just interested in political power?

I’m not sure which is worse: 1) a demagogue using the environment to control the country or 2) an ideologue who is willing to adopt a political system responsible for death and destruction to save the environment.

I must thank James Hansen for his comments. He is showing the world what the “experts” in global warming really want: to control us.

“Targeting” Walmart

As seen on Instapundit:

THE “NEW CIVILITY:” A CYNICAL LIE? D.C. Anti-Walmart Protesters March on Developer’s Home with “Target” Flyer. It’s Thursday at 7:30.

Here’s the image of the flier being used to protest against Wal-Mart:

This is obviously an insidiousness scheme by a competing company with a long history of using violent rhetoric and advocating violence, clearly evidenced by its name and logo:

Republican government merely reflects the people it represents

At my speech on Sunday to the Arizona chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition, I expressed over and over that republican government merely reflects the people it represents. Let me count the ways:

  • We elect our President. The winner has almost always received the most votes or was in a virtual tie. The exceptions: 1) in 2000 Bush lost the popular vote by 0.5 percent (a virtual tie) but won the electoral count; 2) Hayes lost the popular vote by 3.1 percent in 1876 but still won the electoral count; 3) Harrison defeated Cleveland in 1888 even though Cleveland received 0.8 percent more votes. [Some include 1824, but not all states popularly elected Electors back then.]
  • We directly elect our representatives and, since 1913, we directly elect our Senators.
  • We indirectly choose the political ideology of the Supreme Court. I heard numerous complaints about the Supreme Court and their legislating from the bench, but the Supreme Court must be chosen by the President and approved by the Senate. Thus, the Justices should hold the same values and politics of the people as a whole who elect those who choose them.
  • In my home state of Arizona, our sales tax has risen from 6.7 percent to 9.3 percent in the last 25 years. How can the politicians raise taxes on us time after time thinking we won’t care? But they haven’t; we have. We the people of Arizona, Maricopa County, and Phoenix have voted for new sales taxes to build roads, trains, stadiums, and parks, hire more police and firemen, and support general government operations.

If we have anybody to blame for our government, it is us. We elect these people and often re-elect them, even after they have proven to care little for the Constitution or their constiuents. Heck, we often re-elect these guys even after they’ve been proven to be corrupt. We voted for higher taxes to pay for more government program and then complain about high taxes and government intervention. We have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Is the weather really becoming more volatile?

In a story about Scientists warn California could be struck by winter ‘superstorm,’ I read this “interesting” line:

The risk is gathering momentum now, scientists say, due to rising temperatures in the atmosphere, which has generally made weather patterns more volatile.

Has anybody seen a study verifying that weather patterns have become more volatile? How does one even measure weather volatility?

As I’m sure you guessed, I am skeptical of this claim. But if there is any evidence to it, I’d sure be interested in seeing it. (Please post links in the comments to any studies.)

Way back when people were talking about Global Warming, that is before it became Global Climate Change, which was before it was called Global Climate Chaos, I predicted that Global Warming would be renamed Global Climate Volatility. Now, I see this is true, though they have not yet adopted my name for it.

To return to the article:

The threat of a cataclysmic California storm has been dormant for the past 150 years. Geological Survey director Marcia K. McNutt told the New York Times that a 300-mile stretch of the Central Valley was inundated from 1861-62. The floods were so bad that the state capital had to be moved to San Francisco, and Governor Leland Stanford had to take a rowboat to his own inauguration, the report notes. Even larger storms happened in past centuries, over the dates 212, 440, 603, 1029, 1418, and 1605, according to geological evidence.

So this “cataclysmic” event has happened many times before. But remember, next time it occurs, it surely was caused by Global Climate Volatility.