Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Linking right in with this seemingly odd desire to limit our use of water, energy and resources, is this compelling claim at Pascal Fervor:
The single most debilitating thought in our world is not often spoken, but I see it underlying everything today.

S U S T A I N A B I L I T Y.

This is the arch concern of "very important" people who are acting on behalf of the fear that there are too many people on earth.

It means that a minimum number of people aim to maximize human decline with a minimum of fuss.
Those who find themselves in positions of power and influence tend to be pessimists. Why that is I have done a bit more than speculate on my own and other sites. But why is not nearly as important to you, the individual, as first recognizing that the pessimism is there, in horrifying amounts, and then comprehending where all that angst is leading.

I find it logical and significant that Malthusianism which preceded Marxism came into being at roughly the same time that mankind achieved unprecedented liberty and then quickly gained the ability to thrive as never before. I also find it compelling to note that both deadly ideologies -- one from the start, the other proven to be -- have been and are heavily fostered and accepted by the highly positioned and/or the well-to-do who have self-styled themselves as "Progressives."

The furtherance of these ideas has become such accepted thinking in the splendid halls of "intelligentsia," that any who dare utter an optimistic word -- such as those who believe in a God who has promised to always provide -- are shouted down, marginalized, and persecuted.

And generic hatred of mankind other than oneself -- misanthropy-- underlies it all. I've witnessed it as have nearly everyone who is reading this blog when you bumped elbows with them. It is that sense of dread and loathing oozed by some in the upper classes for the "repulsive" middle class that ever strives upward to join them.
That ties together Progressivism, the hijacking of Environmentalism to rule every aspect of our lives, and the class warfare of the ultra-rich against middle America.

Belmont Club put it thus:
Once upon a time the future was going to be fun and the assumption was that things were always going to get biggest, faster and better. But today a significant current in public thinking holds that the coming years are going to be dark — that they literally should be dark. The UN’s has promulgated indicators to indicate how much of anything we shouild be allowed to use. Today efforts are being focused on the degree to which we can reduce energy consumption, limit intensity of materials use, cut down on water consumption, limit land use and curb mobility. The dream of the future is no longer the man in the flying car but the man/womyn/transgender person living in the smallest possible cubicle, limited to the narrowest geographic circle possible and consuming his own waste.
And we are getting there.

A future in which America will have no capability to send a human being into space is already in sight. And good riddance to it, some would say.
To bring it full circle, Belmont Club's link to the report on UN indicators above is entitled, gaggingly, "Sustainable Consumption", positing that consumption is destructive and bad.

There's that word again!

Sustainability is just a word to convince you to walk into the misanthropic tyrant's cage willingly.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Insufferable Busybodies

Any doubt this monster of an adminstration and its fascist progressive allies want to control and regulate every aspect of human life, need look no further than this Department of Energy decree in May:
1992 federal law says a showerhead can deliver no more than 2.5 gallons per minute at a flowing water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch.
That in itself is a problem -- that they feel they can regulate that. But it gets worse!
But in May, the DOE said a "showerhead" may incorporate "one or more sprays, nozzles or openings." Under the new interpretation, all nozzles would count as a single showerhead and be deemed noncompliant if, taken together, they exceed the 2.5 gallons-a-minute maximum.

In May, the DOE's general counsel, Scott Blake Harris, fined four showerhead makers $165,104 in civil penalties, alleging they failed to demonstrate compliance for some devices.

Manufacturers and retailers say the new rules affect not just upscale systems but also those with hand-held sprays used by the elderly and disabled. Multiple showerheads often found in shower rooms at schools or gyms could also be at risk, manufacturers say. Customers will be disgruntled because of limited product range, they add.

"Did Congress limit consumer choice? Absolutely," the DOE's Mr. Harris says. "When you waste water, you waste energy." Each multi-head shower fixture uses an extra 40 to 80 thermal units of energy per year, equivalent to 50 gallons of gasoline, or one barrel of oil, he says.
If I want to pay for that, I WILL NOT stand for any busybody to tell me just how much energy I am "allowed" to use!
The showdown is a challenge to President Barack Obama and his energy secretary, Steven Chu, as they try to cajole—or compel—Americans to use water and energy more efficiently. Mr. Chu, a self-described "zealot" for energy efficiency, says he crawls around in his attic in his spare time installing extra insulation.
Send them back to the attic!


I will now "waste" energy and water with glee just to spite them.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

National Popular Vote Arguments

A supporter of the National Popular Vote Initiative dropped by and anonymously left several lengthy comments on my previous piece. I won't be a repository for their propaganda; it can all be found verbatim on their website.

But I will address the main points raised.

And the main point to note is nowhere do the NPVI people address the fundamental (and little appreciated) structure of the Electoral College formula, that it was never meant to be a direct proxy for a citizen popular vote, but rather is a weighted average of TWO popular votes: one by the people, and one state-by-state.

Because those were the two power groups mentioned in the Constitution that ceded limited powers to form a Federal government, and thus are separately represented in Congress (House and Senate), and in choosing the President -- by the same Congressional formula.

The NPVI supporter ignores the state represention issue entirely, and thus we end up talking past each other.

On to the carefully-crafted misdirecting rhetoric:

The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates do not reach out to all of the states and their voters.
Nor would a strategy to win 51% of the popular vote force a candidate to reach out to all states and voters. Indeed, such a strategy would foster targetting specific demographics, without regard to geographic diversity. If states only existed as subdivisions of Federal political power, this wouldn't be much of an issue -- but they aren't.

Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. This has occurred in one of every 14 presidential elections.
Again, that is not a bug, but a feature. It's not meant as a poor proxy of a popular vote, but is a blend of TWO votes.

For example, though Gore in 2000 won the popular vote by a whisper-thin margin of 48.4% to 47.9%, Bush won the state-by-state vote in a LANDSLIDE of 59% to 41%!

Blended together by the electoral formula, Bush wins. There's nothing perverse or unfair in that outcome AT ALL.

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."
Indeed it is. The states can certainly do this. It's just foolish and wrong, as it further marginalizes states as separate political entitites with their own rights. The Founders believed the only thing strong enough to stand in the way of a government is another government.

There is no valid argument that the winner-take-all rule is entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution.
That too is true. If we wanted to make the popular vote piece of the electoral formula more representative, the reform I'd support is for States to assign their Electoral votes as 1 vote per Congressional district won (for the People's representation), plus the State's 2 votes to the overal state winner (for the State-by-state "popular vote"). Two states (Maine and Nebraska) already do this.

But, they'd never do that, because it would put a big piece of California and other large "blue" states in play for Republicans, and no Democrat could ever be elected President.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).
Irrelevant. They surely don't understand the real issues at stake, and have been misled to believe the Electoral College gets in the way of their popular vote for no good reason. The importance of the States is largely forgotten by most -- but not by me.

I'll take the National Popular Vote movement more seriously as a principled stand, if it also stood for abolishing the Senate as an irrelevant body getting in the way of direct representation in the House.

Instead, it will increase the risks of populism and demogoguery, and identity-group politics at the further expense of the already near-moribund States, which are supposed to stand as important bastions between us and a Federal government that naturally trends to tyranny.

Too much pure democracy is a bad thing -- as Franklin put it, two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another Willful Step To State Destruction

Senate Action Moves Commonwealth of Massachusetts One Step Closer to Enactment

Last night, the Massachusetts Senate passed National Popular Vote legislation by a vote of 28 to 10, moving the Commonwealth of Massachusetts one step closer to giving voters an equal vote in electing America’s President. The Massachusetts Senate vote follows the recent 52-7 New York State Senate vote in favor of the bill—a victory supported by a 22-5 Republican margin (with 3 not voting) and 30-2 Democrat margin.
National Popular Vote preserves the Electoral College by creating an agreement among the states. When enough states join (totaling 270 or more Electoral Votes or a majority of the Electoral College), the agreement triggers. Compacting states then award a majority of Electoral Votes to the candidate who wins the most votes in all fifty states, guaranteeing the presidency.
Terrible, misguided idea. More news and background here.

“Our proposal is consistent with the intent and wishes of our Founding Fathers and gives the American people what they want,” said Koza. “The compact addresses the serious drawbacks of the current system of state-by-state, winner-take-all rules. It ends a system that marginalizes two-thirds of America’s voters. With National Popular Vote, a vote in Massachusetts will always count as much as a vote in Florida.”
Wrong wrong wrong!!!

They make it sound so reasonable, but it is a deception. The talk of equal votes is a complete misdirection. The Electoral College system is intended to blend TWO separate votes, one a popular one and one a state-by-state one in choosing the President!

That fact is generally forgotten, as State's Rights have withered away -- but it is recognized in the Constitution that TWO groups, the States and the People, both ceded limited powers to the Federal Government, and thus that is why both are represented separately in the Senate (with all states equal) and in the House (proportionally to population, for the People) in Congress.

And so both also get to weigh in on electing the President through the Electoral formula. Thus we see the supposed "anomaly" when Gore lost to Bush though winning the popular vote really wasn't odd at all, because Bush won the state vote in a landslide -- and the blending of those two results together resulted in a Bush win.


So the first statement in the quote above, "Our proposal is consistent with the intent and wishes of our Founding Fathers" is a complete and utter LIE.

Massachusetts is poised to join Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington and Hawaii as the sixth state to enact the National Popular Vote bill. Companion bills have been introduced in all fifty U.S. States.
Idiots. how they so easily throw away their State's Rights! Those legislators are allowing their votes to be controlled by people outside of their own state. It is such outrageous foolishness that it is beyond belief.

And yet, here we are.

Who is really behind this National Popular Vote Initiative?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Class Warfare

Class warfare is back, but this time it's the ultrawealthy and the "ruling class" setting out to destroy the middle class. Their perfect vision is one of perpetual power, created by dividing society into two parts: those who oversee the resources and hand out largesse for the Progressive public good, and everyone else who is dependent upon receiving those handouts.

The upwardly-striving middle class doesn't fit into that model.

This also requires resources, particularly energy, to be scarce. I've always argued energy should be cheap and used plentifully and never understood the rationers, but now it makes sense. And clearly the Green movement and the Global Warming hysteria play right into it.

But I digress. Here is the essay everyone is talking about right now, which lays it all out. It is long, and important:

Never has there been so little diversity within America's upper crust.
Today's ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters -- speaking the "in" language -- serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America's ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government.

The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century's Northerners and Southerners -- nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, "prayed to the same God." By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God "who created and doth sustain us," our ruling class prays to itself as "saviors of the planet" and improvers of humanity.
Once an official or professional shows that he shares the manners, the tastes, the interests of the class, gives lip service to its ideals and shibboleths, and is willing to accommodate the interests of its senior members, he can move profitably among our establishment's parts.

If, for example, you are Laurence Tribe in 1984, Harvard professor of law, leftist pillar of the establishment, you can "write" your magnum opus by using the products of your student assistant, Ron Klain. A decade later, after Klain admits to having written some parts of the book, and the other parts are found to be verbatim or paraphrases of a book published in 1974, you can claim (perhaps correctly) that your plagiarism was "inadvertent," and you can count on the Law School's dean, Elena Kagan, to appoint a committee including former and future Harvard president Derek Bok that issues a secret report that "closes" the incident. Incidentally, Kagan ends up a justice of the Supreme Court. Not one of these people did their jobs: the professor did not write the book himself, the assistant plagiarized instead of researching, the dean and the committee did not hold the professor accountable, and all ended up rewarded. By contrast, for example, learned papers and distinguished careers in climatology at MIT (Richard Lindzen) or UVA (S. Fred Singer) are not enough for their questions about "global warming" to be taken seriously. For our ruling class, identity always trumps.
As the 19th century ended, the educated class's religious fervor turned to social reform: they were sure that because man is a mere part of evolutionary nature, man could be improved, and that they, the most highly evolved of all, were the improvers.

Thus began the Progressive Era. When Woodrow Wilson in 1914 was asked "can't you let anything alone?" he answered with, "I let everything alone that you can show me is not itself moving in the wrong direction, but I am not going to let those things alone that I see are going down-hill."
Our ruling class's agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof. Like left-wing parties always and everywhere, it is a "machine," that is, based on providing tangible rewards to its members. Such parties often provide rank-and-file activists with modest livelihoods and enhance mightily the upper levels' wealth. Because this is so, whatever else such parties might accomplish, they must feed the machine by transferring money or jobs or privileges -- civic as well as economic -- to the party's clients, directly or indirectly. This, incidentally, is close to Aristotle's view of democracy. Hence our ruling class's standard approach to any and all matters, its solution to any and all problems, is to increase the power of the government -- meaning of those who run it, meaning themselves, to profit those who pay with political support for privileged jobs, contracts, etc. Hence more power for the ruling class has been our ruling class's solution not just for economic downturns and social ills but also for hurricanes and tornadoes, global cooling and global warming.
Dependence Economics

By taxing and parceling out more than a third of what Americans produce, through regulations that reach deep into American life, our ruling class is making itself the arbiter of wealth and poverty. While the economic value of anything depends on sellers and buyers agreeing on that value as civil equals in the absence of force, modern government is about nothing if not tampering with civil equality. By endowing some in society with power to force others to sell cheaper than they would, and forcing others yet to buy at higher prices -- even to buy in the first place -- modern government makes valuable some things that are not, and devalues others that are. Thus if you are not among the favored guests at the table where officials make detailed lists of who is to receive what at whose expense, you are on the menu. Eventually, pretending forcibly that valueless things have value dilutes the currency's value for all.

Laws and regulations nowadays are longer than ever because length is needed to specify how people will be treated unequally. For example, the health care bill of 2010 takes more than 2,700 pages to make sure not just that some states will be treated differently from others because their senators offered key political support, but more importantly to codify bargains between the government and various parts of the health care industry, state governments, and large employers about who would receive what benefits (e.g., public employee unions and auto workers) and who would pass what indirect taxes onto the general public.
Nowadays, the members of our ruling class admit that they do not read the laws. They don't have to. Because modern laws are primarily grants of discretion, all anybody has to know about them is whom they empower.

By making economic rules dependent on discretion, our bipartisan ruling class teaches that prosperity is to be bought with the coin of political support.
Government needs a cleansing.

But wait, it gets worse!
In Congressional Government (1885) Woodrow Wilson left no doubt: the U.S. Constitution prevents the government from meeting the country's needs by enumerating rights that the government may not infringe. ("Congress shall make no law..." says the First Amendment, typically.) Our electoral system, based on single member districts, empowers individual voters at the expense of "responsible parties." Hence the ruling class's perpetual agenda has been to diminish the role of the citizenry's elected representatives, enhancing that of party leaders as well as of groups willing to partner in the government's plans, and to craft a "living" Constitution in which restrictions on government give way to "positive rights" -- meaning charters of government power.
Anyone who believes that way is an enemy of the Constitution and of individual Liberty.

We The People

It's a trend!

I Am America

The title reminds me of this post.