Sunday, April 30, 2006

HPHS Libertarians news

We are now a cell on Bureaucrash and will soon be merging with the Advocates of a Free Market club.

Sticking together in stupidity - and it's our fault

The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas - a trade bloc invented by Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro - just expanded to include Peru. Its ridiculous name, the product of Chávez's nostalgia for, or at least political idolatry of, Simón Bolívar, sound vaguely Orwellian, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise, considering the views of the leaders involved.

The sad thing is, the US is helping such travesties of foreign policy by sticking its nose in Latin America far too often. Our frequently dysfunctional neighbors to the south were the earliest targets of TR's big stick, and much as the Carter Doctrine might lead you to disagree, we've still got plenty of government involvement down there. We try to pay countries to stop drug production, we argue with Mexico about immigration, and we boycott Cuba just because. (We don't boycott them because they're communist - if that was the real reason, we'd boycott Venezuela too. But they have oil.) The campaign promises of the recent neocommmunists to reach power were eliminating US influence and screwing over the rich.

We're managing to hurt ourselves (American companies now cannot compete in these countries) and Latin Americans - life under communism feels great until it lasts ten years - by interfering in their affairs. For those of you who haven't made the connection yet, I'll write out the obvious analogy like they were on those stupid middle-school worksheets:

War on Drugs:Latin America::War on Terror:Middle East

Let's save ourselves a lot of money, time, and manpower and end both.

Crazy people running other countries are great.

A lot of people seem to believe that when an absolute nutcase is running another country and screwing everything up, some more "democratic" nation ought to go in a fix things up. But if we allow immigration from that country - which we should - having a whackbird in charge of another country is great, because talent from that country will come here where it can thrive, making life better for us all. The greater freedom allowed here will also allow whatever talent stays there to be outcompeted, since their government will restrict research and innovation. (Yes, there are some restrictions on research here, and they're astonishingly dumb, but they're fairly minimal relative to some other places.)

So really, we should celebrate that Iran has somebody as crazy as Ahmadinejad in charge. There are plenty of smart Iranians who could do great things for the American economy. They can make atomic energy and fling risible rhetoric at Israel, and we can profit.

Free Enterprise v. Communism in worker protection.

Mine accidents happen a lot - not a big surprise when you consider heavy equipment in tight spaces far underground. Often, people get incredibly lucky in them - my great-grandfather worked from age 12 to age 80 in the coal mines of western Pennsylvania. One time all his ribs were crushed by some machine, and he returned to work as soon as he recovered. (He also put all his children - and there were at least six - through college.) China has the most dangerous mines in the world, and today didn't help that reputation - 27 dead in an explosion. That makes me wonder how many deaths we don't know about, if SARS is any indication as to the honesty of the Chinese government. Also today, 2 Tasmanian miners were found alive after having been believed dead.

And the Communists claim to be the friend of the worker?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

If you think Mexico's being smart...

Mexico is in the process of decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use. That at first seems like a nice start, until you read this:
Mexican officials hope the law will help police focus on large-scale trafficking operations, rather than minor drug busts. The bill also stiffens penalties for trafficking and possession of drugs — even small quantities — by government employees or near schools, and maintains criminal penalties for drug sales.
In other words, they're going to increase the price of and violence associated with drugs by going after the supply by forcing more of it underground.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Stupid fools.

I made this comment elsewhere and figured I'd copy-paste it here:

I really have no sympathy for you liberals who voted Democrat and then complain about what the Bush Administration does.
You want out of Iraq, and you voted Democrat. Kerry wanted more troops in Iraq. The only party that would have immediately withdrawn was the Libertarian Party.
You want the Patriot Act to go away, and you voted Democrat. Almost all Democrats voted for the Patriot Act in both its first and second incarnations. The only party that would have immediately eliminated the Patriot Act is the Libertarian Party.
You want corporate honesty, and you voted Democrat. The only way a corporation can screw over the people without repurcussion is in collusion with government. The only party that would make the impossible - by streamlining government so that there was little to collude with - is the Libertarian Party.
You want to stop hurting the middle class to the benefit of the rich. And you voted Democrat. The only party that would lower taxation for everybody - a pay raise for us all - is the Libertarian Party.
You want medical marijuana. And you voted Democrat. The only party that would stop the ridiculous, money-wasting War on Drugs is the Libertarian Party.
You want scientists to be able to research what they want. And you voted Democrat. The only party that would end oversight of scientists is the Libertarian Party.
You want free speech. And you voted Democrat. The Democrats want to impose rating systems on multitudinous forms of media to restrict the people's access. The only party that would give unrestricted free speech to all (assuming no libel, slander, or otherwise intentionally damaging speech) is the Libertarian Party.

And you conservatives who voted Republican, you're no better.
You want an end to ridiculous gun laws. And you voted Republican. The only party that would let you protect yourself without restrictions (no we don't advocate nukes for us all) is the Libertarian Party.
You want to limit the size of government. And you voted Republican. The government has grown 33% under Bush. It grew under Reagan. The only party that has always reduced government when elected is the Libertarian Party.
You want to reduce taxes. And you voted Republican. The only party that actively works against taxes every time it is elected is the Libertarian Party.

Y'all are all either ignorant or stupid. Either way, you're voting to destroy America. This November, how about y'all vote for real, positive change. Vote to save America. Vote Libertarian.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Good job, Pete.

One of Pete Sessions's most recent self-declared achievements is getting federal funds to send the mentally retarded to college. (Allow me to put a disclaimer here: I am not a bigot and do not despise the mentally retarded. I do, however, think that sending them to college is absurd.)

Here's a gem from his press release:
Currently, approximately 94 higher education institutions nationwide offer programs for students with intellectual disabilities (mental retardation). However, these students are not able to access federal work-study funds due to disqualifying factors such as the absence of a high school diploma...
I recognize that I'm going to college without getting my high school diploma, but I could easily achieve a diploma over the summer - there's just no point. Those who cannot achieve a high school diploma should probably not go to college. Naturally the goal of employability is a great one for these people, but sending them to college is just dumb. The stupidity doesn't end there:
"This amendment creates no new federal program and, therefore, requires no cost to the federal government," Sessions added.
No additional cost, that is. ("requires no cost to the federal government" is some very twisted English...) It is, however, at a cost to the "normal" students who would be getting that money (since if no new money is added, it must be being diluted) - and since the idea of public education is that it benefits society, I don't think it's morally reprehensible to say that educating the mentally retarded is far less useful than education more capable students.

The mentally retarded have lots of charities dedicated to their help - which is awesome. This money, however, would be better served going to more capable students or, even better, staying with the people it was taken from (that means you if you pay taxes) and being donated by personal choice to the abovementioned charities.

Hawley's campaign

My job on John Hawley's campaign for Congress (against this weasel) is to find groups that he might be able to talk to, their meeting times, and contact information. I'll start really working on it once school's over, but if you have anything you can think of, send it to me at ndjmwii at gmail dot com.

More southerly, Badnarik has three billboards up in his district (10, running against Michael McCaul.)

Luckily for us, Sessions gives plenty of things on his site to attack. Looks like I've got a new focus for this blog.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Trying to hide, are you?

The US House evidently doesn't think it's responsible for bureaucratic websites.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Maddox is prescient.

Seriously, how'd he manage to do this in 2003?

Bush is using the same absurd logic and rhetoric that he used to convince us to attack Iraq in order to justify an attack on Iran. We can't do that. We don't have the international political capital nor the manpower to do so.

Besides, it's immoral. We haven't been attacked.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The bigots, they are dumb.

This talks about this: an essentially blank page.

That, and it's Coloradoans, not Coloradans.

Come on, DMN, publish another...

The DMN said today that the Texas energy market was "deregulated".

My left butt-cheek.

Here's the letter:
Texas's energy market is by no means deregulated, no matter what Austin says. Power plants and energy companies must still submit to the control of ERCOT and deal with myriad and ineffective regulations with regard to environmental factors, safety, etc. It's no surprise that private investors are reluctant to enter into such a market. The best way to regulate these things is to let the free market do it: plants which pollute the air, for example, ought to be (and, like TXI, are) sued for the damage they cause, thus encouraging them and others to pollute less. Corporations can connive with officials to get around regulations a la Enron/Worldcom, but they can't weasel around the free market.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Some Folks are Just Wierd

Most people have heard about Colorado City, Arizona and related communites of nutjobbers. They're creepy, they're disgusting, they really pretty much suck.

So what would a libertarian government do about them?

Well, that's a problem. Most of the people there - it's not that hard to escape - apparently believe in the prophecies, marriage orders, excommunications, etc. issued by Warren Jeffs, the FBI-wanted head of the FLDS. So taking the polygamists away from their giant families would be coercive - trying to do so ruined the career of one Arizona governor.

On a personal level, however, I think Warren Jeffs deserves a slap in the face from a hand the size of Greenland. I have little doubt that he knows what he's doing - maybe he's just crazy, though.

I'm still at a loss for that. I did, however, pay my $5 income tax on Saturday. It'll probably cost the government $500 to process it. Morons.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Campaign time, almost.

I'm beginning to think Cornell University and Libertarians have magic emailing powers - whenever I send an email either way, I get nearly instantaneous response.

I realized that since I have little else to do with most of my summer, I might as well volunteer for a local Libertarian campaign. So, I sent out an email to Tim Lebsack, the Dallas County chair, and have already been contacted by one guy.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

You don't get a free lunch.

And if you think you're getting one, you're about to get screwed.

Like most regulations, this one is stupid, ineffectual, and damaging - homes three feet off the ground will still get damaged by a major hurricane, raising homes costs money (eating away from the $150,000 Fed grant), and raised homes are a bit of a pain.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Gaia hypothesis, equilibrium, and libertarianism.

The Gaia hypothesis essentially postulates a self-regulating earth in which life creates the conditions necessary for more life. This makes a lot of sense, of course, because everything has a tendency towards equilibrium. For a microcosmic example, imagine that a few breeding pairs of sheep are introduced to an island with lots of plants. but no previous mammalian inhabitants. The sheep, having no predators and an at first unlimited supply of food, will eat and breed, their population expanding exponentially.

One spring, however, more sheep will be alive than vegetation will sprout to feed, and many sheep will die of starvation. The sheep population will decrease, and will continue to oscillate around a certain value until something about the environment changes. This value is called the carrying capacity for, in this case, sheep.

One of the really sweet things about being human is that we can consciously, decisively, and rapidly augment the Earth's carrying capacity through technological advance. (I think that's awesome, which is why I'm going to major in environmental engineering.) This is what allows the small fraction of Americans who are farmers to produce food not only for the rest of America, but for many other countries as well. Unfortunately, at the moment, many of our methods of increasing the Earth's carrying capacity for humans will become impractical in the forseeable future, most notably the use of oil.

Some proponents of the Gaia hypothesis would say that the rise in sea levels precipitated by the huge increase in temperatures itself precipitated by the greenhouse-gas emissions caused by the use of fossil fuels is what will restore human population to the carrying capacity. These people, however, obviously don't know history, or supply and demand.

Here's what, assuming no government subsidies on oil products (which there were cries for after Katrina from, ironically, the ostensibly environmentalist left), will happen as oil runs out and population continues to increase. Red lines represent the current situation; gray ones represent the future. Price of the good represented is found at the intersection of the supply and demand lines:

As you can see, as supply decreases and demand (based on first-world population) increases, price skyrockets. When the price of something increases, more people find substitutes for that thing. That means if the government allows fossil-fuel derived energy prices to increase as they naturally will, less fossil fuels will be used and less global warming will occur. Energy prices will at first rise, putting a cramp on the economy, but they will then fall back to equilibrium levels.

That's because a free market is a stable equilibrium - when disturbed, it will quickly find its way back to its original position. Command economies, on the other hand, are unstable equilibria - when disturbed, they will oscillate wildly until they come to rest at a free market. If I had the computer skills to do so, I could superimpose this on the Nolan chart and it would be amazing.

Since I don't, imagine the Nolan chart on a piece of paper, with the libertarian corner pointing down. Now rotate the piece of paper about an axis from one long side to the other so that you are looking at the edge of the bottom short side of the piece of paper. Now, make the originally horizaontal line at the center of the chart come up, so that a little hill is formed in between the libertarian corner and the communist corner. Raise the communist corner up a bit. Now imagine a ball free to roll around this surface, but not off it. That ball is the economy. Now imagine little gnomes trying to push it around the surface. Those are our dear politicians. It will naturally fall towards a stable free market, but with the combined force of the gnomes, it can be almost maintained at the unstable left or right positions. Elevation on this chart, then, represents the level of control necessary. The left and right policies are thus harder to maintain - less efficient, in other words - than the communist policy.

I'm going to send this to my economics teacher to make sure this makes sense.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Liar, Liar, Poop on Fire

In Highland Park, not picking up your dog's poop is a $500 misdeameanor.

That's understandable - poop is nasty, and lots of people don't want it on their yard (though in reality it's not that big a deal and it fertilizes your yard, but whatever).

So far, so good.

But the stated reason for the ordinance is that "dog waste endangers the health of the community and transmits disease." Now admittedly, when fecal matter gets into drinking water, bad things like cholera happen. But our drinking water comes from a lake on the other side of town; Highland Park's dog poop isn't getting in anyone's drinking water. More importantly, this is 2006 in the United States and our water is treated to kill bacteria.

It kind of hacks me off that in a situation such as this where there's no reason to lie, the town still felt that it needed to in order to pass the ordinance.