February 24, 2012

Your hell-raiser admittedly knows little about energy, but I know how much I have to pay for gasoline. There’s no doubt that, as gasoline prices rise, the debate about energy will intensify because fuel prices will have far-reaching effects on the economy.

So is the current administration pursuing a rational energy policy? It appears to me that the Obama administration is spending billions, if not trillions, of dollars on long-term energy solutions while turning a blind eye toward current needs.

Some of the president’s opponents say that if Obama had adopted a temporary policy of allowing drilling here for oil to increase our domestic supply; if he had allowed drilling in known oil fields in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR); if he had not curtailed drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for so long after the BP oil spill; if he had allowed the Keystone pipeline project to proceed; if he had encouraged construction of new refineries; if he had temporarily relaxed stringent EPA restrictions that discourage exploration and development of fossil fuels; and if he now would suspend the more than 30 required blending of fuels at our refineries, we would be more insulated against spiking gasoline prices.

Of course we want to protect the environment, and some of these measures could harm it. But can’t there be a compromise: Do everything possible in the short term to increase our domestic gasoline supply while continuing to work hard to find alternative fuels that won’t harm the environment. That would be the rational energy policy for now.

To be fair to the president, we have known about the pressures on domestic fuel sources for over 30 years, and no president before Obama, and no congress, has had the balls to tackle the problem, and it is not a given that a Republican who might defeat Obama in November will do anything better. But apparently it is Obama’s policy to allow gasoline prices to rise in the hope that it will spur development of alternative, and less harmful, energy sources (with an eye toward his “green” voting constituency). Never mind that most of us can’t afford to buy hybrid or electric cars, and that, even if we could buy non internal-combustion-engine cars, the conversion likely would not happen before the rising gasoline and other energy prices kill the weak economic recovery that Obama touts as the reason we should re-elect him.

In an apparent contradiction, Obama said this week that there is nothing that he, or any president, can do about gasoline prices because the conditions that affect them are outside his control, and at the same time he stated that he is considering ways that the administration can help bring down gas prices. Well, if there is a way that the administration could help bring down gas prices, it hasn’t done it in the last three years.

An energy policy that focuses on results that may take 20 years or more while doing nothing about present problems is not a viable policy. And even if Obama decides now (because it is election year) to do something about alleviating our suffering because of high gas prices, as far as I’m concerned, he’s had his chance for the past three years. My attitude is that if there were things that could have been done to prevent the current spike in gas prices, he hasn’t been willing to do them, so I’m not willing to give him another four years.



February 22, 2012

Today I received this email from Matt Hawes at the Campaign for Liberty (also see the new site):

The latest threat to the Internet is already emerging.

It didn’t take long for politicians to regroup after their progress on SOPA and PIPA was halted following a massive public outcry in January.

So-called “cyber security” legislation is currently being fast-tracked for consideration in the Senate.

And when government officials talk about cyber security, they’re mostly talking about how to increase their own power instead of keeping us safe.

“The Cybersecurity Act of 2012,” introduced by Senators Joe Lieberman, Susan Collins, and Jay Rockefeller, would seek to give the Department of Homeland Security regulatory authority over the private companies that control “critical infrastructure systems.”

And, no surprise here, Senator John McCain actually wants to make it worse by instead granting the National Security Agency with the monitoring authority over private businesses.

This legislation is the result of three years of scheming, and the only way to halt its progress is to send Congress a simple message – STOP IT!

Stop trying to regulate the Internet.

Stop trying to censor the Internet.

Stop trying to control the Internet.

Just stop it!

Sometimes, Congress just needs to hear a simple message from their constituents in order to get the point.

Whether it be through so-called “net neutrality” regulations, “intellectual property” laws, or “cyber security” legislation, Washington, D.C. will do anything it can to get its grimy hands on the Internet – and it’s up to you and me to fight back.

We don’t have to look far into the past to find previous efforts by Senators Lieberman and Rockefeller to create “Internet kill switch” legislation in an effort to “thwart” cyber attacks.

I need you to take action today by urging your senators to oppose “The Cybersecurity Act of 2012” and any other schemes that would grant government more power over the Internet.

The Internet is one of the last sectors of our economy still mostly free from the corrupting effects of government intervention.

After you’ve contacted your senators, please chip in at least $10 to help Campaign for Liberty keep up the fight against any efforts to take over the Internet!

Without continued vigilance by those of us concerned about our liberties, the Internet doesn’t stand a chance to remain free and open.

I’ve also attached our previous email from Senator Rand Paul regarding SOPA/PIPA below. If you haven’t yet signed our UrgentGram telling Congress to keep these bills from coming back to life, you can make your voice heard today.

Please, take action today by contacting your senators and then contributing to Campaign for Liberty’s fight to keep the government’s grimy hands off the web!

In Liberty,
Matt Hawes
Vice President

P.S. The government’s attempts to grab more power over the Internet seem to never end.

So we need to make our voices loudly and clearly heard!

Contact your senators right away and urge them to oppose both “The Cybersecurity Act of 2012” and any other efforts to give government more control over the Internet.

I know that you are tired of hearing hyperbole from every source in order to get you to respond with money or action. But it’s clear that this bill would be a great step toward totalitarian government.

I urge every American who wants to maintain the smallest bit of freedom to protest this bill. I just did so by sending email messages to Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), and Congressman Walter Jones (3rd District, NC):

I strongly urge you to vote against the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, and any other legislation the aim of which is to establish government control of the internet. The act would give the Dept. of Homeland Security control over the private companies that maintain the internet. For me, the “national security” argument for passage of this bill–or any such bill–is spurious. It is just another government attempt to abridge Americans’ freedom and liberty, and it smacks of totalitarian intent. No such “security” is worth the loss of our freedom and liberty. It would be abhorrent to our founding fathers. I, for one, will vote against, and work hard to defeat, any senator or representative, Democrat or Republican, who votes in favor of this bill or any bill that tries to establish government control of the internet.

Please feel free to use my message as an outline and send a message to your senators and congressman. Do it now!


February 21, 2012

Previously this blog proposed that Congress “balance the budget.”

Upon reflection, it is assumed that Congress will find a way around any balanced budget amendment by ignoring the Constitution as is often does, and will continue to borrow money at will and/or allow the Federal Reserve Board to print money. Here is a more radical proposal: Take away from Congress the power to tax income and to appropriate money to fund federal budgets.

Such action would require passage of an amendment like this:

  1. The sixteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
  2. The United States shall not have a central bank, and the currency of the United States shall be tied to some object or system of real value.
  3. The Congress, with the approval of three-fourths of the States, shall have the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States. The Congress shall not have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived.
  4. Congress shall, every two years, and at least eight months prior to the expiration of the previous budget, submit a budget proposal to the Legislatures of the several States.
  5. The Legislatures of the several States shall, every two years, consider the budget proposed for the United States by Congress, and within six months, appropriate to the Congress a prorated share of the budget based on each State’s population, providing that three-fourths of the Legislatures of the several States shall agree to fund the budget proposed by Congress.
  6. In the event that the six-month period following the budget proposal by Congress elapses with an insufficient number of States agreeing to the budget proposed, each state shall appropriate to Congress a prorated share of the most recent budget approved by three-fourths of the States, and each state not in agreement shall in a written message to Congress lay out its objections to the budget proposed. Congress, upon receipt and review of the objections by the several States, shall vote upon an amended budget proposal that shall be submitted to the Legislatures of the several States, which shall within thirty days agree to fund the budget proposed and provide to Congress their share of funds in excess of funds already appropriated, provided that three-fourths of the Legislatures of the several States shall agree.
  7. Should an insufficient number of States agree to fund the amended budget proposal, the process of review of objections and amendment shall continue, as provided herein, until such time as three-fourths of the States shall agree to fund the amended budget.
  8. The article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Go ahead and criticize this proposal; tell me where I’ve gone wrong.