We will always be dependent on oil

If you live in a fantasy world, you will not be able to deal with reality.

The John Stewart clip below shows just how ridiculous it is to talk of “energy independence.” It’s time for an honest politician to talk about the best way to produce as much energy as possible, and then set a high enough tax on it to generate funds for the government. All proceeds for such taxes should offset corporate, wage, and income taxes.

The next politician who talks about “energy independence” needs to be laughed off the stage.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
An Energy-Independent Future
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

The “Overton Window” – College level content for political wonks

With Glen Beck having discovered the “Overton Window” more than 2 years after I did, I thought this would be a great time to re-post my essay/post from Jan. 2008. Enjoy.
I found a really good post over at a pretty good lefty blog. Apparently, some Champaign-Urbana blogger named “The Squire” started blogging again, and he posted something pretty significant here. (clicking the link will get you an interesting and polite discussion)

The poli-sci concept is called “the Overton Window,” and if you want the very short version of it, I can boil it down to five words

“The Limits Define the Center”

Interestingly, I’ve used this on the air as one of my tidbits of “Extreme Wisdom” that I often use at the end of my shows. I attributed it to Ronald Reagan, but if you Google the exact words above in quotes, the only reference that shows up is one of my comments on my favorite blog.

Maybe the next iteration of the “Overton Window” will be the “Extreme Wisdom Corrollary.” But I digress.
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This post on another lefty blog highlights the main point.

This is old hat to a lot of folks in the blogosphere, but defining terms is a good thing. Wikipedia:

The Overton window is a concept in political theory, named after the former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Joe Overton, who developed the model. It describes a “window” in the range of public reactions to ideas in public discourse, in a spectrum of all possible options on an issue.

Overton described a method for moving that window, thereby including previously excluded ideas, while excluding previously acceptable ideas. The technique relies on people promoting ideas even less acceptable than the previous “outer fringe” ideas. That makes those old fringe ideas look less extreme, and thereby acceptable.

Delivering rhetoric to define the window provides a plan of action to make more acceptable to the public some ideas by priming them with other ideas allowed to remain unacceptable, but which make the real target ideas seem more acceptable by comparison.

Again, this isn’t rocket science, but people who actually care about policy should be conscious of this phenomena. My regular visitors should know that my aggressive (and accurate) attacks on the corrupt “Education Industry”, along with my (so-called) extreme plan to reform Illinois Taxes and Education system, provides plenty of room to my left for expansion of charter schools, tuition tax credits, and incremental increases in parental choice.

If there is one thing in the Wikepedia entry that isn’t covered effectively, it is the fact that the ‘extreme’ idea may not really be a bad idea (left or right), OR, that even if it is ‘extreme’, it may be a good idea nonetheless. (like my school reform plan)

You could (or I could anyway) write an entire poli-sci course on the effective application of “The Overton Window.” One segment could cover the relation of “negative campaigning” to moving the “window” one direction or another – only faster. Another segment could be about the political cowardice of politicians and how the new technologies allow partisans of good ideas the ability to circumvent the politician, and go right to his constituents.

If you read the Mackinac Center piece on The Overton Window (and it should surprise no one that a right wing think tank articulated this first) you will still see the overbearing focus on persuading politicians directly.

Politicians are constrained by ideas, even if they have no interest in them personally. What they can accomplish, the legislation they can sponsor and support while still achieving political success (i.e. winning reelection or leaving the party strong for their successor), is framed by the set of ideas held by their constituents — the way people think. Politicians have the flexibility to make up their own minds, but negative consequences await the elected officeholder who strays too far. A politician’s success or failure stems from how well they understand and amplify the ideas and ideals held by those who elected them.

You read this, and you see instantly why the right is being taken to the cleaners by the left at the grass roots level. These denizens of liberty are still focussing on the sclerotic, corrupt, and generally brain-dead “political class” while the left is both paying kids to go door-to-door and putting policy and issue ads on TV.

The Heritage, Heartland, and CATO axis better wake up. Politicians react to people in their districts, not to the flood of mail from think tanks. The investments in mailings to legislators offer a tiny rate of return compared to billboards, TV ads, and robo-calls that go directly to the people.

The investment in 20 kids paid $10.50 an hour for 20 hours a week ($4200/wk and $218,000/yr) is a far better investment than 1, 2, 3 or 4 pasty white kids becoming part of the right-wing think-tank bureaucracy (which is starting to look an awful lot like the wasteful education bureaucracy that they rightfully criticize).

In closing, I keep trying to tell people it is much less about left or right, and much more about the quality of the idea(s). I’m open to the possibility that our friends on the left have one or two good ideas that might be worth considering. That said, it is my view that the “center-libertarian-right” coalition – to the extent that it still exists, has had superior policy ideas for about the last 20-30 years.

If the left is starting to post on “The Overton Window” while cleaning our clocks in organizing and dissemination, we on the “right” had better take notice. I’m of the belief that with equal resources, our ideas will prevail because they are more in tune with the American psyche / worldview. The sad thing is that we don’t have “equal resources”, and worse yet, the resources we have are being misapplied by the “leaders” – who are becoming increasingly timid and bureaucratic. (Hence the “Only a ‘moderate’ can win” nonsense spewing forth from Illinois so-called Republicans)

You may find that view “extreme”, but as I’ve stated “the limits define the center.”

Don’t fall for Talk Radio’s Gold-bug Blather

I’ve always wanted to do an expose of talkshow hosts’ penchant for hawking overpriced gold. When I had a radio show, I warned listeners off of buying too much of the stuff, as well as buying it from host’s favorite advertiser. Too bad their gullible audiences have made hosts rich at their expense.

Who do you think pays for all those repetitive and misleading ads? As you read the story below, you, like me, will see this as a leftist attack on a right wing icon. So what?! I pasted the only part of the story that will stick.

Glenn Beck’s Golden Fleece


One Beck fan told the FTC that Goldline had charged $369 for coins that could be bought elsewhere for 40 percent less.


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Dear Conservative/Tea Party Activist,

Stop placing your faith in Beck, Rush, and Rupert!!!! Place your faith in your principles, and learn how to effectively promote them!!!

Yes, let’s round them all up and send them home…

Like that’ll work…

Immigration is about to hit the news again, big time. My theory is that the Dems, with backs up against the wall and about lose at least one chamber, will use the immigration issue to split the Republican party and bring out the Latino vote.

There is a good chance that this will work, given that many on the right want to do the full “Tancredo”, and go marching off the cliff. Interestingly, it might augment Republican wins in 2010, but destroy any chance of winning over Hispanics in the future.

This would make the immigration issue the cause for the “Californication” of the GOP for the entire nation. That didn’t work out very well, did it? Speaking of California, I have two stories for you that show the GOP the way to winning the immigration issue, and hence, win the future.

New poll shows ‘sea change’ in Californians’ attitudes toward illegal immigration

In a dramatic turnaround from 16 years ago, Californians now overwhelmingly favor giving illegal immigrants a “path to legalization” rather than punishing them by denying them a public education and social services, according to a poll unveiled Monday.

The survey of 1,515 registered voters showed that 67 percent of Californians support a two-pronged approach to solving the illegal immigration problem: implementing stronger enforcement at the border while setting up a legalization path for undocumented immigrants who admit they broke the law, perform community service, learn English and pay fines and back taxes.

Seventy percent favor stricter border controls and a temporary worker program that does not grant illegal immigrants citizenship and requires them to return to their homeland. But only 45 percent favor denying the undocumented an education and taxpayer-funded health and social services.

Of course, if you are a fan of this site, you’ve known this to be the answer all along. I wish I could say that 67% of Californians read this site, but it seems that the right ideas are getting out there.

Here is another story that should give Republicans a cause to celebrate.

Gomez holds both conservative and progressive views

Reporting from San Antonio and Los Angeles
When Archbishop Jose Gomez introduced himself to the faithful Tuesday morning, he described Los Angeles as “the global face of the Catholic Church.” He might as well have been talking about himself.

Gomez, 58, who will succeed Cardinal Roger Mahony, is a reflection of the future of American Catholicism. Born in northern Mexico, now an American citizen, he is one of the millions of Latinos who will make up the majority of Catholics in the United States within the next 10 years.

And like many of those Latinos, he is at once a conservative and a progressive: unyielding in his opposition to abortion and gay marriage, passionate in his advocacy for immigrants and the poor, confounding to those who try to wedge him into the traditional right-left political paradigm.

Let us assume for a moment that the Republican fails in its attempt to return to the good graces of the voters. If there was a good name to describe a new party to take its place, that name might be “The Progressive Conservative Party” or The Conservative Progressive Party.”

Bishop Gomez sounds like he would be at home in that party, as would the majority of most Americans who favor generally socially conservative policies and limited, but effective, government.

But hey, let’s round them all up and kick them out of the country. Glen Beck will save us.

G.K. Chesterton on the 2 Parties/2 Ideologies

I just finished reading Chesterton’s “What’s wrong with the world” on my Amazon Kindle. The book is so full of keen insights and enduring truths that you don’t really notice he’s writing about the early 1900s. The whole book can be read here for free.

Early in the book, he introduces us to two archetypal characters – Hudge and Gudge. One represents a Business mindset and the other a Socialist one. One can easily recognize that today’s contemporaries easily fit in a similar ideological framework.

Toward the end of the book, he revisits these two archetypes, with the following suspicions…

And now, as this book is drawing to a close, I will whisper in the reader’s ear a horrible suspicion that has sometimes haunted me: the suspicion that Hudge and Gudge are secretly in partnership. That the quarrel they keep up in public is very much of a put-up job, and that the way in which they perpetually play into each other’s hands is not an everlasting coincidence. Gudge, the plutocrat, wants an anarchic industrialism; Hudge, the idealist, provides him with lyric praises of anarchy.

Above all, Gudge rules by a coarse and cruel system of sacking and sweating and bi-sexual toil which is totally inconsistent with the free family and which is bound to destroy it; therefore Hudge, stretching out his arms to the universe with a prophetic smile, tells us that the family is something that we shall soon gloriously outgrow.

I do not know whether the partnership of Hudge and Gudge is conscious or unconscious. I only know that between them they still keep the common man homeless.

I believe the time has come to move away from the political party system. I’m probably hopelessly idealistic in working toward this goal, as there seems to be a natural social gravitation toward political bi-polarity. I will work toward it anyway.

The existence of a natural bi-polarity doesn’t mean that we need to keep these two parties, nor that we need parties at all. The bipolarity is merely a function of the constant struggle between Freedom and Security. We can, and should, have that debate without the mentally and socially retarding influences of the now wholly counter-productive Democrat/Republican Hegemony.

There are millions of decent Democrats and Republicans, some even occupying an elected office. Sadly, the parties have become co-opted by corrupt influences (See Goldman Sacks, FNMA, Disney, Banks, Unions).

Our founding fathers thought that the competing “factions” would provide “checks and balances” on each other. That may have been true up to a point, but it is breaking down. The level of wealth and power created by billions of free people has allowed for the concentration of that massive wealth and power. The “competing factions” now realize that they can conspire with each other, as long as they dis-empower the individual and the family, and prevent the rise of political competition.

If Chesterton was right (and I think he was), then it is time to destroy the party system. Any ideas on where to start?

2010 might be the year of a G.K. Chesterton Binge

Who was G. K. Chesterton? This link will tell you part of the story.

“Who is this guy and why haven’t I heard of him?”

Chesterton debated many of the celebrated intellectuals of his time: George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, Clarence Darrow. According to contemporary accounts, Chesterton usually emerged as the winner of these contests, however, the world has immortalized his opponents and forgotten Chesterton, and now we hear only one side of the argument, and we are enduring the legacies of socialism, relativism, materialism, and skepticism. Ironically, all of his opponents regarded Chesterton with the greatest affection. And George Bernard Shaw said: “The world is not thankful enough for Chesterton.”

So now, I’ve downloaded about four free books on my new Kindle (Buy one! They make a great Christmas present!).

I’m half way through “What’s wrong with the World.” All I can say for now is that the writing is so lucid (and sometimes very funny) that you find yourself plowing through text as the thoughts fit quickly into your mind.

I found it amazing that the thoughts, ideas, and arguments are as powerful and applicable to today than they were back in the early 1900s. It’s too bad he couldn’t have lasted another 20-30 years. As smart as she was, Chesterton would have made mincemeat out of Ayn Rand.

A horrific decision designed to damage American interests

The calculation behind the KSM trial is staggering. This was not a mistake. It was intent.

Trial and Terror

The decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other top al-Qaeda terrorists to New York City for a civilian trial is one of the most irresponsible ever made by a presidential administration. That it is motivated by politics could not be more obvious. That it spells unprecedented danger for our security will soon become obvious.

The five 9/11 plotters were originally charged in a military commission. Military commissions have been approved by Congress and the courts. Eleven months ago, the jihadists were prepared to end the military case by pleading guilty and proceeding to execution. Plus, the Obama administration is continuing the commission system for other enemy combatants accused of war crimes. If we are going to have military commissions for any war criminals, it is senseless not to have them for the worst war criminals. In sum, there is no good legal or policy rationale for transferring these barbarians to the civilian justice system. Doing so will prompt a hugely costly three-ring circus of a trial, provide a soapbox for al-Qaeda’s anti-American bile, and create a public-safety nightmare for New York City.

There is, however, a patent political rationale behind Obama’s decision.

That is, Pres. Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, experienced litigators, fully realize that in civilian court, the Qaeda quintet can and will demand discovery of mountains of government intelligence. They will demand disclosures about investigative tactics; the methods and sources by which intelligence has been obtained; the witnesses from the intelligence community, the military, and law enforcement who interrogated witnesses, conducted searches, secretly intercepted enemy communications, and employed other investigative techniques. They will attempt to compel testimony from officials who formulated U.S. counterterrorism strategy, in addition to U.S. and foreign intelligence officers. As civilian “defendants,” these war criminals will put Bush-era counterterrorism tactics under the brightest public spotlight in American legal history.

This is exactly what President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder know will happen. And because it is unnecessary to have this civilian trial at all, one must conclude that this is exactly what Obama and Holder want to see happen.

From indictment to trial, the civilian case against the 9/11 terrorists will be a years-long seminar, enabling al-Qaeda and its jihadist allies to learn much of what we know and, more important, the methods and sources by which we come to know it. But that is not the half of it. By moving the case to civilian court, the president and his attorney general have laid the groundwork for an unprecedented surrender of our national-defense secrets directly to our most committed enemies.

By transferring this case to civilian court rather than leaving it to be handled by the military-commission system created by Congress, Obama and Holder have needlessly created a perilous dilemma. Do we deny KSM & Co. the right to represent themselves and thus risk reversal of any convictions on Sixth Amendment grounds? Do we grant them self-representation but withhold critical discovery and thus risk reversal on due process grounds? Or do we grant them self-representation and disclose directly to our wartime enemies the nation’s security secrets, which they can then pass on to confederates who are actively targeting us for mass-murder attacks?

A liberal friend once accused me of being “over the top” in my view that Obama is actively engaged in hurting American Interests. I don’t think so. I think this article proves it.

Adam Andrzejewski is Illinois’ Tim Pawlenty

[Disclosure - I work for Adam's campaign. Not that I could write this about any of the other gentlemen in the race.]

Candidates like Adam Andrzejewski, Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels are pointing the way for the Republican Party. Candidates that run on the years of experience presiding over the decline of the Republican Party are not.

A cartoon from the 50s lays it all out for you

Dated to be sure, and a little hokey, but it lays it all for you right around the 2:45 mark.

Environmentalism as Religion

Environmentalism is nothing more than a religion. To be sure, it does attempt to fit itself into other religious ideals, as there is nothing wrong with being good steward of our environment. On the surface, therefore, Environmentalism does not appear as dogmatic or exclusive as Christianity or Islam. However, as you look at the behavior of its proponents, it becomes clear that it operates as a religion.

“The debate is over” = “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me”
“Global warming deniers are the same as Holocaust deniers” = “anyone who questions us is an apostate”
etc etc etc

The entire edifice of the ‘Man made global warming” concept is collapsing. Unlike Christianity or Islam, a religion based upon “humanism” is destined to fail, just like another humanist religion – “Socialism.”

Climate Chains from Climate Chains on Vimeo.

Frame environmentalists as religious zealots. Many will back track quickly. Then you can start to talk about important ways we can clean up the environment without resorting to religious dogma.