The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

On Mark McKinnon's program (Part 3 of 3)

The last four of Mark McKinnon's proposals:
9. Go nuclear. The ultimate green strategy, good for the environment, good for the economy and therefore doable, is a natural-gas-to-nuclear-power plan proposed by contrarian Robert Bryce. Wind and solar power are land-intensive, a green sin, but not energy-dense, and affordable only when heavily subsidized. And wind power must be supplemented with hydrocarbons for reliability. Texas leads the nation and is sixth globally in wind production, yet only 8.7 percent of installed capacity is dependable during peak demand. And it provides only 1.2 percent of the state's total energy need. In Denmark, the poster child for wind power, neither carbon dioxide emissions nor hydrocarbon consumption have been reduced. Natural gas resources in the U.S. are equivalent to three times the known oil reserves of Iraq. Natural gas is the near-term solution for cleaner fuel and the bridge to the fuel of the future—nuclear, the most carbon-neutral, power-dense, relatively affordable and available energy source. As Bryce says, "If you are anti-carbon dioxide and anti-nuclear, you are pro-blackout."
I have long agreed with this proposal. People are afraid of Three Mile Island-type scenarios, but nobody was harmed by Three Mile Island. People were seriously affected by Chernobyl, but that was a type of reactor we don't think of building in the U. S., precisely because of the hazards associated with it.
10. Get right. Repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the U.S. military and legalizing same-sex marriage are issues of equality for all. Sixty percent of Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. Gay people serve their countries openly in the British, Canadian, and Israeli military. Don't Ask, Don't Tell is discriminatory, and it limits our ability to recruit and retain the greatest numbers of the best and brightest, especially critical while we are still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both back this needed reform. And for the first time since Pew started tracking opinions on same-sex marriage 15 years ago, fewer than half of those polled now say they oppose legalizing the institution. Republicans constantly claim to be the party that defends the Constitution. In my opinion, we have no legitimate right to that claim until we get right on gay rights. It's way past time for the GOP to come out in support of equality for all.
Frankly, I've said enough on this topic that anyone reading this blog knows McKinnon's proposal has my full approval, so I need to say nothing more.
11. Open the borders. Any act that proposes 16,000 additional IRS agents can't be good. But President Obama is right: "Consumers do better when there is choice and competition." Unfortunately, the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act does neither. Seventy-nine percent of Republican voters, 56 percent of voters not affiliated with either party, and a majority of voters in the battleground congressional districts still favor repeal. As an alternate strategy to lower costs, it's time to open the borders to allow the purchase of private health insurance across state lines, and to allow consumers and businesses to associate for better pool rates. Just six months after the bill was signed into law, consumers face increasing premiums, fewer choices when it comes to health-care insurers and providers. Squeezed by Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement payments below cost and mounting liability insurance costs, doctors may soon be an endangered species. There's a reason doctors have flocked to Texas since 2002: tort reform. Tort reforms are needed to protect patients' access to health care providers.
When I first looked at his title, I thought this proposal was going to deal with illegal immigration, but actually, as will be seen below, that is his next proposal. In fact this #11 is a really common-sense proposal. Some pieces of it have already been endorsed on this blog; I really agree with just about all of it.
12. Recognize reality. It's time to fix illegal immigration. Voters in Arizona and Texas are rightfully frustrated by the federal government's disinterest in protecting our sovereignty. Though unemployment numbers are high, low-skilled immigrants actually expand the size of the overall economy. Punishing those who work hard, who do not hurt others, and who seek a path out of poverty for their families is not the answer. The fixes need to begin now, and begin in parallel. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has the right plan. Secure the border; ceding a no-go zone to foreign drug lords on American territory is not acceptable. Deport illegal immigrants with felony convictions. For the 11 million already in this country, provide a tough but fair path forward which would include paying fines and back taxes, passing background checks, proving English proficiency and going to the back of the line to work toward lawful permanent residence. We need to expand and simplify the farm-worker program to address seasonal work needs. Issue all legal U.S. workers, including citizens and immigrants, a biometric ID card. And strengthen the penalties and enforcements for employers. At the same time, we need to expand the number of visas issued for high-skilled workers in science and technology, the next Einstein may be waiting.
This is probably a pretty reasonable way to handle it. It is close to the plan which was proposed by both George W. Bush and John McCain, but extremists on both sides led to its being scuttled.

McKinnon closes by saying:
It's not a brand that brings the middle together. It's a shared belief: The promise of America still exists. Though the system is corrupted, and government now rules as the master, not the servant, the ideal of liberty balanced by responsibility lives on—right in the middle.
That is a pretty good summary.

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