A Better Debate

September 29, 2008

Hmmm….  Well that debate just sucked, didn’t it?  Lehrer asked just 4 questions (What do you think about the bailout?  Iraq?  Iran?  Russia?).  None were particularly thought provoking.  Both candidates lied through their teeth.  I will never be able to vote for Obama due to his opposition to NASA and Project Constellation.  The lies McCain spewed forth during the debate was sufficiently offensive that I do not know if I can vote for him, either.

Oh well.  Is anyone surprised?  I do hope people realize that Obama is emphatically NOT change, seeing as that he lies at the same rate as any other politician, and McCain is certainly no longer a Maverick.

In more interesting news, the Christian Science Monitor has written 15 (good) questions that they would have wanted in the debate.  These were very thought provoking, and I would like to give my answers at this time…

1.  When horrific war crimes or a humanitarian crisis occurs in another country, should the United States intervene – even if the United Nations refuses to approve? What would be your threshold for such a crisis to justify US military action?

Only if it helps us in the long run.  Yes, it sounds horrible, but think of it this way.  If we destroy ourselves trying to save another country, who will that help?  We are not omnipotent, and we must keep that in mind as we make these decisions.

On the United Nations:  The UN is a powerless debating club run by dictatorships.  We should not listen to them.  We should also not leave the UN.

What we should do is create a League of Free Countries.  To join such a League, a country should (at a minimum) follow a Bill of Rights approximately equal to the US Bill of Rights.  The League Bill should not try to cover everything, for that would make it very exclusionary.  It should be a bare minimum of the important stuff, like Freedoms of Religion, Speech, Press, etc., the various rights we have around search and seizure, speedy and fair trial, the right to own property, and very few more.  Specifically not included would be the right/non-right to own guns and the acceptance/banning of abortion and gay marriage.  Including these would keep too many countries out, and should be dealt with on a more local level (National/Country or State/Province).  What is included MUST be followed at all times, to be decided by the vote of all countries in the League.

The League of Free Countries would all have free, unfettered trade between members, with few exceptions (National Security issues, food problems, whatnot).  The League would also be a military alliance, an attack on one is an attack on all.

Each country gets a share of the vote proportional to the amount at which they fund the League, giving more power to developed economies.  The reasoning here is that developed economies have enjoyed freedom the longest amount of time.  They have proven themselves in this regard.  Developing countries which now enjoy the freedoms we do are experiencing fast economic growth.  Unfortunately, few developing countries fall into that category.  Perhaps this League will encourage more such freedom in other countries.

Anyway, this League would vote on when to invade another country to stop human rights abuses, etc.

2. Some experts contend that the US should address the security fears of Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China in order to prevent these countries from becoming threats to others. Do you agree with this approach?

Chamberlain tried that with Hitler back in the 30’s.  It didn’t work then, why would it work now?

3. What are the three most important steps to achieve American energy security?

Allow domestic drilling.

Break up the international monopoly called OPEC using whatever force is necessary, commensurate with the goal that we do not hurt the long term health of the US.

Invest a great deal of money in various electricity generation methods, not just ethanol, wind, and solar.

4. Would you compel Americans to adopt standards on carbon emissions even if China and India do not take similar actions?

No.  The net benefit to the world, as well as the US, is negative as long as China and India do not adopt CO2 emissions standards.  [Nerd Note:  Carbon emissions are not a problem.  Carbon Dioxide emissions mat be a problem, but we need more unbiased studies done before we can know for sure]

5. And why do you prefer a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gases when that approach has not worked in Europe – whereas a carbon tax in Sweden did help lower greenhouse-gas emissions?

Well, this doesn’t exactly apply to me, so I will answer a related question:  What do you think of Global Warming?

I think Humans are partitially responsible for global warming.  However, astrophysicists know the sun is warming very slightly, and geologists know there are naturally occuring variations in Earth’s temperature unrelated to the sun’s warming.  All three are affecting our climate now.  I assume we are responsible for about one third of the problem.

By far the most expensive way of combating global warming would be to curb what we emit in our industrial processes, farming, transportation, etc.  Even the most optimistic estimates say that GDP will be 1% less than what it would have been without curbing emissions.  Over the next century, that adds up to over $160 trillion (assuming a ~2% GDP growth rate).

My plan is to launch trillions of tiny mirrors into the first Lagrangian point.  This is a very science-fictiony solution to a very science-fictiony problem.  We will probably need to block out about 1% of the sun’s light to stop global warming.  If we can build 100 nanometer mirrors (not too hard) with a density of water (a good assumption), and using the new Ares V rocket (which Obama wants to cancel), we can built this solar shade for between $2-3 Trillion, a savings of about 98.5%.  That assumes we can move 70 tons of mirrors to the Lagrangian point for $1 billion.

The question now becomes, what temperature should we shoot for?  Is the current temperature the perfect temperature?  Is the “preindustrial average” the goal?  Well, seeing as that the world was in a mini-ice age right before the industrial revolution, I would shoot for something other than the preindustrial average.

It is a well established theory that Civilization itself developed during a particularly warm period of recent climactic history.  This appears to be the optimum climate for us humans, so perhaps we should shoot for that.  We would need to allow global warming to continue until we are about 1.6C (2.9F) degrees warmer, or the guesstimated global temperature in 2040-2075 (no one really knows for sure).  In any case, we do not need to worry for another 3 decades.  But we do need to plan.

Well, I think I will post this much now and return later with more.

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One Response to “A Better Debate”

  1. drbolte Says:

    FINALLY. you post. and HALLELUJAH. some actual knowledge and real ideas.

    i am at a loss, honestly, about who to vote for. i never in my whole life thought that i would legitimately vote for a third party candidate, especially after the ross perot fiasco that i lived through, but i’m pretty sold on bob barr and his snazzy glasses–as much because he actually has ideas and sticks by them as the fact that i hate, loathe, and abominate everyone else running.

    i need help understanding this bailout nonsense. can you please write about that? i don’t have time to figure it out myself, by reading a multitude of biased news and sussing it out from there. i am trying to focus my panic elsewhere, and i feel myself getting an ulcer just reading CNN.com about it. i want to beat nancy pelosi, talk to harry reid because he’s mormon and i can trust him (shameless stereotyping notwithstanding), and figure out what in the world is going on.

    absent that, i need the almighty king of the nerds to help me out. can you? help me, rex nerdorum, you’re my only hope. 🙂

    also…palin. why is she imploding in the press? or is this just a left-wing conspiracy aimed at killing her credibility so that her “firing ’em up” capability is lessened?

    also…nope. that’s it. that’s all i got.


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