The Plain Truth

...and some fancy speculation.

Saturday, September 14, 2002

The United States of Earth

An interesting thought I've had before, and have been having again lately, just got brought up by a comment in another blog. Why not open up statehood in the US to other countries? There is of course nothing to prohibit such a move, it's just not ever been tossed about much as a potential tool of US Hegemony.

Think about it, we already pay for most of the defense of Japan already, and making such mutually beneficial economic and defense relationships more explicit would solve a host of problems (while of course making new ones).

If you want our protection, petition for statehood. If we find that you have enough to contribute economically and otherwise, Congress would approve the application. That's how all of the United States after the original 13 entered the Union anyway (granted, after they were already territories of the US).

State laws already have an amazing amount of difference, Louisiana's legal system isn't even based on the English Common Law, but more on the Napolianic Code like most of the EU (and much of the rest of the world outside of the British Commonwealth) . So we already have at least some experience with vastly different Federal and State legal systems.

In the specific case of Japan, we already wrote their Constitution for them after WWII, and explicitly modelled it after ours. Why not full statehood in such cases? Sovereignty arguments are mostly moot, they are the most severe example of a "client state" that America has, we do not allow them the warmaking power that Sovereign nations normally possess.

posted by David 9/14/2002 04:48:00 PM

Friday, September 13, 2002

Why waste it as fuel?

Let's face it, the world will eventually run out of cheap crude oil. While many agricultural replacements for fuel uses (alcohol and biodiesel) are currently more expensive than petroleum for fuel use, synthetic replacements for crude oil's other industrial uses (plastics and pharmaceuticals primarily amoung them) are often much more expensive and difficult to fabricate.

Biodiesel currently costs less than twice petroleum diesel to produce, and that will only fall with increased production scale. We should horde our domestic petroleum reserves for future non-fuel industrial use, by phasing in biological fuels. Current economic players in the US need not lose out at all: gas and diesel distributors will still dominate that sector, and refiners will still be the ones blending and formulating fuel mixes. The only modification for a diesel burning vehicle required for it to burn biodiesel is to make sure all of its hoses and gaskets are made of synthetic rubber, and to add a simple fuel warming system to cars and trucks that operate in below freezing weather. As a bonus, all of the CO2 emissions are in a closed biological cycle. Give a nice tax break for biodiesel conversion and distribution, and give farmers subsidies for oil extraction and alcohol distillation equipment instead of to not farm, and it need not even cost more at the pump.

Then when the rest of the world is looking around wondering what to do when the oil runs out, we'll already be green for vehicle fuel, still have oil for plastics, and still have cheap gas.

That's a short, medium and long term win.

But of course Iraqi oil wouldn't hurt to buffer the transition.
posted by David 9/13/2002 04:54:00 PM

Put up or shut up

I just read the text to President Bush's speech before the UN yesterday. I haven't seen it yet, so I can't give any opinion of his delivery, but I think the text is masterful.
It challenges the UN to "put up or shut up" as it were.
Bravo to the President and his advisors, speech writers and editors, as that text adroitly walks a very fine line between many conflicting interests
posted by David 9/13/2002 04:41:00 PM

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

I don't believe in purely technological solutions to social problems, at least I haven't since I was 19. But the current American War on Terror is the first conflict to be covered by the blogosphere, and that is important. The American Revolution made extensive use of the printing press. The Civil War leveraged the telegraph. The World Wars of the Twentieth Century used the telephone, radio and film to devastating effect. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America. Public commentary via weblogs is helping keep America free in the face of the awful temptations to power offered by war.
posted by David 9/11/2002 09:45:00 PM

Why does all of this matter? Well, as you can see from the date on these initial posts to this Soapbox, it is as I type still the first anniversary of 9/11/2001. Our digital tools of speech will help keep us free. The Mullahs in Iran haven't figured that out yet, but the teenagers there have. The Chinese govt. knows it, hence the Great Firewall of China. But it is arguable whether that is working any better than the last Great Wall of China, at least at keeping out the barbarian hordes, or in this case their thoughts and images. I think the US Military should install wireless networks and give away cheap WebPads everywhere we liberate a suffering people, such as in Afganistan or (hopefully) Iraq. Make them compatible with eDinar and let them feel the cool breeze of free enterprise and open information.
posted by David 9/11/2002 09:29:00 PM

The initial research and development of the Internet was funded by the United States Department of Defense. Some in the Intelligence Community think that perhaps they wrought too well, and that now the genie is out of the bottle. Ah, but what better defense of Freedom Everywhere than an Electronic River of Speech?
posted by David 9/11/2002 08:04:00 PM

Yes, a Soapbox. Oh, we may call it a weblog, but it's really just a glorified soapbox. Just like in the Free Speach Area where I went to University, anyone can say ANYTHING they want to, and are free to be listened to or ignored by passersby.

Except this soapbox has the entire Internet as its sidewalk. That makes all the difference in the world.
posted by David 9/11/2002 07:16:00 PM

Ah, a Digital Soapbox!!
posted by David 9/11/2002 07:10:00 PM


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