Phony World

What do these services have in common?

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • SnapChat
  • ChatGPT, Bard, and other artificial intelligence services
  • Metaverse
  • TikTok
  • News outlets of all types.

They are each designed to attract and channel eyeballs in support of advertising and propaganda. They attract and channel eyeballs by appealing to sensationalism and by reinforcing biases. They ban participants and subjects their managements’ don’t approve of. They enable user and publisher information silos that keep alternative content hidden.

Given millions of users stuck in silos across all these and similar services, our communities become polarized into dogmatic tribes without tolerance for debate or mutual respect.

We have allowed technology to enable phony world. You escape phony world by debating with people eyeball to eyeball and by researching the reality of issues using multiple sources. Form your views based on information, not the opinions of others. Think for yourself.

Turn Back the Brave Old World

Democratic Party leadership and activists believe they are in righteous pursuit of a brave new world of “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” These are nonsense words having goals that can’t be measured, intangible policy implications, and no explainable moral foundation.

Reality is that these people seek centralized control over us, an old construct that includes such historical examples as feudalism, fascism, socialism, and communism. Democratic Party goals are in direct conflict with the goals of individual freedom and responsibility that underpin the United States Constitution, our founding principals.

The Democratic Party seeks to replace Federalism with national control.

  • They demand national control of elections.
  • They demand national control of education.
  • They demand national control of media.
  • They demand national control of work.
  • They demand national control of energy.
  • They demand national control of health care.
  • They demand packing the US Supreme Court to allow for laws that impose national control.

We already know from history that this will end badly if they get their way. These are not American Democrats. They are the same old power mongers our Constitution was designed to constrain.

Until the current Democratic Party leadership is replaced by those respecting our Constitution and understanding its proven value in creating a just and prosperous society, vote Republican to assure the moral foundations of America remain intact.

BEV’s Are Uncertain, Nuclear is Real

Before you draw conclusions about my mental fitness to question electric vehicle orthodoxy, please understand that I own a battery electric vehicle (BEV) and find it superior personal transportation technology. Saving the earth? Not so much.

There are many studies claiming BEV carbon emissions superiority to internal combustion engine (ICE) automobiles. There are also many studies making it clear the jury will be in session for many years before we have a definitive answer. At best, life cycle emissions comparing BEV’s with ICE automobiles is currently a wash, more BEV emissions up front versus more ICE emissions over time. Also, claims of efficiently recycling BEV batteries at scale to reduce life cycle emissions are unproven.

A recent study from Volvo needs to be seriously considered. Volvo concludes that carbon emissions from mining and processing materials in their BEV XC 40 are 70% greater than those from the comparable ICE XC40 model. They project cumulative BEV emissions begin to be lower than those from the comparable ICE model after 146,000 km (90,000 miles) based on electricity charging the BEV coming from the current global mix of power plant energy sources. That’s about 10 years of driving. The study makes no assumptions about emissions related to end of life recycling for either vehicle.

Volvo projects BEV versus ICE emissions break even at 84,000 km (52,000 miles) based on their measure of the power plant energy mix of the 28 European Union countries; again, without knowledge of comparable recycling emissions and costs. A bit better, but still a highly uncertain projection.

This Volvo study by a very interested and experienced participant in the automobile business makes clear that governments are chasing a marginal and uncertain (if not phantom) benefit in subsidizing and promoting BEVs. This compares to known and real CO2 emission benefits from nuclear and solar power.

BEVs are the wrong initial focus for government subsidies if the goal is to materially impact carbon emissions with any certainty. Emphasis on lowering power grid carbon emissions will provide the foundation upon which BEVs may make both environmental and economic sense in the long run. If they really want tangible results, governments need to stop subsidizing BEVs and spend those dollars on a major program to put nuclear back into the power generation mix while also promoting utility scale solar fields.

Political Sentiments

I was out for a morning walk a few days ago and came across this yard sign:

It is on the road side of a beach front home that is for sale for $3.2 million on the New Jersey coast .

I wonder what this sign means. I looked up the text and only found tee shirts for sale.

I did find references to “check your privilege” which college age people apparently say to those who say things that indicate they are “privileged,” like being in college I presume.

So, what am I being asked to do here? How exactly do I “fight for those without my privilege?”

I know I am privileged because I live in a republic that protects personal freedom and asks for personal responsibility in exchange.

I know I am privileged because my parents loved me and worked hard to provide the best possible education and opportunities for their family.

How do I identify those who do not have “my privilege” so I can “fight” for them? Will they contact me and tell me what I can do for them? What does “fight” mean in a tangible sense?

Are the people who own the $3.2 million beach front house going to give the proceeds of the sale to a charity that is going to “fight for those without their privilege?” Will they then have lost “their privilege” and ask others to “fight” for them?

Is this anything more than a political sentiment designed to help communicate feelings of moral superiority?

Please educate me.

Regards, Pete Weldon

Charities of Freedom

William P. Barr’s speech at Notre Dame on October 11, 2019 begins a critical discussion.

People of faith, whether or not participants in an organized religion, need to be respected at all levels of government if we are to avoid a national tyranny where government determines and coerces what it believes to be acceptable moral beliefs and behavior. Stated another way, our freedom depends on government getting out of the business of telling us how to think and what to believe.

One approach to getting off the government morality train is to make all government social programs subject to specific taxpayer support. Two thirds of the Federal budget is spent supporting charity approved by party politics, not by the voters (food stamps, medicaid, Social Security and Medicare, and many other programs such as subsidized housing and loans). We can stop the government morality train by restructuring the scope of Federal government support for social programs as follows:

  • Establish a requirement that every taxpayer contribute 67% of their taxable income to 501(c)(3) charities in place of all current Federal social program funding.
  • Convert all Federal social programs to independent 501(c)(3) charities with independent Boards of Directors.
  • Each taxpayer specifies those 501(c)(3) charities they want their taxable income to support.
  • The IRS distributes the funds according to taxpayer designations.
  • Phase this in over 10 years by accumulating 6.7% of taxable income per year going to designated 501(c)(3) charities.

While many details need to be worked out, consequences of such an approach will contribute significantly to maintaining high quality charitable programs while restoring our personal freedom.

  • Each social program will be funded by individually designated contributions, ending political battles about program funding (abortion for example).
  • The Federal government will shrink while tax revenues remain constant presuming no changes in rates.
  • Annual changes in charitable funding will be tied directly to national income.
  • Each social program will have to prove its worth to the taxpayers in a competitive environment, improving both quality and efficiency.
  • Current overlapping social programs will naturally consolidate, improving both quality and efficiency.
  • Spending power will transfer from a national bureaucracy to the individual taxpayer.
  • Questions about the morality of particular beliefs and behaviors are resolved by individuals voting with their own money.

Regards, Pete Weldon