T: Republican reform : what can they offer to expand their base and get away from the radicalized right?
My first idea is a common sense limit to abortion, getting away from a hard pro-life stance. The evangelicals can squawk all they want, but most of ’em are voting for Trump in 2016. They need get off the cross about abortion if they are willing to support Trump, who was never pro-life anyway, at least until recently. Polls say the majority of the country is actually pro-limits over pro-choice. The planks are the same ones we always see, of course – but we can look forward towards where they need to go, and not so much give lip service to where they have been. Rather than defending crap like clean coal, look towards innovation and dominating the sustainable fuel market.
J: issues-wise, immigration is a big one… the majority of Americans favor a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, they could move away from Trump’s ridiculous hard line and stake out a middle ground with a more limited path than the Democrats propose.
T: I am personally an open borders guy, but I’m not a pol, so there’s probably a reason for that. One of the biggest things – looking from a further distance – is that they have to get away from lying about everything. If they are going to wrestle with immigration, they need to be the ones to own up. The dems aren’t exacfly the most honest assholes in the butt sandwich, either.
J: On trade, they could propose tariffs on limited classes of goods. We really do need to do something about China dumping goods in our markets and making American products uncompetitive. And yes, being honest (with themselves, as well as with the electorate) would be helpful, too. Clinton supported the TPP originally but then opposed the final form, there must have been something that changed during the negotiations that was unfavorable.
T: Oh, Clinton loves the holy SHIT out of the TPP. She’s pretending she doesn’t now, because of Bernie. But I bet she sleeps with a copy of it in between her legs.
J: I guess the question is, is a bad deal better than no deal in this case?
T: My take – subject to better information – is that Hillary would love to have a fully open trade hemisphere, and basically open all over the world.
J: She’s said as much.
T: The US would dominate a wide open trade world.
J: But will the Chinese go for it? will they remove the tariffs and import restrictions they have imposed? I’m guessing not, because that’s how they are supporting their economic expansion, by basically forcing their population to buy domestically produced goods
T: The chinese are choking to death on their manufacturing plants, and they are drowning in debt. I think Pakistan/Bangledesh are, too.
J: They are building huge cities that no one lives in just to maintain the appearance of growth (and to maintain low unemployment)
T: They have so many fucking people that, when they built their new and improved economies and raised the quality of life, they priced themselves out of their own markets both financially and environmentally.
J: There’s a major environmental catastrophe brewing in China.
T: They are literally choking to death. They are like a dive bar that never fixed the smoke eaters, then suddenly got packed with smokers. They love the money, but nobody can breathe – and then everybody left and the smoke stayed behind. Ulus, you know — they are really fucking sick of Chinese food. The lifestyle changes won’t go backwards – they aren’t going to go back to rice and cabbage.
J: Nope, they’ve gotten used to being a first world country and don’t want to go back.
T: China might be a dangerous situation militarily, too – but what can they really desire? They can’t get air from Taiwan. We are going to have to get the hell off the rock soon, or stop making so many healthy babies.
J: China burns almost as much coal as the rest of the world COMBINED. They really need to embrace clean coal tech.
T: They need to build several billion solar cells.
J: They do, but they sell them here.
T: If they can build ’em, that’s a start. We only use something like .2 percent of the ambient solar potential.
J: That was one of my friend Larry’s big issues, that Solyndra thing… he thought is was some kind of ripoff, but the fact was that the money went to build a nice shiny solar plant in Arizona. This plant could build solar panels for about $35 a square foot, but the Chinese flooded the market with panels costing $25 a square foot.
T: Who is buying the chinese solar panels and selling them here?
J: Utilities mostly, and solar-power installers.
T: No, I mean what companies? That’s not something small businesses could handle.
J: Utility companies are buying them and building solar arrays all over the place. There’s one here in Bridgeport.
T: Is there some reason why we can’t compete with the price? How can they make ’em and ship ’em over here and beat us that badly? Is China getting a reverse tariff?
J: There is practically no domestic production of solar panels any more, we simply don’t have the facilities to make them. I don’t know if the Chinese government is subsidizing them but I wouldn’t be surprised.
T: Ya know who’s failing us … it’s not just the workers who expect big money for unskilled labor. The Republican business guys are too much in the corporate mode, not in the building mode. They spend all their time in boardrooms. The old robber barons were just as bad, but they understood how to make stuff.
J: Too answerable to heir shareholders, they need to say “OK, we’re not gonna make as much money this year, but we’re gonna spend a billion dollars upgrading our production facilities and do this right”.
T: But we need to deincentivize franchising and corporate welfare. And let them take some tax breaks for building manufacturing facilities on US soil. The green revolution, maybe?
J: Putting a tariff on imported solar panels would kill the market, we need to develop competitive facilities, even if we have to subsidize them. Play the Chinese’s game.
T: Tax incentives to build sustainable fuel businesses, and a cookie for the first asshole to power a car with solar panels that can go 150 miles per hour. Figure a way to let individuals put batteries in a national grid, to help power the electrical grid, and provide a little extra income for the battery owner.
J: I saw something not long ago that I thought was a terrific idea, it was roof shingles that had solar panels built in to them. I think Elon Musk was backing it. They should subsidize the shit out of those.
T: Home depot shingles, 12 bucks a cubic foot but they can be used to power your entire electrical panel. Homeowners can put windmills out, too. Oh, that’s where I saw it!
J: Even if it only supplied 50 percent of your household electrical needs, it would be a game-changer.
T: They have wind farms, but to make them work consistently – not have power surges and drags – they need the national battery network.
J: They need to come up with some kind of national X Prize, $10 million for the biggest improvement in battery tech.
T: We could put big batteries in houses all over the country that are connected to a grid, powered by the wind farms – and solar farms eventually – that provide consistent power that doesn’t ebb and flow. I think the tech is there – what they need is a push for a major change in the infrastructure. We have all this oil, and the rest of the world is just fucked because the prices are low.
J: I’m not sure the tech is there, battery storage is still fairly archaic tech.
T: I dunno — check out recent chem journals, maybe? My chemistry teacher seemed to think they had some serious stuff in the pike.
J: But making even 50 percent of household consumption renewable would put OPEC out of business.
T: Either way, it’s a direction. We can get there with a focus in the correct direction. OPEC out of business would mean World War 3.
J: There might be serious stuff on the way, the incentives are there for the researchers.
T: We need to be inclusive, make this a global initiative. Nationalism is going to inevitably lead to world war three, I think. the only way we prevent it is to build a global economic model and, AND, get the fuck off the rock at a speed fast enough to get us somewhere. I think we’ll have travel fast enough to get to other stars by 2200 – but it’s probably 5-2 against that it will be human technology.
J: I think we can support a lot more population than we now have, but we have to stop this knee-jerk opposition to GMOs and Monsanto. If we can grow twice as much food on the same land, we SHOULD, damn it.
T: I agree HEARTILY. Monsanto does some pretty awesome things, but we are such flat-earthers about it. But we need to be careful not to grow all the way to our limits.
J: Or past them.
T: We are losing trees at a rate that might prevent us from getting enough rain out of the oceans. We can’t just keep cutting them down.
J: I agree with you that the future is going to be off this rock, but that’s for 200 years from now, probably won’t be my problem unless they get serious about extending lifespan. I know Weyerhaeuser plants a tree for every one they cut down, but deforestation is a serious problem worldwide.
T: I doubt much of this will be our problem – by 2040 we’ll be worm food or eating it.
J: Especially in South America, they’re cutting them down like there’s no tomorrow there.
T: Yeah, the cow farmers. We need to do something about the cow farming.
J: It’s a tremendously inefficient way to get protein, but we like our beef.
T: It’s just a massive waste of resources in every direction. New Guinea is even worse – scientists think it’ll be uninhabitable in our lifetimes.
J: I think you get something like twenty times as much food from an acre of corn as you can get from an acre of pasture.
T: That’s another argument for globalization — those ranchers are way behind the times culturally, but they have modern equipment. Like giving AR-15s to retarded kids.
J: We’re going to have to eventually, as a species, come together for the good of all of us and use our resources in the best way possible.
T: Yeah … or the last few of us left are going to have to mop up.
J: “Will the last person off the Earth please turn off the lights?”
T: I’m an optimist, though.
J: I am too… I believe that eventually we’ll do what we need to do.
T: Self-interest, the ultimate aphrodisiac.
J: Yeah, it may take us 50 years but we’ll get there.
Calvin and Hobbes were arguing about whether nature is art or not. Calvin wrote his name in a big field of snow — with his hand, it’s a kid’s cartoon — and asked Hobbes if he wanted to buy his ‘art.’
Hobbes said he already had one, and Calvin looked through the fourth wall at us and said, “the tricky thing about art is knowing who is putting who on.”
This picture Val posted sort of expresses a similar sentiment; the person who put that sign on the tree was “signing” nature. Literally in this case, but that’s not what I mean.
What I mean is, that every time a liberal takes credit for something natural — people being gay, people being brown, people being poor, dogs being rescues, etc. — it sort of sounds to me like somebody trying to take credit for nature.
Some people are gay. Some dogs need rescuing. Lots and lost of people are brown — way more than are not brown, incidentally — and if you look around you can always find someone who is poor and/or hungry.
That’s nature. Human nature. If a human being can imagine something, chances are it exists. But it’s itself, it’s own thing. A gay person is just gay. Not PRIDEFULLY gay, just gay. Don’t judge the person for it, don’t celebrate the person for it. Just respect the person for it. Enjoy nature. Don’t sign it.
Does this make any sense? I mean, I get the joy and all the good feeling a person gets from rescuing a dog from the pound. It’s a nice thing, and a beautiful illustration of human kindness. Human nature.
But if you put a bumper sticker on your car that says “my other dog is a rescue, too” or “I live to rescue” or something like that, you are signing nature. You are like a guy who brags about giving to charity.
But that’s just me. Not all gay people want to march in parades and wear rainbow shirts, and not all dogs have to be sick and damaged to be worth adopting.
So when I saw this sign, I thought to myself, “what kind of selfish prick would put a sign like that up in the middle of a field? Who would sign the world like he owned it?”