Mutal assured destruction

Mutual assured destruction or MAD was the cold war strategy of preventing nuclear war between the US and the USSR by each side threatening the other with total destruction if the other used nuclear weapons first in any conflict between the two. We have gradually moved away from MAD as both sides slowly reduce their respective nuclear arsenals. Today we face a different sort of mutual assured destruction, one using fossil fuels.

Some are advocating that we increase our exports of petroleum products and natural gas from fracking in an effort to wean our European friends and allies from a dependence on those fuels as supplied by Russia. Russia is using its status as a major energy supplier to influence the policies of its former clients and member states in Eastern Europe, particularly in the Baltic states and Ukraine. Some of our policy makers believe that we can influence Russia with sanctions and by undercutting some of its energy dominance. Perhaps we can, but it will be at great cost.

If we engage with Russia in an energy production race, it will be at the expense of both our environments, using land and water better spent on food production. What good will come from competing in and perhaps winning a fossil fuel production race if in the end we and perhaps Russia are left with devastated lands? That would truly be mutual assured destruction and it does not even begin to consider the additional environmental destruction caused by climate change and greater use of fossil fuels.

If our policy makers, supported by an informed electorate, decide that weaning Europe from Russian energy sources is a worthy cause, then we should help supply our friends and allies with additional green energy. Rather than invest in a fossil fuel competition with Russia, let us finance research and development of additional green energy, green energy that does not force us to live with a scarcity of clean water, adequate food supplies, and a degraded environment.

My 2016 prediction

In the presidential contest in 2016, I predict the Democrats will nominate an all female slate of Elizabeth Warren, US Senator from Massachusetts, for president and Wendy Davis, newly elected Governor of Texas, as her running mate. The GOP will nominate Ted Cruz of Texas as their standard-bearer and Mike Lee of Utah for vice president. Both are currently US Senators. The Democrats will win a landslide victory, carrying 49 states and the District of Columbia. The Republicans will carry only Mike Lee’s home state of Utah.

Forecasting this far in advance of an election is tricky business. When I forecasted the 2008 election in mid-2006, I forecasted a contest between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. I was doubly wrong. That was before I decided to support Barack Obama.

“The Constitutional Excuse For Subverting Democracy”: Just Another Conservative Heads-We-Win-Tails-You-Lose Proposition

Originally posted on

To anyone puzzled or confused about the preferred Tea Party self-identification buzzword “constitutional conservative,” George Will has done a fine job in his latest column spelling it all out, by way of touting a new book by Timothy Sandefur of the Pacific Legal Foundation. Progressives believe the Constitution provides a process that facilitates democracy. Conservatives understand that it’s a safeguard against the limitation of “natural” rights by democratic majorities.

This sounds reasonable if you accept the rather cartoonish idea that progressives do not acknowledge any limitations on popular majorities, or that the two sides mean roughly the same thing when they talk about individual rights. Here Will is not as forthcoming as he might have been, but his extensive discussion of the alleged incorporation of the Declaration of Independence into the Constitution–an invariable touchstone for Constitutional Conservatives–alludes to the common conservative belief that via the Declaration certain divinely granted or…

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