Enron’s Quid Pro Quo

We all know how money corrupts politics: campaign dollars buy access to powerful elected officials. Out of the access come sweetheart deals uniquely benefitting the contributor, often written by the contributor’s own staff. Sometimes these deals take the form of procurement, such as government contracts for $600 toilet seats or Jesse Jackson outreach grants. Other times, they disrupt markets and create monopolies or near-monopolies. On this week’s McLaughlin Group, the always-humble Dr. connects the dots between Enron contributions to the Clinton campaign and the Kyoto Treaty.

Kyoto uniquely disadvantages the US, aside from what you think about global warming, because it sets pollution ceilings at artificial levels. The UK merely has to stay below the level they were at before they switched from coal to gas for most electricity; Germany has to stay below their level immediately following unification, when much of their electricity was generated by East German coal plants now de-commissioned. But levels for the US penalize us for a relatively cleaner system of generation.

Kyoto would require the US to shut down all of our coal-fired plants and replace them with the only politically correct and practical alternative, natural gas. And guess who was the leader in natural gas-fired electrical plants? Bingo, it was Enron, and evidence suggests they were heavily involved with pushing Clinton and Gore in the Kyoto direction before, during, and after the writing of the treaty.

Kyoto also creates a trans-national system of trading in pollution credits, something Enron was uniquely well-positioned to do. Smoking-gun Company memos touted the benefits that the Kyoto Treaty would bring to Enron

So why fixate on small fry like Paul Krugman when the most massive assault on the American standard of living is staring you right in the face? Wake up, Andrew Sullivan and Virginia Postrel, and smell the money. The Big Money.

The trouble with Marxism

Is Marxism a failure because human beings are inherently flawed, or is Marxism itself to blame? Read this article based on the author’s experiences in China: Partisan Review

Democracy is the institutionalization of the fact that disagreement is both inevitable and good. Marx didn%u2019t distinguish between democracy and other political systems. In the Manifesto, he wrote, “Political power, properly so called, is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another.” He was wrong. A philosophy that looks forward to the end of conflict of interest leads logically and inevitably to a society where disagreement is viewed as the embodiment of evil. When individuality was outlawed, individuals themselves were considered worthless. Countries as different as Russia, Ethiopia, and China all developed the same architecture, the same “neighborhood committees,” the same fear of thought. What is even worse, they pursued policies that led to starvation on a catastrophic scale. Such a famine is currently taking place in North Korea. It is no accident, comrade.

Marxism is more a religion than a political philosophy, but we in the West can at least thank it for preventing the the capitalist spirit of China from dominating the world economy for the present.

Exploding laptops

New Scientist
A new way of making silicon explode could mean anyone trying to use a stolen laptop or mobile will be confronted by this message: “This machine is stolen and will self-destruct in ten seconds … “.

Until now scientists have only managed to make silicon go bang by mixing it with either liquid oxygen or nitric acid. But Michael Sailor and his colleagues at the University of California in San Diego have found a way to blow up silicon chips using an electrical signal.

Is Procket Heading Toward the Edge?

Light Reading – The Global Site For Optical Networking

Recent personnel shifts at stealthy router startup Procket Networks Inc. signal that a change in product strategy could be close at hand.

Two days ago, sources say, the company canned roughly 20 staffers, most believed to be engineers, along with up to 30 contract workers. While Procket admits that some employees were let go, it would not give exact numbers. A company spokesperson was also careful not to call the incident a layoff.

“It’s not true; we didn’t have a layoff,” says Suzanne Panopolos, director of marketing for Procket. “We’ve done a workforce realignment. Some people’s skill set didn’t match our plan, and they were managed out. But I wouldn’t call it a layoff. In fact, we are still hiring.”

The realignment and personnel shifts lend credence to the rumor that Procket is shifting its product strategy. Instead of building a core router, the company is now building an edge router, say several venture capital and financial sources.

I interviewed at Procket a few months ago, and I wasn’t impressed.

Nothing for something

We just recently cancelled our AT&T Cable Internet deal and went to DSL with a cool ISP, Sonic.net. Here’s another reason not to patronize AT&T: they want to charge you for something you can do for free today 80211Planet – News: AT&T Broadband Offers Home Nets

The networking is to be installed by the user. In addition to paying $45.95 per month for the basic broadband access and cable modem rental, users must pay $4.95 per month for each additional network node.

The extra nodes are currently free, of course, as long as they’re behind your NAT box. There’s one born every minute, apparently.

Domain names

Now that NSI doesn’t have a monopoly on domain registration, discount brokers are on the scene offering domain names for as little as $5 for a UK domain, or $9 for a American one (ending in .com, .org, .net). 123-reg and Domains for $10 offer basic registration services, and actual DNS management (the thing that directs web surfers and e-mail to tour server) is avaible anywhere from free to whatever you want to pay for it. ZoneEdit and My Domain offer it for free. Are any of these guys going to stay in business?

Deconstructing egalitarianism

There’s an interesting critique of the egalitarianism of Rawls and Dworkin in City Journal. Here’s a highlight by way of Arts and Letters Daily:

Indefensible as it is, Dworkin’s theory usefully illustrates problems that render all versions of egalitarianism untenable. Egalitarians face a fatal dilemma. If they say, as does Dworkin, that individual responsibility really does matter, then they must accept the anti-egalitarian claim that it is wrong to equalize the resources of people who live up to their responsibilities and those who don’t. Conversely, if they insist, as does Rawls, that individual responsibility makes no difference in deciding what resources people should have, then they are committed to the absurd and unjust policy of confiscating the legally owned property of moral, prudent, and law-abiding people in order to benefit the immoral, imprudent, and criminal. The only escape from this dilemma is to abandon egalitarianism.