Syria’s wide open escape hatch

Perhaps I’m being too cynical, but Syria’s willingness to give up their chemical weapons so easily when they had never even admitted to having them in the past just seems like a stalling tactic, especially when they have a wide open escape hatch to derail the whole plan:

“The inspectors responsible for tracking down Syria’s chemical arms stockpile and verifying its destruction plan to start in Syria by Tuesday. They will face their tightest deadlines ever and work right in the heart of a war zone, according to a draft decision obtained Friday by The Associated Press.”

Who’s going to protect these inspectors? The Syrian troops? That’s funny. If the Syrian troops don’t shell the inspectors themselves (and blame it on the rebels), they will allow any of the various extremist rebel factions to attack. A few dead UN inspectors and the whole operation halts. Syria says, “Don’t blame us, we’re fighting these guys too! We can’t protect our own people either.”

Suddenly, people aren’t talking about the chemical attack any more, it’s about how to protect UN troops – speeches will be given, votes will be proposed and vetoed, and the endless cycle of war goes on. Actually, if you think about it, it’s the perfect way for Syria to put the “bad guy” label on the rebels and put itself back on the side of good. “Hey, we’re trying to do the right thing here and these terrorists are screwing it up. C’mon guys, let’s go get them!”

I think we’re playing checkers while others are playing chess.

Providing gun ownership to the public

I’ve held off on writing any political posts because I think a lot of people’s eyes gloss over, but I just can’t hold back on this particular issue: public dissemination of gun holder information.

My first reaction to this whole kerfuffle is: why on earth is any of this information widely available to the public? What the hell is going on in New York!? Why would any gun holder allow this law to be passed? But then I realized that NY is much more restrictive about guns than the “wild west” coast.

Even still, something about this really bothers me. I just don’t see why this information should be made public. What purpose does it serve? What’s the use case? So that you can check to see if your neighbor has a gun? Why is it any of YOUR (generically speaking) business whether your neighbor has a gun? If you really want to know, you can ask them – and the neighbor can decide if he/she wants you to know. It’s not your business to know.

Does it make you safer in any way to which of your neighbors has a gun? I hear the excuse, “I want to know who has guns so I can make sure my kids don’t go there”. What’s next, public maps on which houses have pools, trampolines, matches, small objects, solvents, alcohol, tobacco, and pornography? It comes down to you having to be a parent. You have to know where your kids are, who they’re with, and what they’re doing. If keeping your kids away from guns is that important to you, you will discuss your concerns with the parents of the kids play with, and if there are guns in the house (that the neighbors will cop to), then you take steps to deal with it. Incidentally, if your neighbors (as fellow parents) can’t or won’t tell you the truth about their guns, you probably have bigger problems to deal with.


Interesting idea for carbon tax

I have to say, I really like the idea expressed in this NY Times article about climate change:

We need to start reducing emissions significantly, not create new ways to increase them. We should impose a gradually rising carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, then distribute 100 percent of the collections to all Americans on a per-capita basis every month. The government would not get a penny. This market-based approach would stimulate innovation, jobs and economic growth, avoid enlarging government or having it pick winners or losers. Most Americans, except the heaviest energy users, would get more back than they paid in increased prices. Not only that, the reduction in oil use resulting from the carbon price would be nearly six times as great as the oil supply from the proposed pipeline from Canada, rendering the pipeline superfluous, according to economic models driven by a slowly rising carbon price.

I imagine there are some thrifty people out there that could actually net PROFIT from the proceeds of a carbon tax reimbursement. I love the idea that the government doesn’t get to keep the revenue. To me, this is thinking outside the box!