The Rational Egoist

Welcome to my blog. My name is Steve Giardina. I consider myself to be a student of the philosophy of Objectivism, and these are my many thoughts. Feel free to leave comments, as well as your opinions.

"In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours. But to win it requires your total dedication and a total break with the world of your past, with the doctrine that man is a sacrificial animal who exists for the pleasure of others. Fight for the value of your person. Fight for the virtue of your pride. Fight for the essence of that which is man: for his sovereign rational mind. Fight with the radiant certainty and the absolute rectitude of knowing that yours is the Morality of Life." Ayn Rand


Back From Thanksgiving [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 11:53 pm

Hello all, I’d like to explain the recent break in posts. I’ve been away for Thanksgiving Break, and I really just wanted to take a break from the whole experience of reading about terrorists and bad philosophies. Now I am back from Thanksgiving Break, but it is definitely crunch time here at college. In the next two weeks I will be writing two important papers, taking two very important finals, and studying like crazy in between. That being said, it is likely that my posts will be light. However, keep checking back for news stories and light posts.

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8.2% Economic Increase [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 12:18 pm

The GDP rose 8.2% in the third quarter which is the highest increase since 1984

Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) – The U.S. economy grew at an 8.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter, faster than the government initially estimated as companies boosted inventories in September to meet the surge in demand.

The nation’s gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, grew from July through September at the fastest pace since the first three months of 1984, when Ronald Reagan was president. The Commerce Department previously reported a 7.2 percent third-quarter growth rate, following a 3.3 percent pace in the second quarter.

“Growth is now super-super strong compared to super strong,'’ said Joseph LaVorgna, senior U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, whose forecast of 8.3 percent was the highest in a Bloomberg News survey.

Consumer spending increased at a 6.4 percent annual rate last quarter, the fastest pace in six years, and retailers such as Williams-Sonoma Inc. restocked shelves to help satisfy anticipated sales. A measure of profit widened to a record $739.7 billion, giving companies confidence to increase spending.

“Inventories declined less than people thought, and there was more production,'’ said Kevin Logan, senior economist at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, who forecast 8.1 percent. “The rebound in corporate profits will impress people with the idea that business spending will continue to support the economy for the next quarter or two.'’

Is it a coincidence that we had a Republican president during the last largest increase in our GDP? I think not!

Keep in mind however, while this is great news, Bush still has a lot of problems with his economic policies. Under Bush, we’ve had the greatest expansion of Medicare in history (still pending but looks probable), a massive increase in non-military government spending (the largest in history I believe), a major federal deficit (though part of this can be attributed to the positive war on terror), etc. If only Bush would begin the destruction of Medicare, Social Security, Welfare, public education, the FCC, the SEC, and all other government intrusion into the economy, we would be set. Doesn’t look like that will be happening any time soon though.

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Patriots for the Defense of America [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:01 pm

I recently came across this “report card” on the U.S. War on Terrorism published by the Patriots for the Defense of America.

Patriots assigned the Administration an average grade of “D+” for its failure to execute a war against the most pressing foreign threats. The categories graded are as follows:

1. The “Hot War” (Iraq and Afghanistan): Iraq posed a real threat to the U.S., but not as great as that posed by nations like Iran and North Korea. Each of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were fought in a shameful manner, sacrificing American troops to unjustifiably restrictive “rules of engagement.”
Grade: C
2. The “Cold War” (Iran and North Korea): Two out of three members of the “axis of evil” have gone unpunished, despite the overwhelming terrorist and/or nuclear threats they pose. Even worse, the U.S. has appeased them, encouraging further aggression.
Grade: D-
3. The “Breeding Grounds” (Saudi Arabia and Pakistan): These governments claim to be allies in the war against militant Islamic terrorism, but fail to suppress terrorists in their own midst. Bush has failed to issue an ultimatum demanding their cooperation.
Grade: C-
4. Israel and the Palestinians: The American “road map” for peace has forced Israel to negotiate with Palestinian terrorists, requiring Israel to abdicate its right to self-defense. This policy is self-defeating for America, since Israel is a natural ally in the war against militant Islam.
Grade: F
5. Military Deployment and Readiness: Despite massive new defense spending, the Bush administration has failed to use its military power—especially the threat of its nuclear arsenal—in a way that minimizes risks to American troops, and maximizes the American ability to destroy the enemy.
Grade: C
6. International Law and Diplomacy: While American policy is widely criticized as too “unilateral,” in reality the Bush administration has demonstrated an undue, self-abasing deference to international opinion and the U.N.—resulting in pointless delays and setbacks in the war.
Grade: D+

If you are interested, please check out the entire 19-page report as supplied by the link above.

Since I am a very busy college student, and therefore do not have much time to discuss everything about our foreign policy, I put forth this report card published by the Patriots for the Defense of America as demonstrating my views on U.S. foreign policy. While this report leaves out my views on minor aspects of foreign policy such as our relations with certain Latin American and European countries, this report demonstrates my essential and most important views regarding U.S. foreign policy, specifically, on our “war on terror.”

As a side note, when I have time, I will be publishing guidelines for commenting on my blog. In the past week or so, I have received a surge of popularity and comments that I have never seen before on this blog. While I appreciate this surge of interest, the majority of the comments posted have been hostile, irrational, and sometimes down right personal attacks. Such comments will not be tolerated. The purpose of this blog is to discuss my views and opinions, and to engage in rational dialogue with whomever is interested (whether or not they agree or disagree with my views). However, irrational name-calling and irrationality as such will not be tolerated. (Keep in mind that two people can be perfectly rational and disagree on a particular subject, so rationality does not entail agreement with my view on a particular subject). I have no problem banning particular individuals who do not follow this policy, however, no banning will take place until official guidelines are posted on my part.

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Howard Dean the Statist [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:06 pm

Democractic presidential candidate Howard Dean has proposed a radical “re-regulation of businesses.”

HOUSTON, Nov. 18 – After years of government deregulation of energy markets, telecommunications, the airlines and other major industries, Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean is proposing a significant reversal: a comprehensive “re-regulation” of U.S. businesses.
Computer Associates

The former Vermont governor said he would reverse the trend toward deregulation pursued by recent presidents – including, in some respects, Bill Clinton – to help restore faith in scandal-plagued U.S. corporations and better protect U.S. workers.

In an interview around midnight Monday on his campaign plane with a small group of reporters, Dean listed likely targets for what he dubbed as his “re-regulation” campaign: utilities, large media companies and any business that offers stock options. Dean did not rule out “re-regulating” the telecommunications industry, too.

He also said a Dean administration would require new workers’ standards, a much broader right to unionize and new “transparency” requirements for corporations that go beyond the recently enacted Sarbanes-Oxley law.

“In order to make capitalism work for ordinary human beings, you have to have regulation,” Dean said. “Right now, workers are getting screwed.”

Good God, this is frightening. To have ANY U.S. politician make a statement such as this, let alone a politician of one of the two major parties, is quite a frightening thing. Again we see the ridiculous contradiction of claiming to reap the benefits of capitalism while completely undercutting it through regulation.

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Collaboration Between Hussein and Bin Laden is Clear [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:53 pm

According to this extensive intelligence report, the collaboration between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden is quite clear.

Usama bin Laden (search) and Saddam Hussein (search) had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, Al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for Al Qaeda - perhaps even for Mohamed Atta - according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained by The Weekly Standard.

The memo, dated October 27, 2003, was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith (search) to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was written in response to a request from the committee as part of its investigation into prewar intelligence claims made by the administration. Intelligence reporting included in the 16-page memo comes from a variety of domestic and foreign agencies, including the FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. Much of the evidence is detailed, conclusive, and corroborated by multiple sources. Some of it is new information obtained in custodial interviews with high-level Al Qaeda terrorists and Iraqi officials, and some of it is more than a decade old. The picture that emerges is one of a history of collaboration between two of America’s most determined and dangerous enemies.

According to the memo, which lays out the intelligence in 50 numbered points, Iraq-Al Qaeda contacts began in 1990 and continued through mid-March 2003, days before the Iraq War began. Most of the numbered passages contain straight, fact-based intelligence reporting, which in some cases includes an evaluation of the credibility of the source. This reporting is often followed by commentary and analysis.


But there can no longer be any serious argument about whether Saddam Hussein’s Iraq worked with Usama bin Laden and Al Qaeda to plot against Americans.

It seems pretty clear to me that Bin Laden and Hussein have worked together in the past and have had strong motivations to do so. While I still believe that countries like Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia are bigger threats, however, this clearly justifies the case for going to war with Iraq as such. I just disagree about WHEN we should have taken out Iraq.

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Veterans Day [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 2:42 pm

Edwin Locke asks us to give real meaning to Veterans Day.

The best way we can honor our veterans and give real meaning to Veterans Day – aside from ceremonies honoring their past and present dedication and bravery – is to promise that we will go to war only when America’s interests as a free nation are threatened.

The events of 9/11 have made it abundantly clear that there exist Moslem fanatics whose goal is to destroy our country and the values it stands for. It is clearly in our self-interest to use the full power of our military might to destroy those who would destroy us.

Right on Dr. Locke. On this Veterans Day, not only should we proudly uphold the principles of freedom and individual rights on which this country was founded, but we should also proclaim that we should only act militarily in our own self -interest. Bring our military home from places such as Liberia, Bosnia, Kosovo, etc. Most importantly, send our forces into places such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Syria, and North Korea to rid the world of these enemies of freedom and individual rights.

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Flat Tax Making a Comeback [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 4:45 pm

Check out this recent op-ed by Bruce Bartlett. In it, he discusses the resurgence of the flat tax.

The flat tax is making a comeback. After being banished to the political wilderness after Steve Forbes made it the central issue of his losing campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996, interest is perking up again. One of the Democrats running for president could do himself (or herself) a lot of good by picking it up.

The immediate cause for renewed interest in the flat tax is an order by Paul Bremer, administrator of the Iraqi Provisional Authority, establishing a 15 percent flat rate tax in that country. The order was signed on Sept. 19 and takes effect on Jan. 1. A Nov. 2 report in The Washington Post said that Bremer’s action was sparking a new drive among those like Forbes to revive the issue here.

Interesting. I support the flat tax as an intermediate measure on the road to capitalism.

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Bush: Mideast Must Move Towards Democracy [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 4:40 pm

President Bush delivered a speech in which he stated that the former policy of the U.S. in accepting dictatorships and theocractic regimes in the Middle East is unacceptable.

Bush’s speech appeared aimed at complaints in the Arab world that the United States has long tolerated corrupt, undemocratic regimes in return for stability and a reliable supply of oil. Washington began to rethink its policy after the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001, and the emergence of deep hostility in the Mideast toward the United States. Fifteen of the Sept. 11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia.

“Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe - and in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty,” the president said in a groundbreaking conclusion.

“As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish,” he said, “it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment and violence ready for export. And with the spread of weapons that can bring catastrophic harm to our country and to our friends, it would be reckless to accept the status quo.”

Bush spoke before the National Endowment for Democracy, an organization formed during the Reagan administration to promote global freedom. In another step crucial to his policy in the Middle East, Bush later signed into law an $87.5 billion package for military and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan

“With this act of Congress, no enemy or friend can doubt that America has the resources and the will to see this war through to victory,” Bush said.

What I love about this speech is that President Bush rejected the foreign policy of the U.S. in the past in tolerating the existence of dictatorships in the Middle East. What I strongly dislike about this speech is 1. the idea that Islam is a religion of peace and is compatible with democracy and 2. that he refers to our system of government as “democracy.”

1. Islam, in its fundamental interpretation, is inherently in contradiction with the principles of freedom and individual rights.
As Edwin A. Locke wrote in his recent op-ed,
Radical Islam’s Assault on Human Life:

First, in Islamic philosophy it is a moral duty and a moral virtue to kill “infidels"—those who do not accept Islam. The Koran is replete with such commandments as: “fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them . . . those who reject our signs we shall soon cast into the fire . . . those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads . . . as to the deviators, they are the fuel of hell.” This is not to say all Muslims agree with this idea, but the terrorists take these teachings of the Koran seriously and literally. In his “Declaration of War against the Americans,” Osama bin Laden repeatedly cites religious texts in addition to the Koran to justify his holy war. He especially favors martyrdom and boasts that Islamic youths “love death as you [the Americans] love life.”

Second, Islam, unlike Christianity (since the Renaissance and Thomas Aquinas), has no respect for reason as a means of gaining knowledge or guiding actions. Islam advocates total domination of every sphere of life by religion, including the legal system, politics, economics, and family life. The individual is not supposed to think independently but to selflessly subordinate himself to religious dogma. The word “Islam” means literally: submission.

2. The ideal form of government is not a democracy, and we do not live in a democracy.
As I wrote in my 7/24/03 post, Democracy:

Today we hear numerous times that our government wants the rest of the world to enjoy “democracy” as the United States does, and that the system of democracy is the best there is. This representation of the American system of government as “democracy” is inaccurate, and democracy is not an ideal system at all. In fact, a democracy is merely another form of dictatorship.

In the system of democracy, the dictates of a certain majority determine what is right and what is wrong for the government to do. So, the purpose of the government in a democracy is to do anything that the majority (the people) wants them to do. If the majority decided that an individual in their society was “undesirable,” they could vote to have that individual executed, or imprisoned, or punished in some other way. An example of such a society was that of Ancient Greece, where the majority of Greece citizens voted to execute Socrates (considered to be the first major philosophical figure) because he advocated “unpopular” views. Or, the people could vote to enslave a section of society, or slaughter a group of society, any horrible thing they wanted to do as a “majority.”

Therefore, in a democracy, a human being does not have inalienable rights but rather is “provided” with their rights according to the majority, which can be revoked at any time whenever the majority dictates it. This means that, in such a society, you would only have your freedom by permission. You would only have “permission” to live and to pursue your happiness as long as a majority of people will it. Such a democracy is merely another form of dictatorship because there is absolutely no protection of the biggest minority in a society, the individual.

What makes the American system of government distinctly free is the fact that this country is founded on the profound notion that every human being regardless of race, sex, religion, etc., has certain inalienable rights: the right to life, and all of its deriviatives, the right to property, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (While this notion was not completely recognized by the American government at our foundation, this profound notion was still the philosophical cause for the formation of our government).

This means that the American system of government can not be referred to as a democracy, but rather a constitutional republic. In a constitutional republic, there is an exact constitution which determines the powers of government and how such a government recognizes the inalienable rights of its citizens.

However, in America today, our system of government has become a combination between the dictatorship of a democracy and a free constitutional republic. According to the founding of this country, every individual has the right to their own life, which means, the right to be free from the initiation of force from others and that every individual has the right to take whatever actions they deem necessary by their own independent judgment to be beneficial to their own life as long as they do not violate the rights of others in the process. Today however, while most people still retain the protection of their rights, if people get a large enough group together and pressure their elected representatives, many times they “persuade” their elected representives to push for new laws which violate the rights of some individuals for the benefit of some group. For example, enough poor people get together to form a large enough majority, and then persuade their representatives to violate the rights of certain rich individuals by forcibly taking their money and giving it to the poor people (income taxes). In this example, a certain majority gets together and decides that they want to force certain “undesirables in society” (the rich) to do whatever the majority wills (they will that the rich do not really “need” all that money, so there is no problem in stealing portions of it from them).

The blatant violation of individual rights is not merely limited to the issue of income taxes. There are numerous other issues (and many more pending by more and more groups) which violate and threaten to violate the rights of individuals. These groups believe that a certain end is desirable and thereby attempt to amass a large enough majority in order to force the rest of the country to achieve that end by “persuading” their elected representatives to pass new laws doing so.

In America today, both “the right” and “the left” have accepted the premise that it is right for the government to force individuals to pursue certain ends regardless of whether or not those individuals choose to do so. The only difference between “the right” and “the left” is about in what ways the government should force individuals and violate their rights. The right typically believes that the government should leave individuals free in most economic affairs but should heavily legislate morality (religion, sexuality, abortion, etc.) The left typically believes that the government should leave individuals free in morality but should heavily legislate economic affairs.

The essential characteristic of a dictatorship is a certain group forcing all of its citizens to achieve ends regardless of whether or not the citizens choose to do so or not. Which group is doing the forcing determines what kind of dictatorship it is, but it still remains a dictatorship nonetheless. Therefore, a democracy IS a dictatorship, because in a democracy, the actions of individuals are not determined by the choices of the individuals themselves but rather a certain group, in this case, a majority.

The premise that the government should force individuals to achieve certain ends is the premise of only one kind of society…dictatorship. Fortunately, America has not accepted this premise fully…yet. However, as long as this premise in our society goes unchecked, a dictatorship will ultimately be the result.

Therefore, while Bush’s speech was valuable in that he condemned the past pragmatism of the U.S. government in support Middle Eastern dictatorships, it was flawed in terms of his multiculturalist attitude towards Islam and in his referring to our system of government as a democracy.

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The Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 4:24 pm

According to a CIA report, Iran, North Korea, and Syria have been actively attempting to amass a nuclear weapons program.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iran “vigorously” pursued programs to produce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and sought help from Russia, China, North Korea and Europe, a CIA report said on Friday. Click Here

“The United States remains convinced that Tehran has been pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program,” according to a semi-annual unclassified report to Congress on the acquisition of technology relating to weapons of mass destruction.

“Iran sought technology that can support fissile material production for a nuclear weapons program,” said the report, covering the period Jan. 1 to June 30.

Satellite imagery showed Iran was burying a uranium centrifuge enrichment facility at Natanz, a town about 100 miles south of Tehran, probably to hide it in case of military attack, the CIA report said.


The report also briefly discussed North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. In late February, Pyongyang restarted its five-megawatt nuclear reactor, which could produce spent fuel rods containing plutonium.

In April, North Korea told U.S. officials that it had nuclear weapons and signaled its intent to reprocess the spent fuel for more. “We continued to monitor and assess North Korea’s nuclear weapons efforts,” the CIA said.

Syria has a nuclear research center at Dayr Al Hajar and broader access to foreign expertise provides opportunities to expand capabilities, “and we are looking at Syrian nuclear intentions with growing concern,” the report said.

The threat of terrorists using chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials “remained high” during the first half of 2003, the CIA report said. But terror groups would probably continue to favor conventional tactics like bombings and shootings, it said.

Documents and equipment recovered from al Qaeda facilities in Afghanistan showed that Osama bin Laden had “a more sophisticated unconventional weapons research program than was previously known,” the report said.

Al Qaeda also had ambitions to acquire or develop nuclear weapons, it said. Also it was possible that al Qaeda or “other terrorist groups” might try to launch conventional attacks against the chemical or nuclear industrial infrastructure of the United States to cause panic and economic disruption.

It is crystal clear to me that the price of sitting idly by while the enemies of The United States gain weapons of mass destruction is a disastrous policy for our security. We need to immediately show these enemies that it is not to their benefit to threaten the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction. This is not done by ignoring them, this is not done by cowering to their terror and their threats and negotiating with them, but rather it is shown by using force against them and eliminating the threat completely. In that respect, I support President Bush’s campaign to remove the Iraqi dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, on the grounds that we should be eliminating ANY dictatorship or enemy of The United States that is pursuing a weapons of mass destruction program to use against us. However, I do not believe that Iraq was the best choice for a government to eliminate, on the grounds that countries such as Iran and North Korea pose a more serious threat to our security. And, I fully condemn his policy of negotiation with Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.

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U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 4:17 pm

The U.S. has indefinitely pulled out of its embassy in Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. Embassy will close its offices to review security procedures on Saturday, while embassy officials said terrorists are close to launching an attack in the desert kingdom.

The embassy in the capital of Riyadh (search) and the U.S. Consulates General in Jeddah (search) and Dhahran (search) will be closed, according to a warden message issued by the embassy on Friday.

“The embassy continues to receive credible information that terrorists in Saudi Arabia have moved from the planning to operational phase of planned attacks in the kingdom,” stated the message. “The embassy strongly urges all American citizens in the kingdom to be especially vigilant when in any area that is perceived to be American or Western.”

They will then advise the American community when the review is completed and when normal operations will resume.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a warning to journalists in Afghanistan on Friday.

“The United States Embassy in Kabul has received credible information that Taliban (search) forces are actively searching for American journalists to take hostage for use as leverage for the release of Taliban currently under United States control,” the embassy statement said. “American journalists in Afghanistan are urged to take immediate steps to increase their security posture in light of these threats.”

It’s about damn time that we got our people out of the embassy in Saudi Arabia. Though I know that this won’t be a permanent closing, at least it will get Americans out of harms way for a while.

Their government is controlled by Islamic fundamentalism (, many of the people are sympathetic to it, and many reports and intelligence have indicated that Saudi Arabia is the main financier of the Palestinian terrorist group purposefully targets innocent women and children., Saudi Arabia is considering developing nuclear weapons, etc.

I call for the full removal of the government of Saudi Arabia and the elimination of their support for terrorist groups.

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Energy From the Moon? [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 4:09 pm

According to the testimony of Dr. David R. Criswell to U.S. Senators, the moon is a possible source for energy.

I am honored to have this opportunity to introduce a program for the economic and environmental security for Earth, and especially for the United States of America, by meeting Earth’s real electrical power needs.

By 2050, approximately 10 billion people will live on Earth demanding ~5 times the power now available. By then, solar power from the Moon could provide everyone clean, affordable, and sustainable electric power. No terrestrial options can provide the needed minimum of 2 kWe/person or at least 20 terawatts globally.

Solar power bases will be built on the Moon that collect a small fraction of the Moon’s dependable solar power and convert it into power beams that will dependably deliver lunar solar power to receivers on Earth. On Earth each power beam will be transformed into electricity and distributed, on-demand, through local electric power grids. Each terrestrial receiver can accept power directly from the Moon or indirectly, via relay satellites, when the receiver cannot view the Moon. The intensity of each power beam is restricted to 20%, or less, of the intensity of noontime sunlight. Each power beam can be safely received, for example, in an industrially zoned area.

The Lunar Solar Power (LSP) System does not require basic new technological developments. Adequate knowledge of the Moon and the essential technologies have been available since the late 1970s to design, build, and operate the LSP System. Automated machines and people would be sent to the Moon to build the lunar power bases. The machines would build the power components from the common lunar dust and rocks, thereby avoiding the high cost of transporting materials from the Earth to the Moon. The LSP System is distributed and open. Thus, it can readily accommodate new manufacturing and operating technologies as they become available.

Engineers, scientists, astronauts, and managers skilled in mining, manufacturing, electronics, aerospace, and industrial production of commodities will create new wealth on the Moon. Thousands of tele-robotic workers in American facilities, primarily on Earth, will oversee the lunar machinery and maintain the LSP System.

Our national space program, in cooperation with advanced U.S. industries, can produce the LSP System for a small fraction of the cost of building equivalent power generating capabilities on Earth. Shuttle- and Space Station-derived systems and LSP production machinery can be in operation in space and on the Moon within a few years. A demonstration LSP System can grow quickly to 50% of averaged U.S. electric consumption, ~0.2 TWe, within 15 years and be profitable thereafter. When LSP provides 20 terawatts of electric power to Earth it can sell the electricity at one-fifth of today’s cost or ~1 ¢/kWe-h. At current electric prices LSP would generate ~9 trillion dollars per year of net income.

Like hydroelectric dams, every power receiver on Earth can be an engine of clean economic growth. Gross World Product can increase a factor of 10. The average annual per capita income of Developing Nations can increase from today’s $2,500 to ~$20,000. Economically driven emigrations, such as from Mexico and Central America to the United States, will gradually decrease.

Increasingly wealthy Developing Nations will generate new and rapidly growing markets for American goods and services. Lunar power can generate hydrogen to fuel cars at low cost and with no release of greenhouse gases. United States payments to other nations for oil, natural gas, petrochemicals, and commodities such as fertilizer will decrease. LSP industries will establish new, high-value American jobs. LSP will generate major investment opportunities for Americans. The average American income could increase from today’s ~$35,000/y-person to more than $150,000/y-person.

By 2050, the LSP System would allow all human societies to prosper while nurturing rather than consuming the biosphere.

This is potentially a very profitable endeavor. However, I must stress, THERE SHOULD BE NO GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT IN SUCH AN ENDEAVOR. Such an ambitious program can only really benefit us if doing so is based on the market conditions being preferable for such investment. If the government attempts to subsidize this endeavor, as it did with the transcontinental railroad program in the 19th century, and with countless other industries (radio, television, utilities, etc.), this endeavor will fail disastrously.

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Penn State Deal With Napster [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 4:03 pm

Penn State has struck a deal with Napster to provide Penn State students with legal mp3’s.

ANAHEIM, Calif., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ – Penn State University announced today it is going to revolutionize the music world with a ground-breaking agreement with the online music service Napster, a division of Roxio (Nasdaq: ROXI - News).

Speaking in California at the annual Educause meeting of thousands of information technology administrators from universities around the country, Penn State President Graham Spanier said the University has signed an agreement with Napster to launch a program in which Penn State will make Napster’s Premium Service available at no cost to its students. Napster will offer those students unlimited streaming and tethered downloads from a digital library of more than 500,000 songs, as well as 40 radio stations, access to six decades of Billboard chart data, an online magazine and community features. Students can also purchase permanent downloads that can be burned to CDs or transferred to portable devices for 99 cents each.

“This will be the first step in a new, legal approach designed to meet student interest in getting extensive digital access to music,” Spanier said. “We have already set up student focus groups at Penn State who have been testing the Napster service. We will essentially deploy thousands of testers in the spring semester to use this program and give us feedback before we roll it out for even wider student use in the fall of 2004.”

Spanier is serving as co-chair of the Committee on Higher Education and the Entertainment Industry, along with Cary Sherman, President of the Recording Industry Association of America. The committee’s efforts over the past year have focused on legal, educational, legislative, and moral issues related to illegal peer-to-peer file sharing.

Napster President and COO Mike Bebel said: “The Napster 2.0 premium service is designed to meet the needs of students who have demonstrated a voracious appetite for online music. Napster has improved upon the typical file sharing experience by delivering guaranteed high-quality tracks, a well-organized presentation of music, and community features that music fans love. Penn State, through the vision of President Spanier, has demonstrated critical leadership in this area and is paving the way for universities around the country to ensure that a legitimate marketplace for online music thrives.”

The program will be phased-in beginning January 12th, the first day of classes for Penn State’s spring semester. The Penn State-Napster agreement, and other similar arrangements expected to be formed by universities around the country, could revolutionize the way millions of college students obtain and listen to music through streaming audio and song file downloads via high-speed Internet and campus connections – all in a completely legal manner that complies with copyright laws.

This is great news. I applaud Penn State for taking action to prevent the illegal and immoral downloads of mp3’s by college students. While I think that this deal with Napster should be coupled with taking action against those individuals who illegally download mp3’s, this is still a step in the right direction.

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Terrorism Must Be Defeated Now [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 4:48 pm

In this op-ed, Uri Elitzer argues that the foremost concern of Israel should be the abandonment of the peace process and the complete elimination of terrorism everywhere.

The “vision of a Palestinian state” is something we have already tried. In the 10 years since Oslo, particularly the last three, we have seen what the Palestinians intend to do with the tools of independence and statehood, if they are given them.

They already had a state-in-the-making, and they used it to build a huge terrorist base and a society mobilized and incited to hate Israel.

The Palestinian Authority did nothing to promote its own people’s economy and welfare. It used all the tools of government in its hands in order to cultivate the terrorist capabilities of many systems and organizations, and in order to educate masses of people from kindergarten to old age towards war, hatred, and suicide terrorism.

If the PA has been a swamp of terrorism, corruption and incitement, then the Palestinian state will be a whole lake. It will grow a center of international terrorism, and will be totally mobilized towards war over the next phase of “liberating Palestine.”

I absolutely agree. I firmly believe that legitimate government authority is derived from the protection of individual rights; something that the Palestinian Authority does not do.

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In Defense of Microsoft [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 7:51 pm

I highly suggest reading this lecture given by Richard M. Salsman at Harvard University: The Injustice of Antitrust Laws.

I’ll provide rational evidence for the verdict that I pronounce: Microsoft is innocent of all charges. More accurately, it is innocent—with no means of showing it under the antitrust laws. Why? Because, as we’ll see, the antitrust laws presume all businesses to be guilty, no matter what they do. Microsoft has been assaulted and will likely be shackled and/or dismembered in some form not because it’s an “evil predator” or a “contract bully” or a “robber baron” or a “capitalist exploiter” for it’s none of these things—that is, it is none of these smears.

Right on.

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U.S. Will Never Run [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 7:46 pm

President Bush stated today that the U.S. will never run from Iraq.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Faced with a mounting military and civilian death toll and stiffening guerrilla resistance, President Bush vowed on Monday that the United States would not run from its “vital” mission in Iraq.

If only Bush would have this convinction in dealing with Iran and North Korea, we would be much better off.

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