The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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Donald’s Run

If there is an upside to Donald Trump’s planned run for the presidency, it is that we will at last be treated to a public debate about his record as a businessman, his commercial practices, his stances on key issues and his ethics.

It may not turn out so well for him, of course. The political spotlight is brutal on the outspoken-man-of-commerce-turned-politician. Just ask Michael Bloomberg, or, better yet, ask Ross Perot.

How to Deal with China’s ASBM

The Chinese DongFeng 21 anti-ship ballistic missile is going to be a heaven-sent gift for the people at Lockheed Martin. In fact, I am betting that the U.S. Navy is currently tasking them to come up with a major upgrade to their AN/SPY-1 radar systems to allow detection and targeting of this new threat.

The DF-21 is also going to provoke a rush to buy countermeasures. All of which means good things for Navy budgets. Which is a bad thing.

The best countermeasure for this kind of weapon is more small, high-speed, inexpensive, and capable ships. Unfortunately, the US has twice proven itself totally incompetent at building such ships, first with the Legend-class National Security cutters for the US Coast Guard, and then for the Littoral Combat Ships for the Navy.

Fear, Policy and Fukushima

Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo C...
Image via Wikipedia

I am as suspicious of the shrill fear-mongering of anti-nuclear activists as I am of the shameless soothsaying of nuclear energy’s advocates. Major policy decisions should be no more influenced by gonadal reactions than an ulterior agenda.

There is an intelligent conversation to be had about nuclear power, its alternatives, and where we will get the most BTUs for the buck. But that conversation cannot take place if it is unduly influenced by emotion or money, and it cannot take place until Fukushima is under control and we have all had a chance to dispassionately review the events and “grok them in full,” as it were.