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GoodOleBoy
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It has been a while since I read Henry George, but my recollection is that his ideas were based on taxing economic value of land use. This approach would go far in potentially resolving environmental issues related to resource extraction in this modern era since the taxation could include whatever is required to mitigate damage. Another barrier to tax reform or simplification ( in addition to the full range of special interests that benefit from the status quo with respect to taxation) is the existing bureaucracy which will vehemently resist changes to reduce the size and power of that bureaucracy.
Toggle Commented Apr 16, 2013 on Tax Simplification vs. Tax Reform at Obsidian Wings
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Turbulence 'I'm wondering if some of the white/black discrepancy might be caused by the shrinking number of stable partners available to black women as mass imprisonment of black men takes its toll.' Do you truly think this process is reducing the available population of 'stable' partners? I agree that there are far too many men in prison, but are you suggesting we are incarcerating stable partners and less so unstable partners?
Toggle Commented Apr 11, 2012 on Murder mystery at Obsidian Wings
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The ads against Gingrich in Iowa seemed to be effective in reducing his support. I have not seen any of them, but I would guess that they attack his history in ways that he finds difficulty refuting or, to do so, he has to start explaining, which is bad. Santorum showed, at least in Iowa, that money is not definitive, if you are able to get your message out. IMO, Iowa, and many other election results, demonstrate that on the front end, money is not the critical factor, except perhaps in the case of incumbents. For incumbents, the money may well flow from institutional interests if the performance in office of the incumbent has proved beneficial to those interests. These is where the advantage begins to accrue. We are going to have, in my view, an interesting Republican contest in Utah for the seat held for the last 36 years by Senator Orrin Hatch, who is not accustomed to being challenged. Dan Liljenquist, a state legislator who recently was recognized for his efforts on behalf of the residents of Utah, is one of those challenging. Utah has a precedent for this. Senator Bennett was so challenged last time and failed to make it out of the convention and into the primary, which was won by Mike Lee. Recently, I saw materials showing that Senator Hatch raises large sums for his campaigns, of which about 90% comes from sources outside Utah, with no significant or specific connection to the state of Utah. So this makes for an interesting consideration for Utah voters to determine which candidate is actually going to represent the state of Utah. I enjoyed the last Senate race here. I think I'll enjoy this even more. I don't think Hatch will topple as easily as Bennett, but it should be fun and it may shed some light on incumbents and money.
Toggle Commented Jan 6, 2012 on Supreme Court v. Montana at Obsidian Wings
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'Do you mean the one with the Republican ideas from relatively few years ago? (One side can make anything partisan by refusing to participate in good faith.)' Are you considering how people across the country stood on this? I haven't seen or heard much in the last 2 years that would convince me there was a shred of bi-partisanship to be found.
Toggle Commented Dec 29, 2011 on what about huntsman? at Obsidian Wings
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'It's just become a very weird country.' What Russell said. Two of the most distressing developments for me during this term are the absolute failure to charge anyone from Wall Street, big banks, FNMA or FHLMC criminally and the continued extension of the Patriot Act to the point where individual civil rights is a sad joke.
Toggle Commented Dec 29, 2011 on what about huntsman? at Obsidian Wings
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'He hasn't made a dent. Not even the tiniest. What the heck is up with that?' Russell: My answer to this specifically is that Huntsman would be the Republican establishment selection if Romney had not already sewed that up. So, he cannot get any traction due to his late entry (when compared to Romney who has campaigned since 2007).
Toggle Commented Dec 27, 2011 on what about huntsman? at Obsidian Wings
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I prefer Huntsman to any of the other active candidates. I do not consider him to be a moderate but a principled conservative, but he is not extreme. As I have said before here, I am an independent, but I have never been able to vote for a Democrat (I did vote for Ross Perot). Russell is correct that it is puzzling to figure what Huntsman is doing and why. I don't think he needs a Fox gig. Here is some of what I see and why I like him: Russia and China, and China and Japan, have recently made moves toward bi-lateral trade and currency exchange. These are major moves in the US global petrodollar arena that will affect the US trade economy as well as its role as the world's policeman. Huntsman likely has a good insight to this and could see it coming. Of the active candidates,he and Ron Paul alone seem to understand the significance of this. Huntsman, IMO has knowledge and skill in the Far East-Asian political/economic arena and I believe what it takes to defend the US militarily without throwing us into major global conflict (nuclear?) as we deal with our diminished economic power. Given the current state of views in our electorate, Romney is probably the best choice for the Republicans, much as I hate to see the establishment get their way.
Toggle Commented Dec 27, 2011 on what about huntsman? at Obsidian Wings
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' but the perpetrators of the financial collapse have not faced any consequences at all.' And the blame for no consequences rests with the wealthy themselves? Where does Washington come into the picture? 'workforce = customers' The right side of this equations participates in the productivity improvements, even when the production is elsewhere. In my younger days, I can recall observing most of the left-leaning (or now liberal) acquaintances of mine buying and driving motor cars with German or Japanese labels. I often wondered why they did not instead throw more support to the heavily unionized labor force producing the junk nobody was clamoring for. The same can be applied to electronics (cameras, tv's, computers, etc.) Nonetheless, the US standard of living has increased substantially, marred mainly by those areas where we have allowed, yea even promoted, the development of bubbles, e.g. housing and education.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2011 on where's the love? at Obsidian Wings
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'bobbyp wins' Only the rhetorical joust. Much of the substantive part of this discussion has been about 'job creation', and conclusions come mostly from how that process is viewed. Job creation in the private sector is complex, involving creative destruction and product and service innovation, where the latter is much influenced by incentives. In turn, such incentives are very much influenced by government policies, particularly taxes, regulations and subsidies. In my view, the only direct and literal job creator is government and this is generally a bad thing, since its usual result is to constrain private behavior. I don't know how many jobs are in the TSA, but I cannot think of any recent government jobs created that are as useless. I don't defend wealth or the views of the wealthy but I do defend the essence of the process that allows such results, but not the corrupting influences that have led us to where we are today, most of which are found in Washington and I find Marty's views on target and cogent.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2011 on where's the love? at Obsidian Wings
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McKinneyTexas: 'Should a mother with kids at the house who chooses to work 9 to 5 be paid the same as a peer who works weekends, stays late, puts out more work and makes the company more money simply through greater productivity, whether that peer is male or female?' Here is the problem with this concept (and I have witnessed it). The mother with kids at the house, who does not choose to work 9 to 5, works hours equal to or greater than any of her peers, puts out more work and makes more money for the company through greater productivity, but is passed over in favor of the less productive and/or experienced male peer, solely due to misguided perceptions. As an executive for many years, I maintained an elevated consciousness of this issue in my decision process, while aware that others were justifying discriminatory actions because of biased perceptions. It takes work to get this right.
Toggle Commented Dec 16, 2011 on A Woman's Realm? at Obsidian Wings
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'Just as at Penn State, abuse by someone at the top of the hierarchy will be covered up, ignored, and excused by everyone who might have the authority to stop it -- because they love the hierarchy more than their own children.' Is this to be taken as a statement of universal truth? If so, why is such the case? If not, how would it be qualified?
Toggle Commented Nov 24, 2011 on Hamlet's Father at Penn State at Obsidian Wings
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'Ferguson's popularity itself is evidence that we're not exactly living up to some of the more exalted principles of Western civilization.' What does this mean? And what authority is judging the 'evidence'? I read through the post and the links, but not Ferguson's book. There seems to be much mingling of 'American' and 'Western'. I don't see the things Eric does, or the reviewers, for that matter. The major forces forming the base of what we see as America today were Anglo-European, often referred to as Western. The combination of economic, political, and social constructs coupled with the land and other important natural resources and isolation from hostile threats enabled this 'Western' cultural product to flourish and become the wealthiest ever. Now, although the remnants of this history are yet dominant players on the American landscape, that dominance is fading (not a bad thing, in and of itself). The diminishment resulting from the growing influence of those from other cultural traditions is an example of this not being a bad thing. The diminishment resulting from a loss of mojo on the part of the American civilization that has grown too comfortable with its prior success and accumulation,consumption, and waste of wealth is sad. I don't know that these are all Anglo-Americans, or even Western European, there are lots of others who have been here long enough to get comfortable, as well.
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2011 on Niallism at Obsidian Wings
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'Is the assumption that the entire world, including Europe, operated under some form of 'feudalism' until the 15th C?' The most significant element was the Western European introduction of the market economy replacing the former command economy of the feudal system. That got the ball rolling.
Toggle Commented Nov 1, 2011 on Niallism at Obsidian Wings
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'And you don’t have to spend too long at any major U.S. university to know which students really drive themselves: the Asians and Asian-Americans.' 'So, according to Ferguson, my wife, son and daughter aren't really Americans because my wife is of Korean descent.' I can see the factual truth in the first statement and cannot reach the same conclusion in the second. If we are both 'reading minds', I read it differently. Based on the scant excerpts provided, it seems that Ferguson is describing a decline in a certain cultural ethic as well as pointing out a new driver (with different traditional influences) of knowledge-based progress in the US. Do you think none of this is actually happening?
Toggle Commented Nov 1, 2011 on Niallism at Obsidian Wings
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'there is a big problem with all possible technological solutions for carbon dioxide drawdown - the scale of the thing.' This is indeed daunting. Not having any expertise on this subject, my main question is this. If, for example, we were able to substitute other energy sources for fossil fuels now, does this change the climate change outlook? Does such action solve or mitigate the negative effects in any significant way?
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If deniers and skeptics acknowledge that climate change described by the scientific consensus is taking place, will the debate then move to the proper approach to solving whatever difficulties this presents to the human condition? I consider two possible approaches (there must be others). One is to continue on the path we have been on for the last century and rely on technological progress and ingenuity for needed solutions. Such progress has been advancing at an accelerated pace in recent decades but a continuation of that is likely contingent on maintaining a strong economy that includes possible real wealth accumulation. On the other hand, we can pull back from the behaviors that have been identified as contributing in major ways to the current climate change pattern, which will likely reduce the power in the economy to below recent levels and detract from the potential to find and apply a technological solution. This is the debate I would like to hear. It seems that this may be the critical issue if the assumption is made that no significant change in our current behavior (without major technological breakthroughs) will be effective.
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' A quantitative study of political invective. The research design should be fairly easy to set up. One category could be political office-holders, including, from both parties, all U.S. representatives and senators. Another category could be all political columnists on a defined set of major newspapers. A third could be talk show hosts and commentators from both radio and television. A fourth could be contributors to a set of major online magazines and blogs that have high political content—Slate, Salon, the Huffington Post, National Review’s Corner, and the like. The invective could be categorized. Comparisons with hateful people from the past (Hitler, McCarthy, Stalin, etc.). Accusations of lying. Accusations of stupidity. Accusations of treachery. Accusations of cruelty. Accusations of conspiracy. Ethnic slurs. Sexual slurs. Use of obscenities. There could also be a category for witty invective, but P.J. O’Rourke has the monopoly on that.' This is lifted from someone's internet blog. Much time is spent addressing mental capacities and motivations while dismissing the notion that most people's political and social views are mostly arrived at and held legitimately, IMHO. Many of these views are based on how the different people view 'human nature', (heritable genetic effects), and the resulting influence on 'human behavior'. So, IMO it makes sense to argue positions using facts when available and identifying expressed opinions as such, while foregoing conclusions about motivations and mental capacity.'
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'"that's a pie-in-the-sky, naively delusional thing".' Yes, it is, if the middle class voters continue sending the same jerks to Washington.
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'If you want flat tax then give me more equal wealth distribution, just like in most of the Europe. They can have flatter tax only because they have flatter income distribution. It is about the civil order and stability.' Here's how the flat tax is one of the elements that will give you what you want. The flat tax will increase the tax burden on the middle class. Yes, it will. And that's a good thing. It will be progressive at the low income level and that's a good thing. The increased burden on the middle class will motivate the affected taxpayer-voters to pay attention closely to how their taxes are spent. All the tax expenditures that benefit the ultra-high income earners will be gone - that's a good thing. While this is going on, the added attention from the voters will increase the focus of the legislators so that they will take actions to eliminate the kinds of conditions that allowed Wall St and the big bankers and big corporations to bring the economy to a standstill and this will help create a marketplace with less crony capitalism and corruption.
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'You might want to look into this; certainly anyone running for President needs to have a clue.' Thanks, Gary I understand. I suggest Herman Cain can have advisors on this topic just as Obama does. Or do you think Obama handles this without expert help? Not every candidate is knowledgeable at the same level on every important topic. That, in and of itself, does not make any of them confused or stupid people. Obama could certainly take some advice on creating employment opportunity in the USA. He getting some advice but he seems paralyzed or mesmerized by opposition from unions and environmental extremists. Took him 3 years to let go of those free trade agreements.
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'Despite* his current surge in popularity among GOP voters, he's proven himself to be a remarkably confused and stupid man in nearly every interview he's given.' The links here address Cain's personal position on abortion and his lack of detailed knowledge on specific smaller nations. Neither of these is likely to register as significant for those who think we need to deal first with domestic threats and then with what takes place on foreign soil. Two areas that must be addressed domestically are tax reform and domestic energy resources policy as the current administration refuses to do so. It took three years for the administration to move on essentially non-controversial trade treaties so it is too much to expect action on 'hot' topics.
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'One values system says, "Even though we have different earning capacities, we are all Americans and should have a team spirit about our tax responsibilites." The other vaules system say, "It's not fair that my money might benefit anyone but ME. It's MY MONEY. For ME. MY MONEY for ME, ME ME. MY. MONEY. ME."' Simplistic! There are some who are against 'progressive' tax schemes and yet are not 'pure' libertarians. I am certain several here have noted in the past how it is difficult to fathom how 'not wealthy' conservatives can eternally vote for conservative Republicans when, to all appearances, its not in their economic interest. The fact is that some of us do not value wealth (or endless government services) above all other things. Notions of loss of individual liberty is what drives this, since 'greed' can hardly be a factor for those who have little. I would trade an appealing reduction in the power and influence of the Federal government for some 'progressive' scheme of taxation. But my impression is that those who want to get the well off to pay more are not interested in such a limitation. Anyway, there may indeed be a greater range to the values scheme than noted above.
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'So convince people to vote with you.' Yes. We sent Bob Bennett home last time and replaced him with Mike Lee. Now we will see what we can do with Orrin Hatch. The poor slobs at OWS cannot seem to figure out that the failure to do this is the crux of the problem they are complaining about.
Toggle Commented Oct 16, 2011 on Things that Make me Want to Scream at Obsidian Wings
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'So you wish the government to have laws deciding what kinds of jobs people can and cannot have?' No, just that voters should think about what results when those they elect to govern are allowed to act as if they have a permanent entitlement and the voters accede to that view. My view of what we get is 'creeping corruption'.
Toggle Commented Oct 16, 2011 on Things that Make me Want to Scream at Obsidian Wings
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What'd I say?
Toggle Commented Oct 15, 2011 on Things that Make me Want to Scream at Obsidian Wings
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