Fair tax?

We should talk more about remittances sent from the U.S. to other countries, like when Pierre sends money back to his family in Quebec. When I buy stuff in a neighboring state, I am obliged to pay a tax to the state in which I live, to offset the loss of sales tax revenue. Maybe something like that is in order for remittances. Should people be able to shield their income from state sales tax by sending it across the border?

Politics today

“So, if I understand this right – unlikely, I admit – one set of Socialists used their nefarious yet l33t hacking chops to make sure another Socialist was defeated by an elderly New York Liberal in the primaries so that she could lose to another elderly New York Liberal running as a Republican in the general election, thereby advancing the Russian agenda, which has long been to turn the US into a Socialist country – via keeping a Socialist from winning the election. Kind of a Lao Tzu meets Machiavelli in Byzantium and starts plotting with Odysseus sort of thing.” — weather report

That’s just what they want you to think.

Four observations

  • No amount of gritty determination will get all of us into the upper half.
  • Sawing an inch off one end and nailing it onto the other does not make the board longer.
  • Some business plans are unsustainable in a democracy.
  • The funny thing about a cargo cult is, sometimes the planes come.

Presidents come and go

The powers of the presidency remain, and increase. Here’s one example of how it works – or how it fails:

“The Obama administration – perhaps anticipating a Hillary Clinton presidency – supported these changes. Now its outgoing public-diplomacy officials will have to hope that Mr. Trump …” — A big change to U.S. broadcasting is coming – and it’s one Putin might admire

This particular example is about management of the VOA, but it could be any number of other things.

It’s just barely possible that Obamacare will be repealed, though I don’t think that will really happen in practice. Maybe the Republicans will change it’s name; maybe they’ll pass a bill titled “repeal of Obamacare,” and President Trump will sign it. Maybe they’ll simply amend Obamacare to the advantage of different constituencies. Whatever they do, the powers of the federal government over doctors, nurses, and patients will remain, and grow.

Whatever powers we granted to President Obama will be used by President Trump. Whatever powers we grant to President Trump will be used by his successor. The founding fathers understood what people seem to have forgotten.

French people

It seems they are not all alike.

“Zombie Catholics share certain symptoms: Not only do they hail from regions where resistance was greatest to the French Revolution, but they also have taken advantage of the benefits that flowed from that seismic event. Highly educated and meritocratic, they also privilege a traditional ordering of professional and domestic duties between husbands and wives; strong attachment to social, community, and family activities; and a general wariness over the role of the state in private and community affairs, including “free schools” (Catholic private schools). — France’s Zombie Catholics Have Risen – and They’re Voting

Fake news

The reason why Allied deception operations were so effective against Hitler was because Goebbels had reduced German reporting to a lie machine, thereby destroying its credibility. Allied news, even Allied deception was more believable by comparison. — Fake News, by Richard Fernandez

UPDATE 29 November 2016: Another reason might have involved the water-cooled vacuum tubes.

The alt right

Here’s Doc Rampage on how alt-right-wingers are different from conservatives.

In game theory there’s the idea of a “dominant strategy” – everyone who doesn’t adopt it looses to it, until at last the only players left are those who use that strategy. The dominating strategy becomes universal. The strategies of the far left have worked so well that they’ve been adopted by some political opponents of the left. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, they say.

Only two years until the midterms

Republicans win

So, Donald Trump won. Maybe more significantly, the Republicans won big at all levels; they have the House and Senate as well as the Presidency, and very many state and local offices. One might note they don’t have a filibuster-proof two thirds of the Senate, but they do have Harry Reid’s “nuclear option.”

This will be the time to see what the Republican platform really is – not what they tell the “base” in campaign season, but what they actually do when they can do about anything they want. So we’ll see. It’s safest to regard the next four years as a breathing space – a delay in the slide left and down.

Losers riot

The debate moderator asked the wrong man if he would accept the results of the election. Now that Trump has won, dissent is again the highest form of patriotism. Maybe so, but if a man won’t speak English, burns the American flag, and insists that Trump is not his president, it sounds like he’s stumbled into the wrong nation by mistake. We should reach out to him, and help him get back home.

Reporters sad

The network news and the major papers simply are not reliable sources of information. Readers of Dilbert ended up with a better sense of the political situation. I thought it would be close, but that vote fraud would give Clinton enough of an advantage. “Trump Did Better With Blacks, Hispanics Than Romney” – says NBC News, so it may or may not be so, but nicely illustrates the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.