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Everything posted by Vondy

  1. Some might look at a situation in which the same 10-12 counties (out of 39) consistently decide who our governors will be introduces inequalities of representation and disincentivizes compromise and cooperation. Inslee carried: 10. We've had 5 two term governors from the same party in a row. That's right: 40 years running. Senator Cantwell won 12 counties in 2018. She carried all 10 counties Inslee did plus Callum and Clark... both on the West side of the mountains. Senator Murray won the same 12 counties. In other words, people 29 counties do not have a governor who carried their county and people in 27 counties do not have a Senator who carried their county. That has been true +/- a county or two for the people in those counties for almost two decades (senators). Cantwell only spent one day in Eastern Washington during the 2018 campaign for fast photo-ops in Yakima and the Tri-Cities. We do not have an electoral college at the state level, or a way of ensuring our politicians can't just ignore most of the state, its problems, and ways of living, when running for elections or pushing policy decisions. Pugetopolis calls the shots for everyone, always, in Washington. In "every county?" It carried a majority of votes in 12 of 39 counties... the same ones that voted for Cantwell and Murray. Our initiative system bypasses the check of the state senate and legislative process and allows for the tyranny of the majority. It is inconsistent with our representative republican system of government. Now, before you assume "That Dave is a right-wing nut" I will point out that I voted for Derek Kilmer (D) for Congress and Jay Inslee (D) for governor and Hutchinson (R) for senate. At the state level, I voted for two Republicans and one Democrat for the legislature. All won. That I'm represented at several levels of government does not mean a great many of my fellow Washingtonians have recourse to anyone other than their state representatives, who can be cut out of the process by popular initiative. That. Is. Not. Right.
  2. Perhaps so! But if we do, then its time to own that several prominent officials in previous administrations have been given a pass and should have been indicted or impeached as well. We have not traditionally uttered the phrase "high crimes and misdemeanors" or sought impeachment over what is presently on the table. Its premature. Bill Clinton's impeachment was for obstruction and perjury because he lied about a blowjob, not because he got one. And he remained in office because it was overreaching nonsense. No one sought to impeach Clinton over his pre-1992-election hush-money agreement with Gennifer Flowers. It wasn't a "high crime" or even a "misdemeanor." If all of that was overreaching nonsense then, its overreaching nonsense now. What does that leave us with? A quite probable campaign finance violation. For that I give you Barack Obama (fined), Hillary Clinton (still under investigation), Bob Dole (fined), John Edwards (acquitted). Only John Edwards faced criminal charges and his career only ended because he resigned. Obama and Dole both remained in office and won subsequent elections. And Hillary seems to think she should run again. I sat down and read every single page of that AG report on her conduct front to back and the difference in treatment between the two candidates' malfeasance astounds the mind. "Misuse of assets, failure to supervise, and dereliction of duty" could easily be applied to her tenure at State and her campaign is still being investigated. Are you willing to give me "high crimes and misdemeanors" for it? I'm not saying the Cohen-Mantafort revelations aren't sordid, unseemly, unacceptable, potentially criminal, and totally unbecoming. Or that its not potential grounds for impeachment. I am saying, however, that defining what we have at this juncture as "high crimes and misdemeanors" would be highly inconsistent, largely unprecedented, and very likely improvident. The GOP is meaner, more disciplined, and better funded than the DNC. They will remember and they will say turnabout is fair play. They will vow and get their revenge. If we are going to define this as "high crimes and misdemeanors" then a good many officials from the past several administrations should barred from ever holding office again. I'm much more patient and circumspect when it comes to serious matters of state. I'd rather wait for some real meat and not waste my time pouncing on scraps. This nonsense is just an apertif. It whets the appetite, but it doesn't satisfy. I'm waiting for something more.
  3. I was promised treason and collusion. What I've been given is a campaign finance reporting violation and the shocking revelation* that Donald Trump cheats on his wives. Its the political equivalent of kissing your sister. A total let down. We may yet get to collusion, or an actual crime stemming from said collusion, but so far all we have are some very reasonable suspicions. To quote Robert Mueller "I only know what I can prove in court." Reasonable suspicions are legal bupkis. We need more. We may yet get more. But, at present all I have is a lot of hyperbole and speculation and premature excitement. A garden variety financial reporting violation and a politician who once appeared on Playboy stupidly covering up a dalliance no one is surprised about? Is that what were calling "high crimes and misdemeanors" these days? Warren G Harding, who is a much better analog for Trump than Nixon, paid his mistress $5,000.00 a month to keep quiet while he was president. It was the Tea Pot Dome scandal that mattered. Not Nan Britton or Carrie Phillips. Where's my bloody tea pot? Obama was fined "bigly" for reporting violations, the FEC has an open case into Clinton's campaign, and Edwards was acquitted for paying off a mistress with campaign funds. Does all of this sound banally familiar? Don't get me wrong. I would love to see Trump go down in a great big blazing ball of flames, but... talk about the legal equivalent of a box office dud. Its like the remake of a sequel to a remake. If we want to impeach the man for his manners and his morals, let's be honest about what we are on about and get busy. Otherwise... I'm still waiting to get me some tasty treason. *Irony intended.
  4. History: On September 3rd, 1998 the Starr Report citing 11 impeachable offenses (including perjury and obstruction of justice) that President Clinton was potentially liable for was given to the Judiciary Committee. On October 3rd the committee confirmed Sonya Sotomeyer for SCOTUS. Two days later, on October 5th, that same committee voted to recommend the House open an impeachment inquiry into the president. On October 8th the House opened said inquiry and on December 19th they voted to impeach him. On January 7th, 1999 the trial in the Senate began the trial. On February 12th the Senate held a vote with 45-55 on the perjury charge and 50-50 on the obstruction charge. The president, ultimately, was not removed from office and went back to work. The point of all this, aside from my being a fan of due process and waiting for the facts to settle? If you think the Senate should put a hold on a SCOTUS confirmation because a president may be found to be an unindicted co-conspirator you are likely to be sadly disappointed. If that were the norm/rule, Sotomeyer would not be a Supreme Court Justice today.
  5. I appreciate you comments on craft and the actors experience. I would not dream of disputing it and find it illuminating. However, I was making a left-handed reference to something more specific and, in my mind, more culturally insidious. Ergo, assertions such as "to play a lesbian Jewish superhero you must be a Jewish woman who identifies as a lesbian." I'm Jewish and, quite frankly, I don't care if an actor playing a Jew is actually Jewish insofar as they are respectful and put in the study and work to do their subjects justice. Donald Sutherland did fine in Uprising, for instance. He himself expressed concern over playing a Jew until his Jewish co-stars told him to get over it. They wanted him there for his talent and what his name would bring to the movie. Some ethnic groups might be less convincing in terms of "how Jews look," but a lot of Caucasian, Latino, and Arab actors could pass for Jewish as easy as kiss-your-hand with a modicum of study and work. And, there are Kai-Feng and black Jews (the descendants of freed slaves from the American south) out there. They just aren't what people expect, but a good screen-writer could make it work and I wouldn't have a problem with it in most cases. To that same end, Sarah Shahi is straight and yet managed to play one of the most popular characters on the L Word. You don't have to be an avowed lesbian to play-pretend being one on camera. The current identitarian trend is, quite ironically, extremely exclusionary. Ideological didacticism produces inferior cultural product and makes qualification demands that have little bearing on the competence or quality of the artist. Four examples of transidentitarian acting...
  6. If you are an actor you are playing someone other than yourself. If you have to have the same identity-driven associations as the character you play to be allowed to take the role... you aren't acting.
  7. A metaphor for our times: Hundreds of furious reporters seeking to whip up widespread moral panic descend on a lackluster protest by a score of wet asshats with no staying power. The irony is so deep it aches and makes me want to reach for an aspirin bottle. Yes, the alt-right exists and beating them is a kind of hot kinky-fetish for many of us. But... unless you have a paintbrush the size of the Titanic, they aren't as dedicated, influential, numerous, or relevant as their opponents seem to want them to be.
  8. No disagreement. However, we seem to be discussing the same act in three distinct contexts. A political rally in a central urban public square or on "main street." A private gathering on private lands removed from the public square. A clear case of direct intimidation in a residential neighborhood (or someone's front lawn). I would suggest the following: A rally in a central urban public square (especially at the center-stage of our democracy) is contextually different than a rally in a field, the woods, or a residential neighborhood. There may be an implicit threat inherent in the symbolic act, but in this context it is indirect, and intent is hard to prove. We would need supplementary circumstances (e.g., concurrent speech or action) to make a cogent case for that. They could, after all, explain their own intent and meaning as something else entirely. Without something beyond the act itself to hang our hat on, we can't really disprove their explanations. We may find their explanations self-serving and disingenuous, but legally and empirically, intent is a monkey-wrench in our interpretive works. I would add the size of the city may also be relevant to context. For instance, thousands of hooded KKK members showing up to march down the street of a small town could much more easily be interpreted as a direct threat or intentional menace to the local community than those same people rallying in Times Square, The National Mall, or Lafayette Park. This is especially amplified if the number of KKK marchers outnumbers the number of black, Jewish, or catholic residents where the rally or march is taking place. Now, in DC, the black population is 49%, but that cuts both ways. It does make this kind of gathering intentionally provocative. However, the black community in DC, not to mention other minorities and right-thinking supporters, vastly outnumbers the reprobates holding this rally, and has a capacity for counter-protest that smaller communities do not. As a result, the viability of the implied threat, even if hateful, intentional, and reprehensible, is much curtailed. I would, under this set of circumstances, rather the nation see them dwarfed by the counter-rally. That, in of itself, is a powerful symbolic argument for what I believe we both agree the right values are.
  9. A fair question! For two parallel reasons: participation and practicability. Federal taxes are relevant to board members from all over the US. We share a stake and context in them. To a much lesser degree, board members outside the US do to. In the in the US context we have "dual sovereignty." Each individual state, determines its own tax structures. That would devolve into a discussion of fifty-one (!) separate tax codes and reform processes. I would be happy to discuss Washington State taxes with you, as well as some problems and reforms related to it, but... How many posters even care about my state's tax structures? Wouldn't it prove incredibly tangential?
  10. This would be a vast improvement. Its agree its a bit of a Gordian Knot. But, that is what made Alexander great.
  11. I think where we differ here is the implied premise that we can simply decide that an admittedly plausible prognostication of violence is sufficient to shut down protected speech. I'm not entirely comfortable with that. We don't do this when we know Antifa or the Black Block leaders are involved in planning the counter-protests. Rather, police meet with leaders, ban items that can be used as weapons, and very strictly enforce order. Should potentially violent right-wing protesters be treated differently than potentially violent left-wing counter-protesters? No argument here. This follows the basic reasoning of the Washington State Supreme Court on carry that I mentioned above. You can carry a gun on your hip, but that gun will become a major factor in interpreting your intent and behavior. So, bringing them to a political protest and then being confrontational would likely cross the line into assault, menace, or a number of other crimes. I obviously don't disagree that it is reasonable to interpret it that way and, quite frankly, it makes my vigilante bone itch. I'm very hard pressed, however, to to say a culturally disagreeable symbolic act in the public square as a part of a political rally would not be protected. On the other hand, I would suggest that a cross burning at a public rally allows authorities to interpret everything you do and say with a very critical eye (just as wearing a gun on your hip does) and prosecute you for any missteps accordingly. I think my concern is that this is a form of preemptive enforcement and calls to mind Minority Report. We don't have a trio of precogs who have foreseen a riot. Even if we did, until one erupts no crime has been committed. I'm not trying to sound cliche, but liberty entails some risk. Sometimes we do suck in our collective breath and hope for the best.
  12. It really depends on the context. There have been permitted marches where those things have been present and they weren't deemed threats. That some people find something threatening doesn't mean it rises to an actual threat under the law. It depends on how the judges apply the reasonable person standard. For instance, in Washington State, the police used to routinely arrest people for disturbing the peace, or threatening behavior, for openly carrying a firearm (even though we are an open carry state). The state supreme court ultimately ruled that "a reasonable person is not threatened by a fellow citizen exercising their constitutional rights." At the same time, they clarified, that the totality of circumstances would be weighed very differently because of the presence of a firearm. In other words, if you are walking around with an firearm on your hip, you need to speak softly and mind your Ps and Qs. I could make arguments for why a large protest with the items you note could easily cross the line into being a threat under the law (it really wouldn't take much), but I wouldn't automatically assume they do.
  13. The Klan and Aryan Nations and other such groups have all won lawsuits over permits and their right to gather, march, and rally despite local opposition in places they wanted to be provocative reprobates. I still live by the premise "I find your views utterly reprehensible, but will defend your right to express them." The first amendment is too important to shut down simply because we find a person and their views hateful, repugnant, or unsettling. Insofar as its not tantamount to yelling fire in the public square, and doesn't cross the line into harassment or assault, I think they should be allowed to gather, even right in the heart of our republic, and do their hateful thing. Indeed, I would much rather they air their views loudly in public where who they are and what they think is laid bare. Under those circumstances they and their ideas can be called out, debated, and defeated in the marketplace of ideas. And, quite honestly, as vile as many such people and their views are, if our values and ideas are better we should be able to beat them squarely on our merits in the public square, right? If they are forced underground they become more dangerous, in my opinion. I'm just a middle aged white man, but in 1977 the Klan burned a cross in our front yard because my parents agreed to sell their home to a black family. I was five years old. I remember the men in hoods, the burning cross, and the very real armed East Texas stand off. I remember the sheriff coming, doing nothing, and driving away. I remember them threatening to lynch me and my dad. Its burned into my mind to this day and has played a very real role in forming who I am. My parents ultimately called the family, told them the situation, and let them decide whether they wanted the house or not. I also remember my parents and the people who came to support them, being willing to go down fighting on principle if they did decide they wanted the house. In the end, the family chose to buy another house and the situation eventually diffused. The reason I bring this up is that those men lived on our street, went to the local churches, and even worked in the same plant as my father. Even today, four decades later, my parents are surprised at who some of those men turned out to be. I would much rather know who these people are and what they believe and confront them in Lafayette Park face to face than to only find out who they are in my front yard when they've already put their hoods on and grabbed their guns for a lynching.
  14. The National Mall is center stage of our democracy. It is maintained by our tax-dollars. I have no issues with reasonable fees for special events like weddings and concerts, but for political protests? The government does not get to charge The People for the right to make their opinions known on their own front doorstep; and especially not by executive fiat. If it were any other national park I might not feel the same way, but the location of the national mall and the number of defining historical mass protests that have occurred there make it qualitatively different. No. Just no. https://reason.com/blog/2018/08/09/demonstrators-might-have-to-pay-a-fee-to
  15. "We shall cleave to the old ways: cover of darkness and speed of hoof!" - King Arthur, Excalibur. Some matters are so consequential that integrity and security must trump speed and convenience. Voting is one of those things where I'm willing to do a little more, wait a little longer, and fund a little stronger. Electronic and online voting are very modern and efficient, but the security is not yet robust enough for comfort. In Washington we receive ballots in the mail and return them the same way. Insofar as we aren't engaging in ballot-tea-reading and trying to discern the intent of hanging chads, I can wait.
  16. Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America by Gustavo Arellano. The author is a columnist and food critic and has an entertaining style. Its not the sort of book I usually read, but it was fascinating nonetheless. He also has an interesting take on cultural exchange leads to intersection, innovation, and fusion.
  17. In the US "income tax" is generally a reference to personal income, such as salaries, dividends, and profits from private sales. Corporate taxes, while they may technically be income taxes on a business' revenues, are treated as separate. We do not have Federal sales or property taxes so they aren't directly relevant to a discussion of our federal tax code, though a discussion of fees would be germane. While some small businesses, mostly sole proprietors, follow the flow-through model, most people who run businesses, own rental properties, or even one-man shows to which assets are attached do take advantage of more complex corporate structures. This is because the tax benefits, such as deductive your salary from business expenses, are too great not to. Most people I know who run a business, and even many consultants, incorporate or form partnerships, etc. I have clients who have incorporated their new construction personal home projects to take advantage of tax benefits. I kid you not. Its not an expensive or onerous thing to do. First, there is more than one partnership structure. Some are pass through and some aren't. With that said, the goal is to tax the wealth generated after expenses are paid, including salaries. To understand the underlying theory I suggest reading Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Picketty. His analysis is rigorous and he conclusively shows (IMO) that we have come to a point where the income earned by working people is increasingly dwarfed by the self-generating income of those who possess sufficient capital that they don't have to. This is happening at an ever accelerating pace. Hence our contemporary discourse about income inequality and the concentration of increasing wealth in the hands of the few. The old assumptions we have about where wealth comes from and how capital perpetuates itself are increasingly "out of date." No disagreement, but just because something is difficult, doesn't mean its impossible or that it shouldn't be done. At present the US federal tax code is 74,608 pages long. I'm not sure these changes would actually make it any more complex that it presently is. It could be more complex, just as complex, or less complex depending on how you go about it. The US tax code already excludes pensions and related dividends from earned income while simultaneously taxing them differently than other capital gains. And, yes, if you own shares that pay dividends and then turn around a sell them, you pay the full capital gains tax. As a result, I don't see this as a challenge as we already do it this way. I see no reason why this would need to change. As noted above, we have already created tax structures to facilitate retirement and exclude them from the regular capital gains rates. Those structures already have limits to how much you can make use of before having to pay capital gains on what you draw beyond that. It is, in theory, a very significant issue, but its one we've already hammered out for the most part. Raising the capital gains tax does not necessarily mean a retired person, let's call her grandma, suddenly finds her pension and dividends crushed by a high tax rate. The structure already makes a distinction between grandma and Warren Buffet, even though he's a grandparent. I would note Buffet, incidentally, is one of the strongest proponents of jacking up the capital gains tax as a means of increasing revenue and paying for programs while at the same time lowering (but not eliminating) personal income tax. This is an already extant feature of the landscape in the US. Different states have different tax bases and structures, and different programs and services. There are even differences between counties and cities, who have their own taxes, fees, and programs. Indeed, your example of schools is one of the best ones. Only a modest amount of school funds flow from the Fed and even then, some districts reap more rewards than others. Most education funds flow from the individual state governments, counties, and even municipalities. Local education levies, as well as levies for police, fire, libraries, and other services are things we vote on at the local level in almost every election. As I said before, "I don't know." There are frequently times I am content to let experts decide. Agreed. That was the point of my Thomas Sowell quote about scarcity. We are rapidly approaching the critical and painful point where we have to decide between eventual insolvency or reduced and more disciplined spending.
  18. The lack of net-gain was the essential point I was getting at. The Tea Party was a reactionary movement dominated by social conservatives and the religious right. It was also, at its core, a extremist and populist anit-Obama movement. None of those things represent me or are inherent in the political values I expressed. I'm not big on guilt by association or painting with a broad brush. That some members of the Tea Party share some of the political values I expressed has nothing to do with me. JFK also shared most of those values I expressed. Indeed, "JFK Democrat" would not be a bad descriptor for my politics. The problem is, he was probably too far to the "right" to win his own party's nomination today. I'm intellectually liberal in the age of reason / enlightenment sense, and am frequently at odds with social conservatives. If classic liberalism, federalism, fiscal pragmatism, and personal liberties are 'dog whistles' I can only conclude, with regret, that a civil and meaningful conversation is beyond our reach. Despite that, I wish you well. May you know life, liberty, and happiness.
  19. I'm pretty circumspect about the boards right now, but my impression is that you are asking a genuine question in good faith. To that end, I'll try to give you a genuine answer in the same spirit. I'm here to have discussions. Do I find that attractive? Not at all. The platform you are referencing is the Rothbard platform and dates back to the 1970's. For many decades the Libertarian party was basically a gang of truculent idealogues and the platform represented what its candidates, often militant and zany oddballs, ran on. Over the past two decades, however, the composition of the party has changed dramatically. The party has absorbed a wave of both democrat and republican political refugees, who now compose what is commonly referred to as the "pragmatists" within the party. An excellent (but long) article on how this played out in 2016 can be found here: Did The Libertarian Party Blow It? . The pithy maxims most commonly used to explain pragmatist philosophy are "free markets and free minds" or "fiscal responsibility and social tolerance." This influx has naturally resulted in a great deal of dynamic tension within the party, which is amplified by the fact that you have everyone from radical anarcho-capitalists to paranoid preppers to moderate classical liberals in their ranks. The Johnson-Weld ticket represented an internal triumph of the pragmatic wing of the party. You will note, much to the consternation of the ideologues, their platform was not the Rothbard platform. At this point more pragmatists run for office as Libertarians than ideologues, and they are seldom in lockstep with Rothbard's platform. This clearly presents a serious branding problem for the modern Libertarian party. While those familiar with today's party have an implicit understanding of what these candidates stand for, those outside of the party see the old platform, shake their heads, and say "Oh, great. God help us. Another castle-in-the-sky Libertarian whack-a-mole!" Every Libertarian candidate I have voted for is playing an infinite game. This may because they have that luxury. They only now becoming ready for "prime-time" and are not locked in a machinean two-party blood fued. They don't have any real power to be interested in at this point. Unfortunately, Johnson was an affable but hapless candidate. He ran on values (an infinite game), but was ill-prepared for a fast-paced television campaign. Weld was the better candidate, but playing second fiddle. Was my vote in 2016 a protest vote? Yes, certainly. But it was also a values vote. In reference to myself, I only use the term "libertarian" loosely and adjectivally. I am a classical liberal who strongly advocates strict federalism, fiscal pragmatism, individual liberty, and social tolerance. I am also intellectually liberal. So much so that more than one conservative interlocutor has accused me of being Epicurean or libertine. That's not really accurate, but not so far off the mark, either. My opposition to contemporary progressive social politics isn't rooted in values. It stemps from my perception that the movement has been hijacked by a stridently illiberal and authoritarian mob. From where I sit, a regressive, revanchist mirror universe Tea-Party currently rules the left. That said, I am a "faint hearted originalist." An originalist because I believe in the aspirational values and system of government our Constitution represents. Faint-hearted because I don't want berobed bomb-chuckers wreaking social and economic havoc by uprooting ideologically imperfect, but reasonable precedents. I don't believe the Constitution is out of step with our essential values. I think it informs them. Look how far its brought us! The amendment process allows us to tweak it without doing its intent injustice. For me it is not a source of pathos, but of pride. Liberty for all is an unobtainable ideal. We will always fall short. For me, its the struggle for liberty that matters, and defines us as a nation. My biggest issue with our national ethos today is that, due to some very serious mistakes we've made over the past two decades, politics are now center stage. To a degree, that's necessary. However, everthing, inlcuding our diets and hairstyle and wardrobes and entertainment has become hyper-politicized. Politics is downstream from culture and political didacticism produces pitiful cultural product and shallow society. Most of the social change people are demanding (much of it quite justly) should be pursued on the cultural and interpersonal front. One thing I've learned is that you legislate culture at your own peril. The reason people are seeing such virulent backlash is that law is usually the wrong lever to pull. I'm not saying you shouldn't legislate some basic social tenets (reasonable discimination laws, for instance), but people too often forget that the law boils down to the maxim "violence is golden." Law must be enforced. That means sending men and women with guns into your neighbors houses and businesses to force compliance / get your way. As a result, when someone says "there oughta be a law!" I always stop and ask "is this something I am willing to use violence against my neighbors to achieve?" If its not a question of ensuring fair play, public health, public safety, or good order I tend to be circumspect about using the law (government) as a lever. You could say I'm "fiscally pragmatic, geopolitical circumspect, conservation friendly, and socially liberal," and that I live by the mantra "let people alone." I don't like butt-in-skis or bullies irrespective of which side of the aisle they hail from. That's the libertarian streak. I don't know if I really answered your question. I apologize if I didn't. Let me know.
  20. I want to be clear that my three bullet points do not constitute a "tax plan." What I wrote is, at best, an outline for a more in-depth discussion I want our leaders to be having. My essential point was that (in terms of high level economic theory) the democrats keep pulling the wrong levers while the republicans refuse to pull the right one. I'm not even strongly opposed to keeping the income tax for top earners (e.g., 200K+). All of the issues you raise are germane and need to be addressed. I do not regard them as problems, however. Rather, they are details to be sorted out. I'm not sure that's true on this side of the border. Corporate taxes are paid on business income after expenses, including salaries, are deducted. As a result, we corporate taxes are on profits. I work for a small-medium business and am familiar with a lot of the accounting. I would note that most small-business owners pay themselves a salary, which is personal income and not a part of the taxable profits of the business. That is especially true of sole-proprietors. Its an expense. As such, your theoretical truck driver could incorporate, pay himself a salary, include that in his deductible operating expenses, and then pay corporate taxes on the remaining profits, if any. To avoid abuse you can put a reasonable cap on how much salary can be deducted as a business expense. I will note we had a maximum capital gains tax of 35% in 1979 and that the rules were different than they are today. You can create exclusions for primary residences (the home you live in), put a cap on dividends declared as "income," determine which kind of corporation pays what tax rate and enjoys which exceptions etc. I'm sure I missed something, was unclear about something, or was wrong about something. Let me know. Sales and property taxes are generally State and municipal taxes here. If the people of a jurisdiction want a program and pay for it with income tax, sales tax, or fees, I'm fine with it. Indeed, the state and local level is where I want most of my government. That's where I can keep the best eye on it and have the most direct impact on it. Washington never hears my voice, but Olympia frequently does. It also accounts for local culture and mores. In fact, for me, the silver lining of Trump is that the left has suddenly rediscovered Federalism. What I'm addressing is Federal government, taxes, and spending. The collective stuff we have to deal with at a national level is what I'm concerned with. We have living trusts and other mechanisms to insulate assets. The Canadian system could be workable. I might make a few modest exceptions. For instance, let's say I own three homes and my daughters live in two of them. If I leave them the houses they live in and my house goes to the general estate, then I might only count my house as an asset for the purposes of estate tax. I will utter the taboo Internet phrase: "I don't know." You are correct, I want a balanced budget and I am willing to cut pretty deep to ensure we hand our children and grandchildren a fiscally solvent nation. Even with reduced revenues, we can maintain our military, critical infrastructure, essential agencies, and even social security and medicare with only modest reforms. To do that, however, we need to seriously reduce other federal services, or charge fees for non-essential services. Our national leaders have been spending like a lecherous drunk with a credit card in a Manhattan strip club. Neither party even feigns pretense about treating the people's treasure as their own blank check at this point. Every week I sit down, go over the accounts, and balance my budget. I save for down payments on major purchases and investments. I keep my debt to income ratio low. I accept I can't have everything I want. I am not unique in that. Most Americans live that way. So can Uncle Sam.
  21. Basically: Do you want to "win America" (finite) or keep America going (infinite) because the aspirations and values ensconced in its system of government make it a game worth playing? The predictability of campaigning on values rather than partisan interests creates the well of trust necessary for compromise, cooperation, and attaining the common weal. That of course assumes voters for both parties see an inherent value in keeping the aspirational political values and system America was founded on going. My impression is that there a lot of people in both tribes that say they do, but really don't.
  22. I would love to have had a lengthy discussion about this with you, as well as the diverse views espoused by contemporary libertarian voters, but based on how this thread went I don't believe that would prove fruitful. I have concluded that breaking my long hiatus from the boards was seriously misguided. Things here are the same as they always were, but somehow they have gotten worse at the same time. I don't see an upside in making the attempt.
  23. I get that, but I'm not evaluating this as "greater" and "lesser." I'm evaluating this as "immediate" and "intermediate." In other words, I view trump and his policies as the problem of the day. Its acute. We want that pain to go away. It needs to be addressed. But, his opponents are also promising pain. Its just a different pain on a different day. However, we obviously disagree and it probably doesn't pay to belabor the point.
  24. That is gracious of you, but not really necessary. We mostly want the same things, and we both just want things to get better. That's a pretty good starting point for a real conversation after the passions die down, right? And, I will apologize to you, too. When I feel my positions are being misrepresented, or that sincerity has been met with unnecessary snideness, I tend to respond muscularly and call it out. That doesn't always deescalate the row. I probably should presume both friendliness and good-faith more than I do on the boards, but some of the comments (not from you) can make that hard to do. Let's assume we both want to make America healthy again and go from there.
  25. How does voting for "more of the same" help anyone? My issue here is this: attack politics and deflection. Neither party seems to want to say "how do we get people to vote for us?" Both are saying "how do we get people to vote against them?" That's a "no sale" in my book. But which is lesser and why is a subjective personal assessment. As is whether there is a lesser to begin with. Treating personal political preferences as black and white objective facts is why this conversation repeatedly turns nasty. Good people. Moral people. Intelligent people. They can disagree.
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