Taxes are incentives. It's impossible to separate the two.
As far as tyranny and taxes go, the tyranny is borrowing from future generations (who have no say in the matter) to buttress your own standard of living. That's what we've been doing for 50 years. This talk of the efficacy of targeted taxes is meaningless when our nation is facing national insolvency in 10-20 years.Comment Posted By Andy On 30.01.2010 @ 12:10
Someone should tell Klein that unemployed people are not getting an extra $60-$80 a month in their paychecks.Comment Posted By Andy On 25.01.2010 @ 22:07
Michael R & JerryS,
It's not as if the ability to buy "last minute" airtime is anything new - it was the norm for most of the 20th century. Somehow our political system survived, even when mass media was the only media. You portray these scenarios as some kind of political nuclear weapon which can't be countered and you seem to discount any arguments that the result will not be as bad as you claim based on mere assertion. And, in our two party system, it's not like a corporation can have the kind of influence to get a Nazi or Communist candidate elected. At most they will be able to influence close races and only then if their moves are unopposed (ie. no ads from the other side).
Well, time will tell who is right.Comment Posted By Andy On 24.01.2010 @ 16:37
You're not considering the wider political picture.
1. There is the press which should be providing context and analysis. Once it comes out that this attack ad is funded by foreign interests, then the game is up.
2. No political candidate wants to be seen as a lackey of foreign corporate interests. So let's say Norinco sends a huge check to presidential candidate Smedley. Candidate Smedley, if he/she is smart, is going to refuse the money. Say Norinco then buys a bunch of ads supporting candidate Smedley anyway. Well that would be the kiss of death because Smedley's opponent would use that against them.
3. Mass media is increasingly irrelevant. Those huge ad buys aren't going to have nearly as much impact today and going into the future. They are easily fact-checked and the voting population is getting more of their information from the internet than TV anyway. And even for those of us who still watch TV, many TIVO the commercials away.
In short, you seem to be taking a worse-case look at this as well as failing to consider any of the corrective measures and mitigating factors that exist.Comment Posted By Andy On 24.01.2010 @ 15:14
The problem is where do you draw the line? Unless you are willing to go so far as to outlaw political money from anyone but individuals, there are going to be organizations made up of like-minded people who wish to use their collective influence (financial or otherwise) to protect their interests. I don't see how one can legitimately carve out exceptions.Comment Posted By Andy On 24.01.2010 @ 11:38
Good post. As you observed, logistics will be a key factor in relieving suffering in Haiti and you are quite right that the facilities most necessary for logistics - ports and airfields, are damaged and inadequate. This is, unfortunately, a limiting fact that we simply can't overcome in a timely manner. I can hold hope we're able to come up with some creative solutions to prevent Haiti from becoming a scene out of Mad Max.Comment Posted By Andy On 15.01.2010 @ 19:15
As usual, great and provocative post Rick.Comment Posted By Andy On 22.12.2009 @ 15:57
I am a veteran, am currently serving in the guard and have 16 years of total military service on active duty and in the reserve/guard forces.
People like me, Jimbo and others who have served or are serving do have a different perspective, but our opinions on these issues are no more or less valuable than those of anyone else. Sometimes our unique experience and expertise informs an opinion, other times it prevents us from seeing the forest for the trees because issues of war, peace and strategy can carry serious consequences for us. Ultimately, our job is to carry out the collective will of the American people and it's the American people who are the "deciders."
There is a disturbing trend I've seen in the last couple of years and certain groups of people seek to do two things: Put the military and military personnel on a pedestal, and, outsource national strategy to the military. The GoP has recently made support of the latter one the 10 things GoP politicians must support to receive funding. That is wrong, wrong, wrong. In our republic civilians control and decide strategy and the military informs and advises that process. I'm not sure if Jimbo realizes it or not, but insistence that we venerate our military and his insistence that we simply let things slide when military members make a mistake is a road that ultimately endangers our republic. Jimbo can't seem to handle anyone criticizing the military, particularly special operators. Well, Jimbo, as well trained and intelligent as they are (and I've supported a lot of them), they make mistakes. They are human with passions and flaws. They have difficult jobs but they are volunteers and must be held accountable when they make screw up.Comment Posted By Andy On 26.11.2009 @ 08:58
Great post Rick. Personally, I think he was an alienated individual, as many similar mass-murderers are. The factors that led to his alienation aren't as important, IMO, to understanding why he did what he did.Comment Posted By Andy On 7.11.2009 @ 13:17
I thought the Robert Byrd line was one of the funniest of the bunch. Some people should lighten up.Comment Posted By Andy On 31.10.2009 @ 20:57