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Comment The True Problem With Commercial Space (Score 1) 370

As the person credited for the first law commercializing space launch services (credited by the law's sponsor, Ron Packard during his introduction of my Congressional testimony on space commercialization) there truly _is_ a problem with privatized space and it is a capital market failure.

This capital market failure systemically suppresses technology investment and it derives from something that should be obvious to anyone in venture finance:

Economic activity is taxed rather than liquidation value of net assets.

A venture financier, or angle, or anyone else who takes dollars out of a bank account and puts it into a high risk venture, is rendering their capital illiquid. If you cease taxing economic activity (income, capital gains, sales, value added, inheritance, gifts, etc.) and instead tax only the liquidation value of net assets, for all practical purposes high risk investments cease being taxed.

This is why, the year after I testified before Congress on the initial legislative direction for companies like SpaceX, I wrote a white paper titled "A Net Asset Tax Based On The Net Present Value Calculation and Market Democracy" wherein I proposed a shift away from centralized government provision of technology development and, at the same time, a shift away from politically biased government delivery of social goods (ie: the welfare state), by taxing net assets at the rate of interest on the national debt and distributing tax revenues as an unconditional citizen's dividend. Later I clarified the assessment mechanism to be liquidation value as well as some of the further aspects of government to be privatized.

Its obvious why so-called "liberals" don't want this since by-passing the welfare state without regard to any politically defined criteria other than citizenship, it would gut their political base.

Conservatives, in particular neo-libertarians of the Austrian School, on the other hand, have much to answer for here. A net asset tax, so assessed, is a big step toward the anarchocapitalism of the American school of libertarian thought exemplified by Lysander Spooner in his definition of "legitimate government" as "a mutual insurance company". Protecting property rights is according to the American school of libertarian philosophy (as contrasted with the Austrian school), the primary role of government and it is entirely legitimate to charge for that service just as it is legitimate for a property insurance company to charge a premium that is approximately proportional to the value of the property being underwritten. Moreover, it is entirely legitimate for any company to pay dividends and a mutual company would pay dividends to its members -- members who, quite reasonably, could be called on for service in times of emergency such as war and could, therefore, quite reasonably be assigned one share and exactly one share each.

Indeed, I view it as a moral responsibility for men like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg -- particularly as beneficiaries of network externalities aka network effects that could not exist in the absence of government protection of those monopolistic property rights -- to at the very least lend their vocal, if not material, support to such a capital reform.

It would be smart for risk investors like Elon Musk to do so.

Comment Re:aren't these aimed to prevent not detect? (Score 1) 151

"Finds its way in"? You may have noticed that the folks behind the French attack were born there.

As a society, France isn't doing a very good job of helping immigrants feel like Frenchman -- even two or three generations out. Meaning you get folks who feel like second-class citizens, easy to radicalize and recruit.

And, for that matter, the US has no small problem with homegrown terrorism either. Hello, Oklahoma City bombing. Hello, burning churches. Looking at terrorism as a problem that comes from outside is understating the issue.

Comment A true blessing (Score 1) 424

So, they decided to ignore the bullshit you imposed on the series halfway through? Thank goodness, that means we're getting back to the real Star Wars.

It's well-documented that you were just making it up as you went along in the original trilogy.

It wasn't until you made the prequels that you had this whole "generational soap opera" "vision" driving the thing, and the result was decidedly inferior. They're tossing away that "saga" nonsense you imposed post-hoc in favor of something that pleases the fans? That's perfect. That's the only way we're ever going to get anything actually true to the actual original vision of Star Wars.

Comment Re:Oops he did it again (Score 1) 594

= = =
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve also said we have to consider closing mosques. Jeb Bush called that a sign of weakness.

TRUMP: Well, Jeb Bush is a weak person and that’s been defined very strongly. I mean, Jeb is a weak person who is a -- you know, I call him a low energy person. That’s what he is. I mean, call him anything you want, but Jeb is a person that will not solve a problem like this.

You have very, very tough people that you’re dealing with. They only understand strength. They don’t understand weakness. Somebody like Jeb, and others that are running against me -- and by the way Hillary is another one.

I mean, Hillary is a person who doesn’t have the strength or the stamina, in my opinion, to be president. She doesn’t have strength or stamina. She’s not a strong enough person to be president.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But what would be your criteria --

TRUMP: We’re dealing with --

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- for closing a mosque?

TRUMP: We’re dealing with very -- George, we’re dealing with very, very strong people. And you need strength and you need stamina.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I get that, but --

TRUMP: Hillary does not have that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- I want to get the details though.

What would be your criteria for closing a mosque?

And how does that square with the First Amendment?

You’ve said your top priority would be to preserve and protect our religious liberties.

Is that only for Christians?

What are your criteria for closing a mosque?

TRUMP: Well, I don’t want to close mosques; I want to surveil mosques. I want mosques surveiled. We were doing it New York City for a while until the worst mayor that New York City has ever had got elected --


TRUMP: -- De Blasio, which was a fluke. And all I would do, certainly there are certain hot spots and everybody knows they’re hot spots.

And let me tell you, the people that are involved in those mosques, they know who the bad ones are and they know who the good ones are, but they don’t talk. And we have to surveil the mosques -- and we were doing it.

We were doing it recently until De Blasio closed them up in New York City. We were doing it recently. We have to surveil the mosques.

And big material and good material, from what I understood, from a very good source, was coming out of those mosques. We were learning a lot. And they were stopping problems and potential problems by learning what was happening.

Hey, look, I don’t want to close up mosques but things have to happen where, if you’ve got -- you have got to use strong measures or you’re going to see buildings coming down all over New York City and elsewhere.
= = =

Plenty more gold in that interview.

So please, tell me: why is the hard Radical Right so afraid to own this? It is what you want isn't it? Why can't you go ahead and say so?

Comment Oops he did it again (Score 1) 594

Oops. Time to update the talking points:

= = = http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...
WASHINGTON -- Professional entertainer and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump refused to rule out creating some kind of database for tracking Muslims in the United States.

George Stephanopoulos asked Trump on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday whether he would unequivocally rule out a database for "all Muslims" since Trump's position on the question has been a little unclear.

"No, not at all," Trump said. "I want a database for the refugees that -- if they come into the country. We have no idea who these people are. When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country, we don’t know if they’re ISIS, we don’t know if it’s a Trojan horse. And I definitely want a database and other checks and balances. We want to go with watch lists. We want to go with databases."

To recap: Trump said he would not rule out a database "for all Muslims," but then talked about a database specifically for Syrian refugees. Refugees are already subject to a lengthy vetting process that can last years, but the government doesn't necessarily track them after they arrive.

Trump also said he supported torturing terrorism suspects via waterboarding and that he doesn't want to close mosques, just to spy on them.

And Stephanopoulos asked Trump about his questionable claim that he saw thousands of people cheering when the World Trade Center fell on Sept. 11.

"It was on television. I saw it," Trump said. "There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations."

Stephanopoulos repeatedly pointed out that police said it didn't happen. = = =

I'm sure Trump didn't really say that either.


Comment Re:Unbelievable (Score 1) 594

        = = =
        Hillyard: But specifically, how do you actually get them registered into a database?

        Trump: It would be just good management....

        Hillyard: Do you go to mosques and sign these people up?

        Trump: Different places. You sign ‘em up at different
        = = =

Vox has another detailed analysis with multiple quotes: http://www.vox.com/2015/11/20/...

So again, why are you so anxious to not only claim that Trump didn't say what he clearly did say on multiple occasions but to brand those who are accurately reporting what Trump did say (and his base is eating up) as "liers"?


Comment Re:Unbelievable (Score 1) 594

I'm genuinely curious what the hard Radical Right is trying to accomplish here. Trump clearly said what he said, and his statements are very appealing to his polling base. Why are you trying so hard to pretend he didn't say what he obviously did say? Are you afraid to own your own policies? Or do you think you have to keep your actual policy plans and the consequences of those plans secret until after the election ("I'm a compassionate conservative"). What does that say about your policies?


Comment Re:Unbelievable (Score 1) 594

Interestingly enough that turns out not to be the case. There are at least three documented situations where Trump has discussed keeping a database of people of Islamic faith in the United States, including one at his own campaign rally. In the most recent case he dodged a bit and left himself an out so the dog whistle wasn't quite as obvious, but he has already left plenty of evidence.


Comment Re:Liberal misinformation (Score 1) 594

By the way, the time is about 5 years past when simply throwing out the word "liberal" causes reality-based folks to cower in fear and allow the mainstream media to fall in line with the hard Radical Right line without serious and vociferous counterattack. You can put your magic totem back in the skin bag: it doesn't work any more.

Comment Re:Not just Japanese, Germans, too (Score 1) 594

German citizens or United States citizens of German descent? While some legal immigrants of Japanese descent were sent to the detainment camps the vast majority were US Citizens who happened to be of Japanese descent - some being 3rd or 4th generation Americans being rounded up and guarded by 1st or 2nd generation citizens of German or Italian descent.


Comment Re:Unbelievable (Score 1) 594

= = = its hard to argue that some sort of registration and restriction of movement of Japanese civilians in the US could not be justified

Absolutely. And their movement was justifiably restricted, until they could be repatriated (through Peru IIRC). But here we are referring to the rounding up and imprisonment without trial and without probable cause of United States Citizens who happened to be of Japanese descent. As opposed to, say, German descent. Or enemy aliens of Italian descent who were ordered to move from New York to Chicago but still allowed to work on the Manhattan Project (Enrico Fermi and his wife). That's the difference.


Comment Re: Unbelievable (Score 1) 594

= = =
Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
= = =

I want my Constitution back.


Comment Re:Liberal misinformation (Score 1) 594

The hard Radical Right pushback attempt has failed utterly. Here's another through documentation of Trump saying exactly that he proposes to create a national tracking database singling out members of a specific religion: http://www.vox.com/2015/11/20/...

The dog whistle dropped down into audible range this time and it is repugnant.

Adapt. Enjoy. Survive.