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Comment: Excellent idea (Score 1) 839

by moeinvt (#48163913) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Repeal the corporate income tax and personal income tax in favor of a consumption tax. Now, before you can say "that will hurt the poor" check out

Under this system, you get a tax "prebate" so that a poor person would still pay zero net tax over the course of the year. The consumption tax that they would pay on spending their meager income gets refunded before they pay it.

Think about it. Whether you're producing electronics or growing potatoes, work is the most productive activity in the economy. Consumption is the least productive. Furthermore, the ridiculously complicated tax code is where politicians love to include handouts to favored constituents. With the fair tax, the complexity disappears.

Comment: Re:Stupid Americans (Score 1) 63


I think the most glaring example is in the area of financial regulators. The U.S. federal government has the SEC, OTS, CFTC, FDIC, OCC and a financial crimes unit of the FBI.
Yet they FAILED to prevent the 2007 financial crisis and have FAILED to investigate and prosecute any of the big financial institutions for criminal activity? That undoubtedly demonstrates complicity or incompetence, but AFAIK, nobody in these agencies has been fired or reprimanded for their negligence/complicity.
Rather than investigating WTF is wrong with all of these agencies and ferreting out the corrupt and incompetent, government's solution is to create a NEW regulatory agency. Add the CFPB to the above list!

Yes, the Americans who believe big government serves to protect us little people from the big bad corporations are either stupid or extremely misguided. All the new laws and regulations are meaningless when the regulatory agencies refuse to enforce them. Why spend billions of dollars paying these people to NOT do their jobs? If we fired them all, we'd get the same outcome for lower cost.

Comment: Telecoms among top lobbying spenders(opensecrets) (Score 1) 63

The big telecoms are perennially in the top 20 companies/organizations in terms of annual lobbying expenditure. In 2012 for example:

#10 AT&T $17,460,000
#15 Verizon $15,220,000
#16 Comcast $14,750,000

Imagine what they dump into PACs and campaign contributions? How many regulators are past or future execs in these companies?

Comment: Re:Buddhist meditation... (Score 4, Informative) 333

The concept of the "mind monkey" has been around for centuries in Buddhism. i.e. the mind sort of naturally jumps around like a monkey. When I took a yoga class that included meditation, the instructor said that you need to give your mind something to do. That's why you focus on your breathing. He said to let your thoughts come and go but treat them as if you were an outside observer and return your focus to your breath.
The constant flow of information we have today absolutely must affect out psychology. Maybe our minds jump around even more? I think the goal of meditation remains the same.

Comment: Re:Google Can And Should Be Blamed (Score 1) 243

by moeinvt (#46804131) Attached to: Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

The whole problem with corporations is that government grants them privilege without responsibility.

By shielding the executives from any personal civil responsibility by the nature of corporate law, AND shielding them from any criminal responsibility by failure to prosecute clear instances of criminal activity, the incentives become completely warped.

I agree that boycott is a good tool, but rich corporate execs should have to follow the same laws as the rest of us. We should also reform some of the limited civil liability provisions of corporate law and/or attach extra legal responsibilities in exchange for the legal privileges.

Comment: Re:fucked up (Score 1) 243

by moeinvt (#46804109) Attached to: Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

The government wrote the laws stating that execs are required to act in the best interests of their shareholder. I don't know why people get so angry at corporations behaving exactly how we should expect them to.

Nor do I understand why people who incessantly complain about corporations don't work on reforming corporate law. There is no reason why the legal privileges that come from incorporation cannot be balanced with a set of legal responsibilities. Right now however, their only responsibility is a single-minded focus on the bottom line.

Comment: Re:Cameras replace mirrors? IF YOU'RE RETARDED may (Score 1) 496

by moeinvt (#46647743) Attached to: Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

The motors and defrosters can fail, but the mirror can still be adjusted and cleaned by hand. Once the camera fails, you're blind. Seems like a camera would be equally if not more vulnerable to ice buildup and more delicate to clean. For winter drivers, they cameras will also need to withstand months of being splattered with salt (or whatever other chemicals are used) and sand. I think I'll take my chances with the mirror.

The fact that we have differences of opinion is all the more reason for the government to butt out and let the manufacturers and consumers decide.

Comment: Forget so-called "Global Warming" for a minute (Score 1) 301

The Keystone XL pipeline will be carrying nasty chemicals over a distance of some 2000 miles. It will be crossing areas of pristine wilderness, wetlands, countless rivers and streams and freshwater aquifers that serve as drinking water supplies.
Look at the recent episode in West Virginia. There is no possible way for the Keystone XL operators to guarantee that there will be 0 leaks, especially as the thing ages. What if 100,000 barrels of tar-sands crap spills into a body of water? Is there any amount of money that could compensate for the potential damages?
Global warming is BS, but there are plenty of good reasons NOT to build the pipeline.
I figured that Obama would cave in during his second term. Notice that he didn't have the guts to make a firm decision before the election.

Comment: Re:The article makes this an intriguing issue (Score 1) 197

by moeinvt (#46099031) Attached to: Anti-Polygraph Instructor Who Was Targeted By Feds Goes Public

On what basis do you conclude that organic food is not about health? Look carefully at who conducted and funded any study which makes such claims. Then, look at exactly what they are asserting.

I've seen a study which analyzed the nutritional content of organic food vs. other food. i.e. vitamin and mineral content, and the conclusion was that there was no difference. However, the study did not take into account pesticide residue or any other harmful contents in the non-organic food.

Comment: Re:Right so! (Score 1) 1431

by moeinvt (#45969689) Attached to: Man Shot To Death For Texting During Movie

If you seriously subscribe to that interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, then, by direct implication, the 1st Amendment applies only to word of mouth, the quill pen and the printing press. Also by implication, the 4th amendment would apply only to printed or hand written "papers".

Looking at the # of firearms-related deaths and assuming you can save those lives through gun bans is naive. People will find alternate means of committing suicide(leading cause of firearms-related deaths). Murderers will find other means to kill. Criminal gangs (a major source of gun violence) will ignore gun bans entirely.
Furthermore, you would leave the population completely vulnerable to armed criminals. That's not about saving lives, it's merely swapping one set of victims for another.

Comment: Edward Snowden... (Score 2) 362

by moeinvt (#44383595) Attached to: NSA Still Funded To Spy On US Phone Records

In one of Snowden's early public statements he said that one of his primary motivations was to inform the people of what the government was doing so that we could have a public discussion about it.

Does anyone think this vote would have happened without his actions?

In addition, ACLU has filed a new lawsuit against the NSA. An earlier lawsuit had been shot down on the grounds that they didn't have legal standing to sue because nobody could prove that they had been directly affected. Of course the proof could only come from government which refused to provide it. Now that we know more about what the NSA is doing, e.g. collecting data on ALL Verizon customers, the government might finally have to argue their case before a court and try to convince people that their actions are consistent with The Constitution.

Cheers to Edward Snowden, William Binney and alll of the other whistleblowers who have risked so much to reveal government malfeasance.

Comment: Informed personal choice (Score -1) 668

by moeinvt (#44349647) Attached to: Fifteen Years After Autism Panic, a Plague of Measles Erupts

I was all for vaccinations until my state government decided that the government schools were going to administer them and that it was going to be mandatory.

If people want to believe or disbelieve the autism link and make an informed choice with their doctor, so be it. I draw the line when the plan is for schools to be sticking needles into kids' arms.

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