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Comment Re:Tradeoffs (Score 1) 149

It isn't just military guarantees. The economic ties between Britain and the Low Countries date back to the Middle Ages, and defending the Low Countries has accounted for much of Britain foreign policy for centuries. Britain is a trader nation, and since the Empire faded away after the mid-20th century, the importance of the Continent has only grown, but its importance has always been there, which is why Britain has fought every attempt at a Continental System.

Comment Re:Scotland just announced a post-Brexit independe (Score 1) 149

The biggest issue for an independent Scotland entering the EU is that Spain and Belgium, both with fairly strong regional independence movements (Spain with the Catalan independence movement and Belgium with Wallonian independence) would likely veto Scottish entry, simply because to allow Scotland entry would send the message that breakaway regions could remain part of the larger European Union.

As it is, it's clear Theresa May is no mood to permit another independence referendum before the final deal with the EU, and while the SNP can certainly make a lot of noise, it isn't very clear that a majority of Scots even want another referendum at this point.

Comment Re:Tradeoffs (Score 1) 149

Britain has also not abrogated its responsibilities to the Continent in over 500 years. From Elizabeth I's reign onward, Britain has been one of the guarantors of the smaller European states against the Continental powers. It has now essentially turned its back on one of the constants of British foreign policy since Tudor times.

Comment Re:Dilemma Solution (Score 1) 361

I think there's an argument to be made that corporate interests saying "We shouldn't pay any taxes" is sufficiently self-serving that if it were to be carried out, there should be replacement of government revenue. I'd happily tax any executive on all remunerations at a massive rate of tax, if not at $500,000, then I'd say any remuneration as well as capital gains and the like. Quite frankly, the idea that a corporate "person" somehow gets to evade the taxes that a real "person" has to pay to me suggests that the notion of corporate personhood should be completely eliminated should corporations no longer have to pay taxes, and that shareholders should now be witness to fiduciary risks as parties to criminal acts.

Either that or corporations pay their fucking taxes and quit having their proxies go around trying to argue away their obligations to the wider society. That's exactly how I'd frame it, "Don't want to pay taxes, your shareholders will no longer have the protections of limited liability", because what's really being argued here is a "having their cake and eating it too" proposition.

Comment Re:Dilemma Solution (Score 1) 361

Fine, a massive capital gains tax on dividends, on resource extraction licenses, and a massive tax on any income over $500,000, including any "interest-free loans", shares, and any other financial instrument. If you think taxing corporations is bad, then tax the living fuck out of those that are making the money. Oh, and repeal all corporate personhood. All shareholders will be liable for the misdeeds of the corporation, up to and including imprisonment for death and injury a corporation causes, and seizure of shareholders' assets in the case of insolvency or financial penalty beyond current cash and asset reserves.

Is that what you meant?

Comment Re:Dilemma Solution (Score 1) 361

There are a few Roman Emperors that assumed the Army would save them. It's pretty much been a universal truth for a few thousand years that it isn't the popular revolts that lead to a government's fall, it's what the army decides to do that counts. If the generals still feel the regime is worth saving, they'll back it. If the generals are noncommittal or want the government to fall, but want to play no overt role, then the soldiers stay in their barracks. Sometimes, the army, or enough of it, will join the revolution, and then it's all over. But very rarely, particularly since the invention of heavy artillery, does a popular revolt get very far on its own.

Comment Re:Dilemma Solution (Score 3, Insightful) 361

Sooner or later a universal income is going to become a real thing, and yes, it's going to be funded by taxing the robots, or more likely the commercial entities that employ the robots. We'll hear lots of corporate-funded interests crying up a storm, and for a time they may even stave it off, but it's going to happen sooner or later, because the alternative is an essentially unfed underclass which will lead to massive social disorder. Besides, the companies that produce goods still need people to buy them, so in the end it only makes sense to make sure that people have some basic level of income to be able to fuel some sort of consumer economy.

Comment Re:It's just smart business. (Score 5, Insightful) 361

Well, the reason this is about Trump is because he has created what is clearly a set of unachievable expectations. Health care is only the first of many failures; where his flights of rhetorical fancy hit cold hard reality. When it comes to manufacturing, even a repatriation of manufacturing capacity is simply not going to deliver the expected significant uptick in employment. In fact, I'd go further as to argue that with increased automation, it makes less sense to locate manufacturing thousands of miles over an ocean from the market, and I imagine what will eventually happen is a good deal of manufacturing happening closer to major markets to bring down distribution costs, but you're not really going to see any significant increase in jobs.

Trump promised a lot of uneasy Rust Belters that the the good times would return, that China and Mexico would be forced to hand back all those jobs, when in fact the only reason many of the jobs ended up in places like China and Mexico was simply due to costs, and as automation increases, not even the lower wages in these countries will be enough to keep manufacturing there. In five or ten years, you'll see a lot of angry and frightened workers in the rust belts of India, China, Mexico and other countries who had been able to supply cheap labor.

Comment Re:Just needs a little nudge. (Score 1) 233

It's an interesting idea, but it would be costly. I suspect at the end of the day it would probably be cheaper to build a Lunar satellite that retrofit ISS. Basically you would need to add a lot more shielding, and I have my suspicions that would be difficult to accomplish.

Honestly, while it doubtless costs and will continue to cost a lot to maintain, maintaining it is still cheaper than (eventually) building a new orbiter. Obviously there are finite limits to how long anything habitable can remain in space without significant overhaul, but as the article says, 2024 is a policy limit, not an engineering one.

As to a lunar orbiter, I think it's a damned fine idea. Figure out how to build it in modules, and have robots or remote control piece it together. If you could get that kind of technology down pat, you could basically build orbiters for Mars or beyond, send them ahead of any manned mission, and thus you could significantly decrease the amount of supplies needed for the actual manned mission itself.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 307

I actually favor the British model of very short "series", rather than 22-24 episodes per season. Let's be honest, when you have to write that many 48 minute episodes you're going to run dry in the idea department very quickly. The genius of something like Fawlty Towers is that you only have to write six scripts for a series, meaning you're not stretching for ideas. Imagine having to write 20-odd Fawlty Towers scripts, and assuming it's a hit and is renewed, that you have to do that for possibly five or six or more seasons.

Even the best shows will tend to run out of steam before they reach 100 hundred episodes. There's just no real way to keep any story going that long. You'll lose writers, even show-runners, and even where you can keep stable production and writing teams, and assuming you don't lose actors (or, as with The Walking Dead, you just wantonly kill them off in place of actually having to write anything good, preferring shock to substance), it gets damned hard.

I think Breaking Bad had it just about right, with an average of 13 episodes per season (though the last one had sixteen as I recall), and still managed to keep quality pretty high. If they had had to push that up over 20, they would have written budget and writing limits, much as happened with The Walking Dead. I see no reason however why you can't tell a story in a more British-style short series. Broadchurch did it in 8 episodes per series. You get to have a story arc without the filler episodes, which I felt often detracted from series like the X Files and Deep Space Nine.

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