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Topics - NobleHunter

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General Comments / London Bridge is Falling?
« on: September 08, 2022, 11:58:33 AM »
The UK is apparently cuing up the national freak out for when Queen Elizabeth II dies. Given how things are like over there, this is not good timing.

While it's not that relevant to Canada, I think we'll "have" to replace a whole bunch of portraits and do a find and replace of King for Queen. I think I might be displeased about the money we'll spend on it. It also feels weird to have something change that's been a constant for about as long as my parents have been alive.

I feel like major disruption in Canada because someone in another country dies would be an argument against keeping the monarchy part of constitutional monarchy, but if we barely even notice (which is what I expect to happen, official pageantry of grief aside) that also seems to an argument against keeping the monarch as the head of state.

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General Comments / Means Testing Corporations
« on: February 08, 2021, 08:27:04 PM »
So AOC offered this pithy little sound bite on Twitter:

Quote
How about we "means test" corporate tax breaks

As tweet that doesn't even approach the character limit, it doesn't offer much basis for policy. I think it prompts an interesting question of how one tests the means of a corporation. There are a great many ways to measure and compare a companies means: assets, revenue, profits, market cap, cashflow, projected revenue, share price, etc. I'm sure a proper accountant could come with even more.
If we did want to limit the privileges and benefit offered to a corporation, which metric would be best? Revenue and profit seem like the two most obvious candidates. Both can be subject to chicanery, though revenue is less so, and you run into problems companies with out-sized profits or revenues compared to other metrics.

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General Comments / Putin Stepping Down?
« on: November 05, 2020, 11:39:12 PM »
Because it seems to be that kind of day.

https://nypost.com/2020/11/05/vladimir-putin-planning-to-step-down-next-year-report/

Please don't ask what the other thing is.

If he is stepping down (seems to be just a rumor right now?) I hope the transition is interesting in the most boring way possible.

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General Comments / Lessons from History about Self Government
« on: November 05, 2020, 01:06:18 PM »
So last Friday, Bret Devereaux, a historian of Ancient/Classical Rome and the Mediterranean who's made some buzz analyzing depictions of military history in TV (notably Game of Thrones), posted about how democracies ended in the city states of Greece and Italy.

https://acoup.blog/2020/10/30/fireside-friday-october-30-2020/

It's more than a little alarming since we can see on this forum the kind of divisions described in the primary sources. While I sympathize with the feeling that maximum political force must be used while it's available to prevent the complete subversion of the Federal government by oligarchic forces (note both sides are either arguing this or something close to it), that usually didn't go well for ancient city-states as the winning side then slid into oligarchy or tyranny. Devereaux argues the solution is to reframe political division to re-include the vast majority of the body politic while letting genuine bad actors face justice. If there had been a blue wave--and if Biden is a better statesman than I think he is--Trump and his immediate cronies could have been made into the villains of the piece and the bulk of his supporters cast as noble but duped or some other face saving construction. Add in some symbolic resignations by both Republicans and Democratic leaders and there could have been a sea change in American politics.

Yes, this would mean a general leftward shift but I think that's what most Americans actually want (see the GOP's utter failure at repealing the ACA). I also don't find attempts to portray Democratic leaderships as dastardly villains to be at all credible. Trump is convenient because he's an outsider and disposing of him is much easier to do without needing to liquidate an entire political party. If Biden is as bad as the Right says he is another opportunity might come in 2024.

With the result we appear to be getting, both sides will probably retrench and fight tooth and nail for every bit of power they can get. The signal difficulty is there doesn't seem to be a common touchstone that can be used to effectively influence people across the partisan divide. Without a clear message from voters or an agreed upon political narrative, I don't see how "us" can be expanded to include supporters of both parties and "them" narrowed to a set of people who can be safely excluded from political power.

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General Comments / On Post-Cold War NATO
« on: September 26, 2019, 05:20:48 PM »
In an effort to prevent an on-going hijacking of a thread that will likely continue to be contentious and the subject of innumerable news bulletins, a thread on NATO and what it's for now that USSR isn't poised to invade Western Europe.

I think NATO was preserved following the end of the Cold War to keep The West on the same page as far as military and defense issues are concerned; like the G7 but with tanks. It's a convenient way to keep everyone on the same side and channel voices into unison whenever non-Western powers get up to something. It hasn't worked perfectly but it's allowed the West to get everyone pulling in the same direction a number of times.

The hostility to Russia is historical and because a resurgent Russia is a natural pole for power to coalesce around. That also makes it a good candidate for a common enemy or op force to use to define "Us."

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General Comments / So if Trump gets hit by a bus tomorrow
« on: November 21, 2016, 02:50:49 PM »
Who do the Electors vote for? What are their legal obligations? Who should they vote for? While Pence is the obvious choice, I don't think it's straightforward.

Complications:

Pence is not Trump. Unlike other VPs, he's not just a faded echo of the presidential candidate but coming from a substantially different background and representing a very different interest group. It be like giving GOP voters Jeb Bush when they picked Ted Cruz.

Clinton won the popular vote. She only lost the electoral vote by a small number of votes in a few states.

Both sides are likely to freak right out, pretty much regardless of the choice. The conspiracy theorist would have a field day and Trump's helped some of them move mainstream. Whatever happens, it would really screw with the legitimacy of the vote.

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General Comments / Justice Scalia dead
« on: February 13, 2016, 05:29:38 PM »
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/supreme-court-justice-antonin-scalia-dead-1.3447579

Well, damn. That was more unexpected that it should have been.

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