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NeuralCapsule Free

Contemporary confederacies of dunces now coalesce around very stable genius it seems..

Recent Comments

  1. 8 days ago on Gary Varvel

    I should have been more clear about the combination of my proposed US VAT and federal consumption tax. The former would at least partially address the lack of spending by higher earners whose compensation is likely to be business profits rather than corporate salary. The latter will, as you stated, be highly regressive WRT typical consumer activity..

    It’s all moot given the politics of the day, but personally I think the focus of political debate on the structure of the VAT in American business communities and the focus of voter debate on the structure of the consumer tax (exempting things like less processed and staple foods, hitting cigarettes, alcohol, gasoline, hard – as has been done with the existing taxes for these classes of products) would be a much more useful set of political discussions than those that we have been having around the income tax and its reams of loopholes..

    If such a taxation system ever were to replace the income tax, it would also put needed focus on the current structure of our capital gains taxation strategy, which could be readily adjusted to take away the regressive nature of the consumption tax – and which would be unlikely to reduce investment to the extent that the consumption tax would boost savings. We could also go into the coming debates about global minimum corporate tax as an attractive location to earn income..

    Generating federal revenue directly from the economic activity in the US would eliminate a whole lot of tax dodging – and create heated political debate about what consumption is associated with what taxation, which seems a lot better for our society.. You take ALL of your paycheck home and YOU decide what to spend it on and how much to save – and the politics are about how much to tax SUVs vs bicycles, etc, – not what income bracket we fall into.

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to write a well considered reply to my admittedly pipe dream tax proposal. It’s always good to have real discussion here :)

  2. 9 days ago on Gary Varvel

    It’s either stupid or disingenuous to speak of corporate representation when corporations cannot be held criminally accountable except through charging the individuals who are shown to carry out the actions behind the organization.

    Corporations have the rights that states charter them with, which is why the larger and more rapacious they get the more they shop around for the weakest laws to charter themselves under, until they end up registering in the Cayman Islands or similar..

    America wastes so much time trying to track income – personal and corporate – when the states all (with the exception of the most regressive) have sales tax collecting infrastructure that works quite well for the states’ revenue needs.

    Britain has done very well with VAT and managed to maintain the role of London as a leading center of world finance (at least until Brexit).. There is no reason we could not do away with the corporate shenanigans and the yearly personal headaches by collecting all revenue based on the actual business and consumer activity here in the US.

    This would have the added benefit of hitting conspicuous consumers – from Ferraris to jacked up F150s and mega yachts to over horsed bass boats – exactly where they spend. Americans and America would be a lot better off thinking again about the now $30k tax when shopping for new loud shiny toys than thinking about how to elect the next lower income tax sociopath.

    Want to change our economy to be green and ready to compete? Ditch the income tax and institute US VAT. People who have to pay tax at purchase are going to think twice about a new Viagra truck and the One Percenters will actually have to pay on their toys.. Corporations can incorporate in any tax dodge they want – and the USA will happily collect on the value added here in the USA.

    More revenue for meaningful infrastructure from corporations and one percenters and less gas-holes in loud flashy death mobiles.. America wins on all counts :)

  3. 11 days ago on Steve Breen

    For all the cartoonish stupidity of the man, the organization that got him to where he could steal the presidency was very good at information analysis. Much of their success was political instincts guided by really insightful data science, but the future is in the application of machine learning to the manipulation of the various types of low information voters known to the political data scientists.

    Considering the state of education in the USA since the 1980s, even a complete overhaul of the system will take decades to play out – long after the laws that Republicans are promulgating – and which are now up to 361 new laws in 47 states – have their effects..

    The Republicans know that demographics are ultimately against them and are geared up for the ladt desperate battles to come. The destruction of the public education system under Reagan gave them the Tea Party and then the MAGAts.. Now, they are going to play their recent orgy of court packing for all it is worth with hundreds of voter suppression Jim Crow 2.0 laws..

    The next phase will be feeding their base even more virulent and even more personalized streams of below the radar disinformation that will make Qanon look like the Encyclopedia Britannica. January 6th was just the beginning..

  4. 12 days ago on Steve Breen

    $5,000,000,000,000 is a lot of recovery and infrastructure, by any measure. Of course the from any perspective the problem is going to be whose measure.. The way we ended up with the last administration was disinformation and the best hope we have of avoiding a repeat – or worse – is going to be a concerted effort to address disinformation.

    The disinformation we faced in 2016 was the first time in modern history that what the majority of Americans rightly saw as the lunatic fringe won a presidential election. The vicissitudes of the electoral system aside, this was the wake up call, and, while the disinformation campaign of 2020 failed it was far from a comfortable victory.. We can be sure of worse to come in the next campaigns..

    In my opinion (biased as it is by my background ;) the challenge is to get high quality information, process it quickly and publish it in a comprehensive yet comprehensible and compelling format while monitoring and countering the inevitable future disinformation campaigns as they increase in number and sophistication. There is going to be a lot of data analysis and machine learning deployed on both sides of this fight..

  5. 12 days ago on Steve Breen

    While I am for all practical purposes in agreement with you and know that I am probably unrealistically hoping for a good couple decades here in the southern Appalachians, I am going to try to postpone senility by doing what I can to join the struggle to address the problems, at least while the Trump family is still out of office..

    Biden’s stimulus was clearly needed and with its passage we have the beginning of a solid recovery. Now, the struggle is for an infrastructure plan that is up to the task of returning the US to the leadership of the historic challenge we face.. In this case, “historic” is too small of a descriptor, and just patching roads and painting bridges would be a pathetic joke (which is not stopping Republicans from advocating for it as their “good faith effort” of course..)

    These least disingenuous Republicans are the least of the problems that the Biden administration faces. The problems that humanity faces are not going to be solved by a recycling bin in every yard and a solar panel on every roof.. Or even a tofu block in every pot.. At some point soon pre-diabetes America is going to have to be weaned off of factory farm beef and coaxed out of hiding in their prosthetic SUVs.. That is not going to be pretty..

    We have a recovery from this pandemic, with an uncertain and precious interval before the next pandemic, the next market collapse, the next proto fascist president.. Might as well do something useful with it ;)

  6. 12 days ago on Steve Breen

    Whether we realize it or not, the question we are facing is if there is going to be anyone around to know the difference.. And, then, possibly, if the sentient entity perceiving the difference will be human or not..

    Technology, from fire to hydrogen fusion to CRISPR to AI, can – and will – be used to build and destroy. Our technology is now so powerful that our survival as a species is down to our responsible use of it.

    When I was in my undergrad studies, nothing scared me more than the threat of nuclear holocaust.. I still regard this as my greatest fear, but today as a practitioner of the poorly understood but richly popularized art of machine learning, I am more concerned about the more subtle ways our species might end up inadvertently triggering such a holocaust..

    The iconic bad movie of Cold War AI is of course 1983’s WarGames. I can understand its cult following and even agree to some extent with the Imdb concensus of it being ‘visionary’.. – at least for 1983 Hollywood. The Hollywood treatment of machine learning was certainly the best in popular culture for the era at least.. Too bad it seems to have fueled fears of an imminent ‘AI singularity’ more than anything else.. Ah well.

  7. 12 days ago on Steve Breen

    The Roman / Celtic helmet atop the easel and above the mirror’s American eagle is clearly a warning, but in unwinding extractive industrial capitalism we are heading into terra incognita beyond the conquistadors, the Romans.. Beyond even Alexander the Great. This is a new age of humanity on par with not merely the Industrial Revolution but rather the Agricultural Revolution at the dawn of human history..

    Or it is the final few seconds of the Doomsday Clock.

    This is the time to learn from science, before it is too late. We have enough problems with democracy as it is without the additional anachronistic divisiveness of religion.

    There is a well worn organizational truism that one cannot manage what one cannot measure, but today we have measured the problems of climate change and have terabytes of real time data.. Now it is time to unceremoniously remove all the impediments to acting on this data, be they monopolistic or monotheistic.

  8. 12 days ago on Steve Breen

    We had thought until very recently that we could safely look back at the global crisis that fascism posed as something that was concluded by the FDR administration.. We now know all too well that this is not the case.. The scope of the crisis we are in is however much larger than just that particular resurgent historical horror.. With climate change, we are facing a project beyond even what FDR faced when simultaneously battling the Great Depression and the rise of global fascism.

    The problems we are facing as a species are, sadly, unlike those that the Allies fought 80 years ago. The resurgent fascists of today are not ever going to establish a Reich or even a bogus ‘Co-prosperity Sphere’..

    They are instead going to wrap themselves in nationalism and evangelism and form, together with Islamic extremism, sharply intransigent poles of useful idiots for today’s surveillance capitalists to pit against each other as they shred the global collaboration we are going to need to successfully address climate change.

  9. 12 days ago on Steve Breen

    Monotheistic mythology is dominant outside of East Asia, – at least among those who are susceptible to belief systems. It is no more accurate than the polytheisms that preceded it, but it is somewhat more pernicious.. The problem with all belief systems is that they obscure the origins of the social structures we rely on with tribalistic sentimentality at a time when we are going to need to collectively make very large changes to those systems.

    The evidence increasingly points to the origins of larger human social structures being rooted in the rise of ever more communicative and creative hunter gatherers and their subsequent transformation to nomadic herders who were simultaneously protectors and predators of less and less wild herd animals. Human mythology and spirituality has its origins in this Paleolithic period, predating agriculture.

    Archeological evidence shows these societies coming together loosely several times a year for astoundingly large and long gatherings. The nose to the grindstone lives of later hierarchical agrarian society is nowhere to be found..

  10. 12 days ago on Steve Breen

    Since the sun gods of the early Neolithic and through the Roman pantheon, we have created a plethora of origin myths, each more complex and self serving than the last.. The monotheistic myths are not significant for their modern compassionate cladding so much as for their exclusionary vindictive cults of personality that make them uniquely unsuited for the global problems we now are facing as a species..

    Taken in this light, the Republicans are not out of step with the other monotheistic actors in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh.. And of course the OG monos in Israel.. As tempting as it is to just focus on the warm and fuzzy images these traditions have surrounded themselves with in the modern era, Wahabis, Al Quaeda, ISIS – and the US Republican evangelical love affair with the most militant Zionists in Israel betray the futility and existential danger of that direction..