Sunday, November 15, 2015

Aching

Small-scale terrorist attacks are basically unstoppable in a free society. The American Right's fantasy of arming everybody won't stop it, and neither will liberal wishful thinking. When you want a society in which anybody can go out on a Friday night to attend a concert, you take the risk of a gunman shooting the place up.

One way to curb these attacks is to be less of a free society. You'll have to pass through metal detectors and have your bags x-rayed before entering a public building. Your communications and person will be subject to search and surveillance. Borders will be tightened against refugees and smugglers alike. People who look like attackers will be segregated into walled neighborhoods. A bit like Israel, basically.

But nobody wants to attack the problem at the source: a region mentally stuck hundreds of years in the past, with no hope except the illusory paradise offered by religion and perverted by extremists. It will probably take a horrifying expensive invasion and occupation, followed by generations of education and social mobility, to lift the Middle East out of this misery. And this is a cost no one will bear, so we shall continue to fight the symptoms.

My heart aches for Paris, but the truth is that I will not avoid visiting the city of lights for this. I refuse to let terrorists turn our civilization into something less.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

何錯之有?

報載高雄市兩名 15 歲少女,日前無照雙載且未戴安全帽,為躲避警方攔查,造成後座陳姓少女傷重不治。巡佐施富國抱怨「警察,依法行政何錯之有?」

這裡說「錯」有兩種意義。法理上,警察目擊犯法行為本應追查,的確沒錯。但是「追查」是有限制的。比如說,嫌疑犯只是想逃離的話,文明國家的警察一般是禁止開槍殺人的。一部分原因是犯的不一定是死罪,在街上直接槍殺並不見得是正義。再來就是會有誤擊旁觀者的危險。

所以第二種「錯」的意義來自對現場的判斷。如果警察的動作(如高速追逐)會造成公眾危險,就要很小心的冷靜考慮。換言之,我們期望警察的處理不是制式的動用武力,而是運用智慧找出兼顧法治和安全的解決方法。這決不是說不能動手抓,但是有時不追反而是正確的。民眾不願看到未成年少女喪命,更不願意看到警察或無辜路人死傷。我不敢透過媒體三兩句話就批評本案的處理,這裡說的是施巡佐的態度。

施巡佐也說「沒有任何遺憾跟可惜」,也大有問題。未成年少女心智不完全成熟,所以犯錯本不就以成年人的法條處罰。如今一個死另一個大概過失殺人,怎麼不可惜?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

So Cut the Crap

If staying the course with sanctions will make Iran stop building nuclear weapons, why did we have to invade Iraq to stop their "WMD program"? As usual, Republicans are making little sense in their stampede to oppose everything Obama.

The truth is, once you realize that neither the US nor Europe has any appetite for an invasion and prolonged occupation, then it's obvious that developing nuclear weapons is how you force us to negotiate. As much as the Republicans want to pretend, there is no option of continuing to wait for the sanctions to work. Why would the Iranian regime suicidally wait for the sanctions to work, when they can develop nuclear weapons and force us to come to the table? They're not stupid.

Did Obama extract the best possible deal for the US? It's impossible to know without fully understanding the positions of the Europeans, Russians, and other players. If the US needs to maintain the sanctions at any cost, allies and frenemies alike will sniff it out and each extract their pound of flesh. They're not stupid, either.

We're talking about a weapon that the US first built in 1945, and a Princeton physics student nearly designed by himself in 1976. Today, the only real way to stop a proper country from obtaining one is to convince them that they're better off without it, but you're not going to convince somebody with little to lose. Obama's strategy to delay Iran's attempts and to eventually bring them back into the fold of world order seems plausible on its face.

Unless you want to go to war and occupy Iran indefinitely.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Leadership

History may prove President Obama to be right or wrong about Obamacare, Cuba, and Iran, but it's important to note his courage in not just kicking the can down the road. One thing those three have in common is that we've been doing the same thing for decades and it clearly hasn't worked, and Obama is the president who decided to do something different. The latter two are not sexy legacy projects that a second-term president would naturally be drawn to. They're messy, decades-long impasses that too many politicians were content with just propagating to look tough.

Obamacare is not the liberal utopia of free universal health care, and neither the Cuban nor Iranian deals provide the satisfaction of total victory. Could he have been smarter or tougher or more cunning and gotten better results? Perhaps. But students of history should also remember that shortly behind the euphoria of defeating communism came the rise of international terrorism, not to mention the humiliation of Russia probably brought about Putin. Compromise may turn out to be the better part of valor.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Vote.

Yesterday's SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage is a monumental and euphoric moment for many, but don't forget that four of the five justices in the majority opinion were appointed by Democrats Clinton/Obama, and all four in dissent were appointed by Republicans Reagan/Bush/Bush. This stuff matters.

Furthermore, Ginsburg is 82, Scalia is 79, Kennedy is 78, and Breyer is 76. The next president may well appoint three or four new members to the Court.

Millions of people may now be saved from bankruptcy if an expensive medical emergency should strike. Millions of people can now marry someone they love.

Vote.

Friday, June 26, 2015

和平新共識

台灣每當選舉就難免抬出「九二共識」要各候選人表態。但究竟何謂「九二共識」?簡單說就是當年雙方為了和平而假裝有的遮羞布。其實大陸方面的「一中」一直都是政治上統一,實務上可以兩制。台灣方面的「一中」則是希望能最多只是名義上「一中」,實質上獨立。最重要的共識就是「終統」或是「終獨」,而台灣島內對這個都沒有共識了,何況跟大陸?

但在這個「九二共識」的旗幟下,大陸方面睜一眼閉一眼讓台灣得有一點外交空間。其實台灣所謂的邦交國當年就只是看在錢的份上,隨著大陸經濟起飛,今天還存有的邦交明眼人一看就知道根本就是大陸「禮讓」的。當年台灣或許還有一點錢來做「表述」,今天連這個都比不上大陸,更不可能有什麼理念上的競爭。

所以今天要說「九二共識」就沒有意義了。台灣還真要在國際間跟大陸爭什麼嗎?還有人真以為外國人會公正的聽兩邊的想法,然後憑道理選邊站嗎?世界上早就只剩一個中國了,也就是說台灣方面的「表述」早已全然失敗(其實也從沒有贏的可能),但怎麼可能就此歸順?務實的中國領導人得跟台灣找出新的共識,看看今天的觀點究竟在哪裡能有交集,因為台灣不管藍綠都已經沒人有興趣繼續搞什麼「各自表述」了。

新的共識說來困難,但其實也簡單無比,就是打得兩敗俱傷不如和平發展。大陸其實早已這麼實行多年,只是統一說久了嘴軟不下來而已。如果中國領導人能承認「不獨不武」是新共識,或許能是一個新階段的開始。

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wake the Fuck Up

Republicans are full of shit.

They want to give more money to rich people because when rich people get money, they create jobs and hire poor people. They also want to stop giving money to poor people because that just makes them lazy and dependent on handouts.

Hey, maybe the trickle-down theory is nonsense, maybe it's not - I'm no economist - but these fucktards aren't even trying anymore. The estate tax is levied only on transfers above $5.4 million, so repealing this literally benefits only the rich. Now, some of these may go to entrepreneurial descendants who create jobs (yay!), but you would be a total fucking idiot to think that every single person who inherits more than $5.4 million would start a business and hire workers.

What about the farmers, they say. Descendants are forced to sell parts of their farm just to pay inheritance taxes! So write a bill that takes care of the farmers but doesn't exempt rich brats who do nothing. Make fucking sure that in two generations, rich brats turn into poor brats with no government aid. Instead, Republicans are writing bills to take away aid for people who are working minimum wage jobs, and giving money to people who would never work a day in their lives, because they hate hate hate laziness.

As for trickle down, the top 1% already control 42% of the country's wealth. Exactly how much more do they need to start creating some fucking jobs? Why aren't we already drowning in jobs? Why are Republicans instead worried about Mexicans sneaking over the border and stealing jobs?

Want to hear another hilarious loophole? After Steve Jobs passed away, I learned that his descendants who got stock would get to reset the cost basis of the stock to the value at his passing. This means that the capital gains they would pay taxes on is calculated from the sale price and the market value when Jobs died, not when he got the stock (perhaps years earlier at a much lower value). The government just cancelled the tax on the portion of gains incurred during his life. What the fuck for?

For that matter, why are capital gains taxed at a lower rate than labor? I literally just click buttons in E*Trade to buy and sell a few times a year, and if I get lucky, I have capital gains. Yet that income can be taxed at a lower rate than the dollars I make doing the hardest jobs in the world.

Wake the fuck up.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

北京.香港.台灣

中國所謂的「一國兩制」到了今天的香港驗證,已經原形畢露。這幾天來港人大量的上街抗議,主因就是北京執意把所謂的普選變成只能從欽定的候選人中選擇,完全失去任何民主意義。

從這次事件可以看出,北京並無意讓香港作為中國民主的試驗地。其實北京對中國全面民主化的疑慮我雖不能認同,卻能了解。世界上有許多國家在民主化之後,在其他方面卻退步,甚至陷入內戰。所以先經後政,進行一種漸進式的民主化,或許其實更好。台灣在八十年代幸運的在經濟上成功,隨著二十多年的民主化,到今天仍是亂象頻現,所以北京當權者就算是完全基於愛國而不願迅速民主化是可以了解的想法。

但是港人的民主素養卻不可同日而語。這是一個繁榮、現代化、知識水準高的都市。港人平均所得超過三萬八千美元,超過中國平均五倍有餘,八成人口有中學以上學歷。這樣的都市選出來的其實多半是安全的溫和派,就算選了個掛羊頭賣狗肉的也足以自行制衡。這光看台灣就知道了,陳水扁執政八年,對台獨也並不敢實際推動。香港更連軍隊也沒有,所以要以「愛國」為提名候選人的資格之一,顯然就只是為了以北京主觀來排除異己而已。

台灣呢?除非中國陷入重大動亂,台灣要伺機獨立的可能性極小。經濟上漸漸依賴大陸之後,多年後名義上有沒有統一可能根本就無關緊要了。北京口中說一切都可以談,但是從香港的治理就看得出,這個「一切」必定限於北京可以接受的範圍,也就是類似於今天從欽定的候選人中選擇的範圍,所以政治談判就絕對不會有「在什麼情況下可以接受台灣政治獨立?」這種議題。北京今天對香港的高姿態,就是明日對統一之後的台灣同樣的姿態。說清楚一點,北京如果不把香港當作全國可以借鏡的政治模範,日後也不會把台灣當成這樣,後果要嘛不是仍不免一戰,就是漸受北京挾制失去自主能力。北京給台灣劃的圈圈自然會比給香港的大一點,但會比今天的活動範圍要大嗎?不會的話又何必統一?

北京這次手段粗糙,有如當年不投蔣中正就是廢票一樣,說破了嘴也不能讓人信服是尊重民主的。北京的長遠政治目標應該是讓今天的集權統治作一個漂亮的「軟著陸」成為一個有健全制度的民主社會,死抓權終究是騎虎難下。一國兩制對台灣人的魅力並不在於在島上維持現行制度,而是在統一後從根本上的改善中國大陸的政治制度,也就是以中華民國的軟實力統一大陸。在香港這樣搞,一國兩制的魅力也已消失殆盡。

Saturday, January 3, 2015

談談同性婚姻

網路上言論時有無知偏頗之例,但如此文幾乎句句都屬無知偏頗的倒也少見,值得動筆一駁。
男男或女女摟抱,畫面確實比男女摟抱怪很多
這裡說「怪」其實就是你不習慣,也就是所謂的少見多怪。內子以前一位同學去中國訪問時,有些路人看她白膚金髮,就稱她「洋娃娃」想摸她的頭髮。有這種反應並不奇怪,但是必須了解這是你的反應,並不一定是人家做錯了什麼。
同性相戀要暗地裡甚至明著幹,人家管不著,法律沒禁止,若「得寸進尺」要求婚姻合法化,則顯無必要
有沒有必要不是我們該替別人說的,應該問的是關不關你(社會大眾)的事。有害大眾的事情才應該立法禁止,「人家管不著」的事情應該一律合法,才配叫做自由的社會。
同性愛侶要的應是相處在一起那種感覺而已,何必強爭合法登記經政府承認之虛有名份?
你怎麼好像比人家還懂人家真想要的是什麼?婚姻怎麼會是「虛有名分」?這牽涉著繼承權、探望權等大事,就像以前妻妾時代女人爭名分,實質利益影響重大。沒有名分的(同性或異性)配偶,病危的時候被其他家人趕出病房的事例時有所聞。試想像「拔管」這種重大決定,你說他們寧願由相處數十年的同性伴侶作,還是根本多年沒見面的家人來作?
真實情調比一紙無意義結婚證書重要才是。
既然「無意義」,那為何一定不給他們?為何能稱為「得寸進尺」?光是你的反對其實就證明了這張紙的意義。
同性合婚既顛覆傳統也違背人常
同性戀自古就有,所謂「斷袖」一詞更是漢代哀帝的典故,顛覆了什麼傳統?再說,不裹腳不納妾也都是顛覆傳統,那又如何?至於「違背人常」,自由社會的一個基礎就是拒絕「多數人暴政」,不以多數人的常態來欺壓少數人。大多數人愛吃白飯,不表示你就應該說沒必要開放吃麵。
就如性是人類生理需求,嫖妓可視為男性正常行為,卻不能進而要求娼寮全面合法普設。
這個問題複雜很多。妓女許多其實並不是真正願意,這行業更常有黑道勢力介入,所以不適用上面所說的沒人受害的原則。換句話說,禁止嫖妓的目的是保護婦女,並不只是因為如何不正常。當然禁娼法律的效果不彰,除罪化或合法化並不一定更糟,不過這是題外話。
同性戀限縮了擇偶對象機會,一對同性戀足以減少另一對男女擇偶權
這個數學是怎麼算的我其實看得不太懂,好像是說同性戀如果禁止,他們就會變成異性戀者乖乖結婚生子。此句應該不攻自破,不必贅言。你如果認為同性戀能自己改回異性戀,那請你試試變成同性戀一兩天看看。網上有很多成人影片,去找些同性的看看你有沒有興趣。這是某些人的性向,就像你也有性向一樣,不是一個可有可無的嗜好。
還有予人愛滋怕怕聯想!
此句更是無厘頭。就算同性戀者真的多患愛滋,你如果不是同性戀,怕什麼?逼著他們假裝是異性戀搞不好對你本身還比較危險。
年輕男女不婚拒生造成少子,破壞人類生態平衡還有絕種亡國危險
這個現象怎麼變成是同性戀的錯?異性戀者不婚拒生的話,你是不是也要立法禁止?就像中國以前的一胎化政策的反轉,逼人一定要生個一兩胎?離婚也順便禁止吧?

台灣人口密度是每平方公里有 646 人,在超過一千萬人口的國家中高居全世界第二,問題是地不夠,根本就不是人少。
單身主義認為仍有兄弟傳宗接代延續香火,同性可婚者亦認為會有不嗜此好人生子
那停經之後的婦女應該不准結婚,因為反正不能生?是不是發結婚證書之前要先作體檢,證明沒有生育問題才准?

少子化是逐漸嚴重的社會問題,但怎麼就怪到同性戀身上?更主要的原因搞不好是許多婦女除了結婚生子之外可以有職業的選擇,所以晚婚或是少生,甚至選擇寧缺勿濫的獨身生活。自由的人民不是你的生育機器,政府可以看情況而鼓勵多生或是少生,但這個決定是人權的一部分,不可剝奪。
倒不如維持「能做不能說」狀態較好也!
剝奪的不是你的自由,要說人家沒有必要爭取,不該如此輕描淡寫。你應該要有立即明顯的理由,證明某個決定是有嚴重害處,才能說別人不該有你輕易擁有到以為是「無意義」的婚姻自由。