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。