Monday, April 24, 2017

Temperature Rising To War Fever

Anyone getting fired up about how the U.S.A. needs to waste tax money bombing peasants in some foreign land should think back to Iraq and Vietnam.  Neither war likely seems like a good idea to most Americans today, yet early on both wars were greeted with enthusiasm and much support.  Both North Korea and Syria seem to have pretty awful governments, which not many would be sad to see go, but the question is what is it worth?  How many civilian casualties?  How much destruction?  How many negative unintended consequences?  How much money, energy, blood, and lives wasted that could have been saved and utilized elsewhere?

As always, it boils down to this.  Some people make money from wars.  They'll tell the rest of us any old line of crap to get us to go along.  Some times they even believe their own nonsense.  But it's always nonsense.  There are people I know whom I don't like.  I still don't kill them.  I'm not going to go kill someone I don't know just because I don't like their government.

Mucking around with wars wasn't a good idea a hundred years ago during "the war to end all wars".  Today, with nuclear weapons, civilization and life as we know it on Earth could be destroyed.  The U.S. is already spending about 21 cents of every tax dollar on some aspect of the military.  Throw in another 6 cents per dollar for net interest on the national debt, and there's over a quarter of all tax dollars being spent foolishly.  We need some money spent on the military obviously as the world isn't likely to suddenly become peaceful and loving overnight, but we only need to be able to blow up the world once and not ten times over.     

Sunday, April 16, 2017

What Wred's Reading: Superman: The High-Flying History Of America's Most Enduring Hero

I just started reading this book by Larry Tye.  My buddy Brent sent it to me since he knows I dig comics and super-heroes.  It looks to be a good read, and Tye seems to be fairly on target with his research.  He's even careful about it.  For example, on page 5, writing of Superman's co-creator Jerry Siegel, Tye writes that Siegel's writing appeared in "his own Cosmic Stories, America's first science fiction magazine produced by and for fans."

That may be true.  I am glad that Tye doesn't claim that Cosmic Stories is the first fanzine because it probably wasn't.  But "first science fiction magazine produced by and for fans" . . . hmm, maybe.  The distinction between that and the first fanzine is thin but notable, so ok.

This could be a superread.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

In April, I'd Vote For A Flat Tax

I just got done filling out my yearly tax forms.  This year might have set a record with 8 different forms for the federal taxes alone, and my financial situation is not particularly complex nor do I make a lot of money.

It's just the goofy tax system of the USA.

Filled with handouts to special interests and well-meaning attempts to modify individual behavior through punishments and rewards of the tax system, the federal tax code has probably grown so large that no one, not even those who work for the Internal Revenue Service, fully understand it.

By the time I'm done filling out my forms, I'm ready to vote for the most regressive flat tax possible just so I could have a simpler tax system and wouldn't have to spend my time next year filling out so many tax forms.  If general elections were held in the spring, there would be more Libertarians in public office just from votes from people such as me sick of filling out tax form after tax form.

Interestingly enough, I noticed Ohio is halfway there to a Libertarian taxfree paradise, which, despite my frustration with a needlessly complex tax system, is probably not desirable given that government services in Ohio already seem to run in a degraded mode (lack of funding may not be the only reason, but it's probably one of them).  Check this out:

Basically, from what I can tell, if you're self-employed, you pretty much don't have to pay state taxes in Ohio (only if you make over $125,000, and given how much the self-employed don't declare in the first place and write off as business expenses, there probably aren't too many above that any way).

Though I personally appreciate the state of Ohio letting me not pay taxes on some of my income, this is absurd.  Income is income, regardless of how it is earned.  It ought to be taxed at the same rate (ditto for the federal level where stock market income gets taxed at lower rates than labor income).

You can tell that Republicans have been running Ohio . . . into the ground.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Mickey The Moose!

I wandered into Comics Are Go the other day to discover that my buddy Scott had sold the store.  It seems to be in good hands with the new owner, who informed me that Scott was now making comics and not just selling them.  His latest is some sort of tie-in for a convenience store chain called Mickey Mart.  I've never been to one, but they must be cool places if they have their own comic book and were smart enough to hire Scott to do it!  I liked issue #2 even more than issue #1 because it was full of clever bits such as having the characters from The Big Lebowski be in the background when Mickey The Moose and his friends were in a bowling alley.  You can find out more of what Scott is up to at