I've had a cold the past few days; I think I'm now recovering, but we'll see how it goes.

I donated blood Friday morning, when I was feeling well, and then Saturday evening I called and left a message, identifying my donation number, and saying that I now had a raspy throat. (There were instructions to let them know within 48 hours if one felt ill, so it may be that the blood is kept for that long before actually being transfused into anyone else.) I hope I didn't pass on a cold via my well-intentioned donation.
My previous post referred to James Kirchick's book, The End of Europe. There is now an interview with Kirchick up at the Reason magazine site, http://reason.com/blog.
Two months ago, Commentary magazine published an article by Nicholas Eberstadt on "Our Miserable Twenty-First Century," detailing decreased participation in the labor force by working-age adults, slowed economic growth, opioid addiction, etc. It also showed how household he worth was back up and growing, following a downturn at the state's of the Great Recession.

I sent a letter to the editor, pointing out that higher household net worth -- which does not, of course, mean that every household enjoys a higher net worth -- at least partly reflected increased land values, both the value of land which people directly own, and the value of land owned by corporations, and reflected in the price of stock. I pointed out a few other things, as well. The current issue of Commentary included several letters responding to Dr. Eberstadt's article, but not mine. I did notice a relevant paragraph from elsewhere in the magazine, written by Stephen Daisley in his review of James Kirchick's The End of Europe:

"Where The End of Europe resonates is in diagnosing the three interdependent symptoms of la maladie Europeenne. First, it is primarily an internal complaint, coming from economic and political failures within each European country; second, while it has gestated with alarming speed, it can really be traced to the 2008 financial crisis; finally, rabble-rousers have profited from peddling anti-liberalism as the cure while seasoned political technocrats scour desperately and impotently for a remedy."

Right, the seasoned political technocrats hadn't read Henry George, and mostly were more or less dirigiste, not pro-free market, so they didn't know what hit them when the real estate bubbles in Britain, Spain, Ireland, and elsewhere burst, and they didn't know how to solve their counties' problems. The rabble-rousers have been making hay from their failure.
As I was waiting to pay for my groceries, I saw the headline in the (ick) National Enquirer, "What Trump Doesn't Know!"

That sounds like the title of a very thick book.
I started with zero amendments; I had one show up on my Amendments docket late Friday afternoon, so I'm up to one.

I completed an Office Action on my oldest Regular New case Tuesday, and I've been working on another Regular New case.

I'm awake and using the iPadAir after getting what used to be known as first sleep.
And now, the Q&A session of the discussion on "International Trade and the Georgist Movement." Nate Blair asked why the Left is aligned with special interests. Also, he's not always pro-free trade. What if the goods being traded were made with slave labor? There are other cases as well.

Dr. Foldvary said that Life Savers used to be made in the U.S., but are now made in Canada, as a result of U.S. sugar quotas.

Dan Sullivan said that free trade theory is good when trade is the exchange of goods for goods; there are problems when it isn't. After Proposition Thirteen (cutting property taxes in California), U.S. Steel complained of Japanese dumping. The Japanese were selling Toyotas, and buying California real estate.

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins asked about "free trade" rules against legitimate environmental or human rights laws. He gave examples, like the Chinese buying Canadian tar sands, or gasoline in Canada containing an additive that's banned in the U.S. (but if I understand correctly, the Canadians aren't allowed to ban it according to the NAFTA agreement).

Lindy Davies said that it's complicated.

Fred Foldvary agreed that pollution is an issue, and said that we should have a global treaty on the environment.

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins spoke again: Quebec banned fracking; American companies are able to sue, even though the law applies to all fracking, whether by U.S. or Québécois companies.

Lindy Davies replied that fracking is better than coal mining (probably). Eventually, we should stop using fossil fuels, but for now, let Quebec make its own decisions.

Ed Dodson said that the U.S. has more manufacturing than before, but with fewer workers. Multinational corporations have no government loyalties, and report revenue where it is taxed the least. Etc.

Fred Foldvary replied that he solution is to lower your tax rates, except for LVT.

David Wetzel recounted an economics lesson from hitchhiking: The man who picked him up in a Mercedes commuted a hundred miles each day. He lived in Switzerland, where there's a low personal tax, and owned a factory in Germany, where there's a low corporate tax.

There was more discussion of various points. Fred Foldvary is in favor of free banking, although Henry George himself was a Greenbacker. Lindy Davies said that George was not a full Greenbacker.
I wore my new t-shirt today, the one saying, "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Gary Johnson." A woman accompanied by a child, both dressed in what seemed to be their Easter Sunday best, expressed her approval of my electoral wisdom.

While I cannot be certain, her haircut seemed to suggest that she preferred the company of women; also, she and her little child were walking a little bit behind another woman with children in tow. So, it seems she's a lesbian Christian with libertarian sympathies; it's a wonderful world we live in.


Apr. 16th, 2017 05:58 pm
Happy Easter to my Christian friends!
To continue with the discussion on "International Trade and the Georgist Movement," Dr. Fred Foldvary asked, Why learn economics? His answer was, to understand the reality behind superficial appearances.

Trade is mutually beneficial because of comparative advantage. Anti-trade politicians are either exploiting public ignorance or ignorant themselves.

VAT is refunded on exports, while income tax isn't, which leads some people to favor value added tax. Henry George called the sales tax a domestic tariff. So abolish sales tax and VAT! Forward true free trade.

There was then a Q&A session, so watch this space.
I didn't get any amendments this week, and I did Office Actions on my two existing amendments, so I'm down to zero amendments on my docket. Take that, Red Queen!

I also did an Office Action on an inherited Request for Continued Examination case, and I've started searching the prior art for my oldest Regular New (non-RCE) case.
We've been having some lovely weather in between winter and Washington's hot, muggy summer. I bought a small pot of lavender at the farmers' market this weekend. Although I have something of a brown thumb, I hope this plant lives and blossoms.

The esteemed and talented Jo Walton, papersky on LJ, has departed from LiveJournal, and moved her blog to http://www.jowaltonbooks.com/blog-2/. There may not be a huge exodus, but I think that LJ is now going to bleed non-Russians.
Not "Madame President," although she can be addressed as such, but MRS President.

A while back, I posted that I qualified as middle-aged, since a college classmate and acquaintance of mine had been elected to the U.S. Senate. Now, however, a friend from graduate school occupies a much more prestigious and important position. A mailing from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State informs me that Susan Trolier-McKinstry, Ph.D., is now President of the Materials Research Society.

I remember how, nearly thirty years ago, Susan Trolier and I were in the same solid state physics class near the heart of campus, and used to walk together to the Materials Research Lab at the east end of campus. Not long after the end of that semester, her engagement to the younger Mr. McKinstry was announced (his father was a professor). She stayed on to become a professor at Penn State herself, while I bounced around and ended at the Patent Office.
To continue with the panel discussion on "International Trade and the Georgist Message," David Wetzel spoke, mentioning the bull in Protection or Free Trade? In case you haven't read the book, George described a bull who had wound his rope around a post, and was stuck, unable to reach grass for him to graze on, and not understanding how to unwind the rope, his great strength useless. George wrote that the working class was in a similar position, realizing that things were wrong in the world, but not understanding how they could be set right.

Mr. Wetzel observed that trade distinguishes humans from other forms of life.

The European Community is becoming a superstate with unelected ministers. It requires its member states to have Value Added Taxes of from 17% to 27%; the rate is currently 20% in the United Kingdom, with exceptions like books and newspapers.

The CAP (Common Agricultural Policy), allegedly for farmers, is actually for landowners. There is no ceili on CAP subsidies, although there is a ceiling on welfare for farmers. A check to the farmer simply means higher land rents and land prices.

David Wetzel voted for Brexit. The European Union has free movement, which can include criminals and people who will collect welfare. Brexiters are accused of being racists, and being frightened of the rest of the world. No, says David Wetzel. He favors trade with the rest of the world, and not just with the European Union.

This is an opportunity for Georgists to enact their ideas, not just hold conferences.

Watch this space for more to come.
To continue with the morning of Tuesday, August 16, there was a panel discussion on "International Trade and the Georgist Movement," with Lindrith Davies, Dr. Fred Foldvary, and David Wetzel.

Lindy noted that Henry George was tactically against tariffs because they were an alternative to land value taxation, but held that free trade wouldn't really help workers, just raise land rents.

He also said that productivity and wages tracked closely until the mid-70's, but the period from World War Two until 1973 was an anomaly! Usually, wages don't go up with productivity. Read Progress and Poverty to learn why.

Donald Trump to the contrary, trade deficits are not necessarily bad; they can mean cheap consumer goods and service exports. Nigeria, Bangladesh, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo all have trade surpluses.

Regarding trade treaties and agreements, they can involve appointed tribunals to decide alleged treaty violations, which can override health and safety regulations. Investor protections are sometimes seen as a violation of national sovereignty.

Lindy thinks that this ignores bigger injustices. What does national sovereignty mean? We believe in land rights. Private land monopoly is the biggest violation of liberty.

Nations provide environmental protections, etc., when they can afford to. Land value taxation leads to prosperity, which leads to safety regulations and environmental protection.

Then the other panelists spoke -- watch this space.
I didn't get any amendments this week, but I dealt with my Expedited case, and then with the oldest of my regular Amended cases, and I've beeen writing an Office Action on another regular amendment, so I'm currently down from four to two.

Also, I finished an Office Action on my oldest Regular New case just before the 3:00 PM Monday deadline for last quarter. I acquired two Request for Continued Examination cases from an examiner who is now with the Office of Quality Assurance, so I dealt with one of those this week.
On Sunday, I met a tall woman walking a small dog, a beagle-terrier mix, with a service dog's harness. The woman told me that I could pet the dog, who wasn't a Seeing Eye, but was being trained as a service dog for autistic children, and would in due course be placed with a child. The dog leaned against my legs, and I reached down to pet her.

The woman commented after a minute that the dog would be happy to remain like that all day. "Or until dinner time," I said. She agreed to that; I said that I had had a beagle as my best friend growing up, and beagles like their dinner. Also, they're sweet-natured and good listeners, and should be good for autistic children.

In due course, I finally did stop petting the dog, and we parted, but it had been a pleasant meeting.
I finished a case a few minutes before 3:00 PM Monday, and all is well. My production for the second quarter would be good enough without that case, but my production for the first quarter was only a little above 88%, so I needed to raise my average, and I succeeded. My production for the second quarter was over 102%, and my total for the first half of the fiscal year was 95.02%. Ninety-five is good enough, you see.

I bought a scratch-off lottery ticket on April 1, and proceeded to scratch, but I didn't win any prizes.

A couple of months ago, I visited the liquor store, and bought a bottle of apple brandy, planning to drink some for an end-of-quarter celebration. I had a tot on Thursday, celebrating the successful completion of one case and a start on my final case of the quarter, but I didn't much like sipping the brandy. Monday evening, I poured a small glass of sweet cider, spiked it with a bit of the apple brandy, and drank that after concluding the quarter. I preferred to take my poison that way.
LiveJournal wants its users to agree to a new user agreement which contains some worrisome boilerplate, and, furthermore, is not legally binding. The legally binding agreement is in Russian, which I don't read or speak; for all I know, it may commit me to sacrifice my little niece to whichever demon bought Vladimir Putin's soul with the promise of worldly power.

Even if it isn't that bad, which it may not be, I am blogging at Dreamwidth now, unless LJ drops its demands.
In celebration of folly, I just bought a scratch-off Virginia lottery ticket. We'll see what results.
I haven't seen Beauty and the Beast, but I have come across a link to this analysis of relevant economics and history, which may be instructive as well as amusing.

It's from the Foundation for Economic Education, a bunch of sort-of free marketeers which used to be Georgist, many decades ago, but drifted away, or at least a Georgist named Frank Chodorov was involved, way back when. I say "sort-of free marketeers" because some of us take the view that a real free market requires equal rights to land.
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