Friday, November 25, 2016

Pasadena Opts to Tax for Netflix

A Netflix tax is coming soon, as streaming services will have an additional surcharge. The idea is simple, treating the internet like a utility means certain things, especially access and cost, and taxing them is not one of those things. We can expect a serious challenge to go to court as it seems to be a clear violation of federal regulations prohibiting states from taxing the Internet.

This is a violation of the "Interstate Commerce" clause of the U.S. Constitution. Only the federal government has the power to regulate interstate commerce, including taxing it. Here's part of a conversation about how little sense the move makes:
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm a bit confused.
Let's say you buy your water from a water provider and it is no longer seen as a utility. You pick your provider, and how fast you want the water to get there. This is not taxed by the government.
Yet now a city government wants to tax you on baths. Everytime you take a bath, there is tax on the water used. There is no tax on taking shower, only baths.
That idea sounds completely insane. Yet how does it differ from this news story? There is so many things you can do with water/Internet, and you tax one specific thing? None of that makes sense.
Furthermore, what's stopping you from simply using a VPN or driving a city down to set up your account and saying you live in that area? Is the tax charged only when you're in the city? What if you're away for a week, do you still owe that tax even though you used it outside the jurisdiction? And why Netflix and Hulu? Am I going to have to pay tax on my YouTube Red account or twitch Prime Memberships?

The pick and choose approach to the proposed legislation makes little sense and is prone to both abuse, and the empowerment of corporations (who will be collecting this new tax and are also pushing against net neutrality).

Chicago tried the same thing last year

Friday, November 11, 2016

4 Years of Trump

Well, maybe 3.5 years since he'll have to learn so much.

In a completely unlikely victory, if you believed the pundits, and much to the dismay of blue States, Donald Trump pulled it out of the hat and not only won the Presidency, but Republicans also won the House and Senate.

There's something to be said about the state of politics in this country.

The running narratives?

  • Trump somehow managed to deflect the character assassinations and appeal heavily to working class white America, particularly religious conservatives (yes, the irony is thick here.)
  • Trump's keys was appealing to the average middle class worker with this straight shooter approach. Very little in terms of platform, but a lot in rhetoric, and most of that geared towards the 'elitist' narrative the Democrats and Clinton were relying on (or rather, were just playing out.)
  • Democrats didn't show. 6 Million fewer votes. You can bet that the debacle with 'nominating' Clinton over Sanders was the main reason, and likely cost the Dems swing stats like PA, MN, and OH.
  • Class and race warfare will now be pronounced in the ensuing 4 years.

It would seem as though the notion of progressive policies for this country will take a backseat in the next four years. Whether or not Trump softens his harsh rhetoric and learns how to be President remains to be seen.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Trump Arrives in California

California Republicans have been dwindling in numbers comprising out most one quarter of the electorate in the State. They may have a chance to pick the next presidential nominee as Donald Trump's growing juggernaut arrives.

It wasn't very long ago that the Trump escapade looked just like that, a circus that included more snide remarks then competent policy.

The fresh, no-nonsense attitude, and the perceived disconnect from years in politics has scored well with most Republicans. Despite what the political elite in the party wished for, the voters thinking of something different.

At this point there doesn't appear to be any stop being the potential of Presidential  nominee Donald Trump. Whether do you can win or not is the only question left to answer.

Adult Use of Marijuana Act to hit Ballot

The nov 8th ballot might (seems likely now) to include the Adult Use of Marijuana Act . The measure would allow adults ages 21 and up to possess, transport and use up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational purposes and grow as many as six plants.

Enough signatures were collected to put the measure on the ballot. (Currently sitting at over 600,000.)

The balance here is the lost 'war on drugs'. Now, lead by Colorado, governments realize the revenue potential of legalize small quantities of the drug. A 15% tax is anticipated to be pegged on sales.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Could it be Trump?

The fracturing in the Republican Party over the past eight years as come to a head. Without any competent front runner, the party seems to be slated to pick, of all nominees, Donald Trump.

What seemed impossible only months ago how seems destined for reality. The ones bankrupt Trump is more known for his lucrative business deals and B-celebrity status, then he is for any form of political acumen.

That doesn't seem to be stopping voters. In fact it's working to his advantage. What's disconcerting about the whole enterprise is quite simply his rhetoric. the 'fresh attitude' needed in Washington is going points with prospective voters, but his inability to display common sense and common courtesy to his rivals could I will be his undoing. How he seems to continue  to garner support despite is at times immature commentary, speaks volumes about voters, but also speaks volumes about the state of the Republican Party.

One thing is absolutely for certain, after this has all blown over there will be a complete overhaul of the Party.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Water shortage and legislation

With no end in sight with the ongoing water shortage crisis, and no end insight for rising demand for water, the apt question to ask is whether legislators doing about the growing problem?

There're a number of discussion drafts for proposed legislation attempting to address short and long-term water needs for the State.

The concern most people have is whether or not it's too little too late.