Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2016 Second Presidential Debate

I got around to watching the second Presidential Debate and was pleasantly surprised.  Both candidates at least touched on the questions and there was relatively little interrupting.  The moderators seemed more concerned with the 2 minute time cap, that having the discussion flow along intelligently, but what can you do.  I also thought the moderators were very neutral by bringing up disparaging sides of both candidates.  I think this is less important than the issues, but then again, most people vote the way they fill out an NCAA March Madness Bracket.  They have their favorite issues that they piecemeal through to the point where they select their full slate of President, Senator, Congressmen, Judges, Ballot Issues, etc.

I had to look up the Carried Interest Deduction.  At a very high level it allows income generated by hedge funds and distributed to general partners to be taxed at the Capital Gains rate rather than the Personal Income rate, which results in a much lower tax burden (20% versus 39.6%).  I think we need to move to a flat tax and eliminate dependent deductions, mortgage deductions, capital gains rates, etc.

I also had to look up the Kurdish Rebels.  Apparently the Kurds are "Today, they form a distinctive community, united through race, culture and language, even though they have no standard dialect. They also adhere to a number of different religions and creeds, although the majority are Sunni Muslims." per BBC News.  I don't know how the United States needs to be involved in the Middle East, however reading about how the Kurds stick together despite international borders, is endearing to the point that I can see how local militias are respected above a nation state's armed forces.

I did enjoy hearing about the Affordable Health Care Act, Syria and the Islamic State, Russian aggression in the Middle East, Energy Policy and the qualities to be sought in a Supreme Court Justice.

I also was intrigued by the repeated mention of Twitter, Facebook, and Secretary Clinton's fact checking website.  It reminds me that in the digital age that we live in, the Electoral College, two party system, and debates are a pretty archaic way to decide the President of the United States.  It certainly made sense in the 1700's and even the 1800's, but now it is a vestige that we should not carry forward.  Considering the hundreds of millions of dollars of campaign advertising, I would like to see campaign finance reform that would make Citizens United obsolete.

To close on a very aside note, I have to comment on "Locker Room Talk."  I have been in locker rooms as a high school athlete, living in a Fraternity house, and working out in commercial and corporate gyms.  It is generally believed that some immature men (I obviously can't speak to women's locker rooms) in male only settings can exaggerate their experience with women (I never heard exploits of men with other men as the LBGT community is not well represented in my peer group).  For example a kiss goodnight, could be exaggerated to a more physical encounter.  It would also not be unheard of to discuss aspects of a woman's appearance, dress, etc.  Topics such as work, family, politics, could also be discussed.  Expletives could be thrown about in the locker room as well, although that is not appropriate in some company.  The use of expletives or questionable metaphors in many situations including male only situations would be considered sexual harassment and rightly so.  As my peer group has aged, I have not heard any braggadocio in recent years and even expletive use has gone down considerably.  "Yesterday's workout f**king kicked my ass" has been replaced with "Tough workout yesterday, my glutes are pretty sore."  I believe that no locker room has an expectation of privacy and any criminal activity being conducted or discussed would be reported to the authorities.  That would include, but would not be limited to suspicion of sexual assault, tax fraud and illicit sales of performance enhancing drugs.

To maintain the non-partisan nature of this blog, my employer would likely fire me if I deleted e-mails that were under legal hold.  I have no expectation of privacy in any electronic communications whether on an employer server, public server or private server.  I would also not be surprised if I faced legal consequences.

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