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Replacing Income Taxes with a 30% Sales Tax

To begin with, they will have to rescind constitutionality of income tax, otherwise we'll end up with both, and that will require another amendment, so it's a non-starter. And on the merits, sales tax, and even worse, VAT (sales taxes on top of sales taxes all along the supply chains) are a huge drag on economy as well as regressive. Tariffs (essentially just a punitive sales tax that is passed along to end-users/buyers) are another idiotic idea, as Trump has recently proved... again.

Monumentally stupid': Reagan adviser shreds GOP over IRS plan

    One of the conditions House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) agreed to under the terms of getting a group of far-right holdout lawmakers to stop blocking his election was to hold a serious House vote on a proposal known as "FairTax."

    An idea that has been kicking around in libertarian circles for decades, FairTax calls for the IRS and all current forms of federal taxation to be abolished and replaced with a 30 percent tax on spending that would apply to everything from retail sales to real estate to anything involving a good or service being paid for. It would also establish what supporters call a "prebate," sending a monthly check to every household that covers the average amount a household would pay in tax for bare essentials like food and medicine.

    Former Ronald Reagan economic adviser Bruce Bartlett demolished the idea as completely unworkable.

    "The so-called FairTax is monumentally stupid and has been since the day it was invented some 30 years ago. I lost friends because I said so at the time and many times since. I hope the Stupid Party brings it up for a vote. I am reminded that a big supporter of the Fair Tax was former Ways & Means Committee chairman Bill Archer. Yet despite chairing the committee for years he never introduced a bill to implement it because it's a stupid idea that won't work," wrote Bartlett, a fierce critic of the modern GOP.

    Bartlett has been warning about the problems with the FairTax plan for years. In 2005, he published a lengthy paper deconstructing how impossible it would be to enforce, how the tax revenues could never fund the modern federal government as we know it, how it would depress wages for workers, and how the whole scheme is probably unconstitutional.

    FairTax has next to no chance of passing the Senate even if it passes the House. However, President Joe Biden is already set to blast House Republicans over the proposal in his upcoming economic policy speech, accusing them of moving to raise prices for groceries and other essentials for families at a time when the country is already recovering from the worst inflation in 40 years.

Headlines and news from the front:

Nearly 5,500 Russians killed last week in war
Ukraine shoots down three Russian helicopters in 30 minutes
Putin throwing "meat into the grinder" as war losses grow: Former lawmaker
Russia using "meat waves" to expose Ukraine's military positions
Russia may be carrying out "spoiling attacks" on Ukraine front line
Russia may run out of missiles in three months: Intel
Russian new T-14 Armata battle tanks plagued with problems: Russian soldiers rejecting new T-14 Armata battle tanks over quality, "poor condition" - The tank was called "revolutionary" shortly after it was unveiled in 2015 but has been dogged with production delays and manufacturing issues since
German arms group: We'll send 139 Leopard tanks to Ukraine, just say when
Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev admits Ukraine has enough weapons to try to 'destroy us'

Putin cracks down as nationalists criticize war effort
Putin fires Kherson general Mikhail Teplinsky as divisions fester in Russian leadership
Russia's Communists take to the streets demanding Putin be ousted
Russian authorities thwart protests from wives and mothers of recruits
Russia proposes restrictions on citizens trying to leave country

Russia is now going after Ukraine's time zone: The four Russian-annexed regions of Ukraine "will switch to Moscow time," Russia's ministry said.
Russia accused of setting up concentration camps in annexed territories
Russia is forcing Ukrainian children in occupied territories into adoption, issuing Russian passports
Russia destroys 171 medical facilities in 11 months of war
Russia wants to make Ukraine 'ungovernable wreck': Viktor Orban
Russian State TV evokes Holocaust, claims Baltic states "governed by Nazis"

Russia and Iran weigh weapons deal for Mi-28 and Ka-52 attack helicopters
Russia, Iran Sanctions-Proof Railroad at Risk in Armenia-Azerbaijan Crisis
Helicopter used to transport Putin, top officials crash lands in Moscow: Mi-8 helicopter hit the ground at Vnukovo airport with its blades and tail

Russian TV discusses if economy now "equal" to Iran, North Korea or Cuba

China-U.S. war odds "decreasing" as Xi watches Russia

Russia Could Collapse Into 'New States' After Ukrainian Victory: Economist Timothy Ash of Chatham House
* Given that Russia is currently divided into a total of 89 regions - including 21 republics, 6 federal territories, 2 federal cities (Moscow and St. Petersburg), 49 regions, 1 autonomous region and 10 autonomous areas - Ash predicts that there could be the creation of 20 new states if the Russia Federation collapses.

The Wagner Group has been somewhat successful in their forays in Ukraine, while the troops commanded by Russian Generals have been less than successful in some operations

Prigozhin needs to prove the value of Wagner to both Putin and potential foreign clients so that's why he wanted to take sole credit for otherwise strategically unimportant Soledar / Bakhmut, but it led to Wagner-U (mostly convicts) being basically sacrificed as well as to problems with Russian military who didn't feel appreciated for all the artillery and aerial cover:

Kremlin Admits 'Putin's Chef' Might Be Assassinated Soon

Putin cracks down as nationalists criticize war effort

Russia's 'Elite' Shadow Army Edges Into Complete Collapse:

    The private Russian fighting corps appear to be teetering on the brink of a dramatic meltdown.

    While Wagner Group recruited approximately 50,000 fighters in recent months, including from prisons, only 10,000 fighters remain fighting at the front for Wagner, according to The Moscow Times. (-- that's RIF of about 80%)

    The statistic cited is just the latest indication that Wagner's fighting force is falling apart in Ukraine, even as Russia works to secure wins on the battlefield. Wagner Group fighters have been involved in the heavy fighting in Soledar in recent weeks. Wagner has also been largely responsible for gains made in Bakhmut nearby, "at an extraordinary cost."

    The U.S. DoD has also assessed that Russian forces and Wagner have both suffered a tremendous losses. It is "significantly over 100,000 now. The Russians have suffered a tremendous amount of casualties in their military, and that includes their regular military and also their mercenaries, the Wagner Group, and other type forces that are fighting with the Russians," Gen. Mark Milley said.

    News of Wagner's disintegration comes as the mercenary group is experiencing trouble with the Kremlin as well. Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose military has faltered in Ukraine due to logistics and command and control failures, has been leaning on Wagner Group's fighting power.

Wagner Group Leadership in Disarray. The leader of the Wagner Group was locked in a spat with a nationalist rival as the Russian mercenary organization continued to suffer heavy losses in Ukraine

    Girkin accused Prigozhin of "deliberately misconstruing" criticism of his political ambitions as an attack on the Wagner Group forces fighting in Ukraine. Girkin also accused Prigozhin of diverting personnel to Africa and Syria "instead of deploying his mercenaries to win the war in Ukraine."

    Wagner Group leader denied that he has any political ambitions and claimed that "his team attempted to bribe Girkin in an effort to silence his criticism of Wagner forces."

Russia's Wagner Group Accused of Ripping Off Grieving Families - "I buried my son, and haven't gotten any kind of payment for him yet, not a cent! I will not be quiet about this!"

"Putin's Chef" sued 560 times for supplying Russian army with rotten food

I also read the Google boys came out of retirement (since 2019) recently to be part of a meeting discussing OpenAI and how it is a potential competitor to their search engine.

Exactly... yet you don't consider Google [advanced] Search an AI, do you? They do the same thing (though slightly differently) in scraping the same Web and put it in the database (again, differently, utilizing different distributed file systems to optimize retrieval for given purposes - GoogleFS/GFS / Colossus was also a model for Apache Hadoop HDFS designed for Big Data store on clusters of commodity hardware, though now is common on dedicated HCI (Hyperconverged Infrastructure) hardware such as HP, Dell, Nutanix etc., with various VM hypervisors.

At some point buzzwords "Big Data" and "analytics" became passe, boring and unimpressive and didn't attract as much VC money, so startups started throwing "AI" name into anything and everything that required minimum of "pathfinding algorithm" (see Edsger Dijkstra, 1959) - money is still flowing to that space, so "AI" is still golden.

Watson was built for providing AI services to integrated applications and specific industries such as Health Care, Finance and others.

Exactly, Watson's storage / databases were fed with much more of specialized knowledge, like manuals, transcripts and videos (including 3-D) of medical, financial and legal information because at some point, after failing to make it attractive to general-purpose marketplace, they decided to sell it into these industries and have been quite successful. Doesn't make it AI, but can significantly reduce human assistance, just like general-purpose computers with general/special-purpose software have done before.

Does spreadsheet strike you as AI? Was it "magical" / "wow" when you first saw a demo or used Lotus 1-2-3 or Excel? But it can manipulate numbers and very complex formulas. Chatbots and ChatGPT can manipulate [stored] text and wrap it into coherent content in the manners its programmers think you would like or expect. Just like half a century ago there were different computer languages for different tasks - FORTRAN for math, COBOL for accounting/finance, ALGOL for text manipulation, RPGIII for report generators etc.

OpenAI is geared towards bringing AI to the public for the "good of humanity".

Yeah, sure, fine. Remember Google's original motto "Don't be evil" which became Alphabet's "Do the right thing"? About the same thing, with a slightly different sauce / wrapper, no?

Chatbots are designed to be more verbose than just "here is the link with short description / first paragraph, you are a big boy, decide which one you need and... click / tap." Also (here's the important part!) Open AI right now is not driven by optimizing for ad revenues (i.e., in same place as Google was when it started to compete for search with Altavista, Ask Jeeves, Lycos, Xtreme, Yahoo etc., before Eric Schmidt found ways to monetize it with GoogleAds etc.) - they need to attract people tired of ads and self-serving placements, so they want you to like them for what they are, without having to think about revenue production... for now.

I asked OpenAI to explain the difference between itself and Watson. It said they are both AI platforms with differences emphasis.

No kidding, those chatbots / databases / "knowledge stores" like to brag about being AI, don't they? Did you expect it to say "Nah, I am just overstuffed database with chatbot output"? Ask Google Search if it is an AI? Do you think it will say "Nah, I am just a search engine"?

ML, to scrape and gobble up info - yes. AI - no.


"Alexa, when is the end of the world?"

Clearly you are unaware that Trumpty won the last election...

Nothing would guarantee a Biden reelection like Trump getting nominated. America voted against Trump before...

Clearly, most people in the U.S. are unaware that in 2016 Trump won against Hillary Clinton by less than 80,000 votes and that in 2020 Biden won against Trump by less than 45,000 votes, mostly in 3-5 states, and GOP was just 90,000 votes short of taking all of Congress, too. Arguments about electoral college notwithstanding, these margins are too thin for any side to be comfortable, let alone to be sure of any outcome. Small shift(s) in any demographic category in the few districts of battleground / 'purple' states may decide nationwide election.

www.washingtonpost.com - Republicans came within 90,000 votes of controlling all of Washington

Neither Trump nor Biden have improved their likeability and/or standing with voters since then, to put it mildly. There is not a lot of love for either of these "out there" in the country.

While country is not technically in the recession, more middle-class people are losing their jobs, stimulus payments and savings dried up and purchasing affordability is sharply down with many issues including supply chains still unresolved and financial markets and valuations still way too high - which is not good for incumbent, who is also going to rake a hit, fairly or unfairly, after misplaced classified documents fiasco and "Hunter + Big Guy" investigations / hearings. "Dark Brandon" persona also didn't endear him to the "people on the street" even as it excited Dem loyalists.

It's hard to imagine that in the country of more than 300 million people and 150+ million of those eligible who may bother to vote, the two major parties can't find candidates better than Trump and Biden, or self-absorbed perennial rejects like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or lightweights angling for name recognition and cabinet posts.

www.politico.com - 'It sounds insane, actually': Democrats relive 2016 primary all over again

Another "vote against the worse / worst guy" election in 2024? Don't we deserve better?

Nothing would guarantee a Biden reelection like Trump getting nominated.

Almost true. But nothing would make Trump win more possible than nominating Biden, Hillary or Sanders.

Failing Pot Farms are Killing this California Town's Economy

Cui bono? and "Follow the money!"

www.washingtonpost.com - The casualties of California legalizing pot: Growers who went legal

www.latimes.com - Legal Weed, Broken Promises: A Times series on the fallout of legal pot in California

Russians Fear They'll Soon Be Starving 'Like North Koreans'

The brutal economic reality of a long war is beginning to dawn on even the most ardent pro-Putin propagandists, as Russia prepares for misery at home.

Russia rang in the new year with patriotic fervor and echoes of a Soviet past... TV hosts and performers toasted victory and mocked the West for the side effects of Russian sanctions. Comedian Yevgeny Petrosyan cheered for the troops, and taunted Ukraine and its Western allies: "Like it or not, Russia is enlarging!"

Noisy bravado couldn't hide the fact that no one was drinking from the champagne glasses... Holiday cheer notwithstanding, even Russian propagandists realize that hard times are only starting and attempts to summon a ghost of the Soviet past are directly related to a starkly different way of life that awaits the average Russian.

The Soviet grooming that is being implemented by many Russian propagandists is meant to condition the people to the rapid decline in the standards of living to which many of them have become accustomed. The expectations are so dire, Mardan posed a startling question to his economic expert, Denis Raksha: "What are our chances? Do we even have them or not? Will we have to live like South Korea in the 1950s-1960s? Raksha explained that if Russia intends to drastically rebuild its economy in order to be self-sustaining everyday life will become quite difficult. He added: "Currently, the industrialization reminiscent of that of the 19th century or the 1920s-1930s is practically impossible. In that case, we'd have to live not like South Koreans, but like North Koreans."

Another kind of hunger is also concerning Russian experts: a looming lack of ammunition... "In the early 1990s, the Russian army inherited from the Soviet army about 15 million tons of missiles and ammunition... As of January 1, 2013, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation had 3.7 million tons of ammunition, of which 1.1 million tons are unusable. This means that 2.6 million tons of ammunition are usable. In 2020, almost 300 thousand pieces of ammunition were repaired and more than 20 thousand shells for multiple launch rocket systems were collected. The realistic need for ammunition is MILLIONS of pieces per year."

The simple solution of abandoning Russia's failing invasion of Ukraine never seems to occur to the pro-Kremlin propagandists. Mardan raged: "The enemy has to be destroyed down to the root! It has to be exterminated! Russian history of the last 1,000 years shows that the deed has to be brought to its final conclusion... If Stalin had deported [the people of] Western Ukraine " to me, it's still a mystery why he didn't do it " perhaps none of this would be happening."

"Look at how much the Motherland is spending to solve the demographic problem... We got these people [Ukrainians] for free, for nothing " approximately five million of them! Five million souls!"

Concluding the program, Mardan grimly noted: "To everyone who says that Russia should get up off its knees " myself included " my friends, I'm afraid that our former way of life is a thing of the past... It's practically unavoidable... perhaps we'll be reflecting upon the past year as our last fat year. On the other hand, a great victory is ahead of us!"

Remember the artificial spike in Russian ruble brought by huge interest rates and removal from the market exchanges? Well, it's now about half of what it was before Putin's War invasion - 1.5c / $0.015.

Russian economy is in shambles and prices for oil and natgas have collapsed as markets for Russian product shrunk and they have to sell at fire sale, creation a vicious cycle of driving their commodity prices and their currency further down.

Putin Demotes 'General Armageddon'

Mr-Fixit for all the previous issues / problems / screwups / vulns of Putin's failed "special military operation" was supposed to bring Ukraine 'under control' the way he did in Syria?

"'General Armageddon' Sergei Surovikin has been removed as commander of Russian forces in Ukraine after less than 3 months. Surovikin was hailed as the man to rescue Putin's failing invasion but his most notable achievement was the theft of a raccoon while retreating from Kherson."

Shows that the Syrian game-plan for Ukraine not working because Ukraine is not Syria and Zelensky is not Ba'athist totalitarian tyrant Bashar al-Assad.

Russia's Greatest Military Strength Has Now Become Its Weakness: Vladimir Putin had his eye on his place in Russian history when he compared his invasion of Ukraine to the expansionism of Peter the Great. "It has fallen to us, too, to reclaim and strengthen," Putin said in June 2022...

But while the winter has been an asset for old Russian war efforts, such as Napoleon's Grande Arme retreat from Moscow in 1812 and the turning back of Adolf Hitler's forces from the capital in World War II, Putin cannot count on the coldest season being the same ally. "It may be Russia, rather than its adversary, that suffers the worst consequences..." as reports abound of shortages of body armor, equipment and training for Putin's troops, especially the estimated 300,000 newly mobilized conscripts, "mobiks." Putin's troops have complained they are short of basic equipment, with Russian citizens reportedly having to crowdfund to pay for socks, winter clothes and even body armor.

"The curious thing about the Napoleonic and the Hitler invasions is that in both cases, the invaders thought they were going to be achieving victory before winter set in and so they didn't properly prepare their troops for the winter climate. In the current circumstances it looks like Russia is making the same mistake."

Hundreds of Russian draftees reportedly fear they have been sent on a suicide mission by top military officials who are planning to conceal their deaths through an inventive new scheme: changing records to show they are part of a regiment that doesn't exist.

Crimea, in particular, is most vulnerable to be retaken in the short term, since there is hardly any naval defense support.

Meanwhile... news from the front:

Russia's 'General Armageddon' Demoted Amid Huge Battlefield Losses
Putin's New Ground Forces Chief Aleksandr Lapin Sparks In-Fighting
Putin Knows Russia Is Failing in Ukraine, Scolds Minister on Live Video Call
Putin's Soldiers Complain They Are Being Blackmailed Into Fighting
Terrified Draftees Expose Russia's New Scheme to Cover Up Cannon Fodder Deaths
Putin's Secret 'Squadron' of Executioners Exposed for Killing Own Men

Russia Compiles List of Children to Join Ukraine War

Russian Army Is So Degraded It Won't Recover in 'Lifetime'
Russia Causing Its Own 'Defeat' in Ukraine War: Former Putin Adviser Sergei Markov

Wagner's Prigozhin Looks to Punch His Meal Ticket in Soledar
Russia has bombed Soledar 91 times since Wagner "liberation" claim
Putin Taking Soledar Would Be a Hollow Victory
Russian Forces 'Far From' Capturing Bakhmut Despite Soledar Advances - ISW
Russia Suffers 'Biggest Losses' in Months in Battle for Soledar

Russian State TV Says Country Needs Morale Boost: 'Alone Against the World'
Russian State TV Guest Clashes With Host Over Nuclear Strikes: 'Pointless'
Russian State TV Host Appears to Admit Russia Now Hits Civilian Targets

Russia's 'Merchant of Death' Victor Bout Refuses to Volunteer for Frontline
As Russian Officials Rail Against West, Their Kids Vacation in NATO Nations
Russians Fear They'll Soon Be Starving 'Like North Koreans'

The lawsuit concerns Twitter's office space at 650 California Street, not its main headquarters on Market Street. But it comes after media reports last month said Twitter's new owner, Elon Musk, had stopped paying rent on Twitter's office space globally " including for its headquarters " and had told employees not to pay company vendors, in an apparent effort to cut costs.

Musk has too much space after massive layoffs and wants to consolidate space and reduce future lease liabilities, so this is a step to break the leases - get settlements for one-time payments to [former] landlords in unused space / buildings, to avoid protracted lawsuits and put property on the market - a lot depends on the remaining length of the lease.

HQ can be moved to TX where he already moved Tesla, but Twitter doesn't, or at least shouldn't, have too many people there anyway (isn't Musk the Chief and Only Twit?) so it may be consolidated with whatever is still left of the company, or moved where it's more convenient for him - for tax or personal considerations. He can move [main] incorporation without moving HQ or employees, and vice versa.

With that in mind, his insistence on employees RTO was yet another piece of idiotic public political theater, since Twitter is really an end-user cloud company and many employees can easily, if not better, virtually work from home or small remote satellite offices, thus reducing most of leased space in one of the most expensive places to do business. But, typical Elon: do stupid skit first, for effect, think and try to make it look good later.

#10 | Posted by wolfdog at 2023-01-03 12:32 AM
... the outright misrepresentations about the Ukraine war. Russia is destined to win this conflict as it has the firepower and the manpower.

That's what happens when you trust "Pravda," even your own Vladimir Solovyev, RT's Margarita Simonyan and others are no longer pushing this crap.

Gas is now lower than it was in the USA, only because it is being drawn down from the reserves.

Your script is outdated - US reserves are actually being refilled, and reserve releases are too small relative to daily consumption to affect the price.

Putin is not running out of weapons. I expect his generals will soon convince him to use the hypersonic missiles Russia has stockpiled.

Putin is running out of generals and most hate and blame Putin for his stupid micromanagement.

Russia has already used many of "hypersonic" Kinzhal ("Dagger") missiles, some fell apart mid-flight; Iskander is inferior and has short range, needs to be close to the theater is easily destroyed by decent SAMs. Your Wehrcraft is just as overrated as your Wehrmacht.

Comrades, don't listen to...

Did you get lost in all the sites and threads you need to maintain, or forgetting where you are - there are very few "comrades" on this site...

... most of you agree with me that what you are paying is not worth Luhansk, Donbas, or Crimea.

This is truly pathetic and ineffective, at best; it's incompetent and counterproductive, well below even mediocre level of propaganda your colleague EffetePoser has shown recently. Does your IRA boss Yevgeniy Prigozhin (aka Putin's chef) know what your scriptwriters are doing, or is he too busy crying over beating his Wagner PMC is taking in Bakhmut?

Speaking of Nazis, Dmitry Utkin (call sign 'Wagner') who co-founded Wagner PMC in 2014 with Prigozhin specifically named their mercenary company for German Nazis' favorite composer Richard Wagner, has swastika and SS tattoos on his arm and was filmed in Nazi / SS uniform. How about that, "comrade"?

Your posts read like Putin's and Medvedev's "erotic fantasies."

Headlines from the front:

Second Russian Defense Sector Bigwig Dies in Two Days - former army general Alexei Maslov previously commanded Russia's ground troops, died two days after Putin abruptly canceled a planned visit.
Four Senior Russians Died Suddenly Over Christmas: Alexander Buzakov, Pavel Antov, Alexei Maslov, Vladimir Nesterov

Russia 'Struggling to Counter Air Threats' on Its Own Territory
Russia Loses 5 Ammunition Warehouses, Radar Station in Single Day
Nearly 1,500 Russians Killed in Last Two Days of War
Ukraine Shoots Down Nearly 90 Iranian-Made Drones in Two Days
Bakhmut on the Brink as Wagner Group Suffers Heavy Losses Across Region
Russia Searching for Soldiers Who Are Abandoning War 'En Masse'

Russian State TV News: Russians Face Freezing to Death As They Run Out of Fuel To Heat Homes
Moscow economist: Ukraine War May Be 'Nail in the Coffin' for Putin's Empire
Weakened Putin Orders Show of Strength While Hiding in His Bunker (Bakhmut is even worse than Lisychiansk)
Conflict Between Putin's Top War Allies Explodes in '-------..k.r!' Fight

    * "We have nothing to fight with, we have no rounds. The guys are dying for us there, and we're f..g sitting here, not helping. We need rounds... We are fighting against the entire Ukrainian army near Bakhmut. Where are you?"

Putin's Army in 'Very Big Trouble': war against Ukraine should "culminate" by the summer of 2023
Putin is realizing that he's quickly running out of the kinds of munitions he needs to continue the war

Finland gets floating LNG terminal Exemplar to replace Russian gas

#3 | Posted by wolfdog at 2023-01-02 05:25 PM
Now you know the truth. Lies, lies, and more lies are what trickles down to us in the USA. Yes it's more "one up on you" as you pay higher prices in the stores to finance this war.

Is this "pravda" and the "Ukie Nazis" really the best propaganda your scriptwriters can still come up with? You realize that whatever you write after has no credibility, right?

First, the higher prices in the stores have very little to do with Russian war / "limited military operation" in Ukraine, that apparently requires bombing civilian targets, including hospitals and housing, and destroying energy infrastructure and kidnapping children and youth to filtration camps - the price of oil / petrol and natgas is sharply down in the US and even price of natgas in Europe is well off the highs... Finland and other countries are building LNG terminals as fast as they can, so the demand for Russian oil and gas is already very low and they have to sell it to few countries that still buy them (mostly China and India) at >35% discount. Despite publicly crying foul about not obeying sanctions, we don't mind too much because it lowers the price everywhere, i.e. Russia is in vicious cycle of ever lowering the energy price and limiting Russian product market acceptance worldwide at the same time. All that talk about sanctions helping Russia with higher prices and accounting surplus is now gone - even after Putin is gone, Russia will never again will be relied on as the only or major energy supplier - which from now on makes it a cheap bitch of eventual buyers.

Second, what we are selling to Ukraine, about 5% of ANNUAL Pentagon budget so far, is under "Land-Lease Agreement" - the same concept as the US extended to Russia in WW2. And this comprised, for the most part, until recently, of 20+ year-old warehoused equipment and ammo that would have to be soon decommissioned / disposed of anyway (or in case of NATO allies, older equipment which is being replaced by newly purchased more modern arms and munitions from the US manufacturers - that's real USDs in the bank from both streams, while accounting is writing off "old stuff". Not even to mention that nobody now wants to buy Russian military equipment (even if available - last military fair show in Moscow was a disaster and a joke) and more orders with maintenance guarantees are already from the US MIC and some NATO allies are coming from countries that used to buy cheap military crap from Russia. BTW, China just banned export of their Loongson chips to Russia, meaning Putin has little to no military technical and manufacturing capabilities. Putin's War on the US side is more than "financing" itself - it's Vlad's gift to the USA, NATO and in the longer term, EU. And then, billions of USDs in reconstruction of Ukraine and rearming NATO, while Russia will still be mired for years economically, not to mention the brain drain that will come and that it experienced already.

Third, you are losing in Crimea, your Navy is practically gone (outside of some submarine capabilities which cannot really be used effectively) and even in Donbas you can't settle in - Wagner PMC is getting destroyed in Bakhmut.

All that even with Biden having limited the supplies to short range artillery and drones and no airplanes until now... what do you think happens when UA starts getting Patriots and medium range HIMARS ammo and maybe even longer range ATACMS, if they will still need it?

Fourth, we are not only getting intel on and draining Russian remaining tech and war capabilities (Putin is "quickly running out of weapons" he needs) but also on Putin's friend, Iranian ayatollah - Iran can no longer financially and militarily afford to supply Hezbollah and other Islamic bad actors in Syria and Lebanon - thanks, Vlad!

Seriously? You can't be bothered to read the six sentences of the posted article

I've read the article... did you read my comment about "arbitrary"? And about actual LAWS made in and by NZ Legislature?

The kind of thinking that "he/she/they can do THIS at THIS 'arbitrary' age... THEREFORE they should be able to do THAT at THIS same 'arbitrary' age" is called a fallacy: e.g., "--- hoc ergo propter hoc / with this THEREFORE because of this" and is a result of simplistic, lazy thinking.

If someone "works and pays taxes" at 13 in New Zealand, should they also be allowed to drive... or are they "discriminated" against? Or they should not be allowed to work... or pay taxes? Or then court should fix the age of "discrimination" to 13 for everyone?

Another example - the minimal age to become Prime Minister in NZ is 18 - does that mean it also should be lowered to 16 to avoid "discrimination"? BTW, in Norway and Netherlands it is also 18, but in North Korea it's 17(!) - Kim's daughter should be eligible soon.

NZ Parliament lowered voting age from 21 to 20 years of age in 1969, and to 18 years in 1974. And since by NZ Constitution, only Parliament can decide to change the voting age, the High Court should have had good sense to not get involved in first place.

If NZ Parliament / legislature ("of/by the people...") had decided that certain jobs / endeavors / "rights" required certain age to be performed competently and specified that in their Constitution, why does it become "discrimination" and the intervention of High Court to "fix" it based on some separate and unrelated part(s) of Constitution? Maybe instead they should fix / explain to younger constituents what "discrimination" really means?

Or maybe a 5th-grader should explain it to them.

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