Gongol.com Archives: August 2019

Brian Gongol

August 8, 2019

The United States of America What Puerto Rico is getting right

The commonwealth's politics look messy -- but at the broadest view, democratic processes are working, and that should make all Americans proud.

Threats and Hazards The "Un-Great Man" theory of trade

There are those who subscribe to the "Great Man" theory of history: That history is largely shaped by individuals of tremendous consequence. There are problems with that theory, of course. But it may be far more true that a twist on that logic is in fact quite true for the history of trade, and that we are living it now: Trade takes broad commitments to systems and rules, but it turns out those commitments can be undermined in devastating fashion by the right person with the right amount of influence -- like a President of the United States with an impulsive streak and a lot of unchecked trade power. His capacity to undermine trust in the system at large -- and, especially, trust in the nation that for so long has been the anchor party in the world's trading mechanisms -- is enough to undermine and damage systems that had been massive engines of well-being for much of the global population. It's not forgivable.

Threats and Hazards Russia tests American and Canadian patience

Attracting the attention of NORAD and various Air Force assets: Russian bombers flying close to, but not quite within, American and Canadian territorial airspace

Business and Finance Publius would have liked the Value-Added Tax

Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Paper No. 12 lauded the use of consumption taxes. In his time, the import tariff was about the only way to get that done (because there weren't the tools necessary to put tax collection everywhere). Now that it's possible to collect taxes almost seamlessly, one would think he would be even more in favor of consumption taxation.

Health A fine story of human goodness

How an organ transplant 35 years ago saved a life and started a chain reaction of further giving

Aviation News "The Right Stuff"

One of the best movie lines ever: "But on that glorious day in May 1963, Gordo Cooper went higher, farther, and faster than any other American ... And for a brief moment, Gordo Cooper became the greatest pilot anyone had ever seen." And if the closing theme to that movie doesn't put tears in your eyes, you might be a robot.

Humor and Good News How to fold a fitted sheet

Don't. Just compress it a bit and stash it in a drawer or a closet someplace. You have better things to do with your time.

Humor and Good News The near-outgroup vs. the far-outgroup

People who are close to what you believe, but just not quite, are often far more annoying than those who disagree with you entirely

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