Friday, January 27, 2017

Crude is the New Illiterate.




Debasement of slang to meaninglessness is so fucking common it makes slang useless.  What used to be a "Shock jock" is now just a fucking illiterate.

On Non-Violence


There are other forms of non-violence than standing around holding signs. I contributed to the Standing Rock Legal Defense Fund which is supporting protest with legal action. Including holding individuals responsible for violent orders among other more important issues of sovereignty, Treaty compliance, illegal actions of DAPL individuals and corporate "people."

Supporting journalists charged with felony reporting, including suing those testifying individually with sedition for unconstitutional infringement of the first amendment.  Just getting them acquitted on constitutional grounds is nonviolent action but so is suing the bastards individually.  Holding individuals personally responsible for their own shit is much more effective as a deterrent.

The Second Amendment explicitly enables a "well regulated Militia" to bear arms as necessary to the security of a free State. It does not define what constitutes security of a free state, Rogue LEOs even CICs may in fact compromise the security of a free State. Violence directed at those infringing on constitutional rights of the citizens of a "free State" is not only legally but morally required of a well regulated militia. The only real question is whether BLM or previously the Black Panthers were a well regulated militia. I was on the jury of the trial of the Young Lords the Hispanic version of the Black Panther trial going on right down the hall to litigate essentially that specific question. In both cases the leaders were acquitted.

The first two clauses of the military oath both for officers and enlisted personnel are "I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;"  It seems to me unsurprising that the ND violence stopped when the 2000 or so Vets arrived in support of the Water Protectors.  It seems that they didn't believe the Vets assertions of peaceful protest only.  Frankly, neither did I.

The last and most important is what kind of violence demands a violent response.  Does slugging a Nazi justify a violent response by the LEOs.  Should they kill the assailant as he surrenders with his hands up? (He appeared to be a minority, but I could be wrong.  No matter some LEOs consider themselves to be judge, jury, and executioner on the topic of threat to a LEO.)  Should non-violent protesters take him to court for assault?  Should the non-violent protesters take the Nazi to court for sedition? 

Non-lethal assault by LEOs can be considered to be violence justifying a non-lethal violent response.  Must non-violent protesters just stand there or should they  take names and badge numbers of LEOs using non-lethal violence to hold the LEOs and their supervisors accountable.  Admittedly standing in the face of non-lethal violence may be an effective tactic as it generates public support but it is not the only acceptable tactic.  Overwhelming numbers may permit those peacefully assembled to flank a portion of the attackers and use non-lethal violence to take names and badges for pressing charges.  

There is always a possibility that an official response to non-violent protest will  become lethal.  Some overzealous antagonist may shoot into the crowd peacefully assembled.  If that occurs violence may be justified and necessary for the welfare of the state.  Once again the appropriate response is a tactical decision: do nothing but succor the wounded in the hope of garnering overwhelming popular support; use overwhelming numbers to obtain names and badges of perpetrators forcefully but non-lethally; or if numbers are insufficient use stealth to make an example of the shooter by using lethal force.  A classic tactic is a sniper masked by the turmoil; the other is a hand weapon in a crowd behind the shooter.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Restoring Democracy in the USA


Democracy died in America when ALEC took over the GOP with big money and a program. The Democrats had no real response with either money or a program to counter ALEC. In fact for the most part the Neolib Democrats took the practical route of supporting the oligarchy in the futile hope of trying to advance their tepid social programs. 

It may be that the Warren/Sanders anti-oligarchy program has a chance on the Left Coast and the Northeast but whether they can rescue the rest of the country is an open question. I am not optimistic. I can see how it can be done one state or metro area at a time, but getting the hinterland to fall in line is a faint hope. Not impossible, single payer medical care and strong social programs have their attractions, but these can be pre-empted with vouchers and hate.

I am following New York politics and for the most part New York is totally ignoring DC to create essentially a self governed state.  Cuomo's New York Promise 
We passed Marriage Equality, Paid Family Leave, and a $15 Minimum Wage, while implementing new regulations that will help ensure whatever happens on the federal level, women will have cost-free access to reproductive health services.       
I expect that the same general programs will happen soon in California although Gov. Brown is not leading the way.  The Progressives nonetheless won control of the CA Democratic Party and San Francisco is leading the way in progresesive action and explicitly rejecting the POTUS anti-immigration initiatives.  

The latest Dem reaction to a replacement for Obamacare suggests that we are in for another few years of totally dysfunctional Federal Government.  If the states don't like POTUS executive orders they will just ignore them and do what they will.  Also it is clear that Federal funds will be worthless in the near future as no one will buy the debt to fund spending.  The rich cities and states will do OK without them but the crash in the states that depend on Federal funds will be catastrophic.  

Trumps latest threat to invade Chicago and now Philly if carried out will be an interesting test of what power POTUS has over a large city or state.  Just guessing, but it will be the shortest civil war in history.  I doubt that any military personnel will risk obeying that patently unlawful order.  The Nuremburg precedent is too recent. That is if much of the military remains after the resignations.      

Friday, January 20, 2017

2017 Inauguration Day Special. Balkanization is Now Complete.


The alt-right has done just what they said they were going to do: Make the Federal Government irrelevant to the governance of the USA? Many states are doing their own thing now about infrastructure, education, health care, housing, etc. with varying levels of success.

Musk is running the energy, automotive, and space programs. Zuckerberg is running communications. Google is running IT. China is running defense. The Native Americans are running land management. All the money in the USA isn't going to get much more fossil fuel out of the ground which incidentally is what all the money in the USA is trying to do. When the world recognizes that there will be a financial crash that nobody will notice as the Yuan is now the reserve currency for the world.

POTUS is taking weekends off. The Legislature is passing meaningless laws. The Supreme Court is ignored by everybody. The military is wasting what money it has left. And the voters have no relevance at all outside their own states.

There are a few States that are well governed, a few that might be in the near future, and a lot of failed states. The Federal Government has just abdicated all responsibility for any of them. Welcome to the next gen BSA or as I prefer to call it The Jefferson Republic.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Subsistence Spending and the Hood Economic Multiplier

A person choosing not to work would necessarily spend every penny of UBI just to stay above the poverty line. Almost none of that would go out of the neighborhood. Even bus fare to the MegaMall is not figured into the poverty line.  Since poverty economies are generally cash economies, and the savings rate is essentially zero at the poverty line, the economic multiplier of each external dollar to the community is huge. Whether that external dollar comes from UBI, street vending, busking, or graft, that dollar supports many local businesses most of which buy locally. with cash.

A good lay explanation of the multiplier effect can be found here: http://economicsonline.co.uk/Managing_the_economy/The_multiplier_effect.html

Thursday, January 5, 2017

UBI and VAST Stories

Jennifer and Kevin both of whom graduated in the middle of their class at the state college, without looking back quit their minimum wage jobs, all 4 of them, when UBI* was implemented and nostalgically bought the house Jen grew up in in the near suburb Jen's parents moved out of just before the neighborhood was redlined by the mortgage companies.  Her parents could see the transition coming and "took the money and ran" to a more desirable suburb.   Like many similar suburbs the expected influx from the Hispanic and black neighborhood never happened as the necessary infrastructure of clubs, stores, and restaurants was missing in the area and it was too far from the existing enclaves to be a desirable step up.    They had been living with Kevin's parents like most of their friends, but used the first of their UBI payments to move and unboard their new house.  Kevin's parents didn't charge them back room and board, and even loaned them the money for the down payment on the house. They were confident that they had brought the kids up right and they would find ways to supplement their UBI to pay them back. 

Jen and Kevin had chosen their neighborhood carefully: The houses were small but basically sound, an infrequent but reliable bus line ran through the area, and there was a defunct strip mall in walking distance with a large store suitable for a coop grocery/household goods store. There was some damage but Jenifer had some basic carpentry skills.  Her dad even gifted her his workshop tools which he hadn't touched since he moved to the country club suburb to indulge the passion for golf he shared with his family.  Several of their friends were artisans and aspiring restauranteurs.  Their local silo on Facebook had been hot since the UBI was announced.  As none were planning children in the near term the neighborhood school was targeted as a craft center.  

Kevin's subsistence job was a "manager" in a fast food franchise.  His chain like all the others found that the kiosks and robots could sell the loss leader dollar menu just fine, but that the profit making up-sale items were spoiling on the shelves.  Since Kevin was high functioning Down Syndrome his former boss was eager to get him back on the payroll at his former subsistence wage and working conditions but with Jen's social work degree to help with the negotiations, Kevin was able to argue that since the kiosks handled the VAST** calculations his up-sale personal skills were worth substantially more.  Sure enough, with Kevin roving the kiosks, helping as "needed" there were always long lines at his bank of kiosks, up-sales skyrocketed and the store became a notable VAST* contributor in the sea of basic meal stores.

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Ashley was successful among her peers. She had a responsible job with reasonable hours that enabled her to "have it all:" after school care, a home, a paid for adequate car, and family health care from her employer. What her peers didn't know was that those frequent lunches with her boss included a dessert of rape for Mr. Grey. It was part of the job for Ashley. After school care, etc. left her no choice but to "Relax and enjoy it." A few months after making sure that the UBI would cover everything but the after school care, and banking most of her paycheck, she was able to let Mr. Grey know one Friday at quitting time that the rape was over along with her job.  Ashley had used those few months of after school care to get her resume polished, the cover letters and recommendations lined up and in envelopes that went out Saturday to the head hunters in her field.  She wasn't too worried, she had frequently thought about tightening her belt and being a stay at home mom although that wasn't her first preference, and the after school care paid for with her fuck Mr. Grey reserve gave her plenty of time for interviews.

Hat tip to Nyah Wynne Nyah Wynne from Facebook for Ashley's story concept.

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Alexia aka Alex G. in the business world moved in as a rental housemate with a neighbor of Jen and Kevin and with a group of artisan friends lobbied for rights to the school.  She invested her entire savings in code compliance and renovation of the school library/stage.  She had always dreamed of becoming a promoter for her friends' bands, but neither she nor her friends had the time to develop the level of professionalism to support a local venue while working two or three jobs to support their art.  An older couple she knew who were employed at a downtown restaurant heard about her venture and asked if they could run a bistro and bar in her venue using the school kitchen for catering. They had their eye on the cafeteria as a restaurant, but the startup costs of the bistro were more in line with their resources. They had some savings that they could invest and Alex recognized the value of turning her venue into a nightclub to attract established entertainers to her little venue, using her friends as openers.  The city was happy to cooperate as nightclubs were good generators of VAST revenue.  The basic retail beverage category was a generic soda, and fancier drinks and called liquors were in a respectable VAST category. 

Mary and John adapted the kitchen to modern standards with untaxed pick, place and flip robots for the basic bistro foods. John was an excellent chef so made to order gourmet meals were added to the menu.  Each table had an electronic order pad for the basic items with a note that the servers had the day’s specials.  Servers were a relatively low cost employee as many people enjoyed the work and the basic untaxed floor was low so servers to the basic meal tables were a nominal expense.  Servers with up-sale skills shared the added value of the gourmet meals with John and both were subject to the VAST tax on services which was built into the price of the up-sale on which the VAST goods tax was paid by the consumer.  It is little wonder that communities liked nightclubs.  Mary chose not to charge for the added value to her hosting services and paid no VAST but took the added value as profit in the business.

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This group of stories (A work in progress. All are invited to create stories with or without VAST in the comment section) explores a society with a *Universal Basic Income (UBI) and a **Value Added by Status Tax (VAST) The basic assumption is that the evolving world standard of a right to medical care, education through whatever level you can get admitted to, including vocational education, basic transportation infrastructure, and UBI is funded by a progressive consumption tax.

**VAST For each category of goods and services that people and businesses use a basic level of subsitence is established that is untaxed. Home meals basic unprepared food at a local store is a home category. Simple restaurant meals as in licensed and inspected food trucks or push carts, and fixed shops selling basic take-out meals with or without indoor seating. For skilled work establishments space for a person and herm tools. For an office a cube with a computer and desk. For retail, self-selection kiosks and a central check out.

A basic wage, that is a wage necessary to induce an unskilled UBI recipient to commit to a standard work week job, is untaxed. Skilled services would be taxed on the percentage of the basic wage that is needed to attract the specific skill. The wage VAT is a cost of doing business, necessary to induce the worker to accept the job.  The worker is not subject to additional taxes on income until is spent on consumption.  Robotics could also fit into the VAST framework. The cost of a dumb pick and attach robot might be assigned as basic. More sophisticated robotics would be subject to a VAST schedule.

A community would establish a basic value for each category.  Any enhancements to these basic levels would be reflected in the cost of the goods or services. A downtown restaurant with tables, service staff, concierges, and fancy decor would cost many times the basic value. Up to 2X basic, a 1% VAT based on the increment over basic would be added to the bill. At 3X basic, the VAT would go to 2%.  At 4X basic the VAT would be e.g. 4%.  At 10X basic the VAT might be 20%. At some point the VAT would reach 100% that is, half the cost of the good or service would be VAT. Levels would be adjusted according to the values of UBI, medical, and government services needed giving politicians at all levels something to argue about. Localities might for example impose a VAST to fund operation and improvements to local infrastructure. Note that wages, capital gains, and net worth of a business or estate are not taxed at all until value is withdrawn and converted to consumption. 

**UBI is a stipend paid to all citizens and legal immigrants by direct deposit that is just adequate for all basic needs: housing, food, recreation, transportation, etc. A basic assumption is that in all modern countries single payer health care, education, and basic infrastructure is in place.  The UBI is unrestricted in use, the recipient may spend it as they please, trading off housing, food etc. without restrictions except that no other support is provided by the state.  Savings is not structured into the UBI which is intended to be basic needs only.  Any employment or self-employment income is supplemental to UBI and does not affect the basic stipend.  UBI is not subject to tax, as the assumption is that in a VAST system consumption supported only by UBI must be in the basic category to make ends meet.  Nicer goods and luxuries in higher VAST categories would be supported by employment of some variety. 

If an income tax is preferred a graduated tax would be imposed on all income in excess of UBI no matter how generated.  That is any income other than UBI must be reported and taxed accordingly.     

Friday, December 23, 2016

Humanism and Cancer.


From a friend's facebook post:


I have enjoyed this medium for a long time. I love you all including the asses, but no longer want to socialize here. I'm going to stick with my kind as suggested. God help you in the future with this mess.

Build your silo and kick out the asses. It is a social media. Social groups have standards of membership or they can't survive. "They drew a circle that kept me out, Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout." (Edwin Markham) And I own that circle. They are not welcome. There are times when inclusiveness fails. I never liked the end of the complete quote, 

I am a radical humanist in that all people are initially included in the humanist circle. They can opt out if they wish by behavior incompatible with humanism. This does not mean they are not still human it just means that they may need to be controlled or eliminated humanely for the protection of humanism.

Humans and humanism are prone to cancerous growths. I did not hate the cancer that was destroying my vocal instrument. But it could not be allowed to do so. The only choice was to poison all rapidly dividing cells in my body, dangerous to be sure, and in fact nearly fatal, but it was a risk I had to take to continue to enjoy my instrument. 

The cancerous cells in humanism must be treated in the same way. Do what it takes to eliminate them even if it is dangerous. If they take over the body politic humanism will be dead anyway.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Stories and Tips about Traveling for a Living.

You know you travel too much when the receptionist at the airline club greets you at 6:30am with "I see it is Omaha this week," and hands you your boarding passes.  (Before TSA.) 

One thing I learned early on, was to stay at the same hotel chain and always ask for a right hand room.  That is the door is on the left and bed etc. on the right.  That way when you get up in the middle of the night to get rid of the used alcohol you know where the furnature is and don't run into it.  The other thing I learned was to unpack as soon as I got to the hotel, hide all the evidence that it is a hotel room, and turn it into home even if it is for one night. The familiar setup of the right hand room makes it easy to forget it is just another hotel room.

A fun NYC Blizzard memory was one I missed. I barely made a plane in Lincoln Nebraska when the gate agent asked if I wanted to spend the weekend in Lincoln or Chicago. I asked why and he said they have just shut down the entire East Coast. I called my favorite hotel at ORD and booked a room with key at Concierge Desk. They asked on Fri? Why. I told them EC shut down. Some shouting on the other end of the line. When I got to the concierge he said thanks to you we were able to keep the day shift on overtime, here is your key to the Luxury Suite as a reward. It was there I listened to Koch tell everybody to stay home and have a weekend party.

  

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Choral Fundamentals.



Choral singing whether 2 or a thousand if done beautifully demands brain synchronization on so many levels that a chorus is truly one voice.  This is certainly a genetic remnant from tribal societies or even before.  I am convinced that a good chorus hears the same music subconsciously moments before singing their part. Where this music comes from, the conductor, the lead singer, or the "ether" direct from the composer/arranger is at this point unknowable.  There are intelligent people that think that every thought or impulse from everyone living or dead is present in some space that is tuneable by the proper receiving brain, and music lends some credence to this for me, but I still don't believe it.  The music of the composer/arranger is somehow embedded in the score that the chorus can resonate with subconsciously as a group.  The melodies, the rhythms, the harmonies and the tempos are of course simply marks on some holder.  But when performed all come together to recreate the mind of the composer/arranger. 

To a lesser extent all music requires this synchronization but vocalization is so fundamental that it involves most of the brain.  All must be in sync with the composer/arranger   (Brava, Alice Parker) even if not physically present.  

Every good chorus I have sung with, and there have been many, has been an extremely tight social group where all members have liked and respected each other.  Years later they can reunite either individually or as a group and it as if no time has passed. The few outliers don't tend to last long no matter how well they sing.