Thursday, July 30, 2015

Socialism, the real history, the real definition, the real path, according to Professor Richard D. Wolff

I've posted my own views and articles about what Socialism means to me, trying to view things in a different way. I found these videos today that just blow me away. They're fantastic, both from the historical perspective and in their way of explaining the real difference between Private Capitalism, State Capitalism (Communism) and true Socialism. There are a few hours of watching here. Worth every second.

The Game is Rigged

Socialism for Dummies, Part I

Socialism for Dummies, Part II

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A wake up call, for me and many others

Bernie2016tv did a vigil on Tuesday, July 21st for Sandra Bland. After what happened at Netroots Nation, we started a specific project chatroom about how to reach out to the ‪#‎BLM‬ community and try to create a bridge between the grassroots activists trying to get Bernie the nomination and the activists trying to bring attention to the issue of police violence against the African American community in our country.
During the broadcast, I decided to try and post the names of those killed by police violence in the live video chat. So I looked for a website that would give me the names. I found one.
I started typing in the names, just copying and pasting. I figured 2008 onward would be good enough. There can't be that many, right? Our country is not THAT far gone, and our police aren't that bad. Right?
I ran out of time before I could even get to 2011.
Creating a memorial video is nice. But each individual tragedy deserves an hour. And such a vigil would take days. Weeks. Months.
This is not homicide. This is obscenity. The #BLM community ramps that up to genocide, and I can no longer disagree. I'm ashamed to say that I too thought this was a distraction from "larger issues". Thanks to this vigil, I've learned something today. The list, the sheer volume, is why it's important. That's why they climbed onto the stage. This is why they take the mic. Because there is no other way to get our attention to the issue. The issue of police violence is not a distraction.
I still believe that Climate Change is the "biggest" issue we face. Because it is going to kill us ALL if we don't deal with it. But I will never again consider the #BLM to be a distraction from "more important" issues. Because while some issues might be bigger than others, they are all equal in importance.
And thanks to these 76 names for teaching this to me. I hope this post helps to teach others.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Is our story a Comedy or a Tragedy?

In drama, I was taught that there are two main types of stories.  Comedy or Tragedy.  These two forms of story telling go back to the Ancient Greeks and were used by Shakespear and his contemporaries.

In a comedy, the characters are taken on an adventure, but the adventure does not fundamentally change who they are, how they think or how they feel.  When the adventure is over, life continues on, perhaps slightly changed but not fundamentally.

In a tragedy, the adventure fundamentally changes the characters, or in many cases ends the characters lives.  Having the characters die is what we are most familiar with.  Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Oedipus.

My question right now is this; Is the story of the United States of America a comedy or a tragedy?  Will we be fundamentally changed by being distracted by pretty baubles, or will we get ourselves back on track?

The answer really depends on what you see as the character of our people.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Can we please balance the budget?

The GDP of the United States was estimated to be $16.8 Trillion in 2014. The "GDP per capita" was $37,075.50. (Now, given that this calculates a total population of 316.1 million people, I'm guessing that some of that is business to business. We don't have that many wage-earners in the US yet. But I'll use the number anyway.)

The 2014 Federal expenditures were $3.7 Trillion. That included a $483 Billion deficit.

If every wage earner, both individual and business, paid the same flat tax rate to the Federal Government, that tax rate would need to be 22.44%, or an average of $11,927 out of that $37,075.50. (by the way, that doesn't take into account the number of actual wage earners, it's total population in including our kids and elders.)

Now, 22.44% is a slightly higher tax rate for Americans than we are used to.  Here's a graph showing what it has been over the last half-century:

If you consider that with a balanced budget we could really get serious at creating jobs, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and actually start paying down the Debt, maybe this would be worth it.

But, nobody is talking about charging everyone $11,927.  Some people earn more, and they pay more.  Some people earn less, and they pay less.  But if we all paid our share, and we stayed focused on the idea that we need to pay enough to balance the budget, we could.

Do we want to?  I do.