Entries Tagged as 'Politics'

Taxing Non-Profit

The red ink on the balance sheets of many state and local governments seems to be causing them to re-think the tax-exempt status of many non-profit organizations.

There seems to be every thing from legal/administrative challenges to organizations non-profit status to requests to non-profit organizations for tax “donations”.  Some localities are considering totally revoking non-profit exemptions, and others are simply creating hidden fees for services that are not exempt-able.

Clearly we as American’s need to re-think the non-profit tax exempt status totally.

Personally I think tax exemption for an organization should work more like “homestead exemption” — that they can be allocated a given amount of tax credit by each of their “supporters”.

Consider a system where every American is allocated a non-profit tax exemption that they can transfer to any organization (or split between organizations) that they desire; or choose not to… this gives each non-profit the ability to have a tax exemption proportional to their supporters.

What this prevents is large non-profit organizations (including faith based organization) from operating for-profit businesses or holding large tracts of real estate on which no tax is paid… but for modest non-profit organizations there would likely be minimal tax impact…

I personally believe that organizations that help society should be encouraged and supported – but organizations that simply try and evade taxes should not force the general public to support them.

Take a hard look at non-profits; ask how much of every dollar provided to them actually is delivered to the cause it is to help; ask how many employees are supported by the organization and whether their salaries are comparable those employed by for profit; and ask the same of the administrators of non-profit and who well they are compensated…

Originally posted 2010-05-27 02:00:45.

US Drug Policy

I certainly don’t have a solution to the drug problem in the US; but clearly the US government doesn’t either.

History teaches us many lessons, and when we ignore those lessons we often find ourselves repeating the errors of the past.

Prohibition didn’t work.

We make arbitrary decisions about which drugs are acceptable are which ones are not (we have legalized alcohol, but not drug in social use for much longer).

The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation has some interesting views on US drug policy:

The United States is at a crossroads in its drug policy. In our effort to quell the drug trade, we have greatly increased patrol and inspection on our nation’s borders. We have increased arrests for violation of drug laws and lengthened sentences. We have stripped away the rights of drug offenders and introduced drug testing in our nation’s schools and workplaces. We have poured billions of dollars into overseas anti-drug paramilitary operations that commit violent human rights abuses. And in the process of trying to eradicate illicit coca crops, we have destroyed over a million acres of land in Colombia alone.

Since 1990, more than half of the federal prisoners in America are serving time for drug offenses. The availability and purity of drugs has steadily increased over the past twenty-five years. The violence in the drug trade remains excruciatingly high and surges from year to year and city to city. Meanwhile, there remain a myriad of social issues as a result of drug abuse.

The use of drugs, and the enforcement of the anti-drug laws, effects all subpopulations in the U.S., all sectors of the economy, and many aspects of the legal system. Whether we are talking about violence, poverty, race, health, education, community development, the environment, civil liberties or terrorism, the illegal drug market is an important factor in the conversation.

We have tried to use force, prohibition and incarceration to control the drug market, but our efforts have actually led to a more efficient drug trade and a hugely profitable drug market. It is time to rethink our strategy and redefine our goals.

This section holds articles and speeches given by CJPF that address drug policy in all of its forms and effects. In this, we strive to provide a comprehensive framework for rethinking the war on drugs.

You can read the complete statement and peruse their web site at

Criminal Justice Policy Foundation

And if you’re wondering, I found their site through an article from NPR on taxing cocaine rather than (or in addition to) marijuana.

NPR

Originally posted 2010-03-28 02:00:43.

Tax Day

The tax man cometh… and probably won’t leave you with much.

Income tax — a horrible thing; and the Sixteenth Amendment should be repealed.

Why this country hasn’t moved to a more equitable and more easily administered tax system is beyond me — just another failing of our government.

Originally posted 2010-04-15 01:00:34.

Joke Day USA

That’s the best name I can think of for elections in the US… it really has become a joke.

But I have a few ideas that “we the people” need to push for:

  • No elected official will serve more than two terms (if it’s good for the president, it’s good for all offices);
  • All elected officials will receive pay at the rate of minimum wage for forty hours per week (and won’t be eligible for overtime);
  • All elected officials will receive the same health care coverage as do Americans who work hourly jobs (ie, they will have to deal with insurance provided at the national level); and they will pay for that insurance out of their pocket;
  • All elected officials will receive the same retire plan as do Americans who work hourly jobs (ie, Social Security);
  • All elected officials will have to publish their complete tax returns (including all supporting documents);
  • All elected officials will have to publish their complete calendar;
  • It will be a felony punishable by a minimum of fifty years in prison should any elected official use their office for personal gain or fail to provide “transparent” access to their activities;

I personally think we’ve given our elected officials too long in the candy store without parental supervision — this crap where congress get’s a raise unless they vote against it is just wrong; congress should only get a raise when the average American get’s a raise — too long has this country catered to the elite; it’s time now for this country to recognize that America’s strength is in it’s masses.

US National Debt Clock: Real Time


INCUMBENTS

Originally posted 2010-11-02 02:00:18.

Health Care

On the eve of the shortest day of the year it seems to me that this might well be the darkest day of our era.

A year ago we Americans were at what we hoped was a nexus of change for the better.  With a new president, an outsider, a visionary about to take the reigns we hoped that we would step forward and take all Americans with us.

Health care was a promise, a major plank of the Obama platform, and it would be a test to see exactly what out new president was made of.

I put forward our new president is made of nothing; he’s a failure and a disgrace.

Obviously the Nobel Committee doesn’t share my sentiment, but then again you have to seriously question a peace organization that awards an individual dedicated to the proposition that peace is sometimes only achieved through war (last I checked, war was achieved through war — and all the great wars to end all wars only spawned new wars).

Why do I say Barack Obama is a failure?

Simple, a man who cannot stand up for values he purported to have during a campaign, a man that cannot lead his own party, a man that cannot charter the imagination and dreams of Americans, a man who calls himself a leader that has failed by every measure to promote the general welfare.

Hardly a success; and certainly not deserving of an “A” for effort.

I voted for Obama for president not because I liked him or trusted him or believed in him, but rather because I didn’t like, didn’t trust, and didn’t believe in his opponent (and I still don’t).

What a sad country we live in when we must choose our leader by eliminating the worst and only having one choice remain.

I digress.

The lack of a public option for health care reform is nothing but pandering to the health care industry and will in fact achieve nothing except kill the chances of ever having true health care reform.

I simply cannot understand why Canadians can have a health care system that works and provides for each and every Canadian while in the United States we have millions with no insurance, and millions with insurance that doesn’t provide any preventive care.

If the US adopts the health care reform that’s currently working it’s way through the legislative process without adding back a public option I fear that it will be many decades before we have another opportunity to start down the road of insuring that every American has access to reasonable, affordable health care.

Originally posted 2009-12-21 01:00:46.

My Admiration

There are three (living) individuals who I have a great deal of respect and admiration for.

They all happen to be Americans, and they all happen to be male — but neither of those are really factors in why they have earned my respect and admiration.

The order below should not be considered random.


Jimmy Carter

Former president of the United States of America, a brilliant man with a deep rooted sense of honor and a desire to improve the human condition.  Quite possibly the last great president the US had; and he should definitely be considered the last to truly serve his country.


Warren Buffet

One of the wealthiest individuals in the world, money is not his defining characteristic.  He has a deep social conscience and has repeatedly displayed a desire to leave the world a better place.  An exemplary model for successful and sustainable business.


Bill Gates

A man I have met (and worked for).  Also one of the wealthiest individuals in the world.  For him, money is not nearly as important as his commitment to doing what he believes is right.  He’s far more of a man who wants to improve the world, than merely change it. Even to his detractors he is consider a man who has had profound influence on shaping the course of human kind.

Originally posted 2010-03-22 02:00:05.

The Peter Principle

So Wednesday I read an article that the brigade, battalion, and company commanders in 13 July 2008 attack on Wanat, Afghanistan had been reprimanded following a re-investigation of the matter by Marine Lt Gen Richard Natonski.

Initially the three were not subjected to any disciplinary action; but an independent investigation by Lt Gen Richard Natonski was order after numerous complaints.

After the reprimand for the three officers who were said to have made critical operational mistakes, the soldiers refuted the charges and the US Central Command reversed the decision and cleared the three of any wrong doing.

Seems strange, until you realize that the battalion command, then a lieutenant colonel had been promoted to a full colonel after the incident — apparently not only did he not do anything wrong, but he must have done something right.

Dr Laurence J Peter and Raymond hull could have used this as a case in point to support The Peter Principle.

No Punishment For Officers In Deadly Afghan Battle on NPR

Originally posted 2010-06-26 02:00:31.

The Climate Rally

Today a climate rally is being held on the National Mall in Washington, DC is scheduled.

http://www.earthday.org/climaterally

Originally posted 2010-04-25 02:00:05.

Earth Day 2010

Forty years after the first Earth Day, the world is in greater peril than ever. While climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, it also presents the greatest opportunity – an unprecedented opportunity to build a healthy, prosperous, clean energy economy now and for the future.

Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs. Earth Day Network is galvanizing millions who make personal commitments to sustainability. Earth Day 2010 is a pivotal opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to join together and create a global green economy. Join the more than one billion people in 190 countries that are taking action for Earth Day.

EarthDay.org

Originally posted 2010-04-22 02:00:38.

SBInet

Arizona Senator John McCain has described SBInet as a “complete failure”.

And I would not only agree it’s a complete failure, but a poorly conceived project from the beginning (Senator McCain supported the project and funding in 2005).

SBInet for those who don’t know is a high tech border security system pushed for by the George W Bush (another waste of money he got through because it wasn’t patriotic to question him and his war on terrorism) in 2005 that was supposed to be fully operation by 2011.

The initial project was along the Arizona / Mexico border (you know, that state Senator John McCain represents)…

Yesterday US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano halted the project and pulled $50 million from it and is allocating it to use tested technology to achieve the same goal.

Oh, don’t worry; I’m sure some defense contractor or at least a contractor well represented by lobbyist will get their hands on that money; and since Boeing (the original contractor for SBInet) had huge costs overruns they’ll probably be fine as well.

My view; yes we need to do something to curb the illegal shipments of drugs into this country (and help the Mexican authorities curb the drug related violence in Mexico); but maybe we should learn from prohibition and find a real solution to the problem.

Originally posted 2010-03-18 02:00:29.