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Monday, November 25, 2019

Cruelty is the Point Vs Reform

Dear David Trone:

Unfortunately for me, I've had family members who've been jailed or imprisoned. I live in a relatively decent State, Maryland, yet prisoners, both convicted and those merely jailed, suffer treatment similar to that experienced in West Virginia, referenced in this article by Rebecca J. Kavanagh:

“People incarcerated in West Virginia prisons will soon be charged $3 an hour to read books and $15 an hour for video visitation with their families.” DrRJKavanaugh
“Prisoners in West Virginia are paid between 4 and 58 cents an hour for their labor.” DrRJKavanaugh
“Do I really have to write a bill to ban charging prisoners to read?”Trone Tweet

David, You probably do need to write some laws, including repealing laws:

  • that reduced access to exercise rooms and libraries.
  • Resourcing libraries,
  • counseling,
  • Psych and recovery detention centers separate from prisons.

The reason they do things like this is that cruelty is the point. They are trying to run prisons as for profit plantations. The idea is to indebt inmates by refusing them access to basic needs like books or exercise, charge them for these things, and then allow them to borrow the money only to treat them like slaves even after their time is up. Not paying them for their work advances that, plus enriches the administrators.

And they do some of this in Maryland too. If we let our Piratical, Freebooting, "Republican" privateers, they'll privatize prisons here too.

It's a racket, and the officials are the racketeers. As I've been warning! These are:

Privateers! If they can't rent it, put tolls on it, extract loans against it, they destroy it. Modern day pirates, perfectly legal thieves!
Reason Article
https://reason.com/2019/11/22/west-virginia-inmates-will-be-charged-by-the-minute-to-read-e-books-on-tablets/

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

How to fix our Taxation system

Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax, probably would be deemed unconstitutional. It is also unnecessary. What is needed is a mix of reforms and restoring what worked before.

We had progressive taxation. It has never been perfect. But at one time people at least understood the basic principles.

Basic Principles

To get to just taxation a number of basic principles need to be properly defined, applied and traded off against one another:

  • Tax unearned income more than earned income.
  • Recognize that "wealth in the course of production" is capital.
  • Define as capital, only wealth used to buy actual capital goods, stock, tools, machinery and buildings, and being used as intended.
  • Recognize that wealth from renting wealth is not capital except to the people employing that wealth.
  • Recognize that natural resources, and land itself, are a common property that needs to be used wisely and for the benefit of the whole people as well as for those doing the extraction.
  • Recognize that the right to ownership is an inalienable right, but not an absolute one.
  • Recognize that work is what conveys a stake in ownership, that labor – of all kinds – is prior to capital, and that it is sacred and deserves to be adequately rewarded.
  • What a person earns, is theirs and deserves to be paid in treasury direct notes or coin.

Therefore we need to:

Bring back progressive taxation on net income calculations. Tax unearned income from owning property (rents). Don't tax business property that is in the course of production. Don't tax wage gross wage income
  • Stop treating Wall Street Stocks, Bonds, real estate property, etc... as if they were capital, and focus tax exemptions and deductions on capital used as capital,
  • Income from economic rent is not earned. Only the portion of economic rent that has been earned by the effort of the people owning the property (net income) being rented should be exempted.
  • and on protecting wages from labor. A person owns what they earned and should be able to live off of it.
  • Every person earning income, should be able to keep enough of what they earned (net) to live a complete life.
  • Therefore we should set a universal exemption at the poverty level, and deduct basic food, transport, shelter and basic comfort (clothing, heating/cooling) from gross wages before applying net taxation.
  • These rates need to be indexed for inflation. When wages and costs inflate, it isn't fair to tax them like they are rich when they aren't.
  • Tax rates are indexed, which means that the net for each rate level should be taxed, not the whole amount.
  • At the same time a net income greater than a million should be taxed at a millionaire rate (indexed for inflation), a 10 million net rate, a 100 million net rate and a billionaire top net income rate. That top rate should be something like 90%.

  • The first tax bracket should start at the wage which is the average of all wages in the country (mean) after exemptions and deductions.
  • Further tax brackets should attack unearned wealth with rates high enough to level out net incomes.
  • I would suggest using standard deviation calculations from the mean net income.
  • So called capital gains should be taxed as ordinary income on the net income taken out of capital. This encourages people to keep money wealth and resources in the market.
  • Tax earnings from Gift or inheritance at point of transfer or death, as ordinary gross income.

Now payroll taxes may be needed to pay for social security and healthcare, because people are going to have to save for or pay for healthcare and their retirement anyway. But if we focused taxes on unearned income.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Shootings and Reform -- The latest shooting and Gun reform

Another shooting in another school. This time at Saugus High School with a 45 caliber handgun. The gunman opened fire, killed 2 people and wounded 3 others. After the shooting he ran away and then shot himself when the police were closing in. This is a tragedy. It happens too often in this country.

The good news is he didn't have access to a semi-automatic long gun or the count could have been higher. California controls over weapons are the strictest in the country and the State is big enough that it is harder to smuggle weapons in. Though that happens.

Normalizing or Stopping Mass murder

The bad news is that these incidents are far too common and hard to prevent without hardening schools and controlling entry. The further bad news is that the risk of mass murder is still alive and well in most of the country because we do not properly regulate arms. We let people run around armed, while denying them a formal role in the security, self defense and emergency responses of our local and national land divisions and homes.

Security is a Collective Duty

Security is something that is supposed to be the collaborative responsibility of the Federal, State, and local governments,

and we the people

The constitution says that Congress has the duty of:

... “organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia,”.... [Article 1, Sec 8 COTUS]

To which the Second Amendment clarifies:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” [2nd Amendment]

That:

“the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,”

must be enabled and regulated.... So that law abiding people are part of the process of protecting their own homes and communities, local and general.

Palladium of Liberty

When the founders called the militia the “Palladium of Liberty”, they were referring to the reality that "militia" was intended to be a check on the power associated with standing armies. Standing Armies being a term that applies in a modern context to professional police forces, bureaucrats with coercive powers, and even security forces in private employment.

For more on the Palladium of liberty see:

https://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2018/07/the-palladium-of-liberty.html

Badly formed, Constituted, government

Regulating arms is not only in the constitution, it is a collaborative duty of a Democratic Government. That this issue is confused is because the original constitution of militia had different meanings and uses in different parts of the country. The Militia was initially vital for defense against immediate enemies. As the country became more generally settled, the idea of butchers and bakers, coachmen and candle makers, meeting weekly for drills and marching, made less and less. The original form of militia became outdated. At the same time the problem of standing armies and military forces as oppression never really went away. The national guard became a kludgy substitute for militia at the Federal and State level. Indeed the National Guard is pointed to when people think of Militia. But the concept was so muddied that private militia and even private armies, which are problematic expressions of militia, are posed as if they were what the founders were thinking of.

And so, the individual right to carry weapons has been made something blanket, that allows unregulated, undisciplined and sometimes criminal elements to engage in tyranny and oppression. Exactly the opposite of what the founders wanted.

And of course, even if the founders thought local tyranny was a good thing, all this goes against their own principles, the basic principles of a democratic republic that they expounded.

For more on this see:
Select Militia and National Guard

Turning the Second Amendment on its head

We have a system where extralegal violence is glorified. Where the right to bear arms for the common defense has been transformed into an individual right to shoot up shopping centers and police stations. From "Dirty Harry" thru "Barretta" to hundreds of examples of vigilantes and aggrieved revenge seekers, the lone criminal with a gun is glorified as some sort of hero. These media glorify cold blooded murder, revenge and grievance. Worse right wing propaganda also glorifies “standing ones ground” against strangers. It is telling that the “stand your ground laws” only seem to apply to murder situations where the [usually white] murderer can claim that his victim [black, gay, different] was at fault for being shot. It is no wonder that young men like this one in early November 2019, somehow saw something romantic in revenge murder. The propaganda is immature and appeals to teenage angst, and it encourages terrorism. Folks dress up in black. Try to look like ninja or their favorite hollywood mass murderer and attack. While hollywood may not the cause of gun violence, blood soaked fantasies fill the air nationwide. Thoughts lead to words, words lead to deeds. The propaganda builds on the frustration of people feel powerless. Powerless is the result when left out of self government. Militia was supposed to be an antidote to tyranny. The Second amendment has been turned on its head.

Second Amendment Badly decided

The Right to Participate in Government Functions is Democracy

The other reason that the militia clauses did not work as intended (at least by the defenders of the constitution) is that the militia did not always live up to its intended purpose as "the palladium of liberty" for everybody. Militia were associated with Slave patrols in the South. Militia were often used in "posse comitatus" actions. So much that in 1878 a law was passed to put a stop to it.

The Posse Comitatus Act states:

“Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws...”

It was intended to reduce the risk of the Government using the military to enforce martial law or arrest political opponents. But militia had been regularly used for posses and for “hot peace” civil warfare against indigenous peoples, immigrant communities and in internal disputes between rival settlements on the frontier. These have not been “well regulated” militia. Standing armies are dangerous, undisciplined militia are “no better than a mob” [Can't remember source of quote, will look later]. A well regulated militia is the palladium of liberty. Undisciplined or private militia and standing armies are dangerous to liberty.

For more on this see:
Selective Service vs Standing Armies
and:
Select Militia & National Guard

Stopping the Glorification of Violence requires Participation

Children will do stupid things. But by glorifying violence, the combination of culture and access to weapons makes it more likely, not less, that an angry and confused young person will do something vile and vicious. Preventing that is difficult, but shoring up the democratic and just aspects of our economy can, maybe, change the culture. At the very least, when weaponry is well controlled, but available when needed, the incentives to keep unsecured arms around the house can be removed. To get to that point. We have to respect the first amendments original meaning and respect the right and duty of the people to participate in their own affairs, their own defense and their own security. Guns are supposed to enhance security, not be used to gun down other kids a confused and deluded kid is angry at.

Voluntary Service and temporary Service are Militia

Expanding the National Guard, volunteer service, using national service to train health providers, teachers, and the militia system to bring communications and transportation personnel into the Emergency management system would go a long way to changing our culture. Democracy = "People" [Demos] + "Rule" [kracy]. Our involvement as volunteers, compensated for, “organizing, arming, and disciplining” those in service to the United States, is democracy. Jury Service is Democracy. Poll worker service are democracy. If we want to reduce gun violence, access to them must be regulated. And only those trained and sworn to use them in service to community and country, or in active self defense, should carry them. And only militia, and services derived from the militia, should bear arms in a fight or peace keeping role.

This kid should not have had access to a 45 caliber weapon outside of an armory.

It is time to differentiate between settlements, where guns need to be in secure locations, like Armories under control of legal & supervisory, local, authority, and less secure locations, where a person should be able to keep a weapon in a locker or other secured location in his own home. It doesn't even make sense to let people carry weapons into super markets and shopping centers, other than security trained people. Let's make sure everyone is participating in their government, so the second amendment has rational meaning again.