Friday, September 9, 2011

changing locations...

Moving this blog over to my own domain.  You can find all new posts at unconventional.lightfighter.us

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An example of banking philosophy

An example of banking philosophy:

'via Blog this'

Banking philosophy has never changed. It has been the same for hundreds of years. In the words of Deep Throat, "Follow the money."

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Phedippidatons #275



For more from me on running, check out LightFighter's Ramblings, for more on my faith check out My Journey, Thoughts and Reflections. And for more podcasts, listen in to Steve Runner.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Libya

Huge congratulations to the people of Libya for their tenacity and hard work in overthrowing a dictator. While the work is not yet done and there are still many military battles yet to fight, the tide had turned on their struggle and it is clear that they have won.  The international community has also really surprised me in this situation, pleasantly so.  I hope the sacrifices and determination of the Libyan people will be an inspiration to others facing similar situations.  I also hope that this successful and relatively painless experience in assisting a democratic movement within a sovereign country makes future operations by Western governments, when requested, more likely.

What is The Coffee Party USA?

The Coffee Party USA is a grassroots, trans-partisan organization that has the following mandate:



In order to restore democracy and protect America's economic future, we must fight the Cycle of Corruption in three ways:

1. Campaign finance reform.

2. Wall Street reform

3. Tax code reform

How are we different from Tea Party?

1. Grassroots -- Funded, founded, and powered by people everyday Americans (not media empires, hyper-partisan billionaires, or political establishment electioneers)

2. Trans-partisan -- inclusive and diverse politically, culturally, racially

3. Fact-based and solutions oriented -- we check our party affiliation at the door and put the facts first when engaging in the political process.







Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What a way to run a country...

Washington D.C. is awash in money. Our elected representatives are compromised from the time they take office, or before, by the need to raise millions of dollars for re-election. The money is out there to be had from lobbyists, PAC's, Super PAC's. Unfortunately this money is coming from one primary source, Corporations and Banks. A member of congress has the choice of either taking their money and following their guidance on legislation, or having all that money go to their opponent. This doesn't sound too bad until you take into account the fact that Super PAC's are allowed to take in unlimited amounts of money from corporations that can spend unlimited amounts of money, to influence government. Thanks to the US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission corporations are considered people and spending money is protected speech.  In effect this says that if you have more money you have more right to speak... or, "Some animals are more equal than others." (George Orwell, Animal Farm)

Here is a brief video describing the situation:


What is needed is a massive, grass roots movement, to give the powers that be no choice but to change this situation.  This government is supposed to be of, by, and for THE PEOPLE.  Not the corporations.  You can help get this movement rolling by getting involved at The Coffee Party USA.   This is a non-partisan, grass roots organization that is not funded by billionaires(unlike the Tea Party).  Take a look around their web site, read what they are working for.  It's time to Wake Up America!

Monday, June 13, 2011

US Budget

The US Budget is a huge and complex animal and I do not intent to do an in depth look at it. Before discussing it though i think it would be good to get a picture of just what the US government spends our money on:

Now that we have an idea of where 3.7 trillion dollars is going, for the 2012 budget, we can start look at some of the specifics. Just to be clear, this is the 2012 budget, the one with the "huge spending cuts" that we faced a near government shutdown over. This "cut" budget still has us spending 1.1 trillion dollars more than we are taking in.

We have heard a lot this past year about the budget and I'm sure as we head into the election year we will hear even more about it. Don't let the fast talking politicians fool you with big numbers slick salesmanship. When they talk about cutting the budget, they don't really mean cutting all programs or line items, only certain ones. First off, Defense spending will probably not be seriously cut for several years and Congress has to be seen "supporting the troops." So that 25% is untouchable. Next, Healthcare is another budget item that cannot be reduced in any measurable amount. The largest portions of this item are Medicare and Medicaid which do not even provide minimal healthcare as it is. Last of the big ticket items is Pensions.
While these are a big portion of the governments spending, they are also self funded and liquid. This means that the payroll deductions of workers are supporting the payments going out, so there is nothing to cut here. So, we have 70% of the budget that cannot or will not be touched by anyone. To put that in dollars that is $2.6 trillion out of $3.7 trillion. Now to apply some grade school math... If we subtract the spending that will not or cannot be cut from the total spending we are left with $1.1 trillion of budget items to reduce spending on. If Defense, Healthcare, and Pensions are not reduced and we want to balance the budget we would have to eliminate ALL other government spending next year.

Now lets look at the remaining 30% of the pie and see if we can find some big savings in here. First off we have Welfare, most of this spending is on Food Stamps, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and Unemployment. As we are currently in the longest and worst recession(depression?) ever with official unemployment at 9% and unofficially at 15% this is probably not something we would want to cut. As it is, these programs only give the most meager benefits. From my own experience, as a single person with no dependents and no income, I qualify for $200 per month in Food Stamps. Not exactly living high on the hog. Next largest spending is on interest on our National Debt. We have to pay our debt, so that 6% is out. Education and Transportation both come in at 3% of the budget. Both systems are crumbling and in great need of repair, if anything they need to be increased. Protection, at 2%, mostly deals with prisons and courts. I can't think of anyone who would want to cut these programs. And last we have General Government. This cover expenses of the Executive and Legislative branches. Lets get real, none of these people who write the budget are going to cut their own benefits. Realistically, even if we eliminated this entire expense it would not make a dent in the overall budget.

So, what's the answer? Here's the secret that no candidate will mention in the next year: Spending cuts cannot and will not ever balance the budget, only income increases will do it. That means more people paying more taxes. How do we get that? Not by reducing the taxes on the wealthy. They have been getting tax breaks under the Bush tax cuts for 10 years and look how many jobs they have created with all that money. Supply Side Economics, Trickle Down Economics, VooDoo Economics... whatever you like to call it, it is simply a lie and it does not work.

EDIT

Just on que here is an article on the budget plans from some the the Republican candidates...