Friday, April 29, 2011

A Big Thank you to Governor Chris Gregoire

Today Governor Chris Gregoire signed into law a bill shutting down the only coal plant in Washington. For the past few years it has been importing its fuel from Southern Montana to power the plant at increased cost to customers. It has been the second largest risk to our air quality in the state behind internal-combustion engines for a while. Now we can move towards a direction to catch up to Germany in terms of solar power (Munich is the furthest south city at the same latitude as Vancouver, BC) to decrease costs, decrease pollution, and make our energy sustainable. We can also power through geothermal. We have faultlines across the State, at Nisqually, which anyone who was in Western Washington in 2001 will remember, that can be harnessed to produce reliable power from a source that we can count on being consistent for only a few BILLION years.

Friday, April 22, 2011

How to win an argument

Discussion on Wikipedia
How to win an argument
stidmatt: wikipedia just stopped working
i think they need more servers
Friend: good! wikipedia sucks

stidmatt: no it doesn't why do you way that?

Friend: grr i just don't like it

stidmatt:it is true that msny old-fashioned publishers ahve created this sort of tribal distrust of peer-review, but wikipedia works the same way science has worked for hte past 500 years

Friend: if they took the edit button away i would be much for comfortable using it

stidmatt: i did a paper on it

Friend: me too

stidmatt: yeah, the edit button is the reason that it so successful. If you vandalize wikipedia the edit will show up on the recent changes which are patrolled by people who check for malicious edits. They are promptly removed practically all the time. Plus pages that are at risk of vandalism have a silver lock that only allows people with accounts to edit them.
this is why vandalizing wikipedia is a waste of time

Friend: see, I didn't know that

stidmatt: and the edit button is its strength because when something is wrong it can be quickly corrected and sourced which makes it superior to Encyclopedia Britannica which has been shrunk ten fold in the past few decades.

Friend: ok

stidmatt: which has made it the largest depository of knowledge in the history of mankind with more languages than anything else in history
that is why i trust wikipedia

Friend: ok

stidmatt: so yeah

Friend: ok you win

See what I did? I gave my friend all the information I had on it and tied it all together with a strong conclusion at the end. My friend had not heard the full story and was probably writing her paper to get an A, I however didn't and got a lower grade, but my paper was accurate. Our elected officials, especially Obama, should use this tactic of providing all the information in a blitz to show all of the information on any topic to win the argument. Only then can the one who is correct win by having a fully formed argument.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Plan to Balance The Budget

1. Abolish the IRS and Repeal All laws under Chapter 26 of the United States Tax Code. Replace it with the Following.
Subtitle A: Income Tax
All people earning money within the United States from a registered company or the government will be charged an income tax in the following brackets:
1. $0-$1000 0%
2. $1000.01-$5000 2%
3. $5000.01-$7500 5%
4. $7500.01-$10,000 7%
5. $10,000.01-$15,000 10%
8. $15,000.01-$30,000 12%
9. $30,000.01-$50,000 15%
10. $50,000.01-$60,000 17%
11. $60,000.01-$75,000 20%
12. $75,000.01-$100,000 25%
13. $100,000.01-$150,000 30%
14. $150,000.01-$250,000 35%
15. $250,000.01-$300,000 40%
16. $300,000.01-$750,000 45%
17. $750,000+ 50%

Subtitle B: Estate Tax
People earning money from wills etc. will be taxed the following amounts:
1. $0-$5000 0%
2. $5000.01-$75,000 5%
3. $75,000.01-$100,000 10%
4. $100,000.01-$125,000 20%
5. $125,000.01-$150,000 30%
6. $150,000.01-$500,000 40%
7. $500,000+ 50%

Subtitle C: Excise Tax
All Sales by companies in the United States and citizens within the United States will be charged a 4% tax. On-line purchases are not exempt. People in the United States buying from American companies will only be taxed once.

Subtitle D: Special Excise Taxes
1. Alcohol will have 11% added to the tax.
2. Tobacco and cigarettes will have 16% added to the tax.
3. Firearms will have 16% added to the tax.
4. Textbooks will not be taxed.
5. Purchases from a university will not be taxed.

Subtitle E: Financing of Presidential and Congressional elections
All candidates to an office of the President or a Congressional seat will not be allowed to have donations. This money will be raised by donations from people who want to fund campaigns. One quarter of the money will be divided equally among Presidential Candidates and three quarters of the money will be divided equally among all Congressional Candidates. It is a felony for someone to donate directly to a candidate and it is a felony for the candidate to accept the money. Those felonies are punishable by a fine of three times their allocated campaign funds, a five year prison sentence, disenfranchisement, and prohibition from public office for life.

Subtitle F: Current Subtitle I.

Subtitle G: Current Subtitle J.

Subtitle H: Current Subtitle K.

Subtitle I: Collection of funds
The collection of funds will be managed by the Internal Revenue Service which will collect taxes. They will be distributed to each branch of government as needed.

Subtitle J: Tax Breaks
Tax Breaks may not be made. Tax breaks are defined as a decrease in taxes for an act or use of money.

A Politically Inconvenient History of Immigration

I am currently taking American History II which spans from 1850-1914 at the local Community College. My book is highly uncensored, talking about all the major aspects of American History, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the politically inconvenient. I have read about my ancestors over the past few weeks, the Irish and German immigrants who settled in the Midwest and East Coast. They also hated the Chinese and Japanese immigrants in the West. According to The Irish Americans: A History 5 million German and 4.5 million Irish immigrants immigrated to America, with concentrations in the Midwest and New England. This was fiercely opposed to by the American "Know-Nothing" party. They used the arguments "steal our jobs," "take over our government" sending us all to the lower class. They wanted a ban on Irish and German immigrants to prevent us from destroying American culture. They didn't work in 19th century business jobs, they worked on farms, and if they were in a city they worked in factories or other low paying hard labor jobs. Their descendants now include most of the powerful people in America who are also descended from people who have been here for hundreds of years.

Fast forward 150 years. There are many immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Many come to work on farms where native-born Americans do not work anymore. They do not work in high-paying jobs and live in poorer areas of America. People opposing these immigrants use the arguments "steal our jobs," "take over our government" sending us all to the lower class. They want a ban on immigrants if not a strict quota to prevent them from destroying American culture.

This is not a new issue. People have been immigrating to America for years to escape poverty and famine or political turmoil in their homeland. Because of this, I am firmly opposed to laws that prevent hard-working people from moving to America. These are recycled arguments, and they are not running out as they should. Somebody in power needs to make this connection in a gigantic speech and destroy the racism that is prevalent in our nation.

There is one difference though between current immigration and historical immigration and it has to do with American foreign policy and economics. In the 1970s America started to cut down on the supply of drugs in America, but people who made the drugs in Central America kept making them. Because the demand didn't drop the cost of the drugs went sky high. In order to fulfill the demand for the drugs drug cartels are transporting drugs at high prices to fulfill the demand. They are the perfect capitalistic businesses, doing anything to fulfill the demand and make a profit. Not to say that drugs are not dangerous, because they are, but the economies of Mexico and Central America are not diverse or strong enough to stand up to the great demand for their dangerous resources. The governments of these countries do not have enough resources to cut down on the cartels and they run rampant.

This would be bad enough, but because we have strict immigration quotas that prevent good workers from migrating on a visa to work here that then as perfect capitalists fulfill the unfilled demand for work here in America they have to come over at places where they will not get their visa. Racist people in the media who oppose any immigration then make a false connection between the drug dealers and the farm workers which causes people to believe that their false connection is the truth. This makes political clout that prevents any reform to fix the problem. That is just what that side of the issue is, racist hence unamerican.

Another issue of this is that the workers on the farms who do not have visas then are not paid the same as their native born competitors which as businesses many farms will want the cheapest  worker to expand their personal income. They do not get any benefits and if any abuse happens they cannot go to any authority to report it because they will be returned to Mexico jobless and impoverished, back to square one.

How do we solve this problem? I think what we need to do is rewrite our immigration policy to allow workers to get visas to do farm work. Another bonus for everyone would be that the workers on visas would pay into social security and income tax, eliminating the argument that they do not pay for their government services. This would allow workers to report abuse on the farms and end their need to come across at unguarded and dangerous spots on the border. The only people who would come across at those spots would be drug dealers. If we write the law so that people coming across who are suspected to be drug dealers have to get their car sensed for drug fumes and then arrested than the problem with the drug trade would diminish. This would make the dangerous parts of Mexico and central American safer because the cartels would not have the money and power that they currently have. Everybody wins, except for the drug cartels.

America, the fate of the hemisphere is in your hands.