Acts of Congress (or things monkeys do that you should know)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2013 by awakenedvisionary

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The Marketplace Fairness Act, set for a Senate vote on Monday, May 6th 2013, is a real shady bugger, threatening to end competition for newer, less corporate markets and allow Big Business to continue to push people around. Take a minute to do a Google search and acquaint yourself with the topic. I’ll wait.
 
See, that felt good, didn’t it? What you just did was take part in the democratic process. You’re familiarizing yourself with a topic in preparation for having an opinion and expressing it. Knowing becomes much more than half the battle. If you couldn’t find it, here are some links:
 
The Bill’s text:
http://www.marketplacefairness.org/bill-text/
 
An editorial:
 
Your senators’ email addresses:
 
As a consumer, I usually turn to a store in my community for the goods I want – Groceries, electronics, gasoline. These are things I’ve become accustomed to in my lifestyle and really can’t do without. If I can’t find it in my local market, I go online. If I happen to purchase something from another state, that state can’t legally tax me because I’m not a resident. Because I live in California, California taxes me. If the consumer fails to charge me tax, I pay it at the end of the year during tax season. Usually, I come away with a return, which still benefits me.
 
This Bill seeks to change that: It will allow purchases made online from another state to be taxed by that state – In addition to allowing your home state to tax it, too. Now you’re paying additional taxes. Let me clarify that again:
 
THIS BILL CAN BE USED TO TAX YOU TWICE.
 
Was that clear enough? If nothing else on this list triggers your attention, let that be the one. I don’t want to be taxed twice, especially if that tax is going to a state that employs statewide bans against things I support: Marriage Equality and a supportive minimum wage being two I really fight for.
 
Other things this bill will allow is the dismantling of things like eBay, where thousands if not millions of independent citizens sell and resell goods all the time across state lines. If, on first sale, those items were to be taxed, eBay would be crushed as those citizens vacated the auction site and killed a huge chunk of eBay’s income. 
 
Also, the major sponsors of this bill already collect taxes because they have a physical presence in most of the states – they tout that they are ‘leveling’ the playing field. What they’re really doing is being butt-hurt because they don’t want to reduce their margins by lowering prices. This bill is an attempt to legislate whininess – CEO pansies who need o make returns to their investors disregarding the general American public for profit. Again. The state already has the power to raise and lower state taxes. If they wanted to be competitive, they could lower the sales tax. Businesses have the power to regulate their own goods. If they wanted to be competitive, they could lower prices. Instead, they’re taking it to our representatives and making them spank us for enjoying a little honest competition. Meanwhile, congress does dumb things like pass CISPA, the NDAA, and a host of other bills that continue to take away our rights and our earnings so some country or company can enjoy more of our money.
 
If you’re riled up, like I am, then take a good 20 minutes out of your day to send the following message, or your variant thereof, to all of the senators listed in the link above. If they want to tax us without representation*, then we sure as hell can hold them all accountable for their actions.
 
Stay the course of vigilance.
*******
Dear Senator – 
 
I am a humble citizen of the State of California, so depending on your residency requirement, my voice may be quieter than some. As I have attempted to rally other vigilant citizens nationwide who oppose the Marketplace Fairness Act, I would like to take the opportunity to present to you why passing this bill is an assault on the economy and consumer confidence. 
 
1. This bill opens citizens in states with a sales or use tax to potentially pay 2 taxes: The tax for that state and the tax for the state from which goods or services were purchased. This means that a citizen from California, my home, would be paying taxes to another state, funds which will drive programs in that state that do not represent that citizen. The taxpayer has no say in state initiatives that operate outside that citizen’s home state. This goes against the very tenets of our great United States – taxation without representation is a huge slap in the face to consumers.
 
2. The major sponsors of this bill have physical facilities in pretty much every state, so they are already collecting state taxes for consumers in those states that employ taxes. For the independent business that has local and interstate income, the business becomes less profitable and less appealing to its customer base. We all know that increased taxes means increased prices – companies pass it on to the consumer to make up for potential losses. Just one more way consumers will reserve scrutiny when they shop and participate less in the ecosphere.
 
3. 90% of consumer goods are still purchased in brick and mortar stores, even if those stores have an online presence. This bill is being touted as ‘levelling the playing field’ for independent businesses but that is just a mask. This bill is highly in favor of driving local mom and pop shops out of business as they will be tasked with the burden of manufacturing quality goods and calculating the augmented tax rates. Big Corporations have flocks of legal teams employed to handle these situations for them, and while I applaud the employment of these legal scholars, mom and pop shops keep quality a priority by not having teams of extraneous employees doing things a business owner ought to be able to do herself. 
 
The majority of Americans are hard-working, honest-to-goodness salt-of-the-Earth folk.I strongly urge you to reconsider an alternative: Allowing the States to decide whether they want to levy additional taxes, a power they already have. If States want to be more competitive in the market, they can lower those rates as they wish. If businesses want to be more competitive in the market, they can lower prices. Just because a business didn’t increase it’s profit over last year doesn’t mean that business didn’t make a profit. 
 
On Behalf of Interested Local Markets and the Consumer at Large, I implore you: Don’t pass The Marketplace Fairness Act. Let those interested parties find their own solutions and allow you to focus on the bigger issues of a Federal Government
 
(your name)
(your city and state)
*****
 
*I want to point out that taxation without representation is not in the constitution. If it were, then taxes couldn’t be levied on convicts or immigrants like they are. This is not constitutionally protected, and that’s why they can do this.

Driving Faithfully

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 30, 2013 by awakenedvisionary
As much as religion gets a bad rap, I must profess that I love religion. Religion is responsible for a great many advancements that we now take for granted: Science is one of the biggest. In the ancients human world of ‘trying to figure things out before I get my ass eaten by something bigger than me,” determining cause and effect was crucial to survival. Religion is also responsible for some of the great many tragedies of contemporary life: Fallout from the Crusades and the Inquisition are still present in the seemingly never-ending conflicts between religious denominations, arguing about the truth written in a book while fundamentalist and literalist adherents pick and choose what they want to follow and what they don’t. But Religion, like a gun, isn’t the problem. The problem is people and politicization.
 
“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca – 4BC – AD65
Regardless of the authenticity of the quote (as the internet is fraught with false attributions), it is succinct and accurate. A common man who does not question what he is told, who does not look for the flaws in rhetoric, who is indeed told not to think critically about the prescription of faith will not see that the world he lives in is a fabrication of control to keep him from pursuing the power gained by those who spoonfeed him the promise of eternal glory after death. Those same people who spout it to that common man reap the very riches that contradict the tenets of that faith. All kinds of post-mortem promises are to be found in every faith: Norse – Valhalla is promised to warriors, where they will fight with their brave ancestors at the Ragnorok; Muslim – 72 Virgins for the martyr (Question: If they don’t put out, is he still in Heaven?); And the everlasting life promised by every branch of mainstream Christianity. The moral of the story is: Pledge allegiance to the book, which conveniently tells you not to challenge authority, and you will get so much stuff after you die. Someone else said “He who dies with the most toys, wins.” This quote conveniently forgets that he who dies with the most toys, still dies.
There’s a big debate about whether a soldier who follows orders is a bad person. If a soldier, in the course of his or her duties, commits an act  of malice that harms an otherwise benevolent person or that person’s property without his or her freely-given consent, I consider it an atrocity. That soldier can try and hide behind the fact that he or she was ordered to do so, but in the end of our lives, we judge ourselves by the actions we undertake. The Nazi’s hid behind this mantra at Nuremburg, and the Stanley Milgram experiment showed that everyday people like you and me can and will kill people when told to do so by a perceived authority figure. Does this authority have my best interest at heart? That is a question asked by the Wise in Seneca’s quote.
Questioning authority is essential to ensuring that our everyday lives can be lived freely. It’s a skill to ask those questions in a way that gains attention and highlights an issue. If we never questioned authority, there would never be progress. Without progress things never get better. And if things don’t get better, well, just look around. Capitalist pundits are today telling us that if we don’t trust in God that babies will die because gays love each other. That’s not in the Bible. That’s not a part of the Faith. But it’s part of our desire to be included in the in-group dynamic; to feel like we belong. 
 
Religion is like a well-oiled machine. It must be used according to its instruction manual to work properly and last. Think of it like a car. Today, millions of car-owners are telling other car-owners how to keep their cars in tip top shape. These same car owners are taking their cars to shops and paying through the nose to keep their cars in good shape, without ever doing the work. The manual in the glove box is the Bible, and it’s hidden behind candy wrappers, condom wrappers, and a couple pairs of broken sunglasses.
 
As a machine for the soul, a person of faith needs to do the work himself and not listen to a friend that spouts what someone else spouted at Sunday school behind the authority of a podium. If there ever was a miracle on earth, it was having ancestors that made decisions to use their brains and create the wonder of civilization and progress. Using these same brains, I think we owe it to them to make sure dickwads in high-rises don’t ruin their legacy.

Reciprocal Consideration

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2009 by awakenedvisionary

It works in the same way as the age-old adage “do unto others.” When I cross the street, I hurry if there is a car in the way. Not only do I make someone’s trip a little quicker, but I get a micro-workout in the process. What I don’t get is these kids these days listening to their Ipods sauntering through the crosswalk (if you’re lucky) with a carefree grin on their faces. It’s like they’re saying to you, “yeah, I’m too cool to hurry.” Can I please support legislation that lets me hit these buggers? We spend so much time passing neutral laws about actions, but what about behaviors that provoke illegal actions. It should be illegal to lie, saunter across busy intersections, and generally be unproductive. But then that would take jobs away from cops, Apple, and welfare workers, wouldn’t it?

Itemize the Bailout!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2008 by awakenedvisionary

Please look at this group!

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=83901572&v=feed&story_fbid=56566671984#/group.php?gid=69749722456

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 17, 2008 by awakenedvisionary

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