My first and only attempt at an anime music video. Looking back, it’s not terrible, but there are definitely things that I would do differently today. Like not using the same flame shit over and over again.

Here is my original YouTube comment from 2009 when I uploaded it:

Uploaded on Dec 14, 2009

WARNING – SPOILERS in the video: Don’t watch this unless you’ve already seen Grave of the Fireflies or never intend to.

This video is a product of love and pain, all at the same time. The film is amazing, and I recommend it to anyone. It’s not a happy tale but it’s a POWERFUL story. It was extremely hard for me to go through this movie again to find the clips, even without the audio. But that just shows how powerful the film really is.

Just as powerful is the music of the band Savatage, a brilliant band that is sadly virtually unknown. If you like this video, I recommend buying their albums Dead Winter Dead (where this song is from) and The Wake of Magellan.

I just hope that my very first music video did justice to them both.

The Economy

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Taxes
Minimum Wage

Taxes

Income tax is a form of wage slavery. It creates and solidifies the concept of a “class war” by separating people financially under law based on how much they make. It also takes your money before you even have a chance to hold it in your hands. This is wrong. Tax should be a choice, and based on the choices you make in your life, not forced upon you. Furthermore, taxes should be equal for all people based on what those people choose to do. However, we must pay for what we buy.

Therefore, I support a modified version of the FairTax, where the rate will be an annually automatically adjusted rate that will match the cost of running government. The tax will be put on all “non-essential” goods and services, to be determined by Congress line by line. Example: all groceries, but not prepared foods such as pizza. Automobiles costing less than $X,XXX.00 will be tax free, and so on. By making the national tax into a single tax that costs the same percentage on all goods, but with a single binary “on/off” switch that you can set on any specific class of item, you can transition the “class warfare” debate into a debate about what is really necessary for people to have, and what is a luxury.

The tax will include an additional cost of 4% of the balance of the national debt plus the cost of interest on that debt for that year. Currently, this will mean that we pay back roughly 560 billion dollars every year for the next 25 years. In this way, America will be free from debt within our lifetimes.

This will resolve multiple issues. First of all, it will allow the budget to be balanced by making revenue match spending. My modified version of the FairTax will not be voted upon or changed based on political whims, but on the reality of the cost to run the country. The percentage will be based on calculated projected national sales expenditures on all non-essential goods and services. The slack (i.e. the difference between projected revenue vs. actual revenue collected) will be made up by a Capital Gains Tax. In this case, I am defining Capital Gains as any money that is derived from investments of any sort, essentially money that was not earned through direct labor. The Capital Gains Tax will be determined at the end of the fiscal year based on the deficit between the money pulled in by the modified FairTax compared to the existing national budget. If there is a deficit, the yearly Capital Gains Tax will be spread evenly to all people that acquire Capital Gains on stock and other investments. Savings accounts that have a fixed publicized rate will be excluded from this, as will government bonds. I consider Capital Gains to be “free money” that people gain, not by labor and toil, but by investing in possibly risky ventures. Therefore, it is recommended that all persons who earn Capital Gains hold onto their earned monies until the end of the fiscal year, until they know how much they will be taxed on it, for it will be variable. This will cause spending on investments to be conservative for most of the year until it is determined how accurate the National Sales tax has been.

These taxes are not “unfair”, because they treat all people equally based on what they choose to do with their money. Investments for the sole purpose of increasing the amount of money that you have will be taxed, while labor and toil will not be. Spending will be taxed, but saving will not. This will lead to a financially sound nation, and the character of the nation to change from a “spend now, pay later” mentality to a financially responsible character. We must pay for what we want to spend, this is the only reasonable and responsible way for America to move forward.
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Minimum Wage

The minimum wage, if it exists at all, should not be set to a specific, unchanging number that has to be voted upon every decade or two to be altered. It should also be representative of the bare minimum needed to live. It should be a fluid number, changed on a yearly basis automatically, and based on the determinations of a simple calculation: [(Previous year's Average annual expenditures and characteristics - all consumer units/Average number in consumer unit - persons)*(Previous year's average CPI/100)]/(28 Hour workweek * 52 weeks in a year) = Annual National Minimum Wage. For 2012 this would be [(19882/2.5)*2.24939/(28*52) = $12.29. This will allow the minimum wage to automatically rise over time to match the current cost of living, assuming a 28 hour workweek. Why 28 hours? The reality of the situation is that the majority of Americans cannot obtain or keep full time (read 40 hour workweek) jobs due to corporate cutbacks and employment decisions over the last few decades. I consider the “bare minimum” that someone should have to work “to survive” to be working 3 and a half “full” (read 8 hour) work days out of a 7 day week. Meaning that simply that half the week, they are working just for bare minimum survival. This is my current expectation for the average American.

“But, three and a half workdays? That’s ridiculously low to use as a standard for how much people need to work! It should be 40 hours a week!”

No, I’m afraid that is where you are wrong. Because the value of a dollar isn’t what it used to be. Learn about the CPI to see what I’m talking about. The current unadjusted index as of November 2011 for all items is 226.230. If you take that and the National Average Wage in 2011 of $42,979.61, you will find that that person’s actual income and buying power is actually only WORTH $18,998.19 compared to what it was in 1982-84!

Here is where it gets really sad. The average cost of living nationwide is $19,882 ($49,705 per household/2.5 persons per household). Let’s take the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Let’s say that you work that for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks out of the year. In that year, you will be making $15,080. With the average cost of living being $19,882, it means every year, even working a FULL 40 hour workweek, you will still be in the hole by $4,802 a year! How does anyone make it on the current minimum wage? The answer is – they can’t.

Now keep in mind that this number is only a single snapshot, what I propose is a constantly adjusting number that keeps moving up with the cost of living. Cost of living goes up? Minimum wage should go up. Cost of living goes down? Minimum wage goes down. Simple as that.

However, the biggest mistake that politicians have made is by trying to control the floor without also controlling the ceiling. I will get into that another time, but I do have a plan.

Still think this number is too high? Here is my compromise then: make the current minimum wage AT LEAST match that of 1968’s minimum wage, adjusted for inflation using the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Inflation Calculator. Why 1968? Because that was when the “minimum wage was the highest” compared to the cost of living. That was when Americans were, statistically, living the best, most reasonable lives.

Looking at Department of Labor’s page on Minimum Wage History it looks like we start with $1.60. Throw that into the BLS’s calculator. Go ahead, do it, you should.

Last time I checked it, I got $10.58. That should be the BARE MINIMUM WAGE right now. But it isn’t. That needs to change.

More information:

(2011 CPI)

Annual US City Average CPI 1913-2012

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It should be noted that this was from my indefinitely suspended political campaign:

[Rough Draft - Updated 12.15.2012]

I vow to, above all else, do no harm, whenever possible.

I vow to promote and protect pursuit of happiness.

I vow to promote government transparency. With the exception of the interests of national security, all of my official actions and decisions will be publicly recorded, and all of my meetings will be open door.

I vow to spend none of the time that I am working for the public in seeking or retaining public office. I was elected to work for the people, not for myself. I will not campaign while I am a public servant. Others, however, may campaign for me. If I am re-elected without campaigning, I will accept a continuation of my service. However, I vow to only ever serve two terms of any specific public office that I hold. Politician should NOT be a lifelong career.

I vow to simplify the US Code of laws. The current system causes corruption, and allows for political games to continue. As it exists right now, a politician can put out a negative ad that says “Candidate A voted AGAINST giving veteran’s benefits and FOR giving illegal immigrants free health care”. The reason why this is possible is because often times, these things are all a part of the same massive bill. This needs to stop. Every issue should be voted upon independently. Bills that go into and pass Congress should be no longer than a page long. There is no reason for Congress to be expected to pass bills that are thicker than any novel ever published. I would rather see a million tiny bills passed than one single gigantic bill numbering in the thousands of pages. Also, bills should use language that a person that receives a public education through high school can understand. If it does not, then it makes it easier to hide things. I will not sign into law any bill which I have not read and understood. No Congressman should vote for or propose a bill that they cannot read and understand at a single sitting.

I vow to protect the innocent until proven guilty. The court of public opinion be damned, the only court that matters is the court of the law. Guilt should be proven beyond a reasonable doubt before punishment commences.

I vow to make the tax system a simple to understand system that treats all people fairly.

Business

The short of it:

  • The government does not in fact have the power to control the economy of the nation. Hundreds of years of failed policies have proven this. The market will do what the market will do. What the government CAN do however is protect its citizens from the harshness of the economy’s dips and the fraud and abuse of those that would take advantage of the citizenry. Also, all public companies, companies which take money from the public at large for funding, owe a debt to that same public to operate morally, ethically, in good taste, and most of all: in the public’s interest. Therefore,
  • All public companies that do any business or make any sales of goods and services beyond a single state shall be regulated via the Commerce Clause to set the prices of their goods and services to a certain percentage above the cost of production.
  • No employee of a public company (including the CEO or any other executive) will be allowed to have a salary and benefits package exceeding ten times that of its lowest paid employee. Which includes any contractors whom you may hire on a short term basis. That means that if your janitor made $20,000 last year, your company president can only make $200,000 the next year, including the value of benefits and bonuses added.
  • All public companies will be audited on an annual basis by the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
  • It should be noted that private businesses will be untouched by these proposals.

One of the cancers at the source of the failures in modern American society is the separation between freedom, power, and responsibility. This can be seen best in the machinations and workings of America’s biggest corporations. I don’t begrudge anyone to going into business for the sake of going into business. Self-empowerment and self-actualization are two of the hallmarks of the American spirit. However, the entrepreneurial spirit that helped build America has been replaced for the most part by nameless, faceless, interchangeable brand names.

Where there was once a Sam Walton who built up an empire from a $20,000 personal loan from his father in law, now exists a machine who’s CEO you most likely can’t even name (without resorting to Google). In America, there was once a dreamer who imagined up an entire fantasy-land of wonder for children of all ages, there now exists a conglomerate of hucksters who try to drain every last drop of money they can get out of the legacy of a man, and commercialize the dreams he created into thousands of merchandizing opportunities.

Where there were once men and women working to do what they love in the industry that they love, there are now thousands upon thousands of interchangeable people that are educated to learn how to run all industries in exactly the same manner.

Where am I going with all this? My main point is that the business world which was originally run by people that had a passion for what they were doing, that loved the industry that they were working in, has now been changed into a series of identical enterprises devoid of passion, and interested in only the almighty dollar. Where businesses used to be guided by men and women of character, who cared about what they were doing, the products and services that they sold, instead they are now run by executives that couldn’t care less about the specifics of what their business is doing, and are only concerned with making sure that profits continue to grow exponentially, by any means possible. Executives who, by the way, don’t have a direct liability in the decisions that they make.

Ayn Rand was not wrong, not totally. There is something powerful and majestic about the “Men of the Mind” doing what they do best in the field that they love. But where Rand’s philosophy failed is that her heroes didn’t end up shrugging the world off of their shoulders – they sold it off to the Mouches of the world. And those Mouches seek one thing, and one thing only – not just profit, but perpetually growing profit.

The Fallacy of Perpetual Growth

This is the cause of many of the failings of the modern world. It is a function of greed. It is the concept that has been pushed out by MBAs (Masters of Business Administration) and slowly infected into every publicly owned business like a disease. It’s the fallacy of perpetual growth.

If you have ever worked for ANY public company in any kind of position higher than entry level, you’ve seen this in one form or another. Metrics, bean counters, that all say “THIS quarter must have better numbers than LAST quarter!” and “THIS quarter must have better numbers than the same quarter last year!”.

That is the fallacy of perpetual growth. You also see this in the government. In fact, social security is BASED on the concept that there will always be a larger and larger working class to pay for the ever growing retired class.

But it is indeed a fallacy, IT’S NOT THE WAY REALITY WORKS. Things ebb and flow, the economy ebbs and flows, business success and consumer purchasing ebbs and flows. Business should fluctuate WITH it.

This is why the most stable companies that exist today are sole-proprietor companies or family owned businesses. Oh sure, most of them are not huge and most of them are not global. Hell, very few are even national. But they are ALWAYS THERE.

Why? Because when one person or a small group has a personal stake in the company, they don’t have to be beholden to stockholders and the fallacy of constant growth. If my company profited 100K net last year, and this year is a “tough” year, I don’t HAVE to drive for 125K or 150K or even 100K… I can be happy with LESS. I can be happy making a MEASLY profit as long as we stay stable and stay in business and don’t lose money. I can take the LONG view.

If I don’t have the money to increase my business, I can WAIT and SAVE the money and buy expansions outright in my own time. The growth of my business can be related to the success of my business. If I’m doing poorly and have a small franchise, I can cut one or two stores out and sell them off and keep the rest operating the same way. I don’t have to cut corners everywhere and stress every one of my employees out. I don’t HAVE to make them “do more with less”.

Public companies can’t do that. They are pushed on all sides for ever increasing profits and ever expanding GROWTH of the company.

And do you know what I see happening? In every business that I’ve ever worked with? The company is becoming a behemoth monster, constantly growing in size, while at the same time eating itself from the inside out, until all that’s left is a gigantic skeleton with no meat left… just scrawny bones that can collapse or any moment.

Or better yet, a better example is Jenga. Yes, Jenga.

THAT is the end result of the fallacy of perpetual growth. You pull from the bottom to feed the top and guess what’s going to happen? Eventually, it’s all going to tumble down. Unless we stop it, dead in its tracks. The only way to save the free market and capitalism in America – is to put it on a diet, a profit diet. Because for the last few decades, it has been gorging itself, become opulent, while in the meantime the citizenry has suffered.

So what is the solution to these issues? It is quite simply this – set the maximum profit that a public company is allowed to make on each individual good or service, and you will, directly, stop the drive to perpetually increase profits.

Abortion

Abortion is the hardest issue that I’ve had to think on. How does one decide which is more valuable, the life of an innocent being, or the freedom, rights, and mental/physical health of a woman? I have no satisfactory answer to this question. What I will tell you instead is what I believe, and please hear me out to the end.

I am both “pro-choice”, and “pro-life”, and I believe that most people, if they think about it long enough, feel the same way. The division of people into these two supposedly opposite camps is artificial and does not match with reality. Very few people WANT children to be killed when it can be prevented, and very few people WANT to control the bodies of women. It is simply a hard question before us, and emotions run high.

I personally believe that all life is sacred and should be protected at all costs. However, I also believe in the power of freedom and individual choice. As I have vowed to protect life AND liberty, the issue of abortion is the point at which both of those issues intersect and conflict.

Therefore, here is my proposal. I propose to temporarily maintain the status quo, the current legitimacy of Roe vs. Wade as determined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

HOWEVER, I also propose that we need another solution to the problem that will try to resolve the issues for both sides of the debate. For the United States government to successfully fulfill its obligation to protect and promote life AND liberty, it must seek to protect the life of the unborn child AND protect the freedoms of the pregnant mother.

I propose permanent funding for a scientific project that would lead to the creation of a fully functioning artificial uterus.

By creating such a device, I believe that both sides of the issue can find peace and common ground. Innocent unborn children are protected, and the freedom of the pregnant woman is secured.

Some more information on this here.