Time to Take on Tax Reform

Another Presidential election year, another Republican attempt to package tax cuts for the super rich as “tax reform.”

Enough is enough! It’s time for balanced tax reform that isn’t a giveaway to the rich, or an excuse to run up the national debt yet further. And so I am jumping into the fray with a new article series on tax reform. I’m just starting, but by the time I’m done, it’s going to be big, and sometimes hard to read.

But not nearly as hard to read as the 1040 Instruction manual.

My Evil Plans for 2014

The author plotting and scheming with his partner, Professor Darkness.
The author plotting and scheming with his partner, Professor Darkness.

The NSA has turned inwards, making the right of privacy a joke. Rogue police departments have graduated from writing spurious traffic tickets to performing civil asset forfeitures without any evidence of guilt. ObamaCare proceeds. The Republican Party continues its slide into unintelligence. And I have done next to nothing about it.

Oh, I did a cosmetic makeover of holisticpolitics.org, and I started an abortive project over at nationaldebtsolutions.org. But for the most part I was quiescent politically. 2013 was a year of retrenchment, plotting, preparing…bwahahahaha!

Progress is slowly being made on that Internet startup which might give me the resources to start that new political party. But don’t hold your breath. It won’t turn me into a celebrity billionaire this year.

I did make major progress enhancing my environment for doing some serious writing. Here is a “before” picture of my office: cluttered indeed, with my back to the entrance. Most distracting.

My cluttered office, with chair confined to mat.
My cluttered office, with chair confined to mat.

On a fey rampage, I decided to tear out the carpet which covered 70% of the floor, to use the original hardwood floor.

Pulling up carpet.
Pulling up carpet.

But oops! The finish was worn out, and there was carpet glue residue on the floor.

So I got my local building contractor to sand and refinish the floor. Better, no?

floorRestored

Then I built another computer table for my linux machine. (I like to build my own computer tables as I like them higher than ordinary desks so I can rest my elbows on my chair while typing. I also like deep work spaces to accommodate my growing farsightedness.)

New computer table under construction.
New computer table under construction.

Finally, no more rebooting between operating systems! I can just roll my chair between running machines. My workflow is enhanced.  Now if I can just figure out linux-windows networking so I don’t have to use a thumb drive…

My office, updated!
My office, updated!

With office thus enhanced it is time to implement the next phase of my evil plans for world liberation. In 2014 I intend to:

  1. Reform the financial system
  2. Win the War on Terror
  3. Restore lost civil liberties, including the now-neglected 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th,  8th, 9th, and 10th Amendment rights.

OK, I won’t accomplish any of the above in a mere year. But I hope to lay out ideas and strategies for doing the above so you, my readers, can begin making headway. Here is a taste of what is to come:

For reforming the financial system, we will explore where we can replace government micromanagement with accountability, debt with equity, and positive feedback with stability.

For the War on Terror, we will explore ideas from the green, good-government, conservative, and libertarian playbooks to defund and demotivate the world’s terrorists, to reduce their number and power to the point where they can once again be treated as common criminals instead of an excuse to scrap traditional liberties.

For civil liberties at home, we will explore ways to fight crime in ways compatible with the Bill of Rights. When crime is rampant, The People will not condone letting out criminals on a technicality, and I don’t blame them. Fortunately we options for greatly reducing the crime rate other than unleashing Dirty Harry or resorting to paramilitary policing. I’ll also reveal some anti-corruption measures which are not “anti-cop.”

 

2013: Time for a Makeover

Twelve years ago I started a book — An Eco Manifesto — which was going to reveal the many overlaps between green and libertarian values, between ecology and free market economics. I got nearly 50,000 words written before I admitted to myself that I didn’t have the time to get these ideas polished enough to be publishable. So I decided to go for a web site instead: holisticpolitics.org.
Ironically, to this day I still haven’t posted most of the ideas in that original book. There are only two eco chapters here and one of the is rather weak. Instead, I have focused on equality and morality.

My New Year’s resolution for 2013 is to put lay off on my other projects (here and here) and finally get around to adding the environmental chapters to this site. I have quite a bit of unposted material on shrinking sprawl, sustainable economics, and cutting back on the consumerism. Somewhere in my notes I have ideas on noise pollution as well. Most of the ideas require less government than we have today. In the years since I’ve come up with a few more green chapters, including one on population and another on Eco-Conservatism.

But before I get to rewriting and posting this material, it’s time for a bit of a makeover. I started this site targeting New Agers, hippies and progressives — a demographic that seemed pretty large back when I was in Asheville, NC (think Portlandia East). Now that I’m back in the real world, I’m ready to back off of the groovy look — many have objected to it over the years.

I’m thinking of moving from hippie/groovy to more sciency. While science and science fiction geeks are also minorities, scientist do possess a bit more authority than manifestors or habitual stoners. And I am a scientist by training…

My plan is replace the gradient lettered banners with three-dimensional text floating in a starfield. The idea is to emphasize the muti-dimensional thinking aspect of Holistic Politics. I think I’ll keep the gradient buttons on the sidebar; they look like shiny book spine titles. But I’m playing with the fonts. Take a look at the main site. I now have:

  • For the holistic chapters, I have gone from a hippie font to an old school computer font. The idea is to go for a retro-futuristic look. Back when I was young such fonts were used for future-oriented books. I may change this. Really Natural RightsMy wife says the font is hard to read. I might go for Bauhaus 93 (as seen on the right) as an alternative. What think ye?
  • For the red button articles, I’ve gone from Village to Arial Black. The latter is the closest I could find to the look of old Soviet propaganda posters. (I’m old school; I still think of red as Left.)
  • I’m toying with going with Village for the liberty/gold button chapters. The Prisoner was a libertarian masterpiece. Greed vs. FreedomAn alternative would be Bernahard Fashion, which looks like the title text on some Ayn Rand novels. While appropriate given that they’re actually coming out with movies of Atlas Shrugged, I hesitate to associate liberty too tightly with Objectivism.
  • I had an Old English font for the liberty chapters to evoke the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. But now I’m thinking of using this font for the morality chapters — it reminds me of the high church Episcopal Church of my childhood.
  • I think I’ll keep the hippie font I had for the green chapters.

The good news is that I have today written a button generator in C#, so I can trivially change the size and font of the buttons — which was not the case when I relied on Adobe Illustrator (which does not run on my new computer to boot). I will soon be able to quickly generate banners as well, as long as I stick to 2D fonts. For 3D I either need to learn a newer API or edit individual Xara files. I’m game to do the latter after locking down the fonts, but I don’t want to have to re-edit them while playing with fonts.

So, any feedback you might have would be appreciated on the sooner side. See the main site as well as the alternative fonts shown in this post.

Some other candidate fonts for the holistic areas (without the rainbow):

rainbowFonts

The Modern No. 20 reminds me of some science textbooks and maybe patents. Amethyst is what I have now (as of Jan. 6). The others are kind of sci-fi.

For the Left, I have the options of either looking like old Soviet propaganda or a typewriter font (for liberal media). Not shown in this pic, but shown as a candidate for liberty, is Village. The Village was based on Jeremy Bentham’s ideally regulated society, complete with panopticon.

LeftyFonts

Finally, for liberty, we have Village (evoking a libertarian favorite show),Old English (evoking Founding Documents), Playbill (evoking the Old West), and several Randian fonts:

LibertyFonts

Your feedback please!

Latest Updates

Oops! Still quiet here on the Holistic Politics blog. But I have been busy elsewhere. My updated political quiz is now in beta release. It is significantly longer than the old quiz, and it covers issues I shied away in earlier versions: abortion and foreign intervention. Preliminary stats indicate that the new version is more fair and balanced. Don’t believe me? Take the test and let me know what you think. I’d like to get any bugs removed soon so I can record data for some serious studies.

In other news, I have started a Benefits area at Free Money for All. I was rather remiss in selling the idea and instead dug into the numbers when I last had lots of time to work on that site. But if we are going to have a basic income guarantee, I guess we need to hammer the point home that free money vs. need-based welfare is rather more important than the gay marriage issue for those who want to restore family values.

Politics in Four Dimensions

For quite some time on the main site I had a logo which was labeled “liberty, equality, nature.” Meanwhile, the “books” were either red for equality, green for nature, or blue for morality. I had a mismatch. Morality belonged in the logo, and maybe I needed to add some pure liberty books — though my original plan was to relate all other values to liberty.

One obvious new color for liberty is gold vs. the light blue I had in the old logo. Gold is the color used for the Libertarian Party, and I hadn’t used it yet. The question remained how to add a fourth dimension to the logo. One option was to use grow/shrink as the fourth dimension, taking a cue from Flatland.

That didn’t look right. So I had a go with a physics option. Rotations can give us three more dimensions to play with, so:

 

Possible, but doesn’t quite connote rotation. Trying again:

Hmmm, now we have a rotation in the Equality/Liberty plane, sort of. Another possibility was:

Much more physics like: the rotation is definitely about an axis. But the wrong axis IMO. The wife definitely didn’t like. She wanted morality to point up. But getting a curved arrow to behave propertly in Power Point eventually taxed my patience and I stumbed on this:

Instead of a rotation, how about a halo? Works for morality, and angels as beings that can move in another dimension fits some of the historical descriptions. (It is not the only option, however. Our three dimensions are mostly empty space. Matter which acts through different forces could pass through us without our knowing it. Neutrinos are known to do this.)

Next, I needed some liberty books. Greed vs. Freedom is a critique of Ayn Rand’s approach to liberty as much as it is a morality series, so it could be gold instead of blue. And I have started a new manual of libertarian strategy to have another gold series. For those who have followed my other projects over the years, some of he material will seem familiar. I have written on libertarian strategy at Quiz2d.com and on the Libertarian Reform Caucus site. This go around I am being less party-centric and attempting to be more accomodating to those who won’t follow my approaches. Comments to come will determine my success in this matter.

As for the font choices for the chapters on liberty, I wanted to have headings that resembled those in either the U.S. Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. The closest I could find is an Old English font. Not a perfect match, and these documents are mainly cursive, with just some Old English like highlights. What think ye?