Making Good Friends, Not Antagonizing Enemies

I like George Donnelly’s post “Screw Activism. Build Community,” but I drew a slightly different lesson. I believe he’s saying that, rather than enroll in fleeting responses to injustices, more satisfying time would be spent building community ties — where people can have a more intimate engagement in bettering the world by helping themselves and others.

It’s a refreshing message and a good starting point, but it leaves me thinking that’s not the divide (activism versus community) that should be drawn. I would frame it in different terms. The lesson I drew is that building a better world takes spending time making good friends, not antagonizing enemies — and not making friends with just anyone, like oppressors. It’s not just any type of community that fosters human progress. Only one that respects the moral autonomy of people can hope to make the most of our energies, meaning building more vibrant communities is a roundabout form of activism.

Working with and getting to know the struggles of other oppressed and marginalized communities and setting examples for how I think people should act are just a part of that. Another part is promoting reason as one’s means of knowledge and championing the idea that each person’s life is their own to make of it what they will. In finding friends, I want to build our standing to exercise independence to what extent we have it, whether that be means of jury nullification pamphleting or filming police. They can reciprocally support one another. It depends on the motivation of the activism — love or hate. I think that’s the divide, just framed a bit differently.

Tips on Avoiding the Affordable Care (Obamacare) Penalty

So there are several exemptions available until at least late 2016 to avoid paying the penalty for not purchasing health insurance. People just need to know they can apply for it. The most prominent exemption seems to be having a policy canceled for not complying with the Affordable Care Act, but there are several other exceptions to apply for.

Laurence Vance has cataloged them.

You can even apply for an exemption if you receive a cut-off notice from a utility company. I don’t think that would be too hard to acquire. There’s likely going to be a relatively small fee for not paying the power bill for a few months, but it beats having to pay an additional one percent of your taxable income to the Feds.

China’s Coming Meltdown

David Stockman, an early budget director in the Reagan administration, offers a plausible rundown of China’s impending economic collapse. The real-estate bubble in China could be multiples larger than one the Federal Reserve has obstinately backed for the past decade-plus. The economy in China is pronounced with political privileges blessed by neo-liberal interventionists. When the crash occurs, there’s going to be strong reaction and some misplaced blame. Rather than seeing their problems stemming particularly from political manipulation of their economic affairs, people in China would be in serious peril of losing what gains they have made for their personal autonomy and well-being if they look to the central government for greater controls.

IRS to Tax Bitcoins as Property

I don’t think it’s coincidental the IRS has deemed bitcoins to be property for it to be taxed as such. The federal government sees the cryptocurrency as a threat. It’s an attempt to thwart adoption of the virtual currency by political pull.

What this means is that practically every transaction would result in a capital gain or loss. Until there’s a program to automate the asset management valuation, the accounting paperwork would be overbearing. Each bitcoin, which is potentially divisible 100 million times, would have a different tax rate.