FATCA, Immigration, and Political Dance Videos… Our 2013 Efforts

Despite an insanely busy and awesome year (I’m a very lucky dude), we managed to put together three videos, a new amazon broadsheet, and a bunch of blog posts.

I am most proud of our efforts against FATCA. FATCA is a crazy law that the United States Congress has decided to impose on the entire world. We are building a world-wide empire subject to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). I kept running into FATCA in my work as a legal consultant, and I realized that this stuff really needs to be described in layman’s terms. The US government says that it just goes after US tax cheats. Nobody likes them, so most journalists haven’t looked into it too much. When you look into the details, however, it becomes clear that there is a lot more going on. Its implementation involves over 500 pages of regulation, numerous agreements between the US government and other countries, and eventually individual agreements between the IRS and every bank in the world. We have tried to boil the regulations down to a four minute video, with a lot of swearing. To provide a more detailed and level-headed view, we’ve also published a new essay for the Amazon kindle.

We published two videos earlier in the year. I had noticed that all the really popular videos on youtube are music videos. So in a perhaps unwise fit of late night creativity we made one. In a more serious effort, we weighed in on the US immigration debate. Some say the video is a bit boring, but it deals with some important facts that Congress is ignoring in their discussions. Watching the video will make you more informed on the topic than most of Washington, DC.

Well that’s about it for 2013. We’ve got some new approaches and issues to tackle in 2014. It should be fun! We’ve now got a mailing list, which you can see to your left. Sign up if you want to be made aware of our future efforts. Thanks for watching and reading!

2012 Efforts

I have been working 60 hour weeks for most of this year, but I did manage to put two things together for this election fall. The first is a broadsheet entitled Avoiding the British Empire: How the United States Can Do Better in 7,000 Words. The polemic takes aim at a very broad subject, US Foreign Policy over the past 100 years or so. It tries to lay out the trajectory of the British Empire, and suggest some ways that the US can avoid its fate. Folks who have read it have been very kind. They have found it informative and occasionally amusing. There is a lot that goes on in our foreign policy establishment that is hard to explain. This pamphlet tries to do the explaining. Not bad for under a dollar.

We have also put together another short video, explaining why you should be voting for a third party candidate in the election that is coming up in a few weeks time. I am pretty pleased with this. If we progress as much in terms of quality and memorization next year we’ll be going viral for sure.

The reaction has been positive enough, and I am having enough fun to keep doing this. I would like to say it will be less than eleven months until the next product, but that would be over-ambitious. I haven’t figured out how to enable a non-spammy comment section, so if you want to get in touch, hit me up in the youtube comments. All praise, advice and abuse is welcome. Thanks.

More on Drugs

Last month  I posted a small e-book and some videos on the evils of our drug war and the response has been overwhelming.  Between my channel and a pirated version the videos have been seen 2,500 times.  The e-pamphlet was briefly the #1 war on drugs book of any kind on Amazon. There are a couple of arguments I wish I had addressed better in the book or the video, however.  I also failed to suggest any next steps for the interested. This blog post is an attempt to address those gaps.

First the arguments.

My stuff does a decent job of pointing to the failures and injustices of the system, but it falls down on the broader philosophical implications, which I care deeply about. This video does a great job, and is worthy of your attention and re-posting

The e-book touches briefly on the fact that our local police departments are becoming paramilitary organizations. This article does a great job of outlining the full horror of it.

Beginning with the Military Cooperation and Law Enforcement Act of 1981, the Pentagon gave local and state police access to surplus military equipment for purposes of drug interdiction. By 1997, local police departments around the country had stockpiled 1.2 million pieces of gear, including thousands of military-style M-16 automatic rifles, body armor, helmets, grenade launchers, night vision goggles, even armored personnel carriers and helicopters.

This arms build-up is out of all proportion to any conceivable threat, and is used exclusively to terrorize American citizens. It strikes me as reminiscent of the growth of local military forces in Lebanon, prior to their disastrous civil war. Thankfully nothing similar seems in prospect in the US, but if it were, the necessary materials are now dispersed throughout the country.

On that depressing note, on to possible actions.

NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws is the granddaddy of drug policy organizations. They have been operating for over 40 years. Their website suggests a number of possible actions.

The Drug Policy Alliance is a somewhat newer, slicker organization. They take a more comprehensive view. They go beyond marijuana legalization to focus on potential treatment options and new approaches to our nation’s drug problem.

Both of these organizations are worthy of your support. They are working to establish a saner, safer, and more just country.

Thanks to all for the interest and support, and I hope you will keep tuning in as we continue to churn out tweets, blog posts, longer form writing, and the occasional video.