Red Brown and Blue’s September Review

September found Red Brown and Blue relaunching with a revised purpose and renewed commitment. We took a moment to discuss the history of Labor Day, then got down to business with our new mission statement when everyone returned to work on Tuesday.

“Red Brown and Blue intends to move forward, embracing a future created by positive political action and thought. The old paradigm of left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, Democrat vs. Republican is a broken machine that no longer serves the American people. Our citizenry is stuck between Red State and Blue State ideologies that allow no room for common ground, no acceptable compromise, and no concession that the opposition just might have equally valid points to consider. This way will not work.”

Red Brown and Blue founder Rudy Ruiz continued setting the tone in his piece, “Why Can’t We All Get Along?”

“As our leaders engage on these difficult and complex issues that face our nation – from the massive debt to how to care for our aging and increasingly sick population, from our lack of competitiveness in manufacturing products for exportation and the failure of our educational system to compensate by churning out more highly skilled generations of thinkers and workers to drive our new economy – they must commit to practicing a more honest and earnest brand of civil discourse in order to arrive at actionable and impactful solutions palatable to a majority of our overall population, not to a majority of each representative’s own narrow base of constituents.”

September 11th marked the ten-year anniversary of the attacks in New York City and the D.C., causing Jake Negovan to ask if good could still come from the 9/11 aftermath.

“Despite the sympathy I feel for those affected, I’ve never had a personal emotional investment in September 11, 2001. I knew no one who lost their life in the attack, nor anyone who died in the wars since. I had no friends or family in New York at the time, no relatives traveling on that day to cause me worry, and no fear that what I saw on the news was likely to be duplicated in my home town of San Antonio. I think this detachment is part of the reason I can look at the events following that day and be critical, and why I can look at the  way people now treat the day as some kind of reverent catharsis of tragedy and feel like maybe we’re not being hard enough on ourselves.”

Vito de la Cruz followed up on the theme by pointing out the erosion of American civil liberties following the attacks.

“Democracy, liberty, and privacy all go hand in hand. We cannot insure liberty without safeguarding privacy.  As Thomas Jefferson said, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” That vigilance was first and foremost directed at government efforts, schemes, and laws to erode our civil rights. In the aftermath of 9/11, and perhaps blinded by the need for revenge, we allowed our right to privacy to be sacrificed in the headlong rush to seek and destroy any and all terrorists, actual or chimerical.”

Next, we examined the use and the meaning of “rogue state” designations applied by the U.S.

“How does our increasingly unbalanced economic relationship with China hold them accountable? How does our “look the other way” approach in Saudi Arabia demand accountability? It seems America’s designation of rogue states is based more on value to U.S. interests, or the lack thereof, than a true desire to rectify human rights abuses.”

With the relaunch of the site, Red Brown and Blue declares itself firmly in the camp of political progressives. Our next column examined what that means and what a progressive platform should include.

“Above all else, a progressive candidate must fully and truly believe that people are entitled to rights that are inalienable, and the law must recognize those rights equally for all. Slavery and discrimination mar the history of the United States. It is therefor incumbent upon American citizens to combat discriminatory practices and be vigilant against marginalizing any group. There should be no accountable difference in application of the law for women, racial minorities, practitioners of any religion, homosexuals, or the elderly; but where doors have been historically closed, they should be forced open and closely monitored. It should be affirmed that human rights do not recognize borders or nationalities, and citizenship is not a prerequisite for equal protection under the law.”

Reacting to one millionaire’s promise to quit working if the government raised taxes more than he preferred, Jake Negovan called the unnamed media personality’s bluff in “Plus One to the Unemployment Line?

“On one hand, the man in question mistakenly likens the importance of his own comfort with the economic realities facing average wage-earners. Nobody who makes money wants to be told they get to keep less of it, put the proportional effects of taxing the wealthy need to be calibrated toward greater equivalence and responsibility for fellow Americans. This country provides individuals with near limitless opportunity, and some fortunate “achievers” do extremely well. It is an obligation of decency and patriotism to pay back into the system that provides one with that opportunity rather than claiming the spoils of victory. Grumbling about taxes levied on money received for doing nothing more than lending money to public corporations is an embarrassment that this man should recognize.”

RBB contributor Michael Maine offered an examination of  economic externalities and called for increased responsibility.

“We live in a society where unemployment, deaths of workers, and irreversible environmental and economic damage are considered externalities (which means a secondary or unintended consequence) that need to be internalized by paying settlements and fees rather than providing a system of change to prevent them from occurring in the first place.”

Setting the record straight about what Social Security is and what it isn’t, we took a closer look at “The Ponzi Scheme Scheme.”

“Social Security was never sold to the public as a savings account. It’s a social contract to take care of America’s senior citizens in the present while expecting  Americans of the future to also honor that contract. Did early beneficiaries get a lopsided good deal? Maybe so, if you don’t count enduring the Great Depression and both World Wars. Does the system rely on current contributions to pay current beneficiaries? It does. But it’s no more a Ponzi scheme by that measure than paying for last month’s credit card purchases with this week’s paycheck, or any more than putting your money into a bank.”

Finally, we discussed the importance of political education and involvement, one of the primary issues Red Brown and Blue will continue to emphasize and analyze as we move forward.

“Political education and involvement are critical to the health of our democracy and the future of our nation. The tendency of Americans to detach themselves from the political process cripples our system and must be reversed. Through active involvement and education, American citizens can utilize law and government as constructive tools for progress and free themselves from oppression and exploitation.”

Thanks for spending time with us! Please remember to tell your family friends about RBB by sharing links on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any other social network you like. Email our stories to your coworkers or just talk about the interesting articles you read on our site. If you haven’t already found us, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, where we share not only our own stories but also pass along great information from other sources.

See you in October!

 

The opinions expressed in this post and throughout RedBrownandBlue.com are intended to encourage civil discussion and invite well-reasoned alternatives. To join in, please visit our Contact Us page and drop us a line. Your contribution may be highlighted as a selected response and posted to the site at a later date.



Political Education and Involvement

Political education and involvement are critical to the health of our democracy and the future of our nation. The tendency of Americans to detach themselves from the political process cripples our system and must be reversed. Through active involvement and education, American citizens can utilize law and government as constructive tools for progress and free themselves from oppression and exploitation.

If we make an honest assessment of the intentions of our founders, we can admit the nation was not originally conceived as a body to be run by the totality of the common people. The existence of representative structures like the bicameral Congress and the antiquated Electoral College are both indicators of the lack of faith the founders had in the general population, and States in early America limited the rights of individuals to vote or hold office through a variety of qualifications including race, religion, gender, and wealth. The serious flaws in the Constitution (as originally written) concerning equality and human rights by extension limit the actual democratic power of the populace. Fortunately, the founders provided a means to amend the document and address those inequalities, but the impetus for change must necessarily come from the politically empowered. This makes every eligible voter morally responsible for political education and involvement as a protection for the disenfranchised and unrepresented.

Today we live in a world that provides almost instant unlimited access to information. The Internet is a great tool of democratic efforts, providing tremendous opportunity to those seeking political education and involvement. It does, though, exacerbate two problems for people. First, the egalitarian ability for anyone to distribute information without filter creates a vast sea of incorrect information, either due to poor research or willful deceit. Second, the wealth of content available on any topic imaginable provides abundant opportunity for distraction instead of education. Both problems require dedicated effort by the individual to overcome and in that way exactly summarize the primary obstacles to political education and involvement.

Manipulation of the media by those controlling said media is nothing new in the U.S.. In the past, limitations of time and distance effectively prevented the general public from acting as fact-checkers and people had to rely on the impartiality of news organizations to deliver unbiased facts. If the owner of the local newspaper, radio broadcast, or television station found a story unfavorable to its own interests, then slanted it or left it unreported altogether, the average citizen had few alternative news sources to provide contrasting information. The Internet allows people to seek out original sources of information, find dissenting or corroborating accounts of events, and transmit information to others around the globe almost instantaneously. This free exchange of information allows unprecedented educational opportunity and protection against the control of information by wealthy media personalities. However, these personalities persist, and it is the obligation of each citizen to counter disinformation campaigns through reading and research of multiple sources.

Entertainment is easy. Political matters are complex, affecting lives in ways that can be alternately positive or negative for different groups of people. Laws are written in paragraph and sentence structures that are difficult for the layman to comprehend without education and applied effort. All of these things make true understanding of political processes feel like work – unpaid work to anyone not a lawyer or career politician – and for the average citizen in today’s society, the demands of daily life leave little time or desire for unpaid political research. Seeking entertainment seems so much more desirable to a person weary from a career and personal responsibilities. Still, the distractions of life can not excuse a diminished vigilance.  The controlling class wants most to preserve control, and will happily promote distractions to the lower classes to prevent political education and involvement. Apathy favors the incumbent, so an uninformed and uninspired voter base, by not sharing information, not holding officials accountable, and not voting, preserves the status quo.

Education and involvement to affect change or preserve justice are paramount to the continuation of a free society. Many people express a distaste for politics and use that as an excuse to avoid exposing their own lack of political knowledge and to justify not learning more. Even worse,  others accept the notion that they are powerless against the embedded political machine and apathetically turn away from any form of constructive political discourse or action. Unfortunately, lack of political education only turns more power over to those who currently hold it, preventing the under-represented from achieving equality. Understanding the motivations of lawmakers and the effects of legislation are necessary to cast votes resulting in more favorable conditions, which is the essential check against the abuse of power by holders of public office.

 

The opinions expressed in this post and throughout RedBrownandBlue.com are intended to encourage civil discussion and invite well-reasoned alternatives. To join in, please visit our Contact Us page and drop us a line. Your contribution may be highlighted as a selected response and posted to the site at a later date.

Jake Negovan drives Red Brown and Blue to be an outlet for progressive political opinion that leads to the betterment of life for the real, multicultural population of the U.S. and the rest of the world. His columns address the issues faced by our country as we continue growing toward a society of equality. More about Jake can be found on the web at jakejots.com or on Twitter@jakenegovan.

 



The Ponzi Scheme Scheme

The phrase “Ponzi scheme” sees a lot of action these days. Like most buzzwords circulating in the political pool of pejoratives, it’s a code intended to promote an agenda while stopping people from thinking about the facts. Declaring Social Security a Ponzi scheme is dishonest, plain and simple.

Charles Ponzi was a criminal in 1920s Boston acting with the specific intent to commit fraud. He did so by promising high returns on an investment that didn’t actually exist. Though he made a great deal of money, lived luxuriously, and rose to prominence in the financial industry, he ended up in prison when his scheme unraveled. A clear line runs from Ponzi all the way through Bernie Madoff and passes though dozens of other perpetrators along the way. Somewhere on that line, though, a woman named Ida May Fuller was looped into Ponzi’s legacy.

The notorious Ida May Fuller died in January of 1975 at 100 years old. She was eligible to collect Social Security payments, and did so, for the last 35 years of her life. Certain bloggers and pundits have recently circulated her story as an example of Social Security’s inherent Ponzi-ness, the crux of their argument being she paid less than 25 dollars into a system which eventually paid her a total of $23,888.00. This proves that she bilked the government and all the Social Security “investors” by being fortunate enough to participate in the scheme early.

It’s been said that Ida May “made out like a bandit.” The thing is, though, that it took her 35 years to “rip us off” for 23 thousand dollars. She collected about 650 bucks a year from the federal government on average. Not 650 dollars a month – 650 dollars a year. Between the ages of 65 and 100.

She made one lousy bandit.

Social Security was never sold to the public as a savings account. It’s a social contract to take care of America’s senior citizens in the present while expecting  Americans of the future to also honor that contract. Did early beneficiaries get a lopsided good deal? Maybe so, if you don’t count enduring the Great Depression and both World Wars. Does the system rely on current contributions to pay current beneficiaries? It does. But it’s no more a Ponzi scheme by that measure than paying for last month’s credit card purchases with this week’s paycheck, or any more than putting your money into a bank. Do you think the bank takes your little pile of money and puts it somewhere for safe-keeping until you come back for it? They don’t. They use the money you gave them to invest, to acquire, to pay shareholders and executives today, operating under the agreed contract that you’ll get your share tomorrow, or later, when needed. Social Security isn’t a Ponzi scheme, but nor is it a bank. It’s a responsibility in need of attention.

The “crisis” facing Social Security is only a crisis if we let it be one. Social Security can draw from other tax pools to pay benefits at 100% through 2037. Projected revenue is expected to cover 78% of projected payouts through 2084. If any of us are still alive to worry about it then, I’d be surprised, but that’s not really the point. The point is Social Security isn’t in as much of a crisis as detractors would have you believe. Three concerns must be addressed. Problem one is the large baby-boomer generation reaching the age of eligibility but the U.S. not having a subsequent generation of equal size as contributors. Problem two is the government’s use of surplus Social Security contributions for other spending purposes rather than protecting the surplus for future pay-outs (the system still brings in more than it spends, but current projections have that changing by 2015). The third problem is an extension of problems one and two – find a way to increase revenues that will cover future payouts.

The system needs more money, and action should be taken now to find that money, but the answer is not villainizing and dismantling social security. The boomers will get theirs, and they should. But while some of them remain productive workers and Social Security contributors, changes to the system should be made. A good start might be setting a specific amount to the benefit rather than having it tied to earnings. The current structure provides less benefit to those who earned less and more to those who earned more, but equalizing payouts regardless of contributions could control costs. Second, any surplus collected must go untouched. Third, increase overall tax revenues across the board by repealing the Bush tax cuts and ending current military conflicts. Last but not least, raise the upper limit cap on payroll taxes, or (better) eliminate the cap entirely. Earning enough money to not rely on social security should not eliminate or reduce the responsibility to contribute. Again, Social Security is not an investment fund or a savings account for you. It’s a means of providing help to fellow Americans who have reached retirement age.

When critics attempt to criticize Social Security by comparing it to an investment, they misrepresent the nature of the program, and that misrepresentation comes closer to being a true con. The notion that  they’re looking out for your money is deceptive. They’re looking to give your money to their cronies. The users of the “Ponzi scheme” code word are almost universally in favor of privatization, in whole or in part, of Social Security. Those politicians calling for privatization are overwhelmingly pro-business, influenced tremendously by lobbyists working to deliver your money into private hands. Not your hands. The private hands of international banks and multi-billion dollar investment firms.

It’s a shell game of true intentions. That’s the real scam. Scheme. Whatever you want to call it, just know the con.

 

The opinions expressed in this post and throughout RedBrownandBlue.com are intended to encourage civil discussion and invite well-reasoned alternatives. To join in, please visit our Contact Us page and drop us a line. Your contribution may be highlighted as a selected response and posted to the site at a later date.

Jake Negovan drives Red Brown and Blue to be an outlet for progressive political opinion that leads to the betterment of life for the real, multicultural population of the U.S. and the rest of the world. His columns address the issues faced by our country as we continue growing toward a society of equality. More about Jake can be found on the web at jakejots.com or on Twitter@jakenegovan.



Taking Ownership of “Externalities”

Economics.

Ewww, gross! I know, I know. If you’re like most people you probably don’t want to think, hear, see, or say the term.

I think it’s funny, not so much that the study of economics is inherently humorous, but rather that we have taken something so nuanced and complex and simplified our understanding of it to nothing more than “supply and demand.” It’s about time we became more critical of a system that has such wide-ranging effects in our lives and helps shape the way we see and interact with the world. It’s about time we became more creative in the ways we address the economic issues that have plagued us for so long that the terminology has infiltrated common language (e.g., market, globalization, economy, interest rates, taxes, etc.).

After losing interest in economics during my undergraduate studies, it was renewed the moment I discovered Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics (I definitely recommend the book and the podcast, Freakanomics Radio). As I read the book I kept thinking, “Yeah, this is an economic analysis of this situation.” Although I enjoyed the book, I couldn’t put my finger on quite what it was that made it feel like such an important read. Of course the author kept the narrative interesting—in it he writes about sex, drugs, crime, and poverty. If he had added gummy bears I’d be all in. I finally realized, though, I found his relentless questioning of established institutions the most important constant. Many of us have lost our childlike drive to ask questions. After being told something so many times, we eventually believe “it is what it is.”

The problem with passively accepting what we’re told is that, in doing so, we perpetuate and excuse a lack of understanding and appreciation of the subject matter. We often see this lack of understanding manifested as stereotypes. Now, sure, the average person needs to know exactly how a Lorenz curve describes equality about as much as the average person needs to be able to explain every part of the process that makes your hair stand up when you drag your feet across carpet or play with balloons. However, we do need a basic understanding of economic concepts. The oversimplification of economics is detrimental because it allows us to be complacent when we should be active. We tend to accept things to be true just because we have been told that in some way, shape, or form we will inevitably reach equilibrium. We believe that it will all just work itself out. This thinking is dangerous.

We live in a society where unemployment, deaths of workers, and irreversible environmental and economic damage are considered externalities (which means a secondary or unintended consequence) that need to be internalized by paying settlements and fees rather than providing a system of change to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Let’s delve a little deeper into the concept of externalities. Wikipedia says: “In economics, an externality (or transaction spillover) is a cost or benefit, not transmitted through prices, incurred by a party who did not agree to the action causing the cost or benefit. A benefit in this case is called a positive externality or external benefit, while a cost is called a negative externality or external cost.”

According to this definition, if we must reduce potable water in a rural town by 30 percent, subject marginalized communities to inhumane working conditions, or convert once lush lands into toxic waste dumps in order to produce goods for our ever-increasing consumption diet, then it just “is what it is.” What’s ironic is that this concept only truly applies to industrial and commercial organizations. If, for example, I caused half as much damage in the pursuit my own success, those “incurred costs” wouldn’t be called externalities—they’d be called crimes. While some of those crimes might only require I pay a fine or commit to community service, many would call for my incarceration. The real difference is that I wouldn’t be permitted to repeatedly commit those crimes, whereas businesses are. Now, I am not anti-business or anti-corporation. I think that a lot of companies are doing a lot of good things. I think, for the most part, we are doing the best with what we know.  But there is always room for improvement, always a reason to strive for better.

The preliminary count of fatal work injuries in the U.S. in 2010 was 4,547 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). I think we owe it to at least 4,547 families to keep working. They’re not externalities. They’re people. Let’s really look at the economic systems we have in place and make them better. Take action. Make changes. Make them work for us.

 

The opinions expressed in this post and throughout RedBrownandBlue.com are intended to encourage civil discussion and invite well-reasoned alternatives. To join in, please visit our Contact Us page and drop us a line. Your contribution may be highlighted as a selected response and posted to the site at a later date.

Michael Maine is the founder and chief strategy officer of Menrva Labs, consulting with small businesses and non-profit organizations to build sustainable social change by increasing social consciousness, helping realize their potential by working with them to identify goals, build strategies, and carry out those strategies. Follow Michael on Twitter at @michaelbmaine and @menrvalabs.



Red Brown and Blue Wants You!

Don’t you have something to say?Uncle Sam

Red Brown and Blue is looking for writers interested in contributing material to the site. We seek intelligent, forward-thinking individuals interested in writing about the current American experience and ways to continuously improve that experience through political and social progress. Ideas, goals, and vision are more important to us than arguments, accusations, and criticism.

Red Brown and Blue would like to invite people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, lifestyles, religions, and ages to write about living, working, and trying in today’s United States. More importantly, we want you to speak about how things can be made better in our nation and around the world for all people, based on your own experience and point-of-view.

If you are interested and think you have what it takes, please visit our Contact Us page and tell us a little about yourself. We’ll reply directly as soon as we are able with more details.

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

The opinions expressed throughout RedBrownandBlue.com are intended to encourage civil discussion and invite well-reasoned alternatives. To join in, please visit our Contact Us page and drop us a line.



Plus One to the Unemployment Line?

A well-known television host suggested recently that he might quit his job if President Obama’s plan to increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans raises his effective tax rate above 50%. The gentleman in question argues that he is an “achiever,” and that condemning him with such a burdensome tax bill would somehow punish his achievement. This man’s attitude and selfishness demonstrate the unfortunate disconnect between wealthy and ordinary Americans, particularly when it comes to the exponential benefits of wealth.

His primary point of complaint is a blurring of the comparison between capital gains taxes and income taxes. This TV personality feels that the two should be compared against one another because money invested has already been taxed once as income, so should not be taxed again when it becomes profit. This is an extremely faulty argument.

Double taxation is a legitimate concern, but the example provided by the TV host is not actually double taxation. If I earn a paycheck and my income is taxed, then I use my take home pay at the store to buy goods, I pay a sales tax. That’s double taxation. The money in my hand was taxed as I received it and was taxed again as I spent it. Not cool. The subject of this argument, though, is a tax on profits earned from invested income. The money invested may have been taxed (if it was income) but the money earned as profit on the investment (capital gains) was not. That’s a new tax on new money. It might have been taxed when it was someone else’s money, but taxing it again when it becomes yours is not double taxation.

Actual double taxation is a problem that affects working class people earning working class paychecks, who then use that money to buy groceries, clothes, school supplies, and household goods. It’s not an issue that affects wealthy Americans with discretionary income to invest. The television personality’s assertion that he is being taxed twice on his “sweat” must be a joke, considering investment income requires no physical labor on the investor’s part. If not a joke, then it must be a sarcastic insult to those who work for a living.

The gentlemen goes on to say that if capital gains are taxed at a rate higher than 20%, he probably won’t invest in the stock market (this in addition to considering quitting his job). This is meant to be taken as a threat to the U.S. economy, as the extrapolation of all American millionaires withholding all their investment dollars would certainly cripple innovation and job creation. In reality, there will always be investors willing to put money into ventures that stand to turn a profit. Even if capital gains were taxed at 90% (they never will be), a small profit is still a profit. If anything, the increased cost of investing could reduce risky speculation and minimize the threat of massive swings in the daily business of stock trading.

Another claim the television personality makes is that a high tax rate on the wealthy is a form of “oppression”. This person scarcely knows the meaning of the word. If we make a conservative guess that the TV host is paid an annual salary of $1 million, and we don’t even count the profits earned on his investments, a 50% income tax rate would leave him holding $500,000. That’s ten times the median salary for an American wage earner. Ten times the median of $50,000. Half of all workers make less than $50k. So who is oppressed? The white male college-educated celebrity with a multimedia empire in his corner from which he can air his personal complaints about only having $500,000 dollars (not counting his investment income) to spend on what he would like, or the single mother of two who works in a cafeteria at a public elementary school and pays 18% of her $29,000 annual income to taxes, leaving her with under $24,000 dollars of take home pay – less than $2000 a month? Whose sweat are we really making money off of?

The TV host finally cites a statistic that he provides no source for, claiming that 0.2% of Americans earned more than $1 million last year, but paid paid 21% of all federal taxes. I have found a corroborating source that verifies 0.2% of all filers reported earning greater than $1 million, but nothing to support the second half of that equation. I have my doubts. I sincerely wonder – if that 0.2% figure is accurate, and we live in a representative democracy, why are 50.0% of our elected officials working in the interest of those 0.2%?

On one hand, the man in question mistakenly likens the importance of his own comfort with the economic realities facing average wage-earners. Nobody who makes money wants to be told they get to keep less of it, put the proportional effects of taxing the wealthy need to be calibrated toward greater equivalence and responsibility for fellow Americans. This country provides individuals with near limitless opportunity, and some fortunate “achievers” do extremely well. It is an obligation of decency and patriotism to pay back into the system that provides one with that opportunity rather than claiming the spoils of victory. Grumbling about taxes levied on money received for doing nothing more than lending money to public corporations is an embarrassment that this man should recognize.

On the other hand, this person on television reveals an unfortunate characteristic many of us are guilty of at some point in our lives- he is over-valuing his importance at the workplace. He honestly believes that if things don’t go his way and he walks off the job, the company will never be the same. He said so. He said that “scores of people” depend on him to make his company enough money to pay their salaries. But like all of us, he’s easily replaceable. He says things on TV that a team of writers scripts for him about the actions and statements of people who are not him. He is a talking head, nothing more. If he walked off the set tomorrow, someone else would ably perform the duties of the position.

In fact, I’ll offer my services to his employer. Half the price. And I’ll voluntarily pay a 75% tax rate on both income and capital gains. I can talk politics all day, but I may need some OJT on the selfishness.

The opinions expressed in this post and throughout RedBrownandBlue.com are intended to encourage civil discussion and invite well-reasoned alternatives. To join in, please visit our Contact Us page and drop us a line. Your contribution may be highlighted as a selected response and posted to the site at a later date.

Jake Negovan drives Red Brown and Blue to be an outlet for progressive political opinion that leads to the betterment of life for the real, multicultural population of the U.S. and the rest of the world. His columns address the issues faced by our country as we continue growing toward a society of equality. More about Jake can be found on the web at jakejots.com or on Twitter@jakenegovan.