12 MAR 2015 :: Politics :: Crowd-funding

I am catching up again...  Not really sure what to comment on about our politics in America... or anywhere else.  I am still trying to organize and update and find income to hire helpers for my BIG goals in life...  

I have a fiverr.com account, actually two of them -- one for me, one for WT.  I had a tip gig on my personal account (it was all by itself for a short while), but looking at it every time I checked my account made me think of crowd-funding. I wondered if someone could raise money with a tip gig... and that it would be like crowd-funding. 

I discovered that other sellers on fiverr have "donate" gigs now.  I'm not sure how that works.  My tip gig was created when I had a regular gig available for purchasing.

In time I went ahead and made some social media posts about it...on Twitter and Facebook.  I didn't seem to get any response, according to the fiverr stats.  Of course, posting in the middle of the night might be part of the reason.  :-)   I still want to see what might happen with a tip gig...partly because fiverr has been a difficult place to try to earn money but I like the $5 gig concept...so keep watching for a renewed effort.  :-)    You can contribute to the cause, too.

Ever since crowd-funding began, I have been trying to find a way to fund Working Together with it.  Not having start-up capital, not being eligible for traditional financing, and not being able to raise income through my sales efforts, had been a long problem.  Crowd-funding was an ideal fundraising option for me, but I haven't yet been able to get all the requirements figured out.

After WT is established, I hope to set up smaller funding efforts for those we would care for that could not work and didn't have any personal income sources...like homeless people, like seniors, like disabled people.  I have been considering a lot of ways to create that program.

In watching financial programs on OPB (a PBS station), I think it was The Truth About Money, I learned the word for new industries that displace current industries is "disruptors."  Robotics, solar energy, and other technologies are examples of disruptors we are dealing with.  I think crowd-funding is a disruptor also, because it replaces a large part of the banking system, the fundraising structure, and the resource access options.  I'm not sure how much it affects these industries, but it does affect them. It has changed them forever.  Even the government tax system was changed to accommodate the income created by crowd-funding efforts.

Crowd-funding is a unique opportunity for the public to be directly involved in providing resources for people and projects they would never know about otherwise.  Now crowd-funding is reaching into the investment spheres... which will change the idea of sharing to what can I make for myself with this financial help. 

As a low-income person, crowd-funding means the financial help I would receive is not a debt -- it doesn't have to be paid back, it isn't a personal or business liability that is hanging over every decision you make.

Crowd-funding also allows less honorable people to commit fraud.  This changes sharing into a fear of being involved.  I tried to find out about oversight of funds collected for one community outreach effort.  I discovered there wasn't any.  This will be changed as time goes by and more fraud is detected.  Crowd-funding platforms will have to provide some kind of accountability... like verifying the need, the project, the cause being collected for, and how the money is spent.  If someone gives to pay medical bills, the money needs to be spent on medical bills.

As a Christian, and because I naturally want to make myself and Working Together accountable for the funds that it might collect as donations, I want to set up some kind of financial reporting process.  I have always felt it would be critical to the reason I want to collect funds.  My challenge is how to protect individual privacy, and avoid misuse of the information.

Privacy, accountability, fraud, abuse, and other important considerations mean crowd-funding will become another politically regulated activity.  It seems like everything becomes a political issue.  How much oversight is necessary to protect the public?  If we self-regulate, will it change the need for government oversight?  I don't know...people don't seem to do what is right on their own.

for 11 MAR 2015 :: Prison Issues :: Legalizing drugs

This seems to be a bad week...  sorry.  I was working on a new listing at my etsy shop and also revising a couple more, and finally renewed one of the revised items.  Slowly, I am building up my "inventory" for income opportunities.  :-)

The topic of Prisons, and all the related issues, hasn't been easy to deal with.  I am writing (again) to one of my sons in an Oregon prison for theft, caused by the demise that drugs produce.


Back again...it is always hard to deal with the issues that affect you so much.  I haven't found my voice on the prison issues, other than to repeat my ideas about reforming them.  It just does NO good to throw people into prison for any crimes without doing something to change the issues that led them to crime (and prison).

Drugs are the one thing that creates so many of our social problems...and now they are being legalized.  Where will this lead?  Not to anyplace good.  I remember reading how people stop maturing at the age they become involved in drugs (addicted, most likely)...no matter how old they become, as long as they are actively drugging, they never fully mature.  That may be why we keep living the 1960's over and over and over again.

Who is going to benefit when more and more people lose their mental capacities because of their drug use?  Will a handicapped society be easy to control?  Will they cease to fight against the government's rules and regulations?  What happened to all the warnings about short-term memory loss associated with marijuana use?  Will an industry that benefits from your consuming their product really tell you the truth about the damage it causes?  How many of our prison inmates are there because of some form of addiction?

My sons have been affected by the drug culture.  It leads to a whole different group of "friends" who are happy to share with you until you need their drugs more than anything else in the world, or you become more trouble than they can handle. 

Who is able to work when they are "high" on something that affects your brain, your muscles, your heart, your goals, your choices, and your family?  It turns people into something that can't be recognized...and can lead to death, their own or someone else's.

Drugs have never been a step up, only a lot of steps down.  It can be a slow path or a fast slide, but it only leads to the gutter. 

People just "dry out" in jail (sometimes), but they think they are cured... the forced sobriety gives them the idea they can control the drug use the next time around.  Some think they will be able to use a different drug, maybe just alcohol instead of marijuana, prescriptions, or hard drugs. 

All these people fighting so hard to legalize marijuana are users that don't see the damage it does... they just want to use it, like alcohol, to numb their lives for a while.  Are they the ones who should be making this decision? 

It is going to be very hard, if not impossible, to retreat from the damage that has already been done.  I am near my time to leave this world.  I won't have to endure the consequences of this change in attitudes toward drugs... but someone will.   It is like the national debt.  Our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren.... will pay for our mistakes.

10 MAR 2015 :: Basic Needs :: Access to resources

I was adding a comment to a Richard Branson post on Facebook today, about (financial?) gifts and being able to reach your goals (my paraphrase).  I don't know how to find posts you make comments on so, from a faded memory of the entry, I remember I ended by sharing the idea that ACCESS to resources is missing in the lives of poverty households and it keeps them from even the most basic improvements to their lives.  I may have been having a bad attitude day, but the truth is no one makes it without help, and poverty households don't have many places to turn to. 

This lack of access to resources for emergencies is why loan sharks and pay-day loans become their prisons... and lead to more devastation.  Why aren't there regular financial services for low-income, poverty, and homeless populations?  Probably because these households are seen as a liability, not a long-term investment. 

Charities barely survive trying to provide food and shelter and clothes, money is flowing out faster than it comes in.  People in poverty, accessing charitable services, are often viewed as incapable, illiterate, addicted, abusive, criminal, and desperate.  How can any charity justify offering financial resources to people like that?  Charities have to account for what they spend and make sure their money is used to create successful recipients...  this evaluation and accountability responsibility reaches into the charitable process when hard choices have to be made between those who might be a bit better at success than others.

Government funding, which is becoming extinct, goes to programs, institutions, and charities, not to the individuals, not to the levels of real need, not without choking requirements and regulations and accounting.  We see reports of billions of dollars spent to help the poor, but don't really know the details about the end of the spending process. 

Both charity and government funding are big businesses that become dependent on the failures of the poor.  If you get rid of welfare, you eliminate jobs and overhead and communities and all the things that charity and government are linked to.  It is like the energy battles... the demise of oil and coal and fracking mean changes in the lifestyle and income of lots of people...the loss of jobs, and overhead, and communities, and all the things that are attached to these industries.  In time they may be absorbed into other places, but we don't know that, or how long it will take to recover.  We keep a lot of things going because there's no easy way to the next industry.

Who helps those in trouble until they aren't in trouble any more?  No one that I know of.

We like to make the government responsible for everything because it seems so huge and takes so much of our money.  It could become responsible for everyone in the same way socialist and communistic countries do.  We may not be able to avoid it.  The government already controls our money in many ways, and it has access, with or without permission, to everything in our lives. Our financial future is dependent on how the government legislates taxes and business and freedom and individual rights.  There isn't any place to hide from the government...not really...and it's becoming even harder because of technology.

In my search for solutions, I created Working Together.  What would you create?  How would you solve the problems that are so deeply attached to poverty and the people who are suffering because of it?  In my quest, I had to answer questions like these ::
  • How much help do you offer? 
  • What do you require for participation?
  • How do you manage the ongoing process? 
  • Who do you give access to?
  • How do you get the money back?
The main thing poverty households need FLEXIBILITY, to be able to juggle their payments, to find a way to get through unexpected hardships -- which plague poverty households. 

How can you help people with difficult histories and treat them with respect? How do you let them remain in charge of their own decisions, and consequences, and goals?  How do you stand with someone without controlling every penny you "help" them with?  It is a big challenge.

Let me know what you come up with.

for 9 MAR 2015 :: WT Review --- A little late, but things happen...

I woke up this morning to my paperwork routine and discovered I forgot to enter a post for yesterday.  I went shopping for supplies and had to find somewhere to send a FAX to PayPal so I could use my account.  I will be talking about that experience one of these days... maybe on politics day.  :-(  (re: government regulations)  By the time I got back, I had to do my other things and wound up going to bed right after them.  I am so sorry to have forgotten you... I hope you don't mind my lapse too much.  :-)

One good thing that is developing is the large number of sales options I am coming up with.  It is a challenge for me.  Photos are the next hurdle.  Going through the development process, reviewing my goals, getting things organized... it all takes time, but it bears fruit in the end.  My ultimate goal in not wasting my time.

I am also discovering where I naturally go to do the different things I want to accomplish.  Like Facebook.  I am beginning to discover ways to cut my time, getting inspired with some of the groups I have joined, finding out about some better connection options within the website that will help me achieve my goals...  It all becomes a better path as you learn these opportunities and decide if they can help you achieve your own goals.

I am gathering my goals into a daily notebook and sorting all the separate goals into other notebooks.  This is something I hope will work for me.  It is too difficult to go from file to file on a computer. I am trying to print the important pages I need as reference materials and then keeping notes on them as I go through my goal quests.  Finding important emails when you need them is really a big problem. Printing them out makes the whole process better.

I will be creating new listings at Etsy and fiverr.com as soon as I can.  I have some photos ready to use, so I will do those listings first.  After that I have to figure out photos for the ones that are really new to this process.

I will be creating my PayPal links and putting them out for the public to view and utilize.  I discovered there is a way to add PayPal purchase links to Facebook and emails.  I will be trying those out.  And have to get my sales links back up on the website.  Lots of rearranging needs to be done there.  I hope to have this all done by the weekend.  HOPE... remember that.  I will do my best.  It all depends on my health and my money and my time.

I have to decide what to do about my PO Box again.  It is a desperate situation.  I'm not sure what GOD is doing because all my efforts come back as silence.  I am trying to get my driver's license again.  When I was homeless in my wonderful van, I got tickets for driving without insurance and expired tags.  I didn't have money to pay the fines, or whatever else was required, so I have been without the option since then.  It cause problems that devastated my life... but there wasn't anything I could do about it, and then I had NO INCOME and even less options.  Now I have a small income through Social Security Retirement payments so I am going to try to drive again.  I may be able to move back to the place I need to be, or at least drive there and pick up my mail.  :-)   PRAY that GOD will bless my efforts, or show me a better solution.  Thanks.