Tag Archives: economic justice

We’re Not In Kansas Anymore.

25 Feb

Hey, Toto.

2 big blizzards in a couple of weeks. One of the complications of global warming is that the warmed atmosphere holds more water vapor and guess what? More water vapor means heavier snowfalls. Thanks to KansasCity.com

I scanned this piece quickly and did not see any mention of global warming or climate change.

Same thing last week in the mainstream coverage of the snowstorm. Is it irresponsible not to give readers the background information?

Last week was Storm Q (I like the Blizzard of Oz name better). This week is Storm R.

I did spot some coverage that referenced the fact that the last 100 year snowstorm was two years ago when I was scanning the news for mainstream connections to the largest global story – global warming, but I think that coverage did not mention global warming either.

Here is what Yahoo News is running on the second storm in two weeks:

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Blizzard conditions slammed parts of the central Plains Monday, forcing the closure of highways in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles and sending public works crews scrambling for salt and sand anew just days after a massive storm blanketed the region with snow.

National Weather Service officials in Kansas and Oklahoma issued blizzard warnings and watches through late Monday as the storm packing snow and high winds tracked eastward across West Texas toward Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Forecasters also warned of possible tornadoes further southeast.

Snow covered Amarillo, Texas, where forecasters said up to 18 inches could fall, accompanied by wind gusts up to 65 mph. Paul Braun, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transport, said whiteout conditions and drifting snow had made all roads in the Texas Panhandle impassable. Interstate 40 was closed from Amarillo to the Oklahoma state line.

Want to read the whole story? Go ahead. Please let me know if they mention global warming.

New Economics? Is there another way?

29 Sep

I like some aspects of free markets. As a craftsman who has made a living at times in my life building and remodeling houses, I like the idea that I can trade my time and skills in a relatively free manner for money or other goods that I want or need. More and more I find I don’t really want too much stuff. I have a houseful of stuff. It comes and goes. I don’t buy much in the way of new stuff. We are awash in consumer goods in the US and if you turn off regular television and cable and stop reading the newspaper, your consumer programming falls away pretty fast in my experience, so I just am not all that familiar with the stuff that the consumer culture thinks I should be craving.

I think consumer culture and rampant capitalism is the downside of the free market. I like Medicare. I like Social Security. I like public education. I think it should be free and include higher education. I think that means I like socialism.

But try to sell socialism to the US electorate with the consumer capitalists in charge of the media. It’s going to be a tough sell.

I am throwing up this piece by Gar Alperovitz. I will watch it in a day or two. Maybe he has some thoughts about new economic systems that I will find appealing. Maybe you will find something here also. Hope so.

Gar Alperovitz – Our Time in History: The Possibility of Fundamental System Change from New Economics Institute on Vimeo.

Austin’s Picks: Is class struggle anarchism?

25 Aug

Austin K sent this link along in an email this morning. It’s a couple of years old, but it’s still worth sharing and reading. The links go to interesting websites if you have an open mind about politics, which is to say, that you can imagine or entertain valid political positions that are broader than the republican and democratic party talking points. I am only posting two of the points that Nate pulls from Tom’s article. Nate uses his What in the Hell …? website the way I use smallblueplanet.org as a staging area to gather ideas, to store links and info, then to compose from that website for publication elsewhere. For me, that makes Nate’s What in the Hell… ? particularly interesting.

What in the Hell is Class Struggle Anarchism?

July 24, 2009

Austust another WordPress.com siteIt’s

Hat tip to Tom Wetzel for this fine article. Check it out. Full disclosure and a little bragging, I know Tom, we’re both involved in the Workers Solidarity Alliance, so I’m biased. Anyhow, read his piece.

My favorite three bits are quoted below. With these bits I was reading it and I was like “yeah, this is what I try to do in this kind
of work but I haven’t put it this clearly before,” which is a cool feeling, like the article put clearly into words what had been more of a gut feeling for me or stuff I’d fumbled and put badly before.

1. “Dual organizational anarchists often say that the role of the anarchist political organization is to “win the battle of ideas,” that
is, to gain influence within movements and among the mass of the population by countering authoritarian or liberal or conservative ideas. Bakunin had said that the role of anarchist activists was a “leadership of ideas.”

But disseminating ideas isn’t the only form of influence. Working with others of diverse views in mass organizations and struggles, exhibiting a genuine commitment, and being a personable and supportive person in this context also builds personal connections, and makes it more likely one’s ideas will be taken seriously.”

2. “mass struggles and mass organizing as the process for changing society…because it is through the active participation of growing numbers of ordinary people, building and controlling their own movements, that they develop the capacity and aspirations for changing society.

From the point of view of “organized anarchism with a class struggle perspective,” two kinds of organization are needed: (1) forms of mass organization through which ordinary people can grow and develop their collective strength, and (2) political organizations of the anarchist or libertarian socialist minority, to have a more effective means to coordinate our activities, gain influence in working class communities, and disseminate our ideas. In the World War 1 era Italian anarchists coined the term “dual organization” for this perspective.

Read the whole piece if you have a couple of minutes.

Austerity Politics v. Posterity Politics

31 Jul

Are we keynesians or would we prefer to be serfs? It’s an election year, soCourtesty Billy Hathorn Wiki Commons we get to weigh on this and other questions. I really think we need to be thinking about creative economics. Market-based economics that are sustainable, that create useful commons instead of quarterly profits, dividends and obscene bonuses. We all get to decide how to make that happen.

As for me, I will be voting for posterity economics. Raise taxes and reinstate the steeply progressive tax rates that discourage bald-faced greed and encourage investment in useful infrastructure. You will hear that taxing the rich won’t raise the funds that we need, that we will have to tax the middle class. That is a calculated threat by the rich to discourage taxing the rich. And besides, look at the demographics, where is this vaunted middle class?

Where are the middle class jobs?

Time to downsize? Ouch!  Click me please

A couple of stories from the Washington Post this morning caught my attention:

The Mittster is chillin’ in Israel for a few days after his tour of the London Olympics where he wowed them. well, maybe not. but anyway, he’s out to Israel now. Checking the real estate in Jerusalem. Making contacts with car elevator contractors in case he decides to build a get away place in the Other Holy Land (not salt lake).

Mittster did have kind words for the Israeli health care system. Unfortunately that health care system is exactly the kind of big government interference that the right wing is certain will destroy the soul of a great nation. Here is a piece of the WAPO article on that:

 

Romney praises health care in Israel, where research says ‘strong government influence’ has driven down costs

 

Posted by Sarah Kliff on July 30, 2012 at 11:10 am

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had some very kind things to say about the Israeli health care system at a fundraiser there Monday. He praised Israel for spending just 8 percent of its GDP on health care and still remaining a “pretty healthy nation:”

When our health care costs are completely out of control. Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? 8 percent. You spend 8 percent of GDP on health care. And you’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care. 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, let me compare that with the size of our military. Our military budget is 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways, not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to finally manage our health care costs.

Romney’s point about Israel’s success in controlling health care costs is spot on: Its health care system has seen health care costs grow much slower than other industrialized nations.

How it has gotten there, however, may not be to the Republican candidate’s liking: Israel regulates its health care system aggressively, requiring all residents to carry insurance and capping revenue for various parts of the country’s health care system.

Israel created a national health care system in 1995, largely funded through payroll and general tax revenue. The government provides all citizens with health insurance: They get to pick from one of four competing, nonprofit plans. Those insurance plans have to accept all customers—including people with pre-existing conditions—and provide residents with a broad set of government-mandated benefits.

Read the whole article? Go for it.

It’s too bad that the conservatives have no sense of humor or appreciation of irony. They really miss out on the best that their leaders have to offer.

Second piece from the WA Post that jumped out at me:

 

 

 

As ‘fiscal cliff’ looms, debate over pre-Election Day layoff notices heats up

 

 

 

 

By , Published: July 30

 

 

 

The deep federal spending cuts scheduled to take effect at the start of next year may trigger dismissal notices for tens of thousands of employees of government contractors, companies and analysts say, and the warnings may start going out at a particularly sensitive time:

Days before the presidential election.

Read the whole piece. I dare you.

I hope that the Dems find a semblance of spinal material and will hold certain feet to the fire. Imagine a budget cut so severe, so fair that it would even cut into defense jobs. Well, try to imagine that. What are the chances?

Each moment we are faced again with the choice of austerity politics or posterity politics. Think on.

 

 

 

Tax Rate Facts

11 Jul

Washington Post has a story on tax rates.

I know that a lot of people will think that the low tax rates are a good thing, and they may be in a few ways, but these low tax rates translate into austerity political decisions, cuts in services, cuts to environmental protection, cuts to education, cuts in regulatory functions. The same folks who will cheer these low tax rates (even at the same moment that they complain about high taxes and advocate for more tax cuts) will also cheer the cuts in non-military governmental functions.

This is fine, I support free speech. I respect the right to espouse ideas, no matter how crazy they may be, but it is weird when working class and working poor, middle class folks start drinking this 1% koolaid. This is our task. Somehow we have to reach these folks and help them understand that our wildly expensive military adventures, drone murder program, kidnap and torture foreign policy are very destructive to our future as well as being morally indefensible. We have to help these folks understand that the 1% oligarchy are cooking the books as well as the globe with their planet for profit approach to the natural world.

We have to understand that taxes are necessary. Here is what George Washington had to say about taxes:

It is essential to bear in mind that toward the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue, there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant.

George Washington, 1796

Here is a bit of the WAPO piece. I think the facts are important. If you have questions about tax revenue and trends, read this piece.

 

 

 

In 2009, Americans paid lowest tax rates in 30 years to federal government

 

By , Published: July 10

 

Americans paid the lowest tax rates in 30 years to the federal government in 2009, in part because of tax cuts President Obama sought to combat the Great Recession, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday.

A sharp decline in income — especially among the wealthiest Americans, who pay the highest tax rates — also played a role, according to the report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Household income fell 12 percent on average from 2007 to 2009, with income among the top 1 percent of earners decreasing by more than a third

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Pos

 

 

 

(The Washington Post/Source: Congressional Budget Office) – Average federal tax rates

Looking for a Second Political Party

11 Mar

I know there is a lot of talk about how hard it is to start a third political party and there is no doubt that the talk is true. Large political swings that realign the political parties in the US are rare, but the political history of the US is about the swings. Whigs and Tories, Bull Moose and Know Nothing parties. These things come and go and right now we have the appearance of a two party system: the dems on the left and the repubs on the right, but the truth is that we have dems in center/right and the repubs in right to hard right. Courtesy Gerolsteiner91 at Wiki Commons

There is no significant left party in the US, only the 25 to 30% of us who identify as left/progressives/liberals/social democrats etc. and we are left to rail at the dem party to move left and lead the country with good public policy that works for all of us. The dem party leaders provide lip service, then do the bidding of the large political contributors – the deciders, the haves and have-mores who control the political agenda of the dem and repub party. Don’t kid yourself about that. Just look at the need to provide Medicare for Everyone, a national health insurance policy that could/would have left the insurance industry scrambling to compete for Medigap insurance coverage, but instead we could not even get a public option, we got Health Insurance for Everyone – The Pay Up health care system doubled down on us.

So when will a political realignment occur that will put a left political party on the scene? Who knows? These changes are like the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement and more. The political shift will occur when the time is right. There is work to be done having the options available when the body politic wakes up and says, that’s it, I have had it with the Dems and Repubs.

Here are some options that are already established and waiting, or developing:

The Green Party – Another U.S. is Possible, Another Party is Necessary (a political party that is established and global)

Americans Elect – Pick a President, Not a Party (doesn’t look like a political party in the making?)

Justice Party – Economic, Environmental, Social and Civic Justice for All (Rocky Anderson’s party platform is the basis at this point)

Nice Edit and Video from Wall Street Occupation

26 Sep

There are reports of police assault on the occupation of Wall Street.   The first amendment grants us the right to assemble and speak out.  It’s a shame that this country has so little tolerance for first amendment rights.

I am reminded of the video I have seen from China when the military was streaming toward Tiananmen Square and the Chinese people flooded into the streets to slow the military, they pleaded with the soldiers to join the protest, to side with the people. The pleas were not heard.

It’s going to be hard for the protestors who occupy Wall Street to reach the police who are ordered to come in and disperse the crowds, but things change when the shock troops of the empire hear the message that peace, freedom, equality, justice are not always compatible with order.   We have to reach across the lines and ask the police to choose constitutional freedoms over order.