Monday, June 28, 2010

US Senate Fails on unemployment benefits

'The Washington post says that 900,000 people will lose
their jobless benefits by the end of the money.
Millions are losing their health insurance right now as
well. Why isn't this considered a national emergency.
It is certainly an emergency for those people, for the
stores where they buy groceries, their landlords or
mortgage-holders, their children, their relatives and
their communities. What is wrong with Washington that
they don't care/ What is wrong with our elite media
that they don't report this?'

Dave Johnson
Campaign for America's Future

The initiatives for the fall

Reported by the Secretary of State

Proposition 18 - Water bond.
Proposition 19: - Legalize and tax marijuana. 
Proposition 20 - Redistricting for Congress. 
Proposition 21 - Vehicle license fee for parks.
Proposition 22 - Bans state from borrowing or redirecting local funds. 
Proposition 23: Suspends AB32. 
Proposition 24: Repeals corporate tax benefits. 
Proposition 25: Majority vote for passing a budget. 
Proposition 26: Two-thirds vote for approving fees. 
Proposition 27: Eliminates redistricting commission. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Limit corporate tax breaks initiative qualifies

An initiative to repeal corporate tax breaks that lawmakers approved in the past two years has made it on the November ballot.
The measure, backed by the California Teachers Association, targets tax benefits that would give businesses more flexibility in calculating their tax liability. The campaign reached the 477,369 valid voter signature projection needed to qualify based on a random sample of petition signatures.
It's the seventh measure that Secretary of State Debra Bowen has certified so far for the Nov. 2 ballot. Today is the deadline for voter initiatives to qualify for the ballot.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Herbert Hoover again: Republicans kill unemployment extension

Republican partisan politics won—and working families lost—again last night when Senate Republicans for the fourth time this year blocked a bill that would revive the extended unemployment insurance (UI) benefits program that is the last lifeline for millions of jobless workers.
The 57-41 vote (with Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson from Nebraska joining all Republicans) fell three votes short of the 60 needed to end the filibuster against the bill. The bill also included aid for states facing huge budget shortfalls to keep 900,000 people on the job.
The extended UI program expired May 31 after the Senate left town for the Memorial Day recess without acting on a House-passed jobs bill that would have kept the long-term unemployment benefits program alive. Since then, 1.2 million jobless workers have lost their benefits.

The Republican blockade means about 250,000 unemployed workers a week lose their benefits, which averages around $300 a week, while Republican lawmakers take in a nifty $3,346.16 a week of taxpayers’ money.
Maybe if they spent a few months out of work in an economy where the unemployment rate is near 10 percent, at least 15 million people are out of work and 6.8 million people have been out of work for 27 weeks or more, they wouldn’t be so cavalier in calling for “tough love” for the unemployed and telling them they’re just not looking hard for work.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Banking crisis- time to act NOW !

No More Gambling with Taxpayer Money!

Let's Get the Job Done, Help Us Whip the Conferees!

The House-Senate banking conference committee is underway in Washington, D.C. If you are a nut like me, you will want to watch on C-Span. But even if you are not, you can still have boatloads of Bankster fun by helping us whip the conferees! We are making progress, Fed Presidents across the land are supporting Lincoln, along with top economists, the New York Times editorial board and even Paul Volcker, who apparently changed his mind. With your help we can win this!


Reckless swaps and derivatives trading played a critical role in the financial crisis, inflating the domestic housing bubble and turning it into a global economic catastrophe. As the House and Senate conference committee begins final work on the financial services reform bill it is critically important to preserve the strong language cracking down on those “financial weapons of mass destruction” contained in the Senate bill. Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz makes the case for Senate derivatives chapter plainly" “If [Congress] fails to pass strict oversight of dangerous over-the-counter derivatives and swaps the U.S. economy will continue to be vulnerable to significant financial risk.”

Casino Banking

Currently the five largest banks in the United States have an anti-competitive strangle-hold on 90 percent of the U.S. swaps and derivatives market worth some $300 trillion. The five banks are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America. These five bank-dealers can fund their swaps trading units with FDIC-insured deposits. They have access to the Federal Reserve's discount window, which allows them to borrow money for gambling in swaps at near-zero percent interest rates. But these government supports were created to reassure the public that their deposits are safe, and to protect banks from runs on their deposits –- not to help banks finance their own casinos.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Outrage from the Tea Party

 There is an outpouring of protest by the Right over the vote last night of the Sacramento City Council to boycott Arizona.
for more on Arizona see

These folks are a small minority. 
Poizner received some 26% of the Republican vote in the primary with his anti immigrant rhetoric. 
BTW,  You can get much of the same zeal in the letters  by attacking teachers' unions or public sector workers pensions. Not quite as bigotted, but equally vehement. 

 We are in the greatest economic crisis since the 1930's. Part of the problem is the legitimate anxiety of people with few jobs and few opportunities.  The Tea Party activists and their Republican funders, and the anti immigrant activists promote conflicts over issues of immigration, teachers' unions, public workers pensions, and big government as substitutes for a real analysis of economic problems. The  financial crisis was caused by the greed and the theft of a few very rich operatives. The oligarchy caused the unemployment ( not immigrants), the economic losses, the off shoring of production jobs, the cuts in services such as police and fire to families.

We need Jobs!

A Jobs Crisis Without Outrage?
It is simply amazing that hardly anyone in Washington is fully engaged in pushing for job creating legislation.  At least 8,000,000 jobs have been lost since the recession began. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million, public employees in state and local government face layoffs as a result of budget cuts caused by reduced tax revenues as a consequence of all the lost jobs. Unless something is done it is entirely possible, even likely that we will face a double dip recession resulting in even more job losses.
The fact is that we are losing an ideological struggle in Washington. The deficit hawks in both parties argue that too much is being spent. They have prevented extensions of unemployment and subsidized COBRA for the unemployed. They have blocked extending unemployment to distressed workers beyond 99 weeks in states with high unemployment. And they have discourage the passage of new job creating legislation that would provide localities with new funds to prevent public employee layoffs and generate job growth in the private sector. 

New York Times Columnist Bob Herbert described the problem well in his June 14th columnThe deficit hawks are a problem in the House and Senate. Although because of senate rules they are more of a problem in the Senate.
We must act now to counter the deficit hawks and push for job creating legislation and other measures that would help restore the economy.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wall Street Whitman

Make no mistake about it: Meg Whitman got rich the Wall Street way – through scams, shady insider deals and mortgage-backed securities that resulted in countless Americans losing their homes and jobs.
Back in 2001, when she served on the board of Goldman Sachs, Whitman was directly involved in the decisions about executive bonuses and mortgage-backed securities that are now cited as major causes of the economic meltdown and the ensuing jobs crisis.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Robert Reich on Keynes. What we all need to know about economics.

Double-dip watch: Retail sales in May took their biggest nose-dive in eight months, according to Friday's report from the Commerce Department. Remember: Consumers account for 70 percent of the nation's economic activity.
American Corporations are sitting on huge piles of cash but they're not investing, and they're creating only a measly number of new jobs. And they won't invest and create jobs until they know there are customers out there to buy what they sell.
For three decades, starting in the late 1970s, the biggest economic problem America faced on an ongoing basis was inflation. Demand always seemed to be on the verge of outrunning the productive capacity of the nation. The Fed had to be ready to raise interest rates to stop the party, as it did on several occasions.
During this era of inflation economics, it appeared that John Maynard Keynes - and his Depression-era concern about chronically inadequate demand -- was dead. So-called "supply siders" told policy makers that if they cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy, they'd unleash a torrent of investment and innovation - thereby increasing the productive capacity of the nation. The benefits would trickle down to everyone else.
But the pendulum may now be swinging back to the earlier era in which demand always seems on the verge of trailing the nation's productive capacity. The biggest ongoing threats are chronic recession or even deflation, because consumers don't have enough money to what the economy is capable of selling at full or near-full employment. Despite gains in productivity, little has trickled down to America's middle class.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Candidate from Goldman Sachs wins Republican primary in California

Billionaire CEO Meg Whitman won California’s Republican gubernatorial primary “after months of obscene campaign spending,” says Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Federation of Labor.
In the race for Sacramento against Attorney General Jerry Brown (D), Whitman will now “use her seemingly unlimited fortune to try to stage a hostile takeover of our state.”
She’s made clear that, if elected, she plans to bring a Wall Street agenda to California. What that means for working families is more massive tax giveaways for corporations and the wealthy and wholesale cuts to education, public safety and programs that our state’s most vulnerable rely upon.
Pulaski says the contrast between the candidates “couldn’t be starker.”
Jerry Brown shares the Main Street values that built this state’s economy into a global powerhouse and expanded our middle class. Brown has a spent a lifetime fighting for working families. He presided over the creation of nearly 2 million jobs as governor. He fought the exploitation of workers by large corporations as attorney general.
Read Pulaski’s full statement here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


June 8, 2010 Primary Election

U.S. Senate: Barbara Boxer

U.S. Congress:
District 3: Ami Bera (D)
District 5: Doris Matsui (D)
District 11: Jerry McNerney (D)
District 36: Marcy Winograd (D)
District 50: Tracy Emblem (D)

Statewide Offices:

Governor: Jerry Brown (D)
Lieutenant Governor: Gavin Newsom (D)
Attorney General: Kamala Harris (D)
Secretary of State: Debra Bowen (D)
Treasurer: Bill Lockyer (D)
Controller: John Chiang (D)
Insurance Comm.: Dave Jones (D)
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson

State Senate:
District 6: Darrell Steinberg

State Assembly:
District 9: Chris Garland & Kevin McCarty (D's)
District 10: Alyson Huber (D)
District 15: Joan Buchanan (D)

Sacramento County Board of Supervisors:
District 1: Phil Serna

Sacramento City Council:
District 1: Efren Gutierrez

Ballot Propositions:
Proposition 13 - YES

Proposition 14 - NO
ELECTIONS. ESTABLISHES AN OPEN PRIMARY. Would limit the participation of alternative parties.

Proposition 15 - YES

Proposition 16 - NO

Proposition 17 - NO

Tom Torakson for Superintendent of Public Instruction

There are three candidates for Superintendent who have any reasonable chance to win; Gloria Romero,  Tom  Torlakson, and  Larry  Aceves.
Romero and Torlakson have similar advantages and disadvantages.  They are both termed out legislators seeking a new position, not leaders in education.  A prior post examined Romero’s role and position.
While the eduwonks  (who do not work in schools) and Romero  continue their efforts and California achievement scores remain stagnant, others blame the  economic crisis that California and 42 other states find themselves in.

In Robles-Wong v. California (May 2010)  the plaintiffs note: Currently, the state ranks 47th among all states in its per-pupil spending on education, spending $2,856 less per pupil than the national average.
Yet most Californians, according to a recent poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, believe there is not enough state funding going to public schools, and a majority single out K-12 education as the area that they most want to protect from spending cuts.
“We require students to meet high education standards and then deny them the resources they need to meet those standards,” said Jo A.S. Loss, president of the California State PTA. “We must have a system that allows schools to deliver a high-quality education for all children – in good times and in tough times.”
The Governor and elected officials discuss the economic crisis as if  the crisis is a neutral act, or as if a natural act- like rain or snow.   But, the  California school budgets are  a disaster not because of   some natural phenomena.   The sustained crisis was created by the the governor and the  state legislature.