Monday, January 31, 2011

Response to Gov Brown's State of the State


Dear Governor Brown,                                                Jan. 31, 2011
In your State of the State Address tonight you requested ideas on where revenues might come from to avoid the painful budget cuts proposed.   Here are our recommendations.
It is clear that the California budget is in crisis, and the issues are clear  in Governor Brown’s budget proposals.  There are no quick nor easy solutions. We can not simply cut our way out of the crisis; budget cuts and lay offs make the recession worse.
School funding reveals the nature of crisis.  In the last two years the k-12 budget “solutions” have cut 4.6 billion dollars from the schools. We have larger classes and fewer teachers.  School reform has stopped- except for the politicians’  speeches.  School funding makes up a total of 30% of the state budget.  Any crisis in the state budget and any cuts in the state budget will make school budgets worse.
California will need to raise taxes to fund  schools and to repair the social safety net.  Anti tax radicals and Republicans  oppose any tax increases.   The state ‘solutions’ of the last three years depended upon receiving federal stimulus money.  The stimulus monies are almost finished and with the Republican winning control  of Congress there will probably not be more funds.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mobilizing the jobless _ Frances Fox Pivens

Frances Fox Piven | December 22, 2010. The Nation.
As 2011 begins, nearly 15 million people are officially unemployed in the United States and another 11.5 million have either settled for part-time work or simply given up the search for a job. To regain the 5 percent unemployment level of December 2007, about 300,000 jobs would have to be created each month for several years. There are no signs that this is likely to happen soon. And joblessness now hits people harder because it follows in the wake of decades of stagnating worker earnings, high consumer indebtedness, eviscerated retirement funds and rollbacks of the social safety net.
So where are the angry crowds, the demonstrations, sit-ins and unruly mobs? After all, the injustice is apparent. Working people are losing their homes and their pensions while robber-baron CEOs report renewed profits and windfall bonuses. Shouldn't the unemployed be on the march? Why aren't they demanding enhanced safety net protections and big initiatives to generate jobs?
It is not that there are no policy solutions. Left academics may be pondering the end of the American empire and even the end of neoliberal capitalism, and—who knows—in the long run they may be right. But surely there is time before the darkness settles to try to relieve the misery created by the Great Recession with massive investments in public-service programs, and also to use the authority and resources of government to spur big new initiatives in infrastructure and green energy that might, in fact, ward off the darkness.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Governor Brown - the money is there !

Jerry Brown argued again today that severe budget cuts were necessary because the money for police, fire, teachers, etc. is not there.  here.
Governor Brown’s central argument that the money is not there is inaccurate.  The money is there if the state is willing to collect the revenue.  Here is a list of sources for at $26 billion dollars.
It is a major mistake to make deep, immediate budget cuts in the middle of recession. This will make the recession worse. Instead,  we need to build the promise of California.
  That promise is a good job for all,  the opportunity to have  a rewarding career, and the chance for a life that is more than simply the workplace.  The austerity paradigm underlying the tax and budget cut mania  does not promote good jobs nor  rewarding   careers.   It will make the recession worse.

State of the Union- A new perspective

State of the Union : a change in perspective
I found the overall frame of President Obama’s State of the Union speech  most interesting, the U.S. economy needs to grow to catch up with other countries.  “We need to Out-Innovate, Out Educate, and Out-Build  the rest of the world,” or  our own standard of living will continue to decline.
This speech accepts the end of U.S. economic domination of the world economy a perspective made clear in the world wide financial crisis of 2007/2009.  The U.S. based corporations need to invest and the U.S. government needs to invest in crating a new future.
This change in perspective is not great, but it is realistic.
The  promise  of America should be a good job for all,  the opportunity to have  a rewarding career, and the chance for a life that is more than simply the workplace.  The austerity paradigm underlying the tax and budget cut mania is the enemy of human progress.  It does not promote good jobs, rewarding   careers, nor a fulfilling life.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

California Budget Crisis-Today

 I just returned fro a Town Hall with Senator Darrell Steinberg held  about the state budget crisis at the Belle Cooledge library in Sacramento.  As you know, Senator Steinberg in the Senate Pro Tem ( Democratic Leader) of the Senate, thus he has one of the major inputs on the budget.
Senator Steinberg started with a general view of the budget and the political situation of the coming votes.   Essentially Governor Brown and the Democrats are proposing 12.5 Billion in budget cuts and proposing passing a special initiative to extend the current ( temporary ) tax increases for 5 more years to recover 12.5 billion in revenue.
The room was packed to overflow with persons some of whom agreed with the Senators argument that these cuts were necessary and others who disagreed and argued that these cuts were destructive to life and opportunity.   Advocates for the disabled, for child care workers, teachers, and others made their case.
California can continue the current process of cuts and reductions.  The fiscal crises of the states – all the states- has caused major cut backs and retrenchment and made the economic crisis approach a depression.  The state cut backs are greater than the federal stimulus producing a prolonging of the crisis for working people.   The proposed state cuts will make the recession longer and deeper than is necessary.  Continuing on the present direction produces protection of  obscene profits for billionaires along with growing poverty and hardships for the majority.
The Brown- Democrats approach  would  follow the process of Ireland and Greece and dramatically cut services and impoverish the economy.  Then, since the state  is poorer and has less income you will need to raise more taxes and cut more services all in an effort to protect the excessive profits of bankers and bond holders.  This produces a race to the bottom. The event was reported on Page 3 of the Sunday Bee.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Whither One Nation?

Whither One Nation?
By Mark Solomon
Published by Portside

The October 2, 2010 "One Nation Working Together" rally
at the Lincoln Memorial was a successful expression of the working class and multiracial foundation of the progressive majority. The large turnout of labor unions, African Americans and other communities of color provided a solid start for building a broadly based national coalition to urgently address the crisis of unemployment and inseparably related crises in education, health care, housing, militarism and the environment. While the imperative issue of peace and the ending of Washington's wars was not insistently stressed (except for Harry Belafonte's inspired speech and the strong words of Bob King of the UAW), the peace movement was a large, highly visible and indispensable presence whose major role in the coalition cannot be

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Following, not just commemorating, Dr. King – in Words. Deeds. Action…

by Rev. Jesse Jackson
January 17, 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived till he was just 39. He has been dead now longer than he lived.

Sadly, too many who never worked with, or even supported, Dr. King while he was alive and in the middle of the struggle, now engage in rhetorical gymnastics, manipulating Dr. King’s words to conform to their own world view and justify their own ideological and political--even military--agendas.

We would all do well to ignore recent perverse misappropriations of Dr. King’s words with regard to our current wars. If he were alive today, Dr. King would, in my opinion, decry the diversion of resources to unnecessary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Not just in words, but in deeds, Dr. King never wavered in his commitment to peace and non-violence.

Interesting Piece on the Assassination of Dr. King

Monday, January 17, 2011

Darrell Issa- the man who plans to investigate Obama

California Congressman Darrel Issa is interesting, and he has a controversial past.
As Chair, he has become the number one person to investigate the Obama Administration.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bail outs for Wall Street - not Main Street

The Fed Has Spoken: No Bailout for Main Street
Ellen Brown, Truthout: "The Federal Reserve was set up by bankers, for bankers, and it has served them well. Out of the blue, the Fed came up with $12.3 trillion in nearly interest-free credit to bail the banks out of a credit crunch they created. That same credit crisis has plunged state and local governments into insolvency, but the Fed has now delivered its ultimatum: there will be no 'quantitative easing' for municipal governments." 
Read the Article 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Corporate Democrat Daley appointed Chief of Staff

Lobby Day- Health Care

Lobby Day Rally in Sacramento, CA, Sponsored by the California Health Professional Student Alliance
When: Monday, January 10th, 2010 — from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Where: Join over 500 health professional students on the California State Capitol North steps
Why: A Healthcare Revolution is the ONLY Solution!!!!
January 10th Schedule
11:15am – 12:30pm: March from Embassy Suites, Sacramento to the Capitol
12:30pm – 1:30pm: Energetic rally on the Capitol doorsteps!  The keynote speaker is Senator Mark Leno, the author of Senate Bill 810, plus many more!
What is Lobby Day?
This exciting conference educates health professional and undergraduate students about Single-Payer Healthcare and the California Universal Healthcare Act, CA Senate Bill 810 (SB 810) on January 9th. Then, we march through the streets and rally on the Capitol Steps. After the rally, students go in and meet with legislators to make their case for healthcare for all Californians. We all must stand up for health as a human right!
We ask that community members join us in our rally on
the Capitol Steps on Monday, January 10th from 12:30pm
to 1:30pm, so we can show just how strong community
support is for guaranteed, just health care for everyone!
For more information go to:
If you have questions, email Molly Tavella at:

Wall Street Fat Cats