Sister Jackie Hudson Needs our Help

June 10th update.  I understand that Jackie continues to be weak and is being released to return to Washington State for medical care.

June 5 Update:  Jackie was evaluated at the hospital and is well enough to remain at the prison at this time.  Thank you to all who called or emailed on Jackie’s behalf.
One consequence of the prison state is throwaway people.  A related consequence is institutional medical neglect.  A system that devalues people is not disposed to providing basic health care.
The US is a failed state with regard to its systems and policies of incarceration.

Best to all,

Mike
Still no medical care for Sister Jackie Hudson as far as we can determine. Read message below from Leonard at Ground Zero Center.

Important Note:  In between my emails please check in at the Disarm Now Plowshares Blog as I am posted brief updates there as I receive any new information to share.

Friends,

This has been, and continues to be, a difficult time for all of us who know and love Sr. Jackie Hudson.  First – Please know that there is an extraordinary convergence of people, including lawyers and physicians who are working virtually 24/7 on Jackie’s behalf.  As of this moment none of us has had direct contact with Jackie, and so we cannot confirm her present health status.  That having been said, here is what we know.

Since Sr. Carol Gilbert, who is also at Irwin County Detention Center, informed us (on May 29th) of Jackie’s severe chest pain and that nothing was being done for her medical condition, Joe Power-Drutis immediately set a process in motion to secure her transportation to a hospital to reserve proper medical care.  He contacted everyone possible, and engaged 2 physicians and 3 attorneys to engage directly with the prison staff.  The prison has been completely uncooperative, only saying that Jackie “was being taken care of.”  She is evidently in the prison medical facility (God only knows what that is like!!!).

At one point there was an indication that Jackie may have been transported to the local hospital and then returned to the jail.  However, a followup conversation with staff at the local hospital confirmed that Jackie has not been admitted there, and he staff indicated that theirs is the only hospital in the area.  There is absolutely no evidence that Jackie has been sent anywhere for proper medical evaluation.

The prison medical facility, as far as I know, is ill equipped to evaluate or treat Jackie’s possible medical condition and experts (MDs) agree that based on her presentation to prison medical staff, she should have been immediately transported to a hospital emergency facility for a thorough cardiac work-up.

Based on all the information we have received it appears that her treatment since her chest pain began, even beyond her basic medical needs, has been substandard and inhumane.

The legal team working on Jackie’s behalf includes Bill Quigley, Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights; Anabel Dwyer, lawyer and international human rights expert; and Blake Kramer, Tacoma-based attorney who has been deeply involved in defending the Disarm Now Plowshares.  I understand that the legal team is currently working every possible angle, and one involves getting the Judge for the Y-12 trial, which was the reason for Jackie’s current imprisonment, to order her release/transport to the hospital.

Another major concern and an egregious disregard for the rule of law is prison’s refusal to allow Jackie’s right to legal counsel.  Jackie’s court-appointed attorney, Brad Henry, found out at the jail that the Warden told all the staff at the jail that no information was to be given out about Jackie, including her appointed council. The prison is stonewalling every step of the way.

Beyond the obvious moral and ethical implications of the prison’s treatment of Jackie Hudson, it is evident that she is being deprived of her Constitutional rights as well as essential human rights.  This on top of Jackie’s very real status as a Prisoner of Conscience, quite literally a political prisoner in a nation that flouts both national law and international humanitarian law and then imprisons those who follow their conscience and the law to speak and act out to call on our nation to uphold these laws.

This maltreatment must not stand.  The people operating Irwin County Detention Center, a private, for profit prison, must be held accountable for their actions.  If this is how they treat Jackie, someone with a broad base of support,  I can only imagine the mistreatment of a vast number of prisoners who have no one to advocate on their behalf.  What of the forgotten???

Besides the work being done by this dedicated group to whom I’ve referred, many of you out there are working on Jackie’s behalf, and for this I thank you all!  We evidently flooded the prison phone line with calls, and I have no doubt that this has had an impact.  They know we are watching!  I have contacted the ACLU of Georgia, asking them to act on Jackie’s behalf.  We are working on alerting media locally(Georgia), regionally and nationally to Jackie’s plight, and will also be contacting members of Congress to act on her behalf.

What can you do to help Jackie?  For one thing, we can continue to call, fax and/or email the prison to let them know we are watching and demand that they send Jackie to the hospital.  The phone number is 229-468-4121. You may get a recorded message during some hours. There is also an email listed: info@irwincdc.com.   Fax is 229-468-4186  Additional phone numbers: Warden Barbara Walrath – warden of Irwin County Detention Center, 229-468-4120, Dr. Howard C. McMahan – Medical Director of Irwin County Detention Center, 229-468-5177If you get into a message system, LEAVE A MESSAGE! 

 

Here are some suggested talking points:

Sr. Jackie Hudson, who is in your care and for whom you are responsible, has had intense heart pain, which began Saturday afternoon.  She is being obstinately denied proper medical care.  Her symptoms suggest that she may have one or more occluded coronary arteries.  If this is the case, her heart, as a muscle, will progressively worsen in the hours and days to come.

Jackie must be taken to an emergency room immediately.  The Emergency Department at the Irwin County Hospital verifies that Sr. Jackie has not been taken to their hospital, and that there is no other local hospital to which she might have been taken.  They Emergency Department has been in contact with the ICDC to no avail.

Such treatment constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, and  if Sister Jackie is not moved to an emergency room immediately and suffers any negative medical consequences as a result I will hold Michael Croft Enterprises, operator of ICDC and in particular Warden Barbara Walrath and Medical Director Howard C. McMahon personally responsible.Those supporting Jackie Hudson must have direct access to her and her physicians so they know her whereabouts, her condition and her treatment.  These people include: Sue Ablao, Sr. Jackie’s housemate at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, Poulsbo, WA; Frank Hudson, Sr. Jackie’s brother; Sister Nathalie Meyer O.P., provincial of the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids, Sr. Jackie’s religious order; and Brad Henry, Jackie’s attorney.

Send an email to (or call) any news media contacts you have, or even if you don’t have any you email the newsroom (look them up in the contacts section of that newspaper’s Website).

I understand that the Koinonia Partners community in Americus, Georgia, is planning a vigil at the prison tomorrow.

As I stay focused on dear Jackie’s immediate needs I find myself also focusing on a much broader issue.  Here is a person with so much support from so many wonderful people.  And yet, there is a huge percentage of the U.S. prison population (with the largest incarceration rate in the world) for whom there is no support.  What becomes of these forgotten prisoners when they become ill???  We will take up that issue once we get Jackie taken care of!!!

One last thing before I close; an excerpt from something by Liz McAllister and Chrissy Nesbitt of the Jonah House community that I find quite pertinent today:

Thanks to all who have offered to help in so many ways.  As bad as this all is, Jackie is surrounded by such a wonderful, loving community, and I can imagine that this knowledge is deeply embedded in Jackie’s heart and mind, and that it is a great comfort to her.

Peace,

Leonard  

Organizing 101 Part I 10 questions about organizing

Tacoma activist Arthur M sent along an email and link about organizing that I think is right on.  Thanks, friend.

Here is the link if you want to read the whole article.  It’s 14 pages and I recognize that we live in a world of tweets and sparkle fingers today, so I want to tweet this article down a bit.

It’s funny, email seems so 1999 now.  I still rely on email and I do not like telephone calls or telephones, but emails seem superfluous to blogging and the resultant give and take. Now I am thinking/wondering if blogging is becoming superfluous, being replaced by more interactive social networking tools.  Not sure about that.  I am continuing to blog, but also becoming more involved in social networking stuff.

Back to Organizing.  Thanks again to The End of Capitalism for this work.  I recommend reading the whole text, but here is Part 1:

“We aren’t done, we’re not leaving, and we’re in this together.”

1. What Is Organizing?

A. How to actually organize and build lasting radical organizations, particularly in terms of maintaining radical politics while reaching beyond insular communities

B. Without a sense of why they are there or a program about which to talk with people, door knocking will yield few productive results

C. Build Dual Power, Confront State Power. Building coalitions, political infrastructure, and visionary, alternative institutions that prefigure the types of social relationships we desire — while simultaneously confronting the state, right-wing social movements, and other forms of institutional oppression. One without the other is insufficient

2. How Do We Build Intergenerational Movements? (A Challenge to Young and Old!)

A. Recognizing that the struggle is for the long haul means that no generation can or should exist in a political vacuum

B. Most people do not work in productively intergenerational groups or live intergenerational lives outside tightly circumscribed roles (e.g., teacher-student)

C. We have a responsibility to find and work with the teenage radicals who are just now becoming political conscious and active

3. What Role Do Militancy and Confrontation Play?

A. People want to not just register their dissatisfaction with the war through petitions and periodic protests but actually end it

B. Develop a strategy that incorporates a sense of direct action in line with the state of local movement

C. Maintain relationships with other activists and groups who may not have engaged in the same tactics but who remained committed and sympathetic

D. Continually expand the movement numerically, while simultaneously increasing the militancy of those prepared to take risks.

E. Build mass movements where militant tactics can be present without dividing the movement

4. What about Anti-racism and Multiracial Movement Building?

A. The left, like U.S. society in general, remains significantly divided by race, so proactive measures are needed to create multi-racial spaces

B. The relationship of race to gender to class is still a challenging one for many U.S. radicals to grasp and organize around

C. How do we build a radical power base among white people that is profoundly anti-racist to contribute to toppling white supremacy?

I think the groups that M & I are working with in Olympia are very much about 1. C. right now.  I feel good about the dual power.  More of the ten questions sometime soon.

Solidarity.

Prisoner of Conscience Needs our Help Today

Prisoner of conscience, Jackie Hudson, is at the Irwin PlowsharesCounty Detention Center and is having chest pains.  We need to put pressure on the facility to transfer Jackie to a hospital emergency room for evaluation right away.  The facility is reported to be monitoring Jackie’s condition, but has refused to transfer Jackie to an ER for evaluation.

Here is contact information for the Irwin County Detention Center:

Irwin County Detention Center
132 Cotton Drive, Ocilla, GA 31774
Telephone: 229-468-4121 
  

Website:  http://www.irwincdc.com/

email:   info@irwincdc.com

Thank you to Leonard at Ground Zero for sending out the call for help.

have you been to jail for justice?

Prisons and Profits – Can we have both?

It’s bitter sweet to be writing about prisons during the week that Gil Scott-Heron died. I believe that Gil did some time for possession of cocaine.  That tells you so much about the current purpose of the incarceration industry.  I guess there’s a good chance that with a record and prison time that Gil lost the right to vote.  Think about that.  The guy that wrote the television will not be televised could be disenfranchised. There it is.  That is the purpose of the war on drugs.  To disenfranchise a certain population.  Dark skin have anything to do with it?  I don’t know.  You get to decide for yourself. But I do hope you will think about it.

Anyway, back to prisons and profits.  If you want to have prisons in your society, a good purpose for a prison would be to rehabilitate folks.  To give them skills that help in the world on the other side of the bars.  Forget about punishment.  We are likely to get plenty of punishment in this life, let’s work on opportunity, stability, value.  Instead of creating a revolving door for throwaway people in the Prison/Justice Casino, how about we focus on a value-added system?

I am not dead set against profit.  I understand that the profit motive, that style, fashion, all that stuff that powers the capitalist model, is like a natural force in the world.  It’s like wind and tide.  Fashion/desire/style is like human weather.  Capture it and you can move things.  But let’s make sure that profit is derived from the right things.  I am ok with incentives that would turn a reasonable profit for a system that would create outcomes that the community desires.

So, in the case of the Justice and Prison system, if we are going to privatize the prisons and allow a profit to be made on the misery of incarceration, why not make profit contingent on good outcomes for the prisoner and the community?

How would you do that?  It’s not that hard.  Just think about this model:

  • A for-profit prison would be paid a certain daily rate for incarceration of a prisoner.
  • The for-profit prison would be paid a certain daily rate for a period after release of the prisoner
  • The for-profit prison would be paid a bonus at one year after release for each prisoner who has not been arrested since release.
  • The for-profit prison would be paid a bonus at one year after release for each prisoner who is employed
  • The for-profit prison would be paid an even larger bonus at 5 years for each prisoner who has not been convicted of a felony crime since release.

That daily rate during incarceration would be flexible enough that the the prison could choose  to help with vocational and living skills, maybe operate a vocational school and community college inside the joint.  At the end of a sentence there would be a flexible release period where a private, for profit prison could decide to move a prisoner outside the walls into a supported system that would help with job placement and move the released prisoner toward a future that does not include more time inside the joint and moves the for-profit entity toward a profitable bonus payment for success in the form of a conviction-free future for the parolee and safer community.

Our current system creates throwaway people.  There is a three strike system in effect in a lot of jurisdictions, but if you look at real opportunity, a single felony conviction may be sufficient to create the next two strikes.  For lots of folks, it is a one strike, you’re out system.

People will say, wow, that sounds expensive.  Where are we going to get the money for that?  Declare a truce on the war on drugs.  That’s where the money is currently going.  Take the money from the war on drugs and spend it for drug treatment on request, and roll the balance into the prison-correction system.  Let’s recycle folks who make a mistake back in to the productive community instead of targeting and disenfranchising certain populations and recycling those populations through a prison system that dehumanizes the prisoners and the jailers.  Profit on misery is not a good thing.

Economics and the Humanities: Public Services or Private Profits?

The Supremes gave orders to California to do something about the prison over-crowding recently.  It was a split 5-4 decision as most controversial decisions will be from the current court because there are 4 strongly conservative ideological votes on the court (alito, roberts, scalia, thomas for those tracking the justices) one swing vote (kennedy) and four liberal ? votes (breyer, ginsburg, kagan and sotomayor).  The court reflects the country these days.

This decision is really much ado about nothing. Like the Obama health care plan, tweaking the current prison system will keep bureaucrats busy, but these changes will not produce the significant change that is needed in these systems.  With health care, it is clear that the for-profit health care system needs to be forced to compete head to head with Medicare for Everyone.  Health care accounts for 17.6% of the national economy according to recent studies. That chunk of the economy is currently firmly in the “for profit” category and the folks enjoying the profits of health care are the industry captains, the chiefs and CEOs who control the economics and availability of care.  They are not giving these profits up without a fight.

Vermont threw down the gauntlet and has enacted single payer medical care.  California legislators have sent this kind of law to the governor twice and The Guvenator vetoed the legislation twice.  Hey, CA, send the legislation to Governor Brown if you are serious about this.   Anyway, the battle to focus the health care industry on health care instead of corporate profits is very interesting, but let’s get back to prison economics.

The situation with the prison industry is very similar to the health care industry situation.  We are talking about systems that have relegated their primary mission (corrections or health care delivery) to a profit mission.  Certain systems just don’t work as well in private industry as they do in a non-profit or public sector system.  Think about fire departments.  This country has experimented with for-profit fire departments and has generally decided that the profits of understaffing fire response does not work out well.  Prisons could work for public safety, for prosperous communities if they were structured correctly.  But let’s not kid ourselves, the prison system in place in the US is about social control, it is not about public safety.

Click on the photo

Look at the racial disparity of incarceration.  Need to see a graphic?

I think the statistical evidence is clear that incarceration in the US is primarily about social control, it is not about public safety. That is the public policy foundation in this system. But the prison industry is also largely privatized by the Reagan revolution, the corporatization of the republic. If you need some particulars, look at these links:

It’s not hard to see that prisons in the US are not about justice or public safety, they are about social control and profit, but there is another way.  Coming next.

Report from the Front Lines of the Class War

The Washington legislature continues to crawl through the special session.  You can see where they have been by tracking the slimy trail.

Well.  I guess that’s a little harsh.  But here is a note about the current status from my friends at POWER

POWER is an organization of low-income parents and allies advocating for a strong social safety net while working toward a world where children and care giving are truly valued, and the devastation of poverty has been eradicated.

For immediate release Tuesday, May 24, 2011

POWER members are asking their legislators the following questions:

Why is it that the only bill ending a tax break that seems likely to pass, SB 5587, targets low-income people, when there are so many tax breaks to wealthy individuals (country club memberships, elective plastic surgery, etc) and large banks and corporations?

Why is this the only bill ending a tax break that does not need a super majority?

Why are legislators adding a new tax break, SB 5873, that they can’t reverse without a super majority, while failing to provide basic services to the most vulnerable members of our state?

POWER members have called, visited and written their legislators.  We have rallied, sang, shouted, even slept in the Capitol Building with thousands of Washington citizens forwarding the message to stop budget cuts harming Washington’s families, children, immigrants, and workers.  We have asked that the rich pay their fair share.

“And this is what we get?” asks Shelly Robbins, POWER volunteer and 37th District resident.  “I just can’t believe that Microsoft can’t afford to pay their sales tax, while I pay mine.  The legislatures don’t seem to make the connection that passing a tax break decreases our revenue.  And we’re stuck with these tax breaks once they vote them in. 

Background Information:

The Senate passed SB 5873 which extends a huge sales tax break for Microsoft and 4 other large corporations: (http://www.seattlepi.com/default/article/High-tech-giants-seeking-massive-tax-break-1264165.php?source=mypi).  Expected loss to taxpayers could be up to $1 billion.  It passed the House Ways and Means committee yesterday and being voted on today and is expected to pass.  They can do this with a majority vote, but cannot reverse it without a super-majority vote, thanks to Tim Eyeman’s initiative 1053.

The only tax break bill that seems to be moving is SB 5587, which closes the property tax deferral program for low-income home-owners. It has passed the Senate, without the requirement of a 2/3 majority, and is expected to pass the vote today in the House.

My buddy, Dana, in Olympia added the following observation to the POWER news release:

I think most of you know my opinion of politicians in general.  This time their perfidy has surprised even me.  While the Democrats were sticking a pacifier in our mouths in public they were stabbing us in the back during the secret back-room deals.

Here is the background: The Senate passed SB 5873 which extends a huge sales tax break for Microsoft and 4 other large corporations: http://www.seattlepi.com/default/article/High-tech-giants-seeking-massive-tax-break-1264165.php?source=mypi.  Expected loss to taxpayers could be up to $1 billion.  It passed the House Ways and Means committee yesterday and being voted on today and is expected to pass.  They can do this with a majority vote, but they cannot reverse it without a super-majority vote thanks to Tim Eyman’s initiative 1053.

The only tax-exemption bill that seems to be moving is SB 5587 which closes the property tax deferral program for low-income home-owners.  It has passed the Senate – without the 2/3 majority they say is required to close tax exemptions for corporate non-people – and it is expected to pass the vote today in the House.

Get it?  After all of the work time energy blood sweat and tears we expended the only tax exemption they are ending is for low-income home owners!  The Wall Street banks that destroyed our economy and are now recording record profits as they steal all of our homes keep theirs.  Cosmetic surgeons keep theirs.  Country club members keep theirs.  The only ones who lose their exemptions are low income homeowners.  Rather than taxing the people who have the money they are gutting our schools, gutting funding for low-income health care, gutting support for disabled people, gutting funding for low-income families, so on and so forth and ad infinitum.  They are gutting programs benefiting people who literally have nothing else and greatly increasing the wealth of the already wealthy.  Children and disabled people are going to be thrown onto the streets while Microsoft and Wall Street banks continue to receive huge tax exemptions.

Keep in mind that while the Republicans promoted and supported these bills, we don’t expect anything else from them.  It is the Democrats who are doing this to us.

It is pretty discouraging to watch the Washington State democrats fold like a limp t-shirt in the face of the tax initiative assault on good government. “Centrists” will complain that attacks on the Democrats make the party weaker, but they fail to recognize the possibility that their own lack of fight for core values makes the party not only weaker, but irrelevant.  Well, lead, follow, or get out the way, would you? 

Olympia Undead has some thoughts on the state of the State and you can read more of that here.  I think their engineering to assist the Dems is admirable.   The title is “how to pat yourself on the back when you don’t have a spine.”  Nuff said.

No, probably more to say about all that.

Maybe it’s a good thing that medical science found a simple medical treatment that will stiffen some parts of the body, but there continues to be no treatment that can stiffen the spine of the average democratic legislator.

In election news, I got an email from Nancy Pelosi this am.  Nancy was pretty excited about the democratic win in NY District 26.  I don’t know if the newly elected democratic rep Kathy Hochul is supported by a spine, but I do know she only got 48% of the vote and won the election because a tea party candidate siphoned 8% of the republican vote.  You do the math, baby, you connect the dots, kemosabe.  This candidate will be gone in the next election cycle barring some miracle that persuades the electorate that republican plan to eviscerate the social welfare state and promote casino economics and a permanent war economy is not the way we are going to “win the future” (thanks to Barack and his speech writers for that bit of oratorical irony.)

There’s more, but I better stop there for today.  Go get them.  It’s hump day.

More Notes on the Fragility of Empire

“Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the
American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially
unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be
an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”
— George F. Kennan (1904-2005) US advisor, diplomat, political analyst, and Pulitzer-prize winning historian, Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study and former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union.    1987

So Kennan understood clearly in 1987 that the American economy was built around military industry.  The need for an enemy, the threat to the US economy from not standing in opposition to an enemy had become an end in itself.  Americans and the world had learned to live with the threat of nuclear annihilation (the thermonuclear war variety, not the poor engineering variety demonstrated at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and most recently at Fukushima).  We got desensitized to that “hard rain” threat over a couple of decades and all attempts to reduce nuclear weapons around the world have been effectively thwarted by the US failure to lead, to comply with our obligation to reduce our nuclear stockpile as an important part in the non-proliferation treaty.  We continue to upgrade and adapt nuclear weapons for use in changing battlefield scenarios.  Need an example?  Look at depleted uranium ammunition.  We have avoided the issue of safely disposing of the uranium tailing produced in enriched uranium processes by turning the waste material into a heavy projectile weapon that can be used to pierce armor, kill enemy combatants and coincidentally expose a population in foreign lands to a chemical agent.  If these were exploded on American soil by some party I think they would be called a dirty bomb.  But they are just armor piercing DU shells when we use them.

A “good” thing for the American economy, I suppose.  Lots of profitable economic activity dedicated to enriching uranium and a win-win for the military industrial complex to be able to turn the waste material into another profit opportunity in du sales to the American war machine.

But where does it get us?  Does it make us safe?  I think our distance, our continental isolation, from the peoples we exploit economically and oppress culturally is the dominant factor in the American experience of security and stability.  I believe that our choices to build economic stability on the rock of military weaponry makes us less safe.  As empires have historically discovered, the price of maintaining a standing army capable of taking on all comers (and even all comers at the same moment) is the oppression and exploitation of foreign nations and peoples.  The formula is not stable.  Great Britain chose to step back from empire at the end of WWII.  Was it a choice or had GB had been so depleted by its proximity to the war in Europe that its time at the top of pyramid was over?  I am not sure about that question, but the long term outcome was the shift to GB as servant to American hegemony, a bit of role reversal for the two countries, notwithstanding some notable disagreements between the two nation-states including a fracas in 1776 and another in 1812.

Here’s another thought from Kennan, from an earlier date:

US State Department 1948, Review of Current Trends in U.S. Foreign Policy: …We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population… In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction. George Kennan, US State Department 1948

Clearly, Kennan was not just a sophisticated insider and observer of the American Empire, he was an architect or engineer in the construction of empire.  If there is a section of hell reserved for the dogs of war George Kennan has earned his place there.  But these things are beyond human knowing or understanding.  A person like Mandela spends decades in jail and a guy like Kissinger has yet to be arrested.  Justice in our time is a chimera, a roll of the dice, a happenstance, not a predictable outcome of any human process that I can identify.

The US and Obama had an opportunity to put our feet on a different path.  The collapse of the Wall Street megabanks, the banksters (financial wizards with conscience comparable to Kennan’s) who have arisen to lead the military economy were momentarily vulnerable.   Coincidentally, the climate, the planet itself is starting to respond to our species hubris in ways that will force change, but sadly, Obama played it safe and propped up the banksters and chose to double down on the military economy instead of committing resources to an employment program based on clean energy and energy independence. The door was open, a path away from military empire and back on industrial and environmental stability lay on the other side through that door.  Obama is not a dumb guy.  He must have recognized the opportunity, but he appears to be a really cautious guy who just could not take bold steps.  An effective orator and ineffective politician.  I was never sold on the guy, so I don’t have to deal with the betrayal factor, but I am certainly disappointed.  My energy and passion are with candidates like Kucinich and Dean.  Do these guys have a chance in the big money politics arena?  David, meet Goliath.  He’s the big guy with heavy armor.  Good luck with that guy.

Well, Goliath sometimes loses.  It’s historic when he does, it’s history when Goliath prevails as he most often does.

Alternet is running a piece by Noam Chomsky today.  Noam continues to respond to the “Obama Kills Osama” story in the same way that I do, by wondering how the country has  moved forward into the realm of lawless, rogue states with so little outcry.

Noam asks When Did America Completely Jettison the Rule of Law? It’s a good question.

So we move forward into the post-rapture-disappointment week with Obama wearing the armor of Goliath.  Somehow we have to find a way to reach Goliath.  To persuade Goliath that might does not make right.  That is the real David versus Goliath battle.  Persuade Goliath to lay down his arms.

Happy Monday to all!

Economics 101 – Let’s Just Look at the Numbers on Tax Levels and Prosperity

Critter’s Crap breaks down economics for us. It’s really quite clear.

Over a long period of time, the numbers show that the economy grows at a rate of 2.1%. We can and should have a discussion about steady state economics in light of resource depletion, but for the purpose of evaluating economic activity, income and wealth growth and distribution, Critter’s work is on the money (so to speak).

Here’s the 2.1% growth rate graph

That alarming dip at the end is the 2008 Great Recession.  Will the economy bounce back to the historical 2.1% rate?  Probably will, but the other possibility is that the world will end on May 21st and this discussion will be moot.  Let’s assume the former rather than the latter, shall we?

So that graph suggests that the economy has grown at a pretty steady rate over time regardless of tax policy.   Critter goes on to look at income distribution under the various tax schemes that have been in effect in the time from of this graph and shared the following:

That looks pretty fair.  A lot of folks doing fairly well under the “onerous” tax rates that existed prior to the coming of Ronald Raygun.

But take a look at what happened to income distribution since Mr. R showed up and started spewing his economic nonsense:

I understand that many Americans can’t make heads or tails of economics and that certainly goes a ways to explain how the electorate falls for the suggestion that a flattened tax rate is going to do us all good, but the numbers are clear.  A flattened tax rate does the top 1% a lot of good and it hurts the rest of us.  The income is simply redistributed from the middle class to the really, really wealthy.  Check your last tax return.  If your gross income is not in the millions range, you are not really, really wealthy.  Sorry to break it to you.  You may be comfortable, maybe you can afford a really nice car, vacations in the sun, and more, but you are not up in that range where your income grew by 403% in the last 28 years.

I know that I go over this whole economic thing on a regular basis, but as long as so many folks who can figure out how to mark a ballot continue to misunderstand the economics of taxes and income distribution, I think the work is not done on this topic.

Tax the rich.  If you have read this far, you are not rich.  The rich know all of this and don’t spend any time worrying about it.  They are getting the ride of a lifetime, but the rest of are finding the ride a trifle bumpy.  When the rightwingers claim that lower tax rates will cause the economy to grow, remember that chart at the top.  2.1% growth over a very long period of time.

Thanks to Critter for the good work.  Go read Critter’s take on all this.  It seems to get him going a bit, so if you are frightened by the F Bomb, better just stick with my PG review of Critter’s work.