Posterity Economics v. Austerity Economics

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.

 

 

 

The State is a Condition

“The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of behaviour; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently toward one another…”

Gustav Landauer

Have to pack and set up the Really Really Free Market in Olympia.  Contracting other relationships, behaving differently toward one another?  Can we really destroy the state by behaving differently?

Wall of Films!

Boy, we all need a little couch potato time, don’t we?

Don’t know about you, but I would rather watch a movie stream across my big screen at home than fight traffic and take other chances with a night out at the cineplex.  Sorry for the loss of jobs, but I just don’t go out to the movies very often..   for a variety of reasons.

We also don’t have an antenna on top of the house,  or a dish, or any cable channel systems plumbed into the domicile, but we have a decent internet pipe and an extra computer plugged in to big screen and sound system, so we can watch the inter-tube-net movies when schedule allows.

Always looking for free streaming movies and entertainment.

Here’s a new source that I just came across:  Wall of Films

Check it out.

Wall of Films | Films For Action

     

If an Agent Knocks on Your Door…

Well, the news in Olympia is that the agents came knocking in the last few days.

Our free society has generally embraced the political freedom of aligning with either the Republican or the Democratic Party!

For those of us that find that range to be a little too tight, you can stray into the fringes of the Justice Party or the Green Party.

If you are drawn to politics beyond this range, you should expect to be surveilled, investigated, possibly indicted and maybe jailed for your politics.

True political freedom in the land of the free and the home of the brave has always been illusory.

There are some important considerations to consider if you have a hoody on your coat rack in the closet today.

Claim and exercise your Constitutional rights.  Don’t fall for lying schemes and conversational gambits such as “you know why I am here, don’t you?”

“Let me come in and let’s talk.”

You may want to exercise your right to remain silent.

You may want to exercise your right to counsel.

I expect we will be having meetings to discuss the suppression of political thought, the continuing criminalization of poverty, the politics of oppression.

Sunday, July 29th at Sylvester Park at 2:30.  See you there?

Here are a couple of online resources:

http://ccrjustice.org/files/CCR_If_An_Agent_Knocks.pdf

http://grandjuryresistance.org/

Dana Walker for Washington State Treasurer!

It’s official.  We are running a write-in campaign against Jim McIntire for Washington State Treasurer.

I have imposed on my friend Dana Walker to accept the role of running against the previously unopposed Jim McIntire for Washington State Treasurer.

Here is what Dana had to say about the write-in campaign:

Hi, I am Dana Walker and while I am somewhat ambivalent about this ad (I am proud of the fact that I would make a lousy politician) I approve of it nonetheless.

Now it’s official.

Do you think McIntire would debate me?

I don’t think McIntire will want to debate Dana, but we will make the offer.

Jim McIntire has been running unopposed for State Treasurer.  He has been running unopposed despite the fact that he has done everything in his power to keep the power of the big banks intact in the State of Washington.  He actively opposed the State Bank legislation that could provide economic stability for investment in Washington State that Chase Bank and Goldman Sachs never will.  McIntire is the State Treasurer for the 1% and he is running unopposed.  Our democratic system could not even muster an opponent to challenge McIntire’s corporatist economic agenda as State Treasurer.   Until now.

As an act of conscience, as a symbol of resistance to the unopposed dominance of Wall Street Banks that are dictating the policies to the Washington State Treasurer, we are encouraging you to cast your ballot for a write-in candidate for State Treasurer.  Every community in Washington State has a better candidate for Washington State Treasurer.  In South Puget Sound, the Olympia Coalition for a Fair Budget has drafted Dana Walker as our write-in candidate for State Treasurer.

Dana Walker for State Treasurer.  Write it in.

Or write in your favorite candidate who is not a creature of the Wall Street Banks.

We deserve better than Jim McIntire as Washington State Treasurer.

Justice for Washington Foundation Rates the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Candidates

It can be hard to figure out how to cast your votes in the non-partisan judicial races.   It’s also hard to figure out if election or appointment is a better way to put a judge on the bench, but in Washington State we vote for judges. So, here we go.  Who are we going to elect to serve as judges in the State? 

There are a a couple of reasonable sources for gathering information about who to vote for.  Let’s just start with the question of who is running and well-qualified for the position.

The Justice for Washington Foundation says it is the only bi-partisan judicial rating process in the state.

JWF issued a press release on July 24th about the races and here is what they had to say:

Justice for Washington Rates

Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Candidates

The Justice for Washington Foundation released its bi-partisan 2012 rating for appellate level judicial candidates in the contested races for the state Supreme Court and Division II of the Court of Appeals.

OLYMPIA, WA – The Justice for Washington Foundation released its 2012 evaluations for contested appellate court elections in Washington State. The Foundation operates the state’s only expressly bi-partisan evaluation of appellate level judicial candidates. The Foundation rated only one candidate as “exceptionally well qualified” and four as “unqualified”.

Washington State Supreme Court, Position #2

Susan Owens – Qualified
Douglas McQuaid – Unqualified
Scott Stafne – Unqualified

Washington State Supreme Court, Position #8

Steve Gonzalez – Well Qualified

Washington State Supreme Court, Position #9

Bruce Hilyer – Exceptionally Well Qualified
John Ladenburg – Well Qualified
Richard Sanders – Qualified
Sheryl Gordon McCloud – Qualified

Washington State Court of Appeals, Division II, District 2 (Clallam, Jefferson, Grays
Harbor, Kitsap, Mason and Thurston Counties)

Pam Loginsky – Well Qualified
Tom Bjorgen – Well Qualified                                                                                                  Michael Lynch – Well Qualified                                                                                                            Tom Weaver – Qualified
Brendan Williams – Unqualified
Jim Foley – Unqualified

The member of the committee were:

Jerry Rubin – Democrat with the law firm of Stoel Rives
Chris Bayley – Republican and former King County Prosecutor.
Phil Sorenson – Democrat with the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office
Alex Hays – Republican and Executive Director of the Mainstream Republicans of
Washington. Mr. Hays is actively supporting a candidate in the Division II District 2
Court of Appeals race and recused himself from that evaluation.

The Justice for Washington Foundation works to preserve a well qualified elected judiciary
committed to judicial restraint. The Foundation also works to educate the public about the
history and content of the Washington State Constitution.

Read more here: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/politics/2012/07/24/justice-for-washington-gives-just-one-judicial-candidate-its-top-rating-supreme-court-candidate-bruce-hilyer/#storylink=cpy

Thurston Public Power or Macquarie Group Profits?

Want to know more about the history of public utility districts?  Want to know how many communities in the State are getting public services at competitive costs from public utility districts?   Hey, you are in luck.

The WPUDA maintains a website that carries all that stuff.  They also have a great building on Union that showcases the kind of distributed electrical generation grid that we could develop locally through expanding PUD in Thurston County from water to water and electricity.

Do you think Macquarie Group has great interest in the quality of life here in Puget Sound or are they primarily interested in the profits they can bank in Australia from your PSE bill here in Washington State?

Another thing to study up on is the connection between PSE and coal fired power.  Read about it on Sightline.

Thurston County voters will get the opportunity to expand the Thurston County PUD from water to water andelectricity in November.

This is a no-brainer.  You get local control, local ownership, local accountability and

the profits that are currently traveling abroad from PSE can be used for local jobs that will do maintenance andprevent an ice-storm electric outage like we had last winter.

Connect the dots.


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RCW54

Washington PUDs | FAQs | History | RCW 54 | Jobs

 

 

RCW 54

The PUD law is RCW 54.

In 1929, the Washington State Grange collected more than 60,000 signatures – twice the number necessary – to send Initiative No. 1 to the Legislature, allowing rural communities to form their own publicly owned utilities. When the Legislature failed to act, the measure went to a statewide election, where it passed in 1930 with 54 percent of the vote. The new PUD law went into effect in 1931.

The law, now known as RCW 54, authorized the establishment of public utility districts to “conserve the water and power resources of the State of Washington for the benefit of the people thereof, and to supply public utility service, including water and electricity for all uses.” In 2000, as access to the Internet became increasingly important, the law was amended to include wholesale broadband telecommunications service.

Political Fables for a Political Year

The WA Post has back to back stories in my digest this morning that I found interesting. 

 

In the first story, the Government Accountability Office found that the Republican’s budget showdown over the debt limit coast the county 1.3 billion dollars last year.  That is money that we could have used somewhere else in my opinion.  But it shows the hypocrisy and stupidity of the current republican congressional legislators.  And don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the democrats are just chomping at the bit to pass the kind of legislation that the country needs, look at their record in 2009-10 when they controlled Senate, House and White House and we could get banker bailouts, but not the public option for health care.  Single payer was not even on the table.  The dems are clearly beholden to their corporate funding sources, but they don’t engage in wasteful theatrics like the debt ceiling fight or endless votes to repeal legislation that clearly go nowhere.  There are significant differences between the parties, but both parties understand that they cannot legislate against the interest of the wealthy interests that now decide our elections (thanks to Citizens United and Scotus Inc.)

 

 

GAO: Debt fight cost at least $1.3 billion

 

 

By , Published: July 23

  Last summer’s fierce political debate over raising the federal debt limit cost taxpayers more than $1 billion in extra borrowing costs, including hundreds of hours in overtime for federal employees responsible for avoiding default, according to a new government report.

Delays in raising the debt limit forced the Treasury Department to pay an extra $1.3 billion in borrowing costs — and the final sum is expected to climb higher as multi-year obligations and other outstanding costs are added later, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released Monday.

Read the whole story? 

In the second story, the League of Conservation Voters is reported to planning to launch a global warming campaign to unseat 5 flat-earth republicans who have been a little too vocal about their ignorance.  

I think it has become more and more difficult for the red-staters to deny global warming.  What’s wrong with Kansas is starting to shift from the question about how they can vote against their own best interest over and over to just how bad is the drought going to be?   As folks see the crops dry up and experience the consequences of supporting electoral candidates and parties who guarantee that we do nothing about global warming, they may have an epiphany.  A lot of folks are going to become believers in global warming through the rough lessons of direct experience. 

Torrential rains, floods, derecho windstorms, super tornados, droughts, may provide a wake-up call to folks in the heartland that was never going to be delivered by the threat to polar bears and penguins or rising sea levels that are threatening the coastal states that can’t afford to harbor politically-rooted doubts about climate change.

Here is a bit of the second story and link to the whole thing:

Environmentalists target 5 Republicans who question humans’ impact on climate

 

 

By , Published: July 23

  The League of Conservation Voters will launch a $1.5 million campaign Tuesday targeting five House Republicans who question the connection between human activity and climate change, in an effort to test whether the issue can sway voters.

Prominent conservative Republicans have challenged the scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and other sources are transforming the Earth’s climate. But it has not emerged as a central issue in a national political campaign, and President Obama, who pushed unsuccessfully for national limits on greenhouse gas emissions at the start of his term, has played down the issue over the past two years.

Read the whole story?  Why not?

 

Puget Sound Energy is an Australian For Profit Utility

 

Thurston County will get to vote to authorize the Public Utility District to expand into electricity in November.  It is on the ballot, friends.  We did it.  No paid signature gatherers, just volunteers knocking on doors.

Let’s talk about Puget Sound Energy for a moment.  It is not a Puget Sound based company despite the name.  PSE is owned by the Macquarie Group of Australia.  I have nothing against Australians, but the Macquarie Group appears to be an investment company.  A slinger of high finance instruments including Collateralized Debt Obligations, one of the casino style financial models that create privatized profit and socialized risk.

The SEC is reported to be considering lawsuits against the Mac Group.  Should we continue to trust them with an electricity monopoly in Thurston County or should we vote for PUD Power and have them compete with a utility that is locally owned, locally controlled, and locally accountable?   Want to know more about Macquarie Group?  here’s a piece from The Australian:

Macquarie Group unit faces US probe over deal

 

 

 

MACQUARIE Group is being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission over a botched subprime mortgage bond deal from before the global financial crisis.

It was revealed yesterday that Delaware Investments, now a subsidiary of Macquarie Group, and Mizuho Financial Group are likely to face civil charges over the $US1.6 billion Delphinus bond offer in 2007.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the SEC, the US corporate regulator, was about to file lawsuits against the two groups.

It will be alleged that the bond deal consisted of a collateralised debt obligation that “imploded” just months after it was sold to investors.

Want to read the whole article in The Australian?  Sure, why not.  I don’t think The Olympian is covering the Macquarie Group story.  just sayin…