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The Huge Mistakes

Posted by George Greene on Thu 01 of July, 2010 CDT 02:17:00 PM
How will history view our response to the world economic crisis?

In past calamities the US has invested in employment and businesses, calculating that debt and deficit is less of a concern than worldwide depression. Virtually all economists agree that the stimulus packages have staved off a deeper recession, if not a depression. We know that providing jobs, raising taxes on the well off and investing in businesses works because it has in our previous calamities.

Yet Republicans want to try something new. In fact it is the exact opposite of investment. It is, instead, protection of private capital  -at least for those who have gobs and gobs of it. Republicans are asking you to approve, next November, a very large scale experiment; one that if they are wrong, will quite possibly throw us all into a worldwide depression. If you think that their constant obstructionism is stalling recovery, just wait 'til you see what they have in store for us should they get the power to do so.

What they want to do is what they have been doing (much of which got us into this mess in the first place):



  • Deregulating; essentially dismantling any chance the public has to protect itself from the same greedy bankers we just bailed out or oil execs more concerned with next quarter's profits than the environmental catastrophe they've caused.

  • Starving government by cutting spending and taxes. Cities and schools are in dire straights already -how bad will things be if, say, a Tim Pawlenty brings his brand of slash and burn to vital public services.

  • Fooling people. It must be said that when you dismiss science and reason in favor of ideology and fundamentalist religion you have intentionally chosen to remain ignorant of reality. If you push that kind of wilfull ignorance on others you are either deluded or complicit in fooling your fellow Americans. Case after case of obvious falsehoods are believed by many millions of people long after they've been soundly debunked.


All indications are that responsible Republicans are on the wane and extremist Teabaggers are in charge. Today's free market extremism says the free market is always right and the government is always wrong. The government is us and Republicans think we are too stupid to govern ourselves.

The rise of right wing extremism rarely turns out well for any country and this time it may be calamitous in ways we've never dreamed.

Paul Krugman, who proves to be right about most things economic, predicts the current paranoid climate of reduced taxes and spending will derail attempts to fix our problems and put us into a "Third Depression". The article is a must read (you may have to sign up for free access):

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/28/opinion/28krugman.html

And this related NY Times editorial is also quite sobering:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/30/opinion/30wed1.html

Jeffrey Sachs, of the Earth Watch Institutute, makes a case for deficit reduction but also taxation on the rich:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=get-serious-about-budget-deficits

 

How will history view our response to the Gulf Catastrophe (stop using the word spill!).

The hype about Clinton and irresponsible Home buyers not withstanding, I believe history will record that our problems in the financial market and the oil industry were directly caused by deregulation. For me I've never understood the concept that, where money is concerned, Americans are not allowed to protect themselves from greed. It was greed that built a casino made of playing cards and greed that blew it all down taking everyone else with it. What is most astonishing is that Republicans, in the face of this most obvious disaster, can, with a straight face, insist that we allow industry and the financial markets to continue as before with no regard to consequences.

Jonathan Alter, unfortunately, hits the nail on the head when he calls out the President for not being bold enough on deregulation in this article:

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/06/19/time-to-tap-t-r.html

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Shadow Elite Shaped Public Policy to Suit Own Interests

Posted by CarolWoehrer on Mon 24 of May, 2010 CDT 12:33:54 AM

Janine Wedel has spent decades studying how Communist economies in Eastern Europe work from an anthropological perspective.  Her experience mapping under-the-radar power in Communist Poland helped her identify a new breed of modern-day power broker here in the U.S.  In her recent book, Shadow Elite, she explains how unaccountable operators increasingly shaped public policy to suit their own interests.  "Inside this closed culture, the ideals of the free market are repeatedly espoused, but not upheld. Derivatives, the exotic contraptions that enrich the banking business, have flourished in the shadows, not in the open marketplace" (Huffington Post Daily Brief, May 20, 2010).  Read Janine Wedel's article published for the May 20th Huffington Post:


Shadow Elite:  Derivatives, A Horror Story


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Immigration Realities

Posted by George Greene on Thu 29 of April, 2010 CDT 10:35:23 AM
Arizona's ill considered new immigration law will eventually (probably soon) be overturned. It is yet another ineffective, fear based knee jerk attempt to deal with a perrenial and complex problem that demands a more nuanced approach than simply treating the symptoms.

In the list below I may depart a bit from some of my fellow lefties. I also use the term "illegal immigrants" because I think we must be honest and avoid our own bit of spin in the term "undocumented aliens". People in this country who have entered outside the constraints of immigration law are in fact illegal. They are also immigrants who may have come here fleeing a devastated economy or drug cartel violence and therefore deserve a bit of understanding and compassion.


  • We are a nation of immigrants.

  • Fear should never cause us to abandon liberty.  A single case of a citizen being stopped and asked for papers to prove their citizenship smacks of fascist police tactics and erodes our liberty.


  • Immigration has been a perrenial problem for decades. It has defied every administration's attempt to fix it. There is and will be no easy fix.


  • You cannot build a secure enough border wall or adequately staff it to prevent large numbers of people from crossing the Mexican border into the US.


  • At the rate people are crossing the border illegally and with millions already here, attempting to arrest them all or even a significant portion of them would take far more resources than Americans are willing to pay for.


  • Busting illegal immigrants, as legally justified as it is, will never solve the problem. Large fines and the seizure of business assets from those who hire illegals would work better and cost less.


  • Police are almost universally against laws forcing them to bust illegal immigrants. It keeps them from more pressing tasks and, when illegals are afraid to talk to police, it hurts law enforcement's ability to solve crimes.


  • Anyone who believes illegals do work Americans won't has never seen the TV show Dirty Jobs. Americans will do the work, just not at the low wages paid. If Americans are serious about immigration reform they will need to be comfortable with the idea that some things will cost more than they do now.


  • Yes, many immigrants are seeking a better life. At the same time we have a right to set immigration quotas and expect our laws to be followed. It is easy to understand the frustration of those who, following the rules, must wait a long time for citizenship.


  • American involvement in making Mexico and Central America more stable and free from the devastating power of drug cartels will make Mexico and Central America a place people will not need to flee from.

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Anti-Government Extremist Rhetoric Parallels Tone that Preceded Oklahoma City Attack

Posted by CarolWoehrer on Mon 19 of April, 2010 CDT 06:02:38 PM

Fifteen years ago, anti-government extremist Timothy Mc Veigh blew up a truck laden with 5,000 pounds of explosives outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.  168 people were killed and more than 680 injured in the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil before 9/11. In a speech at the Center for American Progress Action Fund,  former President Bill Clinton spoke of this pivotal moment in his presidency and "drew parallels between the antigovernment tone that preceded that devastating attack and the political tumult of today."  Given the increase in anti-government extremism, Clinton emphasized that it takes only one Timothy Mc Veigh to cause extreme harm and urged leaders in politics and the media to be more responsible with their rhetoric.

Read the full April 19th Progress Report on President Clinton's comparison of violence during his presidency to trends today including comments by the Southern Poverty Law Center;  Center for American Progress Action Fund President John Podesta; Bradley Buckles, the former director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and former Oklahoma Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards:


Radical Right - Betting Against America's Government


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Check out the Candidates on Democratic Visions

Posted by CarolWoehrer on Fri 16 of April, 2010 CDT 02:54:36 PM

The Democratic Visions You Tube Channel  features leading Minnesota DFL leaders and progressive thinkers in a great looking and sounding as well as supportive video environment.

Little on the Internet or local television can compare!  So, before the State DFL Convention in Duluth, check us out at:    
http://www.youtube.com/user/DemocraticVisions





Top row:  John Marty, RT Rybak, Tom Rukavina, Paul Thissen, Mark Dayton     Middle row:  Matt Entenza, Rebecca Otto, Mike Freeman, Jim Meffert    Bottom Row:  John Benson, Terri Bonoff, Host Tim O Brien, Ron Case, Maria Ruud



Democratic Visions is hosted by Tim O Brien and produced by DFL volunteers for DFL Senate District 42 – Eden Prairie / south Minnetonka, DFL Congressional District 3. 

Democratic Visions is broadcast on Comcast Channel 15 in Hopkins, Minnetonka, Edina, Richfield and Eden Prairie Sundays at 9 p.m. and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.  The series is also carried on Bloomington Cable Access Television Channel 16 on Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m. and Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m.

Democratic Visions can also be seen online at:

http://www.dflsd42.org/get_informed/democratic_visions.htm   and at

http://www.youtube.com/user/DemocraticVisions

Questions or suggestions:  Contact producer Jeff Strate at 952-949-8980.


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Posted by George Greene on Wed 24 of March, 2010 CDT 07:04:04 PM

 CD3 US House forum with Jim Meffert and Maureen Hackett, moderator Mark Heaney.


http://www.myaurora.org/mp3s/Meffert-Hackett-Forum.mp3 


Right click to download


 


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Easy Way to Check on the Facts

Posted by George Greene on Sun 21 of March, 2010 CDT 06:25:16 PM

By Carol Woehrer


Voters influenced by false information, vote people into office who will not support public policy that is good for the American people. Following are some quick and easy ways you can respond to false information and encourage people to find and rely on accurate information.

Many of us have received emails with distortion and falsehoods that raise fear and hostility toward elected officials and ethnic and racial groups. What do we do about them? It can take quite a while to respond as there can be many falsehoods in one email article. Sometimes people are strongly committed to false statements in an article based on their worldview and affiliations, but often they are simply misled by the articles, and sometimes they have doubts about the article and wonder what others think. An easy way to respond to misleading propaganda is a quick two step procedure:

1) Copy and paste a falsehood from the article in the search box at http://www.google.com (external link)

2) Very often responses to the article that was sent to you will show up. One of best of these fact checking websites is factcheck.org:

http://www.FactCheck.org (external link)

This site is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. If a response from Fact Check appears, that's often the best one to use to respond to the sender of the false information. Snopes.com, a more general site, is also considered reliable: http:snopes.com You will also often find a variety of blogs that respond to the falsehoods in the article.

Referring people to reliable sources of information avoids confrontation. Letting them know how they can check on the facts gives others the skills to distinguish solid information from falsehoods. When you receive false information, share these tips with people and tell them they should not forward emails that do not have a reliable source without checking its accuracy first. Through the internet false information can quickly be spread. Fortunately, with the google search engine, it can also be quickly checked.

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Are Your Senators and Representative Supporting the Middle Class?

Posted by CarolWoehrer on Thu 11 of March, 2010 CST 08:02:57 PM

Is your elected official serving you?   A good resource for checking is theMiddleClass.org:

http://themiddleclass.org

In the right column, you can choose your Senators or Representative, and the site will tell you the percent of time the official voted in favor of policies that support the middle class and help people reach a middle class standard of living.  It also gives a list of the bills it used for the score and tells you how your official voted. 

Encourage others to pass the webaddress on to their friends and relatives anywhere in the U.S. so they can check on their elected officials' scores as well.  That way everyone will know whether their elected officials are supporting them and whom they should vote for and whom against in the next election.


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Existence of US Middle Class Threatened

Posted by CarolWoehrer on Mon 22 of Feb., 2010 CST 04:42:04 PM

"Today, the U.S. employs fewer manufacturing workers than in April 1941, eight months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. This has got to change. No nation can maintain a strong economy if it is dependent upon other countries for the products it consumes," stated Senator Bernie Sanders.  U.S. trade and economic policy has led to a severe decline in the well being of America's middle class.  USA Today reported in September that incomes of young and middle aged men have dropped dramatically since 2,000, leaving many workers poorer than workers were in the 1970's.  One out four American children depends on food stamps for nutrition, and half of American children depend on food stamps sometime during the year.  The United States has the highest rate of childhood poverty among major countries and the most unequal distribution of wealth and income in the industrialized world.  For further information, read the article by Bernie Sanders on how the Senate can change things in favor of the people aspiring to be middle class and the precarious middle class  and "The Economic Elite Have Engineered an Extraordinary Coup, Threatening the Very Existence of the Middle Class" by David McGraw 

How can you and your friends and relatives across the United States find out who is working for them and who is working in the interests of the very wealthy and large corporations?  They can simply go to the website
http://www.themiddleclass.org and fill in the name of their Senator or Representative in the right hand column.  The people working hardest for the people score above 90.  If they have an elected official with a score far below that, it's time for them to join others to work to replace that person.

Follow the issues on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/CD3Carol


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Deficit Fear Mongering - Key Part of Republican Strategy

Posted by CarolWoehrer on Sat 06 of Feb., 2010 CST 01:06:22 PM

The large federal deficit isn’t the result of runaway spending growth. Rather, well over half of the deficit was caused by the ongoing economic crisis, which led to much lower tax receipts and required federal bailouts of financial institutions and measures to stimulate growth and employment.  However, there's no reason to panic.  The latest budget proposal from the Obama administration predicts payments on federal debt will rise to 3.5 percent of G.D.P. a decade from now, about the same as interest costs under the first President Bush.

Why, then, all the hysteria over the budget deficit? The answer is politics.  Last summer we took deficits in stride.  More recently deficit fear-mongering has become a key part of Republican political strategy to damage President Obama’s image and undermine his policy agenda. 
Read Paul Krugman's article. 


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