Listen to Rocky’s powerful interview yesterday on RT TV. He talks about Obama’s violation of our Constitution, NSA spying and the Syria crisis (interview starts at 02:18): Congress Redefines Journalism, Rocky Anderson’s Red Line to Impeach Obama.
A CONVERSATION WITH
ROCKY ANDERSON AND RALPH NADER
Raise the Minimum Wage
Saturday, MAY 4
12 PM ET / 11 AM CT / 10 AM MT/ 9 AM PT
for one hour
You will receive an acknowledgement via email containing the call-in instructions.
Ralph Nader is a well known political activist, attorney, lecturer and consumer advocate, who gained notoriety as a crusader of car safety reform in the ’60s. In 1971, he founded the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen and has continued to be an opponent of unchecked corporate power. He entered the U.S. presidential race multiple times in the ’90s and ’00s, as an Independent and as the Green Party nominee. (Learn more athttp://nader.org/.)
Currently, Mr. Nader with the Center for the Study of Responsive Law, has launched Time for a Raise to increase the federal minimum wage as a measure to help lift people out of poverty and improve the economy as a whole. The CEO of Wal-Mart earns $11,000/hr while his employees earn $7.25/hr, a rate that when adjusted for inflation is lower than the pay rate of Wal-Mart employees in 1972. While worker productivity has markedly increased since the 70’s, income has stagnated since then for most wage earners. Learn how raising the minimum wage will help to left all boats and what you can do to help real people in the new economy. A question and answer period will follow the discussion. (RSVP below.)
Website: Time for a Raise
Minimum Wage Raise Essential to Fix Our Economy
The Cruel Gap Between CEO Pay and the Stagnant Minimum Wage
April: Show Up To Catch Up With 1968
Getting Tough on Devastating Corporate Crime
Walmart Bosses: Time for a Decision
Time for a Sales Tax on Wall Street
PUBLIC STATE BANKS OR WALL STREET BANKS: THE CHOICE IS OURS
If you missed last Saturday’s “Banking for We the People” call, then you missed a great discussion about an elegant yet simple economic solution, which helps states save huge sums of taxpayer dollars and shores up local economies.
We heard from Rocky Anderson and Ellen Brown, the foremost thought leader in the country today on the issue of Public Banking. Ellen talked about the North Dakota state bank, which helped that state survive–without incident–the 2008 Wall Street-created economic crash that brought other states to their knees.
Economics is not the sexiest subject, but we all know that it is at the root of much injustice for a growing community of Americans. Public banks in the model of North Dakota’s provide competition and huge savings compared to Wall Street banks, which use our taxpayer dollars for their private benefit while providing no public benefit. Not only do we not benefit in the profit-making, we are left holding the bag when their risky investments fail.
We think once a person understands how public banks work, there will be very few, if any, who won’t support the development of public state banks. After you listen to the recording, please enter any questions or comments you might have in the comments box at the bottom of this page. While you’re there, check out the background material we’ve provided to increase understanding.
Despite some pundits making light of the immediate effects of sequestration, the pain will soon be very real to our nation’s most vulnerable. Sharon Parrott, for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit research group laid it out in stark terms:
“In fact, sequestration will have a real impact on Americans across the country. There is no way to cut $85 billion in a single year, mainly from discretionary programs — which include most defense spending as well as medical research, education, help for low-income families, food and water safety, law enforcement, and so on — and not see real impacts. That’s especially true because sequestration would come on top of the large cuts in discretionary funding that are already in place under the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA). Taken together, the BCA cuts and sequestration would cut discretionary spending 14 percent below the 2010 level in inflation-adjusted terms…” (http://www.cbpp.org/)
Here are examples of what will start to happen under sequestration:
- Housing programs will be hit particularly hard, with about 125,000 individuals and families put at risk of becoming homeless, the Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated. An additional 100,000 formerly homeless people might be removed from emergency shelters or other housing arrangements because of the cuts, the agency said.
- In our state, the King County Housing Authority stopped issuing new housing vouchers on March 1, 2013. “Sequestration will result in some 600 fewer families in our local communities receiving crucial rental assistance over the next year,” Stephen Norman, the Executive Director of the county housing authority, said in a statement. “Because rents are so high, many of these families may, quite literally, find themselves out on the street.”
- The roughly 3.8 million long-term unemployed workers receiving federally funded unemployment benefits will face a nearly 11 percent cut in their weekly benefits. That will translate into a cut of roughly $130 per month for jobless workers.
- The WIC nutrition program for low-income pregnant women, infants, and young children will have to turn away an estimated 600,000 to 775,000 women and children, including very young children, by the end of this fiscal year.
- Cuts to programs that aid children with special needs
- Cuts to Job-training programs that help unemployed people find a new career
- Cuts to foreclosure prevention services
- Cuts to programs that help 150,000 veterans every year make the transition into the non-military work force.
- Cuts in the Social Security Administration would lead to staff reductions (or furloughs) that would create delays in helping people apply for benefits or resolving problems that arise with their benefits.
- Cuts in the Transportation Security Agency would mean staff cuts or furloughs of airport security workers, leading to longer lines at airports and slower travel.
Economy-wide, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf told Congress this week that sequestration would cut GDP growth this year by 0.6 percentage points (from 2.0 percent to 1.4 percent) and cost about 750,000 jobs by the fourth quarter of 2013.
How did we get here?
The Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 came into existence when congressional Republicans refused to undertake the pro forma increase in the nation’s statutory debt ceiling. Instead, they held the debt ceiling increase hostage to deep spending cuts. Ironically, this “will translate into higher debt ratios than would have existed before the cuts. In short, such cuts are even fiscally, not just economically, counterproductive.” Counterpunch 3/1/13 Andrew Fieldhouse
During the debt ceiling negotiations in the summer of 2011, the Obama administration acquiesced to the GOP’s demand that every dollar increase in the debt ceiling be matched dollar-for-dollar with spending cuts.
The BCA had two phases:
First, discretionary spending cuts and caps, carried out by a $900 billion increase in the statutory debt ceiling (equal to policy savings plus reduced debt service).
Second, the default for the remaining $1.2 trillion increase in the debt ceiling was $984 billion in automatic sequestration cuts (or $1.2 trillion in savings with interest).
By demanding austerity that was entirely comprised of spending cuts, the BCA maximized the economic harm posed by sequestration per year (a dollar of government spending cuts currently inflicts four-to-seven times the damage of a dollar of revenue).
Democrats to the Rescue? Sorry, not today
As long ago as last December, Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Senate Democrat, said he might reluctantly be open to expanding means- testing for Medicare eligibility — charging more to higher- income seniors. Another so-called liberal lion, New York Senator Chuck Schumer said he wouldn’t rule out changing entitlements, challenging Republicans to come up with specific proposals.
And as Democracy Now reported today,( 3/4/13): “In the aftermath of the deadline, Obama has again signaled his willingness to cut spending on so-called entitlements like Medicare and Social Security to appease Republican demands. On Sunday, White House senior economic official Gene Sperling said Obama already discussed entitlement reform with lawmakers from parties over the weekend.” He said that President Barack Obama is willing to work with lawmakers to cut entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security as long as tax reform remains part of the discussion.
“He’s reaching out to Democrats who understand we have to make serious progress on long-term entitlement reform and Republicans who realize that if we had that type of entitlement reform, they’d be willing to have tax reform that raises revenues to lower the deficit,” Sperling said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
While the White House declined to comment on specifics, the White House’s website includes $25 billion in cuts from “Medicaid, Pay-for-Delay, IPAB and program integrity.”
If you’re waiting for Congressional liberals to save us, don’t hold your breath. Congressmen Alan Grayson and Mark Takano circulated a letter in late February addressed to President Obama. It stated, in part, “we will vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits — including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need.” But the letter’s current list of signers includes just 16 members of the 70-member Progressive Caucus.
As Norman Solomon put it in a recent Counterpunch article, “Their absence from the letter is a clear message to the Obama White House, which has repeatedly declared its desire to cut the Social Security cost of living adjustment as well as Medicare. In effect, those 54 non-signers are signaling: Mr. President, we call ourselves “progressive” but we are unwilling to stick our necks out by challenging you in defense of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; we want some wiggle room that you can exploit.”
As the budget battles rage on in Washington, sources said Obama plans to nominate on Monday Sylvia Mathews Burwell to head the White House Office of Management and Budget. A veteran of the Bill Clinton White House, Burwell is president of the Walmart Foundation, which handles the corporation’s charitable efforts. Yup, now there’s a corporation that understands what it means for poor people to take cuts!
This is what you get when the system revolves around the dominance of the current two-party system. Democrats and Republicans both agree on pain for working people. The only question is how much. Both are pro-austerity parties, the same system that has wrecked several countries in Europe. It will be coming here, and we need to fight it head on, starting at the local level and moving up to Congress and the President.
Originally published at http://www.justiceparty-wa.org/2013/03/10/the-sharp-pain-of-sequestration/
Dear Seattle teachers,
Thank you for refusing to administer the MAP test. You are to be applauded for having the courage to take a stand against the fixation on high-stakes testing and its harmful impact on students.
The Justice Party of Washington State supports the rights of students to receive a high-quality public education. They deserve it, and this heavy emphasis on repeated testing is not making a contribution to that end. Budget cuts at the state and local level have been going on so long, even the Washington State Supreme Court had to step in to remind legislators of their constitutional obligations.
Instead, hard-working teachers have been blamed for the problems of our school system while useless testing has been consuming scarce funds as if more testing offers some sort of universal panacea. Meanwhile, cuts continue to produce a narrowed curriculum that has deprived our students of art, music, gym and other subjects that enrich their minds. We don’t have to tell you that teachers are forced to spend too much time on test preparation and data collection, for a test that is virtually useless as a diagnostic tool, at the expense of actually doing the job they were hired to do.
Your actions have opened a national conversation on the impact of high-stakes testing. No one would argue that appropriate assessments are a legitimate part of a high-quality education. But an accountability system obsessed with useless measurements has nothing to do with student advancement. Genuine teaching and learning should drive classroom instruction. We need to be focused on developing creative and analytical thinking, skills which are not easily converted to a paper and pencil standardized test.
We are in complete agreement with you on your statement, which reads in part, “…the MAP test is not good for our students, nor is it an appropriate or useful tool in measuring progress…It produces specious results, and wreaks havoc on limited school resources during the weeks the test is administered.” In addition, we are completely opposed to the threats that have been issued against you, and are in solidarity with your courageous action.
To Justice Party members and supporters:
Here’s how you can help:
1. Call, email, and write to Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José L. Banda to let him know that you support the boycott and to demand that the participating teachers receive no disciplinary action.
Superintendent José L. Banda
Office of the Superintendent
P.O. Box 34165
Seattle, WA 98124-1165
2. Sign the online petitions:
Change.org: Seattle Public Schools: Support Seattle teachers refusing to administer the MAP!
SignOn.org: Petition to cancel the MAP® test in Seattle Public Schools
SignOn.org: Support the Seattle Teachers’ Standardized Test Boycott
One reason I supported Rocky Anderson for president on the Justice Party ticket is that he remembers that only congress has the power to declare war.
ANDERSON: I think the important issue here is that we went into Libya, joined with our allies, without any authorization from Congress. This is the real long-term question that ought to be addressed, is: do we allow one person to act as a dictator and determine whether our country goes to war, or do we, in compliance with the War Powers Clause of the United States Constitution, seek a determination from Congress that there is reason for our country to engage in acts of war? And this is an ongoing problem with the drone attacks, creating more hatred, more hostility toward the United States in sovereign nations. We need to get back to the fundamentals. This is the important question that we should all be addressing, and Congress needs to live up to its constitutional responsibility.
Does anybody remember, any more, how many countries our military is bombing?
Obama Reportedly Considering Intervention In Syrian Civil War
During President Obama’s first term, I represented members of Congress in challenging Obama’s unilateral intervention into the Libyan civil war without authorization of Congress. Our case was dismissed on standing grounds and, once again, an undeclared act of war went by without any opportunity of judicial review. Now, Obama is reportedly debating whether to intervene in yet another civil war — undeterred by the now superfluous constitutional limits on his war-making authority.
President Barack Obama said he has been struggling with the decision whether to enter into another war as the 22-month civil war in Syria drags on. Here is what he considers to be the operative question:
“In a situation like Syria, I have to ask: can we make a difference in that situation?”
That is a bit different from the question that the Framers wanted him to ask: “Do I have authority from Congress to engage in a war?” That question is now just a quaint concern for a president who has acquired unprecedented unchecked powers. Once again, the Democrats are silent because it is Obama not Bush who is speaking of war. It is the type of hypocrisy that is not just laughable. It is lethal.
Source: Chicago Tribune
Now that most of us have voted or will have done so shortly, what comes next? You may not have gotten aboard for this election, but let’s grab the future. Most likely, unless we do something ourselves, there won’t be any change but more of the same downhill ride with the two 1% parties. Many people hold their noses and vote for the lesser of two evils, thinking they had little choice but to do so. But, we truly do have an alternative if we will unite and accept the responsibility for changing things.
The people selected by the two major parties and put in power by our rigged election system are not going to change anything except make things worse until they feel threatened. If this happens, they will throw us a few crumbs until things settle down, then it’s back to the same old business of doing the bidding of the 1%.
Our politicians have the power, right now, to take the money out of the elections, to limit the amount of money and time spent on elections, and even to make the elections public-financed. They could require the broadcast companies to devote 20% of their broadcast time 30 days before the elections as a royalty due the citizens for the free use of our airwaves. This time would be for the free and equal use of candidates running for office. They could enact a fair tax code and close the loopholes that benefit only the 1%. But as long as big money is involved in our politics, these changes won’t happen.
As long as they are able to deny the vote to many of our citizens, the 1% rule, and we have lost the sovereignty of the people. This loss of citizen sovereignty is why we all need to get aboard. We must unite and organize to make the changes that will save our nation and reclaim our democracy from the claws of the predatory 1%. Let’s all get aboard and make it happen. When they utilize their money to rule us that is when we say “NO MORE
Rocky Anderson of the new Justice Party is the rising star to lead and help us rebuild a new United States of America that we can once again be proud of. Join the Justice Party and let’s fill up our Senate, House of Representatives, the state houses, and local community offices with real patriots who will support the American people. Then let’s put Rocky Anderson in the White House in 2016. Let’s start talking and acting like WE MEAN BUSINESS.
Copyleft 2012 J. Glenn Evans
(Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)
Justice Party of Washington State is official! We heard from the WA Secretary of State’s office Friday morning. They counted our signatures and filed the documents, putting us on the ballot.
Now we can place our vote for Rocky in November and build an alternative to the corrupt two party system!
Thank you to all who offered support, collected signatures and signed for ballot access,
Rocky Anderson – Justice Party Presidential Candidate 2012