Boeing ignores taxbreaks, ships jobs to South Carolina and Texas

Two headlines in today’s Seattle Times tell an important story about Boeing:

Boeing will refurbish flight-test 747-8s in Texas

Boeing: S.C. work won’t stop despite NLRB complaint

Yet in the 2008 biennium alone, tax breaks for Boeing cost the state $195 million (reference) in return for taxbreaks meant to keep jobs in Washington State.

According to The Solution: Close Tax Loopholes

So we now have a loophole for software manufacturers like Microsoft that will cost the state $143 million this year, another loophole for airplane manufacturers like Boeing that will cost the state $104 million, and a loophole (or “special tax break,” see how that works?) for struggling newspaper publishers that will cost the state $18 million.

Taxbreaks for rich corporations are, of course, a national problem.

Boeing … actually received a tax rebate totaling $75 million over the years 2008-2010 (on profits of $9.7 billion), or General Electric, which, according to Robert McIntyre — director of the nonprofit group Citizens for Tax Justice — had an effective tax rate of negative 15.8 percent from 2006 through 2010. (Forbes has noted that GE has “displayed an uncanny ability to lose lots of money in the U.S. and make lots of money overseas, where tax rates are lower.”)
— from Support for corporate tax reform on the rise

What’s ironic, and sad, is that Boeing gets much of its business from government contracts: it’s a major defense contractor.

Republicans like national defense, but they don’t like paying for it with taxes.

Yet even many Democrats (in name only) show sympathy for taxbreaks for rich corporations. Using a Republican talking point, they say: raising taxes will be a jobs killer.

On that theory, we might as well push for a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts.

Banana republic here we come.

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A lot of folks are in a transition state this week.

I got word through the Olympia grapevine that Bix, Father William Bichsel, is being moved to Tennessee now to face prosecution for one of his earlier peace actions. Bix is one of the Plowshares defendants who are being jailed for their peace action against the nuclear weapons stored at Bangor.

Here’s a short message from Bix:

“I know I’m getting weaker – it takes all my strength and breath to make my bunk. I have to sit down a few times in the process. It takes all I have now to do one or two slow shuffles around the common area.

I don’t feel panicked or upset about my condition. I know I can keel over at any time; but I feel very much at peace with this condition and understand and accept it – thankfully – as part of my journey.”

Strange world. Bix is in jail and Cheney/Rumsfeld/Bush are out and about.

Meanwhile, in Egypt, the Mubarak clan is reported to be under arrest and investigation for corruption. I can’t figure out why/how the Mubaraks were unable to see that this was going to happen. They fled Egypt and hid in Sharm Al Sheikh. Not too smart. Come on, you stashed money abroad, you have real estate in London, take it on the lam. I lost my wager from a few months back about when Hosni would fly out of Egypt, but I was not the big loser, Hosni was. Hosni is 82, about the same age as Bix. One is a hero, the other is a fool. You can sort it out.

In Gaza, Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni was killed by extremists this past week. It’s another case of fools punishing the wrong person, in the wrong way. It’s a case of a person paying the ultimate price for staying and engaging in the struggle for human rights, for peace and justice, even when they knew that mayhem and death were around the next corner. But in contrast to the foolishness of Hosni fleeing to the resort town of Sharm al Sheikh, Vittorio chose the selfless path of staying in Gaza to work with the Gazan people. To share their suffering and their struggle for the right to live free from oppression.

I am working on video editing. It’s taking a lot of my spare waking hours, so my blogging is down a bit. Fight the good fight with love and courage. Lay down your arms.

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How our legislators should deal with I-1053

There’s a straightforward way for our state legislators to work around Eyman’s I-1053, an initiative that conflicts with several provisions of the state constitution. Will they pursue it?

On Feb 29, 2008,  Senate Bill 6931 was brought before the Washington State Senate for a vote.  SB 6931 would have imposed a 42¢ per liter surcharge on the sale of certain types of liquor to fund driving-under-the-influence patrols and chemical dependency treatments.

Lt. Governor (and Senate President) Brad Owen  refused to allow the bill to go forward.  Owen ruled that SB 6931 required the approval of two-thirds of the senate for passage, by virtue of Tim Eyman’s so-called Taxpayer Protection Act.

In response to Mr. Owen’s ruling, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown asked the state Supreme Court to issue a writ of mandamus to force Mr. Owen to allow the bill to proceed.

The state Supreme Court’s decision was not to issue a writ of mandamus. (See Brown v. Owen (2009) .)    Whether one agrees with the reasoning in the decision or not, a remedy for the ruling by Owen in favor of a 2/3 vote is also stated there:

¶ 27 Both Owen, as president of the senate, and Brown as a member of that body are subject to the procedural rules of the senate.   Owen was required to rule on the point of order by Sheldon, and Brown was allowed to address the senate in opposition to the point of order.   Owen gave a parliamentary ruling as is his obligation as president of the senate.   Brown had the option to appeal to her colleagues and overturn Owen’s ruling with a simple majority of the senate.   She did not. Instead, Brown asked this court to intervene by ordering Owen to forward a bill, that pursuant to Owen’s unchallenged parliamentary ruling, failed to receive sufficient votes for passage.

In other words, Senator Brown and the legislators had the opportunity themselves to overturn Owen’s ruling with a simple majority vote.

Similarly, Democratic legislators in Olympia now have the opportunity, and the obligation, to eliminate tax exemptions for wealthy corporations and individuals by majority vote, despite I-1053’s 2/3 supermajority requirement for raising revenue. The reason is simple: I-1053 is apparently  unconstitutional.

According to Article 2, Legislative Department, Section 22 Passage of Bills  “No bill shall become a law unless  . . . a majority of the members elected to each house be recorded thereon as voting in its favor.”  The state constitution also says that the constitution cannot be amended by initiative.

What was at issue then, as now, is majority rule.  The same remedy is available to the Senate today.  They can overturn by a simple majority a ruling by Owen that a 2/3 vote is required for passage of revenue bills.

Constitutions exist precisely to protect the People from unjust and deceptive initiatives such as I-1053. The reason we don’t have direct democracy (where the voters vote for legislation without relying on elected representatives in Congress) is that most people lack the time and inclination to understand the issues well enough to vote intelligently on complex legislation.  Furthermore, voters are easily deceived  and can be tricked into voting for unjust initiatives, such as I-1053, that are against their own self-interest.

I-1053 perpetuates an unjust and regressive tax system. It is causing devastating cuts to education, social services, and public safety.

See also Resolution on ending taxbreaks for billionaires and  I-1053 is apparently unconstitutional.

Will the Democrats defend the constitution, which cannot be amended by any initiative, and go on to  produce the kind of budget that  Washingtonians want and need?


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How the Koch Brothers worked to defeat Democrats in Washington State

[Note: For later news on this topic, see: State Republicans fined for violating reporting requirements in 2010 elections.]

In October, 2010 a formal complaint was filed with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission against the Washington State chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers-funded organization that has promoted the Tea Party and that has funded many right wing campaigns.  The complaint alleges that

Americans for Prosperity Washington (AFPWA) has violated campaign finance law in hiding its financial contributions, expenditures, communications, and even its existence from the public eye.

Throughout the election season, AFPWA produced and executed both political advertising independent expenditures and electioneering communications against Democratic incumbent senators in the 30th, 41st, 45th, and 48th Legislative Districts. This has included mailers, canvassers distributing leaflets, and advertisements in the print media.

The tagline on each advertisement reads, “No candidate authorized this ad. It is paid for by Americans for Prosperity Washington PO Box 249 Duvall, WA 98019” (all known pieces are attached).

On PDC, under committees, under independent spending, under in-kind donations, no records of any kind exist for AFPWA. They have not filed a single C1, C3, C4, or C6 report — they do not exist on paper with the PDC.  This is a direct violation of many campaign finance laws…..

The complainants include the Sierra Club (Seattle) and Dwight Pelz, chair of the Washington State Democrats.

Progressive incumbent Democratic state senators Randy Gordon (41st LD) and Eric Oemig (45th LD) lost tight races, partly due to the campaign expenditures of AFPWA.  Gordon lost in the recount by 192 votes, 0.32%.

AFPWA  supports “market-based” policies.   Their website says, “Americans for Prosperity – Washington State is supporting dozens of grassroots organizations around Washington State for the Tax Day Tea Parties.”

According to Wikipedia

AFP was founded in 2004 when Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) split into FreedomWorks (formerly Citizens for a Sound Economy), for 501(c)(4) advocacy activity, and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (formerly the Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation). Dick Armey, who had become chair of CSE in 2003 after retiring from Congress,[2] stayed as chairman of FreedomWorks, while David H. Koch stayed as Chairman of Americans for Prosperity Foundation. Like CSE, AFP was founded with the support of David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch of Koch Industries.[3][4][5] Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) had been established in 1984 by David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch. “CSE received almost $5 million from various Koch foundations between 1986 and 1990, and David Koch and several Koch Industries employees serve[d] as directors of CSE and the CSE Foundation.”[6]

The Center for Public Integrity has produced this analysis of the Koch’s web of influence.

William Koch, brother of company owners David and Charles, has said of Koch Industries, “I did not want my family, my legacy, my father’s legacy to be based upon organized crime.” Koch industries was fined many times for violating environmental and safety laws. Of course, it has lobbied relentless, and supported candidates, to stop regulation and taxation.  See kochbrothersexposed.com and Koch And Native-American Reservation Oil Theft.

Like AFPWA, the Chamber of Commerce funded campaign literature in Washington State, for example,  in support of Dave Reichert.

Money corrupts politics.   That the Koch brothers were so active in Washington State was news to me.

Thanks to David Spring for drawing my attention to this issue.

See The Kochs Mess With Texas, Our Minds and Our Future for a report on Kochs’ nefarious dealings in Texas.

If anyone has relevant  campaign literature from 2010, or further information about this topic, please comment below or let me know.

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Re: Eyman honored for Washington initiative activism

MyNorthwest.com is reporting that

Eyman honored for Washington initiative activism

SEATTLE (AP) – Initiative activist Tim Eyman won a $20,000 award from the Sam Adams Alliance. The group calls him a modern day Sam Adams for his commitment to cutting the size of government in Washington state.

The Seattle Times reports the “Sammies” awards were handed out Friday in Chicago.

Eyman sponsored I-1053, which reinstated the requirement of a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to raise taxes.

That is disgusting.  He’s largely responsible for further increasing the skew in the distribution of wealth in Washington State, while causing real suffering among poor, elderly, and ill people.  Our education system, which already lags behind that of other states and other nations, is now further weakened.    Banana republic here we come.

Of course I-1053 is unconstitutional, but our legislators refuse to face up to this fact. They let Tim Eyman run the show, and they fail to market the idea of fair taxation.

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How progressive is your state legislator?

Here are two online tools that help you evaluate the performance of your state legislators:

Washington Conservation Voters legislative scorecard

Washington Labor Council Legislative Voting Records.

Each tool shows ratings for House and Senate members, with the Labor Council having a year-by-year analysis.

Anyone know of other scorecards?

[Yes, Brian Gunn pointed me to Legislative Reportcard on Racial Equity. The scorecard itself starts on page 30 of that document. Earlier pages give background, methodology, and summaries. It’s authored by Alliance for a Just Society.

It concentrates on issues of racial equity and evaluates legislators on multiple areas: Civil Rights, Education, Health, Economic, Criminal Justice, and Institutional Racism.]

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Should we Democrats stay silent as our house burns down?

Friends and fellow Democrats,

Our house is on fire. The fate of one million children is in that burning house. Our public schools are on in danger of collapse.  In 2008, we were 47th in the nation in school funding. Since then, billions more have been cut. The fire is growing worse every day and every year. Yet even though it is the Paramount Duty of our State legislature to provide a fire truck to put out this fire, and even though the Democratic Party has clear majorities in both the House and the Senate, last week Ross Hunter proposed a budget slashing billions more from our public schools – including suspending a monthly Basic Education payment – something which has never been done before in the history of our State. This week, Ed Murray proposed a budget which would slash school funding even more than Ross Hunter’s draconian budget! In fact, Ed would slash Basic Education funding by hundreds of millions of dollars more. Ross and Ed tell us they can not use the Fire Truck to put out the fire – because it might upset Tim Eyman.   

Resolutions have been passed unanimously by the 45th LD Democrats and the 32nd LD Democrats and some County Democratic organizations demanding that our Democratic Leaders use the fire truck to put out the fire. All of these Resolutions point to the Paramount Duty in our State Constitution – a Constitution which our Democratic Leaders have sworn an oath to uphold. 

We are now told we should not pass these Resolutions. Our Coalition Partners want us to think small and go slow and remain silent and trust our leaders – the same leaders who got us into this mess in the first place. Despite being faced with BILLIONS in budget cuts, we are told we should support House Bill 2078 which would shave a mere $44 million per year from tax exemptions our State hands to Wall Street Bankers. What we are not told is that on page 2, line 20 of this bill, it states: “the total amount each person may deduct under this section for any calendar year may not exceed one hundreds million dollars.”  So every Wall Street banker still gets $100 million in corporate welfare??? For reference, one hundred million dollars would pay for at least one thousand teachers. Instead of corporate welfare for the 10 major banks – each of which is making billions in record profits – we could save the jobs of 10,000 teachers and save the future of one million school children. 
The $44 million proposed cut in corporate welfare represents less than a 5% of the total we give away every year to these Wall Street Bankers – the very bankers who brought down our economy. According the Bureau of Economic Analysis, these same banks handed out a record $50 billion in bonuses to their top executives in 2010. http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm 

This is our elected Democratic Leaders’ idea of a solution to our multi-billion dollar fire? $44 million represents less than 1% of the billons being cut from our public schools. For that matter, $44 million represents less than 1% of bank bonuses in 2010! Shockingly, the DOR has stated that no other State even offers this exemption! Yet we are asked to remain silent as our house burns down and be happy House Democrats have offered us this squirt gun of a solution. 

This week Ed Murray offers us another even smaller squirt gun. Senate Bill 5944 would not provide a single dollar to help put out the fire. Instead, it enshrines the Unconstitutional Two Thirds Tim Eyman rule for nearly every source of revenue except tax exemptions. When union leaders complained that this bill would not come close to putting out the Fire which is destroying our Schools and our State, and may make the fire worse, Ed told them to stay silent because he had 20 years worth of experience and he knows better than the rest of us what is best for our State. This is the same Ed Murray who in 2003 voted for the Boeing Blackmail bill which started the fire of corporate tax breaks in the first place. The same Ed Murray who earlier this week proposed cutting Basic Education funding by hundreds of millions of dollars. Ed Murray needs to spend less time writing bills which only add fuel to the fire – and more time reading our State Constitution, 

The question now is whether we as loyal Democrats will heed the call of our Coalition Partners to remain silent as our house burns down? Or will we instead pass Resolutions demanding that our elected leaders honor our State Constitution and their Paramount Duty to put out the fire by suspending BILLIONS in tax exemptions to the wealthiest most profitable corporations in the history of our planet?  

It is never too late to change course, It is never too late to speak truth to injustice. It is never too late to demand that our elected officials uphold their oath of office to honor our State Constitution. Please go to our website, realwashingtonstatebudget.info and read more about what is really happening in Olympia . Urge your friends and neighbors to sign our Petition. It is never too late to at least try to put out the fire.

Regards, David Spring springforschools@aol.com.

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The Republican Plan: Increase Deficit, Transfer More Money to the Rich

From TPM

In addition to acknowledging that seniors, disabled and elderly people would be hit with much higher out-of-pocket health care costs, the CBO finds that by the end of the 10-year budget window, public debt will actually be higher than it would be if the GOP just did nothing.

Under the so-called “extended baseline scenario” — a.k.a. projections based on current law — debt held by the public will grow to 67 percent of GDP by 2022. Under the GOP plan, public debt would reach 70 percent of GDP in the same window.

In other words, the spending cuts Republicans would realize in the first 10 years would be outpaced by deficit increasing tax-cuts, which Ryan also proposes.

Is there any limit to the pain and suffering the GOP will inflict on the poor, the disadvantaged, veterans, and the middle class in order to further enrich the wealthiest individuals and corporations?

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Red Shift and the dangers of electronic, absentee, and Internet voting

I subscribe to the email list of BlackBoxVoting, the nonpartisan voting integrity organization whose director, Bev Harris, lives in Renton, WA.

In this article I’ll give a very brief taste of the issues. Visit Black Box Voting and read To The American Media: Time To Face The Reality Of Election Rigging for more information.

The gist of the matter is this:  our voting systems are vulnerable to all sorts of behind-the-scenes manipulation. Unless all aspects of the voting process — Who can vote? Who does vote? How are the votes counted? — are open to public scrutiny, there is little reason to trust the outcome. Relying on “the experts” to count the votes for us is an invitation to fraud.

The aforementioned article To The American Media: Time To Face The Reality Of Election Rigging (authored by Jonathan D. Simon, Executive Director of Election Defense Fund) says:

Study after study–from Princeton, to Johns Hopkins, to NYU’s Brennan Center, to the California Secretary of State’s office, to the GAO itself ( see http://tinyurl.com/3hz7xj2 ) –conclude that this counting process is obscenely vulnerable to insider manipulation and outsider hacking. So have many studies examining computerized voting abroad–which is why countries such as Germany, Ireland, and Holland have begun turning back to human counted ballots. There is consensus verging on unanimity among the experts.

There is something known as the “red shift.” It occurs when votecounts are more Republican (or more in favor of whatever candidate or ballot issue the Right supports) than the baselines–including exit polls, tracking polls, noncompetitive elections, and handcounts. Since 2002 the red shift has been pervasive. That’s right: for all intents and purposes, there is no blue shift.

In the Senate elections (16 out of 18 competitive races red shifted), the Governorship elections (11 out of 13 races red shifted), and in the House (a total red shift of 1.9 million votes).

The mad rush to computerized voting machines introduces risks of hacked votes.

In many states there are little or no protections against third parties submitting fraudulent absentee ballots: anyone with access to the voting list can send in fake absentee ballots.

At each point in the voting and tabulation process, it is important that the chain of custody be observable by the public.

Visit here to see additional short videos on the topic.

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