GOP Plans to Cut 4 Trillion Dollars from Federal Budget in a Decade

The Wall Street Journal (radicals? socialists?) is running an article that says in paragraph 4:

The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills. Mr. Ryan and other conservatives say this is necessary because of the program’s soaring costs. Medicare cost $396.5 billion in 2010 and is projected to rise to $502.8 billion in 2016. At that pace, spending on the program would have doubled between 2002 and 2016.

So, how do we communicate with the Tea Partiers who love their Medicare?  Are we just talking about that part of the Tea Party who are already on Medicare or do younger tea partiers like the idea of a primary health care system for their old age?

It would be great to see the Democrats get on message about the path that the country is on with any resurgence of the GOP and turn the 2012 election into a referendum on the GOP plans to privatize everything.  But…   are the dems committed to any goals other than being GOP Lite?  Now would be a good time to sort that out.

How about jobs, manufacturing jobs aimed at creating a clean energy grid that reduces our dependence on foreign oil.  Once we are on that track, we can start reducing our defense and global empire budget and bringing the troops home from bases around the globe.  Maybe we can persuade the military industrial complex to shift focus to building a green energy infrastructure?

It’s good to have a dream.  Thanks, MLK, we have not forgotten you.

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When Will Alternative Energy Become Energy?

Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson says we can do it in 20 to 40 years.  The Stanford University News has the story.  Here is some of it:

A new study – co-authored by Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson and UC-Davis researcher Mark A. Delucchi – analyzing what is needed to convert the world’s energy supplies to clean and sustainable sources says that it can be done with today’s technology at costs roughly comparable to conventional energy. But converting will be a massive undertaking on the scale of the moon landings. What is needed most is the societal and political will to make it happen.

BY LOUIS BERGERON

If someone told you there was a way you could save 2.5 million to 3 million lives a year and simultaneously halt global warming, reduce air and water pollution and develop secure, reliable energy sources – nearly all with existing technology and at costs comparable with what we spend on energy today – why wouldn’t you do it?

According to a new study coauthored by Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson, we could accomplish all that by converting the world to clean, renewable energy sources and forgoing fossil fuels.

“Based on our findings, there are no technological or economic barriers to converting the entire world to clean, renewable energy sources,” said Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering. “It is a question of whether we have the societal and political will.”


This is the political opportunity that Prez Obama missed in his first 100 days.  You want a legacy?  Try a clean energy revolution.  Plenty of jobs, serves the economy and the environment.  Health care reform?  Please take that on in the wake of this kind of big government manufacturing economic push.  Commit 5% of the defense budget to this project and see what happens.  Commit 20% of the defense budget and make it happen.  Of course we we would need to withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq and maybe shut down some foreign bases.  But we would not need strategic power and influence all over the globe if we could plan for an energy grid that did not depend on foreign oil and environmentally destructive extraction technologies.

It ain’t rocket science there, Barack.  It’s late, but maybe it ain’t too late.  Do it now.  Campaign on this change, a revolution of energy, a future of green energy independence and manufacturing jobs in the USA.

Thanks to my friend Walt Jorgensen for bringing this to my attention.

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Celebrate Earth Day: Protect and strengthen the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts

As Earth Day approaches (April 22), it is ironic to remember that it was under the Nixon administration that the Environment Protection Agency was created, and the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts were passed. Of course, the Republican Party of the early 1970s bears little resemblance to the Republican Party of today.

Four decades after the creation of the EPA, the Republican Party now seeks every opportunity to undermine (no pun intended) the agency’s regulatory authority in order to further the economic interests of the industries that fund their election campaigns. The latest attack comes in the form of the Vitter-Bishop bill just introduced in Congress (H.R. 1287 & S. 706).

In the words of The Wilderness Society Senior Policy Advisor David Alberswerth, “This legislation puts the foxes in charge of the henhouse. Under this bill, the oil and gas industry would essentially run the Interior Department’s offshore oil and gas program and the BLM’s oil shale program. It also mandates the destruction of the fragile Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, eviscerates the Endangered Species Act, allows polluters to continue dumping greenhouse gases and endangering the public without any EPA oversight under the Clean Air Act, and restricts the right of Americans to use the federal courts to enforce environmental laws.”

Please contact your WA legislators and ask them to vigorously and publicly oppose this assault on our right to breathable air and drinkable water. While you’re at it, ask them to step up to co-sponsor the anti-fracking bills H.R. 1084 and S. 587. Kudos to Adam Smith for being the first (and so far only) Washington legislator to get out in front of this important legislation. Watch the video to see why hydraulic fracturing, like mountaintop removal, is an extraction method that must be stopped.

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Money needed to rescue Basic Health is out there

Last November, Steve Ballmer, the 33rd wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of $33 billion, sold off $2 billion in stock to “diversify his holdings and to help with tax planning.” So much for job creation. This month Paul Allen, with $14 billion in wealth, bought a refurbished Russian MIG fighter jet. And Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, whose net worth is $12.3 billion, refuses, in any state where he can get away with it, to collect sales taxes on Amazon sales, further starving state governments from revenue for middle class services (and giving him a big advantage over bookstores on Main Street!).

What do these guys have in common? They are among the wealthiest people in the world, and they want their wealth only for themselves. So they all pitched in with six figure contributions to defeat Initiative 1098 last year, which would have taxed their income above $400,000. Not a lot, but why give up anything when you are at the pinnacle?

Here’s why: That 1098 money would have funded Basic Health, which is about to run out of money. What would Paul Allen, Steve Balmer and Jeff Bezos say to the woman who just wrote me about her situation?

“This can truly be a life or death issue for some of us. I was diagnosed with a very early-stage melanoma just two weeks ago, and now need to be seen by the dermatologist every couple of months, and also have other medical issues. My husband has had abnormal PSA tests in the past that we need to monitor.

“We feel very lucky to be on Basic Health. I don’t know what will happen to us if it ends…”

Mr. Allen, Mr. Ballmer and Mr. Bezos: We can’t make you fund public services. But your hearts might lead you there. Why don’t you simply give $100 million for Basic Health? That’s about seventeen one-hundredths of your combined wealth — small change for the health of the citizens of our state. You are not broke. And we don’t need to be.

(Excerpted with permission of the author from Money needed to rescue Basic Health is out there)

Economic Opportunity Institute

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Washington Uprising

Courtesy IWW

Wensday Media is going to print today with a flyer in support of the week of action that starts tomorrow in Blaine, WA and moves on to Seattle and Olympia and beyond over the next few days.  It’s a full schedule of activity for the next 8 days.

See you in the Streets!

You can download the flyers from Small Blue Planet. The only difference in the two flyers is the signage is different, otherwise identical content.

You are welcome to print, disseminate, repost.

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Recall Politics

Bold Progressives is reporting that the recall petition has the signatures for a recall election of Wisconsin State Senator Dan Kapanke.  I believe Mr. Kapanke has an R behind his name.

Have the neocons over-reached?  Do the attacks on public employees, AARP, push the electorate over the line?  We can only hope.  Maybe more Democrats will stand up and show that they are willing to fight for progressive causes?

It’s time for a change, baby.

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Thoughts on achieving real change

Real change in our country has never been easy.  The main avenue for its success has always been by pushing, and pushing, and pushing against prevailing standards and power blocks.  What may look impossible today becomes less so if pressure continues and expands.  The right wing certainly knows this. Today’s liberals/progressives seem not to be up for the long-range struggles.

One thing is absolutely guaranteed: no pressure from progressives, no progress.
The Democratic leaders in the state legislature, apparently with the acquiescence of their caucuses, have decided that if they in any way challenge Eyman’s I-1053 they will antagonize the voters and could lose the majority in 2012.  They may be right.

They could also be wrong.  The restrictions on revenue that I-1053 imposes, unconstitutionally in the opinion of many including me (not a lawyer), are so severe that many extremely important and popular programs are being radically diminished or totally eliminated by – guess who? – the Democratic majority.  True, they are deeply anguished by having to do this, they wish it were otherwise, but (their) political “acumen” tells them it is the only course to follow if they are to be re-elected.

What ever happened to Democrats fighting for what they believe in, namely, socio-economic fairness and justice, each generation to enjoy a better life than its predecessors?  What about making the case to the voters that the Republicans and major corporations here and nationally are engaged in a long-term class war against labor and the middle class, etc etc etc?
From a  member of the shrinking “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party”

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Reichert, Republicans, Declare war on AARP

AARP opposes privatization of Social Security, supports the Affordable Care Act, and its executives give disproportionately to Democrats. Now Dave Reichert and other Congressional Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee are going full ACORN on AARP.

Because AARP lobbied for the Affordable Care Act, and because some provisions may (prepare to gasp) benefit the organization, Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-08) along with Congressmen Wally Herger of California, and Charles Boustany of Louisiana, are challenging AARP’s tax exempt status and calling for an IRS investigation.

“During this investigation it became very clear that despite its privileged tax-exempt status, in many cases, AARP represents a for-profit entity, in fact, an insurance company,” Boustany said.

Reichert challenged AARP’s motives.

“The real overarching question here that I think that seniors across this country should be asking AARP is, who are you working for? Are you with the seniors of America?” Or are you out to make money for AARP?”

By definition, AARP makes no profit, and has no shareholders to distribute profits to. What it does have is a lot of money to promote the interests of its members, lobby Congress, and fund various charitable organizations.

AARP is big, and the CEO makes a lot of money. But it is neither an insurance company nor a for profit organization. Congressman Sander Levin of Michigan called this for what it is; a “witch hunt”.

Is this an indication that Reichert is a lame duck?

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Washington Uprising – A Community Response to Budget Cuts

I think for the next ten days, my thoughts, time, money are on the Washington Uprising.

A bunch of groups are coordinating activities around the State and carrying the message to the Governor and the Legislators in Olympia. Washington State is jumping on the austerity bandwagon. We have a Democratic Governor, Christine Gregoire, who is a reasonable person. Governor Gregoire is no Scott Walker, but she is not fighting for us. She is not fighting for her own values. The War on the Poor has to stop. The Class War is in full gear. The top 2% of wealth and income scale have to be forced to start paying their fair share. Once that happens, we have no need for the cuts. You cannot balance the budget on the backs of the poor and disabled, you have to balance the budget by fixing the revenue streams that fund critical public endeavors like education, health care, parks, transportation, housing, services to the disabled, and so much more.

If trickle down economics worked for the benefit of all of us, if deregulation of private industry created responsible wealth and employment, if the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few created stable communities, we would all be eating rainbow pie by now.

Government serves functions that private, for-profit industries will never address. If there is no money, no profit in it, the globalization capitalists have declared war on it. Prisons are fine because they can be operated at a profit by corporations. We can keep schools are if we can get rid of qualified teachers and privatize education and put control in the hands of private entrepreneurs to create cash flow and train a work force to flip burgers and fry potatoes. Health care is great if we can manage cost and ration care to create stock dividends and CEO bonuses and not get too concerned about the actual health of the population sitting in the waiting room or standing in line at a free clinic.

Have to stop and work on a media project in support of the activities being planned for next week. Hope you can take a day off next week. I am taking the week off to be involved in the activities. If you want to know more about the Washington Uprising, try

We are Washington. It’s one website that organizers are using to get the word out.   Olympia Coalition for a Fair Budget is another website that is getting the word out and organizing activities.

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