Wednesday, November 30, 2011

US Fed Buys Europe Some Time

US Fed Buys Europe Some Time

Welcome Fed’s Intervention in European Markets, But Say It is Not Enough

CEPR Co-Directors Welcome Fed’s Intervention in European Markets, But Say It is Not Enough

Attack on Social Security and the middle class

Attack on the Middle Class!!
First they came for your paycheck. Then your house. What's next?

California Budget

In response to the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) long-term fiscal forecast released today, Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project, released the following statement:
“The LAO's new forecast underscores the fiscal challenges that California continues to face. The outlook suggests that revenues will lag the optimistic forecasts used as the basis of the 2011-12 spending plan and that shortfalls will persist absent significant additional revenues. Unemployment remains stubbornly high, both nationally and here in California, and state and local government job losses are weakening overall job growth.
“The LAO's report provides a first look at the state's fiscal outlook for the remainder of this year and beyond. It is important to note, however, that due to the timing of certain personal income tax payments, policymakers lack critical information needed to develop an accurate picture of the state's fiscal situation. Still, the budget shortfalls forecast by the LAO highlight the need for policymakers to take a balanced approach to addressing the state’s ongoing budget gaps. Without additional revenues, policymakers will be forced to make even deeper cuts to our public schools and universities and other public structures that underpin a strong economy and are essential to the lives of Californians.
“Policymakers should strive to address the state’s fiscal challenges with a multi-year approach that fosters long-term stability. Deeper spending cuts, such as those that would be imposed by the so-called 'triggers' in the June budget agreement, will only serve to slow an already struggling economy.”
The California Budget Project (CBP) engages in independent fiscal and policy analysis and public education with the goal of improving public policies affecting the economic and social well-being of low- and middle-income Californians. Support for the CBP comes from foundation grants, subscriptions, and individual contributions. Please visit the CBP’s website at

Judge rejects deal cut by SEC

The Sacramento Bee has a good editorial this morning on a federal judge who refused to accept an SEC deal with the major banks that would only provide only weak punishment to Citi corps for one of their several frauds.
As judge Jed. S. Rokoff  said and the cost is obscured rather than revealed and the punishment is less than the profits made by Citi Corp in a few days. This weak agreements apply to each of the other deals proposed, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Chase, USB and others.
This should be a time of legitimate enforcement of financial regulation and fraud. What would it take ?  The Dodd-Frank bill has passed.  It is too limited.  It did not re-establish the 1936 Glass- Steagall  rules.   At present the Republican Party is working night and day to limit and restrict even the limited Dodd-Frank rules.  Each of the Republican candidates for President campaigns to even further restrict regulation.
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in their report described the even existing oversight functions as cramped and not enforced because there are insufficient regulators.  That is, the Republicans protect the banks by preventing the hiring of sufficient regulators even for the present rules.  That means that the entire financial crisis could be repeated in any day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Taxing the Wealthy -TED

How Occupy is Transforming Our National Conversation - IPS

How Occupy is Transforming Our National Conversation - IPS

Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion

 Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. No one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue. Betty Liu reports on Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop." (Source: Bloomberg)

The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.
The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Supercommittee of the One Percent Goes Down in Flames

The Supercommittee of the One Percent Goes Down in Flames
and that is a good thing.
Dean Baker.
The Wages of Economic Ignorance By Robert Skidelsky
Politicians are masters at “passing the buck.” Everything good that happens reflects their exceptional talents and efforts; everything bad is caused by someone or something else.
The economy is a classic field for this strategy. Three years after the global economy’s near-collapse, the feeble recovery has already petered out in most developed countries, whose economic inertia will drag down the rest. Pundits decry a “double-dip” recession, but in some countries the first dip never ended: Greek GDP has been dipping for three years.
When we ask politicians to explain these deplorable results, they reply in unison: “It’s not our fault.” Recovery, goes the refrain, has been “derailed” by the eurozone crisis. But this is to turn the matter on its head. The eurozone crisis did not derail recovery; it is the result of a lack of recovery. It is the natural, predictable, and (by many) predicted result of the main European countries’ deliberate policy of repressing aggregate demand.
On A Nation of Change.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kamala Harris stands with the voters of California

Even as Occupy Wall Street protests have turned America's attention to the economic inequality that has soared as banks have come to dominate our economy, those banks have been quietly working to cut themselves still one more sweet deal. Whether they get away with it may ultimately depend on California Atty. Gen.Kamala D. Harris.

The deal — which the 50 state attorneys general and the Obama administration have been haggling over with our biggest banks for more than a year — would require the banks to pay roughly $25 billion to certain beleaguered or former homeowners, chiefly as compensation for the "robosigning" abuses the banks engaged in as they zealously sought to foreclose on hundreds of thousands of homes. In return, the states would agree not to pursue claims against the banks for whatever fraud and abuse they may have committed in originating dubious mortgages.

This get-out-of-jail-cheap card (the five banks involved in the talks — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase,Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial — can afford the $25 billion) would also let the banks escape liability for misrepresenting those mortgages to the investors on whom they unloaded them.

Where is the outrage about unemployment ?

Larry Mishel. EPI.

Robert Reich: "The REAL Public Nuisance"

Occupy Democracy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Super-Duper Failure

Super-Duper Failure
The end of the Super Committee.

 We should be celebrating the failure of the Super Committee to come up with a deficit-reduction plan.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Republican dishonesty in budget matters

Assemblyman Jim Nielson, R. has a viewpoint in the Sunday Bee.
This is a response.

             This viewpoint is simply dishonest.  Yes funds for  the needed Veteran’s Home were cut.  But, it is deceptive to pretend that these fund cuts happened independent of the economic crisis we all live in. Also cut were schools, police, fire protection, children’s protective services,  parks, libraries,  senior services, and more. They were all cut because the Republicans, including Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, blocked any tax increases to pay for needed state resources. When you force a cut of everything, that includes veteran’s homes.
The nation  including California is suffering a severe recession – the worst since the Great Depression.  Twenty Six million  are unemployed and under employed. This crisis was created by finance capital and banking, mostly on Wall Street ,ie. Chase Banks, Bank of America, AIG, and others.   Finance capital produced a $ 2 trillion bailout of the financial industry, the doubling of the U.S.  unemployment rate and the loss millions of  manufacturing jobs and the tax revenues produced by people at work.   

Occupy Wall Street Commercial

Voices from Occupy Wall Street

California Progress Report

California Progress Report
Occupy Wall Street's Next Move: Retaking the media story

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Excerpt From the Book This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement by Sarah van Gelder and the staff of YES! Magazine

Excerpt From the Book This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement by Sarah van Gelder and the staff of YES! Magazine

California Faculty Union goes on strike

By Duane Campbell

Thursday, Nov 17, thousands of faculty members made history by participating in the first-ever strike of the California State University system.
The message to the Chancellor was loud and clear from six in the morning until dark: “If you don’t start making decisions based on what is right for the 99% this system serves – instead of the 1% of executives and upper managers running the system -- these actions will continue.”
At CSU Dominguez Hills in Southern California, 2,000 people over the course of the day picketed the ten gates surrounding the campus.
At CSU East Bay in Northern California, according to published reports, 93% of classes were canceled for the day. Traffic was backed up for over a mile and a half into the city of Hayward. At noon, police were forced to cordon off the main entrance on Carlos Bee Blvd, effectively closing campus for the rest of the day.
DSA Honorary Chair Cornel West participated in the support rally. 

“This week, we sent the Chancellor a powerful message,” said CFA President Lillian Taiz, a professor of History at CSU Los Angeles.
Taiz continued, “People are fed up with his ‘management first’ priorities. The CSU community is tired of seeing the Chancellor give huge raises to executives while student fees are hiked, faculty pay is stagnant, class sizes keep growing, and class offerings and faculty jobs are eliminated.
“Huge numbers of people came out to support the faculty this week – students, community members, staff, supporters from other unions, political leaders, and parents.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mario Savio and Occupy Wall Street + Robert Reich

Billionaires for Education Reform

We have often discussed the problems of establishing democratic practices in our schools today. This is something you have written about extensively, and it is integral to your pedagogical ideas. Today, the question of democracy looms large as we see increasing efforts to privatize the control of public schools. There is an even more worrisome and allied trend, and that is the growing influence of money in education politics at the state and local levels.

My recent book included a chapter on "The Billionaire Boys Club," in which I described the ideological convergence of the three foundations that spend the most money in the K-12 education sector: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation.
The Walton Foundation has long been known as staunchly conservative, a steadfast funder of school choice, of vouchers and charters. Now Walton, Gates, and Broad fund many of the same programs, including KIPP and Teach for America, and the Gates foundation funds ultra-conservative advocates of charters and vouchers, such as Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education.

Since my book first appeared, I have learned that there are many more members of the billionaires' boys club (although I do not know which of them are mere multi-millionaires rather than billionaires).

Hijacking of the First Amendment

Robert Reich, The Hijacking of the 1st. Amendment. Occupy everything.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Declares Goldman Sachs Guilty

Occupy Wall Street Declares Goldman Sachs Guilty

Occupy Wall Street Declares Goldman Sachs Guilty

Angus Wright explains the issues

The Fire Next Time is Now: Environmental Historian Angus Wright’s Call for a Planetary Patriotism

  (Angus is a friend) 
By Robert Jensen
Angus Wright has a way of saying things we may not want to hear in a way that’s hard to ignore.

An example: During a meeting of environmentalists about shaping the public conversation on our most pressing ecological crises, folks were wrestling with how to present an honest analysis in accessible language -- how to talk about the bad news and the need for radical responses, without turning people off. During the discussion about the effects of climate change, Wright offered a simple suggestion for a slogan: “No more water, the fire next time.”

Those words from a black spiritual, made famous by James Baldwin’s borrowing for his 1963 book “The Fire Next Time,” are usually invoked metaphorically. Wright was suggesting that we might want to consider the phrase literally. After a summer of drought and forest fires in Texas where I live, Wright’s comment reminded me that climate disruption isn’t part of some science-fiction future, but is unfolding around us in ways that are both complex and hard to predict, but devastating simple: We’re in deep trouble, ecologically and culturally, as we try to face up to unprecedented planetary problems in a society in denial.

Wright is one of our most astute observers of these troubles. His willingness to face these issues, and his ability to grasp the interplay of complex systems, is no surprise to readers of his book The Death of Ramon Gonzalez: The Modern Agricultural Dilemma, first published in 1990 and revised for a 2005 edition. Looking at one region in Mexico, Wright explains how political and economic power, combined with the arrogance of experts who believe they have all the answers, have radically changed people, communities, and land -- mostly for the worse.

California Needs to Fund Public Education and Social Services, Not Prisons | California Progress Report

California Needs to Fund Public Education and Social Services, Not Prisons | California Progress Report

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The need for public investment in public schools

Important report: Public education faces two significant challenges. The population of students that schools have traditionally underserved is growing rapidly at the same time there is greater pressure for improving outcomes for all students and for equipping them with the knowledge and skills for success in the 21st century. Meeting these challenges will require a redoubling of the civic investment, the authors write. Around the country, community members have formed organizations to channel their support for public schools. A recent report identified public education funds (PEFs) -- twice the number from a decade before -- that provided $1.2 billion in funds to support public schools in 2007, serving more than 20 million children. These organizations can only function effectively, however, if they meet high standards for efficiency, effectiveness, and ethics. The National Commission on Civic Investment in Education therefore created a set of standards specifically for PEFs in five areas: mission and policies; evaluation and transparency; responsible stewardship; legal compliance; and personal and professional integrity. PEFs can lead the advocacy efforts necessary to set policymakers' priorities straight, but can only do so effectively if they have the strong support of the public they represent and who work as part of these organizations.
Read more:
See the standards:
From PEN.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bean counters and school compliance

Paul Karrer: Bean counters and educational compliance
About 4,000 schools in California are in "failing" status. And of those, a measly 85 have managed to "unfail" themselves. That is just a squeak over 2 percent.
What gets schools and even entire districts in failing status, called program improvement, or P.I., is a Byzantine formula. If any one group of students—Anglo, special education, Latino, one-legged hemophiliacs—scores below basic (a very low average), the entire school is placed in failing status. When that occurs, a downward spiral kicks in. Everything must now be focused on this specific group of under-achieving students. It is a Sisyphean task.
Spreckels School, which has a super high score and high performing kids, is in failing status because two kids dragged down the score.
Now, imagine the reality of teaching in a district where 40 percent or more of the students are low performers.
No Child Left Behind has destroyed public education, contaminated its noble mission, and sold out to private industry in the name of reform. Those of us left in the educational trenches are blamed for conditions we have not caused, cannot fix, yet are held accountable for.
"Reform" plays itself out like this in my failing school.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

California and NCLB

State Schools Chief Torlakson Issues Statement on NCLB Waiver

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement today regarding the State Board of Education's initial discussion of whether to seek a waiver* from the provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act:
"I commend President Michael Kirst and members of the State Board of Education for their thoughtful discussion today, and their willingness to examine both the benefits and the costs associated with the extensive conditions California would have to meet to seek a waiver of the provisions of No Child Left Behind.
"As a state, we are being asked to make wholesale changes that would affect the operation of every school—with very little time and no new resources—all to receive temporary respite from a law that, thankfully, Congress is in the process of rewriting.
"I continue to believe that the best answer for addressing a bad law is to replace it with a good one. However, recognizing the immediate need for relief among so many schools, the State Board will continue to examine the option of applying for a waiver in a manner that reflects the state's priorities, timetables, and budget constraints."

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Story of Broke (2011)

And they want us to believe the problem is public pensions.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Nov. 8, 2011: Ohio Voters Repeal Anti-Worker Law

Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to repeal Senate Bill 5--Gov. John Kasich's attack on middle-class jobs that was designed to destroy collective bargaining rights in Ohio.

We pieced together a short, powerful video summing up the amazing energy that went into this. I hope you'll take a moment to watch: 

[ ] 

Tonight's victory represents a turning point in our collective work to protect good jobs, working families and workplace rights. But it's more than that. It's a long-overdue return to common sense. 

Sanders: Fed's 'veil of secrecy' lifted

Dec. 2010. How the banks did it to us.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Rally to Defend Your Education

Defend public education in California

Make or Break Moment for Public Education in California

Posted on 07 November 2011

By Pablo Rodriguez
Communities for a New California
On Friday, November 4th, I proudly joined a growing movement of students, teachers, parents, and workers and sent the open letter below to the fifty corporate elite who serve on the boards of California's public colleges and universities. We are the 99%, and through our taxes we are already paying more than our fair share to save public education and vital social services in California.  We are at a make-or-break moment for the future of public education.
We have endured $17 billion in cuts to public education and 200% increases in tuition for the University of California, California State University and community college students since just 2008. Now, $2.5 billion in additional cuts to education and essential services are under consideration for December.  We call on those corporate elite to sign theReFund California pledge[1] to make Wall Street pay for refunding public education.
A week of actions at fifteen California university campuses[2] will begin at Fresno State University on November 8th[3] (see video below) and will demand the corporate elite on the boards of our colleges and universities sign the pledge.   The week of campus actions will conclude Nov. 16 at the meetings of the University of California and California State University governing boards and reinforce the message, “It is time banks, corporations, and the wealthiest 1% PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE.

Rallies Call for Tax on Wall Street

Let’s Talk Democratic Socialism, Already -- In These Times

Let’s Talk Democratic Socialism, Already -- In These Times

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Demonstrations and violence in Oakland

While thousands marched to support OCW in Oakland, a group of less than 200 anarchists stepped on the media coverage and encouraged police repression.

This is how the AFL-CIO reported on the march on their blog:
“More than 7,000 Occupy Oakland protesters, union members and community and faith activists peacefully rallied against Wall Street greed, bank foreclosures and for good jobs yesterday in one of the largest demonstrations since the Occupy Wall Street movement began last month.
The Alameda County Labor Council endorsed the Day of Action and encouraged local unions and union members to take part. Many of the union members who joined in the action took unpaid time off work to make their voices heard. Unions also worked with the city government, the Oakland school system and other employers to make leave arrangements.

Bravo Papandreou!

Bravo Papandreou!
The Greek Prime Minister does the right thing for the people.
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