Saturday, March 30, 2013

Time Magazine- Marx was right,,, sort of


World Finance: Marx's Revenge: How Class Struggle is Shaping the World

By Michael SchumanMarch 25, 2013

Karl Marx was supposed to be dead and buried. With the collapse of the
Soviet Union and China’s Great Leap Forward into capitalism, communism
faded into the quaint backdrop of James Bond movies or the deviant
mantra of Kim Jong Un. The class conflict that Marx believed
determined the course of history seemed to melt away in a prosperous
era of free trade and free enterprise. The far-reaching power of
globalization, linking the most remote corners of the planet in
lucrative bonds of finance, outsourcing and “borderless”
manufacturing, offered everybody from Silicon Valley tech gurus to
Chinese farm girls ample opportunities to get rich. Asia in the latter
decades of the 20th century witnessed perhaps the most remarkable
record of poverty alleviation in human history — all thanks to the
very capitalist tools of trade, entrepreneurship and foreign
investment. Capitalism appeared to be fulfilling its promise — to
uplift everyone to new heights of wealth and welfare.

Or so we thought. With the global economy in a protracted crisis, and
workers around the world burdened by joblessness, debt and stagnant
incomes, Marx’s biting critique of capitalism — that the system is
inherently unjust and self-destructive — cannot be so easily
dismissed. Marx theorized that the capitalist system would inevitably
impoverish the masses as the world’s wealth became concentrated in the
hands of a greedy few, causing economic crises and heightened conflict
between the rich and working classes. “Accumulation of wealth at one
pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil,
slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite
pole,” Marx wrote.

A growing dossier of evidence suggests that he may have been right. It
is sadly all too easy to find statistics that show the rich are
getting richer while the middle class and poor are not. A September
study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington noted
that the median annual earnings of a full-time, male worker in the
U.S. in 2011, at $48,202, were smaller than in 1973. Between 1983 and
2010, 74% of the gains in wealth in the U.S. went to the richest 5%,
while the bottom 60% suffered a decline, the EPI calculated. No wonder
some have given the 19th century German philosopher a second look. In
China, the Marxist country that turned its back on Marx, Yu Rongjun
was inspired by world events to pen a musical based on Marx’s classic
Das Kapital. “You can find reality matches what is described in the
book,” says the playwright.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Digital Grab: Corporate Power Has Seized the Internet | California Progress Report

Digital Grab: Corporate Power Has Seized the Internet | California Progress Report

First votes on immigration reform- we won



The first votes on immigration reform have been cast – and those who think immigrants should be treated fairly have won!  We know there are many challenges ahead but we should take pride in this exciting victory.

Now it’s time to thank the senators who voted NO on Senator Sessions’ anti-immigrant amendment.  PLEASE SIGN ON to this Thank You Letter by COB Wednesday, April 3.

On March 22, all voting Democratic senators, two Independents as well as two Republicans (Collins and Murkowski) voted NO on Senator Sessions’ anti-immigrant amendment to the budget resolution that would have restricted immigrants who obtain legal status from ever qualifying for Medicaid or for subsidies that make insurance more affordable through the ACA.  See more information below. 

As the Senate gets closer to introducing an immigration reform bill that provides a roadmap to citizenship, we need to keep this momentum going!  They need to know their vote mattered now so they remember when it comes up again in immigration reform.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Oligarchy - U.S. Style


Oligarchy Exists Inside Our Democracy

By Ed Walker, who writes regularly for Firedoglake as masaccio
Suddenly it looks like we are seeing political victories for progressives, on LGBT rights, on issues important to Hispanics, even occasionally on issues important to women. At the same time, we lose every single battle over economic issues. How is it that when polls show that a huge majority oppose cuts to Social Security, Democratic politicians like President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin are all for it, as are the Republicans? How is it that when Obama gets elected on a pledge to hike taxes on incomes above $250K, with a huge majority and control of the Senate, and a legislative situation where all he has to do is nothing and it happens, and then it doesn’t? How is it that the same bill continued a bunch of disgusting loopholes for the richest Americans and the corporations they control, like the NASCAR loophole that essentially only benefits one enormously wealthy family? How is it that within days of hearings showing the incompetence of JPMorgan’s derivatives traders the House Agriculture Committee cleared legislation to inflict derivative losses on the FDIC?
To answer that question, we have to get outside of normal discourse in the US, and take up a new work: oligarchy. Fortunately Yves has already crossed the boundary line from acceptable discourse into the unmentionable, so even though our pundit class doesn’t seem to grasp the possibility, it’s easy to see that this single concept explains the apparent discrepancy between wins on social issues and utter defeat on all economic issues.
We think of the US as the Shining City on the Hill of Democracy. Maybe so. But as Jeffrey Winters and Benjamin Page say in their article Oligarchy in the United States?, kindly made available by the author, it is perfectly possible for an oligarchy to function quite nicely inside a democracy. In this paper, and this somewhat more accessible version, Winters and Page answer three questions: a) what is oligarchy? b) how can you have an oligarchy in what is ostensibly a democracy, and c) how can an oligarchy function when there is such a large number of hyper-wealthy people? As to the first, they define oligarchy to mean rule by the richest citizens, a definition that follows Aristotle. This is from Politics, IV, viii:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Oppose the peripheral tunnels


The public opposes the peripheral tunnels

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels is proceeding forward without any approval by the voters because the Brown administration knows that the project would be overwhelming defeated just like the peripheral canal plan was in 1982.

The tunnel plan is simply a corporate water grab by agribusiness, oil companies and Southern California water agencies. The "habitat restoration" in the plan is added as an afterthought by state officials to green wash the destruction of the largest estuary on the West Coast.

The tunnels will spread the carnage of Central Valley Chinook salmon, steelhead and other fish north to the Sacramento River while the massive fish kills at the state and federal water pumps in the South Delta will continue. How can we trust the state to construct state-of-the-art fish screens on the new intakes when they have failed to install them at the existing pumps?

Dan Bacher, Sacramento


Friday, March 22, 2013

Cheney's Halliburton Made $39.5 Billion on Iraq War



By Angelo Young, International Business Times
20 March 13 
The accounting of the financial cost of the nearly decade-long Iraq War will go on for years, but a recent analysis has shed light on the companies that made money off the war by providing support services as the privatization of what were former U.S. military operations rose to unprecedented levels.
Private or publicly listed firms received at least $138 billion of U.S. taxpayer money for government contracts for services that included providing private security, building infrastructure and feeding the troops.
Ten contractors received 52 percent of the funds, according to an analysis by the Financial Times that was published Tuesday.
The No. 1 recipient?
Houston-based energy-focused engineering and construction firm KBR, Inc. (NYSE:KBR), which was spun off from its parent, oilfield services provider Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL), in 2007.
The company was given $39.5 billion in Iraq-related contracts over the past decade, with many of the deals given without any bidding from competing firms, such as a $568-million contract renewal in 2010 to provide housing, meals, water and bathroom services to soldiers, a deal that led to a Justice Department lawsuit over alleged kickbacks, as reported by Bloomberg.
http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/308-12/16561-focus-cheneys-halliburton-made-395-billion-on-iraq-war

Thursday, March 21, 2013

1ST EVER "HALF 4 HAITI" BENEFIT RUN UPDATE


1st Ever "Half 4 Haiti" Benefit Run Update

Dear Friends,

Boy, that was hard. Really hard. I knew running a half marathon more than ten years (and a few lbs) after my last one was going to be challenging... but it proved to be even more difficult than I anticipated. Nevertheless, I made it. My time certainly did not earn me an honorary membership on the Kenyan Olympic team, but I did manage to cross the finish line under my own power. Then, just when my body was beginning to recover from the run, I got hit with a pretty nasty stomach flu. Needless to say, it's been a tough week and a half.

On the bright side, your generosity made our first ever "HALF 4 HAITI" benefit run well worth the effort, as we were able to generate more than $1,500 in pledges for our Children's Hope solidarity work in Haiti. Our next challenge, of course, is too collect all of the pledge money. Paying your pledge is easy. If you were kind enough to pledge, you can make your donation in two ways:

1) Old School - simply make out a check to "Children's Hope" and mail it to Children's Hope, 3025A Cambridge Rd., Cameron Park, CA  95682;

or

2) New School -- visit our Children's Hope blog here and click on the "Donate" button on the upper left corner, then follow the directions to complete your donation.

By the way, if you meant to make a pledge but didn't quite get around to it... no worries, you can still donate! Every penny you contribute will go towards our Children's Hope solidarity work in Haiti. A few of our current projects are briefly described below.

Thanks again for your solidarity and generosity, we deeply appreciate it... many hands make the burden lighter.

Solidarity,
Paul B

MABE Orphanage, Port au Prince
These are the MABE kids. Many were taken in after the military coup and ensuing political crisis of 2004 left thousands of Haitian children, especially in the poorest neighborhoods, orphaned and on the streets. We've watched these children grow up over the years and they are always in our thoughts and prayers.

The Lamp for Haiti Clinic, Cite Soleil, Haiti
With your support, we also provide medicine and medical supplies to the Lamp for Haiti, an amazing medical clinic providing free care to the children of Cite Soleil, the poorest and most notorious slum in the poorest country in the western hemisphere.



Basketball is very popular in Haiti, but the children who live in Cite Soleil near the Lamp for Haiti clinic have no place to play. Once we raise sufficient funds, we hope to work with the Lamp staff to refurbish this basketball court in the neighborhood, which is currently unusable. Your support can help these children have what every child deserves, a place to play.

The Children of Cite Soleil and members of our Children's Hope Team (Summer 2012)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dolores Huerta - California Hall of Fame 2013.


Induction will be March 20, 2013

Dolores Huerta  will be inducted into the   California Hall of Fame (2013) for her labor and community leadership.  She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.


 Huerta has contributed to movements for union rights and  social justice  since the founding along with Cesar Chaves, Philip Vera Cruz   and others  of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union and she continues  through her current work in supporting union democracy,   civic engagement and empowerment of women and youth in disadvantaged communities. The creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing in the Southwest and contributed significantly to the growth of Latino politics in the U.S.  In her frequent public engagements at college, universities and high schools  she presents  a Latina feminist perspective to civil rights and immigration issues.  Dolores continues active as  a supporter on union picket lines and union struggles throughout the state.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pay Your Taxes


Pay Up Now just completed a compilation of corporate tax payments over the past five years, using SEC data as reported by the companies themselves. The firms chosen are top-earners who have filed 10-K reports through 2012. Their US Tax figures represent the five-year total of "current" payments.
The 64 corporate teams paid just over 8% in taxes over the five-year period.
The Slink Sixteen
General Electric: The worst tax record over five years, with $81 billion in profits and a $3 billion refund.
Boeing: In addition to receiving a refund despite $21.5 billion in profits, the company ranked high in job cutting, underfunded pensions, and contractor misconduct.
Exxon Mobil: Made by far the largest profits in the group, but paid less than 1% in U.S. taxes, and yet received oil subsidies along with their tax breaks. Unabashedly reports a 2012 "theoretical tax" of over $27 billion, almost 90% of its total income tax expense. The company was also near the top in contractor misconduct.
Verizon: Second worst tax record, with a refund despite $48 billion in profits.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Raise The Minimum Wage

Sacramento Teacher Lay Offs Decline


Excellent news.  Teachers lay offs have  declined.  Only 2,900 teachers received these notices this week in time for the mandatory lay off notices.  Less than 350 teachers received these notices in Sacramento county.  How did this happen?  WE – the voters- passed Proposition 30 and to a lesser extend Prop. 39 in the 2012 elections.  If you didn’t vote- you did not contribute.  Voting makes a difference.
Working together we passed Prop. 30, to fund schools, universities and social services.  This is a floor under austerity.   It raises taxes on the rich to pay for services.  It does raise sales tax by ¼ of  percent – but 90% of the tax increases are on the rich . A tax of 1-3 % on those who make over $250,000 per year.
Bad news  The number of police officers is shrinking  reducing public safety.   This is happening as a result of government austerity programs.

California, like many states,  must produce a “balanced” budget.   State governments use  public tax money for police, fire fighters, teachers, park services, nurses, doctors, social workers and health assistants. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Documentary Exposes US Role in Iraq Sectarian Conflict

Back to Work Budget- Anti Austerity



'A reminder that we don't need to cut teachers and school lunches when we can eliminate wasteful giveaways to fossil fuel corporations.'
 
Jon Queally, staff writer 
 
March 14, 2013
 
In the midst of ongoing hysteria about a 'non-existent deficit crisis' in Washington, the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Wednesday unveiled an alternative approach to destructive austerity economics byreleasing their 'Back to Work Budget' plan for 2014.
 
Pushing back specifically on the dominant talking point of inside-the-Beltway elites, the budget challenges the idea that cutting programs, reducing corporate tax rates, and slashing investments is a pathway to economic prosperity. Its proponents argue the US does not have "a deficit crisis" - as those pushing for steep cuts suggest - but rather, "a jobs crisis."
 
Presented by CPC co-chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison and backed by members of the caucus' Budget Task force - Reps. Jim McDermott, Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan - the plan describes how smart investments, not deep cuts to key programs, would create almost 7 million jobs over the first year of its implementation.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

U.S. Unions Work for Immigration Reform


·      U.S. unions are working for  citizenship now.  Please call your representative today. Insist upon comprehensive immigration reform including:
Roadmap to citizenship.
Making the Dream Act permanent
No temporary or guest worker program.
An end to the criminalization of the immigration debate.
·      The AFL-CIO and its allies are calling all representatives this week.
·      AFL-CIO call in number.  1 (877) 848- 8289.
Among those allies are DSA and the Progressive Alliance.  Here is the DSA call .             Call Congress today!
Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Tribute to President Hugo Chavez at University of the Pacific -- Wed., 3/13, 6pm


UOP Campus Progressive Alliance Presents

A Tribute to President Hugo Chavez

South of the Border
A film by Oliver Stone

"Provocative" -- New York Times

“Interesting & Revealing” -- Financial Times

“A valuable and interesting corrective to the mainstream media’s coverage of Latin America”
                                                     -- Salon.com

Free Admissionion! 
Everyone Welcome!

6pm, Wednesday, March 13, 2013
 Classroom Building 170 
(South Campus)
University of the Pacific

Ryan Budget Plan is a cruel hoax- Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Film- The Invisible War


Campus Progressive Alliance
                                   The Friday Night Film Series Honors Women’s History Month
The Invisible War
“Exceptional” – LA Times         “Unforgettable” – Salon

“Haunting” – Time “Shocking” – Entertainment

Friday, March 8, 2013
 Hinde Auditorium
Sac State University Union

Shorts--6:00pm    Feature Film—6:30pm

FREE ADMISSION!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Celebrate Women's History Month


CELEBRATE WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
Examining Title IX and 40 Years of Progress Toward Gender Equality in Education. Professors Dolores Delgado Campbell, Camille Leonhart and Nancy Reitz.
AMERICAN RIVER COLLEGE . SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA. Raef Hall 160. Thursday March 7, 2013. 12:15- 1:15 PM. 

Tea Party Plot to undermine the government: Robert Reich

California Progress Report

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Republicans force austerity on the nation


 They will create  a new recession!
The Republican Party used its majority in the House of Representatives (Congress) to force a budget sequester. This month sequester is the strategy to impose austerity.
 In economics austerity is the  policy of reducing government spending by cutting social services such as health care, education, food assistance, and other welfare assistance.   At the federal level, Republicans and some Democrats  seek austerity by cutting social Security and Medicare.  This week the Republicans insisted  on massive budget cuts known as the sequester.  By any name, these cuts are bad.  In the current economic crisis, the governments of Ireland, Greece, Italy, the UK, Spain and Portugal have implemented austerity programs and cut their budgets  creating  more unemployment and making  the recessions in these countries worse.
Austerity policies can be counter-productive because reduced government spending  increases unemployment and thus cost more money for unemployment insurance and  food assistance.  These cut backs make the recession  worse and last longer. 
While unemployment remains high and economic growth slow,  government policy  should not impose austerity measures which  reduce essential public safety  programs for  the middle and working classes and that shred the  social safety net for the most vulnerable. Rather, government policy should prioritize public investments in job creation, public education and healthcare reform, while raising essential revenues by taxing the large corporations  and the wealthiest citizens who can afford to pay.