Wednesday, July 31, 2013

5 Million Could Be Kicked Off Food Stamps Under Republican Cuts

5 Million Could Be Kicked Off Food Stamps Under Republican Cuts: A new report suggests the healthcare costs alone would swamp the savings from the GOP's food stamps proposal.

Tax Havens cost US $150 Billion per year.


California's Apple and Chevron lead the way 
No company should be able to game the tax system to avoid paying what it legitimately owes. And, yet, with at least 83 of the nation's top 100 publicly traded companies establishing shell companies in offshore havens to avoid taxes, this is becoming more the rule than the exception. GE, Google, Goldman Sachs and dozens of others have created hundreds of phantom entities with nothing more than a clever tax attorney and P.O. box. 

   A dozen of California's largest corporations are holding nearly $262 billion in foreign earnings in offshore subsidiaries to avoid U.S. and California taxation, according to a new study by a the Public Interest Research Group.  California's Apple, was listed as having has the most offshore holdings of any U.S.  corporation, $82.66 billion.  Chevron was another major tax avoider.  Tax havens shield companies from federal, state and local taxes.
 Recent academic studies in the report  estimate that about $150 billion in tax revenue is lost every year to offshore tax havens. The result? Cuts to public services, additional taxes today or additional debt to be passed on to the next generation.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Balanced budget is only the first step

Viewpoints:

Special to The Bee

PUBLISHED SUNDAY, JUL. 28, 2013


There has been plenty of celebration about California having a balanced budget this year without needing to resort to deep spending cuts. After years of severe shortfalls, there is much to like about a balanced budget that makes strategic investments in education, health care and other key areas.
But as we look forward, it's time to start thinking beyond just balancing the budget and consider how the right kinds of public investment can position our state to be "golden" once more.
During this year's budget debate, Gov. Jerry Brown was widely quoted as saying: "Everybody wants to see more spending. That's what this place is, it's a big spending machine." But what if we thought of the state, instead, as a big "prosperity machine"? What would that look like? And what would it mean for individuals, families and communities across California?
For starters, it would mean having an ambitious, long-term vision for state spending, one that ensures robust investment in education, innovation and other building blocks of economic growth and broadly shared opportunity.
For example, why couldn't California strive for:
• Funding K-12 schools at a level that puts us in the top 10 of all states, rather in the bottom 10, where we've ranked for the past several years.
• Aligning support for the University of California, California State University and community colleges with the mission of the state's Master Plan for Higher Education, which calls for making a college education accessible – and affordable – to every qualified California high school graduate.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Massive Salmon Loss


Massive Loss of Endangered Winter Run Salmon
Perhaps half of this years spawning class die in irrigation ditches: survivors
hammered by mismanagement of Shasta cold water reserves

During April, May and early June, large numbers of endangered winter-run Chinook salmon and other species were drawn into channels in the Yolo Bypass and Colusa Basin and died, according to reports by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and National Marine Fisheries Service biologists (NMFS).  The total number of stranded fish is unknown but agency biologists said it could be as high as half of this year’s returning population of winter-run.  This tragedy is exacerbated by high temperature stress on spawning winter-run caused by mismanagement of limited cold water pools in Shasta Reservoir this year.

State and federal fish agencies have known and documented for almost two decades that up-migrating endangered and threatened fish on the Sacramento River, including winter-run, spring-run Chinook salmon, steelhead and green sturgeon are drawn into the irrigation and drainage waterways of the Yolo Bypass and Colusa Basin from which there is no exit and are trapped.  Excepting sporadic rescue efforts, little has been done to address this longstanding problem.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

California Taxes the rich to pay for schools


Yes on 30 Steve Rhoades
The Yes on 30 campaign won higher taxes for rich Californians, winning 55 percent to 45 percent. Even though polling showed that people were willing to vote for higher taxes on the rich, the governor kept talking about "shared sacrifice." Photo: Steve Rhodes.
“There is no alternative to austerity,” insist the rich, along with their politicians, foundations, think tanks, and media.
They’ve been saying it for decades. “Taxes are bad,” they also claim. “Government doesn’t work. And public employees are greedy.”
Consequently, common wisdom had it that “you can’t raise taxes.” Even people who should have known better believed this—while the public sector slid down the tubes.
So how did Proposition 30 succeed? This measure, passed by voters last November, raises $6 billion a year for schools and services—in California, a supposedly “anti-tax” state. The money comes mostly through an income tax hike on rich people, along with a tiny sales tax increase of ¼ percent.
The story should be better known, because with the right preparation, you could make it happen in your state, too.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Whole System stinks- Elizabeth Warren



The whole system stinks

 | By 

I’ve spent years fighting back against credit card companies that put out zero-interest teaser rate cards, planning to jack up the price later and make all their profits in the fine print.
I also fought back against teaser rate mortgages that promised low payments in the first few years, but then shot up to rates that pushed millions of families into foreclosure.
So it’s shocking to me that the United States Senate would offer its own teaser rate for our student loan system -- a system that is scheduled to make more than $184 billion in profits over the next ten years. That's not the business the United States government should be in.
We had a majority in the Senate to keep student interest rates low, but because of Republican filibusters, the interest rate on federally subsidized student loans jumped from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1st. Instead of restoring that 3.4% rate, a new so-called "compromise" plan on the table raises the interest rate on those loans this year to 3.86% for undergraduate students, and 5.41% for graduate students in 2013.
And then it gets worse. The plan is set up to collect higher interest rates in future years. After just 24 months, the rate jumps above 6.8% for graduate students. Within a few years, rates for all loans will be higher than if Congress does nothing -- and some could climb as high as 10.5%. Even worse, with the federal government already making billions in profits off these programs, the "compromise" plan is set up to actually increase those profits by hundreds of millions of dollars more.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

83 % Disapprove of Congressional behavior


Congressional approval ratings
NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.   83% disapprove of Congress.
ABC/Washington Post poll.   73 % disapprove of the way Congress is behaving.
July 24, 2013. 

Sacramento District Insists on closing public scho...

Choosing Democracy: Sacramento District Insists on closing public scho...: The   Sacramento City school district is  closing  seven elementary schools, disproportionately hurting students in low-inc...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Detroit's Decline is a Distinctly Capitalist Failure

Richard Wolff.

Capitalism as a system ought to be judged by its failures as well as its successes.
The automobile-driven economic growth of the 1950s and 1960s madeDetroit a globally recognized symbol of successful capitalist renewal after the great depression and the war (1929-1945). High-wage auto industry jobs with real security and exemplary benefits were said to prove capitalism's ability to generate and sustain a large "middle class", one that could include African Americans, too. Auto-industry jobs became inspirations and models for what workers across America might seek and acquire – those middle-class components of a modern "American Dream".
True, quality jobs in Detroit were forced from the automobile capitalists by long and hard union struggles, especially across the 1930s. Once defeated in those struggles, auto capitalists quickly arranged to rewrite the history so that good wages and working conditions became something they "gave" to their workers. In any case, Detroit became a vibrant, world-class city in the 1950s and 1960s; its distinctive culture and sound shaped the world's music much as its cars shaped the world's industries.
Over the past 40 years, capitalism turned that success into the abject failure culminating now in the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

“Seven Students Head for Haiti With Children’s Hope”
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Dear Friends,

Fans whirl madly as our new puppy busies himself taste-testing each duffle bag. Braving the heat of our donated storage space (thank you kind neighbors) we are crazy with delight knowing we have luggage space for 1800 pounds of medical and school supplies. The July 2013 Children’s Hope team leaves for Haiti in less than two weeks. Which means its time for me to place our prescription drug order, and for me to ask for help reaching that “1800 pound” goal.

Your generosity has been steady and unwavering. When the devastating 2010 quake killed more than 300,000, your generous donations to Children’s Hope literally saved lives.

At that time, the UN added to an already excessive military force with troops from Nepal who unintentionally introduced cholera to the island. Without clean drinking water, the unchecked cholera epidemic continues to kill - more than 8,000 dead and rising. Hopefully, public pressure will motivate the UN to accept responsibility to build a water purification system, but for now, the cholera rages. With your help, Children’s Hope teams have provided constant support to small free clinics in “dangerous red zones” where larger aid organizations won’t go, like into Cité Soleil.

Now, with the packing, I’ve found my mind drifting to the small clinics, schools and orphanages we support. I see the faces and feel the fevered touch of a child’s hand, as if my hand has a memory of its own. Yesterday, while watering deckflowers I used the hose to wash down remnants of our puppy’s failed attempts to make it “to the ivy” in time. I was suspended for a moment, cold clean water bouncing off the deck, as I came face to face with our privilege. I was really using precious, clean, safe drinking water to wash off puppy’s failures. I felt obscene for that moment as I recalled those waiting, hopeful Haitian children.

I know we can’t bring safe, clean drinking water (the best preventative for cholera) to all the children in Haiti, but we can buy a truck-load of water for MABE Orphanage. I know we can’t give every hungry child in Haiti a nutritious meal even once a day, but we can bring children’s vitamins to The Lamp Clinic in Cité Soleil. We can take a team of young, earnest volunteers to visit the rural health clinic and into Port au Prince to hold acutely ill babies at Mother Teresa’s hospital for infants. This we can do. This we have been doing since 2004, but only with your help.

This year, we are out-numbered by seven hardworking student team members who have worked the better part of one year raising their own travel expenses and in-country costs. I am so proud of them. Please don’t let them go in empty handed. Consider making a donation to Children’s Hope (address below) so that we can launch these young adults into a lifetime of commitment to service. Thank you in advance for your continued solidarity.

For your convenience, you may also donate online by hitting the "donate" button on our Children's Hope blog here: coalitionfordemocracyinhaiti.blogspot.com/

Your donations are tax deductible. EIN: 20-2863867

Peace,
All ways and always, Leisa

Children’s Hope
3025A Cambridge Road, Cameron Park, CA 95682
lfaulkner@pacific.edu

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Justice Denied for Trayvon Martin


 Justice for Trayvon Denied:  Renewing the Fight Against Racism
Statement of the Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee, July 14, 2013
 Democratic Socialists of America joins the broad civil rights and progressive community in expressing its outrage at the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin.  Only an insane, ALEC-inspired “stand your ground law” combined with the racist assumption that African Americans automatically pose a threat to anyone’s person and property enabled George Zimmerman to be acquitted. In the law of most other societies, the armed party would have been responsible for “standing down” and avoiding an altercation with an unarmed party.  But in the United States, an unarmed black teenager, walking in his father’s neighborhood, is viewed by all too many as a threat to an armed vigilante who not only initiated the deadly encounter, but stalked the victim.
If the “stand your ground” law and a lax prosecution enabled George Zimmerman to get off, this is clearly one in a long series of cases in the United States where racist laws and true justice fail to coincide. George Zimmerman’s words to the police dispatcher –who urged him to stand down—ironically summarized what many of us see to be the outcome of the trial:  “Fucking punks; these assholes always get away.” Indeed, George Zimmerman got away.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Support our work in Haiti



“Seven Students Head for Haiti with Childrens' Hope 
Dear Friends,
Fans whirl madly as our new puppy busies himself taste-testing each duffle bag. Braving the heat of our donated storage space (thank you kind neighbors) we are crazy with delight knowing we have luggage space for 1800 pounds of medical and school supplies. The July 2013 Children’s Hope team leaves for Haiti in less than two weeks. Which means its time for me to place our prescription drug order, and for me to ask for help reaching that “1800 pound” goal.
Your generosity has been steady and unwavering. When the devastating 2010 quake killed more than 300,000, your generous donations to Children’s Hope literally saved lives.
At that time, the UN added to an already excessive military force with troops from Nepal who unintentionally introduced cholera to the island. Without clean drinking water, the unchecked cholera epidemic continues to kill - more than 8,000 dead and rising. Hopefully, public pressure will motivate the UN to accept responsibility to build a water purification system, but for now, the cholera rages. With your help, Children’s Hope teams have provided constant support to small free clinics in “dangerous red zones” where larger aid organizations won’t go, like into Cité Soleil.
Now, with the packing, I’ve found my mind drifting to the small clinics, schools and orphanages we support. I see the faces and feel the fevered touch of a child’s hand, as if my hand has a memory of its own. Yesterday, while watering deckflowers I used the hose to wash down remnants of our puppy’s failed attempts to make it “to the ivy” in time. I was suspended for a moment, cold clean water bouncing off the deck, as I came face to face with our privilege. I was really using precious, clean, safe drinking water to wash off puppy’s failures. I felt obscene for that moment as I recalled those waiting, hopeful Haitian children.
I know we can’t bring safe, clean drinking water (the best preventative for cholera) to all the children in Haiti, but we can buy a truck-load of water for MABE Orphanage. I know we can’t give every hungry child in Haiti a nutritious meal even once a day, but we can bring children’s vitamins to The Lamp Clinic in Cité Soleil. We can take a team of young, earnest volunteers to visit the rural health clinic and into Port au Prince to hold acutely ill babies at Mother Teresa’s hospital for infants. This we can do. This we have been doing since 2004, but only with your help.
This year, we are out-numbered by seven hardworking student team members who have worked the better part of one year raising their own travel expenses and in-country costs. I am so proud of them. Please don’t let them go in empty handed. Consider making a donation to Children’s Hope (address below) so that we can launch these young adults into a lifetime of commitment to service. Thank you in advance for your continued solidarity.
For your convenience, you may also donate online at our blog here:http://coalitionfordemocracyinhaiti.blogspot.com/

Your donations are tax deductible. EIN: 20-2863867
Peace,
All ways and always, Leisa

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jerry Brown's War on the Sacramento Delta



Jerry Brown's War on the First Amendment 

Caltrans confiscates anti-tunnels signs 

by Dan Bacher 

In an alarming move against the First Amendment, Governor Jerry Brown is apparently using the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to silence critics of his proposed peripheral tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, according to Restore the Delta (RTD). 

The Stockton-based group called on Brown to order Caltrans crews to cease confiscating “Save the Delta! Stop the Tunnels!” signs displayed by Delta land and business owners, even though these signs are posted on private property. 

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, and Delta business and landowners who have had signs confiscated will hold a press conference on Friday, July 12, at 10 am in front of the Caltrans Headquarters, 1120 N Street, Sacramento to protest this abuse of power. 

Delta advocates oppose the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels because the $54.1 billion project will hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species. The project would also, under the guise of habitat restoration, take large areas of Delta farmland, some of the most fertile on the planet, out of production in order to deliver massive amounts of water to irrigate toxic, drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. 

Elizabeth Warren on Student Loan Debt



The government will make $51 billion in profit off of federal student loans this year.

That's five times the money Google made in profit in 2012. In fact, it's more than any Fortune 500 company made last year.

It's obscene. Our government should help students who are trying to get an education, not figure out ways to squeeze more money out of them.

This week, the Senate will be voting one more time on a bill to freeze the interest rate on new Stafford student loans at 3.4% while Congress works out a long-term student debt solution. A majority of senators support the bill, but so far, the Senate Republicans have blocked an up-or-down vote.

I have been speaking out on this issue, and I'm writing today to ask you to join me. Tell the Senate to stop playing politics with our kids' futures and to give the student loan bill an up-or-down vote.

Students owe more than $1 trillion in student loan debt – more than all the credit card debt in the entire country.

But they didn't go on a shopping spree at the mall -- they did exactly what we told them to do. They worked hard, they played by the rules, and they got an education.

Robert Reich (Why Republicans Want to Tax Students and Not Polluters)

Robert Reich (Why Republicans Want to Tax Students and Not Polluters)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 4, 1776


The Declaration of Independence:
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.