Thursday, October 31, 2013

Raising billions to defend the 99% at the ballot box and in the streets...

Following in the footsteps of one of my mentors I now have the ability to raise billions to defend the 99% at the ballot box.  I am going to occupy the US Senate race in Georgia in 2014.  What is a SuperPAC you ask?



What am I going to do with my new evil powers?

Why, bring United for A Fair Economy to Georgia to hold one of the uber-excellent popular education workshops in 2014.  Hopefully Atlanta, Augusta, and Savannah; I spoke with them earlier in the week--if you'd like to help on the logistics end contact me--as we are working out the details.

I'm also going to be raising money to put a professionally made TV attack ad on Comedy Central and other cable outlets to protect Social Secruity from politicians looking to slash benifits in subtle ways.

To help raise the cash I have to exploit my cache of protest pictures and punk rock music to raise the profile of the PAC so I'm making youtube video's.  Here is my first one...


I'm still waiting for the FEC to get back to me with my #  so that I can get my Act Blue account up to start bringing in the billions so hold off on those big $$$'s for now. (And I guess I need to open that bank account to transter your billions from Act Blue to my occupy coffers).

Anyways thats it for now.

Oh, go give me some RT's...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day Three of my efforts to Draft Colberts Lawyer... I need a theme song!


So as many of my readers now know, this week I became a SuperPac so I could Occupy my US Senate race and fight the 1% here in Georgia.

Whats a SuperPac is on the lips of almost everyone I meet.  So for more on my newly acquired evil powers I'll turn to my mentor to explain.



Free speech is indeed an awesome thing.  And there is much the 99% must fight tooth and nail to protect from the 1%.

And now that Working Class Georgia is up and running we need to raise the money to do some serious damage to the 1% next year in Georgia.  TV ad wars are expensive!  Also complex.  So I need a lawyer.  Which got me an idea to turn to my mentor for help.

Today is day three of Operation Draft Colbert's Lawyer [code name: dude where's you lawyer?] to help me navigate my new found powers; also Operation Draft Colberts Wallet to pay for Colberts Lawyer [code name Dude he's expensive].

So far everything is going as planned--meaning total radio silence.
 My mentor's gatekeepers must think this is a joke.  But its not, and persistence pays off--I will wear them down.

Day Two
[If a minion can track down my day two tweet I don't have the time to scroll my twitter feed and find it to embed at this second it be appreciated thanks]

But I'm realizing this may take a while.

So what my little minions need (my SuperPAC volunteers who are helping Retweet me) is some music as they go about the boring hard work of building an occupy army.

So who better than Fat Mike to write my Occupy the US Senate theme song?  If Occupy LA can have a Theme Song then why not an Occupy SuperPAC?



So Day Three of Draft Colberts Lawyer is also Day One of Draft Fat Mike to write me a Theme Song [code name: Write my Theme Song Bitch].  Which I can then sell to my little minions as they do the boring hard work of retweetiing, making phone calls, knocking on doors, and attending economic justice workshops all over Georgia.

Please RT me and help me get this occupy army a theme song!'

Resistance is futile Mike.  Get to writing!

Didn't Democrats learn anything from the Iraq War vote in 2003?

So this morning I caught a great tweet.
That is what is going on right now in Georgia.  The pols are saying "move to the middle" as if going after "swing voters" which is also known as the least informed voters of all.  Michelle "No Backbone" Nunn is "the only candidate who can win".  Or so say a lot of politico's who will reap jobs and appointments from having a Democratic Senator in DC.

But working class families in Georgia don't get to reap the spoils of a party machince.  So "swing voters" are a must for politico's but why? Might it be that the voters who show up to the real world a few days before the election to make their choice between the few trivial facts they know about the candidates be the smartest voters?  Or couuld it be that the dumbest most ill informed voters are a prop in a Side-show act?

Why are we fighting to win over (over a year before they'll pay attention) the opinions of swing voters?

The fact is, "No backbone" Nunn is a liar--and a neoliberal.  Ms. 1% isn't trying to be a "conservative Democrat" so we can win in November.  She is trying to convince the base that the interests of the 1% are the same thing as what "conservative" voters want.

This is a card trick for Democratic activists who aren't paying close enough attention to the hands of the politco's and elected officals who are busy saying Michelle Nunn rulz!!!

We need a Democrat with the backbone to stand up to the Tea Party.  If we learned anything by the war in Iraq; its that when we have Democrats with no backbone in DC real humans die and suffer needlessly.

This isn't a game.  We have no choice but to work like hell to keep the neoliberal wing from winning the Georgia Democratic primary.

Friday, October 25, 2013

To be a good human being...

“To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control, that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a plant than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from that fragility.”― Martha C. Nussbaum

The real wealth of the world is in its people.

Martha Nussbaum, "Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach"

Unreported Drone Reports, Tackle Poverty?, and CNN's Pro-Nuke Propaganda

The banks got bailed out. We got sold out.

I am busy this morning so all I'm going to say is go over and read Bill Black over at Yves Smith's Naked Capitalism today: The New York Times Publishes the Most Ironic Sentence of the Crisis « naked capitalism . #epicFail

The only answer is to occupy (I could use your help).  Now I'm headed to work as the trucks won't load themselves...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

With the help of the Supreme Court I'm occupying the US Senate race in Georgia.

So i'm pulling a Colbert.  I am a SuperPAC

www.workingclassGeorgia.com 

No more talking to, or volunteering for, US Senate candidates for me.  I'm going to be busy fundraising from my former professor's and their cohorts (a perk of taking a decade to finish my philosophy degree).  

Very Serious People beware---Election 2014 is the year the reality based community occupy the US Senate race in Georgia....


I told the wife the surprise with...  "well the good news is I'm not running for office in 2014..."



But no matter how small a cable buy it ends up being, rural Georgia will have a Professionally made Social Security attack ad directed at whatever joke makes its way out of the GOP primary.  Count on it.  I learned on the campaign trail in 2010 that no matter the party, people wanted Social Security protected from efforts by the 1% to make cuts.

The recent Jane Fonda segment of the Georgia Gang was the straw that broke this Teamsters back.  The reality based community has been shutdown and shut out of the debate in Georgia politics by the crew that just led and fed the inspiration for the GOPshutdown.  The Chamber of Commerce is busy trying to take back the GOP from within the party.  I'll help with a punch or two directed at the Tea Party nuthouse currently running the show in Georgia.  As Chomsky has always noted, we must expand the scope of the debate if we are ever going to be heard.  I think I can help give a little tiny push to help make that happen.  Work hard, hit harder and do lots of homework on the issues. 

Its not like Michelle "No Backbone" Nunn and her band of DC big donors didn't know this was coming. They should have been listening to us.  It took a coordinated FBI led corporate-state suppression effort to disperse us.  Be we are still here.



And thanks to the Supreme Court, rural TV viewers in Georgia will hear one of us (I'll need some help ya'll) say loud and clear Protect Social Security.   Free Speech rules!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Very Serious People beware---Election 2014 is the year the reality based community occupy the US Senate race in Georgia....

No Backbone Nunn and the Potemkin Primary the Beltway Big Money folks have tried to buy here in the Georgia in the Democratic US Senate Primary gave me an idea...

Er, well after I watched this video I got an idea... as this is a dialectical thing on my part.  Just watch...



The AJC's Jim Galloway notes:
You don’t generally find WAGA’s “Georgia Gang” on YouTube, but clearly an interested party wanted to document Sunday’s discussion of the campaign contribution made by actress Jane Fonda to the U.S. Senate campaign of Michelle Nunn – a fact that the Insider’s Greg Bluestein reported last week.
Watch it above. Boiled down:
Alexis Scott: “That population has aged right out, and Jane Fonda has made a comeback.”
Dick Williams:  “If Michelle Nunn is with Jane Fonda, I don’t need to know anything more.”
Consider the exchange just a foretaste of what’s headed our way next year. But also note something of a family connection here. Fonda’s ex, billionaire Ted Turner, is a major underwriter of former U.S. senator Sam Nunn’s efforts to corral “loose nukes” around the world.

Jane Fonda isn't the actual issue in this segment that stands out the most--its the Tea Party nutjob who is calling No Backbone Nunn a radical leftist.   So we are caught between crazy and the 1% and we need some fresh air and sunshine to fight off this impasse.

Even No backbone Nunn was able to come out after the polls had been conducted to stand firm agaist the Tea Party fringe.  No more Shutdowns!!!  Sadly she couldn't say it in the middle of the crisis when her leadership could have helped push the agenda more towards reality.  No, what this segment shows is the real problem in Georgia politics and its not Jane Fonda.  Its the spineless politicians and crazy fringe who have taken this state and this country down the wrong path.

No backbone Nunn who is busy raising money from the 1% and is obviously going to be a center-right Democrat along the lines of Obama is some kind of radical leftist!?!?  Lol... it'd be satire if it wasn't a mainstream political talk show here in Georgia.

The Very Serious people tell us that candidates have to play it safe and not get caught in the cross hairs of nutjobs who make up whatever they want to and just happen to have the bully pulpit and a radical faction controlling gerrymandered districts here in Georgia.

But the reality based community knows better.  We need politicians with the backbone to have open honest debate with the Tea Party types and stand up for the best ideas; not try to poll test their way to 50% + 1 of the vote.  Between the Tea Party and "swing" voters who don't pay attention till two weeks before election day we've allowed our elections to be reduced to letting those least qualified set the policy and agenda for the US Senate race.

If you were listening to the Very Serious People about the war an Iraq, deregulation of Wall Street, the public option in the health care plan, they would have given you an answer and it would have been dead wrong.

Those same Very Serious People are telling us all that the Democratic Primary for US Senate is a done deal.  Now we all know I've tried to recruit Jason Carter; to a whopping 26 signatures.  And I think Dr. Rad is awesome even if he doesn't have name recognition to beat Nunn (I even donated and became a monthly donor which will obviously stop today once you read further).

But the Tea Party circus that controls the GOP and the Fix the Debt crew who have bought and sold the Democrats have one thing in common.  They both feed off of spineless Politicians who either a) don't have the backbone to stand up to the nutcases with calm sober facts, in the case of the Republicans or B) don't have the backbone to turn down dollars from the 1% that demand selling out the working class on policy issues.

The Very Serious People have sucked all the air out of the US Senate race in Georgia and its time the reality based community have someone working hard and hitting harder for them here in Georgia.

Therefore, i'm out of the US Senate candidate recruitment/support business.

I'm taking my cue from Stephen Colbert and am going the Citizens United Route:



So I went to How to Start a Super PAC

Step 1: Pick a Cause or Candidate

The US Senate race in Georgia and the cause?  Giving voice to the reality based community.

Step 2: Pick a Clever Name for Your Super PAC

Stop The Spineless PAC --- because its a Super PAC to stop the spineless politicians not willing to speak out on the issues.

Now the paperwork to the FEC 
To officially launch your super PAC you will need to file what's called a Statement of Organization, or Form 1, with the Federal Election Commission. Check box 5(f) under "Type of Committee."
Also, write a short cover letter to the Federal Election Commission. Here's a sample. You'll want to be sure you make it clear your new committee will be functioning as a super PAC.
You can do that by including the following paragraph verbatim:
"This committee intends to make unlimited independent expenditures, and consistent with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision in SpeechNow v. FEC, it therefore intends to raise funds in unlimited amounts. This committee will not use those funds to make contributions, whether direct, in-kind, or via coordinated communications, to federal candidates or committees."

Yeah that is hitting the mail.... (even before the wife knows ---"at least I'm not running for office this year, dear")

Step 5: What To Do With Your Super PAC

As the proud new owner of a super PAC, you are permitted to raise unlimited amounts of money from people including your friends, neighbors and families. But you can also solicit money from political action committees, corporations and labor organizations.
You can turn around and use all that money to produce and air TV commercials or take out a massive billboard along a busy highway to roundly criticize a politician you don't like. Have fun and be creative!
So if I'm able to raise the money we'll be up on TV in Georgia swinging away at Spineless politicians not willing to stand up for good policy.  

If I'm not up on TV in Georgia for the primary and then the general election it won't be my fault. It will be the fault of you, dear reader, for not opening up your wallet (I'll figure out if Act Blue can be the donor route for online donations); and the unions and corporations who fail to give me the unlimited donations I'll now be able to raise thanks to the Supreme Court and "liberty lovers" everywhere who understand that money is speech and we can't be against free speech...ever.

So I have a shitload of work to do.  Bank accounts, raising money, (eh, any of you people know how to make a TV commercial?).  So I guess I'll close with this

A Note of Caution: What You Can't Do With Your Super PAC

This is pretty simple. You are not allowed to use all that money you've raised from corporations and unions to make "direct contributions" to candidates or their political action committees. You also can't take out TV ads or billboards in coordination with any of those candidates or their PACs. This is a fairly gray area, so play it safe and steer clear of planning your attacks with any candidate or elected official.
Sorry Dr. Rad, I won't be able to do that monthly $25 like I had committed--but best of luck and I'm glad you are running.  You seem like a stand up guy, in it for the right reasons.  I don't want to get in the gray area's.  You are new to politics so this might be the first time someone has broken their word to you about money and support they'll be giving you.  But it won't be the last time.  Believe me. But its for a good cause.  I just have to play it safe. The reality based community needs someone working hard and hitting harder for them here in Georgia.  But we can't discuss any of that.  I wish you the best because No Backbone Nunn is clueless, she really is .  But this is a system problem and calls for new approaches, and getting back to basics such as your campaign has been doing.  Keep it up!

For the rest of you readers... Luckily I'm an under-employed, newly minted philosophy grad, and a pissed off Teamster so I've got time on my hands since the Very Serious People have done nothing about the unemployment crisis in this country.

I'm not letting a bunch of beltway insiders in DC buy a Democratic primary--or going to let Tea Party nuts have the only bully pulpit next year when the circus gets done on the GOP side.

Campaign 2014 just got real.  Or should I say... occupied?

-----update----
The mail hasn't been picked up at my house so I'm reprinting the first form and changing the name to Working Class Georgia .

30 years late, but....have SuperPac will fight back!

----update part deux---

We are live: http://workingclassgeorgia.com but not quite ready for all that cash you are going to send me online.

I just pulled a Colbert.  Rural Georgia will have a pro Social Security TV comercial October of 2014 beamed in to living rooms--mark my words.

The 1% are right--- Free Speech rules!!!!


Don't like political polarization or economic discord? Do something about it.

Far too many people want to shake their head in opposition to the rising political dischrod, the rising economic instability, and yet want to do nothing about election reform or anything to stop the focus and fixation on allowing and promoting Government policies that transfer the bulk of the gains uppwards.  Michelle "No Backbone" Nunn, loves to complain about the things "Washington doesn't get" and has a vapid empty response about leadership.

Gerald Minack has a good post over at Naked Capitalism on the rise of Us vs. Them economy which just so happens to mention nothing about empty platitudes as a part of the solution.

 Us Versus Them « naked capitalism 
Rising political polarisation in the US has gone hand-in-hand with rising income inequality, falling top-end tax rates, lower taxes on business, rising leverage and higher asset prices. These trends may be coincidental, but they seem to reinforce each other. The medium-term risk is that some of these trends reverse, as occurred after the 1920s.
Congressional political polarisation and income inequality in the US are at multi-decade extremes (Exhibit 1). The polity is split; incomes are unequal.
Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 2.35.00 AM

The rise in polarisation partly reflects electoral gerrymandering that has sharply reduced the number of contestable seats (Exhibit 2). Only 20% of House of Representatives seats would change hands on a 5% swing. This increases the centrifugal influence of the party members who dominate the increasingly-decisive party primary elections.
image0041
However, rising political polarisation pre-dates the decline in contestable seats: it started as incomes became more unequal. Inequality has not risen because the rich got richer faster than the poor. It increased because the income gains of the past 30 years have gone to the top 1%. Average income for the bottom 99% is now unchanged in real terms over the past 40 years (Exhibit 3). The rising tide did not lift all the boats: it floated a few yachts.
image007-300x164
In 2012 the highest-paid 1% earned 21½% of total income, according to academic Emmanuel Saez (http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/). This is the highest share since the 1920s. The lift in top-end income mainly reflected a rise in business income and salary payments. Exhibit 4 shows the source of income for the highest paid 0.1%, as a percentage of total US income. The income share of the highest paid did not increase just because capital has done better than labour: it also reflects the increase in the share of salaries going to the highest paid.
image008-300x172

If we want to all play nice and get along then we have to do something about the massive spread in Gini coefficient, its that simple.  If we do, we'll all be happier and live longer because of it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Political rights do not originate in the Legislature...

"Political rights do not originate in parliaments; they are, rather, forced upon parliaments from without. And even their enactment into law has for a long time been no guarantee of their security. Just as the employers always try to nullify every concession they had made to labor as soon as opportunity offered, as soon as any signs of weakness were observable in the workers' organizations, so governments also are always inclined to restrict or to abrogate completely rights and freedoms that have been achieved if they imagine that the people will put up no resistance. Even in those countries where such things as freedom of the press, right of assembly, right of combination, and the like have long existed, governments are constantly trying to restrict those rights or to reinterpret them by juridical hair-splitting. Political rights do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace . Where this is not the case, there is no help in any parliamentary Opposition or any Platonic appeals to the constitution."
— Rudolf RockerAnarcho-Syndicalism: Theory & Practice, 1947[14]


Michelle "No Backbone" Nunn strikes again...


In the middle of the #GOPshutdown fight when it was time for real leaders to stand up and speak out  against the hostage takers and Tea Party crazies--Michelle "No Backbone" Nunn was afraid to take a stand...

Well, now that the dust has cleared (and obviously the polls taken) and everyone from the Grandma down the street, to the US Chamber of Commerce, and even Grover "drown the Government in the bath tub" Norquist is criticising the #GOPshutdown Nunn has finally decided to be bold and side with the rest of us and call for No More Shutdowns!!!

Way to take a stand Michelle, it'd be hilarious and such a classic reminder of why Nunn is wrong for Georgia if it wasn't so pathetic and dangerous since she's the candidate funded by the 1% this election.

Nunn is probably making symbolic gestures that say and show absolutely nothing about who she really is fighting for and what policies she actually supports because she can't take an actual stand on issues that matter.  The 1% won't allow her to stand up for working people of Georgia.  Michelle "No Backbone" Nunn is looking to hand the keys to the 1% once in office.

Nunn's economic views have been called nonsense by Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research
and she's done nothing but use Pete Peterson Fix the Debt talking points all campaign.  That's why Nunn is making an empty statement after the crisis has passed and even GOP members of Congress are admitting it was a mistake.   Now that no one wants to shutdown the Government again Nunn is calling for us all to stand with her and say NO MORE SHUTDOWNS!!--This is the kind of bold Democratic leadership[sic] that got us in to Iraq.


Orwell once had some insight about the political language and vacuous statements coming out of the Nunn campaign this election.  It has been an exquisite model in saying a whole lot without saying anything at all and we as Democrats have been down this road before...

Better to vote for a No Name this primary than "a name" funded by the 1% who has no spine...  



Costly grace is not always enjoyable...or popular

“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.” 
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Secret footage of Michelle Nunn and Pete Peterson discussing the US Senate race in Georgia.

Tyler Durden has released to me secret footage of Michelle "No Backbone" Nunn and Pete Peterson discussing the upcoming US Senate race here in Georgia.

The 1% has plans for the Georgia US Senate race... by jim.nichols on GoAnimate


More footage to come...


Monday, October 21, 2013

What Jane McAlevey and 2000 Bush/Gore recount can teach us...

Its good to see labor out fighting on Social Security.    If we are to protect Social Security we have to raise some hell.

I haven't seen it here in Georgia yet from unions; I'm waiting for the posts and leadership to start rallying the troops locally (cough cough).

But while I wait for Georgia labor to mobilize on Social Security, I'm reminded of something I've learned from Jane McAlevey's excellent book on organizing Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell): My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement--we have to raise expectations and raise some hell if we ever expect to make political gains vs the 1%.

I found her book via an excellent Doug Henwood interview she did which you need to check out. After buying her book, my own organizing in the workplace blossomed in to some really awesome work which i've learned and grown from in so many ways.

I think McAlevery's book provides some important context to why I've been hitting Michelle Nunn hard for her policy positions and her failure to publicly hold positions that protect and empower working people.  

Lacking backbone is a DLC/Fix the debt trademark of the past 30 years for the Democratic Party and labor has been acquiescence in the decline.  McAlevey opens her book talking about the Bush v Gore ballot recount and the failure to fight embedded into the playbook of Democrats and labor and its worth a read...
Palm Beach County was the land of the butterfly ballot and the hanging chad. Butterfly ballots were punch card ballots with the candidates and issues displayed on both sides of a single line of numbered voting marks— an arrangement especially liable to misinterpretation by people with poor vision, such as the elderly. Hanging chads were tiny bits of paper that should have fallen out of the ballots when voters punched in their choice of candidate but hadn’t, leaving a trail of ambiguity that could be used to obscure the intent of the voter. Thousands of ballots were being discounted or contested due to this rather archaic paper voting system. 
Finally, our plan took shape. Each of the senior staff would be given a team of organizers and we would start knocking on doors and collecting affidavits from people who would swear under oath that they had meant to vote for Gore but, confused by the butterfly ballot, had accidentally voted for Bush or Pat Buchanan.* Other teams were dispatched to grocery stores, and some were sent to a candlelight “protest” vigil. I was given a team of organizers, an attorney or two, a van, and a stack of maps indicating our assigned condominium complexes, mostly inhabited by senior citizens, and we raced off to collect affidavits. 
It was like shooting fish in a barrel. From the first complex we hit until we were pulled off the assignment a few days later, it was hard to find an elderly voter who hadn’t screwed up the ballot or didn’t want to make a sworn statement. These places were full of funny, highly educated, cranky New York Jews. I was a New Yorker myself, with a partly Jewish upbringing,† and these people felt like home to me. I adored them. And they were really pissed off, especially the ones who thought they had accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan (“ the SS guard,” they called him). There were holocaust survivors, and sons and daughters of holocaust survivors. What’s more, many of these folks had been union members in the Northeast before retiring. You would knock on their door and it was as if they had been sitting there impatiently wondering when the union would finally show up. Soon there were long lines in the community rooms, because we hadn’t anticipated such an outpouring. These folks could hardly stand up, there were walkers all around, but no one was leaving until they’d all met the lawyer, told their stories, and filled in the affidavits. And they were ready to do much more than that. Affidavits? Lawyers? Hell, these people were furious. 
I reported this every morning and evening at the  debrief meetings for lead organizers. “So when can we actually mobilize them, put these wonderful angry senior citizens into the streets and on camera?” I would ask. But we didn’t do anything of the sort. Instead, we did a candlelight vigil, which was an awful, badly organized affair, just the kind of event that makes me crazy. First, because it could have been huge, and second, because everyone who came was bored— a good recipe for how to get motivated, angry people to stay home the next time they get a flyer. But it got worse. Big-shot politicians from across the land were starting to show up, and they all came to the vigil to calm people down. It was a mind-blowing thing to watch. Were these guys idiots, did they want to lose, or what? 
I heard someone from the press mention that Jesse Jackson was coming in two days to do his own rally and march. Hmm. Why hadn’t we heard of that? Then, later that night, during the regular debriefing on legal updates on the recount and the next day’s assignments, a higher-up said, “Jesse Jackson is coming to do a big march. We won’t be participating in it. 
” I thought I had heard him wrong: “Um, sorry, can you repeat that?” 
“The Gore campaign has made the decision that this is not the image they want. They don’t want to protest. They don’t want to rock the boat. They don’t want to seem like they don’t have faith in the legal system. And they definitely don’t want to possibly alienate the Jews— you know, it’s Jackson— so we are not mobilizing for it.” 
While my heart was sinking my head was exploding. The American electoral process is breaking up like the Titanic and we don’t want to rock the boat? 
“I’m sorry, something doesn’t seem quite right here. As the person leading a field team in largely Jewish senior complexes, and, frankly, as someone raised by Jews, I can tell you that we need to take people into the streets. We need to let them express their anger. Republicans are starting to hold little rallies demanding that Democrats not be allowed to ‘steal’ the election. We need to either support this rally or do our own or both. 
” I also knew that to turn them out would require some resources, beginning with transportation from each condo complex. Most of these people didn’t drive or didn’t like to drive, which was why they lived in the condos, but that also meant they were generally home where we could find them. We had an instant mobilization in waiting; we could have 30,000 people in the streets in two days. I knew that the only outfit in Florida with the money, staff and experience to make this happen was organized labor. 
What was on the table here was more than a rally. It was a question of what sort of power was going to be brought to bear on a defining national crisis. The Gore people not only wanted to project a nice image, they wanted to be nice. They wanted everyone to go home and hand everything over to something called “the legal process.” This was ridiculous, because when and how and where this went to court was deeply political. Al Gore himself appeared to actually believe that if he could politely demonstrate that more Floridians had voted for him than for Bush, the “democratic system” would award him the election. Gore was right in the sense that he had won the state. There were other Democratic Party honchos who were not so naïve, but they lived in a world where you deal with these things behind closed doors. They were completely unprepared for the hypercharged political street theater exploding in Florida, and couldn’t understand the difference between a narrowly conceived legal strategy and a mass mobilization direct action strategy. They thought there was no difference. 
OK. That was the Democratic Party. We were organized labor. We didn’t represent the candidate. We represented thousands of union workers whose votes were being stolen, and millions more who would suffer if the whole damn election was stolen. We knew how to mobilize and we had the resources to do it. We had the Florida voter lists. We had the computers. We had an army of smart people on the ground, ready to go. And we had a base of literally millions of really angry people. We could have had buses of senior citizens chasing Katherine Harris, 
Florida’s secretary of state and the Bush campaign’s hatchet woman, all over the state— a Seniors Truth Commission of lovely, smart, appealing, telegenic elders lined up with their walkers outside every single meeting Harris was in and camped outside her house at night while she slept. Don’t Let the Republicans Steal Votes from Your Grandparents. All they needed was a top-notch lead organizer and an experienced field team, a lawyer, a communications team: in short, exactly the big support we had on hand. They could have operated 24/ 7, like in a strike. Unions know how to do strikes, don’t they? 
That moment, when we could have supported the Jesse Jackson rally and didn’t, could have organized something big of our own and didn’t, was the turning point, the moment when the Gore campaign and their unquestioning AFL-CIO cohort snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. And by the way, it wasn’t like I was a big fan of the contemporary Jesse Jackson. But Jackson could turn people out and give a good speech— the same one he’d been giving for thirty years. The fact that our choice was between joining a rally led by Jesse Jackson and not doing anything at all was beyond pathetic. Oh, well. All that was at stake was an endless war in Afghanistan, an unprovoked war on Iraq, American torture, warrantless wiretapping, eight years of doing nothing on global warming, not to mention a relentless class war against workers and their unions, all building up to a second Great Depression. No big deal.
McAlevey, Jane; Ostertag, Bob (2012-11-13). Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell): My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement (Kindle Locations 55-118). Norton. Kindle Edition. 


Social Security going flop in 20!!! File under: Dick Durbin Doesn't Know How to Read Budget Reports

In 20 years Social Security, which currently has over 2 trillion in surplus reserves, is going to be flat broke![insert scary organ music]. Or so says Sen Dick Durbin who either doesn't know how to read buget reports, or thinks you don't.  Zach Carter over at Huffington Post has Durbin's nonsense from the Fox News Sunday show.

Here is some fun with logic for you.

Explain how Social Security, which will be able to pay out 77 percent of scheduled benefits once the Trust Fund is closed out to zero is going to be "flat broke" in 20 years. As I'd truly appreciate the insight.   Lets take a closer look and see if its hyperbole of the austerity crew or if Social Security truly is in crisis.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities had a rundown of the 2013 Social Security Trustee's report
Several key points emerge from the new report:

  • The trustees estimate that, in the absence of policy changes, the combined Social Security trust funds will be exhausted in 2033 — unchanged from last year’s report.  That date fluctuates slightly in each trustees’ report depending on economic, demographic, and other variables; over the last two decades, it has ranged between 2029 and 2042, but the overall story has been consistent.
  • After 2033, Social Security could pay three-fourths of scheduled benefits using its tax income if policymakers took no steps to shore up the program.  (Those who fear that Social Security won’t be around at all when today’s young workers retire and that young workers will receive no benefits misunderstand the trustees’ projections.)
  • The program’s shortfall is relatively modest, amounting to 1 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next 75 years (and 1.6 percent of GDP in 2087, the 75th year).  A mix of tax increases and benefit modifications — carefully crafted to shield recipients with limited means and to give ample notice to all participants — could put the program on a sound footing indefinitely.  Social Security benefits are very modest.  The average retiree or elderly widow receives just $15,000 a year from Social Security (and the average disabled worker even less); an unmarried elderly person, on average, has just $3,000 in annual income other than his or her Social Security.  Accordingly, taxes should make up a large proportion of a solvency package.
  • Policymakers will have to replenish the Disability Insurance trust fund by 2016.  They should try to do so as part of a comprehensive solvency package, because the retirement and disability components of Social Security are closely woven together.  Pending action on a balanced and well-designed solvency package, it is reasonable to reallocate taxes between the disability and retirement programs, as policymakers have often done in the past.
Sen Durbin thinks Social Security is gonna be out of money in 20 years because, "like the Babyboom is JUST MASSIVE YO!!!"  But the reality is less sexy and a lot more stable.  Here are some key dates...

Key Dates and What They Mean

2033 is the “headline date” in the new trustees’ report, because that is when the combined Social Security trust funds are expected to run out of Treasury bonds to cash in.  At that point, if nothing else is done, benefits would have to be cut to match the program’s annual tax income.  The program could then pay 77 percent of scheduled benefits, a figure that would slip to 72 percent by 2087.  Contrary to popular misconception, benefits would not stop.
Although the exhaustion date attracts keen attention, the trustees caution that their projections are uncertain.  For example, while 2033 is their best estimate of when the trust funds will be depleted, they judge there is an 80 percent probability that trust fund exhaustion will occur sometime between 2029 and 2039 — and a 95 percent chance that depletion will happen between 2028 and 2044.  Slightly more sanguine estimates that the Congressional Budget Office issued last year suggest there is an 80 percent probability that the combined trust funds would be exhausted between 2029 and 2045.[10]   In short, all reasonable estimates show a long-run problem that needs to be addressed but not an immediate crisis.
Two other, earlier dates also receive attention but have little significance for Social Security financing:

  • 2010 marked the first year since 1983 in which the program’s total expenses (for benefits and administrative costs) exceeded its tax income (from payroll taxes and income taxes that higher-income beneficiaries pay on a portion of their Social Security benefits).  That was long expected to happen in the mid-2010s as demographic pressures built; the economic downturn led it to occur several years sooner.  The trust funds are nevertheless still growing, chiefly because of the interest income they receive on their Treasury bonds.  In 2012, for example, Social Security’s interest income of $109 billion more than offset its so-called cash deficit of $55 billion, leading the trust funds to grow by $54 billion.[11]
  • 2021 will be the first year in which the program’s expenses exceed its total income, including its interest income.  At that point, the trust funds — after peaking at $2.9 trillion — will start to shrink as Social Security redeems its Treasury bonds to pay benefits.

Neither of these dates affects Social Security beneficiaries.  From 1984 through 2009, Social Security collected more in taxes each year than it paid out in benefits, lent the excess revenue to the Treasury, and received Treasury bonds in return.  Together with compound interest, that accounts for the $2.7 trillion in Treasury bonds that the trust funds hold today.
The drafters of the 1983 Social Security amendments purposely designed program financing in this manner to help pre-fund some of the costs of the baby boomers’ retirement.  The interest income from the trust funds’ bonds, as well as the eventual proceeds from redeeming the bond principal, will enable Social Security to keep paying full benefits until 2033.  Of course, policymakers should restore Social Security’s long-run solvency well before then.  Social Security’s diminishing cash flow does affect the task of the Treasury, which manages the government’s overall financing needs.  Nevertheless, the bonds have the full faith and credit of the United States government, and — as long as the solvency of the federal government itself is not called into question — Social Security will be able to redeem its bonds just as any private investor might do.
The effort to cut Social Security is being coordinated by a cohort of Wall Street 1%'ers who crashed the economy and would love to privitize Scoail Security so they can get their hands on some "fees"; and small Government types who hate the idea that Social Security keeps millions of Seniors out of poverty every year--thereby disproving the Dystopian Nightmare of Government programs never being able to do anything right.

The reality about Social Security is that its doing just fine; and as long as we keep Wall Street's hands off it we should be able to not only sustain current benifits but expand it to help cushion the blow for Babyboomers who's 401k's and savigngs were completely destroyed by Wall Street hacks who don't know anything about buidilng an economy that works for working people but know a whole lot about theft, graft, and corruption. 

Now if we can just start reporting projected 75-year actuarial deficit's for US Military Spending we might get some proper context on the Social Security numbers. 

Feb 15th 2003 and Michelle "No Backbone" Nunn

Democrats who fail to learn from history are destined to leads us back down a path of repeating it.


 The Michelle Nunn campaign has been a profile in spinelessness.  All the cool kids and politico's are lining up behind her for the spoils of having a Democratic US Senator.  But everyday working people in Georgia don't get to reap the benefits of "appointments" and jobs in DC that come along with winning a US Senate seat.

In fact if history teaches us anything.  Sending a Democrat who lacks the backbone to stand up to the Tea Party, someone unwilling to stand openly with the reality based community no matter the headaches that will be created by doing so at forums in rural Georgia, is very dangerous.  Today at work the February 15th 2003 Anti-War protest kept coming to mind.

 I was on the streets of Sacramento that day--where were you that day?


The war began shortly there after.  The Iraq War vote was pretty much a litmus test of leadership within the Democratic Party; on one side was the reality based community pointing out the major flaws in the Bush Administrations case for war; on the other side were a bunch of Democrats who wanted to aspire for higher office and were more focused on what the public opinion polls said the average voter thought about the jingo-ist war propaganda of the Bush Administration.

Nunn had a test-run for leadership with the #GOPshutdown and she proved that when the full faith and credit of the United State was in question and at risk she lacked the spine to stand up and speak the truth; a truth some right wing voters don't want to hear  and some disengaged ill-informed "swing voters" don't pay enough attention to policy nuances to understand.

Nunn is more concerned about winning power; and will say anything to get it.  We've seen this game throughout history many times before.  This has proven quite deadly to the lives of millions if recent American history is the judge.  The scars of sending Democrats with no spine to Washington DC can be seen in the waiting line at the VA for mental health services and the suicide epidemic within the military.  Or the votes for the Patriot Act that have eroded our civil liberties yet not made us a wit safer from terrorist.

This is no game.  Sending  Michelle "No Backbone" Nunn to Washington at a time when we need open, honest, hard working leaders is a horrible mistake.  

Her Father had backbone--he voted No to the First Iraq War--and has been a powerful advocate for nuclear disarmament.  But Michelle has been sent in as a pinch hitter for a Democratic Party with no bench of candidates way above the level any novice should be sent to play.  She's not ready for prime time and it shows by who she has been listening to and the things she's been doing and saying on the campaign trail (when she bothers to even show up).
Michelle "No Backbone" Nunn is not an option for any honest Democratic Primary voter.

----Update----
I totally forgot to mention that voters will have a good choice on the ballot in the Democratic Primary.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Michelle Nunn, extortionist Fellow Traveler, can't tell Georgia voters the truth.


The Government shutdown and the Democratic US Senate candidate Michelle Nunn's response to it was the straw that broke this Teamsters back so to speak.

Straight out of the gate the Nunn campaign was hyping up Fix the Debt talking points. But what was worse was in the middle of the #GOPshutdown Nunn decided to side with the hostage takers.


I caught three things today which reminded me that Nunn's style of politics---to poll test ones way to 50% + 1 of the vote is a failed strategy for Georgia Democrats which will undermine our efforts to reach out to and gain support from rural areas of Georgia. This is an area of Georgia which Democrats lost over the past 3 decades due to the Democratic Parties tactic of aligning with Wall Street rather than an economic populism that puts a strong economy for all, before the needs and interests of the 1%.

First Krugman writes that the Fix the Debt crew is still beating a dead horse on the debt even after the shutdown. A horse that was rode into the ground by Ted Cruz and his Tea Party crazies...

Extortionist Fellow-Travelers - NYTimes.com 

Alec MacGillis attends a Fix the Debt event, and is awed to find everyone still saying the same old things:
Fix the Debt officials spoke as if they have had no role in bringing us to this point – as if, to the contrary, we arrived at this point precisely because we were not listening to them. Compared to them, the second-guessing Republicans on the Hill Wednesday were models of candor and self-awareness.
Actually, it’s even worse than he says (a line I find myself using a lot these days.) Fix the Debt didn’t just help create a climate of crisis with its fearmongering over the deficit; the fiscal scolds actively cheered GOP hostage-taking in 2011, and were still lending support to hostage tactics this time around.
Furthermore, neutrality is not an option here. If one political party attempts to defy due process and extract concessions from the other party by threatening financial and economic catastrophe, and your response is to condemn partisanship in the abstract and suggest that both sides are equally to blame, you are in effect lending cover to the hostage-takers.
In other words, Fix the Debt isn’t just ineffectual in its pursuit of a Grand Bargain, it’s an actively malign force in our politics, in effect acting as an ally of the extortionists.
When push came to shove in the middle of the crisis; Nunn didn't have the integrity to call a spade a spade and acknowledge to Georgia voters that the Tea Party fringe had hijacked the governing process.  Nor focus on the unemployment crisis we face in the state.

I've been impressed with the willingness of Dr Rad to engage conservative voters and get through some of their frustration so that they can see that he's fighting for them.  It takes listening and time.  It takes engagement; and I'm convinced Dr Rad is willing to do the hard work to win over many of the Tea Party ilk in Georgia.

Nunn's public relations model of politics just finds a position conservatives approve of; rather than tell them something they might not like to hear--that a radical fringe in Congress is to blame for the current crisis we face.  We don't face a debt crisis, we face a political crisis, and Michelle Nunn is making our problems worse by lying to voters; she is undermining the long term efforts to rebuild trust and faith in the capacity of Government to Govern.

Next along these lines I caught Barry Ritholtz who basically laid out Michelle Nunn's arguments to voters if she truly cared as much about the deficits as she claims but was willing to be upfront and honest with voters.  But you won't see her campaign to raise taxes and cut spending any time soon--"leadership" and volunteering are easier to talk about.  Platitudes are the easy way out; but voters need and deserve the truth...

The Truth about Deficits:
If you are truly concerned about deficit, then what you must do is (eventually) raise taxes and cut spending — that is how you balance the budget.
Current deficit is now ~$550B, down from over $1T.  Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist of Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote “We are baffled by the idea that the pace of deficit reduction needs to be increased, given how rapidly the picture is improving already.”
If the tax cuts from 2001, 2003 were repealed, half of that deficit goes away.
If the FICA cap is lifted from $113k and allowed to rise to $250k or $500k, SS is solvent for 75 years.
If the US no longer spent the equivalent of the next 20 countries COMBINED on Defense, a huge chunk of the deficit goes away.
The US now spends 2X what most developed nations spend on healthcare. If you are concerned about the long term debt, than you must develop a system that radically lowers US health care costs, bringing them into line with what other industrialized nations spend.
You cannot tax cut your way to fiscal solvency in a weak economy any more than you can spend your way there in a slow recovery. However, you can make the deficit worse with poorly timed tax increases or poorly timed spending cuts.
My read of the current situation is that it has nothing to do with the deficit. The past votes of the current Deficit Peacocks reveal that it is not important to them. Unfunded tax cuts (2001, ’03), expensive wars of choice (most recently, Iraq), and unfunded entitlements (Medicare Part D) reveal that most of the people currently clamoring about the deficit have precisely zero interest in reducing it. They are merely using the deficit as a tool to pursue their ideology.
The current debate has revealed two things: Some people very much want a MUCH smaller government, including much lower taxes. But, they know that is very unpopular among the broad public when you start specifying what to actually cut. It is an ideological goal with which most of the country disagrees. So, the argument that appears more reasonable is to come out against deficits.
Have a look at Center of American Politics – Statistics and Numbers on American Politics from Esquire. While there are some areas of overlap, its pretty clear that the Tea Party is so out of step with most of the USA.
Want to fix the deficit? Then make the hard choices to cut spending and raise taxes (even if you implement this in later years).
Want to have a much smaller US government? The way to do that is not with the deficit or the debt ceiling or other misdirected tactics — instead, try having an honest debate on the subject, and see if you can convince a majority of your fellow Americans to that view . . .
 Ezra Klein reminded me of something, its not going to require manipulating public opinion to get just enough "conservative" street cred to win a US Senate race.  Democrats if they want to get serious need long term education and engagement with rural voters not a public relations campaign that takes advantage of the political momentum Democrats appear to have at the moment:

The shutdown probably won’t matter in the 2014 election. It definitely won’t matter in 2016
First, basically nothing matters in elections. Once you account forpartisanship, the economy, presidential approval and incumbency, there's very little vote left to swing. The main mistake the political class makes about elections is vastly overstating their volatility. But partisan preferences are overwhelmingly stable, and the voters who don't have strong preferences tend to be pretty checked out of day-to-day political events.
 No no, we shouldn't sacrifice the truth in order to win a US Senate race.   Sorry Team Nunn manipulation is not a winning tactic.

Nunn's campaign is dead in the water for any honest Democratic primary voter.  There is too much at stake.


We have two choices.  Invest in a candidate willing to out organize Nunn and donate to Dr Rad, someone willing to be open and honest with Republican voters and work real hard (I'm a monthly sustaining donor).  Or draft a name that can run a pro-gun economic populist campaign vs Republicans and can "win" against Nunn on the name recognition front.  Since the 1% have the Georgia Democratic primary on lockdown I'd argue you do both and see which gains steam faster with the demos, because letting Nunn out of the primary is not a viable option for Democrats.
Lets call this the all of the above Strategy.  None of us deserve Nunn on the ballot come next November.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Matt Bruenig on cutting poverty

Matt Bruenig reflects on Sasha Abramsky’s The American Way of Poverty and breaks down the program for reducing poverty to three lines...
Dramatically cutting poverty can be done fairly easily by efficiently altering the income distribution so that the poor get a larger share. If we take the above list, trim down some of the more marginal programs, and collapse all the jobs items into "full employment," we can squeeze a program down to three lines:
  1. Full employment (i.e. getting to NAIRU).
  2. Basic income.
  3. Negative income tax.
These three things alone are capable of doing all of the heavy lifting necessary to greatly slash poverty rates. They may be politically hard to achieve, but it’s best not to confuse political difficulty with policy difficulty. We can, as Abramsky notes, shrink the ranks of the impoverished if we really want to. What’s hard is not how to do it, but how to get people to do it.
We won't inspire people to do it by sending the utterly clueless to talk them into it.

Josh Barro: Niall Ferguson is an idiot; Michelle Nunn edition...

Brad Delong sends us to Josh Barro who notes that Niall Ferguson does massive damage to our political debate with his nonsense and therefore deserves scorn.
In the process of criticizing me, Ferguson writes: "If you are defending someone against a charge of incivility…" I'm going to stop him right there. I'm not defending anybody against a charge of incivility…. The reason Ferguson wants to talk about civility is that he can't talk about not being full of crap. Ferguson… write[s] popular articles that contain misleading and false claims… causes readers to come away with a worse understanding of the economy than they entered with. He is changing the world for the worse. My contention is not that we haven't been uncivil to Ferguson. We definitely have. My contention is that he deserves it.
I argue the same about Michelle Nunn. Who is proving to be either clueless about the economy or willing to lie in order to gain power.   Neither are what we need right now from our political class.

The First Rule of of Running for US Senate--You do not side with the 1%. 

Michelle Nunn, radical ideologue for the 1%, defender of future world. 

 In which Brad Delong shows that Michelle Nunn is clueless on the deficits...